“Just a rifleman”: Fusiliers and “fusees” in the Continental Army

Courtesy of page 20 of Bill Guthman’s article on arms and armaments during the Revolutionary War period. The bottom musket is a fusil.

Recently at my job as a genealogist, I found a Revolutionary War soldier who listed himself as a “fusilier” in his pension. One of the former military men at the place I work said something like (and I’m paraphrasing), “oh, that’s just a rifleman” and as a result, I didn’t add it to the description of the service performed by this soldier, who had served in the Continental Army. But it is more than something to be dismissed just like that. From looking at this site and that (dictionary sites mostly), I came up with a rough definition of a fusilier:

A soldier or infantryman with a light flintlock musket (fusil). European in origin, especially British, something just a private or British soldier of low rank. Can also refer to a rifleman or light infantry.

Still, this, and of itself does not tell about the story of fusiliers in the Continental Army, a story which is different from what I’ve previously written. Those who served in the British line, French Line (also see here and here) or “Hessian” line (also see here) are more extensively documented.

Information on fusiliers scarce but rewarding

Some have written that for the 30,000 “Hessian” soldiers fighting on the side of the British crown, “infantry troops and elite fusilier units participated in almost every campaign of the war.” But what about the continental line? The Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Army only notes that in the 1700s, a “basic infantryman replaced the four varieties of infantrymen that existed previously: pikeman, musketeer, fusilier, and grenadier” but says nothing about the Continental Army. Letters on Founders Online seem to only mention the term “fusilier” in reference to the British line (also see here) or Hessian line. Only one reported letter, other than a passing reference to a “Fusilier” company in 1775, from French Colonel Armand, called Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouërie, to George Washington, which had a plan for “…two fusilier companies” among others as part of an organizational plan for a military corps. One website seems to hint at more involvement of fusiliers in the war against the British, saying that “German colonists in Charleston, South Carolina formed a fusilier company in 1775.” No other details are provided. Another website, reviewing a book about British fusiliers, interestingly notes that fusiliers were used by the British as shock troops, almost, against the rebelling colonists during the Revolutionary War:

Many Fusiliers — a unit name derived from fusil, a type of early flintlock musket — were trained to perfect these shock tactics that combined quick movement with a volley followed by a bayonet charge overwhelming the enemy before they could reload their muskets…the Fusiliers and other Redcoats could outfight the Rebels…Romances with American women helped take away more Fusiliers from the ranks than battles with the Continental Army…It took the influence of a former Fusilier officer, Henry Calvert, an aging Cornwallis and other British officers to reintroduce light infantry tactics.

Two pensions of soldiers who fought within the continental line name the participants as “fusiliers.” Sometimes it was even spelled “Fuzileers.”

The first is a man names James Starr living in Baltimore County, Maryland, noting that he would a fusilier in the French line. His pension says that he was a corporal “in the fusiliers in the First Partisan Legion, under my [C armand M’qis dela Rouerie] Command” and later a witness testified that he was a “Corporal in the Company Called Fusiliers stationd at York during the winter previous to the disbandment of the Revolutionary Army” commanded by a French officer. The second is for a man named John Matthews, saying he was also a part of the “company of fusiliers.”

Other records, even for the word “fusil” don’t seem to turn up relevant results, just sales of “fusils,” here, there, and everywhere. There is also other mentions of it as well. The term fusil became fusel or fuzee in English, coming from the French word of fusil as one site reports.The reality actually seems that “fusil, fuzil, and fusee are corruptions of the Italian word fucile, meaning flint.” Using the alternative spellings, it is clear that a fusil was carried by Captain John Mott when crossing the Delaware River in 1776:

Courtesy of Stryker’s The Continental Army at the Crossing of the Delaware River

It seems that at least within the Continental line those who were officers carried fusils, meaning that to call oneself a “fusilier” seemed to indicate a level of rank, specifically those who were non-commissioned officers or “noncom,” as some abbreviate it for short. Even major general John Sullivan was quoted as saying that “fusees for the Officers would be proper” but none were available at the time. They were prized enough that there is even a time when supporters of the British crown stole the “fusee” of a Continental Army general, Gold Sellick Sillman. George Washington even ordered, reportedly, the seizure of counterfeit “fusees” from France as some Continentals (and even militia) seemed to use those of Spanish manufacture.

While some describe fusils as something that was captured, the Society of Cincinnati succinctly describes them as a “smoothbore shoulder arm that was lighter and shot a smaller caliber ball than muskets in use by many British and American troops during the Revolutionary War” with officers buying fusils from France specifically.

Without going any further, it seems clear that within the Continental line there was no unit of “fusileers”/”fuzileers” but officers carried fusils (fusels, fusees and fuzees). That is what the next section is about.

Fusees in the Continental Army

Fusees were mentioned in varying revolutionary-era documents, apart from their mentions in lines other than among the continentals. David Hackett Fischer even mentions fusees, writing in Washington’s Crossing that “American troops were not properly intimidated by this weapon [Lochaber axe], and it was replaced by carbines or fusees in the New World,” with the Maryland State Archives noting that Scottish-born Maryland soldier William McMillian may have fought against his kinsmen in such regiments.

In November 1775, a Committee Report on Petition from Nova Scotia declared that fusees were among the weapons to arm two battalions:

That Said Battalions, shall be armed in the following Manner, vizt. a light Fusee, fitted for Slinging, a large Hatchet with a long Handle, and a Spear, with thirty two Rounds per Man of Ammunition.

The following year, in 1776, fusees would be among the ordinances wanted for the Continental Army. In the same document, it would declare that “if the above port-fires, tubes, and fusees can be procured ready fitted, then the articles of saltpetre, antimony, and brimstone, mentioned above, might be omitted.”An orderly book the same year would talk about the “proper Quantity of fusees.” Also, in an account of Alexander Graydon, who observed the building of Fort Washington, in 1776, said that when opposing the attack of a ruffian, that he, “clubbing his fusee, and drawing it back as if to give the blow, I fully expected it, but he contented himself with the threat.” In evacuating Fort Washington, Continental officers even dropped their fusees and cartridge boxes as they fled.

