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Bad enough Loyalists raid your house… Deacon Mather and his pursuit of a Revolutionary War Pension

On June 7, 1832, Congress enacted pension legislation extending benefits more universally than under any previous legislation. Men who served less than 2 years but at least 6 months were granted pensions of less than full pay. Widows or children were entitled to collect any unpaid benefits due the veteran at the time of his death.

On August 1, 1832 Deacon Mather personally appeared at Probate Court in Stamford and “on his oath made the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832…” He then related his recollections of when and where he served between 1775 and 1781.

He was obviously unsuccessful in his bid. Eleven months to the day, on July 1, 1833, he returned to Probate Court to add to his original declaration. Again, apparently not enough. He went back again on October 10, 1833 with further additions.

At that time, he concluded with “…I followed no civil pursuits during any of my tours of duty. The services were in every instance consistent and not periodical and such as have drawn pensions for Thaddeus Bell and others of Darien and adjoining towns.”

It is unclear whether Deacon Mather received any pension money in his lifetime. However, in the file is a 1902 letter from The Department of Interior, Bureau of Pensions, confirming his service. It closes, “His claim was allowed. He married Sarah Scott May 29. 1777 at Ridgefield, Conn. and died Feby 29, 1840 and she was pensioned as his widow. After her death her daughter, Betsy Lockwood was pensioned by special act approved August 9, 1888.”

In the file we have three copies of H.R. 10244 from the 50th Congress First Session. “A BILL Granting a pension to Mrs. Betsy Lockwood…daughter of Joseph Mather, deceased, and a commissioned officer of the war of the Revolution, and pay her a pension at the rate of twenty

dollars per month.”

Betsy died December 26, 1891. After her death, there were only two remaining Revolutionary War pensioners.

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