Tuesday, February 26, 2013


When John Hastings once more applied for the Revolutionary War pension
in 1851 it brought to an end a thirteen year long and ultimately unsuccessful
attempt to receive that pension. I have been puzzled as to why John and
his mother Betsey before him had their claims rejected. It could not have
been a question about whether or not Amos Hastings actually had fought in
the Revolution.  I've found documentation of that service and so did the
Massachusetts authorities when they examined the war rolls at John Hastings'

So why was the pension request rejected? I have several possible reasons.

The first involves the Act creating the pension Betsey Hastings was seeking. It was
passed in Congress on July 7 1838,  and granted 5-year pensions to widows who
had married a Revolutionary War veteran  before January 1. 1794.  Betsey had
produced proof of her marriage to Amos in 1778. The pension was continued
three times: March 3rd 1843, June 17 1844 and February 2nd 1848. John cites all
four dates in his final attempt. Could it be that the Widows Pension act had finally
expired, or that it didn't extend to the widow's children.

Another possibility was the discrepancies in the information John provided in his
two statements: he used Rebecca for his mother's name instead of  her birth name
Elizabeth which was on record already in Washington from the documents she had
submitted. He also had the wrong names for the officers Amos had served under.
While the Massachusetts Secretary of State had provided the correct information,
the fact that John used the same incorrect information in the 1851 application may
mean he never saw it and that it was submitted directly to Washington.

There was aother possible reason that first Betsey and then John were rejected.
The Hastings family was a prominet one in Bethel, Maine, and while they weren't
very wealthy they were reasonably well off compared to many other pension
applicants. That may have possible been a deciding factor in the process, although
as the youngest son John probably hadn't inherited much when his father Amos

Whatever the reason,  neither Betsey Hastings nor her son John ever collected
the pension.

But there was another question about the Revolutionary Service of Amos Hastings.
I'll discuss that next.

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