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                            Edward Darnall Arvin                                                  
                                                                    Part 2   The Post War Years



                                                  If we now have to pay the debts due to British merchants,

                                                  what have we been fighting for all this while?

                                                                                                      —George Mason, 1783 




     The Maryland Line of Continental Army finally returned home that summer of 1783, and Edward returned to Zachia Manor in Charles County to live on his father’s property. He was surprised to learn that while he was in the army his father, Thomas Arvin, had dramatically expanded his holdings, now called Arvin’s Enlargement, to more than 243 acres. The land had been confiscated from the British and auctioned off while he was away. His mother and father and two of his brothers all lived there with their families, apparently occupying three separate homesteads. Upon Edward’s return, Thomas set him up as another “head of household” on a fourth homestead, giving him a place of his own on Arvin’s Enlargement. Edward’s homestead was apparently outfitted with equipment and livestock from the other three homesteads. It’s likely some younger siblings or cousins moved in with him, perhaps to relieve overcrowding in the other three homes, because the 1783 tax assessment for Charles County lists Edward’s new homestead as consisting of four “white inhabitants” and a slave who was under 18 years of age.1 Thomas Jr. and Joshua are also shown on this assessment, each having households of four white inhabitants. Joshua was also a slaveholder. Thomas Sr. who is also shown as a slaveholder, has a family of six white inhabitants. Altogether in 1783 there are eighteen “white inhabitants” and three slaves living on Arvin’s Enlargement in four households. Edward was finally back home again, and it was good to be farming instead of fighting. His hardships in the War for Independence would soon be just a memory. 

     Life was sweet in Charles County after the war, at least for a while. “During the first years of peace following the American Revolution, a spirit of extravagance and love of luxury prevailed throughout the United States and among all classes of people. Independence having been secured, Americans looked forward to an era of boundless opportunities and equally boundless profits….This new prosperity was expressed most dramatically in a national buying spree in whose current both aristocrat and mechanic were swept along. Having been deprived of European goods for almost ten years, Americans eagerly bought all that was offered without a thought of where the money was to be obtained.”2
     It was an expansive time in America, both in spirit and quite literally for the Arvin’s. In the spring of 1784, Edward’s younger brother Joshua purchased 105 acres of land for himself, Lott No. 41 in the old Zachia Manor, which he named Arvin’s Dispute. It adjoined Arvin’s Enlargement (Lotts 33, 38 and 40) on three sides, with the two properties establishing a sort of family compound. Things were at a high point for the Arvin’s, and at this happy point in his life Edward married. We don’t know the exact date—no records have survived—but we do know from family traditions that his bride was a young lady named Sallie Padgett, most likely of the Padgetts who also lived in the old Zachia Manor. They might even have been married at Piney Chapel, which was close to Arvin’s Enlargement. But Piney Chapel burned in 1823, taking all its priceless records with it. And precious little other information is available. However, it’s a good bet the couple knew each other prior to Edward’s enlistment in the Army. Was she a former sweetheart, left behind when duty called? At any rate, they apparently married soon after Edward’s return, for later census records indicate that their first and second children, daughters whose names are not known, were born in these joyful years.

Bounty Land

     Edward had emerged from the war debt free, but he had received precious little monetary reward for risking his life and for all the hardships he had endured during his years of service to the foundling country. To be sure, he had received new clothing and the promise of bounty land upon his enlistment. He had received fifty dollars in Continental money when the troops moved through Petersburg, Virginia, on their way south. And he had been given forty dollars in “good money” at Annapolis when the Maryland Line was dismissed. But there is no record of him receiving any back pay, which must have been substantial. And that is a mystery.
     Many other American troops did receive what they were due. As the war was approaching its conclusion, the Continental Congress passed a resolution on 4 July 1783 authorizing the Paymaster General to settle all accounts with “the officers and soldiers of the American Army” and to issue certificates of the sums which may appear due.” The very next week, John Pierce, the Paymaster General and Commissioner of the Army Accounts, began preparing and delivering to the officers and enlisted men of the Army over 93,000 certificates having a face value of over $10 million. But Edward is not listed among the recipients, and we do not know why. He surely needed the money.3
     Fortunately, however, Edward did eventually receive “his bounty,” and it must have been worth a fair amount of money, at least by Zachia Manor standards. Edward “Ervine” was issued a warrant for bounty land in present-day Garrett County by the State of Maryland. These were the so-called Soldier Lands. (The Continental Congress also made use of the policy of bounty lands, which were located in the Northwest Territories—present-day Ohio—but Edward’s name is not listed as a claimant. He may never have made a claim with the United States government, or if a claim was made, record of it may have been destroyed by the fire at the War Department on 3 November 1800.)  
     Maryland was one of the nine states which had enough unsettled land to allow a bounty land process to be utilized. And these states had developed a strategy for the use of the lands. “Administratively, these nine states selected reserves in the western domains for the location of bounty lands. Such a choice was seemingly quite logical By placing veterans on the frontier, the states would be able to rely upon a military force which in turn would be able to protect the settlements from Indian incursions. These states also realized that they had to encourage ex-soldiers to occupy their newly awarded land bounty lands….Populating the frontier with citizens skilled in defense offered the best prospect in enticing other settlers to join them. Veterans were knowledgeable in the use of firearms and in military strategy. Knowing that they would be defended if the need arose was reassuring to many settlers. The state governments also realized that the revenue derived from the sale of vacant lands in the west was badly needed….In November 1781 the General Assembly of Maryland appropriated all the vacant lands west of Fort Cumberland as a bounty reserve for Maryland veterans. The area encompassed much of present Allegany and Garrett counties. Authorized by the legislature in April 1787, Francis Deakins finished a general plat of the area in lots of fifty acres each in November 1788. The limited supply of land available caused Maryland’s bounty land grants to be rather modest. Officers received four lots for a total of 200 acres. Privates received one lot of 50 acres.”4
The bounty land, 4165 lots of fifty acres each, was set aside for distribution by lottery to 2,475 officers and soldiers who had served to the end of the war, who were killed or died of wounds received in battle, or who died a natural death while in the service of the army. The Auditor-General was to compile a list of soldiers who were eligible. There were numerous problems with it, particularly with regards to deciphering the handwritten spelling of the different record-keepers. The difficulty of compiling the list with the correct spelling of a given surname is demonstrated here in this Army Accounts ledger. (This particular ledger was used to adjust the pay due officers and soldiers because the continental dollar was rapidly depreciating.)5 There was also a private named “Edward Irvine,” from western Maryland, who has a compiled service record in the National Archives and a Pay Roster in the Maryland State Archives.6 
     As shown on the Francis Deakins plat, Edward’s lot,7 was Lot 255, consisting of 50 acres (close-up), was situated near the Potomac River at the mouth of Elk Lick Run river.8 Like a lot of cash-strapped veterans, Edward soon sold his lot. It was purchased by General John Swan, a Maryland army officer who ultimately patented it and assembled it with many other lots into a large tract of over 17,000 acres called Potomac Manor.9 It is not known exactly when Edward sold his lot or the amount he received for it, but with the proceeds he now found himself in a position to help his father out financially. And his father would certainly need help.

