Pension Application for John Aker
Declaration, In order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832.
State of New York
On this 16 th day of February 1833 personally appeared before me Oliver Krugman a Judge of Cortland County Court, John Aker a resident of the town of Freetown in the County of Cortland and State of New York aged seventy six years being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7, 1832.
That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated.—
That he with six other men volunteered to answer a requisition on the company to which he belonged for seven men for a two months term were organized in a company at Albany under the command of Capt. Williams, Peter Van Bergen 1 st Lieut. & Maus? Van Vranken 2 nd Lieut. 2 nd Lieut. or ensign went down the north river to Fort Constitution opposite West Point at that place Col. Buley had the command he thinks there was no other regiment there at that time & perhaps that not a full regiment cannot remember the names of the other field officers shortly after he arrived there he volunteered to serve on what he calls the new guard under the command of a Lieut. Elsworth to keep guard on the river every other night and examine all the water craft that passed to prevent communication between the tories & the enemy below.
He thinks there were some regular troops there but is not certain. He cannot remember the particular period of the war he served there but remembers that the battles at White Plains & Kingsbridge were fought while he was there & remembers that he served half a month longer than he engaged for making two & a half months.
And he further declares that soon after he returned home he received a commission of 2 nd Lieut. In the militia in Capt. Jacob Van[?] company, George Waggoner 1 st Lieut. John [crossed out] ensign [?] Phillip P. Schuyler regiment & that under his commission he was ordered to Albany was there placed in Capt. John Price's company Walter Vroman 1 st Lieut & Teunis Slingerland ensign Hugh Dennis? 1 st Sergt Benjamin Wallace also a sergent. And he further states that since making his former declaration in open court in this county he has formed among his old writings the three accompanying papers marked A. B. & C. which he did not then know to be in existence which he would herewith forward in support of his claim for a pension. The papers marked A. he thinks was given to him when he was in service at Albany as above stated and that the Lieut. Col. John H. Beekman therein named commanded the regt to which he belonged and that John G. Lansing Jr. (as that name is now spelled) was adjutant of said regt. He was well acquainted with both those officers cannot recollect the names of the other field officers.
He thinks there was but one regt. stationed there at that time though sometimes more for a short time. While stationed there his business was to guard the arsenal and public stores they also for apart of the time furnished a guard at Baron [?]n Stubens quarters and that he was sent with a detachment under the command of Capt. Bostwick of the same regt. To StillWater to serve some boats that were frozen in the ice in the river to prevent their being carried away with the ice when the river should break up Capt. Bostwick was taken sick on the way & he went with the men but the boats were carried off with the ice before they reached that place. And he would refer to the aforesaid paper marked A. to ascertain the period of the war in which this tour of service was performed which he thinks must have been as there in stated in 1778 and he thinks that he left this service soon after the date of the said paper after having served not less than three months as a 2 nd Lieut. The troops stationed in Albany were malitia [sic] from that city and Schenectady and the vicinity of both as he thinks.
And he further declares that the whole company in which he was commissioned were ordered to Schoharie when Sir John & Brandt were expected there & that the company was ther several days before they came his company officers were these Jacob Van Orna Capt. George Waggoner 1 st Lieut himself 2 nd Lieut & John Van Orna ensigns were stationed in the lower fort which was commanded by major Barent Staats of Col. Phillip P. Schuylers regt. In which he held his commission which should have been before stated & also that Folkert Veeder was lieutenant Col. of the same regt. and that there was at that station a part of Col. Schuylers regt & a part of the Schohery regt but no regular troops he was well acquainted with a Lieut. John Dietz of the Schoharie regt & also with a Capt. Rhertmine but cannot say that he was in that fort at that time.
And further when the enemy came he went with Private John Dietz with a small party to meet them with a field piece fired upon then & retreated to the fort, above the fort the enemy parted the regulars passed on the west side & the tories and Indians on the east side both fired some upon the fort & fired buildings as they passed and never fired upon them from the fort with a field piece after the enemy passed a volunteer was wanted to go on express to Albany he tendered his service which was accepted by maj Statts & Evert Vanoma a son of the capt. accompanied him they went to gen. Tenbrook came there in the night called him up the general sent his son with them to governor George Clinton who was then in the city the gov. told them he had no time to write and that they must return and tell maj Statts that he must pursue-- the enemy with all the force he could raise and that he himself was preparing to go. And that when he came to Schoharie the troops had already gone in pursuit of the enemy he then followed after to the Mohawk river he thinks to or near fort plain met the men returning. He thinks he served at this time half a month.
