As I have written before, David Morse was my 5x great grandfather. He was born in Preston, New London, Connecticut on 27 Feb 1756 to Nathaniel Morse and Mary Morgan. David had four brothers and three sisters. He grew up in New London, and about 15 December, 1775 he enlisted in the Continental Army in Norwich, Connecticut to fight against the British. According to David’s testimony, he enlisted as a Sergeant in the 17th Continental Regiment under Capt. Timothy Percival and Col. Jedediah Huntington “about the middle of December” for the annual salary of $96.
David was discharged from the Army about 1 Nov 1776 after he was seriously injured by a falling rock during the construction of fortifications on Governor’s Island in New York Harbor. He went home to Preston where he was married and had nine children with his wife Esther Laribee. After she died, David remarried to my 5x great-grandmother Sarah Lathrop, and they had four more children.
David was, by all accounts, a poor man who worked when he could as a mason. Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained during the war had, by his own account and the accounts of many others, left him unable to do much physical labor. He and his family struggled to get by. In 1818, the US Government passed a law granting pensions to those who could prove they had served during the Revolutionary War, and were in financial need. David applied for this pension, and the next 35 years would involve him, his family, and his widow Sarah trying to get what he was owed for his service. The military website Fold3.com has 91 pages of paperwork from David’s various pension applications over the years, and this document is going to give an overview of this paperwork.
From my vantage point in the present I have very little means to judge the validity of David’s claims of injury, sorrow and woe. It’s very likely that some claims made in these documents are not true, or are exaggerated: at two points, for example, mention was made of David having been shot by a musket, a conclusion which I doubt because David himself never once mentioned having seen combat. I can only say that literally dozens of people, including State Senators, judges, lawyers, neighbors, brothers, children, Justices of the Peace, Court Clerks, and doctors, came forward to try to help him obtain his pension, as we will see. These documents provide many invaluable bits of information about David, his wife, his children, his siblings, and their lives from 1775 to 1855.
Many of the pages will only require a very short description, but the more detailed pages I’ll transcribe more fully. Instead of going through them in numerical order, I’m going to present them in roughly chronological order.
21 Apr 1818. Page 25. Sworn testimony in Franklin County Court in New York before Cone? Andres. “David Morss of the Town of Chateaugay (Franklin, NY) is a native of Preston in the State of Connecticut, now aged sixty-three years and is now residing in the Town of Chateaugay and that by reason of his reduced circumstances in life he stands in need of assistance from his Country for support, and that in the month of October or November in the year 1775 he enlisted as a Sergeant in the Army of the United States to serve against the common enemy in the Revolutionary War for the term of one year in a Company commanded by Capt. T(imothy) Percival in the regiment commanded by Col. (Jedediah) Huntington in the Connecticut Line of Continental Troops, and that he did serve during the said year, and that previous to the expiration of his service he again enlisted to serve as a Sergeant in the same company and regiment for the term of three years exclusive of the first year and to commence at the expiration of the first year. He further stated that that he continued in the company and regiment as a Sergeant until about the first of November, 1776 when he was regularly discharged near the city of New York as a consequence of a wound received by the fall of a stone while laboring at the fortification on Governor’s Island in the month of August in the same year, which not only disabled him for the service, but wholly unfitted him for any kind of labor for a year after his discharge, and from that time to the present has greatly affected him. He further stated that at the time of his discharge he received a regular written discharge, but about twenty years ago (c 1798) he gave his discharge to Jeremiah Halsen Esq. of Preston, Connecticut for the purpose of obtaining a pension from the United States and that this discharge has never been returned to him, nor any pension obtained, and that it is not in his power to now procure the said discharge. He stated that there is no person in this vicinity by whom he can prove any of the above-mentioned facts relative to his service and that the above is the best and only evidence now in his power. Signed, David Morss. Sworn and subscribed this 21st day of April 1818 before me, Cone Andreas, Judge, who certifies that I am personally acquainted with the above-named David Morss , that the above deposition is the only evidence which as been exhibited to me in this case, that it appears to my satisfaction that David Morss served in the Revolutionary War and it appears to my satisfaction that the affidavid is in all respects true. April 21st 1818, Cone Andreas, Judge.”
Col. Jedediah Huntington
21 Apr 1818. Page 64. Slip of paper. “David Morse, papers, sergt. Col. Huntington’s Connec’t Reg’t. Dec 1775 for 1 year 1776 3 years, discharged in Dec 1776. 21 Apr 1818.
2 May 1818. Page 27. Top of page. Statement from Asa Wheeler, Clerk of Franklin County (NY) Court that Cone Andres, Esq. who made the previous affidavit was a Judge of the Court of Common Please, and was signed by Asa Wheeler on 2 May 1818.
11 Sept 1819. Page 23-24. Envelope reading “David Morss application & proof for a pension”. Written and crossed out: “Returned for the judge’s certificate that from the reduced circumstances of the applicant he is in need of his country’s assistance for support. 11 Sept 1819. Testimony of two credible and disinterested witnesses to prove the service of applicant taken and ??”. On the reverse side is written and not crossed out: “Returned for correction as there were no enlistments prior to Dec. 1775 for so long a term as nine months. The judge will certify that by reason of the applicant’s reduced circumstances, he needs his country’s assistance for support. 11 Sept 1819.”
