Samuel Sutphin Pension Applications/Papers

Samuel Sutphin, as his application shows, was a black slave during the war. His application was repeatedly denied for lack of detail of time of service and for having no documentation. Important area men pressed for his pension, while other (white) men made simpler, less detailed applications and were approved, at least one of which Sutphin testified for. There was apparently prejudice because he was black, and also because he had been a slave, and served as a substitute. As a slave, he was not able to volunteer or enlist in the militia, and they may have thought that only those who served voluntarily should receive a pension. He was illiterate and did not know what name he had been enrolled under~ the application shows he was called Sutphin only well after the Revolution. He was not found on the Continental records by the War Department, and I am not sure which Samuel he might be, if any, in the records of militia Captain Jacob Ten Eyck, which records I also have. He was helped in his quest by Doctor Lewis Condict, who tried to help the NJ veterans of the Revolution get pensions.

The applications transcribed here are interesting for several other reasons. Samuel Sutphin was both black and culturally Dutch~ he says he did not speak much English at the time and knew his Dutch officers but not the English ones. The Jersey Dutch retained their own language well into the 1800's, although many also spoke English. Names are often various due to the switching between English and Dutch~ pronunciations seem to be different, plus many names translate~ Johan to John, Dyrck to Richard (Dick), Jacobus to Jacob, Coon Rod to Conrad. The same man might write his name several ways, both due to the less standardized spelling of the time, less familiarity with the rules of spelling, and what language he was thinking in. This could also lead to his name having been lost by the War Department.

He also points out something else important. Pension applications were not written by the applicant. They were recorded by a court clerk from testimony given in open court. The clerk might make errors in taking the testimony down on paper. Some may have listened to the applicant, then written it down afterwards. Transcribing verbal testimony is not easy~ in the late 1800's, the reporters at the Reno inquiry, during the army's inquiry into Custer's defeat, had wide variations from the official recording~ which is more accurate? Pension applications are never considered primary documentation due to the years gone by between the action and the account, with subsequent errors in memory, and also to the very advanced years of the deponents, who might have suffered some loss of mental agility. The fact that they were written from a verbal account is another reason.

A sad case of an old veteran probably denied a pension due to his race....The entire set of papers in the federal record is included here; if not transcribed, then a short description is given. Spelling and grammar uncorrected, pages separated by a plain rule, my notations and comments in brackets in bold:

State of New Jersey
County of Somerset}

On this fifteenth day of August 1832, Personally appeared before the Judges of the Superior Court Of Common Pleas, in and for the County of Somerset, now sitting, Samuel Sutphin ^a colored man, and a resident of the Township of Bernards in the County of Somerset and State of New Jersey, aged Eighty Five years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on his oath, make the following declarations, in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed 7th June 1832~

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers, and served as herein stated, That he entered the service while a slave of Casper Bergen ^as his substitute on promise of receiving his freedom, ^and continued therein more than two years. That he enlisted in the company at Millstone under the command of Captain Coon Rod Ten Eyck, that he continued in said company one month, went with said company to Communipaw, That after one month entered the company of Captain Jacob Ten Eyck, went with the company to Elizabeth Town, Staid there one month and returned, After one month he entered Captain John Ten Eyck's company, went to Elizabeth Town and staid one month, saw the British soldiers. That he afterward served under Captain Philip Van Arsdalen one month and next under Captain Jacob Jennings one month, That Previously to the forgoing Services he entered the company of Captain Philip Von Arsdalen, remembers General Sterling was the superior Officer and that Frederick Frelinghuysen and Richard Meddagh were Colonels, That at the time of his entering the company it was warm weather. That he went with the company from Hunterdon to Elizabeth Town and thence to Communipaw, staid out one month, Shortly after he entered the company of Captain Westcott under Colonel Seely, remembers Lieutenant Davis was an officer in said company to Van Nestes Mill, That the British were on the opposite side of the Millstone river, the company could not cross the bridge, several Pieces of cannon being stationed thereon, by the British, That the company crossed the river about a mile below the bridge, approached the enemy, fired upon them killing one horse, pursued after but could not overtake them, Then the company went down toward Brunswick, saw ^a small detached part of the British lying in ambush near the road, fired upon them, and drove them away, seizing upon and taking five cannon which they left behind in their flight, + That about a hundred of the British army stationed near by, took Doctor Lawrence Van Dorveer Prisoner, which he saw, + That the company then retreated and returned to Van Nestes Mills, Deponent took one of the enemy prisoner, for which general Dickinson Presented him with a Gun which he still Possesses. [Battle of Millstone]

After this he entered the company of Captain Cornelius Lanes under Colonel Frederick Frelinghuysen, That it was at the time of Cutting Grass and near harvest, That the company went from Readington to meet Col. Frelinghuysen at Millstone, From Millstone they marched to Griggstown and thence to Princeton, Where they arrived at Princeton in the morning, That the battle commenced between nine and ten in the morning of the arriving and continued until three in the afternoon, That he fought in said battle. That at three in the afternoon of the same day orders came from General Washington that the army should retreat. That the company in which he served left Princeton at three in the afternoon, and encamped at night on the mountain near Rocky hills, and thence returned to Readington, That after the battle of Princeton he was drafted in the company under the command of Captain Isaiah Younglove, in which company Robert Robinson was Lieutenant, Went with the company to Head Quarters at West Point marched thence to Utica in pursuit of the Indians, taking wit them two friendly Indians as guides, their names were Shawnee John and Indian Ben, Marched thence to Buffaloe, made an attack upon the Indians and killed three, it was late in the fall, They kept garrison until winter then returned to Head Quarters, was placed on picquet guard That a number of Hessians approached him while standing on guard, he shot at and killed one, saw him fall. at this time the main guard coming up attacked the Hessians, killing 16 and taking forty six prisoners, the number killed inclusive of the one was seventeen, Deponent wounded at this time in the leg, which disabled him from performing any duty two and a half months, That he then returned with the company to Hunterdon, That he served in said company nine months, Deponent commenced performing the duties of a soldier in the beginning of the revolution, and continued in readiness to serve, during the whole of said time, That at the commencement of the Revolution he lived at Readington in Hunterdon County, Was a slave of Casper Bergen, and is now free, That he has no documentary evidence of his services in the war, and that all who knew ^of his services in the War, are now deceased. That after the revolution he was sold to a second master of whom he purchased his freedom.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension rolls of the agency of any State~

