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700 College Pl
Williamsport, PA, 17701
United States

Pension

District of Pennsylvania

Adams County

            On this Twenty second day of May one thousand eight hundred and eighteen Before me the subscriber but of the Associate Judges of the court of Common Pleas in line for said county of Adams honorably affairs John Allison aged Seventy One years resident in said county in said district who being by me first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declarations in order to obtain the provision made by the late Act of Congress Entitle “an Act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States in the Revolutionary war” That he the said John Allison  Enlisted in the army of the United States in the Spring of the year One thousand seven hundred and seventy eight in the state of Pennsylvania in the Company Commanded as he to the best of his recollection thinks was Captain Mear[1] the Lieutenants name in said Company was Armor[2] being in the fourth regiment Commanded by Col William Butler[3] and first Brigade Pennsylvania Line under General Wayne[4] he also served in the Companies Commanded by Captains Bishop and Humphrey of New York[5] that he continued  In the service of the United States until the end of the war when he was discharged from service on the eighteenth day of September one thousand seven hundred and eighty three in the city of Philadelphia in the state aforesaid that he was at the taking of the Hessians at Trenton at the taking of Lord Cornwallis served a campaign Against the Indians under General Hand[6] was in the Battle of Monmouth The Green Springs in Virginia and various other engagements[7] that previous to his Enlistment he served four tours of Militia duty and acted the greater part of the times when in service as First Sergeant and for some time Sergeant Major[8] that he is now in reduced circumstances and stands in need of the assistance of his Country for support and that he has no other Evidence now in his (proven) of his said services Sworn to and declared before me this day and year aforesaid

David Sheffer                                                                                                 John Allison

 

In the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County of August Tenth Annus Domini eighteen hundred and twenty—District of Pennsylvania. On the fourteenth day of August One thousand eight hundred and twenty personally applied in open Court of Common pleas holden at Gettysburg for the county of Adams being a Court of records, proceeding according to Court of Common Pleas with a jurisdiction unlimited in front of amount, and Keeping a Record of its proceedings-John Allison aged Seventy three years resident in Adams county in said District who being first duly Sworn according to law doth on his oath declared that he served in the Revolutionary war as follows best. That he enlisted in the army of the United States in the Spring of the year One thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy eight in the fourth Pennsylvania Regiment commanded by Colonel William Butler. His company was commanded by a certain Captain Mear the Lieutenants name was Armor the Regiment belonged to the first Brigade Pennsylvania line under Command of Brigadier General Wayne, that he afterwards served in various other Companies, one whereof was under the command of Captain Bicker of New York, and another under Captain Jacob Humphrey that he served in the Station of Sergeant for the same time and afterwards of Sergeant Major, that he served from the period of his enlistment the end of the war, having been furlowed and discharged and discharged at Philadelphia on the eighteenth day of September one thousand seven hundred and eighty three, and during his continuous in the army he was in the following engagements to with, at the taking of the Hessians at Trenton, at the battle of Monmoth, and at the Greensprings in Virginia, that he was at the taking of Lord Cornwallis, served a campaign against the Indians under General Hand, and previous to the period of his enlistment he served four tours of militia duty, and was in other various engagements during the war besides those mentioned, and continued in the service without interruption, that he received, that he received a pension of eight dollars per month by a certificate dated the twentieth of January 1819, and numbered 5469. And I do Solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the 18th day of March 1818. And that I have not since that time by theft, sale or in any manner disposed of my property, or any part thereof, with intent thereby so to diminish it, as to bring myself within the pensions of an act of Congress, Entitled An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval Service of the United States in the Revolutionary war passed on the 18th of March 1818 and that I have not nor has any pension in trust for me, any property, or securities, contracts or debts, due to me, nor have I any information other than what is contained in the Schedule here to annexed and by me Subscribed—

John Allison

Sworn to and declared in open Court August 14 1820 before me

Samuel Duncan (Prothonotary)

Schedule of …--

            I have a pension from the State of Pennsylvania of fifty dollars a year. Have no other property whatever … am by occupation a School master[9] but from age and infirmity unable to pursue it. I have no family whatever.

