Pension Application for Carl Near or Charles Neer
W.19913 (Widow: Catharine)
Translation of Charles Neer’s Family Record
Letter in the file dated October 14th, 1897.
Replying to your request for information concerning Carl Neer, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, you are advised that Catharine, widow of one Carl Near, made an application for pension on March 8th 1843, at which time she was 83 years of age and residing at Summit New York, and her pension was allowed for the actual service of her husband as a private in the New York Troops, Revolutionary War, for a period of eleven months; a part of the time he served under Capt. Husted and Col. VanRensselaer. Place of his enlistment not stated.
In the matter of the application of Catherine Near for a pension under the act of Congress passed July 4, 1836. To the Hon’d James M. Porter Secretary of War.
Albany Nov. 27, 1843.
I would very respectfully solicit your attention to the above application of Catherine Near, whose claim has been disallowed by the Commissioner of Pensions & for the reasons made known in his letter of the 22nd Inst. which I enclose.
With regard to the first objective as to the marriage, I would believe, that the family’s record referred to, was made by the applicant’s husband Carl Near (who died in 1826) at the time the events therein recorded occurred. This is proved by the express statement of Samuel Near a respectable witness. It is proved by the same witness to be in the handwriting of said Carl Near & even is made the same year of his death 1826, I know no reason why it should be rejected as evidence. Reference to said record is respectfully solicited to determine the justice of the Commissioner’s decision. But granting that said records is of [to record] a date to be received in evidence, the applicant’s marriage is proved by two respectable witnesses. The one Barbara Fellows was present there at and witnessed the marriage ceremony & remembers the time of its occurrence from associated circumstances. The other, William Hayner, although not present thereat, knew the time of its occurrence & that afterwards & during the revolutionary war, they lived together as man and wife and had children. It has been decided in a number of instances, by the Secretary of War, that proof like that of William Hayner is (for the State of New York, whose laws require no formal ceremony) sufficient proof of marriage.
By reference to the commissioners letter you will perceive that but five months & twenty three days service is allowed, not sufficient to entitle the applicant to a pension.
The applicant in her declaration states that her husband served six months in the year 1776 alone & this service is established by the affidavit of two witnesses. One of these witnesses Jacob VanAlstyne was Adjutant of the Regiment to which applicants husband belonged & made out the rolls thereof, and testifies to a service of six months of the Company of Captain Caleb Bentley during the year 1776 “To White Plains & other posts down the Hudson River.” A roll of said company for 1776 has been produced upon which Carl Near’s name appears. The Commissioner of Pensions credit the applicant but for three months service in 1776 upon the assumption that “Van Alstyne in his own declaration made some years since, sets it down as such.” Now the witness VanAlstyne informed me that he did not serve during this expedition down the river. He served three months during that year, it is true, but his service was at Fort Edward, directly opposite to that of the company of Captain Bentley the one (Ft Edward) being north & the other south.
I am unable to apprehend any good reason why Near might not have served six months south, although VanAlstyne served but three months north. Almost every militia Regiment of New York during said year 1776 were called upon to furnish one company each for a five months service. Pursuant to said requisition the company of Caleb Bentley was formed, the members of which, although enlisted for five months, were absent six months. The fact that said Near served as above stated (six months in 1776) being proved by credible witnesses, the claim is respectfully submitted for re-examination.
I have the honor to remain with great respect your most obt servant. Wm. B. Pierce
State of New York
Schoharie County SS.
John J. Shaver of Cobleskill in said County being duly sworn deposes and says that he has lived near to and been acquainted with Charles Near of Summit in said County for about forty years & also for many years with his wife Catherine, that he has been dead for about sixteen years. That he died in Summit in said county. That he was always reputed to be a man of truth and veracity and that his widower Catherine Near has always sustained an irreproachable character and that although she has attained a great age her mind is still firm and vigorous. That this deponent has been acquainted with a numerous family of children the sons and daughters of the said Charles and Catherine Near some of whom must now be more than sixty years of age if they had now been living that John Near the eldest died some year ago and that Catherine the next oldest is now living. (Signed John J. Shafer
Subscribed and sworn this 9th day of March 1843 before me and I certify that John J. Shafer is a credible witness. John Westour. Judge of Schoharie County Courts.
