Did you know that military pension files may contain valuable details about family history? While military veterans who applied for benefits had to provide evidence of service, widows or heirs had to provide evidence of their relationship to soldiers. As a result, some military pension files in the National Archives contain very interesting, and sometimes surprising items.
For example, this beautiful Fraktur illustrating a family record was found within the file documenting the military service of Peter Hunt, who served during the American Revolutionary War.
From the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application File of Peter Hunt. National Archives Identifier 300092
We know from his pension application that Peter Hunt was born on Sept 28, 1757, in Dover, Dutchess County, New York. He married Hannah Benson on September 15, 1779, in Dutchess County.
On October 8, 1832, Peter Hunt made an application for pension while a resident of Kortright, Delaware County, New York, and was issued pension in 1833. According to Peter’s declaration to obtain pension, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1776 as a private commanded by Captain Childs and served in his Company of Infantry. Soon after, he enlisted into a Company of Artillery commanded by Capt. Andrew Moody in a regiment of the New York Continental line.
Peter first enlisted as volunteer in the militia in 1775 in a Company commanded by Capt. Colby Chamberlain. His file also suggests that in 1777, while in the New York Troops, Peter was present at the burning of Esopus (Kingston), and served under Captain Jackson on a guard at Peekskill.
Peter died August 25, 1836, in Kortright, New York. Hannah, Peter’s widow, was granted pension on her application executed March 3, 1838, while living in Kortright.
I will be featuring more of these interesting finds from military pension files in upcoming blog posts.