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John Ecklor Pension
File - A Summary

Contributed and transcribed by Gene Eicklor

John's pension file is instructive in a number of respects.[1]  The file covers the period of 1818 to 1850.  The surname is spelled eight different ways:  Ackler, Acklor, Eichler, Eckler, Ecklor, Eickler, Eiklar and Eiklor.  To the myriad spelling of the surname in the three pension files, their father's surname on the Coxsackie Declaration is “Eagler.” 

            The first record of John receiving a pension was under the Act of 1818.  He was then 59 years old.   Information from Albany indicated John had enlisted as a Private in February or March 1777 at Catskill, New York.  John's served from 1777 through 1783.  During his terms of service he first served under Captain Andrew Finck, Jr.  In his second term he was in Captain John Ten Broeck's Infantry of the 1st New York Regiment.  Both the Finck and Ten Broeck units were commanded by Colonel Van Schaick.  He did duty at Fort George on Lake George; at Fort Stanwix; at White Plains; at Valley Forge; twice at Schnectady, and a site that is not legible in the file. 

            In 1820, John went back to the Court of Common Pleas at Catskill to give another statement.  At that time he was a day laborer.  Due to his age and
infirmities, he was having a difficult time.  He was supporting Gertrude[2] and four of their eleven children.  The three oldest children in the household were daughters ranging in age from seventeen to fourteen.  The youngest was a ten year old boy. The Court had caused an inventory of John’s holdings.  His estate was valued at $20.  John continued to receive his pension of $96 per year until his death on 15 January 1833. 

            Gertrude (Brandow) Ecklor sought a widow's pension under the Act of 4 July 1836.  In her statements to the Court she asserted that John's records were in the War Department files.  She declared John and she had married after his military service had been completed in 1783.  They were married by Reverend John Schuneman on 15 April 1786.  In addition to Gertrude's February 1827 statements, over the next five years sworn statements by her children and some of the 1786 wedding guests were obtained to support Gertrude’s marriage to John.  A great effort was made by the family, the wedding guests, and the Court to detail that John and Gertrude had not only lived as husband and wife, they in fact had been formally married by Reverend John Schuneman of the Dutch Reformed Church.  Schuneman along with James Barker, Esquire are deemed to be the co-authors of the Coxsackie Declaration of Independence.  John Schuneman family was also a part of the Palatine immigration in 1710. 

            Gertrude's son, Henry, affirmed that his father received a pension under the Act of 1818 and that John's wife was Gertrude.  Henry's paternal uncle, Peter Ecklor, stated he knew his half brother John.  He stated that he had personally witnessed the wedding ceremony performed by Reverend Schuneman.  Witnessing that same 15 April 1786 wedding ceremony was Catherine Overbagh, Gertrude's cousin.  Gertrude's brother, Henry Brandow, made a similar statement about the date and his witnessing Schuneman conducting the wedding ceremony for Gertrude and John. 

            To support the marriage of John and Gertrude, the file includes a statement by Justice of the Peace John Van Vechten.  Whether Van Vechten shared the information contained in his statement with Gertrude and the family is not known.  He lived in Catskill as did Gertrude and members of her family.  Mr. Van Vechten made an effort to track the records of the Schuneman ministry at the Dutch Reformed Church.  The records were not to be found.  From the statements to the Court by Reverend Schuneman’s sons, who were living at Catskill, on the decease of their father, the church records in his possession were mutilated and destroyed when the estate was being inventoried and distributed.[3] 

            Gertrude received her annual pension of $80 from 1836 to 1841.  In 1843, her daughter, Polly, with whom her mother was then residing, stated that Gertrude's pension records were at Washington and that her mother wished the pension to be renewed under the Act of 1843.  The War Department had apparently lost or misfiled records as there are a number of inquiries from the Court at Catskill concerning this issue and the status of her pension.   

            In 1850, there was a new question about her pension under the Act of 1848.  Gertrude wanted to know why she had not been paid the full pension granted to her husband John as provided under the laws.  She asserted she was to receive the same annual pension of $96 accorded to John.  From its earliest date, the annual pension for Gertrude had been miscalculated at $80.  John's monthly pension was $8, giving him an annual pension of $96.  There is no reply or resolution in the widow's file about this error which had started in 1836.  She had been shorted $16 each year.  Gertrude's death date is not known.  At the time of the 1850 inquiry, she was about 90 years old. It is conceivable that Gertrude died shortly after she had started her inquiry and that the pension and the correspondence stopped.  

[1] The primary material used in this section is based on information found in Pension File #7750, Pension allowed #7750, New York and W19214 for John and Gertrude Ackler–Eiklor- Eckler, Full Set, National Archives, Washington, D.C. and Virgil D. White, “Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Vol. I: A-E, (Waynesboro, TN, National Historical Publishing Co., 1990:  “Ackler, John BLW #6752-100 and Eckler, Gertrude, W19214.

[2] Donna Valley Stuart, The Lehmann/Leman/Layman Family of Greene County, New York, RECORD, Apr 1979, 110:  105-07.

[3] The gap in the records of the Dutch Reformed Church at Catskill (Leeds) as translated and edited by R. W. Vosberg under the auspices of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society coincide with the years of Rev. John Schuneman's ministry.  Vosberg records Schuneman was ordained on 9 January 1753 and died 16 May 1794, "Syllabus of Dates,” Catskill - Reformed Dutch Church at Catskill – 1732 - 1833, iii.

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