12 Nov 1819. Pages 27-28. Sworn court testimony in Franklin County Court, New York. “David Morss, applicant for a pension named in the foregoing declaration states that the relation by him given in the previous declaration is in all respects true excepting that according to his best recollection he now verily believes that he enlisted into the Company of Capt. T. Percival in the Regiment commanded by Col. Huntington in the Connecticut Line of Troops as mentioned by him, on or about the middle of December in 1775, and not earlier. For that after much reflection he now well-recollects that about one week after he enlisted he marched with a small detachment of recruits from Preston, Connecticut for Roxbury near Boston, and that on the first or second day of the march he met his brother at Plainfield in Connecticut and that they greeted each other with a “Merry Christmas”, from which circumstance and others which now occur to him, he does not doubt that it was on the 25th day of December 1775 that he met his brother in Plainfield, and that this was no more than eight or ten days after his enlistment. (Preston to Roxbury is about 85 miles and would have taken many days to accomplish. The route does pass through Plainfield.)
He further states that at the time of making his declaration these facts did not occur to him and that at that time he had no date by which he could fix the known time of his enlistment, and that his infirmities occasioned by the fall of a stone while laboring at the fortification on Governor’s Island (in New York Harbor) increase with his age and has now almost entirely unfitted him from any kind of manual labor. Signed, David Morss. Sworn the 12th day of November 1819 before me Cone Andreas, Judge.”
12 Nov 1819. Page 65. Sworn testimony of Cone Andres Esq, judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Franklin County, New York, certifying that he is personally acquainted with David Morse, and that he appeared before the judge on 12 Nov 1819 to make the above sworn affidavit. Testimony of Asa Wheeler, County Clerk stating that Cone Anders is a judge as stated.
12 Dec 1819. Page 10. Sworn court testimony before Truman Chittenden, judge of Chittenden County Court in Vermont. Elijah M. Morse, of Essex, Chittenden, Vermont, aged 53 years, stated that he was the brother of David Morse of the town of Chateaugay, NY, and that he had personal knowledge that David “enlisted in the Fall of 1775, and served as a Sergeant in the Company commanded by Capt. Percival in the Regiment commanded by Col. Huntington in the Connecticut Line of Continental Troops until the Fall of 1776 when the said David Morss was discharged in consequence .. of a wound occasioned by the fall of a stone while laboring upon the fortification near New York, and that the said David Morss was so much injured and disabled by the said wound as to be wholly unfit for business for a long time after his discharge from the army.”
14 Dec 1819. Page 11. Testimony of Phineas Lyman that Truman Chittenden Esq. from the above document is, indeed, a judge of the County Court as written.
16 Dec 1819. Page 12 & 13. Sworn court testimony before Dudley Chale, chief judge of the Superior Court. Nathaniel Morss (sic) of Royalton, Windsor, Vermont, aged 67 years, testified that he is the brother of David Morse and that David served during the Revolutionary War. The details of his service presented are the same as outlined by Elijah Morse.
At the bottom of the page, there is a further statement from the same date (continued on the next page) that the aforementioned Dudley Chale was personally acquainted with Nathaniel Morss, and that “he is a person of integrity and .. veracity”. There is a statement on the bottom of page 13 that is not filled out as to the date or names. It was supposed to be signed by a clerk of the court.
13 Jun 1820. Page 5 (duplicate on page 7). Sworn court testimony from Malone, Franklin, New York on 13 June 1820. David Morse testified that “he served in the revolutionary war, enlist[ing] in the month of December 1775, he enlisted into the Company commanded by Capt. [Timothy] Percival in the Regiment commanded by Col. Huntington in the Connecticut line for the term of one year and that he served as a Sergeant in the said Company until the Fall of the year 1776 when he was discharged by reason of a wound received on Governor’s Island near New York.” It further states that he applied for his pension on 21 Apr 1818, and was granted a pension No. 16.971 dated 18 May 1820. The paper then contains a detailed listing of David’s possessions, in total amounting to about $31.75 in value. He mentions the fact that he has 70 acres of land and a home, both of which he is about to lose due to non-payment, and has a rented cow for which he pays 75 cents per week.
13 Jun 1820. Page 9. Same page, with overleaf removed. Testimony of David Morse continues. “That by occupation I am a mason, but that in consequence of my age and infirmities I am unable to labor but a small part of the time .. in consequence of the wound received on Governor’s Island in the year 1776. I have never since enjoyed health, that I have since had both my legs broken which causes me to be lame at this time so that I am entirely unfit to labor and should not attempt it if I were not compelled by necessity. (signed) David Morss.” He continues with some important information about his current situation: “My family consists of myself, my wife and four children, all of whom are dependent upon me for support, to wit, my wife Sally, aged fifty-five years, who is in a decline and unable to perform much labor. Charlotte and Maria Morss, twins, aged 13 years, that Charlotte is in health but Maria is sickly and unable to perform any labor. Mary Morss, aged 12 years is in an ill state of health and unable to render any assistance. Hannah Morse, aged 11 years, is healthy, but too young to render any assistence. (signed) David Morse.” This testimony was signed by Asa Wheeler, clerk of the court of Common Pleas, who further states that he certifies the falue of David’s property is $56.75.
13 Jun 1820. Page 8. Overleaf on previous page. List of David Morse’s possessions continued. It is mentioned that he owes $351 to various persons “over and above what I have contracted to pay for my land”.
13 Jun 1820. Page 6. Cover for above testimony. “David Morss (sic), Record of Schedule Oath 16.971.
8 Mar 1821. Page 67. Letter signed by 21 neighbors, friends, and family of David Morse.
“This may certify that we are personlly acquainted with David Morss (sic) of the town of Chateaugay in Franklin County and we are his neighbors and are well acquainted with his circumstances in relation to his health and property. His property has been recently sold by the Sheriff on execution and did not pay near all that was due on the judgement and the judgement was a bonafide debt. The said David Morss is the same David Morss that has applied for a pension under the act of Congress of the 18th March 1818. In regard to his health, he is very infirm and a considerable part of the time is really unable to do any labour. This representation is made with a view to assist him to obtain his pension which we believe and know he stands in great need of to prevent him from suffering for the necessaries of life for himself and family. Chateaugay, March 8th 1821. Signed, George W. Douglass, John Douglass, Abram Atwater, Russell Fairman, Thomas Starks, Wolcott Duane, John Shannon, Rufus Morse, John Mitchell, Simeon Bellows, James Hatch, Gates Hoyt, Amasa Fairman, Thomas Smith, Gideon Collins, Mathew Signeur, John Kessal, John P. Bishop, Eliam Roberts, Nathan Ren??, H.G. Douglas.”