The Ninety-nine Plagues of an Empty Purse 

     By 1787, Thomas, the great Irish patriarch of the Arvin family, was facing debtor’s prison. And he was not alone. The previous year there had been a “riot” at the Charles County courthouse as the tobacco importer, James Brown & Company, pressed 100 debtor cases through its aggressive agent Alexander Hamilton, the tobacco factor from Piscataway, Maryland. Thomas was probably one of those who were at risk of “execution” (confinement to prison for failure to pay) for his debts to James Brown & Company. Executions had been temporarily halted, but that spring a May deadline for their resumption was looming. Apparently to raise cash so as to be prepared for the resumption of judgments, Thomas sold much of his personal property and real estate, and Edward stepped in to provide the bulk of the cash. On 30 March, Thomas sold some property to his neighbor James Middleton, who immediately assigned it to Edward. Then on 5 April, Thomas sold two tracts of land within Arvin’s Enlargement, one of 126 acres and the other 66 acres, to Edward and to a relative, Zachariah Moreland. On the same day Thomas also sold a lengthy schedule of household and plantation property to his son Edward. (See the Thomas Arvin biographical sketch for details.) 

     In May of 1787 Maryland offered a ray of hope to debtors like Thomas. It passed the state’s first comprehensive bankruptcy protection law. The law allowed a debtor who deeded all his property over to his creditor to be absolved of all debt to that creditor. Perhaps now there was a way to satisfy the aggressive Alexander Hamilton after all. But the bankruptcy protection law of 1787 was rescinded the following year. Then in 1789 a special act to once again allow for the discharge of debts was passed. In October, Thomas, sixty-four years of age, was forced to deed his interest in Arvin’s Enlargement over to Alexander Hamilton, who was acting on behalf of James Brown & Company. And Hamilton was apparently also successful in having the sales to Edward Arvin and Zachariah Moreland reversed. By 1798 (see below), we find Edward and Thomas (Sr. or Jr.?) reduced to “occupants or possessors” of the land, meaning they were apparently now renting it from Alexander Hamilton. Although no other records have survived, it seems likely that the entire extended Arvin family was allowed to continue living on the land.

Historical Note: After a long hot summer of
     debate, the “Grand Convention at Philadelphia
finally adopts the United States Constitution on
      17 September 1787. Meant to replace the
      Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union,
he new Constitution would now be sent out
      to the individual States for ratification.

     Sallie and Edward’s family continued to grow at a rapid pace. After the two girls, their next child was a boy, born 7 November 1787. His given name was Henry Arvin, perhaps named after a member of Sallie’s family. Another son was born (likely in 1788 or 1789, actual date unknown) and was named Thomas P. Arvin. Although there is no documentation, it is most likely that his middle name was his mother’s maiden name: Padgett. Edward had also been given his mother’s maiden name, Darnall, as his middle name.

Historical Note: In April, 1789, word reaches George Washington, Esq., who was now enjoying retirement across the Potomac at Mount Vernon, that he has been unanimously elected as the first president. He travels by horseback and coach through Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia, finally arriving at the national capital in New York City.On April 30th His Excellency George Washington is sworn in as “President of the United States” on the balcony of the old city hall, 26 Wall Street, which was then the seat of the new government and which was called Federal Hall.  

1790 - The First United States Census

On 25 March 1790 another boy was born to Sallie and Edward, whom they named Elias. Elias was not only the name of the child’s uncle—Edward’s oldest brother—it was also a significant name in the Arvin family, with roots stretching far back into Ireland. Elias may have also been the name of Edward’s grandfather.     
     Only a few weeks before the birth of Elias, on 1 March 1790, the First Congress had approved an act requiring a census of the new country’s inhabitants. Each individual was to be enumerated in the home of “his usual place of abode” as of the first Monday in August. Each State was to have a marshal and as many assistants as necessary. “Difficulty immediately came to the fore with the passage of this act. America was on the fringes of a vast wilderness and the great majority of the population lived in rural areas. Consequently, the assistants had to travel over long distances with few roads and bridges, in forests, swamps, etc. to make an accurate return.”10 
     Sallie and Edward Arvin are shown living in Charles County, Maryland, probably still in the Arvin family compound which is now owned by Hamilton. Their family is already large—three sons and two daughters.


Free White Males 16 or over:       1  [i.e., Edward D.]
Free White Males under 16:         3  [Henry, Thomas P., Elias]
Other Free: 0
Slaves:        0
Total:          7

Page 542

The census information paints for us a picture of the four large and rapidly expanding Arvin families—those of Thomas Sr, Thomas Jr, Edward and Joshua—all working a typical southern farming operation in a communal fashion. Thomas Sr and Sarah have a total of seven living in their household. The young members of the household may be grandchildren who live with them because the grandparents have space available and because the children can also assist their grandparents.
     Edward’s two older brothers, Elias, Elisha and their families live with about ten miles to the northwest, in Prince George’s County, perhaps close to the families of their wives. They are most likely running a communal tobacco farming operation up there also.


 The 1798 Federal Direct Tax

     The world order was changing. John Adams succeeded George Washington as President in 1797, with Thomas Jefferson succeeding Adams as Vice President. In France, Napoleon was emerging as the new French military strongman, and the French began to seize American merchant ships on the high seas. The United States Congress realized that it needed military defense forces. To pay for them, on 9 July 1798 it passed legislation that created the first federal property tax to be levied on U. S. citizens, “An Act to provide for the valuation of lands and dwelling houses and the enumeration of slaves within the United States.” Increasing tension in relations with France threatened to result in armed conflict, and Congress intended the tax to raise funds that would be used if the country went to war.
     As stated above, “Edward Harvin” is shown as “occupant or possessor” of property owned by Alexander Hamilton, the tobacco factor from Piscataway, Maryland, who had foreclosed on the elder Thomas Arvin’s land on behalf of James Brown & Company. Edward’s dwelling house was valued at $30. “Thomas Harvin” was also listed as an occupant or possessor with a house valued at $20. (Image of this document is available online.)12


1800 – Second United States Census

     Sallie and Edward now have an immediate family of seven, plus an adult female is now living with them. Of the two newly arrived young boys, we only know the name of one. He was named after his father: Edward Jr. The effective date of this census was again to be the first Monday in August.

