||The following excerpts from Robert Orr's Revolutionary War pension file are transcriptions of depositions pertaining to Colonel Archibald Lochry's ill-fated expedition against the Ohio Indians of 1781. Orr Captained a company of Westmoreland County volunteers on the expedition, which was attacked and defeated near the mouth of the Big Miami on the Ohio River August 24, 1781. The transcriptions are presented in the order they appear in Orr's file, not chronological order. They are also faithful to the originals, which often feature unusual grammar and little punctuation. Details of Lochry's Expedition can be found here. An extensive biography of Orr is available here.|
Orr's pension file is interesting for several reasons. First, contains depositions from four of the nine surviving officers of Lochry's Expedition: Captain Orr himself, Captain Thomas Stokely (two depositions here and here), Lieutenant Isaac Anderson and Lieutenant Samuel Craig. It also contains testimony from Ezekiel Lewis (a calvary man in Captain Campbell's Company) and Mannaseh Coyle (a volunteer militia man from Orr's Company). Orr returned the favor by giving similar depositions in their pension files, to wit Thomas Stokely, Isaac Anderson and Samuel Craig, Ezekiel Lewis and Mannaseh Coyle. Orr also testifies in the pension file of James Kean.
The depositions below also provide insight into Orr's character, notably the statement from Stokely's deposition of 7 March 1821 that "several of his men (whose names I do not recolect) said they chose him because they knew him to be a good generous man, that their whole dependence on him, and as yet had proved faithful...." In Christopher Hayes' deposition of 19 August 1793 we learn that Orr also provided all of the pay for his company including "six pounds advance or bounty has been paid to each private." Orr was still seeking reimbursement for these expenses over a decade later in 1793.
(page 7) —————
State of Pennsylvania
On this twenty first day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty two, personally appeared in open Court, before John Young Esquire president and Joseph Rankin Esquire one of the associate judges (the applicant being the other associate) of the Court of Common Pleas now sitting Robert Orr Senr Esquire, a resident of of the Borough of Kittanning in the County of Armstrong and State of Pennsylvania aged eighty seven years, 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 he was a captain under Colonel Archibald Lochrey, That there were two other companies under said Lochrey to wit Captains Thomas Stokely and Mr. Campbell, That he volunteered and raised the Company that he commanded at his own expense about the first day of June 1781 (one thousand seven hundred and eighty one,) and returned home in May 1783 (one thousand seven hundred and eighty three,) That he resided in Hannah’s Town in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, That he as before stated was a volunteer, That he was engaged in several fights with the Indians, That they marched down the Ohio River below the mouth go the Big Myami where they were attacked by the Indians, & in which about the one half of their men were Killed and the rest taken prisoner, Some of whom were afterward killed among the the latter Colonel Lochrey was also Killed, That they were by the Indians marched through several of the Indians towns to Lower Sandusky where the prisoners were divided, and from thence he was taken to detroit and put in the hospital having had his arm broken in the fight with the Indians when they were taken, That he remained at Detroit
about 6 months until the next spring, and was taken to Montreal and put in Jail. remained there about four months and was taken
(page 8) —————
to Quebeck and from Quebec to and Island called “Beak” below Quebeck and from thence he was taken by the “Cork Fleet” to New York and from New York up North River to “Dobbs ferry” and there exchanged after having been in the service & a prisoner about one year and ten months, that he arrived at home to wit the place where Hannah’s Town had stood the Town having been burnt by the Indians during his absence some time in May 1783. In answer to the Several Questions directed to be put by the War Department, he the said applicant answers as follows
To the 1st I was born in the Parish of McCaskey, in the County of Derry in Ireland
“ “ 2nd I have no record of my age my fathers Bible was burned at he burning of Hannah’s Town, by the Indians in which my birth was recorded.
“ “ 3rd I was living in Hannah’s Town in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania, after the Revolution I lived there until 1792 when I left that and came to Armstrong County where I now live
“ “ 4th As I before Stated I was a volunteer.
“ “ 5th There were no Continental Companyies with us until Captain T. Stotelys. Col. Lochrey was under General Clark but General Clark never was with us.
“ “ 6th I received a commission or authority signed by Col. Lochrey which was taken from me by the Indians.
