Monday, March 31, 2014

Cross-Referencing Pension Files: The Revolutionary War Pension File of Asa Spelmore

A good practice when studying pension files is to locate the records of those who made sworn statements in support of a fellow soldier's application. Asa Spelman (Spelmore) had testified on behalf of John Carter on 13 Dec 1820.

Below you will find the first installment of Asa Spelmore's pension application (images 1-4). Because the file consists of a total of nineteen images, it will be treated as a mini-series.
NARA Publication M804
SERVICE                                        NUMBER
N.C.                Spelmore, Asa           S42022
[Left Side]
18-691 R
North Carolina
Asa Spelmore
(aged 74)
of Craven Cy in the State of N. Carolina
who was a Private in the Regiment commanded by Colonel Davidson of the N. Carolina
line, for the term of nine months 1778-9
Inscribed on the roll of North Carolina
at the rate of 8 Dollars per month, to commence on the 13 of September 1820.
Certificate of Pension issued the 1 of July 1822
[Gentle] Thomas Watson Esq.
Newbern, N.C.
Arrears to 4th of March 1822  141.83
[s]emi anl all'ce ending 4 Sept 1822   48      
{Revolutionary claim,
Act 18th March 1818.}
May 1, 1820
(Not on list)
[Left Side]
[per call ?] 14 Sept 1831
to the Pensioner

District of North Carolina
Craven County
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
September Term A.D. 1820
On this 13th day of September 1820 personally
appeared, in open Court, the said Court being
a court of record proceeding according to the
Course of the Common Law, with a Jurisdiction
unlimited in point of amount, keeping a record,
of its proceedings, and having power to fine and
imprison Asa Spelmore commonly called
Asa Spelmore, aged seventy four years who
being first duly sworn according to law, doth on 
his oath make the following declaration, in order
to obtain the provision made by the Acts of
Congress of 18th March 1818 and the 19th May
1820 that he the said Asa Spelmore enlisted
in the Company commanded by Captain
Quinn in the Tenth North Carolina Regiment
Continental Establishment Commanded by Colonel
Davidson, that he enlisted for nine months, &
served out his term, but cannot state the day
of his enlistment or discharge, he was discharged
at Halifax in North Carolina. He was not in
any engagement except a skirmish near West
point and at King's ferry in Jersey. he has
no other evidence of his service in his power
than the annexed affidavits of Isaac Perkins
and John Carter. And in [persuance] of the
Act of 19th May 1820. I do solemnly swear
that I was a resident Citizen of the United
States on the 18th 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 navel service of the 
United States, in the Revolutionary War passed
on the 18th day of March 1818. And that
I have not , nor any person in trust for me, 
my property or securities, contracts or debts owed
to me, nor have I any income or any property
except one Canoe, one paddle, declarant is
by occupation a Cooper, but from age &
infirmities he can work but little. He has
no family and resides with his brother.
Sworn to and declared, (signed)                 his                   
on the 13th day of)        Asa   X    Spelmore
September 1820)              mark                  

Isaac Perkins maketh oath that he was a
private soldier in the 2nd Regiment North
Carolina line in the Continental establishment in
the War of the Revolution, that while on service
at White Plains in the State of New York
a detachment of Continental troops [                ] that
place on duty, and among them he said the
the petitioner Asa Spelman or Spelmore whom he
had been long acquainted with in No. Carolina
that said Spelmore was then serving as a
Continental soldier, but deponent does not know
the length of his Services, deponent was at the
battle of Monmouth and at the seige of
Charleston.                      his                         
(signed)    Isaac      X     Perkins        

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Craven-Carteret County List of Declarations of Service Accompanying U.S. Pension Applications

--as extracted from Camin's "Declarations of Service" List (Box 7-14), 
State Archives of North Carolina

One of the most helpful tools when doing preliminary searches for primary documentation at an archives are the finding aids found on each repository's website. The North Carolina State Archives "Military Collection Finding Aids" contain lists of information grouped first by century, and then by conflict. They range from the Spanish Invasion Collection, 1742-1748 to the Iraq War Papers, 2001-2010. Each link opens into a PDF document which records each collection organized by box number and contents.

