REVOLUTIONARY WAR PENSION OF JOHN BACKUS State of New York Livingston County Ebenezer Backus being duly sworn says that he now resides in the town of Livonia County & state above mentioned, that he is seventy years old next January, that he is the son of John Backus of Freetown county of Cortland state of New York, that his father and family at the commencement of the Revolutionary War resided in the town of Hancock in State of Massachusetts and during the war removed therefrom to the town of Granville state of New York at which time this deponent was age nine years old recollects that while residing at Hancock there was a muster and of his father's saying that he had enlisted and that his father went away and was absent from late in the fall until sometime in the spring.
Often heard him say on his return that he was at Ticonderoga under Gen'l Wayne in Captain Douglas Company. Also recollects while at Hancock of his father being absent again at the time of Burgoyne coming down to Stillwater state of New York from the circumstances of his taking with him a sorrel horse & returning with a roane one and that immediately on the return of his father, his father was attacked with the camp distemper which confined him for some time his father saying that he had been in the army the main body lying at Pawlet in the state of Vermont he having been employed in transporting provisions to a detachment at Skeensboro now WhiteHall in state of New York.
Also recollects that soon after removing to Granville his father was drafted and absent some time and on return said that he had been in the army at White Hall also recollects of his being absent several other times, the length of time cannot recollect but thinks in all as much as two months or more, recollects one time in particular of his father's going, from the circumstances of the party being called the great scout party and there being many of the Continental troops quartered at his father's house at the time & having to back wood to make fire for warming the soldiers & cooking.
Also recollects of his father's being absent at the time the stone house & stone barn were burnt at White Hall also at the times of taking Fort Ann & Fort George and of his being absent when he said he had been down Lake Champlain in pursuit of the enemy from the circumstances of the snow being very deep & the Reverend Mr. Hibbard going with him, has often heard his father & many other persons relate the circumstances of his being in the revolutionary army & further this deponent saith not. Ebenezer Backus Sworn & Subscribed to Before me this 16th day of October 1840
Shepard Pierce, Coms of Deeds in & for Livingston Co. State of New York Livingston County Timothy Baker, being duly sworn deposes and says that he is a resident of the town of Livonia County & state abovementioned, is aged eight one years last September, that he is well acquainted with John Backus, now residing at Freetown, Cortland County state aforesaid and has been acquainted with him about seventy three years.
That he married the sister of this deponent, that the said Backus & this deponent at the commencement of the Revolutionary War both resided at the town of Hancock in the state of Massachusetts and during the said war removed to the town of Granville in the state of New York. That while residing at Hancock knows of said Backus volunteering into the army and going to Ticonderoga in the state of New York under Captain William Douglas of said Hancock in Col. Simmon's regiment. Thinks it was late in the fall & previous to Burgoyne surrender and was absent something over three months, also knows that when Burgoyne came down to Stillwater in New York the said Backus went again and according to the best of deponent recollection to carry provision for the army intended to cut(t) off Burgoyne retreat does not recollect the precise time he was absent but thinks it was over twenty days & thinks that it was under Captain Wm Smith but is not positive - and further that he recollects distinctly that while residing at Gra(n)ville abovementioned the said Backus was out to the army & in service as many as three or four times of from two to four weeks each time.
Recollects one time in particular that deponent returning from Fort Ann upon furlough he found all the male inhabitants of the neighborhood gone into actual service at Pawlet in Vermont deponent being obliged to call out the women to secure the corn crop. That said Backus was with them at that time & absent about three weeks, that this deponent resided a near neighbor to the said Backus during the whole term of the Revolutionary War and that said Backus and this deponent were in the habit of taking care of each others family during the absence of the other and further this deponent saith not. Timothy Baker Sworn & Subscribed to before me this 16th day of October 1840 Shepard Pierce, Com's of Deeds in & for Livingston Co.
Declaration of John Backus of Freetown in Cortland county and state of New York in order to obtain the benefit of the act of congress passed June 7th, 1832. When I first entered the service I resided in Hancock in the Bay state (Massachusetts). Says the militia were called for to go to Ticonteroga (Ticonderoga) to keep the fort til troops could be raised and brought from other places he volunteered. William Douglass was captain of the company to which he was attached, but cannot remember the names of the other commissioned officers of the company the orderly sergeants name was Bacon and heard he was afterwards killed at the battle of Bennington. Col. Simons of Williams Town commanded the regt. He was an old man understood he has been taken prisoner in the French war cannot remember the names of the other field officers.
The regt marched to Albany and was there at Christmas and New Years day and then went from there to Ticonderoga has been then but a short time when he was placed in a redout a short distance from the main fort as an artillerist together with others of the same regiment. The time of service of those stationed in the redout having expired he thinks Gen. Wayne had the command as there was such an officer there but thinks he had only a Col. commission then officer who had the care of the hay and wood went by the name of Maj. Hay. There were some continental soldiers there. During the winter there was much work done in making something like a bridge across a marsh or a part of the lake from the fort to the foot of mount independence with which he had nothing to do after he was placed in the redout as above mentioned where he continued till Mar as the lake began to break up then other troops began to come in and his time of service had expired.
