In 1836, Mary Dobbs Crolius, widow of William Crolius, applied for a Revolutionary War veteran's pension pursuant to a new pension program voted by Congress in 1834. Part of the process included documenting the veteran's service. The War Department pension file for William Crolius contains four parts:
- a brief pension form (contains a few key facts including pension amount)
- a sworn statement by Mrs. Crolius summarizing her late husband's service and the relevant facts
- a statement written by William Crolius in 1825 recounting his service in a detailed narrative form, with signed attestation by two fellow veterans
- a statement dictated by Mrs. Crolius in 1832 recounting her own experiences in the war, written by her son William Dobbs Crolius
The following subsections are complete transcriptions of those files.
Sworn Summary StatementEdit
Brooklyn, State of NY
On the seventh day of September 1836 personally appeared before me Joseph Deary one of the justice of the Municipal Court in the City of Brooklyn County of Kings and State of New York, said Court being a Court of Record having a Clerk and Seal -- Mary Crolius, a resident of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, aged eighty-one years who, being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on her oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provision, made by the act of Congress passed July 4th 1834.
That she is the widow of Wm Crolius whose revolutionary service commenced on the second of March 1775 at which time he entered a company of grenadiers commanded by Captain Van Dyke under Col. Lasker, and served in guarding the New York City records -- on being relived from that duty in 1776 he was engaged in the erecting of a work on Bunkers Hill, and in fortifying the banks of the Hudson River.
In the same year, as a volunteer (in the five monthly service) he marched from the city of New York and was in the attack at Harlaem Heights -- afterwards in the action at White Plains -- and in the retreat to Peekskill -- in November of the same year was appointed Harbor Master under Capt. Wm. Dobbs -- and in 1777 after the storming of Fort Montgomery by the English he served under the orders of General McDougal in removing the vessels and stores to Albany, and in the destruction of such as might be taken by the enemy.
From Albany after the capture of Gen Burgoyne he, under the orders of Col Morgan Lewis, attended to the transportation of provisions for the troops at Peekskill.
In 1779 he served in the Quarter Masters Department as Waggon Master, express rider, and collector of provisions.
In 1780, he served under Col Stevens and continued in the issuing Department till 1781, when, from ill health, he returned to New Jersey. On his recovery, he volunteered in Capt. Spears company of artillery (under Col. P. Courtland and served therein until the conclusion of the war with England.
A document, signed by him dated April 21, 1825 confirming the foregoing facts and certified by two Officers, James W. Lent & Lewis Rogers (who served during the war of the Revolution) was forwarded to the War Department in 1825, and may be found on the files of the Pension Office, Washington.
The foregoing information I derive from a statement in writing made by my deceased husband some years since, for the purpose of obtaining a pension and it is not in my power, from the nature of the case, to set forth more explicitly his services.
His character as a revolutionary soldier is well known by a considerable fraction of the old and most respectable inhabitants of the City of New York -- and so fully satisfied was the New York Committee of his services during the Revolutionary War that they granted for my relief a small pittance, but the greatest that their limited funds would admit.
She further declares that she was married to the said Wm Crolius on the 28th day of February 1775 and that her husband, the aforesaid Wm Crolius, died on the 21st day of April A.D. 1830 and that she has remained a widow ever since that period, as will more forcefully appear by reference to the proof hereto annexed.
