Tag Archives: Veterans

A Christmas Wish

It was 1856, and Asa W. Allen was waiting for an answer. After serving in the War of 1812 from the state of Connecticut, for years, the pension commissioner had failed to locate him on the military rolls. He and his wife Sophia now living in Oho, and the waiting continued on.

He married Sophia on December 25, 1818 in New York. That was one Christmas wish granted.

Finally, the answer had been received, his pension had been approved, and the 91 pages in Asa’s file became part of our national history. Included in his file are bits of information that family historian’s wish for: maiden name of his wife, his bounty land claim (#68667), a description of why he was eligible for this claim, a sworn affidavit from his sister-in-law on their marriage, a notarized letter from his own death, and funeral service information. And much more.

After Asa died, Sophia of course had to apply again for her widow’s pension. In the documents, she makes the statement that she can’t give information on several of the lines required, and asks the pension board to refer to her husband’s application [paraphrased]. She died just a year after Asa.

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A page from the pension file of Asa Allen.

There is so much value in these records to genealogists, historians, researchers, authors, teachers, and many more of us. It can certainly make the “all I want for Christmas” wish list come true. We can all help in preserving these documents, and we can help today; right now, by making a donation.

Will you join us in preserving our history and give a Christmas gift to all of us, and to future generations? Donate in honor of Asa or Sophia, in honor of your own ancestor, in honor of your grandchildren.

Major General Patterson : War, Three Times

In every war, there are the necessary leaders, the necessary foot soldiers. Some are forever preserved in the history texts across the country, and some are largely forgotten, except to that small group of avid historians, academics, and researchers. Major General Robert Patterson was a man of  influence – good and bad – during three United States conflicts: the War of 1812, the Mexican American War, and the Civil War. His story, along with thousands of others, deserves to be told.

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Major General Robert Patterson

Robert Patterson was born on 12 January 1792 in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. His family was forced to leave due to his father’s acts as a insurrectionist, and he immigrated to America in 1799. Enlisting as a young man, he served in the 2nd Pennsylvania Militia during the War of 1812, rising from captain to colonel. Before the end of the war, he would join the United States Army, and was ultimately discharged in 1815 as a Captain of the Quartermaster General Department.

After the battles came to an end, Captain Patterson returned home to Pennsylvania, where he engaged in manufacturing and established several mills. He was involved in both local and national politics, being one of the five Col. Patterson’s in the Pennsylvania Convention that nominated Andrew Jackson for the Presidency in 1836.

At the start of the Mexican American War, Patterson again stepped forward to fight. Leading a volunteer unit, he eventually would see action at both the Siege of Veracruz and the Battle of Cerro Gordo, where he was wounded. His enlistment time expired when in Jalapa, and so he returned to Philadelphia, and grew his business to become one of the largest mill-owners in the United States.

His Civil War term was not so glorious. As Major General of Pennsylvania volunteers, he received vague orders to retake Harper’s Ferry. He failed to act quickly on these orders, however, and was ultimately held responsible for the Confederate Army’s reinforcement troops unopposed march to the First Battle of Bull Run. He was mustered out in 1861, less than a year after rejoining.

Memorial for Major General Robert Patterson. Image courtesy Windy Rudnicky.

Memorial for Major General Robert Patterson. Image courtesy Windy Rudnicky.

At least two of his sons also had military careers; Brigadier General Frances E. Patterson and Union Brevet Brigadier General Robert E. Patterson. Major General Patterson died on August 17, 1881, and is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Although Robert Patterson’s military career may not be one filled with heroic’s and glamour, it is one that tells of a man that saw history being made, three times over. His place in history should be remembered, as well as all of the men and women that wear the uniform of the United States military. Thanks to the historic preservation effort being undertaken today, many more stories are being saved, as we digitize the War of 1812 Pension files.



New book to assist in War of 1812 research

Craig R. Scott, CG, FUGA announced today his new book is now available. The following statement is made available by Heritage Books, Inc.

Understanding Revolutionary War and Invalid Pension Ledgers 1818-1872, and Pension Payment Vouchers They Represent


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Understanding Revolutionary War and Invalid Pension Ledgers 1818-1872, and Pension Payment Vouchers They Represent

The purpose of this pamphlet is two-fold: to provide advice on how to effectively and efficiently use pension ledgers and as a finding aid to pension ledgers and pension vouchers that relate to Revolutionary War pensioners and some invalid pensioners of the War of 1812.

It is based on a finding aid found in the Microfilm Reading Room of the National Archives, Washington, D.C., and the author’s many years experience with pension ledgers and payment vouchers. The pensions that are the focus of this pamphlet are the various Revolutionary War and Old Wars pensions that were paid under various acts from the end of the Revolutionary War until the last act dealing with Revolutionary War widows in 1858.

They include:

  • Revolutionary War survivor pensions paid under the Acts of 1818, 1820, 1826, 1828 and 1832.
  • They include Revolutionary War widow pensions paid under the acts of 1836, 1838, 1843, 1844, 1848, 1853 and 1858.
  • They include payments made to invalid pensioners paid under the Old Wars pension act.
  • Some widows of soldiers who died in the War of 1812 are included among these ledgers, when paid prior to 1873.

Chapters include:

Pension Ledgers; Pension Payment Vouchers; Last Payments; Final Payments; Case Studies: Case Study #1: Isaac Kingman of Goshen, Massachusetts; Case Study #2: Daniel Waldo, one of the last surviving soldiers of the Revolution; Case Study #3: Hedgeman Triplett of Franklin County, Kentucky.

Facsimile reprints of original documents and two appendices (Pension Ledger roll list and Pension Ledger List by State, Location, and Act) add to the value of this work. 2014, 8½x11, paper, 78 pp.

ISBN: 0788455869


You can purchase this publication via Heritage Books, Inc.