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Stephen Austin Rev. War Pension

Stephen Austin grave
Below are the letters that I found in the National Archives, pertaining to the pension application of Stephen Austin...born Nov. 4, 1755 in Virginia and died in 1850 in Hardin County Tennessee. He was the father of Elizabeth Austin, who married Daniel Shipman. My mother is a Shipman.

There are many places where the words are hard to read, so you will find a "?"..I didn't want to guess at the words. The spelling is "as is" I didn't try to fix it. Stephen Austin himself, did not read or write and affixed his mark to the letters which were dictated to the people helping him. From what I can see, Congress passed the pension act in 1832...(when many of the Revolutionary War Soldiers were getting on in years), Stephen Austin was in his 70's and living with his son, Saunders Austin in Wayne County, Tennessee. The letters start in 1832. He did not actually get his pension until 1838. There are a few letters here from a Congressman Ebenezer.J. Shields who intervened on his behalf.

Stephen Austin's pension was for $25.00 per year. He died in 1850 and is buried at Holland's Creek Cemetery in Hardin County, Tennessee.


November 4th, 1832

State of Tennessee

Wayne County Circuit court of said county for the year 1832, November 4th.

On this 2nd day of November in A.D.1832. personally appeared in open court before the judge of said court now sitting, Stephen Austin, a resident of said County, aged seventy-seven years and five months, who first being duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress - pertaining -7th 1832.

I had entered the service of the United States - that is to say- He listed and went into the Continental service in the county of Surry and state of North Carolina, for the whole term of the war. He marched through North Carolina, into South Carolina on as far --------------? six? by the Hanging Rock, Camden and was at the Cowpans (sp.) (Cowpens), but not in the Battle fought at that place. He was marched through South Carolina- He was in hearing of the Battle at Guilford (courthouse ) in North Carolina in Guilford (?) county. He belonged to the light horses and was posted outside the lines to guard the flank. - He was in a great many skirmishes, but no regular engagements. His principal service being provided in guarding and surveying the country and protecting foraging parties. He was in actual service during the Revolutionary was five years - and hired a substitute for the last two years of the war -who served for that period in the place of the applicant. He was in Virginia, also in the service of the United States some part of the time of his service.

He entered upon the service at about the age of twenty one years under under the command of Captain William Armstrong who was afterwards promoted to the place of Major of the Calvary - and Col. Washington of the light horse dragoons, in General Green's division.

He knew General (?) Senter and General Rutherford (?) and General Locke (?) The above is a statement of all the service which application states he positively did perform, and was honorably discharged. His said discharge has long since been destroyed. He has no documentary evidence and he knows of no person whose testimony he can procure, who can testify to his service. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or ----?-----?------, and declares that his name is not on the Pension Role (?) of the Agency of any state.

-Stephen Austin-
(signed with his mark)

Interrogation of the War Department

Question 1st: Where and in what year were you born?
Answer: I was born in the state of Virginia in Pittsylvania County and cannot recollect the year.

Question 2nd: Have you any record of your age and if so, what is it?
Answer: I have no record of my age and do not know that I ever had any.

Question 3rd: Where were you living when called into service, where have you lived since the Revolutionary war, and where do you now live?
Answer: When I joined the army I lived in Grayson County in the state of Virginia but went over into Surry County in North Carolina where I joined the army. I lived twenty years in Grayson County Virginia. After the war I lived next in the state of Tennessee, and from there I moved into the state of Alabama, and after being there three years, I moved back into Wayne County where I now live, and have been been living for the last ten or twelve years.

Question 4th: How were you called into service; were you drafted, did you volunteer, or were you a substitute?
Answer: I listed in the regular service.

Question 5th: State the names of some of the regular officers who were in the same troops, where you served such Continental and Militia Regiments as you can recollect and the general circumstances of your service.
Answer: I have stated everything I can now recollect about the circumstances of my services and the names of my officers that I can now state about it at this distance of time!

Question 6th: Did you ever receive a discharge from the service and if so, by whom was it given and what has become of it?
Answer: I did receive a discharge from my officer, William Armstrong, which has long since been lost.

Question 7th: State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood, and who can testify as to your character for veracity, and their belief of your soldier of the Revolution.
Answer: I am well acquainted with Benjamin F. Lidew (?) a minister of the gospel and with General John Rayburn, both of the county. I am well acquainted with General John Coffee and Hugh McKay (or McVay -unreadable) George Esquire of Lauderdale County, Alabama but cannot procure their (?) word in person but have their written certificate.