“ “ 7th The Revd
John DickeyG. A. Reichart, Ezekiel Lewis & Michael Mechling
He hereby relinquishes every Claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares this his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State
Sworn & Subscribed in open Court the day and year aforesaid -
G. A. Reichart interlined before signing
Fredk Rohrer, Pro
John Dickey G. A. Reichart A Clergyman, reading in Sugarcreek Township the Borough of Kittanning, in said County Penna, and Michael Mechling reading in the Borough of Kittanning, in said County, do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Robert Orr send, Esquire, who has subscribed and during sworn tot he above declaration that we believe him to be to be 87 years of age; that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a Soldier of the revolution, and that we concur in that opinion
G. A. Reichart
sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid
Fredk Rohrer, Pro
(page 9) —————
And the said Court, do hereby declare their opinion, after the investigation of the matter, and after the interrogatories prescribed by the War Department, that the above named applicant was a revolutionary soldiering served as he states. And the court further certifies, that it appears to them that G. A. Reichart who signed the preceding certificate is a clergyman, resident in said County and that Michael Mechling who has also signed the same is a resident in said County and is a credible person, and that their statement is entitled to credit
Armstrong County ss.
Personally appeared in open Court, Ezekiel Lewis who being duly sworn according to the law, deposeth and saith that he became acquainted with Robert Orr senr Esquire about the first day of August seventeen hundred and eighty one, That time he was the Captain of a Volunteer Company under Colonel Archibald Lochery, That he marched his company with the companies of Captains William Campbell and Thomas Stotely down the Ohio River below the mouth of the Big Myami where they were attacked by a large body of Indians, That about the one half of their men were killed, and that they that remained were taken prisoner, and that the Indians killed a great number of said prisoners among whom was the Colonel Archibald Lochery, That they were taken through some of the Indian towns to Lower Sandusky where they were separated this deponent being taken to “Prisoners Island” and the said Robert Orr Esquire as he believes having been taken to detroit, That the said Robert or did not return home to his place in Westmoreland County until sometime in May 1783. That this deponent has been acquainted with the said Robert Orr Senr since that time that he is and has been an honest and upright man and is throughout his neighborhood respected (and it is the general belief) to been a Soldier of the revolution. And further this deponent saith not.
Sworn and Subscribed in open Court this 19th day of Sept 1832
Fredk Rohrer, Pro
Armstrong County ss
I Frederick Rohrer, Clerk of the 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 of Robert Orr Senr Esquire for a pension.
Testimony where of I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said Court at Kittanning this 21st day of September one thousand eight hundred and thirty two
Fredk Rohrer, Pro
(page 20) —————
Westmoreland County ss
Personally came before me Michael Huffnagle Esquire one of the Justices of the Peace and of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the County of Westmoreland and also Prothonotary of the Same County The subscriber Samuel Craig who being sworn upon the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God deposeth and saith that he was a Lieutenant in a Company of Militia commence by Captain Robert Orr and marched on and Expedition carried against the Indians by General George Clark in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty one, That on the Ohio River below the mouth of Big Miami they were attacked by the Indians, where a number of Officers and private men were killed and the remainder of the party taken prisoner - That the said Captain Orr was Wounded in his left arm, was afterward carried to detroit where he was put in the Hospital to be cured of his Wound, and was left there by order of the Commanding Officer
at Detroit when the other Prisoners were sent forward to Montreal - That near a year afterward while the deponent was yet a prisoner at Montreal the said Robert Orr was brought there, his wound being better, but not cured - That the deponent was with the said Robert Orr from that time until they were both released and came home together, The said Robert Orr being then able to travel, but still afflicted with pain occasioned by the said Wound, and that the deponent has reason to believe that the said Robert Orr is not yet, and probably never will be perfectly restored to the strength and use of his arm
Sworn & Subscribed
(too faint to read)
(page 21) —————
Westmoreland County ss
I do hereby Certify that the with subscribing Charles Campbell Esquire is a Justice of the Peace and of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the County of Westmoreland and that all faith and credit aught to be given to what He shall Certify as such Witness my hand and the seal of my Office the day & year within written
For Michael Huffnagle Esqr Proth
(page 29) —————
Westmoreland County ss
Personally came before me Michael Huffnagle Esquire one of the Justices of the Peace and of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the County of Westmoreland and also Prothonotary of the Same County - The subscriber Isaac Anderson late Lieutenant of Captain John Shearer’s Company of Rangers raised for the protection of the frontiers of the said County of Westmoreland, Who being sworn according to law deposeth and saith that in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty one, the Deponent was ordered with a part of the Company to which he belonged, under the Command of Archibald Lochry Esquire Lieutenant of the County of Westmoreland, to assist General Clark in an expedition against the Indians, that a number of the Militia of Westmoreland County were ordered on the said Expedition of which Robert (inserted Orr) Esquire was a Captain and had the command of a Company, that said troops when collected proceeded under the command of the said Colonel Lochry down the Ohio River, and that on the twentyfourth day of August in the year 1781 aforesaid they were attacked by a party of Indians below the mouth of the Big Miami River, where the said Colonel Lochry with a number of others were killed, and the Remainder taken Prisoner, and the said Captain Robert Orr was wounded in the left arm, was afterwards with difficulty carried to Detroit, and there left under the care of the
one of British Surgeons, not being able to travel further (inserted - as the deponent believes) - The said Deponent further saith that Captain Thomas Stokely who had the Command of a Company of Rangers of said County was at the same time taken Prisoner, and was the next Junior Officer after Colonel Lochry’s Death
Sworn & Subscribed Before me August Seventh 1788 . . . .
(page 31) —————
Washington County Ss
I hereby certify that Thomas Stokely late Captn of A company of rangers stationed on the frontiers of Westmoreland County, under the command of Coll Archibald Lochry Lieutenant of the said County of Westmoreland came in his proper person on the thirty first day of July Anno Domini 1788 before me Thomas Scott prothonotary of Washington County aforesaid and made oath that in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eight one the said Coll Lochry ordered this deponent and a part of his company into service in order to assist Genl Clark in an expedition against the Indians and also raised a party of volunteers for the said purpose, and that Robert Orr of WestmorelandCounty Esquire was Captain of a company of said volunteers — That the collected parties under the command of the said Coll Lochry having proceeded down the Ohio river below the mouth of the big Miami, was on the twenty fourth day of August in the aforesaid year attacked by the Indians — The said Coll Lochry was killed with many others, and the whole remainder of the party captured in which attack the said Captn Robert Orr was wounded in the left arm afterward carried to detroit, and there taken under the care of the British Surgeons appearing not able to travel farther —
In Testimony whereof, and of the said Thomas Stokely’s signing the above deposition I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Seal of the said County of Washington the day & year first written —
Thos Scott prot
(page 33) —————
Greensburgh 19th August 1793
I beg leave to inform you that a suit has been some time ago instituted against me Christopher Hays by Robert Orr late a Captain on Colonel Lochry’s Expedition for the balance of the pay roll of said Company.
He had passed receipts to me for the whole amount of the of the roll being £ 769-00.2 in order to enable me to have the same duly settled with you. it appears to my satisfaction and full proof can be made of the fact that six pounds advance or bounty has been paid to each private enlisted in the said Company and that a number of the privates were killed and lost their lives in the service shortly after, and that the same nor any part of the advance has never been repaid to said Orr by any of the said privates and that the most of them had no property to indemnify so that justice and the public opinion would say that a faithful Officer should not suffer or be a loser on that Occasion.
As it appears from a Certificate under your hand of 12th of March 1790 that I have received credit only for £ 648-00.2 it will be requisite in order to satisfy the Gentlemen who have been appointed Referees between us to certify whether I have ever received or obtained credit for more than £ 648-00.2 and for what reasons the balance of the pay roll has been detained as I am called upon for the whole amount of the pay roll.
(page 34) —————
I any depositions or certificates would be wanting in order to enable me to obtain the balance which justice to the Captain would require every thing necessary for that purpose can be procured
I am Sir with much respect
Your very Hon. Servt.
John Nicholson Esquire
— please to address line by post to me directed to the care of Willm Jack Esquire Greensburg as early as you conveniently can —
I certify that the foregoing and annexed is a correct copy of the original now on file in the office of the Auditor General — Witness my hand and the seal of said Office the 28th of February 1820
Geo Bryan A. G.