Census Image 

Edward D. Arvin living in Port Tobacco Parish, Charles County, MD
Free White Males under 10 years old:       3  [Elias, Edward Jr, one whose name is unknown]

Free White Males 10 but under 16:           2  [Henry, Thomas P.]

Free White Males 16 but under 26:           0

Free White Males 26 but under 45:           1  [Edward D.]
Females under 10:              0

Females 10 but under 16:   0

Females 16 but under 26:   2 [the two older girls, names unknown]
Females 26 but under 45:   1 [Sallie] 

Females over 45:                1 [perhaps an aunt or other relative living with them]

Other Free:  0


     Sarah and Thomas Sr. still have grandchildren living with them, helping them in their old age. This was the last time Thomas Sr., founder of this clan of Arvin’s, would be listed on a census; he died just a few months or years after this one was taken.
     Thomas Jr. and Edward are still living close by, still in the family compound. And Elisha is still living up in Prince George’s County (and an Elisha “Ervin, ” perhaps the same person counted twice, in Montgomery County). But two brothers of Edward D.—oldest brother Elias and youngest brother Joshua—have both been caught up in the great and growing westward migration movement. This movement was sweeping many families from Maryland into the fresh new lands of frontier Kentucky, and Catholics from St. Mary’s and Charles Counties comprised a large segment of it. Elias and his family may have already moved to Pendleton County, Kentucky, leaving Elisha in Prince George’s County to run the farm. Joshua Arvin and family were now in Garrard County, Kentucky. 

Historical note: Later in the same year, on 1 November 1800, John and Abigail Adams move into the President’s House, the unfinished official residence of the president, in the unfinished new capital of the United States. It was no palace, and this was no Philadelphia. When Pierre Charles L’Enfant laid out the new federal city, he set aside eighty acres for the President’s Grounds and projected an executive mansion that would rival the Louvre. President Washington wanted all the offices of the executive branch of the government nearby, distant from Congress. What was finally decided upon was a smaller executive mansion and two complementary buildings for the administration, one on each side of the mansion. Things were far from complete as the time for the move arrived.

     The President’s house, with Mrs. Adam’s laundry
     hanging in the unfinished East Room, stood in an open
     field with two box-like buildings for executive offices
     nearby. Over a mile away, across a swamp, stood the
     capitol, of which only one wing was completed. They
     were no churches, no shops, no places of amusement.
     Congressmen lived “like bears” in crowded boarding
     houses. The “avenues” were muddy wagon tracks,
     bordered with stumps of recently felled trees.14 

     On 8 November 1800, as the War Department was settling in, a fire in their building destroyed the War Department Library. Many documents relating to the Revolutionary War, including many Land Bounty records, were lost.

1810 – Third United States Census

The composition of the Edward D. Arvin household had changed in the decade since the last census was taken. The adult female shown in the previous census is no longer living with Sallie and Edward, and one of the older girls has perhaps married and moved out. But they now have another young daughter in the household. Only four sons are now shown. Oldest son, 22 year-old Henry Arvin, married Theresa Montgomery on 1 January 1810, and the newlyweds were probably in the process of establishing their own separate homestead. Their first child, William, who was Sallie and Edward’s first grandchild, would be born in June of 1811. Thomas P. also appears to be up and out of the household.
     The most notable item on the census is the fact that
Edward has seven slaves at this time. He may have accumulated these slaves because they were sold by those leaving Southern Maryland as they prepared to migrate to Kentucky. One Southern Maryland historian tells us that, “…considering the low percentage of slaves in Kentucky in 1810 (20%)…it is probable that slaves were sold before the trek west.” 15

Census Image



 Edward D. Arvin living in 3rd Election District
“Schedule of the Whole Number of Persons Within the Division Allotted to Zachia Charles [illegible]”

Free White Males under 10:            1

Free White Males 10 but under 16: 2 [Edward Jr, one name unknown]

Free White Males 16 but under 26: 1 [Elias]

Free White Males 26 but under 45: 0

Free White Males over 45: 1 [Edward D. is now 53.]

Females under 10:              1

Females 10 but under 16:   1

Females 16 but under 26:   1                                                     

Females 26 but under 45:   0        
Females over 45:     1 [Sallie]
Other Free:              0    
Slaves:                     7                                                                               Typical slave quarters on a small farm.

                                                                                                                     (Yorktown Victory Center, Virginia)


     Records for Prince George’s County show that an Elisha “Arven” sold many household goods in early 1810. And by 1811, both of Edward D’s older brothers, Elias and Elisha Arvin, owed back taxes in Pendleton County, Kentucky. Edward D’s brother Thomas Jr. is not shown in this Maryland census. Family tradition indicates Thomas Jr’s son John was born in Maryland in 1812, and that Thomas Jr’s daughter Theresa was born in Kentucky in 1816. Thomas Jr. died in Kentucky.

The War of 1812

     Military records indicate that Edward’s four oldest sons were called to active duty for several short stints with the Maryland militia during the War of 1812. The war, often referred to as the “Second War of Independence,” would prove that the Maryland militia—in fact the regular army, such as it was—was no match for the fearsome British war machine. In their campaigns of 1813 and 1814, the British succeeded in blockading Chesapeake Bay and pillaging Maryland and Virginia with numerous raids which terrified the populace.
    The enemy threatened Annapolis and attempted to sack Baltimore. Even Washington City itself was not spared. The British burned the Capitol building, then advanced down Pennsylvania Avenue and set fire to the President’s House and those “box-like buildings” of the executive branch. After the war the executive mansion was restored, and to meet the expanding needs of the government, the two complimentary buildings became four. Each was an identical two-story brick structure located on a lot near each corner of the mansion. The Treasury and the State Department were on the east, the War Department and the Navy Department on the west. This area became known as President’s Square.