And he further says that the accompanying papers marked C. he would forward to show that he spent considerable time in the service of his country, in short tours there is an apparent omission in the date of said paper of which he can give no account but says the paper is what it purports to be and was delivered to him for therein mentioned and that he spent three or four days in executing the order but did not find the piece of ordinance it was probably secreted by the tories. And further that he twice went with major Wimple of Schenectady once to Beaverdam & once to an other place not far distant called Bradtsfly they had malitia from Schenectady and friendly Indians their object was to take tories who were then collected took some & imprisoned them & some property & fired upon others who escaped. And further that he often went with severall parties on such business cannot remember all and would not attempt to be particular was once taken prisoner by the tories at Bernhess? Hill 13 or 12 miles from Albany but was not long detained will state the time he was engaged in such service at three weeks but thinks it must have been much longer. Often commanded such small parties himself at different periods of the war. And he would further state that he now recollects that Quackenbush was the adjutant Col. Schuylers regt—in which he held a commission & was well acquainted with him.
That he further says that by reason of old age & the consequent loss of memory he cannot swear positively as to the precise length of time he served in the revolutionary war but according to the best of his recollection he served not less than the periods mentioned below and in the following grades for ten months as a second lieutenant and for two and a half months as a private for which he claims a pension. And he further says that he does not now know of any other surviving witness or any other documentary evidence by which to support his claim for a pension And further the papers marked A. B. & C. must have been in his possession from their date to the present time.
And he further states that he was ordered to Schoharie the tories whose Indians having appeared in the vicinity he was stationed in the middle fort as 2 nd Lieut in Capt. Bhoms? company Jacob Weaver 1 st Lieut. He thinks there was no ensign in the company. Col. Vrooman Lieut Col. Seeley commanded was but one regt. there & probably not a full regt—no regular troops continued there till it was thought the enemy had left the place as near as he can remember one month and says that he was acquainted with Col. Vrooman & Lieut Col. Seeley. And he [?] further says that he was again ordered to Schoharie stationed in the uper fort as 2 nd Lieut. In Capt. Sevines Lansings company & that he thinks there were no other commissioned officers in the company remembers that Lawrence schoolcraft was 2st sergt the object of calling out the malitia at this time was to defend that place the enemy having committed depredations in the vicinity at a place called Vroomans land was but one regt in service there at that time & none of them regular troops. Col. Vrooman & Lieut Col. Seeley had the command. For further particulars he would refer to the accompanying paper marked B. before referred to that part of it in the form of a receipt he says was given to him at its date for the purpose therein mentioned and that the memorandum on the back of said paper is his handwriting, kept at the time of its several dates by it will be seen that he served three weeks which being added to the one week occupied in collecting & driving the cattle to Schoharie will make one month the amount of serving with horses and wagon was by a man who he hired. By the date of said paper will be seen the period of the war when this service was done. And he further says that he cannot remember the time he served in Capt. Ostroms company whether before or after the dates in the aforesaid paper marked B. but thinks it was before Sir John and Brandt came there.
The troops returned to Fort Edward from thence to Saratoga here Capt. DeGroot left the company and Capt. Jacob [?]anoma took the command while stationed here he was with 1 st Lieut. Lavines Winne detached to act as a forage guard & served as such till he left the army. And he further states that while in this last mentioned service for a considerable part of the time he was stationed some distance from the camp. From Saratoga he says they moved to Stillwater & from thence to Bemis Heights & continued there well in the vicinity till Burgoyne surrendered & that he stood at the stone church at Saratoga when his army marched from Schuylers flats as prisoners of war. And further he says that he continued in service till the army or at least a part of it with the prisoners arrived at Albany & remained there till they started towards the south & that while at Albany he once went out with the forage guard and brought in two stacks of hay which belonged to Abraham Cuyler while in this service was acquainted with Col. VanAlstine and Col. Phillip P. Scuyler [Schuyler] in whose regiment I was commissioned & thinks that a part of the time he was attached to his regt. but cannot remember what part of the time and says there were some regular troops in that army but did get acquainted with any of the field or general officers except gen. Phillip Scuyler did not form an acquaintance with general Gates the first he saw him was at Saratoga does not remember at what time he took the command of that army was acquainted with a capt. of the regulars who he calls Emtremick & a Lieut. Fowler he says the malitia did not much associate with the regulars & that he was considerable part of the time stationed out of the camp which he belonged to the forage guard & did not form much acquaintance with them. Col. Beekman Col. Vanalstine & Col. Scuyler commanded in the malitia. And further he thinks this tour of service could not have been less than three months.
