Monday, February 15, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Isaac Buck Revolutionary War Affidavits

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several months ago called Amanuensis Monday. I loved the idea, and recently decided to follow it in order to share ancestral information and keep the theme going, and perhaps it will expand to other genealogy bloggers.

What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

Today's transcription involves the Revolutionary War Pension File for Isaac Buck (1757-1846), a soldier in the Continental Army. The Revolutionary War Pension Abstract for Isaac Buck reads:

"BUCK, Isaac, S34136, Cont & MA Line, appl 8 Apr 1818 Worcester Cty MA aged 60 a res of Sterling MA, in 1820 sol had a wife Patty aged 60 and a son Isaac 14 his only child living at home" (Virgil White, "Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pensions", Vol. 1; p. 450).

The Revolutionary War Pension file for Isaac Buck indicates that for his service, he was awarded a pension of $8 per month commencing 8 April 1818.

The Revolutionary War Pension File for Isaac Buck is 17 pages, all of them available on On the third image of the file, Isaac Buck testifies to his service and life situation in his application in 1818:

"I, Isaac Buck, a citizen of the United States, now resident at Sterling in the County of Worcester in the State aforesaid, do on oath testify and declare that in the War of the revolution in the month of December in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine, I entered and engaged in the land service of the United States on the continental establishment, and served accordingly from that time to the end of the war as a private against the common enemy without any interruption or absence, that I belonged to Captain Jackson's company of Artillery in Colonel Crane's Regiment under the command of General Knox, and that I left the service in the month of June 1783 at West Point when the Army was disbanded, and that by reason of my reduced circumstances in life and poverty, I stand in need of assistance from my country and support being now of the age of sixty years - and I hereby relinquish all claims to every pension heretofore allowed me by the laws of the United States if any may be or hath been allowed. My discharge was lost from my pocket many years since and is not in existence."

/signed/ Isaac Buck.

The sixth image of the file on includes an affidavit, probably written by someone on behalf of Isaac Buck, that includes a schedule of the property belonging to Isaac Buck of Sterling as of May 1 1820:

The property includes:

"one cow - one clock - one table - one looking glass - one chest - one shovel - one tongs - crockery - glass stemware - one old axe - one hoe - one old plough - one old wagon - one pot - one kettle - one pair of dogs - three old chairs - six knives and forks - $30.25"

The schedule also says, apparently written for Isaac Buck:

"The said applicant is a farmer, but wholly unable to labour the present season on account of a wound in his shoulder in May last - and never expects to perform much labour hereafter. His wife named Patty Buck is aged 60 years - is barely able to do the work of her house. I have but one child at home named Isaac Buck aged 14 years and performs as much labour as other farmer's boys at his age, but does nothing toward my support. This is the whole of my family.

/signed/ Isaac Buck."

My best guess is that the first affidavit above is written by Isaac Buck, since there is no indication of a mark. However, it may have been written by another person (but not the person who wrote the second affidavit in 1820).

Look at that property schedule - they had precious little to their name, did they?

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