    During the war, the British attacked tidewater towns as far up the Chesapeake as its headwaters. On 3 May 1813 they sacked and burned the town of Havre de Grace, Maryland, located near the mouth of the Susquehanna River. Edward would later state that some of his Revolutionary War service records were destroyed during this attack. Edward may have also lost some or all of his slaves during the war. An estimated 1500 to 2000 enslaved Blacks voluntarily fled their masters or were taken in by the British, especially in Southern Maryland. A typical episode is illustrated here:

      From the 1st to the 7th of November, 1813, the enemy’s vessels in the Potomac captured a
      number of schooners and sloops laden with flour and other merchandise. On the 2d they
      landed on St. George’s Island and burned the buildings, consisting of four houses and a barn,
      and on the 7th destroyed two captured vessels. A hundred and seventy negroes were
      embarked on several of the captured schooners, and in company with a large part of the
      blockading squadron, sent to Bermuda for the winter;…

Death of Sallie Arvin

 The war had a profoundly devastating effect on Maryland, and Southern Maryland bore the greatest burden. Its economy was reduced to a shambles, and what little urban life there had been there was snuffed out. The result was what we would think of as a Depression in today’s terms. Add to this the fact that the land was playing out from decades of tobacco plantings and soil erosion, and that disease was said to have “prevailed.” In 1815 a volcanic eruption halfway around the world caused so much dimming of the sun’s light that 1816 was known as the “year without a summer.” Crop yields were drastically reduced. Many families decided to move out of the region, including Edwards’s oldest son Henry and his family, who migrated to Kentucky in 1816. Edward’s brother Thomas Jr. and his family may have gone with them. Only Edward Jr. and his family would remain on Arvin’s Enlargement. 
     But all these problems were made small when Edward lost his wife. Although no documentation has been found, family tradition holds that Sallie Arvin died at a relatively young age in 1817. We do not know the circumstances, the cause, or any of the particulars. But after more than thirty years of marriage, Edward, ever the survivor, became a widower. Their youngest daughter (age about 16, name unknown, living at home) was left without her mother. Edward and his daughter got through these times as best they could. Luckily, friends and family surrounded them in Zachia…. There were several “Padgets” living near Edward and Edward Jr. Within a few years, he remarried. Court documents would later identify her as Edward’s widow and give us her name: Rebecca.

     Things would be difficult for this new family, for the world had changed. After the “Second War of Independence,” Edward found his land becoming less and less productive. His slaves were now gone – swept away by the British, run away on their own, or sold. Crop production suffered because of the lower temperatures and diminished sunlight. Edward was barely able to produce enough for the family’s subsistence. And like his father before him, like most of his neighbors around him, and like many farmers everywhere, he may have been hopelessly drowning in debt. He tells us later that his injuries from the Revolutionary War hindered his ability to farm, and we can suppose that only with the help of his son Edward Jr. was he able to hang on in Zachia at all. By 1820, Edward, Rebecca and their daughter had decided to relocate. Fast developing Loudoun County, Virginia, was apparently the logical choice, and they
would soon make a dramatic change in their lifestyle. Once the crops were harvested, they would sell everything they could and move to Loudoun County. Perhaps they had help from Edward Jr. and  Rebecca’s family. Perhaps they simply had to make a fresh start and find a new way to survive. Hefty budget surpluses in the past few years had swelled the federal coffers to overflowing, and Congress, with the enthusiastic support of President James Monroe, had passed a new pension law to benefit impoverished or disabled veterans of the Revolutionary War. Monroe himself had served as a calvary officer during the Revolutionary War, and at one point during the War of 1812, yearning for action as Secretary of State, he had personally led a reconnaissance party through Southern Maryland. President Monroe himself maintained a home called Oak Hill with its plantation in Aldie, Virginia.

1820 – Fourth United States Census

     Beginning with this census and continuing until 1900, the effective date was changed to June 1st. We find the family counted as the Edward Arvin Sr. household in the Charles County, Maryland, census but as the Edward Harvey household in the Leesburg Township of Loudoun County, Virginia, census. They are probably the same individuals. And this is not really as surprising as it may seem. “In 1820 illiteracy was widespread. Frequently the census enumerator, himself poorly educated, would be forced to guess at spellings….The marshal, or census taker, was allowed nine months in which to complete his enumeration. Can you imagine how many families must have been missed in early migrant America? How many families were entered twice, or three times, as they traveled from county to county?”18 Perhaps they were counted early on in Maryland, then later counted in Virginia. Or perhaps they were back and forth, moving and tending crops, all summer long. We really don’t know the particulars.

Charles County, Maryland, Census Image


Edward Arvin Senr living in 3rd Election District,
Charles County, Maryland.

Free White Males under 10:            0

Free White Males 10 but under 16: 0
Free White Males 16 but under 26: 0

Free White Males 26 but under 45: 0

Free White Males over 45: 1 [Edward, 63]

Females under 10:            0
Females 10 but under 16: 1 [youngest daughter]
Females 16 but under 26: 0
Females 26 but under 45: 0
Females over 45:             1   [Rebecca]
Number in household engaged in agriculture: 1
Slaves male:            0
Slaves female:         0


     The same information is recorded in the Loudoun County census. Closeup. 
     Meanwhile, back in Charles County, Maryland, Edward Jr. has married and is the head of his household on the old Arvin’s Enlargement. His wife, Nancy Ann, is about seven years his senior.    

Edward Arvin Junr also living in 3rd Election District.
Free White Males:            under 10:  2   [Thomas, George H.]
Free White Males: 10 but under 16:  0
Free White Males: 16 but under 25:  0
Free White Males:  26 but under 45: 1   [Edward Jr, about 26]
Females:                   under 10:  0

Females: age 10 but under 16:   0

Females: age 16 but under 26:   0

Females: age 26 but under 45:   1   [Nancy Ann, about 33]
Engaged in agriculture:   1
Slaves: male under 14:    1
Slaves: female:                0

     Up in Prince George’s County we find the households of  Thomas Harvin and Elisha Harvin. But in their households, notice that all the men folk, with the exception of one young boy, are absent. Only the wives and daughters remain on the homesteads. Did Thomas Jr and Elisha go to Kentucky to establish new homesteads? Why would they leave all the women in Maryland?

