Morrison's Pensions


Available Information on Jonathan Lawrence

Colo. Wm. Malcolm's Regiment
B.L. W 4.1269-200 Lieut. Issued June 2, 1789

October 19, 1936
Mrs. W.A. L'Hommedieu
Port Washington, New York.
Dear Madam:
          Reference is made to your letter in which you furnish further information in regard to Jonathan Lawrence in whom you are interested: Jonathan Lawrence, born about 1725 in Westchester County, New York, Captain in the Revolutionary War, and his son, Jonathan Lawrence, born about 1759 in the state of New York, Captain in the Revolutionary War and died about 1802.
          The record which follows is that of the only Jonathan Lawrence who served as a commissioned officer in the Revolutionary War, found on the records of this office.
          The records show that Warrant #1269 for two hundred acres of bounty land was issued June 2, 1789, on account of the service of Lieutenant Jonathan Lawrence in Colonel William Malcolm's Continental Regiment, War of the Revolution.
          There are no data on file as to his family due to the destruction of papers in such claims, when the War Office was burned in 1814.
          In order to obtain information relative to the location of the land referred to above, you should apply to The Commissioner of the General Land Office, this city and give the following—
          Warrant #1269-200 acres—issued June 2, 1789.
          Very truly yours, A.D. Hiller Executive Assistant to the Administrator

Port Washington, N.Y.
October 13 th 1936.
Veterans Administration
Mr. A. D. Hiller, Executive Assistant to the Administrator, Washington D.C.
Dear Sir:
          In reply to your letter of September 3 rd , regarding the record of Jonathan Lawrence, I am interested in the Revolutionary Service record of the following:
          Captain Jonathan Lawrence, born about 1725, probably at West Farms, Westchester County, New York; enlisted either at West Farms, Westchester County, or Tappan, Rockland County, or New Windsor, Orange County all New York State.
          He is supposed to have been in command of Fort Constitution about June 1776. The date of his death is not known, but in 1776 and as late as 1783 his family resided at New Windsor, Orange County, New York.
          Also the record of:
          Captain Jonathan Lawrence, son of the above Captain Jonathan, baptized September 30, 1759, born either at West Farms, Westchester County, or Tappan, Rockland County. He later resided at New Windsor, Orange County (in 1783), and died April 27, 1802 at the Town of Orange in Rockland County, New York.
          This Jonathan Lawrence was one of the founders of the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783, and his residence at that time was given as New Windsor.
          His Will is dated April 5, 1802, in the Town or Orange, Rockland County, New York.
          Either this Captain Jonathan Lawrence of his father, Captain Jonathan, took part in the Battle of Monmouth in 1778, but I have not been able to establish which one it was.
          Any information you may be able to furnish, such as copies of muster rolls, enlistments, appointments, or commissions, giving location, age, etc. will be a great help.
          Yours very truly, Patia H. L.Hommediew. (Mrs. W. A. L'Hommedieu.)

End Notes by Kenneth Lifshitz

          Jonathan Lawrence was a very interesting character.  He was a merchant, member of the state legislature, involved with the building of Fort Montgomery and with supplying the troops in Albany through his companies Benson & Lawrence and Lawrence & Smith. The receipts for his transactions are in the NYHS and they show an active business in dried beef and rum Which went up on schooners captained by Henry Benson to supply the troops at Albany and Fort Stanwix.
          He also supplied much of the (non-iron) materials and tools for the great chain and the troops who were involved with placing the great chain.  It appears he was also instrumental in diverting excess iron that was not needed for the chain to merchants i n Rhode Island for resale at a great profit.
          His brother Augustus was one of the supervisors at the Continental shipyards in Poughkeepsie, along with Samuel Tudor who oversaw the construction of the continental frigates Congress and Montgomery . Both ships  were lost in the battle of Fort Montgomery set afire by their own crews.
          It is likely he was the motivating force for getting Bernard Roman's project, Fort Constitution killed by the Congress. He instigated a variety of complaints against Roman and encouraged the workmen not to perform any duties which put the project behind schedule. After work on the fort was abandoned he took over the buildings on the site  for his river based business using them as a warehouse facility. He more or less monopolized the trade for imported goods through the Hudson Valley. According to Michelle Figliomeni's book,”The Flickering Flame”, Spear, 1976, Lawrence's wife was not a popular figure locally. She had a store in New Windsor and was selling tea.  The price for tea was reduced by the Orange County Committee of Safety to pre-inflation prices.   To make up the difference she began charging separately for the tea bags. This caused a small riot as she was the only source for tea in the area. She was forced to abandon that practice.
          Lawrence later moved to Chemung County where he became a well known figure and benefactor of various causes. He had been a member of the cartel, along with John Lamb and Royal Flint that made what was the largest land purchase after the war in New York history. It known as the Flint Watkins purchase which was in the area of Schuyler County and comprised close to half a million acres. His home there, known as the Lawrence Chapel still stands south of Watkins Glen and is owned by the Chemung Historical Society.
          As for the material in the pension which lists his son as a Captain John Lawrence.  This is news to me. There was however another well known Continental Captain Jonathan Lawrence. (refs. Washington papers) But he was from Massachussets.  As far as I know he was not related to this Jonathan Lawrence (but I may be wrong on this according to this pension.)

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