Georgia Genealogy & History Volume No. 2 Issue No. 3 March 2006

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Revolutionary War 1776-1783 Pensions
By Jeannette Holland Austin

The American Revolutionary War began in Massachusettson on April 19, 1775. The date of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia was July 4, 1776. General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781, with the peace treaty being signed in 1783. After the war ended, provisions for benefits to veterans were established, in 1789. Many of the first applications, however, were destroyed by fire in 1800 and again in 1814. A partial record of earlier pensioners does exist for 1792, 1794 and 1795, in Reports to Congress. Here is how the pensions went:

1.              Invalid pensioners who were disabled prior to 8/26/1776 (and since 4/19/1775). The Act of 1782 extending the provisions found that there were 1500 (invalid) pensioners on the rolls.

2.              Half pay for life went to officers, and widows of those officers. This began in 1780; then in 1788 Congress granted seven years half pay to officers who served at the end of the war.

3.              2,480 officers received Commutation Certificates, however, delayed payments existed.

4.              The Law of 1818 provided that every indigent person who had served to the war's close, or for nine months or longer, would receive a pensions. When the law was rewritten in 1820, many names were removed from the pension rolls because they were not indigent.

5.              In 1832 most of the benefits were stripped.

By 1867 most of the pensioners on the rolls were dead, even though two names went on the rolls thereafter. The last old soldier to die was Daniel F. Bakeman, who died 4/15/1869, at the age of 109 years. In 1869, there were 887 widows on the rolls. And, believe it or not, in 1906, there was still one widow on the pension list. She was Esther S. Damon, who died 11/11/1906. Estimates are that 20,485 soldiers were granted pensions in 1818, and 1,200 in 1828, and 33,425 in 1832. In 1789 the Federal Government assumed responsibility of the State's invalid pensions for soldiers on the Continental Line, and in 1804 they assumed all S. C. Invalid pensions, Continental Line.  All  Revolutionary War Pensions have been abstracted and are at most Archives. These are large books and include a number of volumes. Also, the Federal Archives have the original pensions on microfilm....reading these (as opposed to the abstracts) is quite interesting, because of details of exciting battles, and personal information.


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Finding Orphans

Since orphanages keep private records, there are some means of locating information. County Census records sometimes list the “inmates”.  Other than that, newspapers are the next best bet. Estelle Williams, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Williams of Smyrna, found herself an orphan when the family residence burned to the ground. Eleven year old Estelle was taken to the Wesley Memorial Hospital to be treated for burns.

The Marietta Journal and Courier (June 24, 1910) published an article…”Estelle Williams Leaves Grady Hospital for the Orphans’ Home….The pretty little girl, with a red bow of ribbon in her hair, who smiled into the camera for The Journal Thursday afternoon on the lawn of the Wesley Memorial Hospital, has, during the last six months, undergone more suffering than commonly falls to a man or woman in a whole lifetime…On December 19 she was carried to the hospital more dead than alive with her body in many places charred to a crisp from having ignited her dress while trying to start a fire to warm her younger brother and sisters….”

New Additions

Deaths : (1786-1810): Abercrombie, William, C.. Atchinson, James. Ayers, Abraham, Baker, Charles, Barksdale, John, Barnett, William, Barrow, James, Battle, John, Beale, Joseph, Beasley, Richard, Beddingfield, John, Benton, Aaron , Bishop, James, Blanchard, Reuben, Boon, Thomas, Boran, Joseph, Boyd, Edward, Boyd, John, Boykin, Wm P., Broom, Burrell, Bull, Eli, Bullock, Archibald, Burns, Jane, Burson, Jonathan, Burton, Butler, Noble, Camble, Jesse, Candler, John, K., Carmichell, Joseph, Carson, John, Chapman, Labourn, Childree, William, Clark, Gilbert, Coke, Nathaniel, Coleman, Daniel, Cromley, Valentine, Cooper, James, Culbreath, Peter, Currie, John, Darden, Stephen, Drake, Sherrid, Dryden, John, Duberry, Jesse, Felps, William, Flourney, Jacob, Forsyth, Robert, Franklin, William, Fuller, Thomas, Galphin, Geiorge, Galphin, William, Germany, William, Glascock, William, Goodwin, Peter, Greer, Robert, Senr., Guardian, James, Gurley, Lazarus , Gusland or Gusling, William, Guy, widow, Hadden, William, Hardin, Thomas, Hart, Samuel, Harton, Thomas, Hawthorne, Geiorge, Hawthorne, Hay, John, Hays, John, Heath, Nathan, Heath, Richard, Helton, Samuel, Herald, Zechariah, Hifflin, James, Hiles, Adam, Hill, Joshua, Hill, Richard, Hill, Thomas, Holliday, Ambrose, Hollingshead, Howard, A. Lemuel, Hutchinson, John, Jarnett, Alexander, Jones, Aquilla, Jones, Henry, Jones, James, Kelly, John, Kempsey, Archibald, Kenon, James, Kilgore, Ralph, Killebrew, Wiggins , Knight, Stephen, Lawson, Adam, Lee, Greenberry, Lee, Richard, Lethgo, Andrew, Linn, Charles, Sr., Linn, John, Lucas, William, Malcom, Mandue, Henry, Marshall, Daniel, May, James , May, John, McClendon, Isaac, McFarland, William, McKay, James McKinley, William, Mendinghall, Marmaduke, Mitchell, Abner, Mitchell, Thomas, Moore, Mordecai, Morris, William, Murphy, Edward, Musgrove, Harrison, Myrick, Owen, Napper, Drury, Napper, James , Neal, Samuel, Neal, Thomas, Neves, Daniel, Newman, Samuel, Newsom, John, Newsom, Solomon, Jr. Norman, William, Nusam, David,, Oliver, Francis, Parham, Thomas, Parker, James, Parker, John, Parker, William, Pate, John, Pattillo, John,, Persons, Josiah, Pilcher, William, Powell, widow, Pruitt, Levi, Robarts, John, Robert, son, David,, Roper, James, Rosborough, Geiorge, Rose, William, Roquemore, James, Rutherford, Samuel, Scrugs, James, Sell, Thomas, Shaw, Thomas, Jr., Shield, William, Simms, John, Sinn, Fugus, Slaughter, John, Slocum, Samuel, Smith, Ebenezer, Smith, Nathaniel Alexander, Sterns (Starns?), Ebenezer, Stewart, John, Story, Robert, Stowe, Micajah, Strother, William, Tarvin, William, Thatcher, Daniel, Rev., Thomas,, John, Thweatts (Threewitts?), Joel, Tripp, John, Upton, Vance, James, Vaughn, Alexander , Vernon, James, Vining, Jephthah, Waggoner, Henry, Walker, Joel, Wall, Susannah, widow, Westmoreland, Isham, Weston, Nathan , Wheeler, Sion, William,s, Elijah, William,s, Ezekiel, William,son, Thomas, Womack, William, Woodward, Francis, Wright, Samuel and Wynne, John  


Genealogies:  Culbreath, Finch, Gilmore, Goolsby, Greenwood, Hodge, Lankford, Lester, McElroy, Olive, Stapleton, Stubblefield, Traylor, Wise.

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…..Jeannette Holland Austin