A Claim for a Pension


     In September of 1820 Edward, his family now relocated to Loudoun County and much in need of ready cash, made application for an invalid pension from the United States. “After its institution in 1789, the federal government gradually took over invalid pensions from the states. In 1818, attempting for the first time to reward veterans rather than entice men to enlist, Congress granted half pay to all Continental officers and enlisted men...if they were now in need of financial assistance. A supplemental act of 1820 required that the applicant submit a certified schedule of personal property and of income….Those responding to the 1818 act devoted most of their statements to proving financial need.”20
     “The rate for officers was $20 per month, and for noncommissioned officers or privates $8 per month, during life. No person was entitled to receive the benefits of the act until he should have relinquished his claim to every pension heretofore allowed him by the laws of the United States. In administering the law the evidence in support of claims was taken before the district judges of the United States, or before any court of record of the state or county in which the applicant resided. If satisfied of the claimant’s service, the judge transmitted the testimony and the proceedings in the case to the Secretary of War, whose duty it was, if he considered the claim a legal one, to place the applicant on the pension list of the United States. The statute prescribed no method of proof of the claimant’s need of assistance, but the regulations of the War Department required an oath and the certificate of the judge to establish that fact. Pensions, if allowed, commenced from the date of the applicant’s declaration. The law gave the Secretary of War final power in the allowance of a claim.”21
    Payment was made by the Treasury Department at pension agencies established in various large cities throughout the country. Loudoun County was served by Richmond. There is no record of this pension in the National Archives, but remarkably, the original transcript of Edward’s declaration is still preserved in the Revolutionary War archives of the clerk of Loudoun County to this very day.
Edward’s surname is again spelled Harvin. One historian notes that “…it is imperative to bear in mind that a great number of clerks prepared the records in the various jurisdictions, and uniformity of spelling is therefore lacking….Both the accent of the claimant and the ear of the clerk must be taken into consideration in locating an entry arranged in alphabetical order….A silent initial letter, as in the unaspirated ‘H’ in Harrell may very well produce entries under the next letter of the surname as in Arrell….Caveat lector.22 [Let the reader beware.] Here is an abstract of Edward’s declaration. The events he was trying to recall in open court had happened more than four decades prior, and his memories were somewhat jumbled. 

The actual declaration transcript, front


District of Virginia Ss.
                                On this 2 day of Septbr 1820 per-
                                                        Superior           Law
sonally appeared in open Court, being the ^ Court of Record
                                  and a Court of Record              ^
for the County of Loudoun, ^made such by the laws of the
State of Va Edward Harvin aged fifty four years resident in            [He was actually 63 at the time.]
said County, who being first duly sworn according to law,
doth on his oath declare that he served in the revolutionary
war as follows: That he enlisted April 10th 1776 with Capt             [Capt. Samuel McPherson]
McPherson. Swore in under Colo Stone of the 1st Maryld              [Col. John Stone]
Regiment, who gave him his bounty. Joined the army under
Capt Prall at New Windsor & continued in the northern                 [Capt. Edward Prall]
army nearly 15 months & to the South under Prall                         
one year, and the balance of the time served in   
the Southern Army commanded by Genl Green under Capt            [Francis Ware Jr.]
Ware & McCallister. Left the army Septr 19th 1782.                      [actually 1783]
Received 4 wounds, one through the left shoulder with a
spontoon at the Battle of Camden*, two at Guilford Court              [*Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill]
House, one on the hip & the other in the back , one at
the Eautaw Springs.   And I do swear that I was a res-
ident citizen of the United States on the 18th 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 thereby so to diminish it as to bring
my-self within the provisions of an act of congress entitled
“An Act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land                   
and Naval services 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, to wit: Personal property –
         & one feather bed
one table^ 4 chairs in his possession (but which are actually his

reverse side

daughters) – Real estate none – Occupation (Tiller of ground,)
which he is unable to pursue, more on account of the wounds
above mentioned, than any thing else. His family consists of
wife of his own age, and one daughter of age, whose capacity
to contribute to their support is not great.        his
                                                       Edward   X  Harvin
Sworn to and declared on the                       Mark
2ddat if Septbr 1820 before,   C Binns Clerk         
                                                                                                                       Edward Harvin Certd
                                                                                                                        1820 Septbr 7th Ordd
                                                                                                                         to be certified &c
                                                                                                                         9th Sep    1820 Certd


Edward Prall: He had served with the famous First Maryland for years. Lt. Edward Prall was named on a “List of Exchanged Prisoners Aprill 20, 1778” given to General Washington at Camp Valley Forge.24 Although not a native Charles Countian, he was Captain, 2nd Company, 1st Maryland Line on Jan. 1, 1782 and many Charles Countians served under his command.25

Francis Ware: He is listed as an ensign in Capt. S. Belt’s Company, 1st Maryland Line, on Jan.1, 1782. “Francis Ware, Jr.” was a resident of Port Tobacco East Hundred in 1778.26

     As mentioned, accruals commenced with the date of the applicant’s declaration. Semi-annually payments were made thereafter. There is no record of this claim in the National Archives, but it seems likely it was approved and payments were made. No doubt this money was much needed, and it allowed the Edward Arvin family to survive without having to depend soley on farming. But it was no easy task to collect. “Collecting pension money was an arduous process. It meant travelling long distances to appear in person before the U.S. Government agent who paid pensions. If the pensioner did not wish to personally travel—due to physical infirmity, inconvenience, or any reason—the pensioner could appoint an attorney-in-fact (an agent) to appear to collect on his or her behalf. That agent might have been a family member or a stranger who may have collected a fee. ”27

John Richardson

     Although Edward was unaware of it, in March of 1829, another needy resident of Loudoun County applied for a pension based on his Revolutionary War service. The claimant was none other than John Richardson, who had served with Lee’s Legion, the “best scouts and raiders on the American side.” John, listed in the 1820 census as living in the Aldie Township of Loudoun County, had delayed his pension application for years. When he finally did apply, (page 2) his attorney William B. Harrison, Esq., who had also been an Ensign in John’s old outfit, vouched for him “in hopes the poor old soldier may be found worthy of the assistance of his country which I do know he justly merits & ought to have applied at any time but from pride & ignorance himself & family has not done so.” John testified in his court appearance that he had enlisted in the summer of 1778 in Maryland, he thought, and he had served in the Virginia Continental Line, in the Legion of Horse commanded by Lt. Colonel Henry Lee. John served in Lee’s Legion for three long years, until he was wounded in the Battle of Eutaw Springs, at which time he was discharged “during inability in consequence of wounds received.” He also explained his reasons for not applying earlier: “My children being with me had assisted in my support and would not consent to my making an application (perhaps through pride.) They have now left me and I am not even an house keeper. I am not worth twenty dollars after my just debts are paid and have always been a poor man all my life.” The schedule of personal property made with the claim reads simply, “One mare Colt and one Feather Bed. John Richardson.” Perhaps Sallie and Edward had lived in similar circumstances in the immediate post-war years, previously assisted by their families, not aware of or too proud to claim Edward’s back pay. But with most of the family gone west to Kentucky, Rebecca and Edward moved to Loudoun County and made a claim for a pension based on need.
    The orginal transcript of John’s declaration is also now preserved in the Revolutionary War archives of clerk of Loudoun County. The copy (page 2) made for the War Department is now preserved in the National Archives, mistaken for a Maryland claim. It was allowed by the War Department and sent to the Treasury Department for payment in June of 1829.28 A Bounty Land warrant was also annotated on John’s allowance records. (Edward apparently did not receive a warrant for Bounty Land from Virginia.)

