Monday, December 8, 2014

Military Monday - Daniel Gard (1755-1824): A Wounded Warrior's Story from the Revolutionary War




Please note that in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Gard family’s name was spelled variously as Gard and Guard, but, because the latter predominates in the court records, I have used Gard in my own text and Guard in quotations that used that spelling. In some cases, I have modernized spellings and punctuation.

“I  do acknowledge the Thirteen United States of America, namely, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be free, independent, and sovereign states, and declare, that the people thereof owe no allegiance or obedience to George the third, king of Great Britain; and I renounce, refuse and abjure any allegiance or obedience to him; and I do swear, that I will, to the utmost of my power, support, maintain, and defend the said United States against the said king, George the third, and his heirs and successors, and his and their abettors, assistants and adherents; and will serve the said United States in the office, which I now hold, and in any other office which I may hereafter hold by their appointment, or under their authority, with fidelity and honour, and according to the best of my skill and understanding. So help me God.”

With this newly approved oath to the fledgling United States of America, New Jersey colonist Daniel Gard enlisted for service in the American Revolutionary War on February 11, 1776.  By that time, the Battles of Lexington and Concord as well as the Battle of Bunker Hill had already been fought, and General George Washington had been in charge of the continental army for over six months.

On October 26, 1775, the Provincial Congress at Trenton, New Jersey, had received word that the Continental Congress recommended “there be immediately raised in this Colony, at the expense of the continent, two battalions, consisting of eight companies each, and each company to consist of sixty-eight privates, and officered with one captain, one lieutenant, one ensign, four serjeants [sic], and four
corporals. . . .” (Minutes 234)  

On February 6, they put out the call for the formation of a third battalion. At that time, nineteen-year-old Daniel Gard of Morristown responded by enlisting on February 11 to serve the new country at the rank of private for the standard period of one year, for which he would be paid five dollars per month (History 28; Minutes 210).

He was, no doubt, issued the felt hat, pair of yarn stockings, and “pair of shoes” (presumably boots) which had been authorized by Congress.  In addition, on the march to join the continental army, he probably received the “two dollars and two-thirds of a dollar per week,” also authorized by Congress (History 208).  Each man was to bring his own arms. 

The revolutionary sentiment had been brewing in Morristown since the previous May, when Peter Dickerson, a carpenter and the owner of Dickerson’s Tavern, had been holding gatherings in his tavern to discuss the formation of a battalion from Morris County.  He proposed raising 300 men to be divided into five companies. One day each week would be devoted to training, and privates were to be paid three shillings a day and “found with provisions, ammunition and arms” (“Captain”). (To see an image of where the tavern once stood, click the link: Tavern Link)

It has been said that Dickerson, who had also served in the Provincial Congress, paid for the equipment of his men out of his own pocket and was never remunerated by the government. One member of the group was appointed to purchase 500 pounds of powder and a ton of lead for the companies, and all residents of Morris County were advised to “provide themselves with arms and ammunition to defend the county in case of invasion” (“Captain”). 
Grave of Capt. Peter Dickerson, First Presby-
terian Churchyard, Morristown, NJ

Daniel Gard was now a part of the New Jersey Third Battalion, Captain Dickerson’s Company.  In September, at the second establishment of the Third Battalion, the company served under Jeremiah Ballard (Stryker 23). Daniel’s brothers Alexander, Gershom, and John were also serving in the Revolutionary War, and his father Jeremiah, at age fifty-nine, was, along with Daniel, a member of Peter Dickerson’s company (Sherman  188).  Daniel’s brother Jeremiah was serving with the continental army from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (“Soldiers” 4:742).

18th-Century Scales
(PristineAuctions.com)
After his year of service was up, Daniel re-enlisted in the same company. However, in a skirmish near Staten Island, he took a musket ball in the left arm, which ended his active duty (for a story about how this musket ball aroused interest again during the Civil War, see below[*]).  According to family friend Elizabeth Gordon, he remained for a time with his company, serving rations to the other soldiers (“Gard or Guard” Im. 145), but eventually Captain Dickerson, “who new [sic] of his having acquired a good Education,” recommended him to Captain William Shute of the Commissary Department, where Daniel continued in the service of his country, working as a scalesman, until the end of the war (“Gard or Guard” Im. 148).

