Pension Application for Oneida Indian Tall William or William Tall
R.21851 (Widow: Betsey)
State of New York
Oneida County SS.
Town of Verona
On the fifteenth day of August in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty three personally appeared before the subscriber a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the said County, Betsey William, the widow of Tall William, a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians & a resident of the town of Lenox, County of Madison, aged 80 years who being first duly sworn according to Law doth depose and says that Tall William the late husband of this deponent died at his residence in Lenox aforesaid on the fifteenth day of October last, that in the year 1775 or 6 the said Tall William with the other members of the said tribe and male and female, went from Oriskany now Whitestown in said Country of Oneida at the solicitation of General George Washington to Schenectady; where the said Tall William with the other warriors of the said Tribe joined the American Army and were used mostly as Indian spies to watch the movements of the enemy. That they were generally engaged in the vicinity of the Mohawk River between Albey [Albany?] and Utica; and frequently sent to other parts of the state; that the said Tall William served the Americans faithfully from the time they went to Schenectady until the close of the American War when they all returned back to Oriskany. That the remainder of the said tribe now living in the State of New York, reside principally in the towns of Lenox & Verona aforesaid separated only by the Oneida Creek. That the said Tall William died at his residence in Lenox aforesaid on the fifteenth day of October last. That he was 80b years of age at the time of his death. That she was married to the said Tall William in the year 1781 when she was 27 years of age & while at Schenectada and lived with him up to the time of his death. That the said Tall William had never applied for or received any pension or annuity for the services he so rendered in the American War—That she is poor and infirm and unable to attend a court Record to make the necessary proof to entitle her to a pension for the services of her said husband. (Signed with her mark) Betsey William
Subscribed & sworn before me by the said Betsey having been interpreted truly Aug. 15, 1833. John P. Sherwood Judge Oneida County Court.
State of New York
Oneida County SS.
John Cornelius aged 70 years, a resident in the town of Lenox in said County being duly sworn deposeth and saith that he is well acquainted with Betsey William who was subscribed & sworn to the above affidavit, that he was a member of the said tribe and sent from Oriskany to Schenectady and staid there till the close of the war in a company with the said Betsey and other members of the tribe. That he well recollects Tall William who was then with them, and that he has heard the said affidavit read and concurs in the statement therein made of the services of the said Tall William. That he was twelve years of age when he so left Oriskany & further saith not. (Signed with his mark) John Cornelius
Subscribed & sworn before me by the said John having been interpreted to him by Adam London who was sworn to interpret truly. Aug. 15, 1833. John P. Sherwood. Judge of Oneida County Courts
State of New York
Town of Verona SS.
John Canada a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians aged 71 years a resident of the town of Lenox in the County of Madison being duly sworn deposeth and saith that in the year 1779 according to his best recollection, he with some other Indians came from Canada via Albey and found the Oneida Indians at Schenectady there in the American Service; that from that time he served with the Oneida Indians in the American War until its close, and for upwards of three years; that he well recollects Tall William mentioned in the preceding affidavit of Betsey William, his wife, with whom he was also well acquainted, a true American Indian, and that he was engaged during the whole of the time deponent was as above mentioned in the American War. That they were generally under the command and direction of General Schuyler, and was used generally as spies to watch the movements of the enemy; that they were generally engaged on and about the Mohawk River, between Albany and Utica, but were frequently sent to other places in the state and once went under direction of Gen. Schuyler to Philadelphia where the main army under General George Washington were then stationed. That he was together with the said Tall William Engaged in a battle at West Canada Creek in which Col. Butler was shot through the head and killed and in which the enemy were defeated, and after the battle was over I took from the pocket of Col. Butler a half guinea and Black William another member of our tribe took the shoe Buckles from his feet and saucy Nick another member of our Tribe took the other one, who shot Col. Butler took his clothing and occasionally after that wore the same. That of the American officers (White) he recollects General George Washington, General La Fayette, General Schuyler, Col. Willett & Gen. Herkimer, and of the Indians who had commissions Col. White Anniary & Captain John.
That when he was sent out upon scouting parties we were generally under the direction of one, or two or more white men. That he has no doubt but what the said Tall William was eighty years old and upwards at the time of his death. And further saith not. (Signed with his mark) John Canada.
Subscribed and sworn to by said John before me, having been interpreted to him by Adam Jordan who was sworn to interpret truly Aug 15, 1833, John P. Sherwood, Judge of Oneida County Courts.
I, Dan Barnes a Clergyman residing in the Town of Verona Oneida County New York, and for the last three years a missionary among the Oneida Tribe of Indians hereby certify that I have been well acquainted with Tall William, late a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians, for three years last past, up to the time of his death in October last past. That he was respected in the neighbourhood where he resided and believed to have been in the American service during the greater part of the American Revolution, and to have been a true American Indian and soldier and that I concur in that opinion. That the said Tall William was in my belief at the time of his death upwards of eighty years of age; that he was a member of the church under my charge, and that I attended the funeral of the said Tall William in October last. And I further certify that I am well acquainted with John Canada and John Cornelius, members of the said tribe of Indians and Betsey William the widow of the said Tall William that their statements are entitled to credit. Dan Barnes
Subscribed & sworn before me this 15 Aug. 1833 by the said Dan Barnes who is known to me to be a man of undoubted veracity & credibility. John P. Sherwood Judge Oneida County Courts.
