Pension Application of Smith Thompson S38438
Transcribed and annotated by C. Leon Harris
Virginia Augusta County Sct
On this 26th day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & nineteen came Smith Thompson of the said County of Augusta before me John Brown Judge of the Superior Court of Chancery appointed to be holden at Staunton and being sworn in solemn form on the holy Evangelist of Almighty god declares as follows that in the month of July in the year 1777 being a resident of Augusta County he came to Staunton in the same County and enlisted as a private with Robert Kirk a commissioned officer in the Company of Capt Granville Smith in the 16th Regiment of the Virginia line on Continental establishment [Col. William Grayson’s Additional Continental Regiment of Infantry] for three years. In the month of October following he left Staunton with his Company for head quarters in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia. He joined the army at White Marsh [Whitemarsh PA] and was commanded by Charles Scott, then commander of the Brigade of which the Regiment in which he served composed a part. The following winter he remained at Valley Forge. In the ensuing season he [illegible word] with the Army in pursuit of the British & was in the engagement at Monmouth Courthouse [28 Jun 1778]. From that place he went to the White plains and from thence to West Point on the Hudson. In the winter of 1778-78 he was quartered at Bonbrook [sic: Boundbrook] in New Jersey on the waters of the Raritan. In the campaign of 1779 he was with the northern Army, being then commanded by Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg, from whose Brigade he was detached to assist in the assault on Stoney point [Stony Point NY, 15 Jul]. He was also present at the taking of Powles Hook [sic: Paulus Hook at present Jersey City NJ, 19 Aug] the same year. In the winter of 1779 80 he was detached for the Southern Service and marched from Morris Town [Morristown] in New Jersey to Charles Town [Charleston] in South Carolina, where he arrived with his detachment about the 7th of April 1780 to assist in the defence of that place untill its surrender [12 May]. The detachment that marched from Morris Town to Charles Town was commanded by General [William] Woodford. During the time he was in service the Regiment in which he served was commanded by Colo Grayson & Colo Guess [sic: Nathaniel Gist]. He occasionally served under other commanders when detailed for some particular service. At the surrender of Charleston he was sent to Haderalls point [sic: Haddrell Point] from which place he made his escape and returned to Staunton, having been in actual service about three years. On his way from the South at Petersburg having but twelve days to serve Colo Samuel Hawes gave him a discharge which he sent to some [illegible word] office in Richmond with a view to get the bounty in Land that the government of Virginia had promised. The said Thompson further states that he has never received any pension either from the State or General Goverment; that he is now upwards of seventy one years of age; and in humble circumstances; his means of support being inadequate, and that therefor he requires the aid of his country for support. Sworn to & subscribed before me the day & year above written.
At the same time & place came before me Frederic Grass [pension application S39607] a witness on behalf of the said Thompson and being duly sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God deposeth & saith that he came to Valley Forge in the Spring of 1778 before the army broke up being a soldier in the 12th Virginia Regiment. That he then became acquainted with Smith Thompson the person who made the above declaration and who then was a private in the 16th Virginia Regiment; that he saw the said Smith Thompson frequently in the Army during the campaign of 1778 & 1779. In the latter part of 1779 the deponent was detached for the Southern service and he then saw the said Thompson in the same detachment in passing to Charleston. During the Siege of Charleston this deponent saw the said Thompson frequently and believes him to have been captured with the other American troops there in that place. Sworn to & subscribed before me the day & year above written.
[On 10 May 1819 William Evans [pension application S25069] deposed that he had served with Smith Thompson in the 16th VA Regiment.]
Virginia, Corporation of Winchester to wit:
Doctor Cornelius Baldwin this day [13 May 1819] appeared before me [Obed Waite] Mayor of the Corporation aforesaid, and made oath on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, that Smith Thompson was a private in the revolutionary Army and served for some time in the 8th Virginia Regiment commanded by Colo [James] Wood, being the same Regiment to which this affiant was attached – that the said Smith Thompson belonged to the Company of Capt Alexander Breckenridge [Alexander Breckinridge] as well as this affiant recollects, and that he acted as a Barber. And that the said Smith Thompson was taken prisoner at the capture of Charleston South Carolina, to the best of this affiants recollection. But he is not able to say how long the said Thompson served in the Revolutionary army, although he is persuaded that it was for a considerable length of time, at least twelve months.
Augusta To witt.
This day Alex’r StClair came before me a Justice of the peace for said County and made Oath that he was aquanted with Smith Thompson, that he inlisted as a soldier in the Continental Armey in Capt Granvel Smiths Comp’y and was sworn in as a soldier in my counting room by Jno. Tate Esq’r. I think in July 1777 & that he returned to Staunton in this County in or about the year 1780 with Capt Bowen, and was informed at the time that he was discharged at Petersburgh on his way home certified under my hand this 26th day of July 1819
State of Virginia
Augusta County, to wit,
On this 26th day of July 1820 personally appeared in open court (being a court of record) for the County of Augusta (in which proceedings are had according to the course of the common Law, which has unlimited jurisdiction within said county in civil suits, has the power of fine & imprisonment and has all its proceedings duly registered) Smith Thompson aged about seventy three years resident in the said County, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath declare, that he served in the Revolutionary war, as follows, that he enlisted in Staunton Virginia on the 10th day of July 1777 with Lieut Robert Kirk of the Company of Captain Granville Smith, that he was then marched to White Marsh and attached to the 16th Regiment commanded by Colo William Grayson; that he was in the Battles of Monmouth Courthouse, Stoney point Powlas Hook and at the seige of Charleston, where he was captured, and that he was afterwards at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse [15 Mar 1781] and the Capture of Cornwallis [19 Oct 1781], and that he was discharged in the month of June 1780. [See endnote.] He is now unable to follow his occupation which is that of a weaver. He has already made a declaration under the act of Congress, passed on the 18th of March 1818 which is dated the 16th July 1819, his pension certificate is dated the [blank] day of October 1819. He further swears that he was a resident citizen of the United States on the 18th day of March 1818; and that he has not since that time, by gift sale or in any manner disposed of his property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it, as to bring himself 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 he has not nor has any person in Trust for him any property or securities contracts or debts due to him, nor has he any income, other than is contained in the schedule hereto annexed, and by him subscribed. He further swears that the only members of his family are his wife, aged about Forty five years, who is sickly and infirm and unable to contribute materially toward the support even of herself and a small servant girl about Eight years old belonging to John C Sowers of said County. Schedule, One House and Lot; 2 Walnut Tables & Leather Bottom chairs (old) 2 Split bottom d[itt]o. 1 Loom and harness. 1 Quill wheel and swifts 1 Clock 1 cow and two calves 1 old desk 1 Bible and some religious Books, Debts due me about Ten Dollars against which is to be set off debts due by me, besides the purchase money of the said house and Lot upwards of $100. Signed Smith Thompson
Sworn to and declared on the 24th day of July 1820 before the said Court of Augusta County
Teste Erasmus Stribling
[The court certified that the valued of Thompson’s property was $760.]
