State of Indiana Shelby County SS
Declaration of Revolutionary War
In the Probate Court of Shelby County August Term 1841
On this 10th day of August in the year of Our Lord eighteen hundred and forty one, Personally appeared before the Honorable Jacob Kennerly Judge of said Court now in session -
JOSHUA ENSMINGER a resident of Liberty Township in the County of Shelby and State of Indiana, aged Eighty one years (on the 8th day of March last) Who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the act of Congress passed the 7th of June 1832
That he entered the service of the United States (as a private) under the following named Officers; and served as herein stated:
Our Colonel's name was
Samuel Vance, Our Captain's name was John B. Bary, Our Lieutenant's name was
William Deen, and our Ensigns's name was William Bowler.
Some time in the fall of the year 1780 (and which time I do not distinctly recollect, but from the Certificate of Service which I received from the above mentioned officers I believe said time to have been about the 23rd day of October) I was drafted from the Militia of Augusta County in the State of Virginia (where I then resided) and rendezvoused with about 30 others recruits for the American Army about that time, at the Paynter Gap Mill in Said County of Augusta, at which place we were put under the Command of Sergeant
John Hazzard and were marched under his command the next day to Staunton in the same County Where we with others were formed into a Company under the Command of Captain John Bary under Command of whom with the above named Lieutenant and Ensign we Marched from Staunton by the way of Winchester and across the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry through Frederick in the State of Maryland. We continued our March stopping a day or two at a time occasionally until we arrived at a Fort occupied by the American Troops about two miles above York Town on the York River, said Fort was located on the opposite side of the river from York Town. At this fort we met our Colonel Samuel Vance who had left us at Staunton the day before we marched from there. Our Company remained in the fort until some time in the Spring, where our company and two other Companies were Stationed about three fourths of a mile down the River from the fort where we were occupied in digging a trench or ditch across the neck of land from the river to a bay to protect our troops from the enemies light-horse we were occupied in digging said trench about three weeks. When we had completed the trench we were marched back to the fort, when we arrived there we were informed that the [---------] had landed on the same side of the river, and but a short distance below us. The same or the next day a part of our Troops, myself among the rest, Our Captain, Lieutenant, Ensign, and about twenty five others of our Company (I think ours was called the Third Company, we had had seventy three men in it including the Officers) were ordered out of the fort. We marched down the river and across the trench that we had dug, and beyond it about half a mile, where we made a halt and remained until some time in the afternoon when we were attacked by the enemy. After exchanging a few shots with them we were ordered to retreat, which we did back to the fort and arrived there about sunset. We lost in this engagement (I think) six men killed. After this our company remained in and about the Fort for several weeks, when a part of our troops, myself and them had another engagement which took place near the same ground where the first did. I think the Americans lost (in Killed) about sixty men. Our Company had five men Killed (I do not recollect their names). Our Company belonged to the tenth regiment which was Commanded by Colonel Samuel Vance from Greenbrier County in the State of Virginia. The last engagement above mentioned took place a few days before the surrender of Cornwallis. I was present and saw Cornwallis surrender his sword. I think it was Lafayette who received his sword. General Washington, Lafayette and other officers were present, this took place about a mile below the Fort above mentioned and on the same side of the river, about the Middle of the day or a little after. The officers who received Cornwallis' Sword returned it to him after a short time. I have forgotten the names of the fort and the names of Most of the Officers that were there , those whom I recollect besides those above mentioned were Colonel Lee and Major Fletcher, General Washington was not with the Army when I first went to the fort. On the 24th day of October 1781 and a few days after the surrender of Cornwallis I got my discharge which I now have in my possession and design to enclose it with my application. I lost said discharge in the State of Virginia about forty years ago, And I suppose it had been [ ] taken from my possession and burnt or destroyed, but I lately and unexpectedly about the first of June last (1840) received the same from the hand of
William Hunter, a son of a Brother in law of mine by the name of James
Hunter. I was informed by said William that said James Hunter died about the 1st of April last in Monroe County, Virginia and that said James on his death bed had requested said William to give said paper to me and Stated that about forty or 41 years ago he took said paper with several others from my possession and without my knowledge. I am well justified that the same is the discharge or certificate which I received from my Officers in October 1781. The following is a copy of it towit:
"We the undersigned do certify that Joshua Ensminger has served one year in General Washington's Campaign in 1781 and was in the battle and Surrender of Cornwallis. We do testify that he was under our Command at the surrender of Cornwallis at Little York. Given from under our hands this 23rd of October A.D. 1781 (signed) Col. Samuel Vance, Capt. John B. Bary, Lieut William Deen, Ens. William Bowler.
I was born on the 8th day of March 1760 in the State of Maryland near the Sugar Loaf. At the time I was drafted I lived in Augusta County Virginia. I remained in the as above State from the time I entered the same in the fall of the year 1780 till the 24th day of October 1781, and then received the above mentioned certificate or discharge, since which time I have lived in the following places, towit-after said discharge I returned and lived in Augusta County, Virginia about two years, when the County was divided which left me in Bath County where I lived about 2 years, and then went to
Boretourt County and lived there about five years. I then went to the County of Rockbridge and lived there about thirteen years. I then went to the county of Monroe and I lived there about 6 years (all in the State of Virginia) and from the last mentioned County I came to Shelby County, Indiana where I now reside and have lived for the space of about 12 years.
I do not know of any person whose testimony I can procure, who can testify to my services in the Army as above set forth service. I know of any documentary evidence except the Certificate above copied. I hereby relinquish every claim whatever to a pension of annuity except the present and declare that my name is not on any Pension Roll of the Agency of any State.
