Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Excerpts Revolutionary War Pension File No. W2759

Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Excerpts Revolutionary War Pension File No. W2759



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  • Title Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Excerpts Revolutionary War Pension File No. W2759 
    Short Title Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Excerpts from Revolutionary War Pension File No. W2759 
    Publisher National Archives, Textual Reference Branch  
    Call Number Revolutionary War pension file No. W. 2759 
    Repository FOLD3.com 
    Source ID S410 
    Text Manasseh Coyle led a colorful life. In the following excerpts from his Revolutionary War Pension file, Manasseh describes his service as a substitute militiaman in support of General George Washington's army near Valley Forge, as a substitute miltiaman fighting near Lancaster, PA, as an "Indian Spy" for the the militia in Westmoreland County, PA and finally as a volunteer in Colonel Archibald Lochry's ill-fated Ohio River expedition of 1781.

    Coyle was captured by the Indian's that attacked Lochry's Expedition August 24, 1781 at the mouth of the Big Miami River. Like other survivors, he taken through the Indian towns in Ohio to Detroit where he was sold to British and imprisoned.His journey with the Indian's is noteworthy for this bit of history:
    ...he observes that after he was taken prisoner, the Indians were reinforced by other Indians and followed Genl Clark so near the falls of the Ohio that he could hear the sound of the falls, In hopes of getting advantage of him. Then turned for detroit where this deponent with many others were given up to the British.
    Coyle's is the only survivor narrative to state that after attacking Lochry at least some of the Indian's also sought to attack General Clark's forces who preceded Lochry's men down the Ohio.

    Coyle escaped twice from the British. First in late June 1782 from "Prisoners Island" located at Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec, Canada in the St. Lawrence River, roughly 30 miles southwest of Montreal. He was re-captured almost immediately by a British vessel on the river and taken in irons to Montreal. In October 1782 he escaped again, this time crossing the wilderness and returning to Westmoreland County, PA in December 1782, covering "he supposes then 1200 miles." Manasseh's first escape is interesting because it may have been a prelude to the successful escape of Mathias Fisher, Ezekiel Lewis, Samuel Murphy, James Dougherty and George Bailey from "Prisoner's Island" in July 1782. They also suffered a desperate flight across the wilderness to return home in September 1782.

    On pages 4 and 5 of his pension file, Manasseh describes his military service including his participation in Lochry's expedition. Pages 6 and 7 present testimony attesting to Coyle's character and truthfulness, is support of his pension claim. These pages are transcribed below. The remainder of Coyle's file not presented or transcribed concern a petition by his Manasseh's wife and sons to have his pension continued after Manasseh's death in 1834 (granted), and records of service, correspondence and payment.

    All transcriptions are as faithful to the source material as possible including spelling oddities and punctuation which is often lacking. A complete account of Lochry's Expedition including the testimony of other participants is available here.



    (page 4) —————

    Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress, passed June 7, 1837
    State of Pennsylvania
    County of Mercer } ss.

    On the first day of October 1832 Personally appeared in open Court, Before the honorable John Breden Esquire President - Alexander Brown & William Amberson Associate Judges of the Court of Mercer County now sitting, Massaneh Coyl, a resident of Lackawanock Township in Mercer County and State of Pennsylvania, aged 76 years this October, who being first duly sworn according to the law, doth, on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers, and served as herein Stated.
    That about the middle of October 1777 he entered the service under Col Chambers in Capt. Samuel Pattons Company in Cumberland County Pennsylvania marched to Little York, from there to Lancaster, from There to White Marsh hills, where he Joined the army under Genl Washington soon after the Militia were sent out about two miles, a scouting party and had a small skirmish with a party of the British Lighthorse, and failed in drawing the Enemy on to action at the Marsh Hills. Shortly after; The Army was going to the Valley Forge, and we (the militia) were sent to the Gulf Mills, where we had a small skirmish with the British, but we were obliged to retreat with some loss - That he served his tour of two months, a substitute for David Huston, we returned to Lancaster where we were discharged by Capt Patton, and received our pay. General Potter commanded the Militia, Genl Washington Comd the regular Army and Lord Stirling was there at that place , states that he knows of no person by whom he can prove his service, and has no documentary evidence to Testify for him. Again in September 1779 he joined Capt William Hustons Company, (in Cumberland, now Franklin County, a substitute for Joseph Kyle, marched from there to Lancaster in Lancaster County and remained there sometime, in all, his service was all month and some few days the exact time not recollected, and here he was discharged by Capt Huston. In this case, or of his service in this town he has no Documentary evidence, nor knows of no person whose Testimony he can procure, who can testify to his service. For some reason unknown to this deponent, they did not join the regular Army at this time,
    This deponent further states that he went west of the mountains to live and in the first week of June 1781 he joined Captain William Perry in Westo County as an Indian Spy and Scouting along the frontiers (as the Indians were very troublesome at the time) and continued with him near two months, during which time he volunteered in Capt Robert Orrs Company to go down the Ohio under Col Lochery in Genl Clark

