Adams County History & Genealogy

Adams County, Ohio Military History

Revolutionary War: Acts of Congress for Veteran Pensions

As to revolutionary pensions, the Act of September 29, 1789 gave to the wounded and disabled soldiers the pensions granted by the several states for a period of one year.

On July 16, 1790, Congress provided that the pensions paid by the states to wounded and disabled soldiers should be paid by the United States for one year.

The Act of March 23, 1792 required the soldiers to go before a court and produce a certificate from an officer of the regiment or company in which he served, that he was disabled, or he had to produce two witnesses to that effect. Also he had to have the evidence of two freeholders of his vicinity as to his mode of life and employment and means of support for the twelve months preceding. The court was required to examine and report his disability to the secretary of war.

The Act of February 28, 1793 required two surgeons to examine and report the disability. The judge of the court was required to make a recommendation in each case.

The Act of March 3, 1803 gave pensions to officers, soldiers, and sailors disabled by wounds, and also who did not desert the service. The district judge took the evidence and forwarded it. The act was enlarged 03 Mar 1805. 10 Apr 1806, another act was passed for those wounded in the service. The procedure was the same as under the former acts, but expired in six years. The pension was $5 per month to a private and half pay to an officer.

The Act of March 18, 1818 gave to every officer and soldier who served nine months or longer, and who was in need of assistance from his county, $8 per month for a private and $20 for an officer for life. So many claims were made under this act that on 01 May 1820, Congress passed the Alarm Act (a standing disgrace to our country), by which each person receiving a pension under its provisions was required to go before a court and take an oath as to his estate and income, and that he had not given away his property to bring himself within the act of 1818, and the pension was to be dropped, if this was not done. After the pensioner forwarded his evidence, the secretary of war was required to revise the lists and drop all he did not deem indigent. This did not apply to any who had been wounded. Major Finley elected not to take the oath and was dropped, but was restored in 1828.

The Act of June 7, 1832 granted pensions to all the officers and soldiers who had served for one or more terms, a period of two years, whether in the continental line or militia. In the list herein given all whose pension certificates were dated prior to 07 Jun 1832 were pensioned under the act of 18 Mar 1818, and those who were placed on the pension roll at a date subsequent to 07 Jun 1832 received pensions under the law of that date.

The celebrations of Independence Day for the first twenty-five years after the Revolutionary War were solemn and imposing affairs. At these the survivors of the Revolutionary War were honored by important places in the parades, processions, and in the seats at the public dinners.

Whenever it was practicable, the soldiers of the revolution were buried with military honors conducted by the nearest militia organization. The last surviving revolutionary soldier of Adams County passed away in 1851. The last surviving in the whole country died in 1869. The generations which knew them hardly appreciated their service. Now that the last of them is dead, and that we begin to understand the greatness of our country, we appreciate their services. It is to be hoped the people of Adams County will see that the grave of every one of them is properly marked, preserved, and honored, once a year, on Memorial Day, so long as our Republic shall continue.

from its earliest settlement to the present time including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the county's growth and containing numerous engravings and illustrations
Nelson W. Evans and Emmons B. Stivers [1900, West Union OH]