Footnote Find: Mary Ellis Pension File

I‘ve been toying with the idea of a Footnote subscription for some time and have even taken advantage of their seven-day free trial a few times.  I finally decided to go for it.  The item I found this morning makes it all worthwhile.

I’ve been researching my ancestor, Walter Ellis, Revolutionary War Veteran, in preparation for a potential submission the the Greene County, Georgia Heritage Book.  A brief search on Footnote netted me the Pension File of his widow, Mary.  The file consists of 29 pages of documents and a wealth of information.  Granted, I had many of the facts already, but this source ranks very high in my hierarchy of reliability.

Facts I learned:

  • Walter was a private.
  • Mary was paid $180 in arrears upon the approval of her pension application (her pension was $20 per year; does anyone know what that would be in today’s dollars?).
  • Walter served his second tour under Lieutenant Thomas Owen.
  • Mary was required to send the family Bible to Washington as proof of her claim.  The letter instructing her is included in the file and states that she could tear out the pertinent pages and attach them to an affadavit.  As a genealogist, I was shocked and appalled at the idea of tearing out pages from a family Bible.  In point of fact, she sent the whole Bible, which was only returned to the family some 30 years later.

The coolest thing in the file is the original, handwritten discharge paper from Walter’s first tour.  He was camped at Stonypoint in Hanover County, Virginia when his tour was up, leaving him, presumably, to find his own way back to North Carolina.

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