Monday, July 4, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - James H. Dill's Inquiry in Thomas Dill's Revolutionary War Pension File

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme many 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."

The subject today is the letter from James H. Dill to the United States government inquiring if he is eligible for Bounty Land as a result of Thomas Dill's Revolutionary War service.  The  letter of inquiry is included in Thomas Dill's Revolutionary War Pension File (image 9 of the Thomas Dill file in the collection from National Archives Microfilm Publication M804):

The transcription of this letter is (punctuation interpreted as best possible):

New York, Augt 22. 1836

Dr Sir.

An answer to my Inquiry if I was Entitled to Bounty Land or other Emolument as the Surviving Son of Thomas Dill of Massachusetts a Revolutionary Soldier.

My Father I think Recd a Pension in 1830, or near that time, for several years - he died at a very advanced age and left no Widow.

Will you Please inform me as to the rules of the department to which I am to apply In case I have a claim as the Heir of Thomas Dill, also, what Evidence will be necessary to Establish my Claim, and oblige Sir

Your obt Servt

James H. Dill

Ja S. Cole Esq.

This letter is to James S. Cole, Esquire, who I believe worked for the agency that administered Revolutionary War Pensions in the 1836 time period.  The letter is in the hand of the inquirer - James H. Dill, and is a very distinctive hand.  You can see, on the image, that he put his quill down at the end of almost every word!

The document above provides an original source document, with secondary information, and direct evidence that James H. Dill is the son of Thomas Dill of Eastham, who served in the Revolutionary War and received a pension.

Who is James H. Dill besides the son of Thomas Dill (his birth is recorded in the Eastham, Massachusetts Town Records)?  As I mentioned in Amanuensis Monday - Insolvency Sale of Land of Alpheus B. Smith, a James H. Dill purchased the land of Alpheus Smith (1798-1840) in Medfield, and the widow's dower, at auction in 1840. 

Alpheus Smith's widow was Elizabeth Horton (Dill) Smith (1794-1869), and I believe, but have not yet proven to my satisfaction yet, that Elizabeth Horton (Dill) Smith was the daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Horton) Dill, and sister to James H. Dill.

I've also found other records for James H. Dill in James H. Dill in the Vital and Census Records and James H. Dill in Newspaper, Cemetery and Book Records, and I believe that the information pertains to the same person as the son in the Thomas Dill pension file and the Alpheus Smith probate file.

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant, with proper attribution. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

No comments: