||In the following pension declaration, Mathias Fisher describes in his own words his service in the Revolutionary War and Lochry's ill-fated expedition to Ohio in 1781. The testimony given in the document was to request a pension under the recently enacted pension act of June 7, 1832. Prior to this act only officers, enlisted men disabled on the field of battle, and veterans judged "in need to assistance" were entitled to a pension. The pension act of 1832 authorized full pay for life to all officers and enlisted men who served at least two years, and partial pay for officers and enlisted men who served at least six months of military service. Widows and children were granted pensions for veterans who died before 1832. Applicants were required to appear in person before a court of record in their state of residence and provide proof of service. Proof of service was typically verbal testimony given in a local court of law describing when and where the veteran served, the name of his commanding officer, and the names of any persons who could speak to the authenticity of the applicant's testimony. The following is a transcript of Mathias Fisher's testimony, which was affirmed resulting in his receiving a Revolutionary War pension.|
Mathias' account of Lochry's Expedition is particularly noteworthy because it is one of the few accounts of the expedition by an actual participant. The purpose of Lochry's Expedition was to attack the Shawnee, Delaware and Sandusky Indians in Ohio to stop their raiding into Western Virginia and Pennsylvania. In August 1781, Lochry led a force of roughly one hundred Pennsylvania militiamen down the Ohio River. On August 24, Lochry's force was attacked and defeated near present day Aurora, Indiana. Roughly forty members of Lochry's company including Lochry himself died in the battle or were executed shortly afterward. Those not killed were taken prisoner. Some became Indian slaves. Others were sold to the British and imprisoned near Montreal, Canada. Only Mathias Fisher and perhaps a dozen others are documented as surviving the expedition. Mathias provides additional testimony about the expedition in support of fellow soldier George Hice's declaration to obtain a pension in 1833.
For additional information on Lochry's Expedition, see:
- Edgar J. Pershing, "Lost Battalion of the Revolutionary War, PA.," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol XVI, No. 3, (Washington D.C.: National Genealogical Society, Sept., 1928), p 44-51. Includes a history of the expedition, transcripts of communiques between Colonel Archibald Lochry and General George Rogers Clark, some of which were intercepted by the British, and a list of those killed and captured. Also details Mathias Fisher's role in the expedition and credits him with bringing the fate of the expedition back to Pennsylvania.
- Chris McHenry, The Best Men of Westmoreland, An Historical Account of the Lochry Expedition, (Lawrenceburg, Indiana: self-published, 1981). Includes a lengthy narrative of Westmoreland history leading to Lochry's Expedition. Also contains records known as the Haldimand Papers from the Canadian National Archives which list men captured from Lochry's Expedition and later imprisoned by the British at Prisoners Island, Coteau du Lac, Quebec, Canada. Also contains photographs of a list of Lochry's men from the diary Lt. Isaac Anderson. The original diary is held by the Cincinnati Historical Society.
- "Lochry's Expedition," Pennsylvania Archives, Sixth Series, Vol. II, Thomas Lynch Montgomery, editor, (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Publishing Company, 1906), 403-410. A further transcript of Lt. Anderson's diary.
Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832
Penna Westd County
On this 20th day of November in the year of 1832 personally appeared in open court Mathias Fisher before the honorable John Young president and his associates now sitting. Mathias Fisher a resident of Ligonier Township of Westmoreland County in the State of Penna aged 74 years who being first duly sworn according to the law doth depose and say in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress of 7th June 1832 That about the first of January 1777 as declarant believes he was drafted as a Militia man in the company of Captain Shannon and marched in the detachment commanded by Col Archibald Lochry from Westd County in Penna to the State of New Jersey at Morristown. The British being in Brunswick & Amboy we went to the American lines and were stationed at Rahway near Woodbridge which place we left in the Spring and the whole detachment returned I think in April being discharged during this time. During the time we lay at Rahway there was one or two small affairs with british foraging parties. In the month of August Seventeen hundred and Eighty One the detachment marched from Fort Ligonier in Westd County Penna under the same Captain and the same Col Loughry to where Wheeling stands in Virginia and then the whole detachment embarked in boats commanded by Col Louchry. We landed below the mouth of the big Miami at the mouth of a creek and while we were landing the Indians fired upon us and finally took the whole detachment prisoners. Col Lochry was killed after we surrendered. There was about one hundred in the detachment as well as declarant recollects when we were attacked. The declarant was kept a while in the Indian Towns and about Christmas was taken to Detroit and given up to the (Indians crossed out, replaced with) British. I was kept at Detroit until Spring when I was taken to an island about Forty five miles above (Detroit crossed out, replaced with) Montreal about 20 acres in the Island on which there was a Fort and a great many American prisoners. about the 13th of July 1782 as I believe myself and four other American prisoners to wit Ezekial Lewis, Samuel Murphy and James Dougherty & George Bailey the two last of whom were taken at Wyoming made our escape in the night by knifing the guard and constructing a small raft out of drift wood found at the head of the Island on which we drifted about five miles before we got to land and that was on the Cana Shore where we concealed ourselves during the day & at night got a canoe and crossed to the American Shore and steered for Lake Champlain which we struck at the mouth of Otter creek and crossed the lake on a raft, which we thought was about four mile broad at that place. We then went to Pittsford in Vermont and to Allentown where Governor Chittendon lived from whom we got a pass and went to Newbury the headquarters of General Washington from thence thru Jersey – to Eastern Penna from whence I returned to my home in Westmoreland County Penna which was about the 12th of September during the retreat from Canada the declarant suffered from hunger & by the mosquitoes, and was reduced, so that he could not travel fast. declarant believes that Samuel Murphy, who escaped from Canada with him is living in Armstrong County Penna. of the others them he knows not. He has no documentary Evidence of his service. In the last campaign I went as a volunteer. The declarant has lived in Westd County aforesaid since his return and he hereby relinquishes Every claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity Except the present and declares his name is not on the pension roll of this agency of any state.
(Sworn crossed out, replaced with) Affirmed
in open court
20 Nov 1832
At the same time appeared in open court John Brandt who on his solemn oath saith that he was drafted in Captain Shannon’s Company commanded by Col Lochry and marched with the ___ of New Jersey about the beginning of the year 1777 That he knew Mathias Fisher who was in the same Company and who was just sworn and that the same Fisher marched from Wsld (Westmoreland) County ___ out this Tour and was discharged in April of the same year. Deponent has resided ever since in Westmoreland County and knows that the same Mathias Fisher went in the campaign against the Indians in Eighty one and always understood he was taken prisoner.
Sworn & Subscribed in open court
November 20, 1832
Randal McLaughlin Prt
At this same time appeared in open court George Hice, who on his oath saith that he was in the Lochry campaign against the Indians in Eight one, and that he marched from Fort Ligonier in Westmoreland County Penn in August. He knows Mathias Fisher who served in Captain Shannon’s Company, who also marched at the same time, and was taken prisoner at Lochry’s defeat near the Mouth of the Miami in the same year, when and where this deponent was taken prisoner, was kept with the said Fisher until we went to the Shawnee Towns where we were separated. I was kept a prisoner with the Indians & with the ___ until peace, when returned home in September 1783 & found that Fisher had been home about a year.
Sworn and subscribed in
open court 20 Nov 1832
Randal McLaughlin Prt
And the said court do hereby declare their opinion, after the investigation of the matter, and after putting the interrogations prescribed by the War department that the before named Mathias Fisher was a Revolutionary Soldier, and served as he states and the Court further certifies that it appears to them that John Brandt, and George Hice who have signed the preceding certificates are residents in the county of Westmoreland and are credible persons, and that their statements are ___ to Credit.
I Randal McLaughlin Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original proceeding in the matter of the application of Mathias Fisher for a pension.
In testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand & Seal of Office this twenty first day November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty two.
Randal McLaughlin, Prot