Sworn to and Subscribed in open court the day and year aforesaid \

[signed] Wm.B. Gaston


Samuel Sutphin



A statement of endorsement to the character of Sutphin, the belief of the community that he was a soldier of the Revolution, of which he concurred, and Sutphin was a member and "professor of religion" of the church at Bashing Ridge, signed by Wm. Kirtpatrick , dated 25th of August, 1832. [In this case it probably means Sutphin professed religion, not that he was a professor, since Sutphin was illiterate.]

A statement supporting Sutphin by Clergy man John Van Dervort of the Basking Ridge church, and Samuel Hall, a neighbor, that Sutphin was a man of truth, was believed to be a soldier of the revolution, and they concurred in that opinion. Signed by John Breen Justice of the Common Pleas, and John Van Dervort and Sam'l Hall, dated 29th of August, 1832

And the said Court do hereby declare there opinion, after the investigation of the matter, and after the putting the interrogatories purscribed [sic] by the War Department, the the above named applicant was a Revolutionary soldier, and served as he states, that in consequence of this entering the several companies, as stated in his declaration, in the County of Hunterdon and soon after the Revolution removing to Somerset County, he knows of no evidence to be produced from the former place, he being forgotten, and that all in that latter county who were acquanted with him and his services in the War, have ere this ceased to exist, And the Court further declaring that they consider the said applicant highly meritorious of a pension, that his declaration is as clear and satisfactory, as any to which they have subscribed, And from the want of more testimony of his service, think themselves in duty bound to recommend particular attention to his case and is desired that his arduous duties in the Revolution, ably and nobly performed as they believe, may receive the recompense they so richly deserve, And the Court further certifies, that it appears to them, that John Kirkpatrick Esq,r who has signed the purcedding [sic] certificate is one of the Judges of the Superior Court of Common Pleas, in and for the County of Somerset and a resident in the Township of Bernards in the County aforesaid, and that his statement is entitled to credit.

[Signed] Wm. B. Gaston

Fer'd Van Derveen

State of New Jersey, Somerset County\\\ I John W. Mann Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas [statement certifying the above proceedings and signatures] the thirteenth day [thirteenth was crossed out] August in the year of our Lord one thousand eighteen hundred and thirty two. [signed] J.M. Mann

State of New Jersey, Somerset County, Ss

Personally appeared before me, William B. Gaston one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the Said County Samuel Sutphin the within named petitioner for the benefit of the pension Act passed June 7th, 1832, who being Sworn according to law deponths and Saith that by reason of extreme age and bodily infirmity, and that Consequent loss of memory he cannot (State) Swear preciously as to the previous time of his Services, and there length of tours of duty, but Verily believes he Served more than two years as a Soldier of the Revolution, that he took his age from the family bible of Christian Lagrange in whose family ^he was born, Deponent refers to the Hon'l . Pete DeVroom late Gov- of New Jersey [Peter D. Vroom was from Branchville, now the village of South Branch, and was a Governor after William Livingston], Hon'l. Isaac Southand, William I. Hedge, Postmaster at Somerville + Nicholas C. Jobs, Esq'r. at Liberty Corners - who can testify as to the Character of Deponent for truth + veracity. And for Said Service I claim a pension. Sworn + Subscribed this 11th day of May, 1833

[signed] Wm.B. Gaston


Samuel Sutphin



I. William B. Gaston Judge of the Pleas as afores'd do hereby declare that the Rev'd. John C. Van Devoort + Samuel Hall are persons of truth and veracity and that their statement is entitled to full credit and belief.

[signed] Wm. B. Gaston

State of New Jersey, Somerset County \ I, John M. Mann Clerk of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in and for the County of Somerset [certifies the above proceedings and signatures, affixing the County seal]

]Dated the thirteenth day of May, 1833, signed J.M Mann]

April 29th, 1833

A rejection form letter from the War Department- the problems with the original application are noted in parathesis around the paragraphs directing what facts or testimony is required, on a copy of the "Regulations under the Act of June 7, 1832"

noted paragraphs:

last on first page, starting "Every applicant will produce the best proof in his power." Probably to note that "a very full account of the services of each person" is needed, and all possible proof.

second page, section headed by alphabetical designations a to m:

d-the declarant must mention the period or periods of the war when he served

e-Every continental officer or soldier must give the name of Colonel under whom he served; otherwise a satisfactory examination of the claim cannot be had. Every claimant must state, with precision, the length of his service, and the different grades in which he served,...[etc, etc with a paragraph on how the court should fill in the data if memory was lacking, not circled]

It is important, in all cases, to determine with precision the period for which each applicant served, and the particular rank he held, as the law directs the pension to be paid according to the grade of the pensioner, and the length of his service. The use of the phrase about three or four months is too indefinite, and all such qualifying expressions are objectionable. Some persons who apply for pensions merely state that they served two years in the militia, &c, without specifying the tours, the names of the officers, and other particulars respecting their service. This form of a declaration is highly objectionable. It must, in every case, be clearly shown under what officers the applicant served: the duration of each term of engagement; the particular place or places where the service was performed; that the applicant served with an embodied corps called into service by competent authority; that he was either in the field or in garrison; and for the time during which the service was performed, he was not employed in any civil pursuit.

