Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy History Jackpot!

I was working on genealogy and looking for some possible Revolutionary War ancestors when I hit the jackpot. Dominicus Smith, my 5th great-grandfather, on the Yates line lived in Biddeford, District of Maine and enlisted in the army in 1776. Last night I downloaded images of his application for a pension but I didn't have time to read them. This afternoon I started transcribing his testimony and this is what I found. (Bold is mine)

Transcription of the Revolutionary Pension file of Dominicus Smith.
I Dominicus Smith of Biddeford in the County of York & commonwealth of Massachusetts aged fifty eight years & native citizen of said Commonwealth declare & say that about the tenth of January anno domini 1776 I inlisted as a private soldier in Captain Nobles Company & in Col. Patterson’s Regiment of the Massachusetts Line & Continental establishment to serve for one year. We were stationed at Cambridge hill April & then marched to New London & New haven & then went to New York & then we marched to Albany, then to Saratoga over the lake to St. John [Saint-Jean] & to Moreal (Montreal?) & was detained there a little while where we had the smallpox & then retreated to St. Johns & there crossed the Lake & made a stand at Fort Independence till October, & then marched down to Albany thence went down the North River & crossed over the state of Jersey to Pennsylvania & there joined General Washington & then recrossed the Delaware & attacked the enemy at Trenton & after that marched to Princeton & had an engagement with the enemy there & drove them down to (unk. word, perhaps Brunswick) & we were marched to Morristown for winter quarters where I tarried till my time of one year expired & I inlisted again in the same regiment for six weeks at the expiration of which time I was discharged in writing & also had a written pass to go home but have lost them both supposing after I had got home that they were of no value – I further declare I have no property & am indeed in circumstances & stand in need of support from the country – I have no pension – I am now growing old and much infeebled & not able to labour sufficiently to afford me a comfortable living - & I pray I may be allowed something to live upon 16 May 1818.
                  Dominicus Smith

Washington Crossing the Delaware
Washington at Trenton
Battle of Princeton

I Stephen Bryant of Saco, County of York & Commonwealth of Massachusetts aged sixty one years depose & say that I have read the declaration of the above named Dominicus Smith & testify that it is true, & that I served a private soldier in the same regiment during the time mentioned in said Smith’s declaration & in the battles there mentioned & am well knowing to his being honourably discharged as he has stated after he had served the year & six weeks for which he engaged.       Stephen Bryant
16 May 1818 –
Commonwealth }
Massachusetts } This 16 day of May Anno Domini 1818 personally appeared before me the subjects the above named Stephen Bryant & being duly sworn made oath to the truth of the testimony by him in my presence subscribed-
George Parker (or Barker) {one of the justices of the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Dominicus Smith & Jedidiah Tarbox
Patience Smith & David Shepard
Sarah Shepard & Jacob Emmons
Laura Emmons & Gilbert W. Yates
Estes Yates & Eva Hayes
Linona Yates - my grandmother


  1. Wow, you hit the jackpot with that document! Congratulation

  2. "I was discharged in writing & also had a written pass to go home but have lost them both supposing after I had got home that they were of no value"

    I just love this response. Makes perfect sense. Good sound Yankee logic ;)

    I read lots of pension files for Rev & Civil War soldiers and have seen lots of reasons why they don't have paperwork. This fellow is the first one I've seen that is so frank about it.

    Welcome to the blogging world. Very nice use of links, maps, and graphics to add "flesh" to your post.

    Please let me help you with Molly. She is so misunderstood and so improperly portrayed by so many. She deserves better.


    P.S. I also have some roots on Patch Mountain with the Verrill and Cordwell families

    1. Hi Nancy, thank you for your kind comments. I agree that his comment about his paperwork sounds just like my grandfather. I'd love to have you share what you know about Molly. I'm not sure how to facilitate this since I don't want to post my email here. I'm on the Maine Genealogy Network (Pamela Carter) and can be contacted there.