Pension Application for Willett Leaycraft
State of New York
County of Queens SS.
On this 19th day of February 1833 personally appeared in open court before the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Queens and State of New York, being a Court of Record so constituted by an Act of the Legislature of the State of New York, Willett Laycraft, a resident of the Town of Flushing in the said County of Queens, who being sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.
That he was born in the Town of West Chester in the County of Westchester and State of New York in the year 1764 and is now 68 years of age. That in the month of November 1780 at the age of 16 years he entered the service of the United States as a volunteer in a company of Horse, commanded by Captain Israel Homeywell; and stationed near the American Lines, in the said County of Westchester (the outparts of which were at Pine’s Bridge over the Groton River) of which company David Hunt was Lieutenant; and this declarant thinks the said company was attached to the Regiment commanded by Col. Thomas Thomas. The declarant continued to serve regularly in the said company (as a private only) until the news of peace was received, which was in the fall of the year 1782 –That the duty which the said company performed was guarding the several roads and passes in that part of the country, for the purpose of preventing the inroads of the marauding parties of the British from making excursions into the country to plunder the people and preventing the disaffected inhabitants (who resided north of the lines) from sending horses, cattle and other provisions to the British troops, who had possession of the city and county of New York and the southern parts of the county of Westchester; and also to give immediate alarms, on discovery any party of British troops attempting to penetrate further up the country—That the declarant and his company generally spent their nights with occupying the roads and places where the British scouting and foraging parties would be most able and likely to pass—That he was thus constantly employed for a term of full two years—that he was not in garrison, but employed always in the field with a horse and accoutrements furnished at his own expence.
And this declarant further states that he has no record of his age, nor knows of any but believes his age to be as above stated, from information derived from his parents, and the recollection of his having entered the service of his country in the 16th year of his age—That he continued to reside in the said county of Westchester till about the year 1805 from whence he removed to Long Island and has continued to reside in Town of Flushing, Queens County ever since, and has been employed for many years as one of the Hell-gate Branch Pilots—That the said Capt. Honeywell and all who served with Declarant in his company are either deceased or removed to parts unknown, so that he has been unable to pursue any statements or evidence from any of them—That he has made diligent inquiries of the children of Captain Honeywell for the purpose of obtaining if possible the roll or other written document containing the names of shoes who composed the said company under his command but no such evidence can be found among his descendants.
Declarant further states that he never had any commission or appointment in writing of his membership of the company to which he belonged; nor was any written discharge given to him; his service being terminated by the peace, when hostilities immediately occurred between the British and American Troops on those lines—That he has not been able to find any person living to whom his services in the Revolution were in any wise known except Samuel Youngs whose affidavit is hereto annexed, and to which the declarant begs leave to refer.
And this declarant further states that the nature of the service in which he was engaged and the situation of the company to which he was attached gave him very little opportunity of seeing or becoming acquainted with any of the general officers of the American Army. He however well remembers to have seen Col. Burr and Genl Lee in the said county of Westchester, but had no opportunity of being acquainted with them personally.
And declarant further says he is not acquainted with any Clergymen now living to whom his age or military services are in any wise known either from their personal knowledge or by reputation—he is therefore compelled to forgo the certificate of a clergyman and rely upon the applicant of other persons who have known him for many years, and have understood and believe that he was a soldier in the revolution—
And the declarant 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 state. (Signed) Willett Leaycraft
Sworn and subscribed the day and yea aforesaid in open court. Samuel Sherman, clerk.
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