Revolutionary War Pension Application



Benjamin Kneeland

Pension No. S 13669

The pension application of Benjamin Kneeland, a private who enlisted at Canaan, then Albany County, now Columbia County, was kindly donated by David Rogers.

"Benjamin Kneeland was one of the early residents and a "Hero" of the Revolution so I think it appropriate that his work be publicized. As well, his pension application is one of the clearest I have seen. He obviously had a good memory at age 84 or whenever he wrote it. Quite often this information is written by spouses long after the soldier died and the information is much less complete. This, I think, is a great [meaning clear] record.

All spelling, punctuation and grammatical usage were transcribed by David as they were in the original document. Some paragraphs have been spaced apart for ease in online reading.

State of New York, Montgomery County, SS
    On this 8th day of September 1832 personally appeared before me John Hand one of the Judges of Montgomery County Courts (the same being a Court of Record) Benjamin Kneeland a resident of the Town of Charleston, County of Montgomery and State of New York, aged 85 years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed 7 June 1832.

    That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated *

    In the year 1776 about the first of May Enlisted for Seven months in the New York State troops in Capt. George Darrow's company in a Regiment commanded by Col. Van Dyke, Mustered in the town of Canaan, then Albany county, now Columbia; and marched to Albany where the company drew camp kettles and other necessaries and then marched north through to Saratoga to Fort George standing on the shore of Lake George, where he remained a short time when Capt. Darrow's company were ordered to repair to Fort Edward to guard that place and from thence again to Albany; then back north to Skeensborough from thence to Fort Edward again where, the time having expired, at this last place the regiment was for a short time together but was soon dispersed to guard different places; Capt Darrow's company remained until discharged. Reccollects well that while out on this tour the Northern Army returned from Canada bringing the small pox and that great mortality prevailed in all portions of that Army. Recollects that Col Gansevoort commanded at Fort George.

    In the latter part of the month of May 1777 he entered the militia service on a requisition of Gov Clinton to repel the approach of Gen Burguoyne's army as a Sergeant* Major in Col. Whiting's Regiment, one half of the regiment mustered in Canaan and marched through Albany and Saratoga to Fort Edward and Fort George after remaining a short tour at the latter place they returned to Fort Edward; while at Fort Edward Col. Long had a severe skirmish with a detachment of the enemy between Fort Ann and Fort Edwards; and well remembers the arrival of Col. Long at the latter place after the action. Gen Schuyler at this time had the command of the army which opposed the army of Burgouyne when near Saratoga. He was sent home with orders to Major Beebe to bring on the remaining half of the regiment doing the duties of an Adjutant until a junction was formed with the Regiment which took place at or near Stillwater the day after the first battle which took place on the 19th September. At this time Gen. Gates had superseded Gen. Schuyler * Continued maneuvering with the army until Thursday the 7th of October when another action took place * was in the battle on the left wing * was near General Arnold when he was wounded; After the surrender of Gen Burgoyne which took place on the 17th the Militia were discharged and on or about the 25th he arrived home. In this campaign saw Gens. Schuyler, Gates, Lincoln, Arnold, Glover, Cols. Warner, Long and many others; the above service was about or a little over 5 months.

    In October 1780 was out in the militia in Colonel Waterman's Regiment as Sergeant* Major on the requisition of Gov. Clinton; Regiment mustered at Albany, marched to Schenectady, and thence up the Mohawk on the south side of the river; crossed the river at Fort Plain and marched up as far as Palatine Stone Church where we had a skirmish with the enemy. Gen. Van Renselaer fell back three miles, which gave enemy consisting of Regulars, Tories and Indians under Sir John Johnson an opportunity to escape; the next day after the skirmish Gov. Clinton joined us when a pursuit of the retreating foe took place; we followed as far west as Oneida Lake when it was found that the enemy had gained their boats and our party returned; the service in this tour as near as he can recollect was five or six weeks when he was discharged.

    In the fall of 1781 news arrived at Albany that the regulars, tories and Indians were invading the northern Frontier and Gov. Clinton ordered out the militia to repel the invasions; Was in Colonel Waterman's Regiment, acted as Sergeant major in said regiment, mustered in Canaan, marched to Albany and thence north to Stillwater in Saratoga County, where he was stationed about twelve or fifteen days, when it was ascertained the alarm was false, and regiment returned home; on this expedition was gone three weeks.