23 Mar 1821. Page 68. Statement from Reuben H. Walworth, notary public, certifies that the persons whose names appear above are inhabitants of Chateaugay where David Morse resides, that he is personally acquainted with most of them and that they comprise a great part of the most respectable inhabitants of that town.”
23 Mar 1821. Page 69. Letter from Palmer Walworth to J(ohn) L. Edwards esq. “Platsburgh March 23, 1821. Sir, we send the annexed certificate on the subject of David Morse’s pension claim the inventory was sent in July 1820. The old man is lame and certified true. Have directed him to furnish the reportment with evidence of that fact from some respected physician. Yours, Palmer Walworth.”
2 Apr 1821. Envelope stamped from Plattsburgh, NY. March (1821). “Section of Pension, John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, Washington, D.C. Received 2 Apr 1821.”
Note: John Calhoun (1782-1850), to whom this letter is addressed, was Secretary of War at the time, but would also be a Congressman, Vice President, Senator, and Secretary of State in his political career. He was a noted firebrand advocating for the secession of the South more than a decade before the Civil War.
John C. Calhoun in 1822
c 1821. Page 4. Bi-fold paper, Certificate of Pension. 1st side is handwritten note: “Notice sent to Messrs. Palmer and Wat?, July 1821, Plattsburgh, NY.” Other side: “16.971R New York. David Morse of Chateaugay in the state of New York who was a Sergeant in the regiment commanded by Colonel Huntington of the Connecticut line for the term of 1 year. Inscribed on the roll of New York at the rate 8 dollars a month to commence on the 21st of April 1818. Certificate of Pension issued the 18th of May 1820 sent to Asa Harkall, Esq. Malone, NY. 4th of March 1820 – 179.69 all’ce ending 4 Sept. 1820 – 48.00 Mo. 10/30 4/31 $227.69. Revolutionary claim, Act 18th March, 1818.” Then a note at the bottom: “Discontinued, Franklin Co.”
1 Mar 1823. Page 79. Envelope addressed to “Hon. J.C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, Washington City. 1 March 1823, NY, David Morss. Rec’d 18 Aug 1823.”
c1823. Page 54. Bi-fold paper. “Copy of the oath and schedule of David Morse for a continuance of his pension under the act of March 1, 1823”.
10 Jun 1823. Pages 55-58. Testimony from court of common pleas, Malone County, New York, judges Benjamin Clark, Henry L. Waterhouse, Roswell Bates & James Campbell Esq. David Morse, aged 67 years, resident of Chateaugay in Franklin County, swore as to his service in the Revolutionary War. The details are similar to those attested to in other documents. It states that he made his first pension application on 21 Apr 1818, and that he received pension certificate number 16970 dated 18 May 1820, that he has not sold property to diminish his financial standings to be eligible for a pension, nor does he have any property in trust with others to hide it. It then gives a detailed listing of his personal property:
“No real estate. One iron pot, one small kettle, one cracked tea kettle, one small basin, one grid iron, one shovel & tongs, one iron ??, one iron bar, two trowels, one stone hammer, one old horse collar & traces, one hand saw & one square, one small auger, 12 1/2 and one .75, a few other articles of husbandry, one spinning wheel and table, three old chairs, one old stool, one ?? platter, 5 earthen plates, one teapot and three tea cups w/ saucers, one earthen platter, and two tubs. One churn, one pair pincers, one shoe hammer, and a few other articles of furniture worth not more than two dollars.” The entire value of his estate was given as $19.47. He then states that he owes “over and above what [he] has any means to pay more than $500.”
David then enumerates the changes in his life since his last pension petition:
“That since the initiation of my first schedule the following changes have been made in my property, vis., The real estate then in my possession was sold by the sheriff of the County of Franklin under a judgement against me and has been out of my possession more than one year. I have returned the cow to the owner, I have fattened and killed the swine for the use of my family, I have been obliged to sell some articles of iron are and tools and implements mentioned in my former schedule to procure necessities for my family, others have been broken and worn out except such as are contained in this (inventory), I have received the debt due from – Prestage and discharged the same. That by occupation I am a mason, but that in consequence of my age and infirmity I am unable to labor. That in consequence of the wound received in the service of my country in the year 1776, I have never since enjoyed health, that I have since had both of my legs broken in consequence of which I have since then been lame. That my family consists of myself, my wife, and three daughters to wit my wife Sally aged fifty-eight years, who is sickly and unable to perform much labor – Charlotte Morse, aged 18 years who is unable to support herself – Mary Morse aged 16 in bad health and unable to support herself – Hannah Morse, aged 14 years – and that my family are principally dependent on me for support and are in my opinion unable to support themselves. Signed, David Morse. Sworn and declared on the 10th day of June 1823 in open court. Asa Wheeler, Clerk.” Asa Wheeler then signs below saying that he believes the total amount of property value exhibited in the schedule is $20.22.