State of New York
Schoharie County SS.
Samuel Near, a resident of Summit, in said County of Schoharie aged fifty two years and upwards & being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that he is the seventh child of the late Charles Near who departed this life 14th of July 1826 and Catherine his wife, who still survives. And deponent further saith that the accompanying record is the family record of the said Charles and Catherine Near. That the said record is in the handwriting of Deponent’s late father, the said Charles Near. That said record has been in the possession of Deponant’s mother for upwards of sixty years, as Deponant has been repeatedly informed and verily believes, as his late father has often stated in the presence of deponent, that on the birth of the first child he commenced keeping said family record and deponent further saith that he himself ahs had a personal knowledge of said family record for a period of more than thirty three years. And further said not. (Signed) Samuel Neer.
Subscribed and sworn before me this 16th day of March 1843 and I certify the above Samuel Near is a credible witness. John Westour Judge of Schoharie County Courts.
State of New York
Montgomery County SS.
Jacob VanAlstyne of the town of Mohawk in said County, aged Ninety four years, being duly sworn saith that he is a pensioner of the United States under the act of congress passed 7th June 1832, he having served as Quarter Master & Adjutant in the War of the Revolution.
That during said war he was well and personally acquainted with Charles (or according to the Dutch Carlor Corl) Near, who was attached to the same Regiment of Militia to which this deponent belonged, viz. the Regiment of Col. Stephen J. Schuyler. That Caleb Bentley was one of the Captains in said Regiment last named. That deponent well recollects that as Adjutant of said Regiment he in the month of May 1776 made out lists or Rolls of officers and soldiers drafted to serve upon a tour or engagement to White Plains & other parts down the Hudson. That the men and officers whose names were borne on said lists were drawn from said Regiment of Albany County Militia. That is this deponent recollects right said Draft or enlistment was for at least six months and that Charles Near was one of the men thus drafted and who served for said term or period.
That said Charles Near’s widow is mistaken in supposing, (as I am informed she does) that her said husband served under Henry VanRensselaer said Henry Van Rensselaer was Lieutenant Colonel of said Regiment & of course interested in making up said draft, but he did not serve upon said expedition himself. That said Caleb Bentley commanded during said expedition.
This deponent also recollects that said Charles Near served in the fall of the year 1778 with said Militia at Saratoga & Fort Edward but deponent cannot say how long yet he is assured that it was for at least six weeks.
And deponent further saith, that on several other occasions during the years 1779 & 1780, the said Near served & did military duty, the particular circumstances of which have escaped deponent’s recollections. In the year 1781, in the fall of that year when deponent was on duty at Halfmoon & Schenectada the said Near was on duty also with said militia or a detachment thereof. And deponent further saith that he saw said Charles Near on duty on other occasions not now particularly remembered—and that all the services before referred to were performed by said Charles Near as a private in the companies of Captains DeForrest or Sharp in said Regiment, except when called out on drafts, he may have served under other officers of said Regiment & further Deponent saith not. (Signed) Jacob VanAlstyne
Subscribed & sworn this 10th day of May 1843, before me, & I certify that said Jacob VanAlstyne is a credible witness. Abm A. VanHorne J.P.
The following is donated by Jeffrey Lape.
This is my 3-great-granfather Charles Neer's (Neher) pension file. PVT Charles Neer although originally listed a "Loyalist" and imprisoned in 1778, not being released until he swore an allegiance to the State of New York and after his father-in-law, John Hidley, posted a £100 bail in his name, was a member of the Black Plumed Riflemen, a noted company of scouts connected with the Northern Division of the Revolutionary Army; and was noted as a marksman and for his great strength. His old friend and fellow scout, Timothy Murphy, known as the "Tory Killer", located about six miles South of the Charles Neer home in Lutheranville, NY. Charles Neer was described as being tall, powerfully built, with blue-gray eyes, light complexion and a sandy beard. He Leased a 79 acre farm adjacent to Samuel Lape, Sr., in Greenbush, Rensselaer, NY, but removed to Summit (was Jefferson), Schoharie, NY, in 1791. Charles Neer was a direct descendant of Johann Karl Naeher's (and Anna Constantia Reichardt), whose gravestone is still standing in the churchyard cemetery of the "Old Stone Church" in North Rhinebeck, NY. The construction of the church was one of Karl's last projects before his death.
