View Full Version : Do Not Forget April 19th

04-18-2010, 08:12 PM
Since this is the one aspect of the Forum that invites General Discussion, this is at least a story that relates to New England. And, since its an opportunity to introduce oneself, I would like to introduce you to Longley Willard, my great grandfather (x6), whose entire family responded to the call of April 19 1775. It took a long time, but thanks to the National Archives and my family's extremely detailed and intricate geneaological records, I present to any reader interested, the story of a 16 year old boy who volunteered during the Revolution as he very simply reflected on his service 55 years later in the form of his pension declaration. Here is the text:

"Declaration of Longley Willard in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress of the 7th of June 1832
State of New Hampshire
County of Coos

On this 4th day of February, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty seven personally appeared before the Court of Probate at Lancaster in said County of Coos Longley Willard a resident of Westbury, in the Province of Lower Canada aged seventy two years and ten months who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.

That he enlisted as a volunteer in the army of the United States in the year 1780 with Capt. Samuel Hill in the Continental troops, in the town of Swanzey in the State of New Hampshire in the month of June for the term of six months was ordered by Capt. Hill to march with several others to Springfield in the State of Massachusetts. Here they drew three or four days rations thence they marched to Enfield in the Sate of Conneticut then they drew more rations. Thence they marched to West Point; joined Capt. Benjamin Ellis Company in Col. Darborn's or Col. Dearborn's Regiment, he thinks the Col. was called Darbon; there was a Leut. Cilly belonging to the same Company; the orderly Serjeants name was Amasa Parker; that some time before the six months were out the officers told him and a number of others whose term of service would expire with his, that if they would build so many Barracks they should be discharged (illegible) six months service, that they did build the required number and got them done seven or eight days before their time was out and they were discharged seven or eight days before the said six months had expired, but he served actually the six months as a private soldier excepting the said seven or eight days, which he thinks and believes was allowed and that he received pay for the whole six months.

During the above mentioned term of service he was, as he expressed it, draughted out of Capt. Ellis Co and joined to a Company of light infantry by Mjr. Stuben; was taken sick and returned to Capt. Ellis Company in twelve or fifteen days after taken out, he thinks the Capt's name , who commanded the said company of light infantry was McGreggor or McBane but is not distinct in his recollection about the name - During the above term of service he marched from West Point to Orringetown in the Jerseys, was drafted to attend the execution of Maj Andre but was prevented by sickness. That in June or July in the year 1782 he enlisted again as a Private in the Militia in the town of Winchester in the State of New Hampshire with Capt. --- Smith marched to Newbury in the State of Vermont, Capt. Smith's Company, not being full Capt. Smith's Soldiers were consolidated with Capt. Ebenezer Webster's Compnay, the orderly Serjeant in Smith's Company was Carpenter but he thinks in Webster's Company the Serjeants name was Perkins; that there was a Leut. Johnson in said Webster's Company, that he served three months of this term at said Newbury part of the time in Smith's Company but most of the time in Webster's Company, that he was an actual service this said second term nine months as a Private not recollecting the exact terms of the last three months of said second term, that he had a discharge in writing the first term which has been long lost and the last term he had none in writing.

That in consequence of his (illegible) caused by Rheumatism or old age he has been unable to travel on horseback or any way alone, and being poor he had been unable to have his claim properly prepared, that he came once to the State of Vermont and there made a declaration of his services during the Revolutionary War of the United States, that being ignorant of the law respecting Pensions he did not include his services at Newbury VT under an apprehension that it was of (illegible) unless he had proof at that time; not knowing whither he could prove that term of service and having no one who understood it to assert him and that he should have given it up had not some of his friends came foward and gratuitously afford to assert him and urged him to commence his application for a pension.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension of an annuity except the present that he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency in any other state.

Sworn to and subscribed, the day and year aforesaid ( A MARK ) Longley Willard (name signed in script of transcriber)

B. Hunkins Judge Probate

And the Court do hereby declare their opinion that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary Soldier and served as he states.