By 1777, an orderly book for the Pennsylvania State Regiment described how “the Captains and subalterns [would be] standing with their Fusees over their left arms, are to bring them to an order and take off their hats.” The same year, the new Pennsylvania government looked to disarm supporters of the British crown, with weapons including “Musquetts, Carbines, fusees, rifles, & other fire arms, & for swords & Bayonetts.”

Alexander Dow, a soldier in the Continental line, recalled his use of a fusee while fighting alongside Colonel Aaron Burr in 1777:

Our whine the moon was down, and by full consent of Officers maid seekret and sudant atack / Emagining them to be one hundred strong Coll Burr proportenad our difrent atacks in platuns, he pitched [mine?] to Enter first without aney alarm and Chalange the whole to serender which I dide that moment finding them both Brave and Obestinat, as they flew to ther arms I droped three of them with my Baynet on the musel of my fusee by this time one stout felow atackted me in the same manor But I parried him off and in his Indevering to disarm me he Bit sevral holes in the Baral of my fusee, whilst my worthey [Serjt.?] Williams Cam[e] to my releff and stabed him Dead, I then turned on another full armed who beged for mercy I bid him serender his arms to me which he did into my hand, by this time the rest of our partey had dun ther part and taken one moar prisner, with which we finding no moar Live men we Cam[e] of[f] living sixten on the Ground which had a still moar Grand Efect for by ten Oclock in the morning the whole of the Enemy were Gon [?] in Great fright / thiss was on the 13th Day of Septr 1777

Ethen Allen of the Green Mountain Boys also recalled encountering a person with a fusee, writing that “I found a sentry posted, who instantly snapped his fusee [trigger] at me; I ran immediately toward him, and he retreated through the covered way.” Israel Putnam also reportedly used a fusee as well. One account of New Jersey regiments notes that “two other officers rushed in with fusees” and another talks about Continental soldiers facing up against British who had fusees in 1775. Apparently some of Benedict Arnold’s men were also armed with fusees. George Washington even mentioned mentions “fusees” in a letter from Middlebrook, New Jersey in May 1779. Two years later, officers, who were prisoners, had to give up their “fuzees.”

Recounting the travels of Dr. Paleg Longfellow, reportedly grandfather of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Thacher wrote about the use of fusees:

The party rushed suddenly on the sentinel, who gave the alarm, and one of his comrades instantly opened the door of the kitchen, and the enemy were so near as to enter with the sentinel…General Wadsworth was provided with a pair of pistols, a blunderbuss and a fusee, which he employed with great dexterity, being determined to defend himself to the last moment. With his pistols, which he discharged several times, he defended the windows of his room, and a door which opened into the kitchen. His blunderbuss he snapped several times, but unfortunately it miss-fired. He then seized his fusee, which he discharged on some who were breaking through one of the windows, and obliged them to flee. He next defended himself with his bayonet, till he received a ball through his left arm, when he surrendered, which terminated the contest.

One magazine, Postscripts, gives a broad overview of the use of armaments by the Continentals during the Revolutionary War. It is noted that

..the Continental soldier had a motley assortment of weapons: muskets, musketoons, rifles, carbines, fusils, pistols, wall guns and artillery, with a wide variety in each type…During the 17th century a light flintlock musket or fusil had been developed for artillery guards and for the light infantry (called “fusiliers”). These were similar to their bigger counterparts in every respect except size. Infantry officers–more often in the British Army–sometimes carried such guns, however. George Washington thought that guns diverted an officer’s attention and made him less able to capitalize on the swiftly changing fluid situations that developed during a battle…In the years before the American Revolution infantry officers of every army carried the spontoon until it was supplanted by the fusil

Conclusion

Apparently a number of those within the Continental line, specifically among Washington’s officers, carried espontoons rather than fusils. They were even mentioned in article 27 of a proposed treaty with France in 1778 as “fuzees.”

Fusees would later be used in the war with Britain between 1812 and 1815, weirdly called the “war of 1812,” as one soldier, John Roads, recounted.

In the end, the story of the fusil and fusilier says something about the Continental Army and the Revolutionary War. It is an evolving story.

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“A Gentleman of Maryland”: the short life of Edward Giles

Focus on what Christopher Weeks argues is the land within Harford Lower Hundred (“all the land drained by Romney Creek, Bush River, and Cranberry Run”), using an 1858 “map of Harford Co., Maryland.” Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Edward Giles was a gentleman that was different from the other officers of the Extra Regiment, who marched Southward just like him. After all, Edward had ancestors who were immigrants to Massachusetts in the 1630s and some of the “earliest settlers of Baltimore County,” specifically to “Old Baltimore.” His short life is worth noting, with its twists and turns, as it tells a story which has never been fully told in print.

In the final years of military service: 1780-1782

Edward was a major in the Extra Regiment as noted by fellow officer Theodore Middleton and a soldier named Giles Thomas. Remaining records of the Maryland Line would also show his military service within the regiment. [1] He held many other military positions. He was reportedly a captain in Hazen’s (2nd Canadian) regiment from 1778-1779, a major and aide-to-camp of General Morgan from 1779 to 1781, as he would note in a January 1781 letter. He was even made Brevet Major in Continental Army in March 1781 in honor of his role in the Battle of Cowpens, which he seems to have reported to Thomas Jefferson in a glowing account. [2] Until the close of the war, he served as an aide-to-camp of General Smallwood until the close of the war. Reportedly he also commanded Virginia militia in December 1780. [3] He was, undoubtedly, a “prolific correspondent” on the Extra Regiment.

