John Shepherd Commemoration

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Part 1: 19th Century: 1845-1855

Part 1 details how John Shepherd was denied a Pension for his service during the Revolutionary War. There are letters back and forth between various lawyers, civil servants and Members of the House of Representatives.

Part 2: 20th Century: 1905-1932

Part 2 contains letters from some of Shepherd's descendents asking for information about his case.

Part 2


Three Oaks, Mich. Oct 9, 1905

To the Commissioner of Pensions
Washington, D.C.

I write you to know if you can give me any information concerning the subject of the enclosed noticeas he was an applicant for pension. We thought perhaps you might have some record of the same. Any information will be gratefully received. Respectfully.
Mrs. Geo. L. Stevens

Stamped by U.S. Pension Office Oct 11 1905

Rejected No.9485
Rev. War

October 19, 1905

In reply to your communication dated October 9, 1905, received in this Bureau October 11, 1905, you are advised that from entries on the records in this Bureau it appears that one John Shepherd filed a claim for pension, which was rejected.

He asserted that he served nearly four years in the Pennsylvania line of the Continental Army, and was discharged from the service while in the hospital, upon a certificate from Dr. Rush, obtained by his mother, who was one of the nurses of the hospital.

His claim was rejected on the ground that the above statement (which covers the whole ground of his claim, asserted for the first time) is not only unsupported by any testimony in the papers, but is discredited by the records in this office and in Harrisburg, and by the fact resigned in 1778 and could not have given such a certificate in 1780, when soldier alleges he was discharged after nearly four years' service.

The original papers were returned December 19, 1845, through the Honorable D.R.Tilden, House of Representatives; therefore the records show no further data.

Very respectfully,


Mrs. George L. Stevens,
Three Oaks, Michigan.

(On City of Grand Rapids, Michigan stationery)

October 29, 1934

Veterans' Adminstration
Washington, D.C.


In order to become a member of the D.A.R. it is necessary for me to possess certain facts concerning my Revolutionary ancestor's line, and a proof of his service. I am advised, if a pension was granted on account of his services, the record would be in your office.

The ancestor I wish a record of is John Shepherd, who was born ten miles from Philadelphia, Pa. on March 16, 1728 and died in Royalton, Ohio, on January 3, 1846. He served as a soldier during the French and Indian War, and was a sergeant under Washington at Braddock's defeat; was in the battle of Brandywine and Germantown flats. I am advised he served in Captain Caleb Armitage's company of Philadelphia battalion of militia, Colonel John Moore commander, as shown on page 677, volume 1, Pennsylvania Archives. In Volume 13 of Pennsylvania Archives it is recorded that John Shepherd was taken prisoner and confined in White Church, Philadelphia, later escaping through the efforts of a party of American troops who made an attack on the church at night. For over three years he served as a soldier in the War.

The above information was taken from a Family History of John Shepherd.

If you do not have a record of this man, will you kindly advise where I can write to obtain an official verification of his record.

Very truly yours,
M. Becky Gordon
Secretary to A.A.Carroll
Sup't of Police

November 21, 1934

John Shepherd

M. Becky Gordon
Office of Superintendent of Police
Grand Rapids Michigan

Dear Madam,
Reference is made to your letter in which you request the Revolutionary War record of John Shepherd of Pennsylvania, who was born March 16, 1728 and died January 3, 1846 in Royalton, Ohio.

The Revolutionary War records of this office show that John Shepherd of Royalton, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, applied for pension under the Act of June 7 1832, in July or August 1845, then aged one hundred seventeen years.

In the adjustment of this pension claim, Honorable D.R. Tilden, to aid in securing the pension for John Shepherd, requested that the papers in this soldier's application be withdrawn form the files of the Pension Office that he might have them referred to the Committee on Invalid Pensions. Those papers were accordingly sent to Honorable D.R. Tilden, December 19, 1845, and were never returned to the Pension Office, therefore, there are no statements now on file in the Veterans Administration (now in custody of such claims for pension) which were made by John Shepherd when he applied for his pension.

From a few pieces of old correspondence still on file in regard to the pension, it is shown that John Shepherd alleged that he served under Captain Baird and Colonels Allen and Bule in the Pennsylvania line and was discharged from service of more than three years in the Revolutionary War, on a physician's certificate of disability, which certificate was secured by his mother, a nurse in the hospital; her name is not shown.

This claim was not allowed as the soldier failed to furnish proof of service as required by the pension laws, either by record evidence or by comrades in arms.

One B.B.Chapman of Elyria, Lorain Counyt, Ohio, requested information in regard to the matter in 1846, but did not state that he was related to the soldier. It is not shown whether John Shepherd was ever married.

This office has no futher date relative to this John Shepherd.

Very truly yours.


Executive Assistant to the the Administrator

(It looks like the Executive Assistant above has copied the "few pieces of correspondence still on file" and sent them along.)

March 25, 1848

Sir: In reply to your letter of 18th inst., requesting a copy of the papers of John Shepherd of Ohio, I have to inform you that the papers were forwarded to the Hon. D.R. Tilden, on the 19th of December 1845, since which time they have not been received at this office. Mr Jay's letter is herewith returned.

To Hon. J.R.Giddings, House of Representatives

December 19, 1845.
Sir: I have the honor to return you Mr. Oviatt's & and agreeably to its request enclose you the papers of John Shepherd. The objection to the informality of making his declaration before a Justice of the Peace instead of asserting it before a Court of record is among the least of the obstacles to the adjustment of his claim. He asserts that he served nearly four years in the Pa. Line of the Continental army and was discharged from the service while in the hospital upon a certificate of Dr. Rush obtained by his mother, who was one of the nurses of the Hospital. This statement (which covers the whole ground of his claim now asserted for the first time) is not only unsupported by any testimony in the papers, but is discredited by the records in this office and at Harrisburg and by the fact that Dr. Rush resigned in January '78 and could not have given such a certificate in 1780 he alleges was the ground of his discharge after nearly four years service.

To Hon. D.R. Tilden, House of Representatives