|Sworn to and subcribed on the||)|
|day and year above written||)||[signed] Mary Dobbs|
|[signed] Joseph Deary Justice of the|
|Municipal Court in the City of Brooklyn|
|The deponent living by bodily infirmity unable to attend and appear before court.|
1825 Statement of William CroliusEdit
Memorandum of some of the duties performed during the Revolutionary War
On the 2nd day March 1775 I entered on Public Duty by guarding the City Records at Wm Bayard's House in Captn Vandykes Company of Grenadiers under Col Lasker. I ?? assisted in the erection of a Fort on Bunker Hill and fortifying the Bank of the Hudson River in which service I performed till 1776. I then volunteered in the five month service. On leaving the city we marched to Harlaem Heights where we had a skirmish with the Enemy. We then marched to the White Plains where we had a severe Engagement from thence retreated to Peekskill. On the 9th Nov of same year I was appointed assistant Harbor Master under Captn Wm Dobbs and remained in this line of duty till 1777. When the British stormed fort Montgomery I received orders from Genl McDougal to take a sufficient member of watermen and remove all the craft we could find to Albany and destroy all such vessels & stores as would fall in the hands of the Enemy which I executed with apparent satisfaction. While in Albany and after the taking of Burgoine I received orders from Col Morgan Lewis to repair to Fish Kill with provision for the Army that was stationed in that quarter which I executed. In 1779 I entered the Quarter Master Department as Waggon master, Express rider, & Collecting Provisions for the Army in which I had my feet much frozen. On the 2nd April 1780 I was appointed Clerk under Col. Stearns in the Issuing Department where I continued till April 1781 at which time I was obliged to quit the service owing to ill health and retired in Jersey. On recovering my health I volunteered in Captn Spears Company under Col P. Courtland as an artilerist to guard the frontiers and remained on duty till the conclusion of Peace between Great Britain & the United States of America. I then returned to the City of New York to enjoy that Freedom which I had the Honour to assist in obtaining. When Congress had made provision for the Revolutionary Army -- I in 1819 made application for a Pension, which I did not obtain, owing to my having been in the Staff.
|New York 26th April 1825||[signed] Wm Crolius|
We the undersigned do hereby certify that we are acquainted with Mr. William Crolius & also have knowledge of his Revolutionary services before mentioned.
|[signed] Ja W Lent|
|[signed] Lewis Rogers|
1832 Statement of Mrs. Mary CroliusEdit
The following is a statement made by Mrs Mary Crolius of what she underwent in some of her Revolutionary struggles.
In 1776 when we anticipated an attack on the City my father-in-law John Crolius sent his sloop a new vessel with all his and my husbands property to Newark for safety with his aged father Wm Crolius on board. The Captain employed proved false to his trust and saw the vessel in the hands of the Enemy which was attested to by my Father Capn Wm Dobbs who lay with a small ?? vessel in the bay as a guard to watch the motions of the enemy. I believe the vessel's name was the Goldfinch or Dolphin. He hailed him and bid make for the Kills which he pretended to do untill he got out of shot distance. Grand Father was not detained (an accident of his age and sat at ??? on Staten Island. On the attack of the British we went to Newark (I mean us women & children) where I remained about three months. I then had a desire to see my Husband & Father & Brothers and to join my Mothers family which I did do by way of Bulls ferry & Spite Devils Creek where I met my Husband & who saw my first born the first time which was only six weeks old. the next day he took me by water to Tarrytown where my Mother was and immediately returned to the Army. We hearing that the Enemy was coming and in [much haste?] we retreated to Peekskill where my Husband, Father joined us after they retreated from White Plains where they was all in the Battle. We remained here untill the spring when we collected together a few of the ??? of Life. The Enemy came up by water and attack?? ???. we retreated to ????? but re??? in one or two but found nothing left but what we stood being plundered the second time of every Earthly comfort our life Liberty & religious enjoyments excepting. When the British came up the river a second time Col Macdougal advised my Father to send his family in land where the public stores was kept at Danbury Conn. We was here nearly a year & when we had got a few stores together & made a little clothing the Enemy visited us by way of Norwalk and the Sound where the found great values in killing the cattle, cutting live hogs in two, threw all our provisions in [soad?] sat fire to the House and then retreated before the troops under Gen Wooster who was unfortunately killd. On the advice of my Husband we joined him at Continents[?] Village near Fishkilll in the highlands. presumeing we had no plan of refuge better we wh?? here but afour months when my Husband was appointed Clerk and assistant under Commissary Else of Provision Depmt. we went to Fishkill where the stores was. we remained here untill the