In 1781, the Maryland General Assembly consider raising an all-Black regiment, similar to the state’s German Regiment, but did not do so. Even so, Edward wrote to Otho Holland Williams on June 1st arguing that

I wish the [Black] regiment would be raised. I am of the opinion that the Blacks will make excellent soldiers—indeed experience proves it…As to the danger of training them to Arms—tis the Child of a distempered Imagination. There are some people who are forever frightening themselves with Bugbears of their own Creation. [4]

The following year, Edward would be elected to the Continental Congress. However, he would not attend that year possibly related to his military service, but the true reason is not known. [5] The same year he would defend Samuel Chase, who then represented Maryland in the Continental Congress, from charges that he had used “secret congressional information to corner the market on flour,” knowing that the French fleet would be arriving in Maryland. Specifically he wrote to James McHenry saying that the evidence before the Maryland General Assembly had shown Chase innocent and urged the author of the “Publius” essays to retract their charges. As a letter from Alexander Hamilton to McHenry revealed (also implied in McHenry’s letter to Hamilton earlier that year), he was Publius, which comes as no surprise. Interestingly, Hamilton was angry that Edward had become a champion of Chase:

…You know that I can have no personal enmity to him, and that considerations of public good alone dictated my attack upon his conduct and character, influenced by a persuasion produced by the strongest authorities, that he was acting a part inconsistent with patriotism, or honor… I could not refuse it to my own feelings, to make him the most explicit and complete retribution…As to the discovery of my name demanded with such preposterous vehemence, by a volunteer in the dispute, I conceive myself under no obligation to make it…I have esteemed Major [Giles] character; and am sorry for his sake that he has so indelicately entered the lists; and made himself, not only the champion of Mr. Ch——e’s innocence in the present case, but of his virtues in general, certainly at best equivocal in spite of the Major’s panygerics. He should have recollected, that by an alliance with his family, he did not ally himself with his principles; and that he degrades Mr. Ch——e, as well as commits himself by unnecessarily taking up the glove for him…an apprehension of his, or any man’s resentment is a motive incapable of operating upon me or having the least share either in the concealment of my name or in the moderate return I make to his invectives.

In sum, Hamilton is saying that Edward is using formal speech (panegyrics) to defend Chase but that by doing so, he has made himself a champion of the latter’s values. He also suggests that he is degrading Chase by doing so and standing by his side, allying with the Chase family. Hamilton then worried about people guessing his motives so he decides to keep his name hidden.

The next year, 1783, the county assessment for Harford County would note Edward’s large landholdings, living in the same county as the former commanding officer of the Extra Regiment, Alexander Lawson Smith. He would own a total of 1,401 acres in Harford Lower Hundred. These acres were parceled out into seven land tracts:

  1. 90 acre tract called Mats Island
  2. a 50 acre tract called Hog Neck
  3. a 147 acre tract called Shepherds Choice
  4. a 770 acre tract called Rumney Marsh
  5. a 28 acre tract called Shepherds Adventure
  6. a two acre tract called Minorca
  7. 314 acre tract called Atkinsons Purchase.

Soon this would all change.

The last hurrah: A trip to Bermuda

A close-up of Bermuda within Joseph Smith Speer’s 1774 map of the 13 colonies, West Indies, and Caribbean. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

On January 30, 1783, Governor William Paca and the Council of Maryland would write to Admiral Robert Digby of the Royal Navy. Guided by the “Motives of Humanity” he would describe Edward’s condition:

…Mr Edward Giles, a Gentleman of Maryland, is reduced to such a State, by a Disorder in the Breast, that his Physicians advise a Change of Climate as the only probable Means of his Recovery. As he is too Weak to undertake a long Voyage, his Friends are extremely desirous that he should try the Salutary Air of Bermuda, and it is at their earnest Solicitations that we have the Honor to request the Favor of your Excellency’s Passport for a Vessel to carry him thither, with a Companion and two Slaves to attend him; and Provisions for the Use of the Crew and his Family. Candor requires that you should be informed, that Mr Giles has been an Officer in the American Army, and that he is, at this Time, a Delegate to Congress. We know not whether it is in your Excellency’s Department to grant Mr Giles Permission to reside in Bermuda until his Health be restored, but if it is not, we persuade ourselves, from your acknowledg’d Attention to the Rights of Humanity, that you will be so obliging as to recommend him, for this Purpose, to the Governor of the Island [William Browne].

With the above letter showing his wealth, with two enslaved Blacks and a companion (his wife?), it is partially revealing. The following day, Edward would write a letter to Washington mentioning the above letter, noting that he felt “highly obliged” and hoped he could use the latter’s influence to “obtain the Passport and Permission as soon as possible.” As he described it,

“…With your Letter please to have that of the Governor and Council transmitted. I hope the Admirals not being furnished with the name and tonnage of the Vessel and number of hands will not impede the Business. It is impossible to give him this Information accurately as the Vessell is yet to be obtained. Thus far however he may be assured, she will be chosen for her good Cabbin Accomadations and her hands will not exceed eight. I am sensible that was Admiral Digby (tho’ an Enemy) acquainted with my Situation, he would blush to throw any obstructions in my Way. Your Excellency’s Veneration for humanity fills me with undoubting hopes that you will leave no means unessayed to accomplish this interesting Business. It is the opinion of my Physicians, that the month of March and April in this Climate might so confirm my Disorder as to make it an [   ] for Life. My Fate hangs on every passing hour, a small Delay may prove fatal to my Existence. Excuse the Anxiety of an Invalid, and believe Me to be with Sentiments of real Regard”-

This desperate plea would not go unanswered by Washington. Twelve days later on February 12, Washington would remark that he had received the letter, noting that the application should have “gone thro Mr Morris as Agent of Marine” and not himself, but since a “delay in the transaction of this business might have been fatal to you.” As a result, he sent the Admiral a letter immediately, noting that any answer he receives shall be forwarded to him.

Sadly, he would not make it another month. On March 13, the Maryland Gazette would announce his death in a detailed obituary. They would describe him as a man with a “liberal education” and imbued “patriotism,” calling him a “virtuous citizen” and an “excellent young man”:

Quotes around this obituary seem to say it was reprinted from another paper which is not currently known.