Wyoming Valley Massacre
In late January and early February of 1783, very near the close of the war, Daniel was called upon to carry a message from the Wyoming Valley area of Pennsylvania to Morristown, New Jersey, which was, of course, Daniel’s hometown.  Just before he set out, word arrived that Indians had been discovered in the neighborhood, which was worrisome since the Iroquois, allied with British loyalists, had committed what is now known as the Wyoming Valley Massacre in 1778.  Daniel asked if his departure could be delayed for a day or two but was told that, since the message was time-sensitive, he would need to depart immediately.  Daniel, therefore, resolved to go even “if there stood an Indian at every rod of the way” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 147). 

Daniel successfully made it to Morristown, but it seems that delivering the message was not his only goal at the time, for by the time he returned to the camp at Wyoming, he had married Hannah Merrick, a Morris County girl who may have been missing Daniel for the seven long years of the war.  Hannah later said that her friends counseled her against the marriage at that particular time since Daniel was still a soldier and the future was uncertain, but that did not stop the two of them from looking up Jacob Minthorn, a justice of the peace at Parsippany in Morris County, who performed the ceremony on January 26, 1783.

Apparently, when the couple arrived at Minthorn’s house, they found it a busy place, as a large number of “London Traitors,” or Tories (Americans who remained loyal to King George), had been arrested and were being processed there.  However, Minthorn found time to allow the couple to say their vows with Daniel’s brother Alexander and his wife, Hannah (Keen), along with one Captain Joseph Beach, serving as witnesses (“Gard or Guard” Im. 127).  
Captured Tory by Charles S. Reinhart
 (Mansell/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

It is interesting to note that Captain Beach, who was a generation older than Daniel Gard and Hannah Merrick, had been attached to the Morris County Jail during 1777 “when twenty-one men were confined there under sentence of death, and two were hung by Sheriff Carmichael,” presumably traitors like those encountered at Minthorn’s house on January 26 (History, 35).  One wonders if, in the press of business and the turmoil of the time, Joseph Beach was with the JP processing these suspects when Daniel and Hannah showed up.  But that is pure speculation. (Though Hannah Merrick Gard testified later that Captain Beach and his wife were both witnesses to her wedding, the fact is that Captain Beach’s wife, Keziah (Johnson), had died in 1778 and there seems to be no record of a second marriage) (West).  
 
Shortly after the wedding, Daniel returned to the army, and within days of his return to the Wyoming Valley, on February 5, 1783, the British announced that they were ending hostilities.  On June 5, Daniel was discharged from the army at Newburgh, New York. 
After the war, Daniel returned to Morris County.  For a time, it appears, he lived on a farm near Littleton (“Gard or Guard” 188), though whether or not he was actually farming remains unclear.  Littleton was a logical destination for him after the war in that Daniel and Hannah were married there, and both of their fathers lived in the area. They eventually settled in Hanover township.

Morris County was rich in iron ore, and mines proliferated in the region.  In the period following the Revolution, many found employment in the mines and forges in the area.  Daniel’s father, Jeremiah Gard, had once owned the forge called “Valley Forge,” probably because of its location near the Berkshire Valley, and it would have been a natural place for Daniel to find work.  (It appears on most maps of Jersey forges under its later name, Baker’s Forge.)

Unfortunately, on January 1, 1806, Daniel was injured “in the falling of a hammer” while making a repair at the forge.  His right arm was seriously wounded and could not be saved, resulting in an amputation close to the shoulder.  Since Daniel already had a lame left arm from the war, this accident left him virtually unemployable. 
An Iron Forge by Joseph Wright, 1772

Daniel was fifty years old at the time and still had a family to feed: Phebe, 29; Jane, 27; Rebecca, 13; Hannah, 9; Jeremiah, 5; and Rachael, 2. Son Ephraim would be born nearly four years later.

It is possible the older daughters were able to help with the family income. Their mother, Hannah Merrick Gard, had worked in the house of Jacob Losey’s father before her marriage, the Loseys being prominent mine owners in the area (“Gard or Guard” Im. 190), and the older daughters, Phebe and Jane may have followed suit until their marriages in 1809. 

