The Service-Pension act of 1818 resulted in a great number of pension applications. Many of these applications were approved, and the US Congress struggled to appropriate large sums of money to meet the pension demands. Financial difficulties, and the belief that many applicants were feigning poverty to obtain benefits under the terms of the act, caused Congress to enact remedial legislation on May 1st, 1820. Pensioners already receiving payments under the 1818 act, and would-be pensioners, were required to submit a certified schedule of their estate and Income to the Secretary of War—the Secretary was authorized to remove pensioners who were not in need of assistance. As such, Henry Clemens was required to re-appear before the Court of Common Pleas in Huntingdon County to show clearly that he really was destitute. Henry’s 1820 schedule of his estate and income is as follows:
“Western District of Pennsylvania Huntingdon County Js.
On the seventeenth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty personally appeared in the open Court of Common Pleas for the county of Huntingdon before the Honourable Charles Huston Esquire President and David Stewart & Joseph McCune Esquires associate judges of the same court, being a court of record for the same district Henry Clemens aged seventy two years resident of Warrior Mark Township in the county of Huntingdon aforesaid in said district who being duly sworn according to law doth declare on his oath that he served in the Revolutionary War as follows (Viz) That he enlisted with Captain James Maxwell in Colonel Shrieve’s Regiment in the New Jersey Line in the year [blank] that he was in the Battle of Shorthills and that he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Germantown was taken to New York and was afterwards exchanged that he joined his company again and was drafted to go out after the Indians under Captain Bowman in General Sullivan command and after the war was over he was honourably discharged. That his original declaration is dated the twenty ninth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen. And the number of his Pension Certificate is no 12.514. And I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the eighteenth day of March AD 1818. And that I have not since that time by gift, sale of by any manner disposed of my property or any part thereof with an intent thereby to diminish it so as to bring myself within the provisions of an act of Congress entitled an act to provide for certain persons engaged in the Lands and Naval Service of the United States in the Revolutionary War paged the 18th day of March 1818. And that I have not any property or securities contracts or debts due to me nor have I any income other than what I contained in the schedule hereto annexed and by me subscribed.
- 1 Cow – 1 Churn
- 1 Horses – guns
- 1 Cabben [sic] and about 3 acres of mountain land
- 1 plough
- 1 harrow 1 mattock 1 shovel
- 1 bed and bedding 1 old chest – 2 old barrels
- 3 chairs – 2 pots and hooks shovel & tongs
- 1 old table dishes knives & forks dishes and plates
That his right to land is only by settlement and it is claimed by surveys and that this declarant is indebted for the purchase of his horse and other things about 40 Pounds. Sworn & Subscribed in open court Aug 17 1820, [signed] William Steel Proty, & Henry Clemmens [signed by William Steel]
That this declarant has no family and lives by daily labour and by reason of age and his eyesight failing he has become unable to support himself and that he also is afflicted with a rupture. Sworn and subscribed in open court Aug 17 1820, [signed] William Steel Proty & Henry Clemmens [signed by William Steel]
Western District of Pennsylvania Huntingdon County Js
Thomas Wallace being duly sworn according to Law did depose and say that he is well acquainted with the within mentioned petitioner Henry Klemmens and his circumstances and personal property and estimates the same to be worth ninety dollars which in the opinion of depurate is the utmost extent of its value. Sworn and subscribed in open court this 17 day of August 1820, [signed] William Steel Proty & Thomas Wallace [signed by William Steel]”
Although this revision to the Service-Pension Act of 1818 was meant to quell the feigning of poverty by applicants, it failed to do so—at least in the case of Henry Clemens. In particular the points I will cover in the posts that follow will detail Henry’s land holdings and family.
What We Have Learned So Far
- He is 63 years and 9 months old as of 29 May 1818 suggesting he is born in August of 1755
- He is 72 years old in August 17th 1820 suggesting he is born in 1748
- 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 & 1820
- His right to land is by settlement and is claimed by surveys
- Work & Health
- He is in poor health (age, failing eyesight, rupture) and lives by daily labour
- 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 Shorthills, Newtown, French Catherine, and Appletown in the Genesee County, NY, under General Sullivan and Captain Bowman with the Indians.
- He was honourably discharged in Morristown, New Jersey in November or December of 1783
- 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.(↵)