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Old 12-14-2009, 04:50 AM
Jimfarmerofflorissant Jimfarmerofflorissant is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: florissant, st. Louis county, missouri
Posts: 1
Default date of tour in pension app could be wrong

This is my 1st post. I have a tough one. This has to do with a Rev. war pension application declaration . We all know how helpful those subscribed oral testimonies of old Rev. war vets can be. Web sites like the southern campaign and others have made a number of them available to the public in the typewritten transcribed format . But, the testimony of the Rev war vets was a bit "iffy" at times since in a lot of the cases the testimony is 50 yrs plus removed from the actual war.

My ancestor, Matthew Farmer, was in the Virginia militia and 51 yrs later applied for a pension under the 1832 Act. I have tried to verify the accuracy of the info in his declaration and have hit a snag. He was drafted twice from his home in Halifax County for two separate 3 month stints.

The 2nd stint can easily be verified since he was drafted in the summer of 1781 and marched to Yorktown in order to participate in the siege of that place, a readily recognizable historical event. Also, the pension application declarations of his fellow soldiers who were also from Halifax county and who where also in his same unite also lend verification to his pension declaration that indeed he was at the siege of Yorktown.

The problem comes in trying to verify his first tour of duty which is giving me trouble. Here are the exact words from his pension application declaration testimony.

"That in 1780 he was drafted into a company in Halifax County Va where he then lived – commanded by Capt Joshua Powell – and marched to Portsmouth Va where he served three months, and was then discharged – his discharge he has long since lost, at Portsmouth he was attached to a regiment commanded by Colo (Charles) Fleming, Gen’l Mulingburg (sic: Peter Muhlenberg) commanded the troops at Portsmouth during this tour this applicant served as orderly Sergeant"

Here is the problem. I know that there was an occupation of the town of Portsmouth by the British in the fall of 1780 as a result of the British General Leslie's brief invasion of the Tidewater region. That is often times called the first invasion of Virginia. The Second invasion being Gen. Benadict Arnorld being followed up by Cornwallis.

The presence of Gen. Lislie prompted a call up of about 4000 Virginia militia. They were later sent home in late Nov. or Dec. as a result of Gen. Lislie's abandonment of Portsmouth with orders to travel south. Could this be what Matthew was talking about?

Or did he mean that he was drafted in the early part of 1781? Things really started to heat up in Jan. of that year in that part of Virginia and the names of the 3 officers in Matthews description of his first tour match the names of officers involved in military activity south of the James River in the early to mid part of that year.

I have tried to check the pension declarations of other militia members from Halifax County who were in the Joshia Powell's company and it seems that Powell's Halifax company toured that area in 1781 and not 1780.

please respond if you can help.

Jim Farmer of Florissant
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