And he further states that when making his former declaration he hath some recollection of that tour of service at fort Hunter on the Mohawk river but that his recollection was so indistinct that he does not think proper to mention it but from the testimony of a surviving witness who has by impressing since been formed (whose affidavit he would herewith transmit) and from circumstances which have come to his recollection state that he recollects particularly of being there in service and that Col. Phillip P. Scuyler commanded the regt if there was a full regt. This he cannot remember but thinks there were not more than a regt. They were malitia collected from Albany & the vicinity knows some of the men that were there but does not know of any that are now living but Cornelius Van Wie whose affidavit he would here with foreward as before refered to has no distinct recollection of his company or other field officers but thinks his own company officers were there he remembers seeing [?] Hams Stratt the ensign of an adjoining company there the object of this expedition was to protect the inhabitants of that section the Indians having massacred he thinks two families in that quarter. The men were marched back in body by Col. Scuyler to or near Schenectady & discharge. He cannot recollect the period of the war when these services were performed nor the particular length of time he served but form the distance of the place from his residence thinks it could not be less than three weeks. For the time of this tour he would refer to the affidavit of Mr. VanWie?
And he further states that he was called into service in the northern army as 2 nd Lieut in a company commanded by Capt. John DeGroot -- Levi Vanona first Lieut & Dimick Hames Stratt ensign cannot remember whether he joined the regt before he arrived at Fort Edward or [?] went from Fort Edward ton Sandy Hill between those two places heard that Burgoyne had taken Ticonderoga then returned to fort Edward were then ordered to fort George in a detachment under the command of a major [?] as he now recollects the name their business was to bring a way military stores from that place returned with the ammunition & to fort Edward were then ordered to fort Anne at this time he was unwell and the col. Of the regt offered him his horse to ride part of the way from which circumstance he remembers that John Beekman commanded the regt but cannot remember the names of the other officers except Gen. Phillip Scuyler who at that time commanded the Army with whom he was well acquainted before the regt reached fort Anne they met our troops retreating before the enemy & joined them in their course towards fort Edward & commenced obstructing the road by falling three and destroying bridges in this retreat saw a regt as it was called but cannot say it was a full regiment of negroes many of them were wounded as it was said in a battle with the enemy somewhere about fort Anne. Somewhere on this march before they came to fort Edward in the night time he had the charge of a guard and the office who had the care of the spirituous liquor belonging to the army became intoxicated & the men carried it away in camp kettles & being informed of this he reported it to general St. Clair or rather to two generals but cannot recollect the the [sic] name of the other they were both in one room he was directed to destroy all the spirits he could find among the men to place a centinel [sentinel] at the door of the house where the liquor was kept which order he promptly obeyed.
Here hereby relinquishes every claim to a pension of annuity and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.
And he further say that he was born at a place called Black Creek in Albany County and state of New York in the year seventeen hundred & fifty seven.
Has no record of his age.
When called in to service & during the revolutionary war and for several years after he resided at a place called Halleborgh in the same county and state & but three or four miles from the place where he was born moved from that place to Freehold now Cairo in Green county & state aforesaid lived there about thirteen years then moved to Cinennatus now Freetown in Cortland County in said state where he now lives.
When he served as a private as afforsaid he entered the service as a volunteer when he served as an officer for any length of time was called upon by the authority and for shorter periods was sometimes called out by a superior officer some times by the committee & sometime he went without being called upon by any authority whatever.
The names of the Regular officers who were with the troops where he served as near as he now recollects and the continental and malitia Regiments there in service and the general circumstances of his service are state at length in this declaration according to his best recollection.
He never received a discharge in writing but a verbal one.
He received a commission of second lieutenant as before stated but does not remember by whom it was signed received it at the office of the clerk of the county of Albany in the City of Albany was sworn by the clerk & says his name was Fisher. And he further says the said commission is lost it happened to be among papers belonging to his uncle who lived in Schenectady which papers were then in his possession his uncle afterwards told him it was there at his home he told his uncle it was good for nothing and that he might destroy it. This was sometime after the close of the war.
And further he names as persons to whom his is known in this present neighbourhood who can testify as to his character for veracity and their belief of his services as a soldier of the Revolution viz, Daniel B. Purenton & David H. Mansose. (Signed) John Aker
Sworn & Subscribed this 16 th day of February 1833 before me, Oliver Kingman a Judge of Cortland County Court.