The State of New York and the United States awarded pensions to former soldiers who served during the Revolutionary War. As early as 1776 the Continental Congress passed a resolution urging the states to provide pensions to disabled veterans. New York complied by passing laws in 1779, 1783 and 1786 authorizing payments to "invalid" veterans disabled due to military service. All such payments were to be charged to the account of the United States. In 1789 the United States assumed the payment of "invalid" pensions from the states. Records of the pensions paid by New York from 1779 to 1789 are described in this section.
In 1818 the United States extended eligibility for pensions to almost any Revolutionary War veteran who was "by reason of his reduced circumstances in life...in need of assistance from his country for support" (15th Congress, First Session, Chapter 19, approved March 18, 1818). To receive a pension veterans had to describe their wartime service in an affidavit sworn before a State or federal judge. Some of these affidavits are in State court records described in this section.
A0174. Certificates Submitted by Disabled Revolutionary War Veterans Claiming Pensions and Audited Accounts of Pensions ("Pension Board Minutes"), 1779-1789. 5.3 cubic feet (9 volumes)
Arrangement: By date of certificate, 1779-1785; by date audited, 1786-1789.
This series contains copies of documents submitted by veterans claiming pensions under various State laws. The State auditor (previously auditor general) received the originals of these documents, copied and audited them, and authorized the payment of pensions. For the period 1779-1785 copies of the following documents may be included for each claim:
- certificate of claimant's commanding officer or surgeon giving claimant's name; rank; unit; and date, place, and nature of wound
- certificate from a justice that above certificate is valid
- certificate from the governor in support of pension claim (in the event that the commanding officer is deceased)
- senate or assembly resolution awarding partial pension
- power of attorney by claimant allowing another person to collect his payment
- receipts for pension payments received
For the period 1786-1789 the claim documents are slightly different:
- certificate from individuals appointed by law to examine claimants, giving name, rank, and date, place, and nature of wound
- certificate from a justice that pensioner was examined by the legally appointed examiners
- amount paid (in pounds) and dates for which pension was paid
- running total of pensions paid each calendar year (in pounds)
- date claim audited
Also included in this series are two additional volumes:
- "Book of Accounts of Payments of Pensions to January 1, 1789" containing an alphabetical list of pensioners
- "Abstracts of pensions paid to invalids... " containing separate lists of payments made under three acts of the legislature
Finding aids: Container list, volume list.
Indexes: An online name index to claimants is available. Alphabetical or calendar lists of pensioners in volumes 3-9; series A1193, Index to Invalid Pensioners (below), is a name index to volumes 3, 5-7.
Restricted: Fragile condition due to burn damage.
A1193. Index to Invalid Pensioners, ca. 1850. .2 cubic foot
Arrangement: Alphabetical by name.
This is an index prepared by the comptroller's office to four of the volumes (3, 5-7; old volumes A, B, C, D) of series A0174, Certificates Submitted by Disabled Revolutionary War Veterans Claiming Pensions and Audited Accounts of Pensions ("Pension Board Minutes), described above (page 37).
SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE (ALBANY)
J6011. Affidavits of War Service and Property By Revolutionary War Veterans, 1820. .4 cubic foot (16 items)
Arrangement: Alphabetical by name.
These affidavits were sworn to by Revolutionary War veterans who intended to apply for pensions under an act of Congress passed on March 18, 1818. Each affidavit includes statements of the veteran's war service; a schedule of his real and personal property; applicant's age; present residence; former military rank; and physical disability (if any). These declarations could be made in any court of record; most were made not in the Supreme Court, but the Court of Common Pleas, whose records are maintained by the county clerks.
Finding aids: Item list.
Indexes: Alphabetical list of applicants.
J7011. Briefs, Draft Rules, and Motions, 1812-1827. 1.3 cubic feet
Included in this series are a few affidavits of war service and property by Revolutionary War veterans who intended to apply for pensions under an act of Congress passed on March 18, 1818. For a description of the affidavits, see the description of series J6011, Affidavits of War Service and Property by Revolutionary War Veterans, above.
Finding aids: Container list.