Using the first line of the obituary, one can easily calculate that he died on March 10, 1783, with others coming to the same conclusion. [6]

Over 148 years later, on December 1, 1931, Samuel K. Dennis, J. Hall Pleasants, and J. M. Vincents, would write to the “gentlemen” of the Maryland Historical Society about whole episode. They would write about how the council requested that Admiral Digby, commanding the British fleet, issue a “passport to Edward Giles” who seems to have had “tuberculosis of the lungs” and noted “Giles died a week or two later before the request could be acted upon” with subsequent developments thereafter in “humane amenities…between the belligerents” when the main hostilities seemed to cease.

Beyond this, little information is known other than the fact that his death would be reported in British newspapers by June, and a possible federal veterans pension in later years. Due to his death in 1783, this means he would not be in any of the federal censuses and would have no direct federal pension records associated with him. Regardless, he would live on, in some way, shape, and form through his ancestors and scattered records in varied pensions of others.

 

Notes

[1] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 43, 234, 248, 306, 314, 341, 530; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 45, 45, 46, 100, 211, 334, 514, 541, 617; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 48, 98.

[2] Francis Bernard Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1783 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982), 248; John Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland from the Earliest Period Until the Present Day, Vol. II (Baltimore: John. B. Piet, 1879), 407-409.

[3] John Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland, 401.

[4] The Finding the Maryland 400 Project cites a letter from Major Edward Giles to Otho Holland Williams, 1 Jun 1781 within the Williams Papers, Maryland Historical Society which is quoted in Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1961), 56-57.

[5] Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005: The Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States, from the First Through the One Hundred Eighth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 2005, Inclusive (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2005), 35 or page 5 of this PDF.

[6] Scharf, History of Maryland, 436.

The post-war lives of Maryland’s revolutionary soldiers

First Maryland Regiment Retaking British Field Artillery at Guilford Court House, North Carolina. Courtesy of Art.com.

An Irish-born man named Robert Ratliff, a Baltimorean named William Marr, a Marylander likely born in Cecil County named George Lashley, a Charles County man named John Plant, another man from the same county named John Neal, another Marylander likely born in Cecil County named John Lowry, and one Marylander likely born in the same county named William Dawson all have one thing in common: they had fought in the Maryland Line. While Ratliff was a five foot, eight inch tall man who was part of the Seventh Independent Company, which recruited from the Eastern Shore, just like Dawson, Marr and Lashley were part of the Col. Nathaniel Ramsey’s Fifth Company, mustered at Whetstone Point (present-day Fort McHenry), part of the First Maryland Regiment. [1] As for the other Marylanders, Plant and Neal were part of Captain John Hoskins Stone‘s First Company of the First Maryland Regiment, enlisted in Port Tobacco, Maryland, while Lowry was part of  Captain Peter Adams‘s Sixth Company of the First Maryland Regiment. [2] Even with arguably shared military experience, their lives after the revolutionary war were different and tell us about the lives of Maryland soldiers in later years.

After the war, Dawson returned to Cecil County. On December 29, 1780, he married a woman named Elizabeth Graves, with the matrimony affirmed by minister William Thomson of an Episcopal Church in Elkton, Maryland. [3]The same year, on February 27, Neal stayed in  Somerset County, where he had been discharged, marrying a local woman named Margaret Miller in Boundbrook, New Jersey. [4] They had two children named Benjamin (b. 1781) and Theodocia (b. 1802).

As for Lowry, in 1783, he was living as a single man in Harford County’s Spesutia Upper Hundred. [5] The same year, Dawson was in a similar predicament. He was described as a pauper, living on the land, which was likely rented, with nine other inhabitants. [6] While Dawson was granted 50 acres of bounty land in Western Maryland after the war, it sat vacant. He may have felt with fellow veteran Mark McPherson who said the land, located in a remote mountainous area of Western Maryland, was “absolutely good for nothing . . . unfit for Cultivation.” [7] Plant was also settling down after the war. Living in Charles County, he became a well-off small farmer and slaveowner who owned two horses, one cattle, and one enslaved black child. [8] The same was also the case with Ratliff, who settled down in Cecil County. In 1783, he lived with his relative, James, who owned four horses and 150 acres of land. [9]

Three years after Marr ended his war service, he settled down and his life changed. On June 14, 1784, Airey Owings married Marr in Baltimore County at St. Paul’s Parish, with the ceremony conducted by Reverend William West. [10] Marr and Airey lived in Baltimore County, raised “a family of children,” including a son named William, and he worked as a reputable farmer. [11] It is possible that Marr’s farm was among the 45.6% of Maryland dwellings that we not taxed, explaining its absence from the 1783 tax assessments. [12] At this time, Baltimore County had a varied economy with ” furnaces, forges, cotton mills, and wollen factories,” even by the early 19th century, while Baltimore was gaining importance as a commercial center. [13] One “William Marr” is listed in the 1810 US Census as the head of household along with his wife and three children: one male child under 10, one male under 16, and one female under age 10. [14]

Coming back to Neal, while he was living in New Jersey, he served in the militia in Somerset County, which fought off British incursions in New Jersey until the end of the war, serving at least one four-month term. [15] In the county, called the “crossroads of the revolution” by some, the destruction of the war had dissipated by the 1780s, with industry and commerce thriving in the final years of the war even as militiamen decried depreciation of Continental currency. [16]

On October 13, 1787, Ratliff married Mary Kirk. [17] A few years later, on December 23, 1800, he married another woman named Anne Husler. [18] The reason he remarried is that his wife died. At some point, Anne died and he married a third time to woman named Elizabeth, who survived him. [19] He had two children named James and Elizabeth, but the mother’s name is not known.

As for Plant, on June 15, 1788, he married an eighteen-year-old woman named Mary Ann Davis. [20] He later reminisced about his revolutionary service with his cousin, William Stewart, who said that Plant had “strict integrity” and good character. [21] Sadly, more recounts on his memories on his war service other than a few pages of his pension cannot be found.