Mode of authenticating papers [ paragraph between i and j ]

In every instance where the certificate of the certifying officer who authenticates the papers is not written on the same sheet of paper which contains the affidavit, or other papers authenticated, the certificate must be attached thereto by a piece of tape or narrow ribbon, ends of which must pass under the seal of office of the certifying officer, so as to prevent any paper from being improperly attached to the certificate.

k- This traditonary evidence is indispensable in militia cases.

m- The answers to the interrogatories must be written, and sent to the War Department, with the declaration.



State of New Jersey,

Somerset County, Ss: Personally appeared before me~William B. Gaston, one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the said County aforesaid, Samuel Sutphin the within named applicant for the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832 who being sworn according to law upon his oath Saith. that he entered the service of the United States as a Substitute for Casper Bergen in the Spring of the year 1776 and served first in the company of Captain Coon Rod Ten Eyck went immediately to communipaw(sic). Stood on guard and continued there one month, the Company was then dismissed and he returned home, that in the month of July (he thinks) 1776 he entered the Company of Capt. John Ten Eyck went directly to Communapaw, was then on duty one month, the company bring (sic) dismissed he returned home, Dickinson was General, + Meddock Col. That next entered the company of Capt. Philip Van Arsdalen in the latter part of Summer of the Same year the Company marched to Flatbush on Long Island and in two hours after their arrival the engagement commenced between the British and Hessians, on the one Side and the Americans on the other Side. the Americans were obliged to retreat and being pursued by the enemy Suffered Considerable loss. Lord Stirling, Genl. Sullivan + Several other officers were taken prisoners. the battle Continued about 6 hours. Deponent fought in this battle, and as the company was dismissed immediately after the retreat, he returned home, that Richard Middack was Col. at this engagement. That he was next called out in the latter part of Summer or the beginning of fall Same year by Capt.Van Arsdalen to march to the Highlands, in this place he stood ^on guard and continued there to perform duty two months. The company marched from the Highlands to a place called "New Blazing Star" he Stood upon guard and continued then two months- In January 1777 he entered the company of Capt. Cornelius Law under Col. Frelinghuysen. the company went from Readington on the Same day to meet Col Frelinghuysen at Millstone from Millstone they marched to Greggstown and then to Princeton when they arrived in time to apart (sic) in the battle which had just commenced, a party of the British were driven into the College and were attacked with cannon which were fired into the it. part of the british Surrounded and the rest fled. The Americans then returned to Pluckemin when he was dismissed + returned home. In the Spring he entered the company of Capt. Westcott under Col. Seely and marched to the Millstone River under Gel.Dickinson, they crossed the River and attacked a large foraging party of the British. took nine prisoners forty waggons + about one hundred horses~ deponent took one of these prisoners and received therefor a Gun from Genl.' Dickinson. Continued out this time two days. That he next entered the company of Capt. Van Arsdalen in the Spring or beginning of the Summer of 1778 marched to Monmouth. Middack + Frelingheiysen were Coln's. that he was not engaged in the Monmouth Battle was then but a Short time returned home. He next entered the company of Capt. Younglove. thinks it was in the first of August 1778 it was called the Company of Minute Men. Robert Roberton was Lieutenant but believed they had no Col. he went with this company to Head Quarters at West Point, marched then to Utica in pursuit of the Indians made an attack upon the Indians + killed three, they Kept garrison until winter and then returned to Headquarters, he was placed on piquet guard and one night he was approached by a number of hessians while Standing on guard, he Shot at them and Killed one, at this time, the main guard coming up attacked the hessians, Killed 16 and took 46 prisoners. Deponent was wounded at this time in his leg. He was out at this tour nine months.^during the whole of which tour he was in actual service and not in any civil pursuit. Deponent can not State his service with more exactitude in Consequence of old age and the consequence of loss of memory. He has Served at many different times which he can not at this distant day recollect. he is however confident that he has been engaged in actual Services more than two years. he was always ready and willing to perform his tour of duty when called upon. and further that deponent has sought in vain for living witnesses of his Services in the Revolutionary War~~

Sworn and Subscribed this 23d. day of September 1833 before me

[signed]Wm. B. Gaston


Samuel Sutphin



State of New Jersey

Somerset County

I John M. Mann Clerk of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in and for the county of Somerset do hereby certify that William B. Gaston before whom the above applicant was sworn and whose profess signature is thereto subscribed was at the time of the Red-late there~and more~ is a Judge of said Court~ [a few lines more by Clerk Mann, much unreadable, signed by him]

Deponent makes the following answers to the intimosation [sic] proposed

Ans. 1st. That for he was born in the township of Bridgewater in the County of Somerset + State of New Jersey on the first day of January 1747---

Ans. 2nd. That his age is recorded in the Family Bible of Christian LaGrange.-

Ans.3rd. That he was lining in Readington, Hunterdon County when called into the service, that since the Revolutionary War until the last Twelve years he has lived in the township of Bridgewater in the County of Somerset + the last twelve years he has lived in the township of Bernards in the county of Somerset.-----

Ans.4th That he entered the services as a Substitute for Casper Bergen.

Ans.5th That some of the regular officers that were with the Troops when he served were Colonels Middagh, Schamp, Vroom, Frelingheysen, A. Ten Eyck, Generals Dickinson + Maxwell~ can not recollect any Militia Regiments except those under the command of the above officers.. and that his Services were many, his duties arduous.

Ans. 6th. That he has never received a discharge from the service.