2 Aug 1823. Page 80. “New York Supreme Court. Isaac Sebring vs David Morss. I, John Wood Esq, late sheriff of the County of Franklin in the State of New York do certify that in January 1831 while I was Sheriff of said county I sold all the real and personal property then owned and in the possession of David Morss of the Town of Chateaugay in the said county under and by virtue of an execution paid in the above-entitled cause (Sebring vs Morss), dated at Malone 2 Aug 1823, John Wood late (former) Sheriff.” Attested to by Asa Hascall, Justice of the Peace.
2 Aug 1823. Page 81. Asa Wheeler, clerk, certifies that John Wood was sheriff.
2 Sept 1823. Page 40. Bi-fold paper. “David, Morss, Sergt. served 1 year from 1775. 1st Sched. dated June 1820, Real estate, 70 acres of land, not paid for, no price affixed to it, personal property $50.75, indebted to whom not stated $351. Sched. under act Mar 1823, personal property $20.22, in debt $500, accounts for the decreased property and it appears by a certificate properly authenticated from the Sherrif that he sold under execution all the property of the claimant, but not details what kind of property. Claimant aged 67 years “a mason”, unable to labor in consequence of “infrirmities”, wife 68 years, sickly, 3 daughters 18, 16 and 14 yrs, unable to support themselves. Asa Wheeler Esq. Malone, NY. Restored 2 Sept 1823, letter to David Morss 12 Mar 1821. ?? 1820″.
Mar 1834. Page 59. Small note. “In the case of David Morse, upon an appplication fro an invalid pension, you have his applit. and the efforts of David Morse, and Mr. Morse requests Mr. Edward’s attention to the same. Get the pension blanks in all cases and send them to me by mail. James McNiece. Direct to James McNiece, Johnstown, Mong. Co. NY”.
The next several items seem to be related to David Morse contacting John Edwards in Washington D.C. who was the Commissioner of Pensions in 1834 and became the congressional representative from New York from 1837 to 1839. Mr. Edwards was from Johnstown, NY where David also lived at the time.
5 Mar 1834. Letter. “Chateaugay, Franklin Co. NY. March 5 1834. J. L. Edwards Esqr. Comm. of Pensions.
Having served my country in the war of the Revolution for about three and a half years as a sergeant in Capt. Percival’s Company of Infantry in Col. Huntington’s Regiment in the Connecticut Line of Contenental Troops, I am advised that under the act of congress of the 7th June 1832 I am entitled to receive an increase of my pension to ten dollars per month. For this purpose I now enclose my pension certificate filed under the act of the 18th March 1818 and I have to request a certificate under the act of 7th June 1832 if by the provisions of that act I am entitled to an incrase and if not so entitled that you will return the enclosed certificate. In either case, please send to the care of Asa Hascall, Esqr. at Malone, Franklin Co. NY. My place of residence is at Chateaugay in the same county and state. Respectfully, your obt. servt. David Morss”.
6 Mar 1834. Page 48. Envelope. Malone, NY, Mar 6. David Morse 5 Mar 1834, Frex, 12 March 1834. J.L. Edwards Esqr. Commissioner of Pensions, Washington City, D.C.”
3 Apr 1834. Pages 83-84. Letter from David Morse and Asa Hascall to J. L. Edwards Esq. “Malone, Franklin Co. of NY, 3 Apr 1834. To J. L. Edwards Esq. Commissioner of Pensions. Sir, you will oblige me by returning to Asa Hascall at Malone my pension certificate issued under the act of 18th March 1818 bearing date 18th May 1820 which is now at your Department. Your obedient serv’t. David Morss.
Sir, Mr. David Morss desires that you will have the goodness to send his pension certificate which I sent to your department on the 5th of March last back to me, having come to the conclusion that it is better for him to abide by his old certificate under the act of the 18th March 1818 than to apply under the act of 7 Jun 1832. The old gentleman says he served as a sergeant in Capt. Percival’s Company of Inf’r in Col. Huntington’s Reg’t, in the Connecticut Line of Continental Troops from the Autumn of 1776 to the Autumn of 1777, about one year, when he was discharged in consequence of a severe wound which he received, from which he received in about two years so as to be again fit for duty and that after his recovery he performed several tours of service in the Militia of Six or three months each, amounting in all as he thinks to as much as two years militia service in which he always served as a sergeant but his recollection of these different terms of service and of the names of the different officers under whom he served is so indistinct that he declines the undertaking to particularize under oath. I assisted Mr. Morss in preparing his first pension certificate and have known him for about 18 years. I believe him to be about 80 years of age and know that now he is quite infirm and super ??. I remain very respectfully your obedient servant, Asa Hascall, Malone, 4 Apr 1834.”
5 Apr 1821. Page 82. Envelope. “Malone, NY. J.L. Edwards Esqr. Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, D.C. David Morse , New York April 16th. David Morss asks his pension certificate to be returned.”
24 Aug 1837. Page 51. Certificate from Drs. James W. Miller and William H. Johnson regarding the health of David Morse. “Johnstown, Montgomery County, State of New York. August 24th 1837. It is hereby certified that David Morse, a Sergeant in a Company of Infantry .. is rendered incapable of performing the duty of a soldier by reason of wounds or other injuries inflicted while he was actually in the service aforesaid in the line of duty, vis. a aruale? ventral hernia about one inch above his navel, an inguinal hernia of the of the left side which is partially retained by a truss, that he has a scar on the upper and inner portion of his left thigh which may have proceeded from a musket ball. By satisfactory evidence and accurate examination it appears David Morse in the fall of the second year of the Revolutionary War received the above-mentioned wounds and that his is thereby in the opinion of the subscribed surgeons in consequence of the above-mentioned injuries and his age totally disabled from obtaining his livelihood by manual labor. Signed: J. W. Miller MD, W. H Johnson, MD. Subscribed and sworn the 24th Aug 1837 before John W. Caty, Justice of the Peace of Mongtomery County”, who further testifies that the physicians mentioned are “reputable in their profession as physicians and surgeons”.
