|Peace by John Rubens Smith. |
John Rubens Smith Collection,
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
- War of 1812 Claim of Widow for Service Pension document. This document is the initial paperwork that Mary Reed filled out to claim her widow's pension. It includes a wealth of genealogical information to include David Reed's unit, where he enlisted, a physical description of David, where they had lived since his discharge from the military, their marriage date and Mary's maiden name.
- Several memorandums to establish that Mary was indeed legally married to David Reed. In the case of the Reeds, they were married in Montgomery County, Missouri in 1820. Unfortunately, the courthouse and all records were lost in a fire in 1864. To establish their marriage the examiner referenced their earlier bounty land warrant application.
- Sworn affidavits from Mary and other witnesses proving her marriage and David Reed's death. The affidavit describing David's death is a sworn statement by Elijah Happy, Mary's son-in-law. It states that he was present at the death of David Reed and that David died of pneumonia.
- The Service Pension, War of 1812 Widow's Brief. This document is a summary of the pension eligibility investigation and is also a wealth of genealogical information. It provides the details of the investigation to include evidence of the Soldier's service, length of service and proof of identity. The Summary of Proof portion of the document includes marriage information and specifics about the death of the Soldier. It is also the official proof that Mary was eligible and awarded the Widow's Pension.
- A memo stating that Mary Reed was dropped from the pension rolls due to her death. It does not actually give the death date, but states the last day she received her pension payment.
Mary was paid $8 a month until her death some time after May 1882. I would describe information from this particular pension file as quality rather than quantity. The important thing is that I now have proof of several facts on this line that I did not previously have. I know very little about David Reed and Mary Bryan Reed other than what I now have from the pension file. I have found some research that indicates Mary was related to the Bryan family that pioneered Kentucky and were intermarried with the Boone family, of Daniel Boone fame. While I have no proof of Mary's connection with this family, I did learn from the pension file that she was from Clark County, Kentucky. Another line of research to follow.
As mentioned above, the marriage between Mary and David could not be proved by marriage certificate as the record was lost in a courthouse fire. The examiner of Mary's pension file instead referenced the widow's bounty land warrant received in the 1850s. It states that her mother and sister provided testimony proving Mary's marriage. If this is so, the bounty land warrant application could prove Mary's parentage and provide further information for me to research. The file also states that David Reed himself applied for and received 40 acres of land from a Bounty Land Warrant on May 10, 1851. The settlement number was provided for both land warrants so ordering copies from the National Archives is easy, using their eServices ordering service and NATF Form 85, Military Pension/Bounty Land Warrant Applications.
For more information on genealogical records of the War of 1812, check out:
Genealogical Records of the War of 1812, by Stuart L. Butler. Prologue, Winter 1991, Vol. 23, No. 4.
National Archives Military Resources for the War of 1812, a list of some helpful War of 1812 resources by the National Archives.