Ans.7th That the Honorable Isaac Southard, Nicholas W. Jobs, Esquire, + Peter D. Vroom Esq. late Governor of New Jersey are aquainted with him + can testify as to hs character for veracity + their belief of his services as a soldier. of the Revolution.-----

He hereby again reliqueshes every claim whatever to a pension or an annuity except the Present, + he declares that hs name is not on the pension Rolls of any agency in any state-

Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid Sept. 23d. 1833 before me.

(signed) Wm B. Gaston


Samuel Sutphin



Part of a letter, to Doctor Lewis Condict dated Octo 30, 33, about the claims of two men, Sutphin and James Clark, which were rejected for insufficient data:


The papers in support of the claim of Samuel Sutphin which were returned (a a (sic) specification of actual service and the new addition (sic) of the best conduct have been again examined. His new declaration does not specify six months service, though it states in general terms that he served more than two years. It appears that the claimant, was originally a slave + was not of course bound to serve in the militia in which he alleges all his services were performed. In such a case the circumstances of each term of actual service cannot be dispensed with as was required. Not having been done the claim is rejected. The papers are placed on file."


Letter to:
Lewis Condict, Esq.
Morristown, NJ

His services stated requires credit to support the claim. His duty ^ainert [sic- ?] was in the deposition of Abraham Voorhees who states he saw him twice under arms- once at Monmouth + once at Princeton. Claiming to have served under Gen'l Sullivan in his expedition with the Indians country for ^the term at nine months [lines crossed out] he must give the regimental officers, under he [crossed out] served in order that this service if Continental may be traced by the rolls. If militia service, which is quite improbable for so long a period, it must be sustained and proved. The papers remain on file.


The claim of Jeroble Leon [hard to read name correctly] has been annulled. The certificate will soon be forwarded.

18 helg [sic?] 1834


I hereby certify to the Sec'ty of War + Commissioner of Pensions that at the request of Samuel Sutphin, the colored man within named who claims a pension, I examined his right leg + foot, alleged by him to have been wounded in an engagement with the enemy in the night, upon the Hudson river.~the following is the result of my examination.~ viz: A hard knotty scar, is seen + felt, in the large tendon, called by anatomists, "tendo Achilles", which is formed by the muscles making the calf of the leg, + is inserted into the heel bone. This scar or knot- is about an inch + a half above the heel, + it would Seem, as though the two on had been once divided, or nearly divided, by some rough or harsh instrument. It must have caused a tiscous [sic] + painful lameness, under the best practicable treatment, + is , as I verily believe, the cause of a palpable + visible lameness, which yet afflicts Sutphin, at this day.~On the outside of the same leg, about 3 inches above the ancle, is another scar, somewhat depressed, the size of ^a half dollar, I should think that the small bone of this leg. (the fibula) must have been shattered, as the cover-membrane (priostrum) has been destroyed~ the tendons + integements, being now all firmly fast to the bone- + the motions of the ancle joint are greatly impaired, when contrasted with the other limb.

Morristown, N.Jersey, May 2nd. 1834

Lewis Condict M.D. + late Representative from the State of N. Jersey

War Depart


May 18th. 1834



It being [crossed out] clearly [crossed out] that a considerable portion of the [looks like "train portaleen" ? subject matter indicates it might be "train portion"] done ^during the Revolutionary War [line crossed out] was performed [crossed out] under the direction of officers contracted under the Quartermasters Department and engaged their teamsters under civil controls, [ This seems to apply to someone other than Sutphin] the point to be settled in davies [sic] services to that of Jonathan Morgan is whether the ^ claimant was actually mustered into the public service, a employee under a civil contract. the circumstances stated in the explanatory, declaration ^appear to being [crossed out] that it must have been the latter. the transportation was done by the French Army. There could have been no Americans teamsters enlisted in that service ^but if employed it must have been under contract. [crossed out] His actual service in the militia does not asseem [sic] to have been six months. he alleges that he was liable to be called out during that period- ^not that he actually served. [crossed out] His rejection must be confirmed....The papers remain in file.

All the papers ^relative to [crossed out] the claim of Samuel Sutphin have been carefully examined. Without [crossed out] detailing the discrepancies between the several declarations it is sufficient to say that [crossed out] the peculiar [sic] circumstances

[end of page- remainder not found]



State of New Jersey, Somerset County

Be it known, that before the subscriber, a Justice of the Peace in said County, personally appeared Samuel Sutphin, a free man of color, for many years well known to me, + to all the neighbors around him, as sustaining a fair + unblemished character for truth, sobriety + good worsk, [sic] + having been duly sworn, on his oath saith as follows, viz: ~ I am the same Sutphin, who heretofore made a declaration of my militia services in the war of the revolution, to obtain a pension under the act of Congress of June 7th, 1832, before the Court of Com. Pleas of Somerset Co. which declaration having been rejected, is now on file in the Pension office. the reason of the rejection as I understand them, form a letter of Oct. 30, 1833, signed by Commissioner Edwards, + addressed to Lewis Condict~an~" that being a slave originally, I was not bound to serve in the militia, + the circumstances of each tour of actual service not having been stated, as was required, the claim is rejected."~~ My story was a long one, + whilst so many other cases were urged + pressed on the attention of the Court, I caut [sic] hardly expect 10 minutes + circummtanial [sic] a detail would be committed to writing, as was required. The writer of my story, was much hurried, + I presume he did not state in writing, any thing more than a general outline of my services. Knowing however that I served faithfully many months~ encountered many hardships + dangers, I will ask of the Secretary of War + Commissioner Of Pensions, a patient hearing , + I will endeavour [sic], as far as old age will permit, to give an honest + circumstantial account, as well of the motives + inducements to engage in the service, as of the services themselves.