At some point before 1788, while living in Harford County, Lowry married a woman named Hannah Finney. [22] In the spring of 1788, Finney’s mother, Manassah, died, and willed ten acres of her farm to Finney and Lowry to use until 1789. [23] This bequest reaffirmed a lease Lowry and Manassah made in 1783 that the farm was near Welles Swamp, and was given under certain conditions. [24] Likely the farm was on one of the two tracts owned by Manassah in Harford County’s Deer Creek Middle Hundred, named Giles and Webster’s Discovery, a tract of land that spanned 70 acres in total. [25] While Lowry was called to testify against his brother-in-law, James Barnett, who was the executor of her estate, in 1791, he later received money, along with his wife, when assets of the estate were distributed in 1809. [26]

By 1790, John Lowry was living with his wife, and possibly two children, in Cecil County’s Elk Neck. [27] They were possibly living on a 100-acre land tract, which he had leased to a wealthy Cecil County man named Samuel Redgrave in February 1781. [28] The tract was called Tedart and sat on the west side of the Elk River. The tract had been owned by his father, James, before his death.

In the late 1790s, Ratliff and his wife were living in Kent County, Maryland. [29] In 1802, still living in Kent County, he bought land in New Castle County, Delaware, preparing for the next stage of his life. [30]

Years later, in 1805, he was living in Harford County and received compensation for his revolutionary war service. [31] However, in the early nineteenth century, Lowry bought land in Fells Point, Baltimore, called Leasehold, some of which he leased, and lived in Baltimore County until his death. [32] At that time, he was staying with his second wife, Elizabeth Maidwell, who he had married on October 22, 1801. [33] In the fall of 1804, she leased him land in the town of Baltimore, for the next 99 years, which had part of the estate of her former husband, Alexander Maidwell. [34] The fate of Lowry’s first wife, Hannah, is not known.

In later years, Plant and his wife moved to what became Washington, D.C. At the time, it was a largely rural and sparsely populated area which had thriving ports at Georgetown and Alexanders, in addition to the federal town of Washington City, which had about 8,200 inhabitants. [35] Slavemasters and over 7,900 enslaved blacks living in the area were an important part of D.C.’s society. [36] Plant died there on November 14, 1808. [37]

As for Dawson, in later years, he lived in the Bohemia Manor area of Cecil County, Maryland, staying there until 1810, with his wife Elizabeth and one child whose name is not currently known. [38] In 1808, he petitioned the Maryland House of Delegates saying he had served in the Revolutionary War and prayed “to be placed on the pension list.” [39] The House of Delegates endorsed his plea and in 1810, Dawson, a “meritorious soldier in the revolutionary war,” in an “indigent situation” because of his old age, was paid the half pay of a private. [40] He was paid a state pension for years to come. Sometime in the fall of 1815, before September 6, John Lowry died in Baltimore County without a will, and his estate was administered by Cornelius Willis. [41]

In 1810, Ratliff was living in St. George’s Hundred, in the same county of Delaware, with his wife, children, and two enslaved blacks. [42] A few years later, in 1813, he was a farmer in Delaware’s Appoquinimink Hundred, on a plot of land with his wife. [43] He was well-off, owning a walnut dining table, small looking glass, 3 cows, 7 sheep, and a few horses. [44] Being very “weak in body,” Ratliff wrote his will on April 5, 1813, making his “beloved wife” Elizabeth his executor, manumitted an black enslaved woman, named Jane, and distributed his land to his children. [45] He died sometime between the writing of his will and collection of testimony on November 3, 1814.

Dawson moved from state to state. In 1810, he was living in Glasgow, New Castle County, Delaware, with his wife and a young child. [46] Eight years later, he was living in New Castle’s Pencader Hundred, in Delaware, just over the Maryland line. [47] Two years later, he moved back to Cecil County and settled in Elkton, Maryland. [48]

Neal, like Dawson, also had moved out of the state. By 1810, he and his family had moved to Ovid, New York, in the northern part of the state near the Finger Lakes, where they lived. Once there, he filed for his Federal veterans pension in 1818. [49] Two years later, he lived in the adjoining town of Covert, New York on a half-acre of land, with a wooden clock, a chest, and some cookery, a shabby wagon, small pigs, one cow, and eight sheep. [50] In his pension application, he claimed to be in “reduced circumstances” and that he had lost his discharge papers or any other paper records proving his service in the First Maryland Line, an appeal that was successful.

After the war, Lashley continued to live in the state of Maryland. On April 25, 1816, Lashley married Jane Bashford, a 41-year-old woman, in Cecil County. [51]

In 1819, one year after Marr began collecting his pension and one day before July 4, he died in Baltimore at the age of 66. [52] He died without making a will and left Airey a widow, who never remarried, allowing her to receive pension money at his death. [53] She lived to April 1843, aged 79, working to collect some of the pension in the 1830s and 1840s given due to her late husband’s military service. [54] At his death, while he may not have been well honored by people within the military and different levels of government, his story is still one worth telling.

In September 1820, when Lashley began receiving his federal pension, despite losing his discharge papers, he was living in the same county with his wife and had no children or heirs. [55] Since his memory was failing him, he originally said he was part of the Second Maryland Regiment, but later corrected himself and two long-time residents recalled seeing him march “away with the said [Ramsey’s] Company.” [56]

In Dawson’s 1820 application for his Federal veterans pension, he said that his wife was sixty years old and “infirm,” just like himself. [57] Additionally, he noted that a young grandchild living with him whom also had to support. He also owned three dollars worth of farm animals (a cow and a calf) and was living in “reduced circumstances” with twenty dollars of debt. His “infirmities of old age,” which had “disabled him in “his left arm and leg,” led him to be classified as an “invalid.” [58] Despite the fact that his discharge papers had been lost, his pension was granted in the fall of 1820. [59]

Dawson’s life after this point is unclear. While final payment vouchers say that payments to him ended in 1820, he did not die that year. [60] Instead, he died on July 11, 1824, and his state pension payments were sent to his administrator, Jane Dawson, possibly his second wife. [61] The following year, another soldier passed away. On July 22, Neal died in New York State. [62]