John Allison

 

[1] Captain Mear was in charge of D Company within the 4th Regt. He was said to have been injured at the Battle of Brandywine, which took place on September 11, 1777. He left service on May 26, 1778. Allison was probably placed under Company leadership immediately after enlisting. He must have received a promotion before his Brigade left Valley Forge in March. It is also possible that he forgot or left out some details due to his old age. “Continental Line. Fourth Pennsylvania. Jan. 1, 1777-Nov. 3, 1783.” in Pennsylvania Archives, no. 5, vol. 2,  1032.

[2] Lieutenant Armor was likely Allison’s Platoon leader once he enlisted.“Continental Line. Fourth Pennsylvania. Jan. 1, 1777-Nov. 3, 1783.” in Pennsylvania Archives, no. 5, vol. 2,  1034.

[3] Colonel William Butler was in charge of the 4th Regiment when Allison probably got his promotion to Sergeant Major. Allison would have spent the rest of the war as a part of Butler’s staff. He is listed as a Sergeant Major on April 15, 1778.“4th Pennsylvania Regiment,” http://valleyforgemusterroll.org/regiments/pa4.asp, (accessed March 26, 2015).

[4] He served the bulk of his time in the 1st Brigade Pennsylvania Line. At the time of his enlistment the Brigade was under the command Brigadier General Wayne. Gen. Wayne was originally a Col. in charge of the 4th PA Regt, but was promoted to the rank of Brig. Gen. before entering Valley Forge with Washington and the main army for the winter. He was known for his bold leadership and daring military tactics, most notably at the battles of Green Springs and Monmouth. He also said he did four tours of militia duty but he did not give any details about what he did. However, due to the dates of militia units formed in Cumberland and York counties and given the fact that he fought against Hessians at Trenton, he more than likely fought at the Second Battle of Trenton at Assunpink Creek.“Anthony Wayne,” www.galegroup.com,  http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/bic1/ReferenceDetailsPage/ReferenceDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=BIC1&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&display-query=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Reference&limiter=&u=lycoming_acad&currPage=&disableHighlighting=false&displayGroups=&sortBy=&source=&search_within_results=&p=BIC1&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CK3454901645, (accessed March 27, 2015). See footnotes 1 and 3 for further information.

[5] Captains Humphrey and Bicker were  part of a military officer exchange between continental army units from New York and Pennsylvania. This means that the 1st Pennsylvania Line sent some of its officers to a New York Line in exchange for some officers from their line. The reasons behind the exchanges are unclear, but they may have happened because of shortages in the Pennsylvania Line. Captain Bicker he served in the 4th PA Regt, under Col. Butler, but it is unclear what unit Captain Humphrey served in during his time in the PA Line.; Captain Mear was a company commander in the 4th PA Regt. He was wounded at the battle of Brandywine. Lieutenant Armor, was a 1st Lt in the 4th PA Regt.“Continental Line. Fourth Pennsylvania. Jan. 1, 1777-Nov. 3, 1783,” in Pennsylvania Archives, no. 5, vol. 2, 1032.

[6] Gen. Hand served as a Colonel in charge of the 1st PA Regt, but was promoted to Brig. Gen. and was placed in charge of Fort Pitt. While there, he was tasked with fighting native Americans and their Loyalist allies on the frontiers.Albert Hazen Wright, The Sullivan Expansion of 1779: The Regimental Rosters of Men, (Heritage Books, 2009), 72.