1830 – Fifth United States Census

     Edward “Harvey” and Rebecca are now shown in the Loudoun County Township still known by its old name, Shelburne Parish. It included Leesburg, Unison and the entire western portion of the county.29 Edward and Rebecca are both listed as “seventy and under eighty.” Their daughter has moved out and they now have an empty nest. Left side. Closeup. Right side.

And back in Charles County, Maryland, only Edward Arvin Jr. and his family are shown living in Charles County, probably still tenants on Arvin’s Enlargement. They are the last members of a once numerous clan still living on land that had been occupied by four generations of Arvins for almost a century. In just a few short years, Edward Jr would also be gone, relocated to Washington County, Kentucky, where his three older brothers lived. By 1836 we find him there, “a very poor man,” applying for assistance to help maintain two of his children who are disabled. And that was the end of Arvin’s Enlargement. No other Arvins or Harvins are listed in Charles County, nor would there be for 1840 or 1850. Things changed and the world moved on. 

Census Image

Edward Arvin [Jr.] living in 3rd Election
District (“Coomes”), Charles County.


Free White Males

Under five years of age:       0
Of five and under ten:           1  [Edward H.]
Of ten and under fifteen:       1   [George H.]
Of fifteen and under twenty: 1   [Thomas]
Of twenty and under thirty:   0

Of thirty and under forty:      1  [Edward Jr., about 36]

Females: Under five:                   2   [Mary Ellen, one unknown]
Of age five and under ten:           1  [name unknown]
Of age ten and under fifteen:       0
Of age fifteen and under twenty: 0
Of age twenty and under thirty:   0
Of age thirty and under forty:      0

Of age forty and under fifty:        1  [Nancy Ann, about 43]
Slaves:    0


A Triumphal Return and a New Pension Law
        Lafayette (the same age as Edward) made a nostalgic
   return visit to America in 1824, and it had an
   enormous impact on the young nation. An estimated 80,000
   people greeted him in New York City. “The last year of
   Mr. Monroe’s administration was distinguished
   by the visit to the United States of the Marquis de Lafayette,
   the friend and ally of the United States, during their struggles
   with Great Britain in the war of the Revolution. He arrived
   in Baltimore early in September….After visiting several portions
   of the United States [in fact, all 24 states, Baron deKalb's

    grave in Camden, South Carolina, Washington's tomb
    at Mt.
Vernon, and the United States Capitol], General
    Lafayette, on the 17th
   of December, visited
   Annapolis....His progress through Maryland was a triumphal procession as no such citizen has since been honored with. Everywhere he was received with unbounded honor, affection and gratitude, and when he left the State, on the 21st of December, he was loaded with honors and with every feeling of his heart gratified in the noble reception he had met within the State.”31 Ever the statesman and romantic, Lafayette returned to France with barrels of American soil from Bunker Hill, which, under the supervision of his son George Washington Lafayette, was placed around his coffin at the time of his burial. It is still there today, United States flag waiving proudly over it. (Edward had two grandsons who were named, in the spirit of the times, George Washington Arvin.) Lafayette’s visit brought about a sea change in this country’s attitude toward its veterans.

     With Lafayette’s visit to the United States in the 1820s and a growing spirit of nationalism,
     the Revolution took on a romantic aspect in the minds of Americans who had not lived
     through the conflict. The youngest veterans were now in their sixties, grandfathers with
     stories to tell, and the country was wealthy and secure enough to show its gratitude. In 1832
     Congress passed the first comprehensive pension act, providing a yearly grant to every man
     who had served for six months or more. To be eligible, a soldier no longer had to be disabled
     or poor, and service in any military organization was satisfactory, as long as this service could
     be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. An individual with two years of active duty was 
     eligible for full pay during his lifetime, and a proportion of this was awarded for any service
     of more than six months. 

          The 1832 act created a remarkable body of historical data, unique in its volume, on one of
     the most unusual armies ever to win a war. In a very real sense, the American force was a
     highly democratic conglomerate of many armies—voluntary corps at the beginning of the
     conflict, Continental units, state lines fighting with the main army, state militia units, usually
     organized on the county or town level, companies of Indian spies, and “coast guards”
     organized to meet particular needs. Sea defense was also diversified, with men serving in the
     United States navy, state navies, and on privateers.

          To qualify for a pension under the 1832 act, a soldier had indicate in his application the
     time and place of service, names of units and officers, and engagements in which he
     participated. The narrative was presented and sworn to in a court of law, and it had to be
     supported by the statements of two or more character witnesses, including a clergyman if
     possible. Unlike Continental and high-ranking officers, very few common soldiers had any
     proof of their service other than their memories. Discharge papers were not systematically
     given out at the end of the war, and they were easily lost. Pay certificates were thrown away
     or sold to speculators who later used them to acquire bounty lands and money. The
     regulations governing applications under the 1832 act urged that veterans lacking strong
     documentary evidence or the testimony of contemporary witnesses submit ‘a very full
     account’ of their service.

          A relatively small percentage of the applicants wrote out the narratives themselves. In
     many cases the soldier would go to the courthouse and tell his story to a clerk or a court
     reporter. Some of them seem to have presented their stories in open court, which must have
     been very entertaining to the courthouse crowd. Many others went to a lawyer, related their
     experiences, and attested to the narratives in court. The 1832 act also encouraged the
     multiplication of pension agents who sought out veterans, took down narratives, and filled out
     applications as a regular business. In reality, then, the pension application process was one of
     the largest oral history projects ever undertaken, with thousands of veterans being
     interviewed. The historical quality of the applications, therefore, depended upon the expertise
     and honesty of two persons: the veteran, who had to have a good memory and the ability to

     relate his recollections; and the transcriber, who had to get down not only the facts but the
     mood and the language of the old man he was listening to…. 
          …for many of the veterans the war was the great event of their lives. These were
     the times that raised these men above ordinary existence; these were the events most
     deeply imprinted on their minds….