In November 1823, members of Ratliff’s family agreed that Ratliff’s son, James, should own his father’s estate in Delaware. [63] A few years later, James negotiated to buy his father’s land in Delaware. [64] By the 1850s, the Ratliff family was still living in Appoquinimink Hundred. [65]

As for Lashley, in 1827, he received payment from the State of Maryland equal to half pay of a private as a result of his service in the Revolutionary War. [66] He continued to receive payments quartetly until his death on March 4, 1831 at the age of 76. [67] Five years later, his declared legal representatives, Mary Sproul and Nancy Lashley, received the money that was due to him before his death in 1831. [68]

Mary Ann, the wife of Plant, fought to receive her husband’s pension payments. In February 1835, she asked for “remuneration” for her husband’s military service from the U.S. House of Representatives, and following year asked the same from the U.S. Senate. [69] By 1838, at sixty-eight-years-old, she petitioned the federal government for pension benefits. However, because Plant either had no official discharge papers or had lost them, Mary Ann had trouble receiving money. [70] Her fate is not known.

Notes

[1] Lashley enlisted in the company at a public house called Battle Swamp tavern, near present-day Woodlawn, Maryland.

[2] Pay Role of Prisoners taken on Long Island from 27th August to the 10th Dec. 1776, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, MdHR 19970-19-02 [MSA S997-19-2 01/07/03/15]; Journal of the House of Representatives of the United StatesAt the Second Session of the Eighth Congress, in the Twenty-ninth Year of the Independence of the United States (Washington City: Samuel Harrison Smith, 1805), 242; Henry C. Peden, Abstracts of the Orphans Court Proceedings 1778-1800: Harford County Maryland (Westminster: Family Line Publications, 1990), 38-39. Lowry was grievously injured in the groin and was taken prisoner by the British after the Battle of Brooklyn, then released from British custody in December 1776.

[3] Marriage of William Dawson and Elizabeth Graves, 1780, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9435, p. 23 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38]; Collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: John Pennington and Henry C. Baird, 1853), 338-389.

[4] Pension of John Neal; Ronald V. Jackson, Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp. New Jersey Census, 1643-1890. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. It is likely that he knew Miller before he married her in 1780, possibly from his militia service.

[5] Record of John Lowry, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, p. 54 [MSA S1161-67, 1/4/5/49].

[6] William Dawson record, 1783, Cecil County Fourth District, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, p. 6 [MSA S1161-39, 1/4/5/47].

[7] Westward of Fort CumberlandMilitary Lots Set Off for Maryland’s Revolutionary Soldiers (ed. Mary K. Meyer, Westminister: Heritage Books, 2008), 21, 103; William Dawson’s lot in Western Maryland, Land Office, Lots Westward of Fort Cumberland, MdHR 17302, p. 27 [SE1-1]; Pension of Mark McPherson and Widow’s Pension of Mary McPherson. The National Archives. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files. NARA M804, W 2144. 1-73. From Fold3.com. His lot was number 273.

[8] John Plant assessment record, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, CH, Seventh District, General, p. 9 [MSA S1161-52, 1/4/5/48]. The child was male and under age eight.

[9] Record of James Ratliff and Robert Ratliff, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, p. 7 [MSA S1161-37, 1/4/5/46].

[10] National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com; Marriage of William Marr and Arrey Owings; “Part IV: Marriages proved through Maryland pension applications,” Maryland Revolutionary Records, pp. 118; Bill and Martha Reamy, Records of St. Paul’s Parish Vol. 1, xi, 39, 150.

[11] National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com.

[12] Shammas, “The Housing Stock of the Early United States: Refinement Meets Migration,” 557, 559, 563.

[13] McGrain, From Pig Iron to Cotton Duck: A History of Manufacturing Villages in Baltimore County; Vol. I, 2; Hall, Baltimore: Its History and Its People; Vol. 1, 39, 56; Hollander, The Financial History of Baltimore; Vol. 20, 17.

[14] Third Census of the United States, 1810. (NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls). Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[15] Pension of John Van Tuyl, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2451, pension number W.22483. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Service Card of John Sebring, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 0641. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Folkerd Sebring, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2147, pension number W. 24926. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Abraham Sebring, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2147, pension number S. 22972. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of John Van Tuyl; Pension of John Haas, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1150, pension number S. 1,012. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Isaac Manning, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1624, pension number W. 7400. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of David King, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1428, pension number S. 13655. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Jacob Mesler, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1717, pension number R. 7143. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of John Swaim, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2326, pension number W. 2486. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Abraham Sebring; 2nd Battalion of Somerset rolls, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, Record Group 93, NARA M846, Roll 0063, folder 60. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of William Durham, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 0874, pension number R. 3160. Courtesy of Fold3.com; James P. Snell and Franklin Ellis, History of Hunterdon and Somerset counties, New Jersey, with illustrations and biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers (Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1881), 83, 98. Census records show a “John Neale” living in Burlington County in 1790 and 1800, but it cannot be confirmed this is the same person as John Neal.

[16] William A. Schleicher and Susan J. Winter, Somerset County: Crossroads of the American Revolution (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 1999), 7-8, 17-18, 22, 24-25, 34; Multiple authors, Somerset County Historical Quarterly Vol. VII (Somerville, NJ: Somerset County Historical Society, 1919), 18-20, 31, 79, 104, 170-172; Abraham Messler, Centennial History of Somerset County (Somerville: C.M. Jameson Publishers, 1878), 69-71, 74, 77-78, 81, 101, 109-110, 112-113; Richard A. Harrison, Princetonians, 1769-1775: A Biographical Dictionary (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980), 28-29, 80-81. It may have been called the crossroads because competing Continental and British armies maneuvered in the county and Morristown was also located there.

