The Service-Pension Act of March 18, 1818, was established by Congress to provide lifetime pensions to poverty stricken veterans of the Revolutionary War. Veterans must have served in a Continental military organization or in the U. S. naval service for at least 9 months or until the end of the war. Prior to this act disability or death of a serviceman was the only basis for a pension. Pensions were paid semi-annually—March and September—with $20 per month ($240/year) for officers and $8 per month ($96/year) for non-officers. Each veteran was eligible for the pension upon proof of service before a court of record and verification by the War Department.
Two months after this act was authorized, a man named Henry Clemens applied for a Revolutionary War pension in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. The application is as follows:
“State of Pennsylvania and Huntingdon County Js.
On this twenty ninth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen, before me the subscriber, one of the Associate judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the county aforesaid in the commonwealth aforesaid personally appears, Henry Clemens aged sixty three years & nine months, old, resident in Warrior Mark Township in the county of Huntingdon and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but formerly of the state of Jersey, who being by me first duly sworn, according to law doth on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the provisions made by the late Act of Congress entitled “An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States in the Revolutionary War.” That he, the said Henry Clemens enlisted in Westfield in the state of Jersey in the company commanded by Captain James Maxwell in the month of May one thousand seven hundred & seventy seven in the second Jersey Regiment commanded by Col. Shrieve for three years of during the war. That he continued to serve in the said corps, in the service of the United States until the later end of the month of November or in the beginning of the month of December in the year one thousand seven hundred & eighty three when he was discharged from service in Morristown in the state of Jersey, which discharge he lost afterwards in the City of Baltimore in the State of Maryland. That he was in the battles of Germantown where he was wounded & taken prisoner and was prisoner for eight months also in the Battle on Monmouth after he was exchanged in White Plains and in the Battles of Newtown, French Catherine, & Appletown in the Genesee County under General Sullivan with the Indians. And that he is in reduced circumstances, and stands in need of the assistance of this County for support. And that he has no other evidence now in his power of his said services. That he hath no pension heretofore allowed him by the laws of the United States to his knowledge & if any such exists he doth hereby fully & entirely release the same to the United States. Sworn to subscribed & declared before me, the day & year aforesaid before [signed] David Stewart, [signed] Henrich Klimens.
Pennsylvania & Huntingdon County Js.
I David Stewart an associate Judge of the Court of Common pleas in and for said county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania do certify, that it appears to my satisfaction, that the said Henry Clemens did serve in the Revolutionary War, as stated in the preceding declaration, against the common enemy; and I now transmit the proceedings & testimony taken & had before me, to the Secretary for the Department of War, pursuant to the directions to the aforementioned act of Congress May 29th 1818. [signed] David Stewart”
It is important to note Henry’s signature (see below)—“Henrich Klimens”—as this is a key piece of evidence to support the assertion that Henry Clemens/Clymenhawk was a German immigrant. In turn it helps to support the contention that he was a former Hessian soldier.
Henry’s pension claim took over a year to process being approved July 22nd, 1819. He was paid arrears from May 29th, 1818 to March 4th 1819, along with the rest of his semi-annual payment up to September 1819 resulting in a payment of $121.86 (approximately $2200 in 2015).
What We Have Learned So Far
- Henry is 63 years and 9 months old as of 29 May 1818 suggesting he is born in August of 1755
- He is “formerly” of the state of Jersey
- He is likely of European, and possibly German, descent having signed his name “Henrich Klimens.”
- He lived in Baltimore Maryland after 1783
- He is a resident of Warriors Mark, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania in 1818
- He enlisted May 1777 at Westfield, New Jersey
- He served with the 2nd Jersey Regiment under the command of Captain James Maxwell and Colonel Shrieve
- He was in the battles of Germantown where he was wounded and taken prisoner for eight months; the Battle on Monmouth after he was exchanged in White Plains, NY, and in the Battles of, Newtown, French Catherine, and Appletown in the Genesee County, NY, under General Sullivan with the Indians.
- He was honourably discharged in Morristown, New Jersey in November or December of 1783
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- United States. National Archives and Records Service. Pamphlet Describing M804: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files. Washington, D.C., National Archives And Record Service, 1974.; Resch, J.P. (1988). Politics and public culture: The Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818. Journal of the Early Republic, 8, 139-158.(↵)
- “United States Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications, 1800-1900,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N98F-L36 : accessed 20 December 2015), Henry Clemens, pension number S. 41477, service New Jersey; from “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,” database and images, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d); citing NARA microfilm publication M804 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1974); FHL microfilm 970,575.(↵)