I Abraham VanEps of the town of [?] Oneida County New York hereby certify, that I have been well acquainted with Tall William a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians from the time the said Indians went from Oriskany to Schenectady in the year 1775 or 6 according to my best recollection and belief, and during the American Revolution, as stated in the preceding affidavits; that I resided at Schenectady at the time the said Indians so came there until the close of the war, with the exception of about one year. That the Oneida Indians were located during the time aforesaid a short distance out of the city of Schenectady, near the road leading from Schenectady to Albany and that I was in the habit of seeing them often, during the time I so lived in Schenectady during the revolution and well recollect the said Tall William that he was an active & true American Indian and served the Americans faithfully during the time aforesaid and until the close of the war. That I well recollect that John Cornelius who has subscribed & sworn to the preceding affidavit was with the said Indians at Schenectady aforesaid. That after the close of the war and in the year 1782 I moved into the County of Oneida and was for many years thereafter engaged in the mercantile business in said county and that my trade was principally with the Oneida Indians during that time; that I have been well acquainted with the said Tall William, Betsey his wife, John Cornelius, Adam London and John Canada since I came into this county as aforesaid. That they are Indians of good character and that the statement of the said Betsey, John Cornelius and John Canady in the preceding affidavits is entitled to credit. That the said Indians were generally under the direction of American (White) officers, but that some of the said Indians held commissions among whose was Colonel Lewey Cook, Col. George Doxtader, Captain John and Capt. David. That the said Tall William & other Indians were used principally as Indian spies to watch the movements of the enemy that I believe the said Betsey to be as old as she states and the said Tall William to have been 80 years of age at the time of his death. Abm. Van Eps.
Subscribed & affirmed before me Aug. 19 A.D. 1833 the VanEps who is to me known to be a man of unquestionable veracity & whose statement is entitled to implicit confidence. John P. Sherwood, Judge of Oneida County Court.
State of New York
Oneida County SS.
I John P. Sherwood a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the said County do hereby certify and declare my opinion after an investigation of the matter and after having put the interrogatories to the said Betsey, John Cornelius, John Canada, through John London who was duly sworn as an interpreter, and who is to me know as an Indian of strict integrity and who has for many years officiated as an interpreter for the Orchard part of Oneida Indians as he states, that the said Tall William served in the Revolutionary War as one of the Indians of the Oneida Tribe as an ally and spy and generally under the direction of American officers for the greater part of the American Revolution. That it is a notorious fact in this neighborhood that the Oneida Indians went to Schenectady and served the Americans through the greater part of the Revolution. And I have no doubt but the said Tall William was at that time one of their number and served the Americans faithfully as stated in the preceding affidavits. And I the said Judge further certify that I am well acquainted with Dan Barnes and Abraham VanEps who have signed the preceding certificates. That the said Ian Barnes resides in the town of Verona and has for the last three years officiated as a missionary among the Oneida Indians and is a minister of the gospel of high standing and his certificate is intitled to great weight; that the said Abraham Van Eps resides in the town of Vernon Oneida County and is one of the oldest settlers in this county and has always been intimately acquainted with the history of the said Indians, and I consider his statement entitled to great weight and I further certify that it satisfactorily appears to me that the said Tall William died on the fifteenth day of the October last; and that the said Tall William & Betsey were of the age stated in the affidavit of the said Betsey; and I further certify that from the age infirmity and circumstances of the said Betsey that it would have been impracticable to have obtained her attendance & that of her witnesses before a court of record. Dated August 19, 1833. John P. Sherwood Judge Oneida County Court.
P.S. I signed the parts firstly as a Justice of the Peace & afterwards as a Judge. J.P. Sherwood Judge.
War Department Pension Office. January 4, 1834.
Sir, I have the honor to inform you that the claim of Tall William dec’d and Cornelius Canquayunk have been examined.
It appears that they belonged to the Oneida Tribe, and espoused the American cause during the revolutionary war. You will readily perceive by reference to the law of 7 June 1832, and to the regulations adopted for the execution that no service, however valuable to the common cause is provided for but that which is rendered in some military corps, organized by law, land duly embodied and commanded by competent authority. The services of the above claimants do not appear to have been rendered in such a corps, but on the contrary it is believed were confined to those friendly acts which the protection afforded them in the American lines invited them to perform, when called upon by an officer to act as spies or guides.
Their claims are disallowed and papers filed in this office.
I have the honor to be most respectfully, J. L. Edwards, Comm of Pensions.
To: Hon. S. Beardsley, House of Representatives.
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