He then went home does not remember whether he received a discharge in writing or not but thinks all who went out with him went home the same time. Says they had to get home as soon as they could. Served this tour three months he cannot better designate this period in the war when this service was performed than that it was the winter before Burgoyne surrendered. His next tour was when Burgoyne was at Saratoga the alarm came to Hancock and he with others of his neighbors turned out armed and equipped and furnished with ammunition at their own expense and rode their own horses to Pawlet in Vermont without being organised or commanded by any one. The commanding officer at Pawlet selected twenty men with their horses of which this applicant was one to carry flour in bags from that place to what is now called White Hall in this business he continued twenty days and carried their arms and ammunition with them all the time the flour he carried for the army and as a soldier was not hired by any one and says he never received a cent of pay for it. The troops assembled at Pawlet were he thinks the militia from the country about that place and recollects a company of light horse from Plainfield and its vicinity were there as some of them said they were from that place but cannot recollect the names of any of the officers as he was not with the main body these collected more than one day at a time.
And further the next year after Burgoyne was taken I moved to Granville in Washington county in this state soon after I came with my family to this place an alarm was made that the tories and indians were expected at Skeensborough the militia were called out and I went with them. Capt. Child (or Childs) afterwards major commanded the company were out between two and three weeks but will put it down at two weeks the enemy did not appear as expected cannot remember as the name of any other officer but thinks Capt Child commanded the whole party. And cannot better designate the period of the war this served was rendered than that it was about a year or two after Burgoynes surrender but cannot positively state which-- Not long after this alarm but says it is impossible to tell how long the tories and indians burned old Skeen house and other building at Skeensborough the militia again turned out and he also with them went to Skeensborough found two old people murdered also a young man they buried the dead made an effort to cut off the retreat of the enemy but did not succeed a lieut. Parker commanded this party (of which this applicant was one) sent to reach the front of the enemy went thirty miles through the woods and also now recollects that this same lieut. Parker was an officer under Capt. Child in the expedition before mentioned but cannot remember the name of any other officer in this last mentioned service.
And further that I resided at Granville till the war had closed as was frequently called out on alarms similar to those abovementioned and I also spent considerable time in making excursions through the country to ascertain if the enemy were approaching which according to my best recollection now I should think would amount to two months or more but venture to put it at that time. And further there is as I suppose a witness living in Livonia in this state by whom I can prove some of my service in the revolution as above stated whose affidavit I shall make an effort to procure and forward herewithin. And that I have no documentary evidence by which I can prove any of my services.
And that I have no record of my age.
And that I never recd any discharge that I can recollect. Cannot remember the names of any officers of the regular army but Col. Or Gen. Wayne whom he believes was an officer of the regular army. When I entered the service above stated in every case I volunteered or went on the request of others. Was born at Canterbury Windham county in Connecticut in the year 1747 and am now ninety three years old.
Moved from Canterbury to Hancock from that place to Granville and from the last mentioned to where I now live and have lived here 30 years. I do hereby relinquish every claim to a pension or annuity except the present and declare that my name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.
And further that I have never been willing to call on my country for help till all my own resources failed and having lived longer than I expected I should and now need help from some quarter I present this claim on my country. John Backus Subscribed & Sworn to this 7th day of October 1840 before me William Bartlett Judge of Cortland County Court I hereby certify that the above named -----[NOTE: Information truncated]
I, Alva Gross, a clergyman residing in the town of Freetown county of Cortland and state of New York hereby certify that I am well acquainted with John Backus who has resided in the town aforesaid for a number years until about two months past since which time said John Backus has resided in Groton Tompkins County New York aforesaid who has sworn to the above declaration that I believe him to be ninety three years of age that he is expected and believed in the neighborhood to have been a soldier of the Revolution and that I concur in that opinion. Alva Gross Sworn and subscribed this 4th day of December 1840 before me Isaac W. Baker Justice of the peace I hereby certify that the above named Alva Gross is a clergyman resident in the town of Freetown aforesaid and that his statement set forth in the above affidavit is entitled to credit. Isaac W. Baker Justice of the peace
I Abraham Aker residing in Freetown Cortland county and state of New York do hereby certify that I have been well acquainted with John Backus who has sworn to the declaration hereinto annexed and have been so acquainted for about thirty years during the time he resided in this place and that I believe him to be ninety three years of age and that he is reputed and believed in this neighborhood to have been a soldier in the revolution and that I concur in that opinion and that I never heard that I can recollect any person express a doubt on the subject. And further that soon after the applicants declaration was drawn and sworn to his son residing in Groton Tomkins county state of New York removed said applicant to his own residence in that place for the purpose of providing for him as said son of the applicant stated to this deponent. And I further certify that at the time the applicants declaration was sworn to the clergyman whose affidavit given above was absent from the place. Abraham Aker (turn over) State of New York Cortland County I Oren Stimson clerk of said county do hereby certify that William Bartlett, Esq. and Isaac W. Baker at the time of taking the within affidavit is purporting to be taken before them were the said William Bartlett a Judge of the court of Common Pleas and the said Isaac W. Baker a Justice of the peace of the said county duly qualified and that I am well acquainted with their hand writings and verily believe their signatures within are genuine. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand affixed the seal of said county this 12th day of December 1840. Oren Stimson clerk
[NOTE: His claim was allowed]
Also see John Backus's Probate documents and the Baker/Backus Cousins.