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Revolutionary War Pension
Joshua VAN FLEET as given by Frank
C. Van Fleet
Extracted from a copy of the statement for a
pension claim made by
Joshua in 1832-1833. General Services
Administration, National Archives and Records Service, Records of the Veteran’s
Administration, Revolutionary War pension file of
Joshua Van Fleet, S7784, undated.
Joshua Van Fleet holds a unique
place in Van Fleet history and particularly the Van Fleet’s of
Kentucky, being the father of James, one of the first known Van Fleet’s to settle
Joshua was born in New York
on July 22nd, 1764.
Joshua’s ancestral documentation is an enigma,
as there is no record of his birth
or baptism or who his parents were. The
only document that gives us a real clue is the statement that he made in 1832 in
his claim for a pension for service during the Revolutionary War.
That statement by
Joshua indicates that he was born “…at Minisink, State of
….” “…he had a discharge
from Colonel Wisenfelt and in the year 1784 it was burned up in his father’s
Wilkes-Barre, during the troubles at that place.”
This statement and the evidence from documents of other Van Fleet’s who were
living in this area and which were of the probable age for bearing children,
lead us to believe that Joshua's parents are indeed Daniel and Sarah Van Fleet.
Joshua was the son of Daniel
or was Daniel’s younger brother remains in
controversy; however, we do know much about
Joshua himself from his own account in affidavits submitted in his pension claim.
the time he was about 14, "
away", as he was called, served off and on as a Scout for the Colonial
Army. In 1779 he served a period of active duty, it is recorded that in 1780 he
served in June and again in September. In Colonial days all able bodied men
(within a certain age range that differed among the colonies) were members of
the local militia and were usually called for a battle or other incident and
then went home until recalled again. In 1781
Joshua was "levied" for six months and served in
Regiment. During this period he went to
in a Sloop and while there he saw General George Washington. He also mentioned
seeing General Star and General Schuyler at Saratoga. He traveled to
in a Sloop and was for a time at Fort Hunter
on the Mohawk before being marched to
Edward. He spent much of his time "out on scouts". He returned to
and was discharged there in 1784, by Colonel Wisenfelt. He received no pay at
any time for his service.
After the war, Joshua moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
and lived there about 5 years, then moved to Tioga, New York
and later moved to Ontario County, NY.
In 1785 he married, probably while
Elmira, which is located in Chemung County, NY,
east of Tioga
County. There, Joshua
married seventeen year, old Sabra Roberts.
Sabra, born in Litchfield,
was the daughter of Moses and Rachel Adams Roberts.
Moses had served in the militia of Connecticut
during the Revolutionary War.
was descended on both of her parent’s lines from distinctive families of
- her mother was of the
[of Presidential fame].
ancestors also included William Spencer who was born in
England and one of the founders of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery in
and later an officer of the Company in Boston.
Joshua and Sabra had fourteen children. Moses,
born in 1787; Mary, born 1789; Joshua
Junior, born 1790; Ruth, born September 13th, 1791;
John Van Fleet, born October 3rd, 1796;
We-enthroegh [sic] (probably
pronounced Wenthrow) Van Fleet, born December 15th, 1795 and died
October 7th, 1796; [cut off]
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