North Carolina's Revolutionary War Pay Records

Pay Vouchers

The following records are available in the North Carolina Archives in Raleigh.

Because the newly formed government rarely had gold to back the issues of the paper money, the public was very skeptical of its value. In order to pay for the war, a system of PAY VOUCHERS AND CERTIFICATES was used. Soldiers or anyone providing food/services were issued a written "promise" to be paid in the future...usually several years later with interest.

This type of "money" was conveniently used by the army passing through a location as the commander could complete forms or even write out in longhand.

In 1780, realizing that the system had been poorly organized, the General Assembly appointed auditors in each district who called in the vouchers, recorded them, and reissued new certificate stubs.

Genealogical Content of the Pay Voucher

They do not contain any personal information other than the individual's name. Even the location of issuance may not be where the person lived. There is no way to verify which "John Smith", this is.

They frequently exchanged hands, so you may find a series of "endorsements" as the owners use it to buy lands or pay a debt.

Many of these vouchers survive and are stored in the Archives, filed in alphabetical order by the name of the payee...about 200 boxes resulting in nearly 40,000 vouchers.

Revolutionary Army Accounts

There are also 31 volumes of Account Book kept in ledger style from 1780-1795
The Militia of North Carolina for Sundries allowed by the Auditors of New Bern District.
Randolph McDonald  Breeches
Absalom Rogers   Horse hire
George Williams    Shoes
There is an index for the first 12 volumes only. The Archives can make "certified copies" if you locate your ancestor's name.

For more complete information, see the Archives Publication "North Carolina's Revolutionary War Pay Records" by C.F.W. Coker and Donald R. Lennon.


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Virginia Crilley varcsix@hot.rr.com


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