24 Aug 1837. Page 52. Sworn testimony in Montgomery County Court, NY. “I, David Morse of Johnstown in the County of Montgomery and State of New York, saith that I was a soldier of the Revolution in the War between the United States and Great Britain, and was a Sergeant in a company commanded by Captain Percival in Colonel Huntington’s Regiment of Infantry in the Connecticut Line of Continental Troops, and am now a pensioner under the act of Congress of 18th March 1818, as will appear by reference to my pension certificate on file in the pension office of the United States, that (I) was wounded several times by musket balls and otherwise while in the service of the United States in the Revolutionary War .. that (I am) very much disabled on account of said wounds and injuries and have not for the greater part of the time been able to procure (my) subsistence or livelihood from or by manual labor. That (I am) at present in indigent circumstances and altogether unable to support (myself). Signed: David Morss”. Subscribed and sworn the 24th Aug 1837 before John W. Cady, JOP.
25 Aug 1837. Page 53. Letter from George D. Ferguson, clerk of the County of Montgomery, New York, certifying that the people who foreswore the affidavit of David Morse had done so properly.
25 Aug 1837. Page 63. Letter from James McNiece to John Edwards. “Johnstown 25 Aug 1837. Sirs, Enclosed are the papers in the case of David Morse for an invalid pension that we spoke to you about at ?? before your departure for Washington. I wish you would proceed in this case with all convenient speed and let me know by mail what progress. I shall expect an answer in a few days. In haste, Yours Respectfully, James Mc Niece.”
1837. Page 60. Slip of paper. “Dav. Morse, Copy Papers. Hon. J. Edwards”.
1837. Page 61. Slip of paper. “Copy David Morse’s papers for Hon. Jon. Edwards. AR, Morse, Inv’d N. York. (Not allowed)”.
25 Sept 1837. Page 62. Envelope. “David Morse New York, Invalid, Hon. J. Edward H.R. Hon. John Edwards, Representative in Congress, Washington D. C. Received Sept 25 1837, Att. to Hon. J. Edwards same, Dec 27 1837, same, Jan 13 1838, copies of papers handed to Hon. J. Edwards Dec 31, 1838. 72137”.
28 Jun 1844. Page 77. Letter from John Shew to J. L. Edwards, Comm. of Pensions. “Broadalbin, Fulton County, NY. 28 Jun 1844. Sir. A man by the name of David Morss was a Sergent in Capt. Percival’s company in Col. Huntington’s Regiment and was pensioned at the rate of eight dollars per month under the act of 18th March 1818, given at the war office of the United States 18th May 1820. The original certificate was surrendered up at the time of drawing the arrears due his widow at the time of his death. I believe he died in 1841 or 1842. I am of the opinion that when the act of June 7th 1832 was passed he might have surrendered up his certificate of 18th May 1820 and applied under the said act of June 7th ’32 and received sergeant’s pay, which would amount to some considerable more than what he then was provided had he served about two years as a sergeant. The question which I now want answered is this; can his widow now obtain that amount of money from the 4th March 1841 to the day of his death, i.e. the difference between $96 per annum and that of a seargent’s pay in the line? It would be about two years. I have not now the precise time of his death before me but it can be proven, and I believe it to have been in the year 1841. It would amount to more than two hundred dollars. An answer would be most thankfully rec’d. Very respectfully, John J. Shew. Hon J. L. Edwards, Comm. of Pensions.”
3 Jul 1844. Page 76. Envelope. Hon. James L. Edwards, Comm. of Pensions, Washington, D.C. David Morss, New York, 1818. Broadalbin Jul 3.
6 Jul 1844. Page 43. “Certificate of David Morss, Sergeant, Act 18 March 1818, returned to Asa Hascall, Malone, NY. See letter 8th May 1834, letter to J. T. Shew, July 6 1844, File Sept 20.”
16 Jul 1852. Page 2: Damaged bi-fold paper. “Let[ter] to E.B. Smith July 16, 1853. 811. New York [Volume] A. Sarah Morse, widow of David Morse, who served in the Revolutionary War as a Sergent in the Connecticut Line, inscribed on the roll at the rate of $96, 0 cents per annum, to commence on 3 Feb 1853, certificate of pension issued the 7th day of June 1853, sent to E.B. Smith Chateaugay, Franklin Co. NY. Recorded on a roll of pensioners under act, page 74, Vol A, Feb 1853.”
16 Jul 1852. Envelope. “Department of the Interior, Pension Office, Official Business. Nr. 1204, Appl. of Sarah Morse, widow of David. N York, act 3 Feb. 1853, Rec’d: E.B. Smith Chateaugay, Franklin, NY.”
c 1853. Page 1. Index card for “David Morse (Morss)” from Connecticut and his wife Sarah. Number W1982, then another index number: BLH26775-160-55.
24 Mar 1853. Page 14. Sworn testimony before Giles W. Smith, justice of the peace of Franklin County, New York for the purpose of obtaining widow’s pension benefits. “Sarah Morse, a resident of the town of Burke in the County of Franklin, State of New York, aged eighty-eight years .. [stated] that she is the widow of David Morse who was a private in the Regiment commanded by Colonel Huntindon (sic) in the Connecticut line of State Troops or Regulars in the army of the Revolution and whose name was inscribed on the pension list roll of the Albany New York agency at the rate of $8/month some time in the year 1818 or 1819, and who drew a pension at the rate of $8month from some time in the year 1818 to the day of his death on the 9th of July 1840. She further declares that her maiden name was Sarah Adams (she was actually Sarah Lathrop, and her first husband was Dr. Oliver Adams), that she was married to the late David Morse by Esq. Parkhurst at the town of Sharon, Vermont on the 21st day of February 1804, and lived and co-habitated with said David Morse as his wife from that date until the time of his death – that her said husband died at the town of Johnston, Fulton, New York on the 9th day of July 1840, that she was not married to him prior to his leaving service. She further swears that she is now a widow and that she has never made any application for pension, and that she knows of no public record of her marriage and that the family record of her said marriage is lost. Signed ( by an X and “her mark”), Sarah Morse, G. W. Smith, Samuel Pond (her son-in-law).”
