Sunday, August 25, 2019

Revolutionary War Pension of John Jacobs

John Jacobs is my maternal 6th great-grandfather from Pennsylvania. John was a Revolutionary War soldier who served in the battle of Sullivan’s Island (see blog post Revolutionary War Soldier John Jacobs). Beyond that battle there wasn’t a lot known about his service. After learning of the Wyoming Massacre (see post 3 July 1778 The Wyoming Massacre) and learning of John’s wife Eliza’s escape down a corn path I wondered where John had been during this battle?

After locating John’s pension # W2805 I was able to locate his Revolutionary War Pension Record. Now I could, hopefully, learn more about John’s military service.

First, I needed to learn more about Pensions for the Revolutionary War. Who was eligible and when where soldiers able to collect?

According to the National Archives;
  • Not every Revolutionary War soldier received a pension.
  • Pension and bounty-land warrant application files contain mainly the records of enlisted men, not officers.
  • On 15 May 1778 the Continental Congress passed a resolution allowing half-pay for officers and $80 for all enlisted men who remained in service to the end of the war.
  • 24 August 1780 the Continental Congress passed the first act offering pensions to widows and orphans of Revolutionary War soldiers.
  • Pensions were offered to encourage enlistment, prevent desertion and resignation.
  • In 1818 Congress passed a pension law granting pensions to Revolutionary War Veterans who had not been disabled. Based on financial need these were granted for life.
  • This was amended in 1820 (due to the large number of soldiers that had filed), 1822 and again in 1832 when full pay was given to officers and enlisted men who had served for two or more years and partial pay for six months to two years of service.

One of the first documents I found in John’s Pension File was an affidavit from John’s son, John Jacobs, Jr. dated 1842 to help his mother, Eliza Pensel Jacobs, obtain a pension for John’s service. John died in 1831 in Exeter, Pennsylvania.

(click on images to enlarge)



In order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress of the 7th July 1838, entitled “An Act granting half pay & pensions to certain widows”

State of Pennsylvania

Luzerne County Pa

On this twenty ninth day of June AD 1842, personally appeared in open Court John Jacobs, a resident of Exeter Township, Luzerne County, & state aforesaid, aged Sixty Eight years or there abouts, & who was appointed by this Court among others to make a Declaration for Mrs Eliza P. Jacobs, who being f ? ? , according to Law, with, on his oath makes the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the Act of Congress, passed July 7, entitled “An Act granting of half pay & pensions to certain widows for his Mother Mrs. Eliza Jacobs-That she is the widow of John Jacobs declarants Father and that he has heard his father say that he was in the Revolutionary Army during the whole war as a Malitia Man, but does not know what State line he served in, that he was drafted-That he served in the Army & was in the battle of Sullivans island, that Genl Lee, Genl Moultrie & Rutledge Commanded, that he has very often heard his deceased father Speak of his being in this engagement: that he has no recollections of hearing his father speak particularly of any other engagement but he has heard him say that he was in many Skirmishes with the Enemy.

That he does not remember the names of the officers under whom his Father served, nor the time of his entering the Service-but he uniformly Stated the tour of his Service, to have been during the whole war_That he was in the Massacre of Wyoming, & that? his Mother escaped to Fort Allese, where his Father joined them after the battle, and this declarant who was then about four years old well remembers to have Seen a ball extracted from his fathers breast by a Surgeon, & which his father kept for many years; his father stated to him that he received it in the battle, that it struck his musket which he was in the act of priming it & shirred the musket & glancing lodged in his breast; that he was with Sullivan when he marched into the valley of Wyoming with his Army- That he remembers that many years since his father prepared & took evidence of his Services for the purpose of getting a pension, & that Solomon Dotter_ was one of this witnesses; but that his father gave it up as he understood because of his hearing some property which would deter him; that he was searched his fathers papers but cannot find them; that he has c? with Said Dotter Since that time, who told him that in the Said application he had proved his Service in the Revolutionary Army of this declarants Father, and that the said Dotter he thinks died before his Mother made application to the Pennsylvania Legislature for his pension- That he remembers to have heard his Father say that he performed services in the Army, in New Jersey, on the Delaware river & on the Minisinks, and that he was on the lines during the whole war and that this dependent does not know of every documentary evidence in the possession of his Mother or the family in Support of the claim, That his Father died on the 15 of March 1831-leaving no property, real or personal after the payments of his funerals expenses-And that his Mother has never been married to any person since-That his father has told him often he was a private soldier-That the said Eliza Jacobs his Mother now resides in Newport, in Said County, that previous thereto she resided in Hanover in Said County.