And 1st.. as to the inducement + motives.~ In the beginng [sic] of the war, I was a slave to Guisbert Bogart of Somerset co.. N. Jersey, living on the Raritan river. Casper Bergher a neighbor, of Readington in Hunterdon Co..but living within some two or 3 miles, proposed to buy me from my master Bogart, + give me my freedom at the end of the war, if I would take his place in the Militia service, + perform militia duty in his stead. To obtain my freedom, I agreed to the offer, + master Bogart sold me to master Begher [sic] for L 92.10.0 [92 pounds, 10 shillings, no pence] hard money, which I believe was paid. Master Begher had served one month in the Militia, + said he was tired of the service. I believed the white man's word~ hoping to be free when the fight was over.~ I took no paper to shew the bargain, but trusted to my Master.~and now, I will try to tell my services, to the best of my knowledge.~ I went to live with Master Bergher in the spring~ when it was muddy + cold. I do not know the year, only as the folks called it 76. when they talked about it. We served our flax [the flax plant is to make linen out of] just after I moved to Master Berghers, + then he was called on to go out with the militia. He went out himself this time, + left me at home, to plow the corn ground + get ready for planting. Directly after I had planted 4 acres, another call was made for the Militia. Master Bergher belonged, as I understood, to Capt. Tire Lanes company. or Matthias Lane's as his name was called in English~(we being all Dutch)~~ the company was dessed [ ? ] as I was told, so I was put in Master's place.~ Captain Lane agreed to take in Master's stead, as a soldier, + I was willing that I might be a freeman when the war was over. The whole company did not always go, in a body together~sometimes half~sometimes a quarter. When part only went, a part only of the officers went with them. In my first tour, I think I went out under Capt. Lane himself. I think colonel Taylor was Col. of the Reje'mt at home, to which Capt. Lane belonged~ We marched from the Branch of Raritan where Master lived, through Bound Brook, Scotch Plains, Newark + so on to Bergen Communipaw. It was in warm weather. A great many militia were there + along the shore of North river. We were in sight of N. York. I remember Col. Abm. Ten Eyck was there~ Col. Schamp~Col. Hunt~Major Linn. We helped build a small breast work. The ships of the enemy were expected. ~ We mounted guard at night every night~staid out our month, were discharged by word of mouth, + went home.

We had not been home long (say a few weeks) before we come again called out to the same place. + the same duty of mounting guard + throwing up breastworks. It was in hay and harvest season when we left home, under command of Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck, as it now appears to my memory. I remember a ship called the Asia was laying in N. York harbor, + which we were on this tour, the British fleet arrived. A large body of Militia was collected here, Col. Schamp, + Col. Frelingheiysen I believe were both on the ground + other officers not remembered. I best remember our Dutch Officers because I could talk but little English, + knew our Dutch Officers. After staying out our month here, my impression is, that we went home, after being discharged~ but if we recruited [rested] home, our tarry there was very short~ for all the Militia were soon called out to meet the enemy, who it was said, had landed on Long Island. Capt. Lane took command of our company, + we were hastened to Long Island as soon as practicable. Our company was in the heat of the Long Island battle. Lord Stirling had command of the Jersey troops, + I think he was made a prisoner. I believe it was Col. Frelingheiysen who commanded our Regiment. Our company was broken up + dispersed in the battle, + we lost our officers, or our officers lost the men.~~Two of our company were taken prisoners in this fight~viz: Peter Low + John Van Campen. Some months after, they were exchanged + got home.~[the Somerset county regiments, or some of one, were forced to retreat across the tide mill pond where some men were drowned-see the Van Lew Pension] Jacob Johnson, a man with one eye,~Wm. Van Syckel + myself (3 of us) all of Capt. Lane's company, got together, + secreted ourselves as well as we could from the notice of the enemy, until we had a chance to make our way down to the narrows opposite Staten Island. I found a colored man with a skiff, who took us across to Staten Island. The black man piloted us through bye ways across Staten Island, + we crossed the Sound over to Eliz. town point~then through the town, + by the Wheat sheaf Tavern~Short Hills~ Quibbletown +Bound Brook + home. In the fall of the same year, after the nights had become frosty, we were again ordered out under Capt. Philip Van Arsdalen + was stationed for a month guarding the lines in the neighborhood of Bergen + along the Bay shore~~Capt. Van Arsdale lived at Pluckemin + I believe he commanded me on this tour.