The following is an extraction, containing the names, dates of pension application, and the county in which they were filed. Altogether there are twenty-six applications from Craven County and one from Carteret County.

  1. Martin Black* (1820), Craven
  2. Furney Cannon (1853), Craven
  3. John Carter* (1820), Craven
  4. John Cox (1820), Craven
  5. Levi Dawson (1838), Craven
  6. Sacker Dubberly (1832), Craven
  7. John Gregory* (1832), Craven
  8. Samuel Ipock (1832), Craven
  9. John P. Ives (1832), Craven
  10. James Jones (1820), Craven
  11. Daniel Lane (1833), Craven
  12. Absalom Martin* (1820), Carteret
  13. Enoch Masters (1832), Craven
  14. William Morgan (1821), Craven
  15. Edward Nelson (1832), Craven
  16. Isaac Perkins* (1829), Craven
  17. Isaac Reed (1799), Craven
  18. Isaac Sampson (1820), Craven
  19. Aaron Spelmore* (Spelmen) (1820), Craven
  20. Asa Spelmore* (1820), Craven
  21. Peter Vendrick (1832), Craven
  22. William Warren (1821), Craven
  23. Robert L. Whitaker (1832), Craven
  24. Benjamin White (1832), Craven
  25. Rev. Rufus Wiley (1832), Craven
  26. Solomon Witherington (1832), Craven
  27. William Witherington (1832), Craven

Please note that all free persons of color are denoted with an asterisk (*) beside their name. Also, these are applications from those who served on the Continental Line. Others who served in the North Carolina State Militia are not represented here. Omission of a soldier's name from this list does not mean that there is no service record for that particular soldier--just that there was no application for pension made.

Revolutionary War Pension Files, the originals which are housed at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. [Publication Number: M804, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Catalog ID: 300022, Record Group: 15.], may be viewed at

Another interesting collection of Craven County documents found at the North Carolina State Archives are the Loyalist Records. For Craven County, there are two sets of files:

C.R. 028.301.12-13 County Court Minutes, 1776 (?)-1784. Part I contains proceedings in treason hearings by the state; Parts I and II contain matters related to confiscated property, 1778-1784.
C.R. 028.928.13. State v. Jethro Oates (1780), trial for treason. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Revolutionary War Pension File of John Carter (transcription)

 SERVICE                                                   NUMBER
      N.C.                Carter, John                     R1,749

John Carter
North Carolina line
10 Regmt Col Davidson
20 July 1778 - 9 mo

Certified by [faded]
that Carter stayed on
the [faded] mustered for
nine mo----

Dead. See letter from Saml
Gerock dated Newbern, July 10, 1828
Said letter not on file on
this claim. Oct. 1, 1918

Thos Watson
Newbern N.C.

United States of America ) Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
District o North Carolina  ) Septr Term 1820
Craven County                    )
On this 13th Day of Septr 1820 personally appear
ed in open Court the said Court being a Court of Re-
cord proceeding to the course of the Common
Law with a jurisdiction unlimited in point of
[                ] keeping a record of its' proceedings and
having power to fine and imprison, John
Carter aged --- Sixty six years who being first duly sworn
according to Law doth on his oath make the following
declaration in order to obtain the provision made by
the Acts of Congress of the 18th March 1818 and the
1 May 1820, that he the said, John Carter, enlisted for the term of nine months on the ------ day of------in the year -----in the State of No Carolina in the company commanded by Colo Quinn--in the 10th Regiment commanded by Colo Davidson in the line of the State of North Carolina--
on the Continental Establishment, that he continued
to serve in the said Corps until Nine Months.
when he was discharged from the said service in
at Halifax in the State of North Carolina -- deponent
is unable to State the time of his enlistment or
discharge -- he was not in any encampment but
was in some skirmishes, near West Point and at
Kings Ferry. He has no other evidence of his ser-
vices in his power except the adjoined deposition
of Asa Spelman -- And I do solemnly swear that I was
a resident Citizen of the United States on the 12th
March 1818 and that I have not since that time
by gift sale or any manner disposed of my prop-
erty 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
 certain persons Engaged in the Land and Naval service
of the United States in the Revolutionary War." --
passed 18th March 1818 and that I have not, nor has
any 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 hereunto
annexed & by me subdivided.  if His apparel
& biding his only property. declarant is by
occupation a Cooper, but age & infirmity have
rendered him for some years unable to work.
He has no family & lives with his sister
Margaret Fenner ----              his
                                   John   X   Carter
[       ] Sworn to and declared
on the 13th day of September
AD 1820 before
J G Stanly CC

