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Affidavit of War Service of Wait Barret, August 15, 1820

Affidavit of Revolutionary War service and property by Wait Barret (also spelled Wait Barrit)
New York State Archives, NYSA_J6011-82_Barret
Document Description
Affidavit of War Service for Wait Barret, August 15, 1820.
Supreme Court of the Term of August, one thousand eight hundred and twenty
State of New York, SS.
City of Albany
On this fifteenth day of August 1820, personally appeared in open court, being a resident in Guilderland in said state aforesaid, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on his oath, declare that he served in the Revolutionary war as follows: He enlisted in Capt. Bradfords Company at West Point in the State of New York in the year 1779, and was afterwards attached to the Brigade commanded by the Marquis De LaFayette, and served during the remainder of the war and was honorably discharged at the close of the war by the hands of Colonel Shrout –that he was in several skirmishes during his service and served at the Seige of Yorktown at the time of the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, that he has received a pension certificate from the war department, numbered 16,821. And I 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. Real Estate –none –Personal estate as follows –viz –one cow worth $16.00, on hog $3.50, 6 chairs (old) $1.50, eight plates (common) 32 c[en]ts                                                                                                                    $21.32
Three kettles worth $2.25, one chest worth $1, one table 50 c[en]ts, 6 knives and forks (old) 25 c[en]ts                                                                                                                                        $4.00
One looking glass 75 c[en]ts, 3 wine glasses 12 c[en]ts, one axe 75 c[en]ts, 16 beetle rings 25 c[en]ts, 1 iron wedge 37 c[en]ts                                                                                            $2.25
Three earthen bowls, one earthen pot, 3 barrels, one tub, one spinning wheel and sic spoons worth in all                                                                                                                          $2.18
One pair of andirons, one shovel and tongs, one tea pot and six tea cups and saucers worth in all                                                                                                                                                             $1.00
One hoe, one frying pan and one wooden pail worth in all                                                    $1.75
I have a wife named Rebecca, aged thirty eight years, [who] is weak and not able to work much on account of Rheumatic pains. I have eleven children. Six of them reside with me. None of them are able to support me. Those residing with me are Dianah aged 13 years, Peggy aged nine years, Catharine aged about 7 years, Joseph aged 4 years, Jane Elizah aged three years, Eleanor aged about 10 months. Dianah works out for support when she has an opportunity. At present she is out of employ. The others are all too young to do much except a few chores about the house. I am by occupation, a labourer, and go out to work for support when I am able and can get employ. I have heretofore enjoyed pretty good health, until within about three months ago I met with an accident by a wagon running over me occasioned by the fright of horses, which broke two of my ribs. Since that I have been able to work very little. I have no other means for the support of myself an family but my labour and stand in actual need of the assistance of my country for their support.
Wait Barrit
I,                      Clerk of                       do hereby certify that the foregoing              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                     18
Clerk of the Court of the                     of        
What factors make Wait Barrit a great candidate for a pension?  (use details from the document) 
• How does the document describe his wife and family?
How easy do you think it was for Wait Barrit to stand before a judge and share this information? (Please explain).
Historical Challenges
Research a current military pension and compare how much money a soldier receives in the  21st century to the 18th century.

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
Students should form groups of 4.  Using the document they should discuss the economic effects of the war on Wait Barrit and his family.  Describe his possible situation prior to the war,  his honorable service to his country, and compare how his family lived post war.  Present group conclusions to the class for discussion.