My next tour was in cold winter weather, under Capt. Van Arsdale + Col Schamp. It was about the Christmas holidays. We were marched from Raritan, up the Millstone river +escorted Gen'l, then Col. Frelingheiysen, by Griggstown to Princeton. We heard the firing of guns before we reached Princeton, + were marched directly into the battle. Soon after the battle I think Genl' Washington went into Winter quarters near Pluckemin. The morning after this battle, Cornelius Lane, one of our company, was accidentally shot through the hip by one Todd. Lane was lying against a sapling + the ball passed in near the navel, + came out near his back. Thomas Oliver + I carried Lane home on a litter made with poles + a bed between two horses. I was absent from home on this tour, according to the best of my memory, 10 days. I had been with my Master but a very few days, before we were summoned in haste to take a body of Tories + refugees of 500 to 700 men, led on by one Christopher Vought, or Stosh Voke, as the Dutch called him.[Vought served as an officer in the NJ Volunteers, a British Provincial unit of loyalists. The NJ listing of battles and skirmishes lists this fight as being on December 8th, 1776. His pension application in the British Public records Office was entered by his lawyer, and only states his losses of property.]They were said to be from Lebanon in Hunterdon Co. + were making their way toward N . Brunswick, then headquarters of the enemy. They were discovered by Doctor Jennings in the night. Captain Lane + Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck + their companies + the neighbors were immediately called. We fell in with them at the 2 bridges, where the 2 branches of the Raritan come together. We had a fight with them here, Wm. Van Arsdale of our company was shot in the heel~ they ran to a fording place near to Cornelius Van Derveers mill, where they crossed + made their retreat. Most of them were mounted Capt. Ten Eyck took one prisoner, + kept his horse. We pursued them, but they made their escape towards N. Brunswick, knowing the country well.~ This was in cold weather, + we mounted guard almost every night all winter along the Raritan to protect the people against the Tories and Refugees, who were very troublesome in this quarter. I was stationed with Lieutenant Davis +a party of militia at the 2 bridges performing this guard duty for a month, + toward the latter part of winter or perhaps in March, when an Express rider, on a black horse, was sent from Col. Frelingheiysen bringing news that the enemy was out in a large force from N. Brunswick + coming out towards Van Ess's Mills in the Millstone river.[See the Battle of Millstone] I piloted Lieut. Davis with his company + as many others as joined us, to a fording place across the South Branch well known to me, + we hurried our march to the Mills. The enemy had plundered the Mills at Van Ess' of flour + grain~had loaded about 10 wagons of 4 horses, + started them. They had not yet got out of the lane heading fro the mill to the big road. We fell in with the teams first, before we discovered the enemy. Lieut. Davis ordered us to fire, +we did. We shot some of the horses in the front team, which stooped the whole. the drivers left the teams + fled, + the guard escorting the teams also escaped. We took the teams + waggons, which were sent off under an escort to Morristown.~~~A short time after, a company of Hessians opened a fire upon us from behind a hedge with some 3 or 4 field pieces. + retreated. Doctor Van Derveer who had rode very near them before they were discovered, was taken prisoner by them + carried off to N. Brunswick. A large body of Militia was out, + there was a sharp fight with the main bodies of the two armies. I understood Gen'l Dickinson commanded, + that Col. Frelingheiysen was with him. Lieutenent. Davis who commanded our guard station was said to be from Cumberland below Philadelphia~his Captain, who name was Westcott, was also said to be from Cumberland. He, Westcott, had been left very sick at my old masters, Guisbert Bogarts house, where he died + was taken to Cumberland ~ On this excursion we were engaged not more than 2 or 3 days, before our company returned to its former station near the two bridges, mounting guard every night, which duty we performed faithfully, till the season of plowing came. From the time of the battle at Princeton, I was constantly on duty, either mounting guard along the Raritan, or engaged upon the excursion which I have endeavored to describe, until early in April. I performed at least, from three to four months of duty, in this inclement season~ hoping the time of my freedom was not far off~~~~

About the time for early Corn planting, as near as I can remember, our company was called on to furnish men to go to the North against the Indians.~Three men were taken from our company, + as I understood, 3 form each company.~Hendrick Johnson~James Ray, a free mulatto man, + myself, were taken from Captain Lane's company~ and 3 from Capt. Ten Eycks company. Captain Isaiah Younglove, + Lieutenant Robert Robertson, were along the Raritan + the branch, enlisting or raising men for the services which was for a term of 9 months.~My Master Bergher, ordered me to go, + my name, as I suppose + believe, was entered by Capt. Younglove for this service + period. Colonel David Seely, who was said to be from Cumberland, commanded our regiment + our company under Capt. Younglove joined Col. Seely + the regiment at Cornelius Stacki tavern at Succasunny plains in Morris County. When we joined our Regiment at Stackis the farmers were just finishing their corn planting.~From succasunny plains, we we were Marched through Sussex, Goshen in Orange County, to West Point. Here I recollect there was a huge chain of Iron stitches across the north river, anchored into the rocks, to prevent vessels passing up + down. We marched through N. Windsor, Newburg, Esopus + Utica~ at or near which place there was a fort, called Fort Stanwyk or fort Schulyer ~ perhaps I am wrong in the name. We remained here a few days. The Indians had just left the place, having massacred some of the inhabitants. The bodies of three children were found here, that had been massacred by them. We marched through a place called Cherry~valley, which the Indians had also visited + destroyed, as well as fort Montgomery. I think the name of our General was Sullivan, + he joined the expedition + took the command somewhere over the North river, I believe at West Point. The Indians had destroyed most of the new settlements + villages through which we passed, only a few days before. We found them deserted + burnt.~We pursued them through the wilderness Country to the Lake Country~ the Indians retreating as we advanced. We had some 4 or 5 small field pieces with us. When we arrived near the lake, it was about husking corn time in the fall, + we did not begin or march homeward, We a week after the new year began. We returned by the same route, or nearly the same. We halted at West Point. One cold night, when the snow was knee deep, as I was standing sentry, a party of Hessians or Highlanders, who had crossed the river on the Ice came upon us by surprise. I hailed the first I saw, + he giving us answer, I fired by moon light + saw him fall. i loaded my gun, + as they they fired + rushed upon me, I fired again, + retreated to the main guard who were coming to my relief. They immediately fired + killed + wounded 16 of the enemy. Our light horse had rallied for our relief + coming in their rear, they soon surrendered and we 70 prisoners. They were dressed in short wide plaid trousers + wore broad swords. I rec'd a bullet upon the button of the gaiter of my right leg. + both bullet + button were driven into the leg. just above the outer ancle bone. The wound was dressed by Doctor Parrott, the surgeon of our Regiment, who extracted both ball + button from the leg, with the knife, the next morning. The fight was in the fore part of the night. In the same affair, I rec'd a wound just above the heel, as high as the ancle, which appeared to be a cut, almost dividing the legs cord behind the ancle, in the same leg. Both these wounds and scars, are yet plain to be seen + felt, + a lameness has remained from them to this day. I was confined 2 weeks + 5 days by this wound at West Point. Doctor Parrott attending + dressing the wounds daily.~ Capt.Younglove was wounded in the fleshy + back part of the thigh, the same night, by a ball. the Regm't remained here about 3 weeks, as I believe, when we took up our homeward march, + I hobbled along with them as well as I was able.~We reached home late in the winter + were discharged but a little before the spring season began, having served out the full time our engagement.~(in all in active 16 months service.)