[7] The taking of Hessians at Trenton that Allison refers to is probably the second battle of Trenton at Assunpink Creek which took place on January 2, 1777. After the first battle of Trenton, the British went on the counter offensive. Lieutenant General Cornwallis decided to attack Washington with a force of about 5000, but was significantly slowed and harassed by the 1st PA Regt, who were using rifled muskets instead of standard issued smooth bore under Col Hand. Hand and his men continuously fired on British and Hessian troops while retreating in the process. Eventually being forced into full retreat to the American defensive line after a Hessian bayonet charge. Cornwallis pressed forward eventually meeting Washington and the main garrison of troops, which were dug into defensive positions behind the Creek. The British sent attack after attack, but continued to be repelled. Cornwallis decided to wait until morning to crush Washington and his Army, but when daylight came Washington had already moved to Princeton. The Battle of Monmouth was fought on June 28, 1778 in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Washington had word that the British were moving out of their winter quarters and going to New York. He decided to attack them in the rear to stop Cornwallis from reinforcing New York. The Battle ended in a technical draw because Cornwallis and his men moved out at midnight. The battle was important because it showed that Washington had the ability to move his army to fight an offensive battle against the British. This was crucial given the largely defensive nature of Washington’s campaigns going into Valley Forge. The Battle of Green Springs in Virginia took place on July 6, 1781. General Lafayette had been following and fighting with General Cornwallis throughout Williamsburg, VA. Upon receiving reinforcements under the command of Brig. Gen Wayne, Lafayette decides to launch an attack on Cornwallis. He was aware that Cornwallis had orders to take some of his army to New York and so he decided to attack Cornwallis’s rear guard. Cornwallis anticipated the attack and set a trap for him. Lafayette fell for the attack and was saved by the bold move of Gen Wayne to launch a bayonet charge against the British allowing Lafayette to retreat. The Battle was defeat for the Americans and allowed for more reinforcements to be sent to New York. The last battle Allison participated in the taking of Lord Cornwallis better known as the Siege of Yorktown which lead to Cornwallis’s surrender to Washington on October 19th 1781. French war support had arrived in America both in the form of 5,500 troops under Rochambeau. He and Washington linked up and decided to make their way to Virginia to attack Cornwallis. Along the way they managed to deceive the British into thinking that, they were planning to siege New York. Admiral de Grasse was able to sail from the French West Indies and after defeating a British Fleet carrying reinforcements and supplies to Cornwallis, moved on to the Chesapeake to set up a blockade around Yorktown. After days of bombardment and being surrounded on all sides with no way out, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington. This proved to be a huge embarrassment to Great Britain, because the best army in the known world has just lost a war against a bunch of colonials who were former English subjects. This battle marked the end of Americans fighting against the British in North America until the Battle of 1812. Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789, ed. C. Vann Woodward (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 357-570.

[8] He left military service as a Sergeant Major, which at the time of his enlistment was a Regimental Staff Position. He also said that prior to holding that rank he also held the rank of First Sergeant and of Sergeant, which he probably held while touring with the Militia. Sergeants in the Continental Army were usually chosen for their ability to control soldiers, manage the everyday running of the unit. Given his experience as a teacher, Allison would’ve had experience controlling people and dictating assignments to be completed. Sgt. Majs and 1SGs rarely, fought on the front lines with the troops. Sgt. Majs usually stayed with either the adjutant of the Regiment and the Regt. Co during a battle. A First Sergeant (1SG) would have seen more action than a Sgt. Maj because he would’ve been behind his men making sure they stayed calm and were in the proper position based on the desires of Captain. CSM-Ret. Daniel K. Elder, “History of the Sergeant Major: From then to now,” http://www.ncohistory.com/files/SGMhistory.pdf , (accessed March 26, 2015). SGM Bryan A. Pinkney, “History of the First Sergeant,” file:///C:/Users/Murray/Downloads/5858.pdf, (accessed March 26, 2015).

[9] He was a schoolmaster. As a schoolmaster in Pennsylvania he would not be required to muster in a militia unit and would not have to pay a fine. Also, there were no formal militia units in either Cumberland or York county until 1777, when patriots seized control of the assembly and put out a law requiring all men between the ages of 18 and 53 to serve a tour of militia duty, which lasts for two months, on a rotating business. Allison says that he did four tours of militia duty and had to have mustered in whatever county or town he lived in.“Revolutionary War Militia Battalions and Companies Arranged by County,” http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/revolutionary_war_militia_overview/4125, (accessed March 26, 2015).