That he has known his Mothers age for a long number of years, and that as near as he can ascertain the day of Month it was the 15th of June, and that on the 15 of this present Month She was one hundred and four years old- and that she is unable to make the Declaration required, owing to Deafness and an ? ? of her mental faculties, and loss of memory-

That declarants father & Solemon Dotier have both told him that at one time they were in the Same Camp together when in the Revolutionary Army-

Sworn & Subscribed in Open Court 29 June 1842
__                                                                                     John Jacobs
(additional names are illegible)

Thank-you to Kathy and Allen Hughes who were able to provide me with a visual and help me in understanding how John was injured during the battle.
It appears that John was injured while loading his musket. Loading was a 2-part process done by taking some powder from a paper cartridge and pouring it into the pan by the Frizzen then putting the rest of the powder and ball down the barrel.  Before putting powder and ball down the barrel John’s musket must have been struck by enemy fire which deflected the round into his chest.

This Pension file was found on Fold3 and difficult to read due to age. Please excuse any transcription errors. If you are able to identify any of the missing words I would appreciate knowing them. Once again using Vivid-Pix Restore enabled me to have a higher quality version to transcribe. The handwriting in the document was not easy to read either. I needed to do additional research about the Revolutionary War and the Battle of Sullivan’s Island to know the proper spellings of several of the names mentioned in this document. I also did further investigation on Fold3 to find the name of the fellow soldier mentioned in this document who’s name was difficult to read. I was able to locate a pension record (#22735) for a soldier named ‘Samuel Solomon Dotter’ also from Luzerne County, PA for the correct spelling of his name.

Now I know that John fought in the Wyoming Massacre and was fortunate to be one of the survivors when so many others perished. There are other documents in John’s Pension file and more to be discovered.

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Voyage of Hope 1620

Have you ever wondered what goes in to making a float for the Rose Parade?  This year many of us will be participating in a variety of ways to help get a float ready for the parade and the beginning of a year’s celebration of our ancestors that arrived on the Mayflower in 1620.

The theme of this year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, California will be ‘The Power of Hope’.  The Rose Parade Committee states “The Power of Hope, celebrates the influence of optimism and hope. The belief that what is wanted can be attained. From the struggles of those who came before us to dreams yet fulfilled, hope is more than simply the possibility of fulfillment.”  2020 will be the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Voyage. 

The first step was for the California Society of Mayflower Descendants to submit an application to have a float in the Parade.   The float will be titled “The Voyage of Hope-1620”.   Approval was received to have a Mayflower Float in the 2020 Pasadena Rose Parade on 1 January 2020.  The float was then designed and will be built by Fiesta Parade Floats.

(design photo from FaceBook page for Fiesta Parade Floats)

The San Diego Colony of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants held a ‘Petal Clipping’ session yesterday.  So, what actually is a ‘Petal Clipping’ session and what does it have to do with the Rose Parade float?

Many of us volunteered to get together with box tops and scissors at the Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe to begin the process of getting flowers ready to be attached to ‘The Voyage of Hope-1620’ float at the end of December.  Yellow/orange straw flowers imported from Holland are the flowers being used.  

We carefully clipped the petals off the flowers

my hat was delivered with it's new band so I just had to try it out

the petals were collected in huge bags to be ready for December

There were about 35-45 people working in the afternoon when I was helping.  Here are the volunteers at the table I was at
clockwise from left -Vicki May (William Bradford descendant), Beverly Willey ( William Bradford descendant), Bill Peters (William Brewster descendant), Rick Bailey (descendant of George Soule, John Alden, William White, Edward Doughty, Thomas Rodgers, William Bradford, Miles Standish) and Kathy Hughes (seamstress of my costume)
  • While we were working we played Pilgrim Bingo and learned a few new things about our ancestors.  I learned that my maternal 10th great grandfather John Alden was the first to step off the Mayflower at their first stop on Cape Cod when they stopped for fresh water.  He was carrying a Wheel-Lock carbine rifle.  Read more about John’s Wheel-Lock at Thanksgiving’s First Rifle.
  • Fiesta Parade Floats is currently building the framework for the float and for objects that will be on the float.  Pictures were shown during our Petal Clipping of the progress they are making as they start the build.  (Tidbit: the masts for the Mayflower will need to be moveable so they can be lowered along the parade route due to bridge heights.)
  • See previous posts about the Aldens:  What Would Priscilla Mullins Alden Think? and San Diego Colony of Mayflower Descendants and others.
This was a great time to meet other descendants and ‘cousins’ of that Mayflower Voyage that started it all 400 years ago and learn the process of building one of those great floats we like to see on January 1st at the Rose Parade. 

William "Budd" Leef, San Diego Colony Governor and San Diego Colony Deputy Governor, Kathleen Loftman 
Kathleen did an amazing job organizing this event! 

Only 142 days to go before the parade.  A GoFundMe page is available for anyone who would like to contribute to this amazing undertaking.

The Voyage of Hope 1620 - Crossing the Waters for a New Generation

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Arrival of Anne Meenan Rowan

Sailing vessel in the 19th century

182 years ago today my paternal 3x great-grandmother Anne Meenan (Rowan) arrived in the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!  
What was that like for her?

print by John Casper Wild

This print was done about the same time period and I wonder if this is what it looked like when Anne’s ship first came in to the harbor?