It was said by some that his last engagement or service for 9 months would excuse me or my master form Militia calls for some time to come. For this or some other cause, I performed no other service in the war~After the war ended I spoke to my Master for my freedom.~I found not long after that I was sold to Peter Ten Eyck a slave for life, for £110. Col. Frelingheiysen + some others, endeavored to obtain my freedom, by talking to my old master Bergher, + Master Ten Eyck. but Master Ten Eyck sold me as a slave again to Domine Duyea for £ 92.10. 00 I lived with him 2 1/2 years + he sold me to Peter Sutphin for the same sum. I lived with him + his son 2 years as a slave, + after his death, with my Mistress for one year. She then agreed to let me have my freedom, provided I would pay her £ 92. 10. I paid her down, in cash £ 30. which I had laid up in small sums, by selling furs + skins of rabbits, raccoons, + muskrats for years~ + the residue I paid her by the process of my labor , + have been since, a free man. until within a short time, I have been able to feed + clothe myself + my aged wife from our labor,~but now, in my 87th year, I find my working days are ended. If I can receive the pittance which I believe I have faithfully + honestly earned by my Militia services in the war fighting for the white mans freedom, it would gladden my old head + my wife's.~ I have told the story of my service in the war, according to the best of my remembrance + belief. I may be wrong in dates, + perhaps sometimes in names of places + officers~ but before Him who is to be my Judge i can declare confidently, that my services have been done, to the full enlist of my story.~ I believe I told the same story substantially, or at least so far as they were willing to hear it., to those who took my Declaration in Court. I believe they omitted all the particulars ~ asked me but few questions, + hurried over it as soon as possible ~ I do not know of any persons now living, who who served with me ~or I would ask their testimony.~ There are many persons who are my neighbors, + who have known me well for many years. If they should be willing to say any thing favorable of me as a man of truth, I will send their statement with this Deposition.

In all the tours of duty which I have stated, my services were constant, + always under the order of my immediate officers, + during these tours of duty, I was not engaged in any civil pursuit. I pray that the former rejection of my claim may not prejudice it's consideration now, as I was as ready + willing then, as now, to give all the particulars + circumstances which my memory retained.

Sworn and subscribed before me at Bernardstown,

Somerset County, this 26th day of May, AD. 1834

{signed N.C. Jobs}


Samuel Sutphin




N.C. Jobs Esq. is well known to me to be a Justice of Peace in Somerset County, duly commissioned, + the signature of his name to Sam'l

Sutphins deposition is genuine. Lewis Condict, late a Repr. from N. Jersey.

Nicholas C. Jobs

I do hereby certify tat I have known Samuel Sutphin the applicant for a pension for uponcicdy [sic?] of twenty years past all which time I believe has resided in the township of Bernard in Somerset County~ I have had considerable dealings with him and he has labored for me. I have found him honest and industrious beau and has since my acquaintance with him, a good character in every point of view. I have often heard him tell parts of his story which coincide with the facts stated in his application and have seen the scars of the wounds he says that he has received One circumstance I believe is not contained in his statement which he has often related to me that is he has often showed me a musket presented to him I am the more induced to believe his statement on account of his stating the same circumstances precisely long before the late law under which his claims were passed or he had any expectation of applying for a pension. He now makes a shift to live but can work but very little and is consequently very poor.

[signed] N.C. Jobs

May 26, 1834

Somerset County Ss.

I the subscriber one of the justice of the peace in and for the said county do certify that I have some personal acquaintance with Abraham Voorhees who deposeth in the case of Samuel Sutphin for a pension. I have often seen him xamined [sic] as a witness in justice court and never heard any objection against his credibility as a witness, and from general report his oath is entitled to full credit but I have not the personal and intimate acquaintance sufficient from any. own knowledge- to recommend him but as he at present stands should give full credit to him as a witness~~~~~~

I took the deposition of saaid Voorhees at his house he being very infirm in body. I endevoured to observe closely and could observe nothing but the most credulous candour.

[signed] N.C. Jobs

May 26th, 1834

New Jersey

Somerset County Ps. .Personally appeared before me the subscriber one of the justices of the peace in and for said county, Abraham Voorhees who is now and has been as near as he can recollect a Revolutionary pensioner of the United States near x [as a^] fourteen years, who on his oath deposeth and saith that he was acquainted with Samuel Sutphin the coloured man who applies for a pension before the war that he saw him at Monmouth on the day of Monmouth Battle at a bridge under arms and in December following the last part of that month deponent saw said Sutphin the day after the battle at Princeton, Sutphin was then under arms. These are all the times that this deponent saw him out in the service but has known him well ever since that he has always found him to be a man of truth and of good repute for veracity, honesty and sobriety.


Abraham Voorhees



sworn and subscribed before me this the 26th day of May A.D. 1834


[Transcribed in entirety even though much of it does not directly pertain to Sutphin, because it shows how Condict went to lengths to get pensions for these men.]