But Daniel was not totally without resources. By an Act of Congress on July 9, 1788, veterans had been awarded land bounties from the new American government in honor of their military service, and Daniel Gard had received 100 acres at that time.  The only problem was that the government was slow in making good on their grants and, since the bounties could be sold to others, many veterans traded them for ready cash (Leubking).  What exactly Daniel did with his warrant is not known, but perhaps the land, or the cash from the sale of the warrant, was a boon to him at this point in time.

The court documents give us a glimpse of Daniel’s attitude toward such grants, whether earned or not.  According to son Jeremiah’s testimony, “When the army was disbanded, he was processed a captain’s discharge, which he refused” despite the fact that, since May 1778, officers had had the right to receive half pay as pensions (“Pensions”).  But that is not all: He not only refused any pension at the time of his discharge, but “could never be prevailed upon to accept of one until after he had the misfortune to lose the right arm, having it amputated above the elbow” (“Gard or Guard” 148).   

Certainly the serious injury at the forge necessitated a second look at the pension option, and on March 3, 1807, we find the name “Daniel Guard” listed among those to whom Congress had granted a particular invalid pension.  He received $2.50 per month, beginning retroactively on January 23 of that year (Peters 6:67).  In 1813, he was still receiving the pension. (“1813”).  That it literally took losing his right arm to move him toward a previously rejected pension underscores Daniel’s ethic of self-reliance—and also his great need.

When President James Monroe came to office in 1817, he initiated improvements to the pension plan for Revolutionary War veterans.  He was motivated by the fact that, while campaigning throughout the country, he had encountered numerous indigent and handicapped veterans whose plight had led him to believe it was time to broaden the pension law.  However, the resulting service-pension act, encouraged by Monroe and passed by Congress in 1818, contained a “poor law” component which required all applicants to provide proof of service and “incapacity” (Finocchiaro 6). 
Daniel Gard's 1818 Deposition

Accordingly, on April 6, 1818, Daniel appeared in Judge Joseph Jackson’s court of common pleas in Morristown, New Jersey, to begin the process by submitting the discharge papers he had received in Newburg, New York, in 1783, as proof of his military service. 

In his deposition, Daniel stated “that he is now in his sixty third year of his age; that from his reduced circumstances, he needs the assistance of his country for support and begs to be put on the pension lists of common soldiers of the United States;  . . . and further this deponent saith that he is now on the pension list of invalid soldiers of the United States [provided in 1807], which he doth hereby relinquish, provided he is considered as coming within the act of Congress of the 18th March 1818 and is put on the pension accordingly.”  Mahlon Johnson, a prominent mine-owner who had known the Gard family for years, later attested  that Daniel was “in very reduced circumstances, having no property of his own, nor anything in expectance from any relative . . . and has been frequently on the pauper list of the township of Hanover. . .” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 224).

A month later, Judge Jackson notified the government of the authenticity of Daniel’s claim (Joseph Jackson 7 May 1818).  But now began the family’s ordeal in actually receiving the pension.  Apparently, as with many such programs, fraud was rampant. Veterans were “feigning poverty” in order to claim the pensions, and the government needed to be vigilant about pension claims (“Pensions”).  Therefore, on May 1, 1820, Congress enacted remedial legislation, requiring more proof of need from applicants. As a result, we find Daniel back at the Morris County Courthouse on July 10, when he took the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States, on the 18th day of March, 1818; and that I have not, since that time by gift, sale, or in any manner, disposed of my property, or any part thereof, with intent so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provisions of an act of Congress, entitled ‘An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States in the Revolutionary war,’ passed on the 18th day of March, 1818; and that I have not, nor has any person in trust for me, any property or securities, contracts, or debts, due to me; nor have I any income, other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed, and by me subscribed” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 121).

He also identified his dependents, testifying “that I have a wife aged sixty years, who enjoys tolerable health; that I have one son [Jeremiah], aged nineteen years, able to earn his living, and one son [Ephraim] aged ten years, not a very healthy child, which composes all my family.” By this time, the daughters were all married.