Pension file of Catherine Neer (Near), wife of Charles Neer, Revolutionary Soldier, 1753-1826, Schoharie County: "Declaration: In order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed July 4, 1836.
State of New York
On this 8th day of March 1843, personally appeared before me John Westover one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the County of Schoharie in said state Catherine Near of the town of Summit in said county aged eighty three years & upwards who being first duely sworn according to law doth on her oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by an act of Congress passed July 4th 1836, entitled an act granting half pay & pension to certain widows.
That she is the widow of Charles Near or as he was called in Dutch Carl or Carel Near (Carl or Carel being the same as Charles) that her husband the said Charles Near was a soldier during the war of the Revolution and served in the army of the United States from the beginning until the end of said war, that much of this service this Declarant particularly remembers but that many of his expeditions with the militia she cannot call to mind with sufficient clearness to declare them under oath. That her husband the said Charles Near at the commencement of said war resided in the town of Greenbush opposite the City of Albany that in the month of June of the year 1776, he enlisted therefrom into the company of Capt. Henry Van Rensselaer (or as he was called Hank Van Rensselaer) said Van Rensselaer was then a Capt. in the regular army and her husband the said Charles Near was thus enlisted into the regular Army to serve for a period of six months. That the declarant more particularly remembers the particulars of this service from the following facts, that she was in Albany at the time he started for the Highlands & that he gave her a present to remember him by & that she saw him embark on board of a Sloop with the said Captain Van Rensselaer & the rest of the troops for the Highlands. That she was married to said Charles Near on the 6th day of June 1777. That he remained on duty at the Highlands for the full period of six months, there is no fact in Declarants history more vividly impressed upon her mind than this. That after said service under said Capt. Van Rensselaer her said husband enlisted in the rangers she thinks under Capt. Sharp.
That in the next year 1778 (the next year after her marriage) her husband the said Charles Near being duly enrolled in the militia of Greenbush of which Henry Van Rensselaer was Colonel was out with said Regiment or a portion thereof to the northern frontier for the period of three months. He was afterwards out upon numerous occasions among which Declarant more particularly remembers that he served for a number of months in the garrison and fort of Schoharie. That she well remembers his service at said forts & of hearing him relate at the time & upon numerous occasions since that when at said fort he was out on scouting expeditions with the noted Tory Hunter Timothy Murphy having been selected from among the soldiers in the fort for that purpose. Declarant is particularly assured that her said husband was on duty at the Schoharie forts and on scouting expeditions during the latter years of the war for a period in the aggregate of at least six months.
And declaiment further saith that she was duely married by the Rev. Mr. Westerlo a Dutch Reformed Clergyman on the 6th day of June 1777. That she particularly remembers the date from many circumstances among the most prominent of which is that she was married in the house of one Mr. Hertsbeger & that Burgoyne and his army surrendered the following fall after her marriage the Declarant further saith that her husband the said Charles Near died on the 14th day of July 1826 at Summit in the County of Schoharie since which time she has remained his widow, single, and unmarried and is still unmarried. Declarant further saith that the residence of said husband was in the town of Greenbush opposite of Albany until after the treaty of peace with Great Britain and this deponent also saith that her maiden name was Catherine Hidley.
Subscribed and sworn the day and year aforesaid before me & certify that the declarant Catherine Near is unable to attend Court by reason of old age and bodily infirmnefs John Westover Judge of Schoharie County Courts.
The words "and for scouting expeditions" entered before signed John Westover. (Signed with her mark) Catherine Near
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