    (page 5) —————

    Expedition; - That he continued with Capt Perry until Col Lochery & Capt Orr were ready to start down the River about the 1st or 2nd day of August and Then went with them; (The history of this campaign is known) - That Genl Clark did not wait as we expected but proceeded on his way. We at length landed at the Mouth of the Big Miami on the Ohio on the 24th day of Augt 1781. in the afternoon of the same day we were attacked by a large body of Indians, and every one of the party as he believes were killed or made prisoners. This deponent was made prisoner and taken through the Wilderness on to the Maume of the lake, and to detroit (here he observes that after he was taken prisoner, the Indians were reinforced by other Indians and followed Genl Clark so near the falls of the Ohio that he could hear the sound of the falls, In hopes of getting advantage of him. Then turned for detroit where this deponent with many others were given up to the British and sent down the Lakes to lower Canada, and were stationed on an Island in the River St. Lawrence above Montreal, where they passed the winter. about the last of June 1782 he and four others made their escape from the Island, but were obliged to give themselves up to a British armed vessel on Lake Champlain, and from there some others with himself were sent in Irons back to the Island, and from there to Montreal, and put in prison where they remained , he thinks, until sometime in October, when he with ten others broke prison and made their escape, but five of the eleven were retaken, while this deponent with five others cleared themselves, and made their way through a Wilderness which they supposed was three hundred miles to the first inhabitants, with great difficulty, being about six days without any provisions, but berries and roots which they gathered in the woods, at the first house, he came to, they told him it was six hundred miles to Philadelphia, and from there home to Westmoreland, three hundred, making from Montreal home as he supposes then 1200 miles. He arrived home about the last of December 1782. But being a prisoner of War, he thinks, his services should be considered as continuing untill the time his comrades were exchanged or released from their captivity, which he thinks was in March 1783. (If he had not escaped, the presumtion is it would have taken one of our prisoners to obtain his release.
    Quest 1st Where, and in what year were you born?
    answer. he was born in Ireland. from the best information he has got , it was in the year 1756. When he was first called into the service of the United States, he lived in Cumberland County Pennsylvania. Since the war he lived in Westmoreland County, a number if years and about twenty years ago he came to Mercer County where he has resided ever since. He volunteered the first two terms of service, a substitute, as stated above; And he volunteered as a Spy and with Col Lochery in Capt Orrs Company on his own account
    He states that he gave the names of some of the officers in the standing Army, and detailed a number of circumstances, in his declaration.
    That he has not documentary evidence, nor does he know of any living witnesses who can testify for him.
    He states that he is known to the Revd Samuel Fail?, William Gordon William Young James Marques, Jonathan Swift and many others can testify
    He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity, except the present, and declares that his name never was on the pension list of any Agency in and State.
    Manassah Coyle his mark X
    Sworn & Subscribed in open
    Court October 1 - 1832
    W J Rankin Clk

    (page 6) —————

    On this first day of October 1832 Personally appeared in open Court John Chambers Esq who being first duly sworn does depose and say that he has known, and been acquainted with Maassah Coyl this applicant for more than twenty years; and have often heard him relate the history of his captivity with Co. Lochery, about the same As the has here stated in his Declaration, and recollects him to see his statement upon oath, to got to the (unreadable) War Department, when I certifyed, the standing of the Justice of the Peace, as deputy recorder, and that deposition was about the same as he now states. And he knows that it is generally believed that he served as here stated. And says that he never heard it doubted, And he further says, that he believes said Coyl to be a of truth and veracity, and never heard his veracity disputed or questioned
    John Chambers
    Sworn & Subscribed in open
    Court October 1 - 1832
    W J Rankin Clerk

    Mercer County} ss

    On this (blank) of October, 1832. Personally appeared in open Court Jonathan Smith resident of the Borough of Mercer in Mercer County. Who being first duly sworn according to the law did depose and say that he lived in Westmoreland County Penna When Co Archibald Lochery went down the Ohio. Never that he was acquainted with Manasah Coyl then and before that time, that it was then understood and believed that said Coyl went in that Expedition; And that has every reason to believe altho he this deponent was not along with them says that said Coyl returned to that settlement sometime the next Summer, and Stated that he had been taken Prisoner as he

    (page 7) —————

    now states. and that it was so believed, and never doubted or questioned to his knowledge. Says that he has been acquainted with said Coyl for forty years past in and has always considered him to be a man truth and veracity and has no recollection that his veracity was ever questioned nor did he ever hear his service in the Revolutionary War doubted.
    Jonathan Smith

    And the court to hereby declare this opinion after the investigation of the matter and after putting the Interrogatories prescribed by the War Department hat the above named applicant was a Revolutionary Soldier or militia Man and served as he states And the Court further certifies that it appears to them that John Chambers and Jonathan Smith who have signed the preceding certificates are residents of the Borough of Mercer and are credible persons and that their statements are entitled to credit
    Wm Rankin Clerk

    Mercer County p I Wm J Rankin Clerk of this Court of common pleas of said county Do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said court in the Matter of the application for a pension In Testimony where of I have hereunto set my hand and seal of said court this first day of October eighteen hundred and thirty two
    Wm Rankin Clerk

    The next section apparently written by a Baptist clergyman in support of Manasseh Coyle’s pension application. Transcription is difficult due poor legibility)
    I do testify that this clergyman who lives in Mercer (unreadable) this work of the court at which these proceedings were heard and did not contains ? what the Court has heard this I believe only reason why this affidavit of a clergyman is not required - this applicant is a man of truth and veracity
    (unreadable) of the House of Bapts (Baptists)
    (unreadable) 1833 

  • Documents
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p1)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p1)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p4)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p4)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p5)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p5)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p6)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p6)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p7)
    Military: Coyle, Manasseh - Revolutionary War Pension File (p7)

  •  Notes 
    • Images from FOLD3.com
      Original data:
      Publisher: NARA
      National Archives Catalog ID: 300022
      National Archives Catalog Title: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900
      Record Group: 15
      Short Description: NARA M804. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files.
      State: Pennsylvania
      Veteran Surname: Coyle
      Veteran Given Name: Manasseh
      Pensioner Surname: Coyle
      Pensioner Given Name: Isabella
      Service: Penn.
      Pension Number: W. 2759
      Veteran Surname Starts With: C