Revolutionary War Soldiers



Source:  History of Oakland County, Michigan by Durant, Samuel W. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & co., 1877.

JOSEPH VAN NETTER, who was on the date of his statement, February 12, 1822, fifty-nine years old. He enlisted for one year, in April, 1775, in Captain Wendell's company of Colonel Wynkoop's regiment, in the line of the State (Colony) of New York, Continental establishment, and served till November, and then re-enlisted for the war, in the same company and regiment, the latter then commanded by Colonel Van Schaick. He completed his term of service, being engaged with the enemy at the battles of Monmouth and Yorktown, and was honorably discharged. He filed an inventory of all of his worldly goods, which the court, Judge William Thompson presiding, valued at the munificent sum of nine dollars.

BENJAMIN BULSON filed his declaration for a pension July 21, 1823, at which date he was aged sixty-nine years. He enlisted in March, 1776, in a company of infantry on Long Island, commanded by Captain Thomas Mitchell and Lieutenant Cornell, in Colonel Van Courtlandt's regiment of General Putnam's brigade of New York troops. He served till August. 1776, when he was captured by our British cousins at Brooklyn, and sent to Halifax, having been wounded in the leg, from which wound he was, at the date of his declaration, still suffering, though nearly fifty years had elapsed since it was inflicted. He escaped from confinement at Halifax by digging out of the prison, and after lying in the woods for a long time, and almost starving to death, he arrived at Salem, Massachusetts, in September, 1779, and at once re-enlisted as a hand on the ship "Junius Brutus," Captain John Brooks, carrying eighteen guns, which on its first cruise captured a British brig and to which Bulson was transferred as one of the prize crew. Soon after, the prize was retaken by the British sloop of war, "Hornet."  The prize was taken to New York, and Bulson confined in the old prison-ship "Jersey," in Waalabout (Brooklyn). At the end of two months he escaped from the prison-ship by cutting off the rivets by which the iron bars which closed the port-holes were fastened, and swimming ashore. He was. however, the next day taken prisoner by Major Murray's Tories, called "The King's American Dragoons," and was sentenced to receive nine hundred lashes for escaping. He did receive four hundred and fifty on his bare back, the last half-hundred being given after he had fainted from pain and exhaustion. He was then taken to the hospital, where he remained just long enough for the recovery of his strength, when he again escaped, and arrived in Salem in 1781, early in that year. All of the time from his enlistment to his final escape he had been without pay, with the exception of two months' wages he had received. While on the prison-ship he changed his name on account of his Tory relatives on Long Island, who had threatened to kill him if they should get a chance. He therefore lost his individuality in the cognomen of Benjamin Smith, and had been known by that name ever since. His wife and himself were all the family he had, the former being sixty-five years old, and his invoiced property was valued at seventy-two dollars and sixty-two and a half cents, and included one wagon and the old soldier's walking-staff.

JAMES GRAHAM declared at the February term of the court, 1826, that he was seventy-seven years old, and enlisted April 15, 1777, for one year, in Pennsylvania, in Captain Hewitt's company of Colonel Dennison's regiment of Connecticut troops, and served in that company till Captain Hewitt's death at the battle of Wyoming. and was then attached to Captain Spaulding's company in Colonel Butler's regiment of Connecticut troops, and was discharged at the expiration of his enlistment. His family consisted of his wife Mary, sixty-six years old; his grandson, six years old; and his granddaughter Rosetta, sixteen years old, all of whom save the latter were dependent on the old soldier for support, and his property, consisting of a horse and cow, was valued at forty dollars. He was one of the first settlers in Oakland County, March, 1817.

GEORGE HORTON, on the 14th day of November, 1827, was sixty-six years old. He enlisted in May, 1780, in Captain Henry Shoemaker's company of Pennsylvania troops, and served until September, 1783. He was in no pitched battles, but participated in several skirmishes with the Indians. His daughter, twenty-six years old, in feeble-health, was his only child and companion, and his property, consisting of one yoke of small oxen, a cow, and clothing and bedding, was valued by the court at forty-five dollars.

WM. N. TERRY made his declaration November 10, 1828, at which date he was sixty-eight years old. He enlisted for the war in March, 1774; was at the battle of Bunker Hill, in June, 1775, as a member of Captain Ransom's company of Pennsylvania troops in Colonel Butler's regiment. He served till October, 1782. While on a furlough he fought as a volunteer at the battle of Wyoming, and afterwards returned to his corps and was engaged in the battle of Princeton. He came to Michigan in 1824, leaving property in Tioga county, New York, out of which he was partially swindled, and was too poor to prosecute his rights for its recovery.  Subsequently his sons obtained possession of his real estate in Michigan, their father lying seriously ill, and on his recovery refused to re-convey it to him or pay him for the same, and poverty again prevented him from forcing his unnatural children to restore him his rights. His family consisted of his wife and four children, one of whom was crippled, and the others useless for help for the want of a farm on which to work. The declaration closed with the following most touching and pitiful plaint: "And now I am old, poor, and infirm, and can work but little; I cannot feed and clothe myself and family in a decent and comfortable manner by my own labor, without some assistance from some quarter."

NATHAN LANDON was the last of these Revolutionary soldiers to file a declaration in the Oakland courts for a pension, and he did so on the 13th of November, 1828, at which time he was seventy-one years old. He enlisted February 1, 1776, in Captain Archibald Shaw's company in Colonel Wm. C. Maxwell's regiment of New Jersey troops, and served in the same until November 14, 1776, when the regiment was dismissed by General Gates, at Ticonderoga. Himself and his wife (seventy years old) lived with a son, Stephen and his family, and the old people had no property save their wearing apparel and bedding;

ITHIMAR SMITH, maternal grandfather of Deacon A. P. Frost, settled in Pontiac in 1835.
Independence Township.  Jacob Petty, claimed to have belonged to Washington's body-guard.
Groveland Township.  Solomon Jones, died in June, 1865, aged one hundred and five years.
West Bloomfield.  Levi Green, from Rhode Island, soldier and pensioner of the Revolutionary army, died June 24, 1851, aged ninety-four years.
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