Asa Spelman a Citizen of Craven County in
No Carolina, maketh Oath that he was a
Soldier in the Revolution, in Capt Quinns
Company, tenth Regiment Commanded by
Colo Davidson, No Carolina line, Continental
establishment & served nine months in said
service & deponent knows that John Carter
did enlist and serve in the same Company &
Regiment for the period of nine months.
[      ] Sworn and declared on the                                          his
13th day of September                                             Asa     X     Spelman
AD 1820 before                                                                 mark
J G Stanly CC

 State of No Carolina
Craven County
I, James G Stanly, Clerk of the
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of
Craven County, do hereby certify that
the foregoing oath and the schedule thereunto on
record, are truly copied from the records of said
Court: and I do further certify, that it is the
opinion of this said Court, that the total
amount in value of the said property exhibited
in the aforegoing schedule, is considerably
less than one hundred Dollars.
In testimony hereof I have hereunto 
set my hands, and affixed the seal of the 
said Court, on the 13th day of September
AD 1820.
J G Stanly  Clerk
of the Court of Pleas & Quarter
Sessions of Craven County March
Term AD 1821---
Frederick Jones Esq solemnly and 
sincerely declared and affirmed that he [has] made
acquaintance with John Carter the petitioner for a 
pension, that said John Carter is at this time
and has been for many years a resident of the
County of Craven and State of North Carolina
affirmed & [           ]
before me 13th March 1821)                     Fredk Jones
 in open Court                                                                    
                             J G Stanly                                                                          
And it is ordered that
the Clerk Certifies to the secretary at War of the
United States that the Witnesses in support of the
petition of said John Carter are worthy of credit
Witness     Jas G Stanly  Clerk of said Court
under the [           ] of said Court at Newbern
this 13th day of March 1821---
J G Stanly

State of North Carolina Secretary's Office 12th Dec 1820
I William Hill Secretary of State in & for the State a-
foresaid do hereby certify that it appears from
the muster rolls of the Continental line of this
this State in the Revolutionary war that John
Carter a private in Capt Quinn's Company of
the 10th Regt was mustered on the 20th July
1775 for nine months. The date of his dis-
charge is not mentioned.
Given under my hand
the date above
Wm Hill

[vertical]                                                [horizontal]               free
John Carter                                            [post mark] NewB. N.C.
     -----                                                                         APR 14
Thomas Watson                                     Honorable J C Calhoun
Agt                                                                Secretary at War
Newbern, N.C.                                                   Washington City,
     -----                                                                                         DC
Recd 24 Apl 1821

                [10/19] June [21]

1749                         [stamped] REJECTED
P.O. John Carter

Enlisted:                                       , 18    .
Discharged:                                  , 18    .
Application Filed:                        , 18    .
Act 1818 claims not
recorded in List of suspended
& rejected claims, printed
in 1852.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Honoring our Ancestors: Free Black Patriots of the Revolutionary War

When I was first contacted last October to assist in some research for a member of the DAR who was looking for the burial ground of her ancestor, Isaac Carter, I had no idea it would lead to such a wonderful tribute--with full honors--to our free black ancestors of Craven County, North Carolina.

