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The Border Series - A Revolutionary War Soldier's Application For A Pension

Submitted By Russell L. Collier © 1989

Issue: November, 1989

"The Border Series" is a new continuing series of articles about the Blue Ridge during the time period prior to and during the Revolutionary War, when Southwest Virginia was the border of our new nation.

Editor's Note... The following is an application for a Revolutionary War pension for Aaron Collier. It was sent to us by Russell L. Collier, Col. United States Air Force (Retired), of Lorton, Virginia. He discovered it in the National Archives while doing genealogical research. Aaron Collier was his great, great, great, great grandfather. The area referred to as the "frontier" in this application was near present day Pembroke, Virginia. If you look at a map, you will see Stony Creek, Little Stoney Creek, and Sinking Creek all entering the New River in the area around Pembroke. Based on Aaron Collier's description of his second call to duty, to "subdue the tories," the location of it was near present day Mulberry, North Carolina, located south of Galax, Virginia. I have reproduced it here in its entirety, but have broken it into paragraphs and used capitalization so that it will be easier to read.

Pension, Revolutionary War
State of Tennessee
Hawkins County
Magistrates Office June 23rd-1835

On this 23rd day of June in year 1835 personally appeared before me William Babbe in acting Justice of the Peace in and for the County aforesaid, Aaron Collier, a resident of Lee County in the State of Virginia age 85 years past 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 7th 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated. This applicant states that he was born in Bedford County in the State of Virginia on the 15th day of January in the year 1750. That he lived in Montgomery County, Virginia when he first entered the service of the United States as a volunteer under Caption George Parris. That the object of this call for volunteers was to attack the Indians on the frontier. The call was made by Col. Wm. Preston. That the Company to which this applicant belonged met at the house of William Bobit, from thence to Col Preston's and from thence to the mouth of Big Stoney Creek. Here was a fort called Flatfields Fort.

At this Fort they were stationed, as well as he now remembers, about two weeks guarding the frontier from the Indians. From this Fort they had to retreat, having heard that a large body of Indians were in the neighborhood of the Fort and intended to attack it. That they marched about ten miles up New River and thence up Sinking Creek to near its head where they halted and were stationed about two months at a Fort called Lucas Fort. At this fort his term of service expired.

He was discharged by his captain and returned home. This term of service lasted three months. This applicant states that owing to old age and the consequent lap of memory he will not state positively the time he entered this term of service but to the best of his recollection he entered the service in the month of June in the year 1780.

This applicant states that he again entered the service of the United States as a volunteer under the same Captain George Parris. He cannot state positively the time but to the best of his recollection it was in the month of October in the year 1781 or 1782 for he has a very imperfect recollection of dates. That this call for volunteers was made by Major Cloid to subdue the tories who had collected as it was understood some place on the Yadkin River. That the company to which this Applicant belonged met at William Bobit's house. Major Cloid took the command from Bobit. They were marched up New River to the mouth of Little River, thence up Little River to near its head, thence across the Blue Ridge down to the Mulberry fields thence to the head of the Cataba River.

Here they received an (?) that the tories were collected at the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin which caused them to be marched back, suping in sight of the Mulberry fields and thence on to the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin thence within about a quarter of a mile of the ford. They met the tories on a ridge at the fork of the road and had a battle with them in which the tories were defeated having about eight of their men killed and seventeen wounded. The loss on the whig side was one killed and about three wounded among whom was Captain Parris. That the company remained on the battle ground all night and from thence they were marched down the river a few miles and halted at a (?) house till the next day. From thence they returned to the Ford and having placed the wounded Captain on a litter they brought him on to the Moravian town where they left him under the care of a doctor. Being discharged at this place they returned home. He thinks his discharge was signed by Cloid, his major. That he never took any care of his discharge thinking that it would be of no use to him in that he cannot tell now what became of it.

This applicant further states that the dates heretofore set down by him may be incorrect; but they are to the best of his recollection, which is (?) incorrect.

He states that his last term of service lasted three months. This applicant further states that he has no record of his age, but there was one which he left with his son in the State of Virginia. He further states that he has no documentary evidence and that he knows of no person whose testimony he can procure who can testify to his service. This applicant further states that he lives in Lee County Virginia, which joins Hawkins County and the reason he applied in Hawkins is that a part of his testimony, that is those who had been acquainted with him for a number of years lived in Hawkins and he would have his business attended to more conveniently. This applicant further states that there is no clergyman in his neighborhood _____ but that he is well known to Robin Chiles and Benjamin William C. Thomson Davis and Jonathan Pridmore who can testify as to his character for veracity and their belief of his services as a soldier of the Revolution. This applicant states that since the Revolution he has been living in Virginia the most of the time in Lee County where he now lives. He states that he never received a commission. This applicant states that he cannot state positively the length of time he served for he may have served longer than the periods above set forth but to the best of his recollection he served not less than the periods above stated making six months in all and for which service he claims a pension. This applicant further states that the reason he has not applied for his pension before this is that he has been unable to get about and is at this time scarcely able. This applicant states that he is very infirm and unable to attend Court. He hereby relinquishes any 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, or if any only on that of the Agency of the State of Virginia.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid before me.

William Babb
Aaron Collier (his mark)

We Benjamin Davis, living neighbor to the applicant and Robin Chiles and Jonathan Pridmore and Wm C. Thomson all of whom have been acquainted with Aaron Collier who has subscribed and sworn to the above Declaration about twenty years hereby certify that we believe him to be 85 years of age; that he is respected and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a soldier of the Revolution and that we concur in that opinion.

Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid before me.

William Babb

And the said Magistrate does hereby declare his opinion after the investigation of the matter and after putting the interrogatories prescribed by the War Department that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary Soldier and served as he states and that said Magistrate further certifies that it appears to him that Benjamin Davis is a resident in the neighborhood and that Robin Chiles and Jonathan Pridmore and William C. Thomson are well acquainted with him and all of them are credible persons and that their statement is entitled to credit. And the said Magistrate further certifies that the said Aaron Collier from bodily infirmities is unable to attend Court. And the said Magistrate further certifies that he is nowise interested in said claim.

William Babb

I Stockley D. Mitchell Clerk of the Court of Pleas and for Hawkins County Tennessee certify that William Babb whose signature appears to the foregoing Declaration of Aaron Collier for a pension and certificate is now and was at the time of signing the same an acting Justice of the Peace in and for the County and State aforesaid duly commissioned and qualified to (?) the Court of Pleas is and that (?) signature appears to be in his proper hand writing.

Given under my hand and seal of office at office Rogersville this 6th day of July 1835.