Letter to Hon. F. Frelingheiysen

Morristown, 20th Febry, 1835

Dear Sir,

The course recommended by the Persicut (sic) in his opining message, induced me to believe that it was useless under that hostile influence, to attempt any thing further for the relief of the revolutionary men, whose cases were rejected. I thought it also possible, that under executive recommendation, some further legislation would be had. Hetfurto (sic), I have observed no action by Congress, except on some individual cases,+ I have within a few days heard of our case having passed the commissions ordeal, which has induced me to ask the favor of you before leaving, to make one more effort in favor of a few, whose cases are well known tome, as possessing the strongest intrinsic merit, from long + faithful service ~ The papers of Isaac Tompkins are here with returned with the additional evidence of John P. Batswin, + of James Hedder bot of Newark.~ your own certificate of their good standing as men of truth +c will have much weight with Mr. Ela. who has heretofor communicated, + who will probably decide upon each N. Jersey case.

All the evidence which can had from living witnesses, is now with the papers, + a fair + full compliance with Mr. Elas requirements, so far as practicable, has been had. I hope from your knowledge of the character of Mrss' (sic)Hedden + Batswin, you will be able to certify in their behalf as witness for Tompkins.~ Batswin is a man obscure and a less known man than Hedden, but highly conscientious + herewith in the belief of all who spoke of him to me.~


The amended papers of Enos Farrand, were returned to the office some 4 or 6 months past, with all the explanations called for.~ Jacob Sirco's case has been returned here, + further testimony called for. It has been sought by him earnestly, where his services were rendered, but not a single living witness can he find. Please look at his 2d.. affidavit on this point, His veracity is as free from reproach as any man;s who is known to me. The office could not tempt him knowingly to serve from the truth, + he is exceedingly poor, aged + decrepud. (sic)

Daniel Skillizyer's, + David Horton's papers were sent last fall, + are new cases. They are desirous to know the result.~ The last one, with which I will trouble you, is that of a free colored man in Somerset,# who did much duty in that county, + after under your father's orders of whom he often speaks in his amended Declaration. [Col. Frederick Frelingheisen , of what is today Raritan , was in command of one of Somerset's militia regiments] I wish you could find time at the office to look over his artless history, which carries on its face its own evidence of truth. Without your aid, his unfortunate color, will stand between him + his Country's justice. I entreat you to read his simple story.~

I find I must retract a word.viz: that the colored man Sutphin was the last case. I had missed the name of Tunis Felter, a case of much hardship. from extreme poverty, + of much real service. thee was at first no proof that could be found + the case was suspended.. proof was afterward found + has been sent to the office. + the case is much better sustained, than some which have been admitted. + indeed, from the very instructions of the Department.. it is evident, that from the Confuse of years, + dispersion of individuals, it was not believed by the Department,..that proof could be had in all cases.~ In Sutphins case, I believe on ground of objection was that his mane was not found on the rolls in the expedition after the Indians. This may be key; viz: ~ he was a slave till after the war, + his 2d.. name always changed, as he changed master. It is only since the war that he lived with Mr. Sutphin + has been called Sam'l Sutphin. When he went on the Ind'n expedition under Sullivan Capt. Younglove's compy [sic] I think his masters name was Bergen or Bergher. (his ^new declaration tells) + may stand on the rolls, Sam. a col'd man or Sam'l Berger. he was entered in the stead of his Master, wit his own consent, on condition of being free, after syking (? sic) throughout the whole war, his life for his masters.~ This suit he undertook + performed faithfully - but the white man proved faithless. + sold him to another person for £ 192.10.0 procl. money + Sam at last redeemed himself by his own hard earnings + pd. again the price of his freedom.~ Do not permit the our County to visit upon poor Sam's head a 2d. time, the effect of a broken promise, refusing in his old age, the little stipend, promised to faithful military service.~he is now, + has been for years, a communicant, in good standing in the Baskingridge Church (sic).~ a sober, industrious, meek, humble + devout Christian whose unassuming walk + consistent deportment would put to the blush, many a lofty look.

I have some other things or another subject, to say.~ but the mail closes inn 5 minutes + I must defer them till the morrow. All well with love to Mrs. F.

Your truly,

L. Condict

War Department

Pension Office

February- 27th. 1835


I have the honor to State that the papers of Samuel Sutphin here in given been carefully X amined. His supplemental affidavit does not explain away the objections heretofore raised in the case. ^If the application should be reward [several lines crossed out] bring [sic] a slave, ~the period of revolutionary services. The 9 months tour in Indn Xpedition ^. are not supported by proof ["This tour" crossed out] ^against the Indians is very doubtful. If he while thus engage he belonged to a regiment of State troops, by giving the names of the officers [crossed out] some evidence of it ^may be found on the records of the State of New Jersey~+ if the service was Continental by giving the names of the regimental officers proof may be found in the Department.



Letter to:

Jas. L. Edwards, Esq. Commr. Pensions

Morristown, N.J. Febry 3.d. 1836

Dear Sir,

The case of Samuel Sutphin (or Sutfin) of Somerset co. N.J. a colored man who served on Sullivan's expedition, has been suspended, + perhaps rejected in your offices, for want of necessary proof.~ The Legislature of N/J. now in session, have lately pensioned one or two, whose cases in my opinion were if meritorious in point of service, than Sutphin's.~ i am requested + advised by some of his neighbors who know him well, to ask the favor of you, to return to me his papers, with the view of submitting them to our legislature. One of his neighbors, Mr. Jobs, a worthy + respected man, a member of the Legislature + of high standing, ha written to me for this purpose. #(sic)

If consistent with you duties to return them, you will confer a particular favor on me, + on Sutphin, whom age + poverty, render him an object of compassion. Should you desire these return after Legislative action, I can obtain the consent of the Legislature. + will be responsible to you for them. Please write me with as little delay as possible, as the leg. may adjourn soon.

Yours with esteem + respect

L. Condict

See the Hendrick P. Vroom pension application, whom Sutphin testified for- (Vroom got his pension.)



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New Jersey during the Revolution

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