Monday, May 10, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Revolutionary War Pension Affidavit of Mary Row

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several months ago called Amanuensis Monday.

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."

My subject today is the affidavit written by Mary (Smith) Row, widow of Phillip Jacob Row of hunterdon County, New Jersey. .

Phillip Row was a Revolutionary War soldier in the New Jersey Line. His widow applied for a pension on 4 February 1840 in Morris County NJ. The application states she was 85 or 86 in 1840, and that the soldier married Mary Smith 9 July 1772 at which time the soldier was age of 19 years 7 months and she was age 21 years 8 months and their first child Mary was born 19 July 1773. Phillip lived in Hunterdon County NJ at enlistment and the widow lived there when she applied in Morris County NJ. Phillip died 9 January 1817, and a son Phillip Rowe made affidavit 5 March 1850 from Morris County NJ and stated he was the only surviving son of the deceased widow, who died some 7 years prior to 1 March 1849 when Congress finally issued a pension certificate in her name. In 1850, the surviving children were the son Phillip and two unnamed daughters (Revolutionary War Pension File W2350, 48 pages, accessed on www.Footnote.com).

The widow's declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the 5th section of the act of Congress of the 4th July 1836, reads (pages 4 to 7 of 48):

State of New Jersey, County of Morris,

On this 4th day of February, 1840, personally appeared before the subscriber, a Judge of the Superior Court of Common Pleas of said County of Morris, Mary Row, aged 85 or 86 years, a resident of Tewksbury township in the County of Hunterdon, believed by me to be a woman of truth & unblemished character, & who from age & bodily infirmity, I certify is unable to attend Court at the Court house, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on her oath render the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress passed July 4th 1836:

I am the widow of Philip Row, who was a Militia soldier in the war of the Revolution & performed militia duties as I verily believe in every year of said war from its beginning to its end. He was at first a private soldier & lived in the bounds of Captain Godfrey Reinhardts Company, under whose command as Captain or as Major, most of his Militia duties were performed. He also belonged to Colonel Mehelm's Regiment of the Hunterdon Militia when home he often mentioned as well as the names of Colonel Frelingheusen & Colonel Seely, General Winds & General Dickinson, under whom he served at various times & places. It is not in my power to mention but a very few of the Services of my said husband, but some of his duties I have heard him speak of, as well as of some of the battles in which he was engaged. I have hear him tell of the battles of Millstone, of Monmouth & Springfield, in all of which I believe he was engaged. In the early part of the war, he carried his Rifle as a private, & on the promotion of Captain Reinhardt as Major, my husband was promoted to be an Ensign as I believe & afterward to be a Lieutenant. He had a suit of Regimentals which he wore when he went on duty as an officer a Blue Coat faced with Red, & an Epaulette on his Shoulder. I do not know what became of his commission, nor do I know that he ever recd a discharge in writing. I have often prepared his knapsack with provisions, & fitted him off with clothes & ammunition & he would be absent from home sometimes a month & sometime longer on militia duty, leaving me with our Children to provide for, & the farm to manage in his absence as well as I was able. Sometimes on claims (?) his absence would not exceed two & three weeks. The Comp??? was classed, & one class was called for a month, when it would be relieved by another taking its place, & when there was great danger from the Enemy, the whole would be ordered out. His officers I believe are all dead, & most of his comrades. I know of but two of them living, viz: William Young & John Blane, who served with my husband, whose testimony is hereto annexed, as the only evidence I can produce of his service in the war, upon which I claim a pension from the United States.

My husband performed a months duty under Captain Reinhardt at ar??? [blotch] in July 1776 & under Col. Mahelm & Genl Dickinson. He performed a ????s [blotch] Militia service at Elizabeth town, under the same officers in August 76. He performed a month service under Lt. Cramer at Raritan in October & November 76, & at Elizabeth town, following Genl Washington's retreat through Jersey from elizabeth town to N. Brunswick. He performed a month service at Trenton, N. Brunswick & its neighborhood, under Captain Emmam. The two last mentioned towns, altho as expected to be about a month in each, yet I have from conversation with John Blane, that the service was very unjust, & the Militia, with my husband was detained on duty not less than 6 weeks in each town, & I respectfully claim that period of service in each of the two last mentioned towns. The last town was in the winter, Jany 77 & February. He performed a month's duty with Capt, Reinhardt Col. Meholm, & Genl Dickinson at Millstone in the winter season, with the Somerset troops under Col. Frelinghausen & Col. Nelson & Genl Dickinson, when them was a battle with the enemy at Van Eps mills. My husband once pointed out the spot to me, when this battle was fought, as we were rideing toward N. Brunswick.