Stephen Austin
(signed with his mark - he could not read or write, this letter was dictated by him at the time of the interview)


November 5th, 1832
James C. Aldenne -Clerk

State of Tennessee Wayne County court, November 5, 1832. Personally appeared in open court- Benjamin F. Laden, a Minister of the gospel and made oath that he has been acquainted with Stephen Austin, the above applicant for several years and that he believes him to be over seventy years old, that he has the reputation in the neighborhood where he lives of having served in the regular state army in the war of the revolution and after (?) coming in (?) he states that said Austin is in quite indigent circumstances is also quite infirm and is in some measure a cripple.
-signed by B. F. Laden
-sworn and submitted in open court - Nov. 5, 1832

Also personally appeared in open court at the same time and place - General John Rayburn of (said) county and made oath that he has been acquainted with Stephen Austin, the above applicant for several years and from reputation and other circumstances has every (?belief) in the statement of the candidate above. -John Rayburn

January 10, 1834

 Get the test on any of what witnesses you can procure as to your actual service. Have the off?--------? (unreadable here) taken before some justice of the peace and certified by the clerk and presiding officer of court and transmit them together with a reference that's in your declaration to the War Department.

(Right below, the following)

State of Tennessee
White County
January the 10th, 1834


(I use the exact spelling here)

This is to sertify that I have bin acquainted withe Stephen Austin from the year 1787 and I never knew aney thing or heard aney thing against him dis onest or dis honorable up to this date above mentioned.

-(signed) James Cole - Capt.

The amended declaration of Stephen Austin personally appeared before me, the undersigned a justice of peace for the county of Wayne and the state of Tennessee. Stephen Austin aged seventy eight years, last November who being duly sworn that in his former declaration appears that he stated that he listed into the service of the United States, as a regular, but he now states that he was laboring under a mistake as to the meaning of the term "listed" through infirmity of age and consequent lapse of memory on that account he did not readily comprehend the meaning of the language in his former declaration. The manner in which he obligated himself to enter the service, and on account of which he performed the service mentioned in his former declaration was as follows: The Militia Company to which he belonged ?-----unreadable-----? in whose ?-----unreadable---? who were to serve instead of volunteering, drafting or listing, this was done by agreement among the company and appointments (?) came ---?---- one of those, who were voted to join the service of the United States, as stated in his former declaration- he further states that he belonged to a cavalry company during his whole service

(next page, continues)

supposes and believes according which he ------?---------- to his best recollection, was considered Mounted Militia. He was attached to various troops during his service and mentioned in his former declaration, sometimes to regulars and sometimes to the Militia as circumstances required- he never was considered as a regular soldier.
Sworn and subscribed before me, this 10th day of March 1834.

(his mark)

Stephen Austin

Lemuel D. Mack

(countersigned, with legal sentences here)

William Barnett - clerk

March 24, 1834


Feb. 20, 1836


Please reexamine this claim so far as relates to the claim's signature I can certify unequivocally that (they) are genuine and that I have not doubt that applicant deserves to have the pension from a personal acquaintance with the applicant and his services as a Revolutionary soldier when the claim is received if this is all that is necessary.


-----(note sent to Pension Department, from E. Shields, House of Representatives)------------------------------------------------------


House of Representatives
June 14, 1837

Dear Sir,

Will you be so good as to inform me whether the pension certificate of Stephen Austin of Hardin County Tennessee, is in your office or not, it was sent on Thursday in the mail to you sometime last summer from the Agency at Pulaski or from myself at that place. The old soldier can not draw his pay in consequence of the absence of his certificate.

Very respectfully,
your able servant

E. J. Shields


House of Representatives
February 24, 1837


Dear sir,

Yours of the 22nd. I have just received and read relating to the application of Stephen Austin, Tennessee for a pension having prepared his papers principally myself. I am satisfied that this is a man who is very old and infirm, cannot specify with precision the particular tours of his service as required by the rules of the government, and in as much can not live long his being very indigent and helpless and further believing that he deserves it. And that a pension, however small will afford him greater life if he can obtain it specially and cheerfully accept in his behalf the pension, which Austin (?rightfully?) it to him in their power to allow him (?over?) will you please forward this plea for him to me, if it is in accord with current practice.

Very Respectfully
E. J. Shields