          The tenacity of the men represented in this volume is striking….there is every reason to
     think they would have continued to serve as long as the conflict might last. It is hard to
     imagine that the British could ever have won the war.32



The 1833 Application

     There was considerably more involved in applying for a pension under this new act than under the act of 1818, and Edward apparently availed himself of the services of Mr. Gunnell Saunders, of Mount Gillead, Virginia. Mount Gillead was located about halfway between Leesburg and Unison in Loudoun County. Mr. Saunders may have been related, a neighbor or simply a friend. More likely, he was a professional agent who sought out Edward in hopes of earning a fee for his work.
     Here are photocopies of the declaration Edward made in 1833, along with the supporting documentation.33 The paper jacket dates from an early organization of the paperwork. Everything had been folded and placed in this numbered jacket. The term “Invalid” was used in a more politically correct way now, and it simply meant the applicant had received wounds during his service. Again Edward’s recollection of events is somewhat out of order. The war was now a half century in the past.

Declaration, first page

Loudoun County State of Virginia}  SS

 On the 14th day of October 1833 personally appeared in

 Court of the County aforsaid now Sitting, Edward Har=

=vin, resident of Said County and State. Aged ^ about Seventy

 Six years nine months who being first duly sworn

 according to law, doth on his oath, make the follow=

=ing declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the 

 Act of Congress passed the 7th June 1832.

 That he enlisted in the service of the United States,

 as a private under Capt McPherson, April 10th                            

 1776, and swore in under Colo Stone, who gave  

 him his bounty, that he did at the time reside

 in the County of Charles and State of Maryland,

 he joined the army at the Buttermilk Falls in                  

 New Jersey, under the command of Genl George Wash

=ington, from thence, the army marched to MorrisTown

 where the army took up winter quarters, in the sp          

 ring the army in the command of Genl Gates, ma          

 rched to the hed of Elk, where he took shipping and

 went to Petersburg in Va from thence he marched

 to Hillsborough in North Carolina, from thence to

 Hines Creek, from thence to Servins farms, where he

 remained  eleven days, from thence to the Cowpens,

 where he fought under Genl Morgan (he further

 states, that the first battle he fought after joining the

 army, was at Camden under Genl Gates, where

 the americans were defeated) from the Cowpens

 the Army, under Genl Morgan, marched to Pipe

 Creek, from thence under Morgan, to Eutow Spri

=ngs, on our march to Eutow Springs he joined the 

 main army under Genl Green, from thence
 he marched to Cane Creek where they took up winter

 quarters. In the spring, the Army under Genl Green
 marched to Guilford Court house, where he fought

 under Genl Green, and received two wounds

 one in the left hip, the other in the Small of the 

 Back. From the Court house, he marched by Ruglers                             

 second page

 Mills to Camden, under Genl Green, where he fought   

 and received a wound with a British Spoontoon, by       

 a British Officer and that he shot and Killed the Officer  

 he being on the scouting party. He further states             

 that, he remained in the army under Genl Green               

 until the termination of the revolution, when he               

 was discharged at Annappolis Md, and further that he       

 does not recollect the time he was discharged, and he    

 further declares he got no discharge, and further that

 his name was on Capt Francis Ware’s roll, which                          [Francis Ware Jr. See note below. ]
 was burnt at Haver de grass, during the last war              
 with many other papers. he further states that
 he fought in all the above battles, but is not
 certain that they are put down in the regular                          

 order in which they actually occured, his memory

 not serving him sufficiently to give the battles in 

 regular order, he further States that after, rece=

=ving his bounty, he received in Petersburg, fifty

 Dollars in Continental money, and at Annapolis

 when dismissed Forty Dollars in good money. Which

 is all he ever received for his services, and he

 further states, that he served not less than Five

 years in the Service of the United States. He further

 declairs that there is no clergyman living in the

 neighborhood, nor is there any clergyman with who

 he is acquainted to whom he could apply for a certi

=ficate and further that he has no record of his age

 but beleives that he was Born in the year 1757.

 And he further declairs that he knows of no

 person v now living by whom v he can prove his service.

 He hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pen

=sion or an annuity, except the present, and he

 declairs that his name is not on the Pension Rolls                                                            An Enlistment Form

 of any Agency in any State.                     his                                                                                     from later in the war    

 Sworn to and Subscribed the    Edward   X    Harvin

 day and year aforesaid                            mark

 before the court                                                                                         
W Ellzey in the County of Loudoun and  State of Virginia             [The Presiding Justice]    


Character references, Court opinion


We Samuel N Galleher and John Simpson residing              [Galleher & Simpson: see notes below.]              

in the County of Loudoun and State of Virginia

 hereby Certify, that we are well acquanted with

 Edward Harvin, who has subscribed and sworn                          

 to the above declaration, that we beleive 

 him to be Seventy Six years nine months

 old; that he is reputed and beleived in the neigh=

=bourhood where he resides, to have been a Sol

=dier of the Revolution: and that we concur

 in that  opinion. Sworn and Subscribed the

 day and year aforesaid before the Court Samuel Galleher

                                                                 John Simpson

 And the said court do hereby declair their opinion,

 after the investigation of the matter, and after putting

 the interrogatories prescribed by the War Department,

 that the above named applicant was a Revolu=

 tionary Soldier and served as he states. And the

 Court further certifies, that Samuel Galleher

 and John Simpson  who has sign=                                    [Another person's incomplete application. It’s  

=the preceding certificate, is residents in the cou=               useful to us because it cites the regulations.]    

=nty of Loudoun and State of Virginia, and                                            [Application page 2]

 are credible persons, and that their statement                                        [Application page 3]

 is entitled to credit.                                                     

 First Question by the Court                                                                  

 I was born in Montgomery County Md. And belie=                     [present-day Frederick County]
=ve I was born in 1757  
 2nd Question. I have no record of my age                                                        

 3rd Question. I was living in Charles County Md. when

 called into the Service, and have lived partly in

 Maryland and the balance of the time to the present in

 Virginia since the Revolutionary War

 and am now living in Loudoun County Va.

 Answer to the 4 Question by the court                      

 I enlisted.                                                              

 Answer to the 5 Question by the court

 I was under Colo Jno Stewart, Colo Ware                              [Francis Ware Sr. See notes below.] 

 6th I never got a discharge

 7th John Simpson  & Saml Galleher                                     
                                        W. Ellzey

                                         Presiding Justice

                                                            of the Peace              

Samuel N. Galleher: He vouched for Edward on this application. The Galleher family may have provided assistance to Rebecca and Edward, or lived close by. Rebecca may even have been somehow related to the Gallehers. The large Galleher family was originally from Unison, Virginia, a thriving village located in southwest Loudoun County. Unison at that time is described as the “Capital Town” of southwest Loudoun County, comprised of 150 residences, 25 dwellings, 3 churches, a school, taverns and shops and professions including a lawyer and three physicians.34 Edward “Harvey” is listed in the 1830 Loudoun County census on the line just below the name of Samuel N. Galleher. We might infer from this that Edward and Rebecca lived near Samuel N. Galleher, and therefore in or near Unison, Virginia, although there is no documentation of this.  