He was also required to submit a list of his property, which appears below with the original spelling and capitalization (note I have used ellipses where the handwriting is unclear):
SCHEDULE
Referred to in the foregoing deposition of Daniel Guard, viz.:
1 cow
1 hog
4 sheep
1 … and tackling
1 clothe [clothes?] cupboard
1 cupboard dresser
1 large iron kittle
1 small do. [ditto]
1 Pye pan
1 iron pot
1 tea kittle
2 trammels [adjustable pothooks for a fireplace crane]
1 pair andirons
1 chopping ax and one adze
2 broad hoes
1 table of maple stuff
1 wash tub
1 churn
1 salt morter [sic] pestle
1 cyder pail
2 Earthen pots
6 Earthen jugs
6 do. Plates
6 pewter do.
1 do. Platter
6 Iron spoons
2 Earthen platters
16 old knives and forks
2 Glasses
1 pair . . . irons
2 chairs    1 Big wheel
1 pair wool cards, 1 iron ….
2 clubs, 4 Round …..  …..
1 bread tray, 1 plow
One lot of Grain Growing upon shares

Sworn to and declared on the
10th day of July 1820 before
Gab. H. Ford

The court valued the property at $68.34 ($162.65 in today’s money).  (“Gard or Guard” Im. 122)

Daniel’s documentation proved satisfactory, and he received the pension for which he had applied, which was paid out to him over the remaining years of his life.  He died at the age of sixty-eight in Roxbury township, Morris County, New Jersey, on June 18, 1824.  (His son Ephraim and his daughter Hannah Gard Gordon are known to have resided in Roxbury township as well, so perhaps toward the end of his life and quite disabled, he and Hannah moved to Roxbury from Hanover in order to be closer for needed assistance from their adult children).

After Daniel’s death, the problems with the pension picked up.  There is an undated record on Ancestry.com showing that Hannah Gard, widow of Daniel Gard, Roxbury township, Morris County, New Jersey, was turned down on her request for rights to her husband’s pension.  Under “reason” appears the notation: “Service admitted--marriage in suspense” (Rejected).  Because there had been so much fraud connected to the pension application process, the government was being very careful to make sure that persons receiving the pensions actually deserved them.  Poor Hannah got caught in a sea of red tape, which continued long after her death in 1836.

A brief explanation of the various congressional acts regarding military pensions would be helpful here.  After the service-pension act of 1818, under whose terms Daniel Gard received a pension, there were subsequent acts expanding the number of recipients by reducing the requirement of time served for veterans not previously covered.  Specifically of interest here are the acts of 1828 and 1832.  Neither of these acts required applicants to demonstrate need, and under the act of 1832, widows and children were able to collect money due from the last payment until the date of death of a pensioner. 

On November 7, 1834, J. L. Edwards, United States Commissioner of Pensions, wrote a report containing this lament: “A very painful duty devolves on me in making this report:  I allude to the recent developments in parts of our country, in which some of the most iniquitous transactions have been discovered to have perpetrated by men of high standing in society, whose  official stations and respectability placed them far above suspicion, and who have taken advantage of the character they have sustained to practice [sic] some of the most daring frauds.  In every fraudulent case which has come to the knowledge of this department, steps have been taken to punish the offenders.  In some instances, prosecutions have been successful and terminated in confinement of the criminals in State prisons; in some cases, they have fled from justice.  In every case where, on account of the solvency of the party, there was prospect of recovering money improperly paid, a suit has been commenced” (U.S. Senate Documents 266).

This unfortunate set of circumstances is probably what led to the addition of a measure in the Act of Congress passed July 4, 1836 (5 Stat. 128), by which widows would be eligible to receive pensions provided the “widow had married the veteran before the expiration of his last period of service” [emphasis mine] (Pensions Enacted).  Now, here is where Hannah had a problem.  As indicated above, Daniel and Hannah had gotten married on January 26, 1783, when he had been sent to Morristown on official business.  When they went to the house of the justice of the peace, they discovered the JP busy processing a crowd of “London traitors” who had recently been arrested (“Gard or Guard” Im. 202).  It appears that in the crush of business that day, the record of the marriage was either not written down or was lost in the shuffle of other papers related to the arrests.  Therefore, Hannah had no way to prove that she was married to Daniel during “his last period of service,” which technically did not expire until June of 1783.  Thus, her claim was rejected because the marriage was “in suspense.” 

