Pension Application for Henry Ritter
Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed April 7, 1832.
State of New York
Herkimer County SS.
On this twenty second day of February in the year one thousand eight hundred & thirty two personally appeared before Judges of the said Court of Common Pleas of the said County Henry Ritter, a resident of the town of Manheim in said county aged seventy three 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 entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated—That in the winter of the years 1775 & 1776 he listed into Captain Marks Damewood’s company of Rangers and the company was stationed in the now town of Manheim in said county. The Lieutenant was Robert Gordon, does not recollect the ensign—that he did not list for any special time, but was bound to served till regular discharged—That the company was employed in scouting into different parts of the County of Herkimer, to watch the enemy and ascertain whether they were in danger from them, & to prevent them from making incursions upon the farms & settlements which they often did to destroy the barns & provisions of the inhabitants, & burn their house, & taking prisoners. That he remained at that place & in that employment during that winter & the succeeding spring & summer & until about the middle or a little before or the winter of the years 1776 & 7, when he was drafted with about half of his company, into another company at Stone Arabia, commanded by Captain Getman, they were also rangers, to go to Tyconderoga, to build a sinking bridge across from Mount Independence to the fort in order to prevent the Brittish [?] from passing up—
That he & that company went to Tyconderoga and got there about the first of February--when they arrived the bridge was under considerable progress, the ice was yet thick on the lake—That this bridge was built of pine saw logs, doughtailed together about twelve feet wide, and was built on the ice & the logs laid up about eighteen feet high, and the inside was filed with stone, it had a floor inside of logs, and when finished, the ice was cut away & it sank down and let two or three feet high of the bridge above the water on which string pieces were laid—That he remained as much as two or three months at Tyconderoga, when he came home to Manheim with several others, the ice having broken up so that they could not work—The company was discharged when he came home—
In the spring of the year 1777 immediately after he returned from Tyconderoga, he listed into a company commanded by Captain Henry Debout, which belonged to Colonel Gansevoort’s regiment, that he met the company near Caughnawaga, Colonel Gansevoort was on his way to Fort Stanwix—he listed this time for three years, that he went on with the regiment to Fort Stanwix, where they had just begun to build that fort, and he & the soldiers worked there and finished it – it was not quite done when the enemy under Barry St. Leger came on—They did not retreat “nor give up the ship” but kept the fort, and fought like enraged bulldogs, taking especial care to keep within the pickets—That St. Leger laid before the fort as much as twenty days; and was firing against & into the fort & the Americans returned the compliment with bold hearts & determined resolution not to surrender—That he thinks St. Leger came to Fort Stanwix about the first of August 1777—Colonel Willet was there, but he does not know whether that officer came there when Gansevoort did or afterwards—When St. Leger raised the siege, which was a very sudden movement of his, the Americans went out of the fort & captured their ammunition, cannon shells, baggage & some prisoners & carried them into the fort—That he said Hanjost Schuyler, the tory spy, when he came into the fort, and told Col. Gansevoort that St. Leger & his troops were all in confusion & that then was his time to turn out & give him battle & then they did turn out & the enemy only run; did not pretend to fight back—
That he remained at Fort Stanwix till the next spring being the spring of 1778 (but he cannot state the month), when he received notice of the death of his mother, his father having been previously killed in the Oriskany battle and come home on a furlough where he found his old grandfather, taking care of his late parent’s children who were small (applicant being the oldest)—That then, he, & his aged grandfather went down to Palatine, to the safety committee, and made a statement of the destitute and helpless condition of his father’s family (the grandfather being unable from extreme age to maintain his grandchildren & protect them in those turbulent times)—when they arrived at Palatine they went before the committee of safety, and the committee, after hearing his statement, told one John Cramer, a tory who had been arrested & whom the committee were going to hang, that, he might take his choice, to be hung, or take the place of the applicant, and the said tory, chose to take the place of the applicant and save his neck from the halter, which was ready in the hands of one of the committee to be used without delay, if he should choose to be hanged—The committee then gave said John Cramer in to the custody of said applicant and his said grandfather, who took him to Fort Stanwix and made a representation of his case to Colonel Gansevoort who was reluctant to discharge the applicant and take a tory in his place; but on the representation of the distress &b helpless condition of his father’s family the colonel consented, and discharged the applicant (Henry Ritter) and accepted the said John Cramer—and then the applicant went home, and he thinks it was in April a778 when he was dismissed & went home—He remained at home for about a year working out by days work’s work, to maintain his seven brothers and sisters, but the Indians were continually making incursions into the neighborhood, and often killing his neighbors & plundering them, and it became so unsafe to remain there, that he took them & retreated to Palatine, where there was a fort near the present site of the Palatine stone church—at this place he again went into the militia which was in the spring of the year 1779—where he remained about a year of more and were ordered to keep in readiness at a moment’s warning, to go out in scouts, & to repell the approach of Indians, & he often went out on scouts, & to espy out the situation of the Indians—In the summer of that year the enemy Indians tories & brittish troops he thinks commanded by Sir John Johnson, came through that country, & Gen Van Rensselaer, followed them on I that he (applicant) turned out & followed them & they fired upon them & the skirmish continued till dark when VanRensselaer drew of[f] his men & permitted the enemy to go on unmolested—That the applicant believes, & so was the general opinion at that time, that VanRensselaer was about half tory himself; that had he done his duty the enemy might have been defeated; that VanRensselaer was brother in law to the commander of the enemy whom he then pretended to attack--after this & he believes in the year 1780, he listed again for nine month at Niskeunah, between Schenectady & Albany near Troy, into Capt. Phelps company, but being wanted in his deceased father’s family, his younger brother took his place & he remained at home. That here the applicant’s service ended—
That he was born at Stone Arabia in now county of Montgomery in the year 1759—
That he has in his possession a record of his age, kept by his father in the family Bible but it is now in his house—
That he was residing at home in Manheim when he entered the service—since the revolutionary war he has resided in the town of Manheim in Herkimer and now resides there.
That he entered the service by voluntary enlistment & was once drafted, as stated in the previous part of his statement.
That the names of some of the regular officers in service where he was, are, Colonel Klock, General Gansevoort, Colonel Willet, Colonel VanSchaick, Major Andrew Fink, Colonel Cox, Major Eysler, General Nicholas Herkimer.—
That he never received a discharge in writing.—
That he is known to Frederick Ritter, and James Rankins who reside in his present neighborhood and who can testify as to his character for veracity and their belief of his services as a soldier of the revolution.
Deponent saith his health is so bad that it is impossible for him to attend court to make this application, he often is [?] there is not now any clergymen for his vicinity who has resided there long enough to know anything on the subject of this application & witness thereof.
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) Henry Ritter
Subscribed 7 sworn this 22 day of Feb 1832 before me. Augustus Beardslee, Judge of Herkimer Com. Pleas
Return to opening page of Morrison's Pensions