Pension Application for John Backus
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 Tionterogeu (Ticonderoga) to keep the fort till 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 he was afterwards killed at the battle of Bennington. (1)
Col. Simons of Williams Town commanded the regiment was an old man understood he had 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 had been there 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 regt. The time of service of those stationed in the Redout having expired he thinks Gen. Wayne (2) commanded as there was such an officer there but thinks he had only a Col. Commission the officers who had the care of the hay and wood went by the name of Maj. Hay. (3) There were some of Continental soldiers there.
During the winter there was much work done one in making some thing like a bridge across a marsh or a part of the lake from the fort to the foot of Mount Independence (4) with which he had nothing to do after he was placed in the Redout as above mentioned where he continued till the ice in the lake began to break up then other troops began to come in and his time of service had expired he 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 well as they could served this tour three months he can not better designate the period in the war when this service was performed than that it was the winter before Burgoyne surrendered. (5)
His next tour was when Burgoyne was at Saratoga the alarm came to Hancock and he with others of his neighbours turned out armed and equipped and furnished with ammunition at their own expense and rode their own horses to Pawlet in Vermont without being organized or commanded by any one the commanding officer at Pawlet selected twenty men with their horses of whom 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 then collected more than one day at a time.
And further the next year after Burgoyne was taken I moved to Granville in Washington County (6) 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 (7) the militia were called out and I went with Capt. Child (8) (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 the name of any other officer but things Capt. Child commanded the whole party.
And can not better designate the period of the war this service was rendered than it was about a year or two after Burgoyne’s surrender and cannot positively state which.
Not long after this alarm but says it is impossible to tell how long the tories and Indians burned old Skeens (9) house and other buildings 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 their dead made an effort to cut off the retreat of the enemy but did not succeed a Lieut. Parker (10) commanded the 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 can not remember the name of any other officers in this last mentioned service.
And further that I resided at Granville till the war had closed and was frequently called out on alarms similar to those above mentioned 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 procure some of my services in the revolution as above stated whose affidavit I shall make an effort to procure and forward herewith.
And that I have no documentary evidence by which I can proove any of my services.
And that I have no record of my age.
And that I never received any discharge that I can recollect can not 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 as 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 her 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 of 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. (Signed) John Backus
Subscribed & sworn to this 7th day of October 1840 before me William Bartlett, Judge of Cortland County Courts.
State of New York
Livingston County SS.
I Timothy Baker (11) being duly sworn depose and says that he is a resident of the Town of Livonia County & State above mentioned, is aged Eighty-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 Douglass 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 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 above mentioned 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 neighbourhood 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 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. (Signed) Timothy Baker
Sworn & subscribed to before me this 16th day of October 1840. Shepard Peirce, Com’d of Deeds in & for Livingston Co.
[A redoubt is a fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger fort, usually relying on earthworks, though others are constructed of stone or brick. It is meant to protect soldiers outside the main line of defense and can be a permanent structure or a hastily-constructed temporary fortification. Redoubts were a component of the military strategies of most European empires during the colonial era, especially in the outer works of Vauban-style fortresses made popular during the 17th century, although the concept of redoubts has existed since medieval times. A redoubt differs from a redan in that the redan is open in the rear, whereas the redoubt was considered an enclosed work.]
John Backus #9810 End Notes