Morrison's Pensions

Pension Application for Francis Lighthall

W.20,470 (Widow: Sarah)
State of New York
County of Montgomery SS.
            On this eighteenth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty, personally appeared before me Samuel Belding Jr. County Judge of Montgomery County Sarah Lighthall a resident of the Town of Minden in the County of Montgomery aged eighty six years and upwards, who being first duly sworn according to law doth on her oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress of the United States of July (7) seventh 1838, entitled “an act granting half pay and pensions to certain widows “Act of the Resolution of Congress of August (16th) sixteenth 1842, and of the acts of Congress of March 3, 1843, and June 17th 1844 and also the act of Congress of February 2, 1845.  That she is the widow of Francis Lighthall, who was a private in the militia of the State of New York during the Revolutionary War and served as such as she has been informed by him, at different periods during the Revolutionary war and during which time he was captured by the Indians and carried to Canada where he remained as a prisoner of war for more than two years, and nearly three years, as she has been so informed as aforesaid, That this claimant has no documentary evidence of the service of the said Francis Lighthall, but she supposes the evidence if had any is on file in the War Department he having made application for a pension sometime before the year 1835, but which she is informed was never decided upon to which application and evidence now on file in the same department in relation to the claim of her said husband the claimant refers for the amount of service during the years 1777, 1778, 1781, 1782, and also for the names of the officers under whom her said husband served.  The claimant further says that she has been informed and believes the same to be true, that her said husband’s application never decided upon previous to his death if at all.  She further declares that she was married to the said Francis Lighthall on the Twenty Sixth (26th) day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty six (1786) by the Rev’d Mr. Romain, Pastor of the Dutch Church in Caughnawaga, and that her said husband died on the twenty eighth (28th) day of May 1836, and that she has never since been married but still remains the widow of the said Francis Lighthall, and has received no pay or pension or any of the compensation or gratuity on account of the said service of her husband or of her being his widow, but on the contrary has no record of support and is entirely dependant upon others for a livelihood – The claimant further states that her maiden name was Sarah Frye—The claimant further states that she resides in the town of Minden in the County of Montgomery at a distance of about fifteen miles from the courthouse where the court of record in aforesaid county are held, and that she is prevented by reason of great bodily infirmity from appearing before said court.  (Signed with her mark)  Sarah Lighthall
            Sworn and subscribed to before me, July 18th 1850.  J. Belding Jr., County Judge of Montgomery County
State of New York
County of Montgomery SS.
            On this nineteenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty two, personally appeared in open Court, before the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the said County, now sitting, Francis Lighthall, a resident of the town of Palatine; in the County and State aforesaid, aged seventy one years in January last, who 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 volunteered into the service as a Militia man in the forepart of September 1777 at Schenectady, and marched with men under Colo. Warner to Stilwater in Saratoga County and State aforesaid where he was joined to the Army under General Gates, and was kept on duty and in service about two months and a half—that he was not in the Battle against Burgoyne’s Army but that they were kept in reserve and in readiness to be called in if necessity required—that at the time he so volunteered in Schenectady, he resided in the County of Herkimer but was at Schenectady aforesaid and there volunteered at the solicitation of two of his Brothers William and John Lighthall, whose names may be found as he believes on the pension list for revolutionary services.
            That in the month of January 1778, he was called upon by Colo. Bellinger and the War Committee at Herkimer and sent by them with a package of papers to Gen. Washington there at Bennington in the State of Vermont,--that he was detained in Burlington, on account of Gen. Washington’s business or for some other cause, thinks about two weeks, when he received from Gen. Washington a package of paper for the committee and then he returned to Herkimer aforesaid, that the snow as deep, roads badly broke and the going bad, and that he was employed in that duty or service about two months and a half with a team an expense which he believes should be extenuated to six months service of a soldier.—
            That about the first of April following he was called into service in a company commanded by Capt. Frederick Bell in Colo. Bellinger’s Regiment—was stationed at Fort Herkimer there kept on duty & out in scouting parties until about the middle of July when he with a small part commanded by Capt. Bell went out upon a scout to the south west to a place called Andrews-town about seven miles from the Fort where they were met by a large party of Indians & Tories who came upon them in such a manner that escape was utterly impossible, the Indians killed several of the party who attempted to flee among whom was Capt. Bell whom they killed, scalped & burned before the applicant’s eyes, whom they then had strangely bound—that the Indians then took him with five or six of the party who were yet spared from the savage tomahawk & took them to the south down the Susquehanna River to where Brant with a strong force of Indians & Tories & some troops were—that he was [?] to another party of Indians & Tories was then taken to Niagara where he was lined out by the them to a white man from whom he scalped & came towards (have but was pursued by the Indians, caught, then back tried & condemned to be killed, but was saved by Colo. John Butler, with whom he was well acquainted, on the Mohawk River before he went to Canada, who bought his life, kept him as a servant a while & then sent him in to the British service, where he was kept in Canada until the Spring of 1781, when they were taken to Oswego & there put at work in fortifying that place.—