Now, the date of the relevant act of Congress was July 4, 1836.  On the following October 5, Hannah appeared in the Morris County Courthouse in order to justify her claim.  After recounting Daniel’s record of service, she stated, “I was born at Bottle Hill, in Morris County, on the 9th April 1760, and was married to Daniel Gard at Parsippany in said county by Justice Minter [variant spelling of Minthorn], whose first name I have forgotten, on the 26th day of January 1780 [sic]. Captain Joseph Beach and his wife,  Alexander Gard and his wife, were present at our marriage;  they are all dead, & I know no living witness who was present nor have I any documentary proof, except a record, kept in our family bible, not now in my possession” (“Gard or Guard”  Im. 127).  The fact that the year 1780 was recorded in this deposition instead of the year 1783 may have contributed to the confusion, as all of Hannah’s children attested they had been married in late January or early February 1783 when Daniel was sent by the army to Morristown.  However, that testimony came later and would not have figured in the immediate ruling of the pension commissioners. 

Though it may seem strange to those of us who live in the Information Age, where all of our vital statistics are, generally speaking, kept in meticulous records in state houses (or in a “cloud” in cyberspace), in Hannah’s time period, the family Bible was tantamount to an official record.  Hannah attested to this record when she gave her testimony on October 5 and, no doubt, hoped to bring it with her on a subsequent date to provide what proof she had.  Unfortunately, however, Hannah died twenty days later on October 25, 1836 (age 76), and further testimony about the Bible record was not submitted until mid-November, when a woman named Amanda Y. High, a friend of Hannah’s daughter Phebe Gard Van Wirt, testified before Justice Harvey.  The court record states that Mrs. High, the wife of Ezra High, testified that she “was brought up by the said Phebe Van Wert and lived in her family from infancy; that [she] had seen the family Bible of Mrs. Van Wert in which this leaf now is in the possession and house of Mrs. Van Wert” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 131).  She affirmed that she “had a distinct recollection of the Book and entries.”

Justice Harvey must have indicated that hearsay evidence was not good enough in this case and may have asked Mrs. High to locate the Bible and enter the relevant page into the court record, for four days later the page in question was submitted.  Because it shows how seriously the government was scrutinizing these records, it is interesting to note that across the bottom of the Bible record page itself, A. H. Stanburrough, a clerk of the court, signed his name and set the seal of Morris County to vouch for the justice of the peace himself: “I am acquainted with the hand writing of said Justice & that the signature thereto purporting to be his [on Amanda High’s affidavit] is genuine” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 129).

In addition to Amanda High, other persons who had known the Gards for a long time, also testified that the Gards had been well-respected and considered to have been living as (and indeed were) husband and wife for forty years.  These included Jeremiah Fairchild, 62, and his son Seth Fairchild, 48, husband of Rebekah Gard. One would hope that this would have been enough to confirm Hannah’s statement about her marriage to Daniel Gard in January 1783. Apparently, they were still not persuaded that the marriage preceded the end of Daniel’s service. 

Morris County Courthouse,
Morristown, NJ
The record is silent for fourteen years.  Then on July 18, 1850, Phebe Gard Van Wirt, the eldest daughter of Daniel and Hannah, came to court to make a statement regarding a recent discovery.  The clerk recorded her sworn testimony that “soon after her [mother’s] death, she took charge of some small articles which her mother left, amongst which was an old calico pocket book, and in that pocket book she found the family record which is hereunto attached and which was carefully preserved by her mother in its present mutilated condition and which she is satisfied is in her father’s handwriting.  That since her mother’s death it has been kept in the same old pocket book untill [sic] within a few days past” ("Gard or Guard" Im. 124).

Two more years passed with no decision from the government.  Then in November and December of 1852, there was another flurry of activity:

·        November 16, 1852: Eighty-year-old Jeremiah Baker testified he had known the Gards for forty years, knew Hannah’s maiden name had been Merrick, and, as a shoemaker in Morris County, had kept the seven Gard children in shoes during the years they were growing up (“Gard or Guard” Im. 205).