Signed at the bottom by Giles W. Smith who further certifies that “I am well-acquainted with said Sarah Morse and know her to be a person of truth and veracity and the widow of said David Morse who was a revolutionary pensioner, and that she is now aged and infirm and unable to appear in open court, and so blind as to be unable to write.”
24 Mar 1853. Page 15. Sworn testimony of Rufus Morse (son of David Morse) before Daniel Mitchell, justice of the peace of Franklin County, New York. “Rufus Morse, aged fifty-eight years, says that he is a resident of the town of Chateaugay, Franklin, New York, where he has resided during the last forty-four years, and knows that the said David Morse was a revolutionary pensioner on the Albany New York Agency .. that he was also well acquainted with Sarah Morse for the last forty-nine years, and knows that she is the widow of said David Morse – that he was present at the marriage of David Morse and Sarah Adams, and was a witness thereto, that he has been constantly and continuously acquainted with said David Morse and his wife from that time until the death of David, and knows that they, during the whole of said time, lived and cohabitated together as man and wife, and that she has not since the death of David Morse intermarried with any other person but still remains [his] widow. Deponent further states that he is himself a son of David Morse by a former marriage (to Esther Laribee), and that his mother, the first wife of David, died on or about the 31st day of December 1803.” Daniel Mitchell further states that he knows Rufus Morse and “knows him to be a person of truth and veracity and liken him to be of the age stated in his affidavit.”
25 Mar 1853. Page 18. Sworn testimony in Franklin County Court, New York, of Samuel Percy, resident of Chateaugay, NY aged fifty-five years, who states that he was well-acquainted with David and Sarah Morse from 1809 onward, and that David was a war pensioner from 1818, that Sarah was his wife, and that they raised a family together in Chateaugay. Subscribed and sworn before Elisha B. Smith, Justice of the Peace, who certifies that he “is well-acquainted with Samuel Percy and know him to be a person of truth and veracity.”
26 Mar 1853. Page 17. Sworn testimony in Franklin County Court, New York, of Russel Fairman, resident of Chateaugay, NY aged seventy-seven years, who states that he was well-acquainted with David and Sarah Morse from 1809 onward, and that David was a war pensioner from 1818, and Sarah was his wife. Subscribed and sworn before Edgar A. Keeler, Justice of the Peace who certifies that he “is well-acquainted with Russell Fairman and know him to be a person of truth and veracity.”
31 Mar 1853. Page 16. Sworn testimony in Franklin County Court, New York , of William G. Roberts, sixty-six years of age and resident of Chateaugay, New York, who states that David was a war pensioner, and that he knew David and Sarah Morse from 1809 until the present day, and that they were married and raised a family of children together. Signed by Edgar A. Keeler, Justice of the Peace.
8 Apr 1853. Page 30. Envelope. “Mrs. Sarah Morse, application and proofs to obtain pension. Presented by E.B. Smith, Chateaugay, Franklin Co. New York. P. Office address. 1853.”
8 Apr 1853. Pages 31-32. Sworn testimony in Rensselaer County, New York. David Nutting (grandson of David Morse), Mary Nutting (daughter of David Morse), and Mary L. Cole (grand-daughter of David Morse) appeard bfore the commission of Deeds and stated that they “were well acquainted with the late David Morse, who was a Revolutionary Pensioner on the Albany New York Agency at the rate of Eight dollars per month, that they have been acquainted with David Morse for the last twenty years, that they were each of them well-acquainted with him when he resided in the town of Chateaugay, Franklin, NY, and were ? to his removal from said town to the town of Johnston, Fulton, NY. That they were also well-acquainted with him during the whole time of his residence in the town of Johnston, that he moved there some time in the year 1835, and resided there until his death on 9 July 1840. They further stated that were well-knowing to the death of David Morse, they residing in the same town with him at the time of his death, and attending his funeral and seeing his remains after his death and previous to the burial. They were also well-acquainted with Sarah Morse, his widow, who now resides in the town of Burke, Franklin, NY, and have been acquainted with her for the same length of time both in Chateaugay, and in Johnston, and that during the whole time she lived and co-habitated with David Morse as his wife until his death. They have personal knowledge that David Morse was a Revolutionary Pensioner, having frequently seen his pension certificate, and know that the same was given up after his death on his said widow applying for and receiving the arrears of pensions due at the time of his death. Deponents now reside in the city of Troy, Rensselaer, New York where they have resided for several years past, and that previous they resided in Johnston, Fulton, NY, and that they are in now ways interested in the application of said Sarah Morse for a pension. Signed; Mary L. Cole, Mary Nutting (her mark), David Nutting. Sworn on 8th April 1853 before John Moran, Commissioner”.
1 Apr 1853. Page 19. Sworn testimony in Franklin County Court, New York, that Giles W. Smith, Daniel Mitchell, Edgar A. Keeler, and Elisha B. Smith were all Justices of the Peace when they took the testimonies given above. Signed, sealed, and attested by Francis D. Flanders, clerk.
25 May 1853. Envelope. May 25, 1853, Sarah Morse in ?? to be filed in the papers of 14th of April, Chateaugay, Franklin Co. NY.”
