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Affidavit of War Service of John Wright, August 10, 1820

Affidavit of Revolutionary War service and property by John Wright
New York State Archives, NYSA_J6011-82_Wright
Document Description
Affadavit of War Service for John Wright, August 10, 1820.
State of New-York
Supreme Court
City of Albany
On this tenth day of August 1820 personally appeared in open court, (being a court of record in and for the said State according to the solemn adjudications of the Supreme Court of this state, and being a court which proceeds according to the course of common law, with a jurisdiction unlimited in point of amount, keeping a record of its proceedings, and possessing the power of fine and imprisonment) John Wright, late a private, aged sixty four years, resident in the Town of Westerlo in said County who, being duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath declare, that he served in the revolutionary war as follows: in the Company commanded by Captain Fowler in Col. Van Cortlandts Regiment on the Continental Establishment in the New York line for the term and in the manner specified in his original declaration, on file in the Pensions Office at Washington, dated the 24th day of October 1818, that his certificate is numbered 14, 823 and was issued on the 6th of September 1819, and that he has received his Pension, at the rate of eight dollars per month, up to the 4th of March last.
And I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the 18th day of March, 1818; and that I have not since that time, by gift, sale, or in any manner, disposed of my property, or any part thereof, with intent thereby so to diminish it, as to bring myself within the provisions of an act of Congress entitled “An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States, in the Revolutionary war,” passed on the 18th day of March, 1818; and that I have not, nor has any person in trust for me, any property or securities, contracts, or debts, due to me; nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed, and by me subscribed. That I am by occupation a carpenter but by reason of the failure of my sight, which is such that I am unable at all times to distinguish persons except by their voice, that the following is a schedule of my Real and Personal Estate viz –Real Estate none, Personal Estate none, other than my wearing apparel.
John Wright
Sworn to and declared in open court on this 10th day of August 1820
Fr. Bloodgood Clk.
State of New-York
Supreme Court
Clerks Office
I Francis Bloodgood Clerk of the Supreme Court of Judicature do hereby certify, that the foregoing declaration and the schedule thereto annexed, are truly copied from the record of the said court; and I do further certify, that it is the opinion of the said court that the total amount in value of property exhibited in the aforesaid schedule, is              dollars and                   cents. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed the seal of the said court, on this                    day of August 1820
Compare and contrast the pension application of Wait Barret to John Wright’s.  Who do you think is more worthy of a pension and why? 
What reasons does John Wright give for needing a pension for his time served?
Why can’t he continue to support himself with his carpentry profession?
Does he have any property or real estate holdings?  Why would he have to prove ownership of property?

Historical Context
The social effects of the war did not end with the end of the eighteenth century. As a result of patriotic feelings and economic prosperity after the War of 1812, Congress passed the Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818, which provided lifetime pensions to needy soldiers who had fought in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. This pension program was the first of its kind and the basis for later American veterans’ programs. Pension applications give us with a glimpse into the lives of Revolutionary War soldiers in the years after the war.
Essential Question
How did the aftermath of the Revolutionary War affect ordinary people’s lives?
Check for Understanding
Divide the class into two groups.  Each group should compare the pension application of Wait Barret to that of John Wright.  Groups should then debate, giving reasons from the document, why they think one or the other soldier is a better candidate for a pension (if they had to choose between the two).