Revolutionary War Pensions by Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck, 2011

Book Cover

This book is located within the Niagara County Genealogical Society’s collection. I picked it up off of the shelf to see if my Revolutionary War ancestor, Samuel Harding Jr., was listed. Here are some of my notes from what I learned:

  • The War Department had a fire on November 8, 1800 destroyed the first decades of documents the US created.
  • A second fire occurred during the War of 1812 on August 24, 1814 which destroyed even more files.
  • The second fire eliminated all of the pension files.
  • This book was the author’s attempt to identify and recreate the pension files that were destroyed.
  • State Governments of the thirteen original colonies had their own pension records.
  • NARA’s microfilm M804 is the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Applications Files, 2,360 rolls. I believe it is a part of Record Group 15.
    • When I googled Revolutionary War M804, I found a link to a NARA Pamphlet describing the collection:
    • Here is a NARA blog post about M804:
    • Here is an article on the FamilySearch Wiki:
    • And a link to the collection on Fold3:

My Samuel Harding was listed in the book on page 340. It said:

  • He served from Feb. 1783 – Dec. 1783.
    • I didn’t realize that he served such a short time. I was curious how old he was, so I looked it up in my tree. If the dates are correct, he had just turned 16 years old the September before. So he was 16 years and 5 months old.
  • He had been rejected because the war had terminated in Apr. 1783.
    • Huh. So this was truly the end of the war. I’d like to re-read his pension file to see what he did during this time frame.
  • Some troops were not disbanded until Nov. 1783.
    • Again, I would like to look at his pension file to see what he did until December if the war was over.
  • Congress granted him a pension on 10 Jan 1832.
    • This date doesn’t seem to match. The year is correct, but the Pension file says that the Certificate of Pension issued the 27th day of October 1832. I’d really need to transcribe the pension file…

This book contains much more in the introduction that I would like to go back and read another time especially the references to other NARA record groups.