9 Apr 1853. p 75. Albany Pension Agency. April 9th 1853. It appears by the books of this agency that David Morss, Serg’t at $96 per annum was a pensioner under the act of 18 Mar 1818, and that he died on the 9th of July 1840. L Jenkins for the Pension Agent.”
9 Apr 1853. Pages 34-36. Sworn testimony in Albany County Courty, New York, of Henry B. Smith, State Senator from the 15th Senate District of New York. He stated that: “He resides in the town of Chateaugay, Franklin, NY, where he has resided since the year 1811 and previous to that he was well-acquainted with the late David Morse, and has been acquainted with him from some time in the year 1811 until the year 1835 when he removed to Johnston, that David Morse was a Revolutionary Pensioner”, etc. The rest of the details are similar to that of the preceding testimony, except that he notes that Sarah Morse now resides in the town of Burke, NY, having moved there after her husband’s death.
Hon. Henry B. Smith (1806-1863)
13 Apr 1853. Page 37. Elisha B. Smith, Justice of the Peace, Franklin County, NY, certifies that he knows Giles W. Smith, Daniel Mitchel Edgar, Francis D. Flanders, John Moran, John Willard, and B. Harper as being the public officers who administered oaths and gave certificates in said case.
13 Apr 1853. Page 88. Letter. To L.P. Waldo, Esq. Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, April 13, 1853. Sir, This will be handed to you by Elisha B. Smith Esq. of Franklin Co. NY. Mr. Smith was one of my constituents, when I was in congress and stand high as a man of integrity. I then knew him and his connections. I have no reason to doubt that he continues to maintain the same good character since I left that part of the county to reside here. Your ob’t sv’t R.H. Gillet.”
19 May 1853. Page 74. Letter from E.B. Smith to Loren P. Waldo, Commissioner of Pensions. “Chateaugay, Franklin County, NY, 19 May 1853. Dear Sir. I beg leave to call your early attention to the case of Mrs. Sarah Morse, widow of the late David Morse, a revolutionary pensioner. I presented the papers some time the first part of April last. The widow is very old (eighty-eight), very poor and destitute, and her case is one about which there can be no doubt, unless it is in the formality of the papers, and I trust you will, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, give it your earliest attention. Very Respectfully, your obt. servt. E.B. Smith. April 14th Hon. Loren P. Waldo, Com. of Pensions”
13 Jun 1853. Page 73. Letter from Pension Office. “Sir, David Morss was inscribed upon the New York roll as a Sergeant in the War of the Revolution at the rate of $96.00 per annum paid at the Albany Agency, New York. To what time was he paid? I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obt. servt. L(oren P) Waldo Commissioner. Pensioned under act March 18, 1818. Died 9th July 1840 and paid to his death. F Burt, Auditor. Francis Burt Esq’r, Third Auditor of the Treasury.”
Loren P. Waldo
12 Jul 1853. Page 72. Letter from E. B. Smith to L(oren) P. Waldo Esq. Commissioner of Pensions. “Chateaugay, Franklin County, NY. 12 Jul 1853. Dear Sir, Yours (your letter) enclosing Pension certificate of Mrs. Sarah Morse was duly received. It appears by the certificate that her pension commenced on the 3rd day of February 1853. I would inquire of you if she is not entitled under the act of 4rd February 1853 to any back pay, either from the death of her hsuband or from some former law, and if the opinion of the Attorney Gen. has been taken on this act, and if so what it is. Yours truly, E.B. Smith.”
12 Jul 1853. Page 70-71. Two-page legal justification stating that Sarah Morse, who became a pensioner’s widow on 9 Jul 1840, and was therefore entitled to receive his pension from that date.
c Jul 1853. P 78. Brief signed by E.B. Smith, Chateaugay, Franklin, County, NY stating that Sarah Morse’s marriage to David Morse was “proven by parole proof, certified to be credible.”
3 Apr 1855. Page 20. Envelope reading “Sarah Morse, widow of David Morse. 60348”.
3-4 Apr 1855. Page 21 & 22. Sworn testimony before Giles W. Smith, justice of the peace of Franklin County, New York for the purpose of obtaining widow’s pension benefits. “Sarah Morse, aged eighty-nine years and a resident of the town of Burke (Franklin, New York) .. [stated] that she is the widow of David Morse who was a sergeant in the company commanded by Colonel Huntington in the State of Connecticut in the Revolution War, that he enlisted at Norwich in the State of Connecticut in the year 1776 and was honorably discharged from service, and that he received a pension for said service, and that she now receives a pension from her husband’s service and that no written discharge was received by her husband to her knowledge, as will appear from the muster rolls of said Company. She further states that she was married to David Morse at the town of Sharon, Vermont about the 19th day of February 1804 by one Parkhurst, a Justice of the Peace and that her name before the marriage was Sarah Adams, that her husband died at Johnston, Fulton, New York on the 9th day of July 1840, that she is now a widow and has remained so since his death. [She states that] no public or private record of her marriage [has been found]. She makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty land to which she may be entitled under the acdt of March 3rd 1855, never having received Bounty Land or knowning that she is entitled except for the above services, and she believes no Bounty Land was ever received by her husband. Signed ( by an X and “her mark”), Sarah Morse”.
On the same day testified Samuel Pond (her son-in-law), aged sixty-four years, and Maria Pond (her daughter), aged fifty-years, “of Burke (Franklin, NY) known as credible witnesses [who] declare that they are personally acquainted with Sarah Morse, widow of David Morse, that they were personally acquainted with David Morse and his wife during his lifetime and know that they lived and co-habitated together as husband and wife and that David Morse performed the military services mentioned above, that David Morse is now dead and that Sarah Morse is now a widow, and they are disinterested in this claim. [Signed] Samuel Pond & Maria Pond.” Sworn before Giles W. Smith, Justice of the Peace, who further certifies that Sarah Morse is nearly blind and cannot see to write.
