Pension Application for James Rankins
Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7, 1832.
State of New York
Herkimer County SS.
On this ninth day of October in the year 1832, personally appeared in open court before Michael Hoffman first Judge John Mahon, Augustus Beardslee judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the said county of Herkimer now sitting James Rankins now residing in the town of Little Falls in said county and state, aged seventy two years, 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 was born in Halifax Nova Scotia but removed when a child before the Revolutionary War was about, in 16 years to German Flatts (now Little Falls) in Tryon (now Herkimer) County in the state of New York when he was quite young with the family of his parents. He resided at Little Falls where he entered the service of the United States—That he has no record of his age and depends for the correctness of his statement in reference to that point, on the intelligence he derived from his parents in relation thereto.—That he enlisted in the Spring of the year 1776, (the day he cannot recollect nor the precise month) into Captain Marks Damswood company of Rangers, the name of the Lieutenant was Robert Gordon—The company belonged to a regiment commanded he believes at this time of his enlistment by Colonel [?] Parry or Colonel Bellinger. They were called state troops.—The regiment was not all mustered together but each company by itself. Captain Damewood’s company remained at German Flatts that he (Rankins) was employed in this company with others, on scouting parties out along the West Canada Creek which empties into the Mohawk River in the County of Herkimer, to spy out the Indians and give alarm to the forts in said county of the approach of Indians and tories, and to promote the security of the settlers on the Mohawk river. That he served as a common soldier in Capt. Damewood’s company until late in the fall of the year 1776, when eh, with several others were drafted out of said company, and were dispatched to Stone Arabia where they were joined to a company of rangers of which Christian Getman was captain belonging to the same regiment—Nicholas Van Alstyne and Lawrence Gross were the other officers of this company of rangers, but he cannot state their particular office—With this Company he went in the winter of the years 1776 & 7 to build a bridge across the stream at Tyconderoga to present Independence to prevent the enemy from passing with their [?] munitions of war—that he worked for a long time at this bridge, it was called a sinking or floating bridge & was under the surface of the water, but he cannot recollect whether the bridge was completed, but of one fact his is very certain, it was a cold job, and in the prosecution of it he endured great fatigue, & suffered from hunger & want of clothing. That when he and his company left Tyconderoga, which occurred in the latter part of the winter of the years 1776 & 7, they were ordered, he believes, to Albany and when they arrived on this journey, to a place called Sabada Point on Lake George about midway between Fort George & Tyconderoga, they were surprised & attacked by a band of Indians and Canadians commanded by one Captain McCoy and engagement ensured and Rankins with about 25 or 30 others were taken prisoners and four others killed, and the remainder of the company escaped—Rankins & the other prisoners were taken to Montreal, and in performing that journey at that season, suffered extremely from fatigue & want of food, and one of the number perished on the way—He (Rankins) was for a long time (he cannot state the length of time) confined in a prison in Montreal and until an exchange of prisoners took place—He did not get an opportunity to escape, being closely watched and remained in Canada until the last of the war.—
That he was in actual service and did duty from the time of his enlistment in the Spring of 1776 until he was taken prisoner in the latter part of the winter of the years 1776 & 7 and before starting for Tyconderoga was employed as a scout in the now county of Herkimer and as a guard in the several forts on the Mohawk in said County—He was in no other engagement than the one before mentioned—He never received a discharge from the army—and after obtaining his liberty he returned to his home as has resided in the same place ever since, being at Little Falls in Herkimer County—That he was born in Halifax in Nova Scotia & was born in the year 1760[blot]—That he has no record of his age—That he resided at the town of Little Falls when called into the service and has always since lived at the same place, except he was a prisoner in Canada during the war—Fort Dayton was where the Village of Herkimer in Herkimer County now is—That he listed as a volunteer into the York Troops when he entered the service, and never served except as a listed volunteer.—
At the time he was in the service he knew the following regular officers who were where he served, viz, Colonel Parry; Colonel Cox, Major Finck, Colonel Bellinger, Major Eysler. -- That he never received a written discharge from service—That he is acquainted with Henry Ritter and Stephen Eysaman residing near him who can testify as to his character for veracity and their belief of his services as a revolutionary soldier—That there is no clergyman residing in his neighborhood to whom his is known. (Signed with his mark) James Rankings.
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) James Rankins
Sworn in open court Oct 9th 1832. Julius E. N[?] Clerk
Reply to letter of inquiry dated May 29, 1929.
I advise you from the papers in the Revolutionary War pension claim, S.14255, it appears that James Rankins, the son of James, was born in 1760, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
While a resident of German Flats, Tryon County, New York, he enlisted in the fall of 1775, as a private in Captain Mark Demount’s company in Colonels Isaac Parry’s, Bellinger’s or DeBois’ New York Regiment. In the fall of 1776, he was detached to serve in Captain Christian Getman’s New York Company, and while in a skirmish at Sabada Point on Lake George, March 15, 1777, with a party of Indians and Canadians commanded by Captain McCoy, he was taken prisoner and carried to Montreal. He was confined in prison there nearly one year when he was made servant to Captain McCoy. He served as such until May 21, 1783, when he made his escape.
He was allowed pension on his application executed October 9, 1832, at which time he was a resident of Little Falls, Herkimer County, New York.
He died November 5, 1841, in Jefferson County, New York, and was survived by one child, Elizabeth Casler who was fifty-four years of age in 1846.
There are no further data relative to his family.
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