Joshua X Ensminger
Sworn to and subscribed in Open Court the day and year first above mentioned
Sylvan B. Morris Clerk
And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion, after the investigation of the matter, and after putting the interrogations prescribed by the War department, that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary Soldier and served as he states, And the Court further certifies that Amos Sparks who has signed the preceding Certificate is a Clergy near resident in said County of Shelby, and that [David Thacker??] who has signed the same is a resident in said County and is a credible person, and that their statement is entitled to credit.
Judge of Probate Court
I Sylvan B. Morris Clerk of the Probate Court of said County of Shelby in the State of Indiana do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the Said Court, in the Matter of the Application of Joshua Ensminger for a pension.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal of Office at Shelbyville, this 14th day of August in the year Eighteen hundred & fortyone.
Sylvan B. Morris
N.B. This is to certify that I Sylvan B. Morris, being Clerk of the Shelby Circuit Court and also Ex-Office Clerk of the Probate Court of Shelby county aforesaid, inadvertently set the Seal of the said Circuit Court to the above certificate-And I hereby set the Seal of the Probate Court of said county as designed to authenticate the above certificate this 14th day of August A.D. 1841.
Sylvan B. Morris Clerk
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Declaration of Revolutionary War
Augt. 25, 1841
These papers in support of the claim of
Joshua Ensminger under act 7th June 1832, for alleged revolutionary service from October 1780 to October 1781, have been examined.
The paper purporting to be of discharge is a fabrication. The claim has therefore been rejected and the papers filed in this office.
W 10082, allowed OK
The claim of Mrs. Elizabeth Harsin
widow of Garret Harsin decd. has also been examined.
Her husband died 24th September 1838. The act of 7th July 1838, does not provide for any widow who was not such at the time of the passage of that act.
Her claim has therefore been rejected, and the papers filed.
Mr. Royal Mayhew
It is clear that if any service was performed at all, it was only during the siege at York Town and did not exceed two months. The officers, militia.
Jany 29 46
I have the honor to return you Mr. Mayhew's letter respecting the case of Joshua Ensminger and to desire to be informed as to the object of your correspondent. That claim was presented by him in '44 and rejected not only because of the forged certificate by which it was attempted to sustain it, but because the statement of service exhibited a total ignorance of the service in which he alleged he was engaged.
Hon. W. W. Wick
Feb 9, 1846
In reply to the first paragraph of your letter of the 5th inst. in relation to the claim of Joshua Ensminger, a applicant for a pension under the act of June 7 1832. I have the honor to state that the enclosed extract from my letter of the 25th August 1841 to R. Mayhew, Esq. Will shew why the claim was rejected.
The papers in support of the claim of Katherine Massey widow of Jacob Massey was were examined on the 21st October last The result thereof will be found in a copy of a letter to Messrs T. L. & A. J. Smith of this City, hereunto enclosed.
Hon. W. W. Wick
Hon. Com. Of Pensions,
Shelbyville Indiana June 19, 1847
During the first session of the late Congress I addressed you a note of inquiry concerning the fate of the application of
_______ Ensminger for a pension.
You answered by a note, stating that the application had been rejected for the reason that the discharge presented was a forgery & because the applicant failed in correcting as to matters of history.
Afterwards I think you told me in conversation that Royall Mayhew, Mr. Ensmingers attorney had been notified of the rejection of the application & of the reason.
I sent your response to Mr. Mayhew, who did not communicate the same to his client.
To satisfy Ensmingers friends, be so good as to transmit us copies of Mayhews letters, & mine & of your answers thereto, to my usual address at Indianapolis, Ind. as soon as you conveniently can, and oblige.
Yours Very Respectfully
W. W. Wick
July 22 1847
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Communication of the 19th ulto and agreeably to the your request to enclose herewith an extract from my letter of 25th August 1841 to R. Mayhew, and a copy of one to yourself dated 29th January 1844, respecting the Claim of Joshua Ensminger, and applicant for a pension under the Act of 7 June 1832 from Indiana.
Mr. Mayhews letter to you was returned with my answer to your note of 22nd Jany 1844 in conformity with your directions.
The following is a true copy of that with which is the only communication from you filed with Ensmingers papers, transcribed in Compliance with your request.
"House of Representatives
W. W. Wick's respects to the Commissioner of Pensions. The Commissioner will be so good as to address a note to W. W. Wick on the subject of the accompanying letter, and return the same.
Hon. W. W. Wick
Honl. David Wallace
Joshua Ensminger Indiana Rejected 3360
Shelbyville August 16th 1841
Enclosed you find Applications for Pensions in favor of
Joshua Ensminger, and Elizabeth Harsin (a widow) Citizens of Our County. Also my application of said Elizabeth Harsin for arrears of pension due to the time of her husbands death.
I enclose them to your care hoping that you may still be at Washington, and that the arrears of Pension may possibly be obtained before you leave the City.
She is in very feeble & very indigent circumstances, and has long been delayed in this, by the loss of former papers which were forwarded for the purpose in 1839.
Your attention will be gratefully appreciated.
Very Respectfully yours &c
Transcribed by Barb Huff
Papers contributed by Kathy Ridlen
Note from Kathy Ridlen: The NARA staff member verified that Declaration
#35.237 is valid as a record of the Shelby County Probate Court. However,
the pension for which Joshua Ensminger was applying was denied.
Contributed by Bob McKenzie
Transcribed by Barb Huff