    That he was born on the 22d of November in the year 1746 in the town of East Haddam in the state of Connecticut. In the year 1767 *[November]* moved into the town of Canaan then Albany now Columbia County in the State of New York where he resided at each and every time he was in the Service. In the year 1783 removed to the town of Milton, Saratoga County, same State. In the year 1793 he removed from thence to the town of Charleston, County of Montgomery and State aforesaid where he now lives. That he has no documentary evidence of his services and knows of no positive proof of his last campaign. He has a record of his age in his own Family Bible taken from the Family Bible of his Father * Does not reccollect of ever having received a written Discharge * and from bodily infirmity he is unable to attend court. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any States. Sworn to and Subscribed
this day and year aforesaid [signed] Benjamin Kneeland
before me John Hand one of the
Judges of the Montgomery County Courts


Montgomery County SS Benjamin Kneeland in further specification & proof of the declaration heretofore made by him for a pension being duly sworn doth depose and say that in the year 1776 he served in the capacity of a Sergeant in Capt. Darrow's Company in Col. Van Dyke's Regiment, and that in the year 1777 he served under Col Whiting in the capacity of Sergeant Major by the appointment of said Col W. which said Service was five months a portion of the last mentioned Service was rendered under the immediate command of Major Bebee when this deponent performed the duty of Adjutant for the space of two weeks and that in the year 1780 was out under Col Waterman for the term of five weeks as Sergeant Major and in the year 1781 was again out under Col Waterman three weeks acting also in the capacity or rank of Sergeant Major, all the above Services were rendered as detailed in his declaration and for which this deposition is intended as in further explanation and proof and further this deponent Saith not

Sworn and Subscribed this [Signed] Benjamin Kneeland
31st day of May 1833 before
me, George Davis,
Justice of the Peace.


Listed as a member of John Kneeland's family, Census of 1830, town of Charleston, Montgomery County, there is a male family member aged 80 to 90 years of age. It is assumed he was Benjamin Kneeland. Pension applications record that soldier was a Private & s'g m'j with the New York Continentals in the War of the Revolution. His pension of $58.33 annually started on March 4, 1831 and by September 21, 1833 he had collected a total of $145.82. As of the latter date he is recorded as 86 years of age.


State of New York, Montgomery County. SS
On this seventh day of September, 1832, personally appeared before me Jacob McConkey one of the Justices of the Place of said County, *Samuel Doty* of the town of Canaan & County of Columbia and State aforesaid, who being first duly sworn in doth depose and Say,

that he is of the age Seventy Six Years.
That in the year of our Lord 1777 he, the said Samuel Doty was a Soldier in the revolutionary service And this deponent further saith he personally knew Benjamin Kneeland as a Sergeant major in a Regiment of New York Militia commanded by Col. Whiting,

and he further saith that the said Benjamin Kneeland was ordered to return to Canaan the place where the said Regiment Mustered, and in a few days the said Benjamin Kneeland returned to the Regiment accompanied by Majors Beebe and Douglas and Continued in the Service until the surrender of Gen Burguoyne,

And this deponent further saith that he personally knew that the said Benjamin Kneeland, in the capacity of Sergeant major, accompanied Col Waterman's Regiment on a requisition of Gov. Clinton up the Mohawk river and that he accompanied said Kneeland on his march to Warners tavern in Chatham when this deponent returned and deponent further saith, that according to the best recollection and belief of this deponent the said regiment was absent five or Six weeks. And this deponent further saith that he has always understood and verily believes, that the said Benjaimin Kneeland performed other services during the said revolutionary Service and further this deponent saith not * Sworn and Subscribed before me
this 7th day of September, 1832 aforesaid [signed] Samuel Doty
[signed] J McConkey, Justice


    On 1 August, 1832, *Nathaniel Willcox* of Lexington, County of Green swore that he was a member of Captain Darrow's Company with Benjamin Kneeland who was an orderly Sergeant with that unit. Further, in 1777 Nathaniel Willcox swore that he was in the Revolutionary service for about two months or more in a company under the command of Captain Salisbury under Col Whiting and that he knew Benjamin Kneeland as Sergeant Major of said regiment...

    On 17 September, 1832 *Elias Cady* of the town of Charleston swore before George Davis, *that he has known Benjamin Kneeland for more than sixty years past... & that during the revolutionary [War] he lived a near neighbor to said Kneeland* and supported the statements of Benjamin Kneeland's time in the Revolutionary Army.

    On 1 June, 1833, *Elijah Herrick* a Clergyman residing in the town of Charleston ... and *Samuel Hubbs* residing in Charleston * certified that they are well acquainted with Benjamin Kneeland and state that he is *reputed and believed in the neighbourhood where he resides to have been a Soldier of the Revolution*...

All spelling, punctuation and grammatical usage are as in the original application.

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Created: 4/4/01
Copyright © 2001 David Rogers
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