92 ships reportedly arrived in Philadelphia that year
6 ships arrived on Aug 4th

 Anne arrived, listed as a Spinster at the age of 25, in Philadelphia on the 4th of August 1837 onboard the British Ship Emmanuel. The Master of the ship was John Dearness. She left from Londonderry, Ireland (Northern Ireland today) and the trip took 45 long days (leaving on 21 June 1837).

What was happening at the time:
·        In 1837 an oratory by Daniel O’Connell to the British Parliament helped focus Europeans’ attention on Ireland stating, “The Irish poor-a third of the population-had no food except the potatoes they grew, and not enough clothing to cover themselves.  They went hungry for two months of the year, and half-naked for all the year.”  Yet this would be their last “good” decade before more than a million of them would vanish into unmarked graves in the 1840s.
·        4 March 1837 Martin Van Buren became the 8th President of the United States
·        10 May 1837 (Panic of 1837)  NY Banks fail and unemployment reaches record levels
·        20 June 1837 -Queen Victoria gained the British throne

How did this affect Anne’s decision to leave Ireland and how would this affect Anne’s new life in America?

Originally an Emigrant Savings Bank Record (See post- SUCCESS!! Emigrant Savings Bank-Ann Meenan Rowan) stated that Anne had arrived in 1837 from County Monaghan, Ireland.  An Immigration card for Anne documented her arrival in Philadelphia, not New York as I had believed:

Eventually the ship’s passenger was discovered:

Transcription from the top of the Passenger List:

Transcription from the top of the Passenger List:
Report or Manifest of all the Passengers taken on board the Ship Emmanuel whereof John Dearness, is master, from Londonderry, Ireland, burthen 430 tons and owned by ____________ of _____________ and bound to Philadelphia.
  • Further investigation showed that the ship was from the port of North Shields, England and the owner of the ship was E. Taylor.
Columns represent: Names, age, occupation, the country to which they severally belong, the country of which they intend to become inhabitants, and baggage
  • All passengers came from Ireland and intended to reside in the United States.
  • Passenger List contained 172 names
On an earlier manifest from July 1837 for the Emmanuel I found the following statement by the Master of the ship. I assume he would have declared the same for the arrival on the 4th of August:

*I, John Dearness, do solemnly, sincerely, and truly swear, that the within REPORT and LIST, subscribed with my name and now delivered by me to the Collector of the District of Philadelphia contains, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the Names, Age, Sex, and Occupation of all Passengers, together with the name of the Country to which they severally belong, and that of which they intend to become Inhabitants, which were on board the Ship Emmanuel whereof I am at present Master, at the time of her sailing from the Port of Londonderry or which have at any time since been taken on board said vessel. And I do likewise swear, that all matters whatsoever in said Report and List expressed are, to the best of my knowledge and belief, just and true.

From book Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping. From 1st July 1837 to the 30th June 1838. Established 1834. Published London 1837 Page- 128
From Key to the Register:
Ship Master: John Dearness
Tons: 424
Build: Where - Timber of ship-S nd rld- S-Spruce, nd-new deck, rld-?
           When - September 1835
Owner: E. Taylor
Port belonging to: North Shields
Destined Voyage: Sld.N.Brns
                               Sld (Sunderland) N. Brns.-?

Character for Hulls & Stores: vessel last surveyed 1 (Jan) 35 (1835)

Lingering questions:
Learning about the ship and what was happening at the time Anne arrived in America gave me so much more of a feel for what it must have been like for her.  Oh, how I wish there was a diary or letters to tell of her daily experience on the ship.  I know she made it safely from great poverty in Ireland to a fresh beginning in America 182 years ago today.

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Final Resting Place

In my previous blog post, Update to the King Family of Brooklyn, I detailed how I identified the parents of 3 toddlers that are buried with my paternal 3x great grandmother Mary King at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.  

I had not known of the children’s existence until I obtained the internment records for the plot where Mary King is buried  (see post Don’t Forget Cemetery Records-Additional Children Discovered).  I would learn that these 3 children are my great-great Aunts and Uncle.

I knew that Mary had a memorial page listing on FindAGrave #109897695 but there was no photo of a headstone.  I wondered if there even was a headstone.  FindAGrave has an amazing feature, if you have never used it, where you can request a photo of headstones.  You can make a request for a photo and an amazing group of volunteers will pick up requests and post a photo for you.

photo by Bob Collins

I was very fortunate that Bob Collins not only picked up my request but posted the photo within about 24 hours.  Thank-you Bob! and all the volunteers who help out those of us who live far away from our ancestors’ final resting places.  (See post How Many People Does it Take to Locate a Cemetery? for a time when I was able to help someone out.)

Now I know the final resting place for Mary, Lilly, Caroline, Frank and Louisa.  While I am sad that there are no headstones it does look like a peaceful location.

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,