[17] Marriage of Mary Kirk and Robert Ratliff, 1787, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9435, p. 45 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[18] Marriage of Anne Husler and Robert Ratliff, 1800, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9435, p. 127 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[19] Will of Robert Ratliff, 1813, New Castle County Court House, Wilmington, Delaware, Register of Wills, Book R 1813-1823, p. 40-41. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Probate of Robert Ratliff, 1814-1815, New Castle, Register of Wills, Delaware State Archives, New Castle County Probates, Record Group 2545. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Indenture between Robert Ratliff, Elizabeth, and Sarah Baird, June 13, 1799, Kent County Court, Land Records, Liber TW 1, p. 214-216 [MSA CE 118-31].

[20] Pension of John Plant.

[21] Ibid. Sadly, the specifics of what Plant told his cousin are not known.

[22] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 18, 661; Will of Manassah Finney, 1788, Harford County Register of Wills, Wills, Liber AJ 2, p. 206-207 [MSA CM599-2, CR 44758-2]. Sometimes her last name is spelled Phinney or Finny.

[23] Will of Manassah Finney.

[24] Lease of John Lowry and Manassah Finney, 1788, Harford County Court, Land Records, Liber JLG H, p. 435 [MSA CE 113-8].

[25] Record of Manasseth Finney, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, p. 90 [MSA S1161-67, 1/4/5/49]; Patent for Manassah Finney, 1774, Land Office, Patent Record, MdHR 17455, Liber BC & GS 44, p. 395-396 [MSA S11-145, 1/23/4/9]; Patent for Manassah Finney, 1772, Land Office, Patent Record, MdHR 17461, Liber BC & GS 50, p. 70 [MSA S11-151, 1/23/4/18]. This assessment record lists Finney as owning two tracts of land: Giles and Webster’s Discovery (75 acres) and Renshaws Last Purchase (50 acres). Other records show that Renshaws Last Purchase was considered part of Baltimore County at one point, so it is unlikely the farm was on this land.

[26] Peden Jr., 42; Distribution of Manassah Finney’s Estate by James Barnett, June 27, 1809, Harford Register of Wills, Distributions, Liber TSB 1, p. 88-89 [MSA CM557-1, CR 10960-1].

[27] Census for Elk Neck, Cecil, Maryland, First Census of the United States, 1790, National Archives, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 3, page 323, image 553. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[28] Lease of John Lowrey and Samuel Readgrave, February 3, 1781, Cecil County, Land Records, Liber 15, p. 88-89 [MSA CE 133-17]; Record of Samuel Redgrave, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, Cecil County Fourth District, p. 1, 10 [MSA S 1161-4-2, 1/4/5/47].

[29] Indenture between Robert Ratliff, Elizabeth, and Sarah Baird.

[30] Record of Robert Ratliff, June 1802, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 440, 442. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Session Laws, 1824, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 629, 44. Ratliff owned land near John Zillefro/Zilerfrow. This man was the first husband of Rachel Ozier, who was living with her second husband, Maryland 400 veteran Andrew Meloan, and their children, in Montgomery County, Kentucky at the time.

[31] Journal of the House of Representatives of the United StatesAt the Second Session of the Eighth Congress, in the Twenty-ninth Year of the Independence of the United States (Washington City: Samuel Harrison Smith, 1805), 242.

[32] Purchase of land by John Lowry from Elizabeth Mains, October 10, 1803, Baltimore County Court, Land Records, Liber WG 78, p. 363-365 [MSA CE 66-128]; Deed and Gift of land to John Lowrey from Joseph Lambert, December 1803, Baltimore County Court, Land Records, Liber WG 78, p. 365-366 [MSA CE 66-128]; John Lowry lease to John Griffith, April 11, 1805, Baltimore County Court, Land Records, Liber WG 84, p. 412-413 [MSA CE 66-134]; List of Letters Remaining at the Post-Office, Baltimore, June 6, 1800, Federal Gazette, Baltimore, June 7, 1800, Vol. XII, issue 2040, p. 2. Two men named John Lowry are recorded as living in Baltimore in 1800.

[33] Marriage of John Lowry and Elizabeth Maidwell, October 22, 1801, Baltimore County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9122, p. 59 [MSA C376-2, 2/14/14/12].

[34] Elizabeth Maidwell lease to John Lowrey, November 1, 1804, Baltimore County Court, Land Records, Liber WG 84, p. 410-412 [MSA CE 66-134]; Marriage of Alexander Maidwell and Elizabeth Winnick, April 27, 1795, Baltimore County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9121, p. 143 [MSA C376-1, 2/14/14/11]. Elizabeth Maidwell, whose maiden name was Winnick, had only married Alexander Maidwell, her first husband, in April 1795.

[35] J. D. Dickey, Empire of Mud: The Secret History of Washington, DC (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), ix, xiv, xvii, 1, 3, 4, 7-9, 12, 14-15, 17, 19-22, 24-25, 28, 31; Tom Lewis, Washington: A History of Our National City (New York: Basic Books, 2015), xx, 1, 10, 14, 20, 24. The estimate of population comes from data assembled by Social Explorer for the 1810 census.

[36] According to data assembled by Social Explorer for the 1810 census, the rural Washington County, a jurisdiction within D.C., had only about 2,300 residents, a county Plant may have lived in. This data also shows 7,944 non-white persons, excluding Indians, living in D.C. in 1810.

[37] Pension of John Plant.

[38] Census for Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, 1790, First Census of the United States, 1790, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 3, page 320. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Census for Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, 1800, Second Census of the United States, 1800, NARA M32, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 10, page 53. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[39] Journal of the House of Delegates, 1808, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 556, 16, 31, 73.

[40] Session Laws, 1810, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 599, 100.

[41] Bond of Cornelius Willis, Edward Vernon and William H. Lenox, September 6, 1815, Baltimore County Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, MdHR 11644, Liber 11, p. 76 [MSA C264-11, 2/28/12/35]; Administration Docket of John Lowry, 1815, Baltimore County Register of Wills, Administration Docket, Liber 6, p. 171 [MSA CM130-6, CR 10674-2]. This means none of the three invalid pensioners named John Lowry listed on the 1835 pension rolls are him.