Francis J. Flanders, Clerk of Court in Franklin County, NY certifies that he was present at the above testimonies. Signed 4 Apr 1855.
2 Oct 1855. Page 86. Pension form letter. “Act of March 3, 1855, Revolutionary Claims. Pension Office. 2 Oct 1855. The Claim of Sarah Morse for bounty land under the act of the 3rd of March 1855, No. 60,348 has been examined and suspended. The revolutionary service of David Morss, the husband of the applicant does not appear of record in this office (under Capt. Percival & Col. Huntington of CT in 1776). The 3rd section of said act requires a service of “Fourteen Days” to be established by “Record Evidence”. Upon the production of such evidence of service, the claim will be plausibly considered. Very respectful, J. Minot, Commissioner. Mrs. Smith and Keeler, Chataugay, Franklin Co, N. York (over).
19 May 1856. Page 3. Bi-fold paper. “60348 Act 3 Mar 1852, Apr 11, 1855. Sarah Morse, widow. David Morse, sergeant. Col. Huntington Conn. Militia. Sep. 1776 Pensioner, Revolutionary War, New York ?? 53 – No. 811. W: 160 New York 19 May 1856, (Signature). E.B. Smith and E.G. Keeler, Chateaugay, Franklin Co. N.Y.”
26 May 1856. Page 87. Letter. Chateauguay, May 26 1856. To J.D. Woodard, Esq. Dear Sir, I herwith send you ?? of Com. Pension in relation to the application of Sarah Morse for bounty land under act of 3 Mar 1853. I wish you to attend to said application your ?? if possible. Yours Obdt, E.A. Keeler.”
3 Jun 1856. Page 85. Note from J.D. Woodard. “Sarah Morse, widow of David Morse, No. 60348, Revolutionary War, Additional evidence. See Revolutionary Pension papers of Sarah Morse and act of March 14, 1856 in amendment of act of Mar 3 1855, and letter of E.A. Keeler within transferring agency of this claim to me. P?? to send me a warrant from Mrs. Morse. Respectfully, J.D. Woodward, Plattsburg, NY Court of Pensions.”
c 1873. Page 45. Index card. “7437 David Morse”.
c 1906. Page 44. Envelope addressed to Mr. James Minot, Court of Pensions, Washington DC. Postmarked June 3, Plattsburgh, NY. “60.348. Sarah Morse Additional Evidence 3 Mar 1855 & May 14 1856, Revolutionary Claim, 60348 Sarah 26775”.
3 Feb 1906. Page 90. Letter from F. P. Morse Esq. “US Pension Agency, Received 3 Feb 1906. Minerva, Feb 1 1906. US pension Agt. Dept. Sirs, I wish to obtain a certified copy of the pension Certificate issued to David Morse who served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and who had a claim pending in 1823 for back pay due him. He was then (1823) living at Chateaugay, NY. Will you please advise me as to the way in which I can obtain the same and oblige. Yours Respectfully, F.P. Morse, Minerva, NY.”
6 Feb 1906. Page 89. Letter from F. P. Morse Esq. to J.L. Davenport, Acting Commissioner of Pensions. Minerva N.Y. 6 Feb 1906. I wish to obtain a certified copy of pension granted to David Morse, who served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War and who resided in Preston Conn. or Chateaugay, NY at the time such pension was granted. (He had a claim pending for back pay in 1823) showing date and place of service and under what command. I have been advised to apply to you in regard to obtaining such copy and am willing to pay for any assistance or advise you may be able to render. If you can not attend to the matter, I will take it as a great favor if you will advise me in regard thereto. Awaiting your reply. I am, yours respectfully, F. P. Morse Esq.”
5 Mar 1906. Page 39-40. Envelope. “Pension, Widow, &c, File 1982, Sarah Morse, Widow David Morse, Sergt. Rev. War, Act Feb. 3 1853, Index, Vol. M, Page 58. March 5, 1906, History to F. P. Morse, Minerva, NY, M.R. 6 Mar 1906, History to Mrs. R.D. Montgomery, of Madison Wisconsin, M.R.
5 Mar 1906, Page 29. Form letter to Frederick P. Morse of Minerva, NY, from the US Department of Interior, Bureau of Pensions. Letter informs F(rederick) P. Morse (great-grandson of David Morse via David’s son Absalom P. Morse) of the known service record of David Morse in the Revolutionary War. Details are pulled from the pension documents above, and it states that he served for 10 1/2 months under Col. Huntington, and also “Performed several tours in the militia service (of Connecticut) from 3 to 6 months each, accounting to about 2 years”.
16 Feb 1906. Page 46. Letter: “To the commissioner of Pensions. Dear Sir. Will you kindly give me all the information in your power in regard to a pension issued to David Morse of Connecticut, soldier of the Revolution – in a letter written in 1828 he speaks of receiving a pension and of also expecting to receive “back pay”. He was born at Preston, Conn. but was living in Chateaugay, New York State in 1828. Any information you may be able to give me will be gratefully received by yours very sincerely, Mrs. R.D. Montgomery (Ellen H Morse, daughter of Sanford Wardwell Morse, sister to the afore-mentioned Frederick P. Morse), 1335 Rutledge St. Madison, Wisconsin. 16 Feb 1906.”
Unknown date. Page 47. Card: “26775”, and signature. Perhaps “Alex Russ”?
Unknown date. Page 50. Pack of folded paper. “David Morse Pension Papers, Invalid”.