Upper left shows Daniel Gard's entry in his
family Bible, recording his marriage of 1783.
·        November 16, 1852: Phebe Gard Van Wirt testified that the name of the justice of the peace who had married her parents was Lemuel Winthorn (other family members testified Winthorn’s first name was Jacob).  She recounted the information about the crowd of “London traitors” at Winthorn’s house on the day of the marriage, probably to help explain why the marriage was not recorded, and she affirmed that the Bible record of the marriage was in her father’s handwriting (“Gard or Guard” Im. 202).

·        December 15, 1852: Rebecca Gard Fairchild testified that her father had been with the army in the “Wioming” Valley in Pennsylvania when he was sent to Morristown.  This was to help explain why Pvt. Gard had been in his hometown for a wedding when the war was still ongoing (“Gard or Guard” Im. 146).

·        December 15, 1852: Jane Gard Wiggins (mistakenly) set the date of her parents’ marriage at February 9, 1783, but to underline her certainty about a date in early 1783, stated that the couple’s first child, Rachel, had been born in December that year.  But wasn’t that the name of one of the daughter not born until 1804?  The government seems to have smelled a rat, but Jane had come to explain that, after the first Rachel had died at age 19 in 1803, Daniel and Hannah decided to give the name Rachael also to their sixth daughter, born the following year (“Gard or Guard” Im. 147).  Would the alternate spelling of the name be persuasive to the skeptical bureaucrats in the pension office?

·        December 15, 1852: Ephraim Gard undertook to emphasize that his parents was married before the end of the war by recounting a joke his father used to make to the effect that he had entered the service at the age of 19, and “before the end of the war, I married your mother, and so I never got free” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 152).  We do not know the government’s response to this droll jest.

·        December 16, 1852: Jeremiah Gard, the oldest of the couple’s two surviving sons (the first son, Lewis, having died at age 3 in 1789) also gave testimony about the date of the marriage and the birth of the first child, as well as details of Daniel’s service, adding this detail: I have heard my father say that he had the whole charge of the Commissary Department clerk scales man [men?] an [and?] all for nearly two years at Johns Town [NY] while with [Major General John] Sullivan. . . .”  This is a reference to Indian wars led by Sullivan and Colonel Thomas Proctor in 1779, which somewhat expands Gard’s service (“Gard or Guard” Im. 148-49).

At the bottom of each deposition, Justice Harvey made a note that he knew the deponent personally and that he or she “sustained a good reputation for truth and veracity.”

But now the record goes silent again until the following May, when this letter addressed to the Commissioner of Pensions appeared (its first line reads “Washington, May 9, 1853”):
Dear Sir:
I enclose herewith twelve Affidavits in support of the claim of Mrs. Hannah Guard to a Pension under the Act of July 4, 1836.  These Affidavits establish the date of Marriage and the fact that her husband was in service at the time of and after the marriage.
I also enclose documentary proof showing twenty seven months service of Daniel Guard in the Commissary Department.
The claim being now clearly established I beg that you will cause a Certificate of Pension to issue without further delay, particularly as this claim has been before your Office for the last ten or twelve Years [emphasis mine].
                                                                                                I am Sir
                                                          Very respectfully
                                                          Yr obt. Serv.  [your obedient servant]
                                                          Wm. J. Scott

L. P. Waldo Esq.
Commissioner of Pensions (“Gard or Guard” Im. 212)

Mr. Scott was certainly trying to prod the government into action.  After all, the “children” of Daniel and Hannah now ranged in age from sixty-six to forty-four!  

Yet, still no action was taken, and a year and a half later (November 10, 1854), we see the government still had some questions about the dates of death of the non-surviving Gard children: Lewis, who died in 1789 at age 3, and Rachel, who died in 1803 at age 19.  To emphasize to the doubting government that this was an authentic record and not something done up years later in an effort to defraud the government, Justice of the Peace Harvey tore the page from the Bible and scrawled across the bottom a note saying that the Bible, which was in the possession of Phebe Van Wirt, “appears to be worn and authentic” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 132). 

