New York State Auditor Certificates Submitted by Disabled Revolutionary War Veterans Claiming Pensions and Audited Accounts of Pensions

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series contains copies of documents submitted by veterans claiming pensions under various State laws. The State auditor (previously auditor general) received the originals of these documents, copied and audited them, and authorized the payment of pensions.
5.3 cubic feet (9 volumes)
Inclusive Dates:
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This series is arranged chronologically by date of certificate, 1779-1785; and chronologically by date audited, 1786-1789.

Administrative History

During and immediately after the Revolutionary War, the U.S. Congress passed resolutions recommending that the states make provisions to pay pensions to soldiers and sailors wholly or partially disabled from earning a living by means of wounds, illness, or accidential injury sustained while in military service. Pensions were to be paid with federal funds.

In 1779, New York established procedures for paying these pensions. Claimants were required to submit certificates from their commanding officer and surgeon verifying that the veteran received a disabling wound or injury during military service. Certificates were received by the auditor general (later auditor) who recorded them in this series and authorized the state treasurer to pay the pensions. Fully disabled veterans received half pay and those partially disabled received lesser amounts determined by the legislature. In 1783 the legislature set the amount of pensions for disabled "soldiers" at $5.00 per month.

In 1786, the legislature revised the procedures for claiming pensions. Six persons were appointed to examine claimants and their certificates in New York City and Albany and verify that the certificates were valid. These examiners then issued the claimant a certificate indicating the amount he was entitled to (half pay for commissioned officers; $5.00 per month maximum for non-commissioned officers and privates). The examiners forwarded copies of these certificates to the state auditor who recorded them in this series. Before they could receive each annual pension payment, "invalids" were required to take an oath before a justice that they had been previously examined by the persons so appointed.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains copies of documents submitted by veterans claiming pensions under various State laws. The State auditor (previously auditor general) received the originals of these documents, copied and audited them, and authorized the payment of pensions.

Volume 1 (old volume Aa) contains an alphabetical list of pensioners to January 1, 1789 giving: name; rank; date pension commenced; number of months and days paid; and monthly and total amounts paid (in pounds).

Volume 2 (no old number), "abstracts of pensions paid to invalids by the State of New York in pursuance of acts of the legislature passed 1779, 1783, 1786," contains separate lists of pensions paid under each act, giving: name; rank; annual pension; date paid through; and total amount paid. Also included is a short list of pensioners paid in Continental currency, "new emissions," and specie.

Volume 3 (old volume A) contains copies of all or some of the following documents for pensioners paid 1779-1785: certificates from officers and surgeons describing the name, rank, and unit of claimant, and date, place, and nature of the disabling wound or illness; certificate from the governor in cases where the commanding officer was deceased; certificate by a justice verifying certificates by commanding officer or surgeon; Senate or Assembly resolutions awarding partial pensions; letter from auditor general or auditor to treasurer authorizing payment of pension; power of attorney from veteran authorizing another person to claim pension for him; and receipts for pension payments received.

Volumes 4-9 (old volumes "unlettered," B, C, D, Bb, Cc) contain copies of documents submitted by pension claimants under provisions of the third pension law (1786). These volumes give the amount of each annual payment plus a running total of payments for each calendar year (in pounds). It appears that pages representing accounts audited January-April 14 are missing. Copies of the following documents or information are usually present in these volumes: certificates from the persons appointed by law to examine pension claimants, generally giving name, rank, unit, date/place/nature of wound; certificate from a justice that claimant was examined and obtained a certificate from examiners; notation of amount paid and dates for which the pension was paid; and date account audited.

Name Index

This index contains 1542 entries. Each entry includes the claimant’s name and provides a pointer to the location within the records series.

Link to Name Index Browse the Index

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Orginal records are closed to research due to fragile physical condition (burned). Please consult microfilm copy of records.

Alternate Formats Available

Microfilm: 1 reel; 35 mm.

Microform is available at the New York State Archives through interlibrary loan.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series A1193 NYS Comptroller's Office Index to Invalid Pensioners, is a name index to volumes 3, 5, 6, and 7 of this series.

Other finding aids

Volume list and lists of pension claimants (volumes 3-9) are available on microfilm copy of series and at the repository.

Cited in Stefan Bielinski, ed. "Guide to Revolutionary War Manuscripts in the New York State Library" (Albany, 1976), item nos. 1133-1135.

Custodial History

Volume 1 was found with records of the Provincial Congress in July 1940. The title "Minutes of the Pension Board" in volume 6 (old vol. C) appears to be in late nineteenth century hand.

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