To the honourable John C Calhoun Secretary at War of the United States
The representation & remembrance of the undersigned citizens of Augusta County Virginia respectfully states. That they have understood with some degree of surprise that Smith Thompson one of the living soldiers of the Revolution has been stricken from the Pension Roll on which he had been placed by virtue of the act of Congress passed on the 18th day of March in the year 1818. This act they presume was done in the excercise of the direction which the late act passed on the 1 May 1820 gives to the Secretary at War; and under a belief on his part, that the circumstances of the said Thompson & his pecuniary means rendered any aid for his support on the part of his country unnecessary
The undersigned have been informed that the respectable court of Augusta County entered it as their opinion on record that the said Thompson notwithstanding he possessed some property enumerated in his Schedule was unable to support himself without the aid of his country. They are willing to add their own Testimony, so far as the facts have come within their knowledge, to that afforded by the official act of the court, and to state it as their belief that the means in the power of the said Thompson are insufficient for his maintenance.
Of the correctness of this opinion there can be indeed but little question. A man of seventy three years of age, exposed in his better days to the hardships of a service more than ordinarily severe; now frequently afflicted with disease, the consequences of his exposure to the inclemency of every climate, can not be expected to acquire a subsistence for himself & his wife by labour alone. His property which indeed is intirely at the mercy of his creditors affords no revenue. His house & Lott so long as it is left in his occupancy may afford him shelter, but where is he to get food & raiment” Is he to sell his property & subsist on it? That might be a transient relief were his property not incumbered. As to his personal property, it will be readily seen that to sell that part which is composed of his mechanical implements & which he can sometimes use, would add to his necessities; the rest is inconsiderable & almost indispensible to his living at all
The undersigned have understood that the said Thompson was stricken from the Pension roll in consequence of some general rules which it was thought expedient to adopt to carry into effect the act of thee first of May 1820. They will not pretend to say that it was not necessary to adopt such rules, though to them it appears that each case presents a distinct question for seperate consideration. They regret however that by the operation of any such rules, or from any other cause whatever, the bounty of the country should be withdrawn from those, who have fought its battles, and that when afflicted by age & disease they should be deserted, to struggle with want.
The undersigned respectfully submit these considerations to the Secretary at War & beg leave to suggest a reconsideration of the case of Mr Thompson
[signed] Arch. Stuart Jno. [illegible]
[On 29 Apr 1823 Thompson made a new pension application that is identical to the one following except that it describes the disposal of some of his property. Other documents in the file state in great detail to whom Thompson’s former property was sold and for how much, and they describe Thompson’s lot on Beverley Street in Staunton.]
State of Virginia
Augusta County, to wit:
On this 26th day of November 1823 personally appeared in Open Court, being a Court of record for said County, denominated the County Court Smith Thompson resident in said County, aged about seventy five years, who being duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration in order to obtain the pension made by the acts of the 18th of March 1818 and the 1st of May 1820, and the first of March 1823. That he the said Smith Thompson enlisted for the term of Three years, on the 10th day of July 1777 in Staunton in the State of Virginia in the Company commanded by Captain Granville Smith in the Regiment Commanded by Colo William Grayson in the line of the State of Virginia on the Continental establishment, that he continued in service in the same Regiment until the 4th of June 1780 when he was discharged by Colo Samuel Hall, Colo. Nathaniel Guest (the Commandant of the Regiment) having been captured by the enemy [Same oath as in the 1820 application repeated here] That since the rendering of my second schedule the house and lot contained therein & the personal property other than what is contained in the annexed schedule has been sold to satisfy Debts and did not sell for a sum sufficient to discharge them. The following is a schedule of my property
1 Loom and tackling
1 Family Bible
3 Hymn Books
1 bed bedstead and furniture
1 old walnut book case
1 Brass Kettle
The said Smith Thompson further declares on oath, that he is a weaver, but, his age & sickness prevent him from labouring a great portion of his time, that he has a wife about forty five years of age who is sickly & infirm and unable materially to contribute toward her suppot
[The court certified the property to be worth $40.]
Thompson’s services at Guilford Courthouse NC and Yorktown were probably as a militiaman. He may not have mentioned them in his original declaration because only service in the Continental Line was credited under the acts of 1818 and 1820.
Thompson does not appear to have been restored to the pension list.
On 11 Dec 1840 Nancy Thompson wrote from Staunton to inquire about the procedure for obtaining any portion of Smith Thompson’s pension as his widow.