He performed another tour of Militia of a month duration at Crane's point near Elizabeth town in the fall season, under Capt. Reid & Major Reinhardt, Col. Puly & Genl Dickinson. On this occasion it is my belief, that he acted as Ensign in the Col. Read being chosen Captain in Major Reinhardts place & my husband as Ensign. I have heard him tell of crossing in the night from Elizabeth town to Staten Island & having a fight with the Enemy on the Island. I also remember him to speak of losing his gun flint in the action, & stopping to put another in its place, & to load his Rifle. Whilst doing this behind a Corn crib, the enemy were close upon him, & as he came to join his comrades he fired his gun at them, & their shot flew thick around him.

He performed another tour of a month's Militia duty at Freehold & English town at the time of Monmouth battle, in which I believe he was engaged personally, & in which I believe he was an Ensign or a Lieutenant. I cannot say certainly which. The first part of this month was spent at Trenton, performing guard duty.

He performed a month's Militia service in December near Springfield, in 1776, under Capt. Reinhardt, & with him was engaged in the Springfield battle at that time, Gen? Hear? commanding the Militia. He performed a month's Militia service in March 77, in Reinhardt's company, near ??ibble town, before the Enemy evacuated N. Brunswick & Amboy. The two towns last mentioned. I learn from conversation with William Young, a comrade of his, although I have heard my husband often speak of the Springfield battle, & the battles of Short hills & Ash Swamp, in which he was engaged, as I believe. He was out on public duty, both as a private & an officer, on many other occasions beside those before mentioned. Some of them were on claim, & some were regular monthly tours, which I cannot particularize, having no memorandums & my memory being frail. I am reminded of another tour which he performed near the close of the war, in February or March 1780, or 1781, when the Pennsylvania troops revolted & the Militia was called out to intercept them in the neighborhood of Pluckemun. For this & the other Services of my said husband in defense of his Country, I respectfully claim such a pension as under the Laws of congress I may be entitled to incur, believing that he has faithfully performed not less than 10 months service for which I ask a pension.

I was married to the said Philip Row by Reverend Frederick Dellicker on the 9th July 1772, & my first child Mary was born July 19th one year & 10 days after my marriage. I do not know of any Church or Parish record of my marriage but have in my possession a leaf, which my husband kept in his family German bible, whilst he lived & upon which leaf he had written in the German language with his own hand, the date of our marriage as well as his age at that time & my own age. Since his death, a School master in our neighborhood, whose name was John Beammer (?), & who understood German & English, has written on the same side of said leaf a translation into English which reads thus, viz: "1772. Philip Row was married to Mary Smith on the 9th of July, then I was 19 years and 7 months old, and Mary Smith was 21 years and 8 months old." This paper, I herewith send to the pension office, & it is in the handwriting of my said husband, who could not write in the English language at all. His books of account were all kept in German, & said John Beammer (?) assisted in settling said books & all his affairs, because he understood the German language. This is the only evidence I possess of my marriage.My husband, the aforesaid Philip Row lived in Hunterdon County in Tewksbury township when he entered upon his Militia duties in the war of the Revolution, where I now live, & where he lived till his death. It is not more than half a mile from the line which divides Hunterdon from Morris County, & the reason why my Declaration is taken in Morris County is because Judge Smith, who is my near neighbour, is better known to me & lives nearer to me than any one of the Judges of Hunterdon County. I am also so blind that I cannot distinguish one neighbour from another except by the voice & I am much too infirm from age & its weaknesses to travel to any Court house & especially to Hunterdon Court which is distant 20 miles.

My husband, the aforesaid Philip Row, died at our dwelling in Tewksbury, Hunterdon Co on the 9th of June, Domini 1817 & I have remained his widow to this day, as will appear by reference & proof hereto annexed.

Sworn to & subscribed at Washington township, Morris County on the 4th day of February Domini 1840.
her
Mary X Row
mark

Before me Joseph Smith one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Morris County.

This affidavit provides approximate birth dates for Phillip and Mary, their marriage date and place, and Phillip's death date and place. The Pension File also includes one Bible page, written in German by Philip Row, and the English translation by Mr. Beamer is shown, as transcribed above.

This file, plus the abstract of Phillip Row's will in the New Jersey Archives, and baptism records of some of their children in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ, are the only records I have for this family to date.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

This has a lot of wonderful details, Randy. I know you're glad to have found it. Did you get to see the Bible page in Footnote?