            That soon thereafter he, with some other persons in the like situation, embraced the first opportunity, escaped from them & he with great joy soon found himself among his friends & countrymen, when he arrived about the first of July.—
            That in July 1781 & soon after he returned as aforesaid he entered the service under Capt. Staring in Colo. Bellinger’s regiment, was called to Fort Herkimer, there kept on duty & out in scouting parties, as circumstances required, once called out south, in a party to Young’s Lake was so kept on duty towards winter when the savages and tory hostilities of the season in a [?] ceased, the precise time he was on duty after he returned as aforesaid, he cannot sate, thinks he did four months actual duty in the service of his country.
            That about the first of May 1782, he was again called into service by Capt. Staring was stationed at Fort Herkimer & was then kept on duty out in parties to guard the inhabitants or in scouting parties as circumstances required, that he was so kept on duty until the seventh? of November that he did, during that season, as he believes, full five months actual duty.
            That he had no documentary evidence and that he knows of no person whose testimony he can procure who can testify to his services.
            That he was born in Schenectady in the year 1761.
            That he has no record of his age.
            That he was living in German Flatts in the County of Herkimer when called into service, after the war removed to Johnstown, resided there a few years, then removed to Palatine aforesaid, where he has continued to live since the war.—
            That he was called into service at the different times & in the manner above mentioned.—
            That he cannot state the names of regular officers, with troops, Continental or other regiments or the general circumstances of his service other than as the same is above sated.—
            That he did not receive a written discharge from the service.
            That the Rev’d [?] Ketchum & Joseph Nellis are the names of persons to whom he is known in his present neighborhood, who can testify as to his character for veracity, and their belief o his services as a soldier of the revolution.
            He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.  (Signed with his mark)  Francis Lighthall
            Sworn to & subscribed the day and year aforesaid, Geo. D. Ferguson, Clerk
Letter of response to an inquiry dated October 31, 1931.
            Reference is made to your letter relative to one Francis Lighthall, a soldier of the Revolutionary War.
            The data contained herein are obtained from the papers on file in the Revolutionary War claim for pension, W.20470, based upon his military service in that war.
            Francis Lighthall was born in January 1761, in Schenectady, state not named.
            While a resident of German Flats, Herkimer County, New York, he went to see his brothers John and William who were in Schenectady serving in Colonel [Seth] Warner’s Regiment and while there he enlisted about September 1, 1777 and served two months and fifteen days as private in said regiment.  In January 1778 by order of Colonel Bellinger, he served two months and fifteen days as an express going from Herkimer to Bennington, Vermont.  He enlisted about April 1, 1778, served as private in Captain Frederick Bell’s Company, Colonel Bellinger’s New York Regiment, about the middle of July 1778, while on a scouting party under said Captain Bell, he was taken prisoner by the Indians and Tories, eventually taken to Niagara, was hired out by the Indians but made his except; he was recaptured and condemned to die, but his life was saved by Colonel John Butler who put him in the British service in Canada where he served until the spring of 1781; he was then taken to Oswego, New York and put to work fortifying that place; he escaped and returned to his home in July 1781, having been in captivity nearly three years.  He enlisted about the last of July 1781 and served four months as private in Captain Starring’s Company, Colonel Bellinger’s New York Regiment.  He enlisted about the first of May 1782 and served five months as private in Captain Starring’s Company, Colonel Bellinger’s New York Regiment.
            During Governor George Clinton’s administration he was appointed gunner in Captain Peter C. Fox’s Company of “Uniform” Artillery and served many years until his age would not permit military duty.
            After the war he moved to Johnstown and a few years later he moved to Palatine, New York where he was still residing in 1832.
            He died May 28, 1838.
            Soldier married February 26, 1786 Sarah Fye.  They were married by the Reverend Thomas Romeyn, Pastor of the Dutch Church of Caughnawaga.  She was allowed pension on his application executed July 18, 1850, while a resident of Minden, Montgomery County, New York, aged eighty-six years.
            Margarete or Margaret, daughter of Francis and Sarah Lighthall was baptized August 6, 1786.  In 1850 she was a resident of Minden, New York, and was then Margaret Nellis.  Frederick, son of Francis and Sarah Lighthall was baptized February 26, 1792.

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