[42] Census of St. Georges Hundred, New Castle, Delaware, 1810, Third Census of the United States, 1810, National Archives, NARA M252, Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 4, Pagw 287. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[43] “Ratliff’s land,” 1813, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 435. Courtesy of Ancestry.com

[44] Probate of Robert Ratliff. He also owned a young enslaved black male who was only two years old.

[45] Will of Robert Ratliff.

[46] Census for Glasgow, New Castle, Delaware, 1810, Third Census of the United States, 1810, NARA M252, Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 4, page 261. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[47] Pension of William Dawson.

[48] Pension of William Dawson; Census for Elkton, Cecil County, 1820, Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, NARA M33, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll M33_40, page 135. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[49] Pension of John Neal; Tacyn, 318; Pension of Abraham Sebring; Third Census of the United States, 1810, Ovid, Seneca, New York; NARA M252; Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives; p. 252; Image: 00160; Family History Library Film: 0181390. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. Ovid included a town and village of the same name which was still small even in 1850 and to the present-day. A number of men named “John Niles” were living in the town of Oneida, as recorded by the 1800 census, which is about 81 to 96 miles away from Ovid, but it cannot be confirmed this is the same man as John Neal.

[50] Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, Covert, Seneca, New York; NARA M33; Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, p. 298, Image: 61. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. Covert was a town formed from part of Ovid.

[51] Marriage of George Leslie and Jane Bashford, 1816, Marriage Licenses, Cecil County Court, MdHR 9435, p. 247 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[52] Index to Selected Final Payment Vouchers, compiled 1818 – 1864, Record Group 217, roll box06_00007, pensioner William Marr, July 3, 1819. courtesy of fold3.com; National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com; United States Senate.The Pension Roll of 1835. 4 vols. 1968 Reprint, with index. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992; “Persons on the Pension Roll Under the Law of the 18th of March, 1818, Maryland,” Pension List of 1820, pp. 547.

[53] National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com; Adminstration Docket of William Marr.

[54] Ibid; Archives of Maryland, vol. 214, page 717.

[55] George Lashley Pension; Marriage of George Leslie and Jane Bashford, 1816, Marriage Licenses, Cecil County Court, MdHR 9435, p. 247 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[56] George Lashley Pension.

[57] Pension of William Dawson. Dawson had been applying for pension benefits since 1818.

[58] Pension of William Dawson.

[59] Dawson specifically accused Lieutenant John Sears of losing his discharge, saying that “this despondent cannot produce the said discharge, having sent by Lieutenant John Sears to Annapolis” after he was discharged.

[60] Final Payment Voucher for William Dawson, 1820, Final Revolutionary War Pension Payment Vouchers: Delaware, National Archives, NARA M2079, Record Group 217, Roll 0001. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Final Payment Voucher for William Dawson from General Accounting Office, 1820, Index to Selected Final Payment Vouchers, 1818-1864, National Archives, Record Group 217, box05_00005. Courtesy of Fold3.com. It is clear that William Dawson is not the same as a Justice of the Peace in Talbot County.

[61] Record of pension payment to William Dawson, Treasurer of the Western Shore, Military Pension Roll, MdHR 4534-4, p. 31 [MSA S613-1, 2/63/10/33]; “Sheriff’s Sale,” American Watchman, Wilmington, Delaware, June 5, 1827, page 3. He may have died in Delaware but this cannot be confirmed. By 1827, his heirs may have been living in Delaware, as a sale by a local sheriff in Wilmington, Delaware, mentions “heirs of William Dawson.” However, it is not known if this the same as Dawson, who may have moved back to Delaware before his death.

[62] Pension of John Neal; Letter about John Neal, September 18, 1895. New York County, District and Probate Courts. Administration, Vol C-D, 1815-1883, p. 136. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Seventh Census of the United States, 1850, Hector, Tompkins, New York, NARA M432; Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives; p. 420A, Image: 441. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. His wife, Margaret, was the administrator of Neal’s estate after his death. Years after his death, his wife re-married to a man named John Benjamin Smith. She continued to fight for Neal’s pension payments until at least 1850, living in the small town of Hector, New York, only about 16 miles away from Ovid, with another family. She died in the 1850s, the exact date not known.

[63] Indenture between James Ratliff and Hannah, Thomas Ratliff and Mary, and Henry Webb and Elizabeth, November 23, 1823, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 4-6. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Session Laws, 1824, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 629, 44; Indenture between James Ratliff and Jacob Hornes (Colored Man), May 26, 1826, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 300-301. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. These members of his family included his son James and his wife Hannah in Cecil County, Thomas Ratliff and his wife Mary in Butler County, Ohio, and Elizabeth Webb, his daughter, and Henry Webb. They all received some part of the estate.

[64] Indenture between James Ratliff and Jacob Hornes (Colored Man).

[65] Indenture between Thomas Ratliff and Ann Ratliff, October 9, 1854, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 59-62. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[66] Session Laws, 1826 Session. Archives of Maryland Online vol. 437, 253.

[67] George Lashley Pension; State Pension of George Lashley, Treasurer of the Western Shore, Pension Roll, MdHR 4534-4, p. 36, 48 [MSA S613-1, 2/63/10/33].

[68] Session Laws, 1835 Session. Archives of Maryland Online vol. 214, 754. While his pension says he has no heirs, this legislation says “the heirs and legal representatives of George Lashly.” It is possible that this language is just a formality, but there is no explanation as to why Lashley had heirs by his death or if the legal representatives are his children.

[69] Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States: Being the Second Session of the Twenty-Third Congress, Begun and Held at the City of Washington, and in the Fifty-Ninth Year of the Independence of the United States (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1835), 390; “Twenty-Fourth Congress First Session,” Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C., April 26, 1836, Vol. XXIV, issue 7240, p. 3.

[70] Pension of John Plant. As one ancestor put it years later, this situation led to Mary Ann almost being “deprived of a pension.”