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Revolution Pensions

Review the various laws to see how your ancestor would have been affected. Calculate the possible age of the ancestor to see if he was alive at the time these pensions were offered.

Aug 26 1776 - Congress authorizes pension

May 24, 1780 - Congress authorizes pensions

Act of 1818

Act of 1820


Congressional Serial Set (National Archives) in 1820 (Series 34-55) listed 15,000 American Revolutionary pensioners.

Act of Applications begun (Many destroyed in fires of 1800 and 1814, but partial records are in Congress reports of 1792, 1794, 1795)

Act of 1826

Act of 1828

Act of 1832


How was the Application Process done?
Every thing was begun at the County Level, but was forwarded to the Federal Government, so as far as I can find out there isn't anything remaining in the County Courthouse or even in the State Archives.

Applications varied according to the date of application....see the various laws above.

Usually the person appeared before a county court and described under oath the military service. A widow had to supply the date and place of her marriage. They also might have had to supply papers indicating propery owned and affadavits from witnesses. These papers were forwarded to the Secretary of War or the Commissioner of Pensions.

If approved, his name was added to the list, and semiannual payements through Federal pension agents within the state were made.

If he was not approved, could he reapply?
Yes. As you can see the laws sometimes became more liberal, so an application might be accepted under later definitions. As fewer veterans remained, the laws became more generous.

What might I find in the Pension Application Files?
They vary a great deal. They may contain family Bible records, birth records, marriage certificates, letters from other veterans.

Read this pension application of Thomas Tart for a good understanding of what a pension might contain.

I understand the 1840 Census listed all Revolutionary War Pensioners? Were there any in Bertie County?

1840 Bertie Co Census
Revolutionary War pensioners - 3

 John White a Revolutionary Soldier  age 88
 His wife Easter 83
 He and his wife have [bin] married Sixty five years

William Whiteford age 86
This is probably William Watford - modification of name by 1840.

John Hoggard   age 89

Where can I start without making a trip to Washington, D.C?
Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, 4 Vol abstracted by Virgil D. White, published in 1991 and 1992 by the National Historical Publishing Company, Waynesboro, TN.
This index book including the abstracts which will give the microfilm roll no. to look for.
The National Archives has Microfilm roll M 881 The Compiled Service Records of the Revolutionary War Soldiers Who Served With The American Army During The Revolutionary War - RG 93 ( 1097 Rolls).
You can review the Roll at any of the District National Archives offices or order the film through LDS. These may contain Bible records,birthdates,family members,death records.

My Library doesn't own this book? Are there older ones?

Roster of North Carolina Soldiers in the American Revolution by Genealogical Publishing Co, 1972 (Originally published by the D.A.R. , Durham, N.C., 1932) which lists:
Heitman's Register: First,Second, and Third North Carolina Lines; and Pierces's Register (from the seventeenth report of the Daughters of the American Revolution The General Index of this Register is preserved in MSS. in the Library of Congress. North Carolina Certificates 89,501 to 91,938); US War Dept report of pensions 1835 - 1,400 NC names

I've found his name on a list. Now what?
You're on the way!
See ordering information for how to request his military record. Also Bounty Land. Also Pension Record. But each one must be submitted separately to the National Archives - Washington.
Ask for the entire file. If you don't specifically say this, they just send you the first 10 pages.


What are some on-line places to help me connect with other persons researching my ancestor?


  • Ordering the pension/military/bounty land record
    Obtain FORM 80 available via e-mail. Be sure to state: 1) Quantity needed 2) Correct Form # 3) your postal mailing address
    Or if you prefer, postal inquiry: National Archives Form NATF Form 80
    Military Services Branch
    National Archives and Records Administration
    8th & Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington DC 20408

    When you return the form, they will search certain records for that individual. If you use your credit card, they will proceed to copy and send to you the information they found. If they are unable to find any information you will be notified, and there is NO CHARGE. The cost for a successful search if $10 and depending on the amount of copying, some extra charges.


    The Last Men of the Revolution Rev. E.B. Hilliard (1864) contains a brief biography and a photograph of each surviving veteran. Reprinted by Barre (MA) Publishers in 1968.
    Based on information from "Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives".

    Please send any comments :

    Virginia Crilley varcsix@hot.rr.com


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