I came across another remarkable old Pittsburgh memoir on archive.org, this one written in 1903 by then 76 yr old James Owens. He ran away from home in Ireland at age 6 (!) and at the age of 18 ended up in Pittsburgh (by way of Jamaica and Cuba). Lots of incredible stories about Pittsburgh in the 1850s and during the Civil War (check out page 101 for the story of how Mayor Joe Barker got elected).
James Owens, circa 1903
This story about a delegation's trip to Harrisburg to raise funds for the city during the Civil War may be instructive to some local folks concerning the current pension predicament: