Morrison's Pensions


Pension Information and Information about Timothy Bigelow, Colonel

B.L.Wt 90-500—Col.
Issued Apr. 1, 1790
Massachusetts
            Letter written in response to an inquiry, dated December 1, 1929.  It is badly faded and parts not legible.
            In response to your letter of September 9, 1929, you are advised that from the records of this Bureau, it appears that Timothy Bigelow, a Colonel [?] Massachusetts Continental Line, War of the Revolution, was allowed 300 acres of bounty land on warrant, No. 90-500, issued April 1, 1790.
            There is no further information on file to his services and no data as to his family, owing to the destruction of papers in claim when the War Office had burned in November 18?0.
            It does not appear that a claim for pension was made on account of his services.

Bureau of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions.  Washington DC, Oct 16, 1820
            The attached letter is respectfully returned with the information that the data furnished is not sufficient to enable this Bureau to make intelligent answer to the queries therein contained.
            Please fill out such of the blank spaces below as the information in your possession will permit, and return to this Bureau.
            Name of widow: [blank]
            Name of Soldier: Timothy Bigelow
            Address of Claimant: at enlistment & after service, Worcester.
            Company: May 19 1775 Com Regiment Major of Col. Ward’s Reg.
State where enlisted: Mass.  Approximate dates of birth & death: [blank]

The following information is from the History Channel, no resource material was stated.
            Bigelow was a blacksmith, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, August 12, 1739.  He fought at the Battle of Lexington and was one of two majors to march with Benedict Arnold on the attack on Canada.  It was a terrible winter, the men were starving, freezing, and sick and had little supplies coming their way.  In December 1775, he was captured at the Battle of Quebec and was released August 1776.  Only six months later, he became colonel of the 15th Massachusetts Line of the Continental Army Feb. 8, 1777.
            As a colonel, he fought in the Battle of Saratoga October 1777, Monmouth June 1778, and Yorktown October 1781.
            No one knows what happened to cause him to have serious financial problems, but he was jailed for failing to pay his debts.  Debtor’s prison was not a pleasant place to be, the person was expected to somehow pay his debts while imprisoned and provide his own food.  He died in prison March 31, 1790 and was survived by his wife and five children.
            The History Channel states that his wife was an heiress with a large family fortune and that Bigelow was grated 23,000 acres in Vermont for his service.  While in prison his wife and namesake son moved to Groton Connecticut.  His son, Timothy Bigelow went on to graduate from Harvard, became an attorney, Freemason and Federalist politician.
            The community thought well enough of him, apparently that they erected a monument dedicated to him at Worcester Common in Worcester, Massachusetts.
            Perhaps this must remain one of history’s mysteries.

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