(page 36) —————
In July 1781 Capt. Robert Orr of Westmoreland County in Pennsylvania, Raised a number of men, for and Expedition Against the Indians on Great Miami and Sciota, the Expedition was Commanded by Genl Clark of Kentucky then in Virginia, These men were raised in pursuance of Orders from the Supreme Executive Council, The Forces of Pennsylvania are Commended by (inserted Col.) Archibald Lochry County Lieutenant of Westmoreland, The subscriber and thirty of his men Were by Council ordered on the same Expedition
As Genl Clark was depended on for provisions he by some means Lefts Without any, Therefore the respectiveCaptains were Obliged to provide for the men, out of their own money, On our March on Washington (then Called Catfish Camp After an old Indian of that name) And at Wheellin Capt Orr informed me, That he paid for the supplies of all his men, that his money was Extorted, And that he then Supported them on money Borrowed from his Good dutch Neighbors, This Conversation at Catfish and at Wheellin was at night When Capt Orr’s men were [resent round a fire at the same time several of his men (whose names I do not recolect) Said they Chose him because they knew him
(page 37) —————
To be a Good Generous man, That their whole dependence on him, And as yet had proved faithful and had supplied them as Well as the County would Admit of
After we Left Wheellin there were no Inhabitants on the Ohio To the falls of that river (Lowey Villee) Except a small Stockade garrison Virginia Militia Stationed at the mouth of Grave Creek 12 miles below Whellin
24th August 1781 Ten miles below Great Miami on the bank of Ohio river Coll Laughry And all his Officers and men were Either killed or taken (not one Escaped) Capt Orr was among the Wounded
Cant Orr’s house was destroyed by the Indians Whilst he was a prisoner in Cannady, When the Indians Burned Hanns Town (then seat of Justice of Westmoreland)He was deemed and known as a useful brave and meritorious Officer
As an Evidence of his particular usefullness And that his real merit was by his County known and Approved of, are fully showed When he shortly After his return from Captivity was elected high Sheriff of Westmoreland County
(page 38) —————
As my residence was in the same Town with sd Orr and was with him in his Captivity at Detroit and at the City of Montreal Where we were in one prison together I believe it my duty to my County as Well as to Capt Orr to Give the foregoing Statement of facts
7th March 1821
(page 40) —————
I herby certify as of my own knowledge that in the month of August in the year or our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty one Captain Robert Orr (now an associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas etc of Armstrong County in Pennsylvania) marched with a company of volunteers from Hanna’s Town in the County of Westmoreland under Col. Archibald Lochry then County Lieutenant of said County, in order to join General Clark in an expedition against the hostile Indians on the Western frontiers — That during his absence on that expedition his dwelling house and other buildings in Hanna’s Town were burnt and his personal property generally burnt or destroyed by he Indians in the summer of the year 1782 — It is impossible at this distant period to form any correct estimate of the loss which Captain Orr’s family sustained on that occasion — He kept Tavern in the then County Town and had household furniture, live stock etc to perhaps equal any there — I have no distinct recollection of the value of his buildings they were convenient cabins for public accommodation — the only kind of buildings then in the place —
As Colonel Lochry was also a Prothonotary of Westmoreland County and I kept that office as a Deputy, I went with the volunteers from Hanna’s Town to their place of Rendezvous at Jacob’s Creek where they were joined by Col. Lochry & the other Companies and I there drew Certificates of the appraisement of the horse and arms with which they entered the publick service —
12 November 1819
The subscriber Matthew Jack Sheriff of Westmoreland County at the attack of Hanna’s Town by the Indians in the year 1782 & William Jack then residing about three Miles from that Town do Certify that they are well acquainted with the facts above stated relative to the burning of Judge Orrs house and property Also that Judge Orr was upon all occasions active in scouting and in defense of the County during the Revolution
(page 49) —————
Mercer County Pennsylvania July 22 1819
Sir after my respects to you and family I have been informed by George Decamp that there is some proof required concerning the situation that Genl Clark used the hundred pennsylvania volunteers that he requested from our Cornel Archibald Lochry to accompany him on an expedition down the ohio against the Indians in the year 1781 as I understood, by orders of our commanders we rendezvoused and Marched over the Manongahela at a place then called devors ferry from that with two of your men went to pittsburgh where Genl Clark was with part of his army you returned in a few days with orders to meet him at Wheeling when we came to Wheeling the Genl was gone down the River we then sent after him the express returned with orders for us to follow him and he would meet us at the big Island on the ohio river when we came to there he was gone and left a few men with a horse flat and orders for us to follow him which we did until we were taken prisoners at (inserted the) mouth of the great Miami on the 24th August 1781 I recollect of you loosing your horse saddle & bridle also your rifle gun & we frequently during our captivity both at detroit and Montreall see each other in lower Canady I recollect of you being wounded I think in the left arm in the engagement likewise we was left by the Genl without arms ammunition or provision in the savages enemy territory
The Hon Robert Orr
(page 50) —————
Mercer County ss personally came before me one of the justice of the peace for said County Mannasshe Coyle and being Sworn a Cording to Law Doth Say the foregoing instrument of riting is just and true
Sworn and Subscribed before me this 22th Day of january 1820
Mercer County Ss
I James Nelson Registrar & Recorder in and for the County of Mercer do hereby certify that James Clark Esquire before whom above affidavit was made is a Justice of the peace in and for the said County of Mercer as appear of me and in my office.
Given under my hand and Seal at Mercer this 22nd day of January A.D. 1820 —
For James Nelson R