Monday, July 5, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Peter Putman's Rev War Pension Affidavit

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own 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."

My subject today is an affidavit included in the Revolutionary War Pension File for Peter Putman (1760-1835), who served in the Revolutionary War in the state of New Jersey (obtained from

"State of New York County of Steuben: On this second day of February 1825 personally appeared in open Court being a court of record for said County Peter Putman aged sixty five years resident in the town of Barrington in the said County who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath made the following declaration in order to obtain the provision made by the acts of Congress of the 18th March 1818 and then 1st May 1820. That he the said Peter Putman enlisted for the term of two years during the revolutionary war on or about the 5th day of March 1778 in the State of New Jersey in the company commanded by Captain Holmes in the 2d Regiment commanded by Colonel Dayton in the line of the State of New Jersey on the continental establishment: that he continued to serve in the said corps until about the 1st October 1780 when he was discharged from the said service at Princeton in the State of New Jersey from the hospital that he was in the battle of Monmouth and also in another battle which was fought in the State of New Jersey, which battle used to go by the name of the Pompton battle: that he received a written discharge from said service signed as the declarant believes by the said Colonel Dayton and which discharge was delivered to him by the Surgeon and which discharge he has long since lost and cannot now produce: that he has no other evidence now in his power of his said services except the affidavits of Moor Wilson & John Jolly, that the said Moor Wilson is very old and infirm and is now confined to his bed in consequence of a fall; and that the said John Jolly now resides fifty four miles from Bath in the said County of Steuben, is old and very weak and infirm and cannot as this declarant believes endure so long a journey - That the family of this declarant consists of himself and his wife Sarah aged 64 years, neither of whom are able to work much being afflicted with rheumatism. That he made a declaration in writing of his said services before Thomas McBurney Esq. first Judge of the County of Steuben on the 3d February 1920: that he hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension except the present: that his name is not on the roll of any State except that of New York, and that the following are the reasons for not making earlier application for a pension: that he did not wish to be dependent on his country while he was able to maintain himself and wife: that owing to sickness and misfortunes he has become unable to work and is quite reduced in his circumstances - and in pursuance of the act of 1st May 1820 I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the eighteenth day of March 1818 and that I have not since that time by gift sale or in any manner disposed of my property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provisions of an act of Congress entitled "An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States in the revolutionary war" passed on the 18th day of March 1818 and that I have not nor had any other person in trust for me any property or securities contracts or debts due to me nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed and by me subscribed. That I am a farmer by occupation but owing to my advanced age and rheumatic complaints I am not able to do much labor.
........................................................Peter Putman
"Sworn to and declared on the 2d day of February 1825 before me: John Metcalfe, Clerk of Steuben County."

"Property in former Schedule
Real estate I have none
Personal estate
one cow which will be 8 years old next spring $10
two calves which will be one year old next spring $8
four sheep common blood $4
Ten pigs four or five months old very small $2
One old feather bed - been in use thirty years small Slight $4
Two old and worn blankets & one coverlet also old & worn $1.50
Two old linen sheets $0.50
An old indifferent ash bedstead $0.35
An old 3 pail kettle & one other old small kettle both cracked & hooped $1.50
An old table broken & split cost one dollar when purchased $0.25
An old chest been in wear thirty years $0.25
An old small trunk been in use as long $0.13
Three pewter plates $0.38
4 small earthen plates $0.12
2 old knives & 3 forks $0.12
6 old iron spoons $0.18
3 old earthen tea cups & saucers $0.06
One old axe & one old hoe $0.75
One old worn out mowing scythe $0.25

"Schedule of property
Real estate I have none
One two year old steer $8
One yearling heifer $6
Three shotes $3
One chest $1
One small trunk $1
One dinner kettle $1
One tea kettle $1
One pan $0.75
Six earthen plates $0.37
Three chairs $1
One table $1
Three tea cups & saucers $0.12
One large wheel $1
Two earthen crocks $0.25
One bucket $0.25
One churn $0.50
Two Barrels $1
Several knives & forks say 5 $0.25
Two basons $0.50
Two bowls $0.12
One old waggon $15
[Total owned"] $43.62

"And that since the exhibition of the former schedule the following changes have taken place in my property -
The Cow mentioned therein died last spring
The two calves have been killed for provisions for my family
The four sheep have been sold for grain for the use of my family
The four pigs have been killed for provisions for the use of my family

"That I am indebted to Abraham P. Vosburgh Esq. of Penri Yaw for a plough which I have since parted with to pay Doctors bill $14
To Daniel Shannon for carding & fulling $12.80
To William Babcock for pork for provisions for my family $10
To Mrs. Ellsworth for do for do $5
[Total owed] $41.80"

The affidavit itself is fairly standard - it appears that it was dictated by the declarant to the amanuensis, and the signature of Peter Putman is in the clerk's hand, not Peter Putman's.

There are two lists of the property - the first one is a list prepared several years earlier, and the second is the one created at the time of the present affidavit.

The list of the personal "stuff" belonging to Peter Putman is fascinating and sad - they had so little, and yet lived for years using their stuff. It reads as if they finally decided to apply for the pension because they were destitute, having killed their calves and pigs, and sold their sheep, to eat.

1 comment:

Geolover said...

"Abraham P. Vosburgh Esq. of Penri Yaw" was probably of Penn Yan(n).