Morrison's Pensions

Pension Application for George H. Nellis

State of New York
Montgomery County

On this ninth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred forty one, personally appeared before me Phineas Randall, a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in the said county, George H. Nellis, a resident of the Town of Canajoharie in the said County of Montgomery and State of New York aged seventy six 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 June 7, 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated.

In the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight sometime in the month of April (does not recollect the day) by the leave and direction of his father who had provided for him a gun hand other equipment as then required by law, being also furnished with a fife upon which he was taught to play, he volunteered his services in a company of infantry commanded by Captain Adam Lipe, attached to Col. Clyde’s regiment, at which time a fort called Fort Clyde was commenced to be built, of the building of which John P. Dunkell a sergeant belonging to said Captain Lipe’s company, had the immediate charge. Declarant was accepted in the service and placed at this said fort under the command of the said Sergeant Dunkell, was ordered to drive a time the great part of the season of 1778, which was used in drawing timbers and other materials to the fort (or to the site of the fort) used in its construction, and each other work he did during this season as the said commander directed, continued his service this season (1778) form some time in April to about the middle of November during all which time he was about as near as he can now recollect about two weeks to work for his father in harvest having been in actual service under military orders in the year 1778, not less than six months but according to his best recollection somewhat more than that time.

In the year 1779 he resumed the said service as a volunteer at the same place under Sergeant Dunkell and was mostly engaged during the season of 1779 in driving team and digging trenches for setting pickets to enclose said Fort, commenced the work in 1779 in the month of April and discontinued the work or rather suspended it after the middle of November according to his best recollection in which year also he was about as nearly as he can recollect about two weeks. He rendered other service in the year 1779 under military command not less than six months aside from the said two weeks above. Some time in November 1779 the said fort of pickets were completed. During the season of 1778 and 1779 he was continually armed and prepared in common with his fellow workers to defend the work.

During the seasons of 1780, 1781 and 1782 he remained in the said service under the command of the said Sergeant Dunkill at the said fort. Commenced active service in each year in the month of April and continued until the cold and snow rendered the danger of attack of the fort by the Indians less probable as in the winter the Indians did not cause much trouble at this fort, commenced the said service in each of these last mentioned three seasons, as soon as the snow was off from the ground, and continued as aforesaid, in each season until the snow and cold was considered a sufficient obstacle to the Indians and Tories in causing trouble, which in the spring was in each year as early as the month of April and in the fall it was in each year as late as the month of November when he suspended his service he cannot in his recollection fix upon any particular day or days as to when the service was commenced in the spring and discontinued in the fall, but is quite well satisfied from recollection that in each of these years 1780, 1781, and 1782 he performed actual service under military command not less than six months in each year, and more than that time. In the three years last mentioned his business was to guard the garrison which he did regularly together with several others each taking his regular turn in standing as guard, night and day. In addition to this, it was thought advisable when the force at the garrison was weak that he should play upon his fife to deceive the Indians if in hearing. The fort being situated within about on quarter of a mile of wild hand on three sides, which he did on such occasions.

In the last three years mentioned he was absent in each year as in the previous two years, about two weeks as near as he can now recollect to work at harvesting his father’s crops. These absences in each of all the five years mentioned for working in harvest occurred according to his best recollection in the month of August in each year. From the year 1778 when he first entered into the service until the termination of the war and ever since that time he was a resident of the Town of Canajoharie in the County of Tryon (now Montgomery County) in the State of New York at which place also the said Fort Clyde was built. He has no documentary evidence to support this claim, which is for two years and a half service as a private. 

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 state. In all the time from the time he entered into the said service until the termination of the war in 1783, he followed no other business except as above stated when he worked at harvesting his father’s crops.

Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid before G. Randall first Judge of the Montgomery County Court.
(Signed) George H. Nellis.

State of New York
Montgomery County

State of New York
Montgomery County

George H. Nellis a person known to me and being by me duly sworn gives the following answers to the several interrogatories required to be put to him by the pension department that is to say.

I was born in the Town of Oppenheim, then County of Tryon, now County of Montgomery in said sate on the 27th day of June 1767 as I have always been advised by my parents and believe to be true.

I have no record of my age. I had a memorandum of my age made by myself in early life which is lost.

I was living when I entered the service where I now reside in the town of Canajoharie in said County where I have ever since resided.

I volunteered into the service on each occasion as set forth in the body o fmy declaration for a pension.

Besides the officers named in the body of my declaration for a pension I also recollect the names of Col. Willett, Col. GanzeVoort, Gen’l Herkimer, Col. Gose, Col. Brown who was killed about two miles from my present residence, also Capt. McKean who was killed at Durloch, who were all engaged in this region of country in the time of the Revolution.

I never received any regular discharge, my service ended with the war. I served all the time as a private and as a fifer, and never received a commission.

He can name in his present neighborhood the following persons who can testify as to his character for veracity and their belief of his service as a soldier in the Revolution to wit. Conrad Hawn, Philip Failing, Jonas Diefendorff, George Diefendorff, Nicholas Dunkle, Peter Failing, David Hackney and others. He also states the circumstances of his Revolutionary services as detailed in the body of his declaration, that during his services as detailed he was neither employed nor paid as a hired man, but was all the time under military orders and commanded like the other soldiers of the fort.

Endnotes for George H. Nellis R 7581
by James F. Morrison

1) George H. was only 11 years old in 1778 and under militia law he could not serve as a private but he could serve as a fifer.  In 1778 Leipe was still a First Lieutenant in Capt. Francis Utt’s Company under Col. Samuel Campbell.  Also Peter Dunckle is listed as a private and there are no Nellis’s listed for this company. 

The payroll goes from May—Dec 1778.  In checking Capt. Adam Leipe’s payrolls from 1779 to 1783, George H. is not listed.  Peter Dunckle is now a sergeant and Nellis’s do appear on the payroll.  They are Henry N. Nellis and Christian Nellis.

In the payroll from 6 July 1780-20 July 1782 the following Nellis’s appear: William Nellis, Henry, George and Christian.  They are all listed as privates.

The payrolls are on microfilm in the National Archives.  The one that is referred to here is Series M 246, Revolutionary War Rolls 1775-1783, Roll 72.  A complete set of these Rolls for the New York State Militia can be found at the Department of History and archives, Old Courthouse, Fonda, NY.

2) Fort Clyde is not mentioned in any period records until 1780.  They most likely started its construction in late 1779 and completed it in 1780.  Other pensioners that were employed under Sergt [John] Peter Dunckle usually agree to the 1779-1780 time period.  The fort was named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Clyde.

3) It is hard to say if the George Nellis here is listed on Capt. Leipe’s Company for 1782.  There was another George Nellis who lived in the same area.  Again if he was born in 1767 he would not have been of age to legally serve until 1783.  All of the service he claims to have done is as a teamster which was as a civilian contractor for his father or someone else.  He claims to have played the fife but he is not listed as a fifer in any of the companies that he could have served in.  [Utt’s or Leipe’s]

4) In 1832 Oppenheim, Montgomery County was not the same area as Fulton County, Town of Oppenheim.  In 1832 St. Johnsville, Montgomery County [today as it is known] was called Oppenheim also and in some records was called Upper Oppenheim and the Oppenheim of today was referred to as Lower Oppenheim.

5) The officers were Col. Marinus Willett, Col. Peter Gansevoort, Gen. Nicholas Herkimer, Col. Ebenezer Cox, Col. John Brown who was killed 19 October 1780 at Stone Arabia and Captain Robert McKean who was killed on 10 July 1781 at New Dorlach [now Village of Sharon Springs]

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