B Hunkins Judge of Probate

I Jared Williams Clerk of the Court of Probate for said Coos County do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original handwritings of the said Court in the matter of the application of Longley Willard for a pension. In testimony of which I have hereunto set my hand print of said Court this fourth day of February 1837

Jared Williams Clerk and Register of Town"

Longley's grandfather James was a member of the Snowshoe Company's who patrolled the wilderness during the winter months looking to engage hostiles when they would be in camp or being easier to track. He was killed in action by members of the Niantic tribe in February of 1738. He was 28 years old. Longley's father, also named James, was a Minuteman in Artemas Ward's Middlesex Militia, arriving too late at Lexington & Concord to engage the retreating British Regulars, he participated throughout the Seige of Boston. Then he enlisted with the 21st MA Continental Regimant, then the 26th, which became the 9th MA Regiment until its disbanding in January 1783. He survived the War, and along with Longley's sole brother, another James-who served with the 12th & 14th MA Regiment, moved to the Ohio Country after the War.

Longley was 16 when he enlisted. My grandfather had no idea of knowing this but his commanding officer at the time did indeed dutifully record his name on the muster rolls as he should, and indeed Longley is listed on Webster's rolls for his second enlistment. It took time, but I was able to find and confirm his combat records, showing and relating that Longley saw heavy action at the Battle of Petrie's Mill at Little Falls, NY. He was assigned with several other soldiers to guard the cattle herds of the Army. In doing so, his small group was attacked by an overwhleming force of Tories, Loyalists, and their Mohawk allies. While several comrades fell, they retreated to a more heavily fortified structure, and sought to defend it till nightfall when they would attempt an escape. He helped provide cover fire while several made a bolt for it, but were easily captured. In the ensuing chaos, Longley and at least two others, managed to slip into the night and return to their regiment. Shortly therefater he would again see heavy battle at Klock's Field. After the War he returned to Swanzey, sold his land, and made his way north, where I found his name on the petition to incorporate Stewartstown NH on May 11 1795. In addition to his name were fellow soldiers of his NH 1st & 3rd regiment, Richard Smart and Abner Powers, who also had served under Leut. Cilley. He moved to Quebec where his family would prosper with his wife Deliverance and their 11 children. In 1837 he began receiving his pension of $31.77 per annum. In 1928, his great-great grandson Burton, returned to NH.

My thanks to his friends who convinced and supported him in this application so I would have a record of it today. And thanks to the men from age 16 to 70, and some even beyond, who stared down the barrels of their enemies, who saw the glint of bayonets in a rising morning sun, and who responded to the "shot heard round the world."

04-19-2010, 03:42 PM
I'm a history buff and always appreciate stories like this. Thank you for sharing!!

04-20-2010, 04:40 PM
Thank you for the wonderful story. You have done a lot of good research, and Longley Willard comes to life for us. Among other things, I would like to read more about the involvement of the Mohawks in Revolutionary fighting. It is interesting to try to picture what those parts of the country looked like back then. A very different world.

04-20-2010, 08:13 PM
Great story Scott. Love hearing more of the local history - particularly from members of the family!

04-21-2010, 03:54 PM
Thank you redthorne and Mark, I appreciate your thoughts and words! I was also able to find the transcription of Longley's brother James and his pension application. Its a bit harder to read but already I have been able to discern that he was a wheelwright after the War in the Ohio country but was at the time of the deposition too arthritic to continue his line of work. I'm just going to keep at it. Their father, James, died long before any pensions were made available to the veterans, a sad conclusion for a man who served for seven years, 1775-1782.

Krummholz, you may find this link interesting. I'm highly addicted to the books they have available. One in particular is the one I've linked here:


There is a lot to learn about Thayendanegea (Chief Joseph Brandt) and the struggles of the Six Nations during the period of the Revolution. It was his tribe that was so active (along with the leadership of others) in the Hudson Valley during the Revolution.

04-21-2010, 06:48 PM
Thanks so much, Scott. That is a great link! I am ordering that book and will investigate other offerings. :)