More silence.

Then in November 1856, there is another flurry of activity at the Morris County Courthouse.  Two octogenarians, mine owners both—Mahlon Johnson and Jacob Losey—made their way to the courthouse to tell what they knew of the Gard family.  Johnson recounted what he knew of the family, going back to the time of Daniel’s and Hannah’s fathers, and further testified that the Gards “were worthy respectable people.”  Losey also summarized what he knew of the family, his memory stretching back to the days before Hannah’s marriage when she was working as a housekeeper for Losey’s father.  Both testified that they had known Jacob Minthorn, the justice of the peace who married Daniel and Hannah (this information apparently going some way to prove that the name was not a fabrication on Hannah’s part in a scheme to defraud the government).  (“Gard or Guard,” Im. 188, 190)


From his estate called Speedwell (see below), on August 10, 1856, Stephen T. Vail, justice of the peace, forwarded these last two affidavits along with his own memories of the family.  “The Uncles and Father Sold out to Judge Simons and went west 70 years ago,” he writes.  “I was a child but remember hearing my Father, Uncle Henry, Uncle Jos[eph] Johnson, and him often talk over their battles, after a mowing bee which was common in those days. . . . His heirs are entitled to his Pension.  There is not a doubt. And if you can help them to get It you will do a great Favor to his descendants. His Family were all respectable people_ his wife’s people were respectable, I remember all of them” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 183). 
Speedwell Estate, Morristown, NJ
Courtesy of FrugalNJ.blogspot.com

Then—finally—an end to this exhausting twenty-year application process arrived in the form of a letter from the pension office, dated August 15, 1836, and addressed to the Honorable George Vail, New Jersey House of Representatives.  R. McRae, writing “for Commissioner,” states: “I have considered the testimony which accompanied your letter of the 12th inst. in support of the claim of Hannah Guard, dec’d, who was the widow of Daniel Guard, late of New Jersey, asserted under the Act of July 4, 1836, and also carefully reviewed all the testimony previously filed, and have decided that the claim may be allowed at the rate of $80 per annum for two years’ service as a private of Infantry, provided the Attorney General to whom the question has been submitted by the Secretary of the Interior shall decide that arrears due to widows under the Act aforesaid, can be paid to their children” (Im. 181).

Apparently, Attorney General Caleb Cushing came through, for four months later, Frederick Dellicker, surrogate judge of Morris County, had been granted the administration of the property of Hannah Guard, including “pension moneys, due said intestate” (“Gard or Guard” Im. 209). 

This letter was dated December 23, 1856, which, as fortune would have it, was actually the forty-seventh birthday of Ephraim Gard, the “baby” of the family! The oldest of the siblings, Rachel, was nearing 70.  Well, better late than never, I suppose.

 “Ah, all things come to those who wait,”
(I say these words to make me glad), 
But something answers soft and sad, 
“They come, but often come too late.”
                                      Violet Vane (1843-1905)







[*] "A bullet, which was lodged in the arm of Daniel Gard during the Revolutionary War. and was preserved as a relic by the patriotic soldier, was exhibited by his son, Ephraim Gard, and seemed to rekindle the flame of patriotism in the whole crowd.  The meeting (patriotic meeting during Civ. War 1861) was a memorable one, and evinced a strong feeling of sympathy with the administration without regard to political parties: and from that time Port Oram was a place well known throughout the whole region. five persons who belonged to Port Oram and who were present at this meeting enlisted for the war.  Two were the sons of Ephraiam Gard and grandsons of the Revolutionary patriot Daniel Gard.  The fifth was Albert Wiggins, then a clerk in the store of S. Breese, in Dover.  They all returned to Port Oram after the war except Albert Wiggins, who drowned with thirty-two others from Morris county while crossing the Cumberland River in Kentucky” (Halsam 310).

Works Cited
“Captain Peter Dickerson, First Provincial Congress” in Captain Peter Dickerson First Provincial Congress. Waymarking.com. 2014. Web.  Accessed 9 Nov. 2014.
Edwards, J. L. “Report of Commissioner of Pensions.” 23rd Congress.  2nd Session.
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(c) Eileen Cunningham 2014