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Finding Freedom: Andrew - Revolutionary War Pension Pay Certificate
Andrew Ferguson received veteran’s pension payments from the United States Government totaling $20 each year. Like many of his fellow veterans, Ferguson struggled with poverty as an elderly man. His pension payments helped him pay for food, clothing, and a place to live. Andrew passed away in 1855 in Indiana at about the age of 90.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC
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Finding Freedom: Andrew - United States Census, 1850
Andrew Ferguson moved to Indiana (which became a state in 1816) after the Revolutionary War. The 1850 United States Census, shown here, documents Ferguson’s residence in Monroe County. Ferguson and his wife Jane (also known as Jenny; married in 1844) are listed near the bottom of the page. “B” in the column to the right of their age and gender stands for Black, their race. Andrew Ferguson is listed as being 95 years old (or born in about 1755), but he had previously claimed that he was born in about 1765.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/Ancestry.com
Finding Freedom: Andrew - Gravestone
Andrew Ferguson is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana. This stone, dedicated by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1984, marks his grave.
Photo by Rich Janzaruk, “Bloomington Herald-Times”
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Finding Freedom: Eve - Elizabeth Randolph’s Will and Codicil
According to her 1780 will, Elizabeth Randolph requested that Eve and her son George were to be inherited by her niece Ann Coupland. The other enslaved people owned by Elizabeth Randolph were to be inherited by her other nieces and nephews. Two years later, Randolph wrote a codicil (additional directions) for her will that changed her decision about Eve’s future. Randolph described that she sold Eve due to “bad behavior,” likely referring to Eve’s decision to runaway from Williamsburg. The money from the sale of Eve was to be used to purchase an enslaved boy for her nephew and an enslaved girl for her niece.
This historical record is dedicated to the Museum of the American Revolution by the York County-Poquoson Circuit Court, Authorized by the Honorable Kristen N. Nelson, Clerk
Finding Freedom: Deborah - George Washington’s Letter to Lund Washington
On April 30, 1781, General George Washington wrote this letter to Lund Washington, his cousin and farm manager, to express his disgust with Lund Washington’s decision to supply the British when they came to Mount Vernon earlier that month. In General Washington’s absence, Lund Washington convinced the British to spare the plantation from being destroyed by providing them with food and supplies. General Washington wrote in response, “It would have been a less painful circumstance to me, to have heard…they had burnt my House, & laid the Plantation in Ruins.” Lund Washington’s negotiation saved the property, but General Washington felt his honor had been tarnished by giving in to the enemy. The departure of 17 enslaved people, including Deborah, only worsened Washington’s embarrassment. Although the British left Washington’s plantation untouched, they burned many neighboring properties.
George Washington Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Finding Freedom: Andrew - Revolutionary War Pension Application
On August 15, 1838, Andrew Ferguson told the story of his military service during the Revolutionary War at the courthouse in Monroe County, Indiana. This document records his story and the testimony of people who could verify Ferguson’s claims. Ferguson told his story in order to apply for a veteran’s pension (financial assistance) from the United States Government. Six years earlier, in 1832, Congress passed a law that allowed men who had served at least two years in the Continental army, militia, or navy during the war to apply for lifetime pensions. Following the application requirements, Andrew Ferguson appeared before his local court and described his military service under oath. Ferguson described himself as a “colored man” from Virginia who had served at battles such as King’s Mountain, Guilford Courthouse, and Eutaw Springs. His application was successful, and he began to receive payments the following year.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/Fold3.com