Tri-County Legal Documents
In early 2000, I met Marshall Case who resides on Fallbrook Road near Troy, PA. As a youngster in the 1950's, I resided only a mile or so from his home but I don't remember meeting him. However, he and my father were acquainted.
The day that I met Marshall, he gave us a detailed tour of nearby Armenia Mountain where my Newell ancestors settled about 1835. Later that day we visited a Lumber Museum in Goleta, Potter Co., PA, where Marshall has made many contributions.
The following day, Marshall showed us his collection of local history notebooks at the Pierce Free Library in Troy, PA. Contained in one of his notebooks were old letters and legal documents written or witnessed by Elihu Case, a Justice of the Peace and a relative of Marshall Case.
Three of the legal documents were written about Bridget Burnham, an early resident of Armenia Mountain. They captured my interest because I had recently replaced (put upright) her gravestone in the Burnham Cemetery at Armenia.
So little is known about the folks who resided on Armenia Mountain. I've transcribed the pension papers for Bridget and attached them to this letter. Hopefully, the information will be of interest to you.
John Burnham was a soldier of the Revolutionary War so his widow, Bridget, was eligible to receive his military pension. The following legal documents describe the efforts of Bridget and Alba Burnham to obtain the pension funds for Bridget.
The three documents transcribed below were found in the donated files of F. Marshall Case at the Allen F. Pierce Free Library in Troy, Bradford Co., Pennsylvania, in April 2000.
An asterisk (*) indicates an unknown word. My comments are in brackets [ ].
[Document 1 - Deposition of Alba Burnham, claiming Bridget as his mother and the wife of his father, veteran John Burnham]
The deposition of Alba Burnham, of Armenia Township in the County of Bradford and State of Pennsylvania taken before Elihu Case a Justice of the Peace in and for said County after being first sworn according to Law. Deposes and says as follows –
I am a son of John Burnham, of Hampton, Windham County, and State of Connecticut, and was forty six years old the 18th day of last October, as I have been told by my parents, and as I learn from the family records – my mother Bridget Burnham widow of John Burnham, my father, came to live with me some 12 years ago and still lives with me and is still and ever has been the wife of John Burnham – since his discease, I was well knowing that my father John Burnham drew a pension for his services as a soldier in the Revolutionary War with Great Britian of ninety six dollars a year – I am well acquainted with the hand writing of my father and believe the record to be made in his own hand writing – this record has the time of fathers marriage to Bridget, my mother, Sept. 24, 1797 – and the record of the birth of my sister, Clarissy, May 8, 1801 – and Lourisa, my sister, the oldest of the family – born June 14, 1799 – and also of my birth Oct 14, 1803 he has spelled my name Elby – but I alwaise write it Alby – the Record is marked * A, on the back of it.
Sworn and subscribed before me the subscriber a Justice of the Peace for said County January 17, 1850.
Elihu Case JP
[Document 2 - Deposition of Bridget Burnham, claiming veteran John Burnham as her husband and Alba Burnham as her son]
The deposition of Bridget Burnham, widow of John Burnham, and old soldier – taken before Elihu Case a Justice of the Peace in and for the County of Bradford, Pa. as follows, (after having first sworn according to Law).
I am the widow of John Burnham of Hampton, Windham County, and the State of Connecticut, was married to him the 24th day of September AD 1797 – my husband, John Burnham, died I think in October 1820, he at that time lived in Hampton, Connecticut, I have lived with my son Alba Burnham for some 12 years past, and still live with him and shall be 73 years old the 19th day of present month, I am well acquainted with the hand writing of John Burnham, my husband, and know the Record, herewith * in *closed * * on the back, (and containing the time of our marriage – and also a record of the names and times of the birth of our children) to be correct & in his own hand writing, which has been kept by me, since his death, my husband was a soldier in the Revolutionary War with Great Britan & drew a pension of ninety six dollars a year.
Bridget her X mark Burnham
This is to certify to whom it may concern that the affidavit was signed in our presents by the widow making her mark, she being unable to write.
The above deposition taken and subscribed before me January 17th 1850 and sworn to be true according to the best of her knowledge and belief – witness my hand –
Elihu Case J Peace
[Document 3 - Letter from Alba Burnham to C. J. Cleveland, who is believed to be an attorney employed to assist in the pension effort.]
Armenia, Jan. 19th 1850
Hon. Mr. Cleveland Sir having some business of some importance to your
care will probably bring your mind to a recollection of me when you &
I lived in Hampton although a series of years have passed away since you
may have nearly forgotten me yet the stations you have occupied has kept
your name fresh in my mind. * the late pension * * my Mother to one we
thought you would be the most suitable one to engage in getting it as the
evidence she wanted were in that section. My brother in law Jasper Martin
informs me he has done what is necessary in that past and now wants my
and my Mothers Deposition which we now send to you in this, herewith the
old family rechord in his own handwriting which you see is old and poorly
speld and now if there should be anything wanting to get the pension please
to write and inform me or write Jasper Martin of Brooklyn. We think we
can prove all that is necessary if we have not already. Write to me the
prospects as soon as convenient, our worthy Representative Mr. Willmot
may be of service to you about sending here. If I mistake not you will
find him a perfect Gentleman he may not know me but I well know him. Your
demands for service will be attended to in due time. Send your letter Troy,
Bradford Co., Pa.
Yours etc. Alba Burnham