year 80 when my Husband frose in collecting provisions for the Army & fodder for horses. he was requested by his superiors to desist a while from his extreme exersions as it would cause his death but hearing that the garrisons at West Point & Newburg was in a ?? condition he said the cause and lives of those garrisons depended on their exertions he went out with 100 men was gone three weeks at whch time they slept not 3 hours in twenty-four and most all that time he ??? & wrote on horseback sco?? pa? Connecticut and all the adjacent counties in the state (this I was told by the men) and on his return he had the satisfation to be thanked by those very officers & men he was ??? ???? (with those that assisted him) in saving as they personally said from starvation. He was so much of a criple in the spring he thought he would be of but little service to the Army in any capacity so we went to Newark to establish his business (a stoneware potter which he done but little at owing to the tenderness of his frosen feet, this was in 81 which afflicted him until the day of his death. While here Newark we had to keep a lookout for the tories scouts for some time especially when they heard we entertain ?? the unfortunate men who came that way from the ?? ships. they being laded as far up the north river as possible while they lived at the south. this went on untill the Battle of Monmouth when my neighbor Mrs Sanford and my self did our Husbands as far as Rahway near Brunswick to join the army after the Battle he returned and we remained until the Peace. When I went to the city & was threatened with imprisonment by one of the Butchers that supplied the British navy old Abe and Fink[?] because I went in the city a little before the army was cold on for rent of our own house by Mathews the Mayor but he got a cold reception and not long after I had the satisfaction to see Cuningham the provost[?] master as he was termed deliver the Keys of the prison up to our people which closed the scene of many times and hardships of Mrs Mary Crolius.
The above is taken down as repeated by my mother after a relapse of fifty two years. -- [signed] Wm D Crolius
My Husband Wm Crolius in 75 & 6 was a private in the grenadiers under Capt Van Dyke Col Laskers Regt. at same time Lieut of Infantry Capt Janervay[?] after which he was assistant commisary of provision on one occasion rode an express. assisted over[?] as waggon master. was appointed assistant Harbor Master with my brother Joseph Dobbs and preserved and caried to albany or destroyed all the Vessels that lay at or was building at the landings with the stores & that was albany the ?? side to prevent falling in the hands of the Enemy.
My Father Capt Wm Dobbs was Harbor Master and acting as pilot to French fleet under Comt De Grass and when not on that duty acted und Gen McDougal as superintendant of Forces he being a practical black smith although following the sea for a living after he learnt his trade and was comander of Privateer Fox in French wars, was nick named by Sir Henry Clinton Commodore of Muskettes[?] Fleet when he offered a reward for my Father dead or living. he finally caried his hellish purpose by hiring my Fathers servants to poison their master which ended his mortal carreer[?] in 178? while engaged in defending his country by an invading Enemy the British. Regretted by all who knew him.
My brothers Joseph & William was in the service all the war in capacities suitable to the a??? when both taken twice & imprisoned in the Jersey which lay at the Waldout[?] once while recruiting[?] in Staten Island. they served the was outlived. some time after William left a widow who is now living in Connecticut.
The foregoing was not to brag on account of what my family performed thus as they done not more than their duty but to convince those who may not have afair view of things in then days and satisfy that my family one and all done their duty as good citizens. there could be many things added to this that might be interesting to many such as showing how the country people in then days insulted us for not staying among the British. and wh? they made bread for the sick & fatigued soldiers ??? they kept part of the flowers. but on finding this out all us women my mother sister self & others bake it gratuously. My husband has been cald a fool for not being able as Elbit Indinans[?] & others who had the salt offalls &c but if they was in his neighborhood farm -- this city while thus husbands was in the army and which Congress made no provisions for they could easily ??? when his purquisites want being Human beings who had to eat & drink like others.
I hope this recital may not fatigue the eyes & ears of those who may read on them it read as It is the language of a good woman eighty years of age though ??? in its dictation was actially acted some fifty five years ??? and ??? intentions in putting to obtain something to smooth down the few years she may yet live in this rugged mode of Lifes.
|New York 3 June 1832||for Mary Crolius|
|[signed] Wm D Crolius|
Selected Records From Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Records of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, record group 15. Published by the National Archives as microfilm series M805. At roll 233, file W10685.