Nor would I have guessed that I would be meeting together with Ms. Maria William Cole, National Vice Chairman Insignia, of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and a host of other dignitaries, from the highest officials of the SAR to state and local political and community service leaders, to pay tribute to these patriots.

The turnout exceeded my expectation when this event proceeded on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, with close to a hundred and fifty people or more, seated on folding chairs under three canopy tents.

The microphone cable lay along the wet grass and soon died out, and we, the speakers, were asked to use our "mother's voices" to make our presentations heard. Usually I record and transcribe the speeches at events such as this, but I had to forego it on this occasion. So, it is from memory that I share with you today the events of this past Sunday afternoon.

Perhaps the most memorable of all the speakers for me was Marion T. Lane, Ed.D., Commander in Chief, Society of the Descendants of Washington's Army at Valley Forge, and descendant of free black patriot, Martin Black, Private, Second North Carolina Regiment. Educator and author, she illustrated her message with descriptive cues which left one imagining how the patriotic free men of color had enlisted for the duration of the war, unlike the average white patriot, who had enlisted for only an average of nine months.

She depicted five northern regiments of free black patriots, including sailors, cavalrymen, and foot soldiers...fighting on the Continental Line and in the states militias. And then there were the free blacks of North Carolina. Their regiments were not segregated. Whites and blacks fought side-by-side for the freedom of a Nation, and of an oppressed people.

My presentation followed immediately after Dr. Lane's.
I am honored to be here on behalf of my husband, Cedric Carter, who is a descendant of six of the fourteen free black patriots we honor here today. 
Isaac Carter, his 3rd great grandfather
Joshua Carter, his 3rd great grand uncle
John Carter, his 3rd great grand uncle
George Perkins, his 4th great grandfather
Isaac Perkins, his 3rd great grand uncle, and
William Dove, the father-in-law of Charity (Carter) Dove, his 1st cousin four times removed.  
When we speak to our cousins and friends here in North Harlowe about our free black ancestor who served their country so gallantly, their minds turn to the Civil War; but, the Carter family has a rich history! 
The Carters were not freed slaves who enlisted for service. No, they had been free since 1684! There have been several studies and books dedicated to the Carters and the Georges, and they have a rich history...a history of freedom...of land owners who worked together with their white neighbors to build this community of North Harlowe. 
And even before these patriots served, the Carters' father, Abel Carter, and their Uncle Isaac Carter, had served in the North Carolina State Militia as early as 1754 [French and Indian War]. 
When our children grew up and attended school in Massachusetts, they were taught about the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry...and they were taught about the freed slaves and contraband who joined the Union forces during the Civil War...but they were never taught about the free blacks of North Carolina who volunteered to fight in the War of Independence...the American Revolution.
I am honored to be here today, and urge you to tell your children of the free black patriots of Craven County who dedicated their lives to independence for all Americans, black and white.
As I spoke of the years of freedom our ancestor had enjoyed nearly two hundred years before the outbreak of the Civil War, I could see the smiles of pride among family, and the nods of agreement among researchers, historians and dignitaries.

Following the Retirement of the Colors, several members of the SAR approached me with hand shakes and warm regards of thanks for my participation.
"Without you," said Guy Higgins, the initial researcher who had contacted me about the Forgotten Patriots project, "none of this would be happening today. Thank you."
Gary O. Green, whom I had assisted in identifying relationships among those buried in the George Family Cemetery, also gave me kind words of appreciation.

And lastly, I was surprised to be awarded a pin representing the SAR Outstanding Citizenship Award. I knew then that my departed 1st cousin once removed, Ralph Allen Cangson, former President of the Orange County Chapter of the California Sons of the American Revolution, would have been proud that I had continued in his footsteps.

As a family historian and researcher, I learned several things throughout this five-month project, but none more important than the humbling recognition that sometimes our family ties can be just as, if not more valuable, than what we know and can share about our family history. In all, it takes everyone working historians...and the multitude of cousins still on the home accomplish an act of honor which will be represented in the community long after the speeches are over.

Maria William Cole,
National Vice Chairman Insignia
National Society DAR