John Simpson: This may in fact be the same John Simpson who is a Loudoun County Magistrate. (He signs as Justice of the Peace for Loudoun County on a document below.)

Captain Francis Ware Jr:
According to Edward’s pension application, Ware’s company rolls and “many other papers” were burnt “during the last war” at Havre de Grace. The lovely little town of Havre de Grace (name suggested by Lafayette himself, who said it reminded him of Le Havre, France) is located on the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay near the outlet of the Susquehanna River. During the War of 1812 it was burned by the British and almost totally destroyed.

Col. John Stewart: Lieutenant Colonel John Stewart commanded the First Maryland from 10 February 1781 to the end of the war. He had been authorized a Congressional Silver Medal in recognition of his bravery at Stony Point, New York, on 15 July 1779, just as Edward was joining the Maryland Line of the Continental Army. 

Col. Francis Ware Sr.: Edward must be referring here to his service in the Maryland militia prior to his entering on active duty with the regular army. “Left largely to its own resources and strategies, each county organized its defenses under the direction of the county lieutenant. In Charles, the obvious choice was Frances Ware, who combined military experience with popular appeal….Ware rose to colonel and second-ranking officer in the Maryland Line of the army before ill health forced him to resign his commission and return home in early 1777. A few months later he was appointed county lieutenant, and he spent the rest of the war supervising local defense preparations and calling militia during emergencies. At such times he seemed indefatigable in directing the home guard.”35  

Clerk certification

    Loudoun County Ss

                                  I Charles Binns clerk

of the Court of Loudoun do hereby certify that

the foregoing contains the original proceedings

of the said Court in the matter of the application

of Edward Harvin for a Pension

                                    In testimony whereof I have

                                    hereunto set my hand & seal

                                    of office this 15th day of Octob

                                    =er 1833

                                                       C Binns Clerk

Pension Applc

  No 25276

Edward Harvin


Claimant approved

Arearg_  2 yr $100 

     The application was sent to the Secretary of War in Washington, but there was still a significant hurdle. In addition to everything done so far, the testimony of a witness was still needed to corroborate the applicant’s declaration before it could be certified for payment. Edward had stated that there was no clergyman living in the area, he knew of no clergyman who could “issue him a certificate” and that “he knows of no person now living by whom he can prove his service.” So the application could proceed no further and had to be pended. It languished in Washington all through that fall and winter. But wait, there was an ideal witness for Edward, and he was living right there in Loudoun County. His name was John Richardson.
     If the age stated on his own pension declaration is accurate, John had become a member of Lee’s Legion of Horse at the astonishing age of fourteen. (Even Lt. Col. Henry Lee himself was only a year older than Edward.) At the time the Legion joined forces with General Greene in North Carolina in January 1781, John was a sixteen-year-old veteran and an accomplished dragoon (an infantry soldier deployed by horse). Edward left camp with General Morgan less than a week before John rode in with Colonel Lee, and the Legion remained with General Greene while Edward fought with General Morgan at the Battle of Cowpens. But when Greene combined his forces after Cowpens, and the whole army camped as one, Edward and John become acquainted. Subsequently, they both experienced the heart-pounding tension of the Race to the Dan River as Greene’s army was pursued by Cornwallis. In March of 1781, they both participated in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, in April the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill and in May and June the Siege of Ninety Six. In September, John and Edward were both wounded at Eutaw Springs – Edward for the fourth time, and John so badly he was discharged from the army.
    Eventually, Gunnell Saunders, in pursuit of his fee, did the necessary detective work. He located Richardson and asked him to testify. John Richardson, now sixty-eight years old, took the stand in Judge Simpson’s court on the last day of March, 1834. It was a dramatic day for Edward and Rebecca.

John Richardson’s testimony  

Loudoun County Virginia to wit

                                                          John Simpson

 This day personally appeared before xmex

 Justice of the Peace for the County 

 of Loudoun and State of Virginia. John Ric

=hardson of the county and State aforesaid, and

 make oath in due form of law, that

 he was a Soldier of the Revolution and was attached

 to Colo Lees Legion of Horse, and that he                           [Light Horse Harry” Lee. His son,
 is now on Pension Roll, and that he                                        Robert E. Lee, would also have a
knew Edward Harvin in the army of the Revol=                      distinguished military career.]

=ution and that they fought together in the Battle 

 of Guilford Court House and the Eautow Springs,

 and that the said Harvin, was wounded, as well

 as himself, at the Eutow Springs. And that he

 recollects hearing the name Edward Harvin,

 called in the time of the revolutionary war by the 

 proper officers, appointed to call the roll 

 and that the said Edward Harvin, is the same

 that is named in the declaration sent to the

 pension office from this county. After

 the Battle of the Eutow Springs in consequence

 of my wounds I obtained a permit to go home

 and know nothing more in regard to the further

 time the said Harvin service.

 Given under my hand this 31st day of March


                                             John Simpson JP.

 State of Virginia } SS 

 Loudoun County


                   I Charles Binns Clerk of the Court of Loudoun

 County certify that John Simpson is a Magistrate as above & that

 the foregoing signature purporting to be his, is genuine.

                                           In testimony whereof I have herewith

                                           Affixed my Seal of Office, & Subscribed

                                           My name this 17th[?] day of April

                                           in the year 1834

                                                                          C Binns                            

                                                                           Clerk of the Court of

                                                                           Loudoun County 

To me representations which I have received and

to which I confide. I considered the above named

John Richardson as entitled for full amount

                                         Cert Madran MG

                                               April 17th, 1834  C Binns

                                                                          Clerk of the Court of

                                                                          Loudoun County 

    The Loudoun County court took its time certifying the proceedings, not completing the work until April 17th. But once Gunnell Saunders got the document, he immediately rode off to Washington City and personally delivered Richardson’s testimony to the War Department. Their building was located on the northwest corner of what was known as the President’s Square.

    “The President’s Square originally contained approximately 80 acres. It was a rough piece of barren land notable only for its view of the Potomac—long since cut off—and the unhealthy marshes at its southern border. In 1800 the present grounds were marked off, but not enclosed until the administration of John Quincy Adams.[1825-29]”36
    “On the west of the President’s House are two
large brick buildings....They are each two stories
high, with basements of freestone, and the
north building has a handsome portico of
the Ionic order. The latter is occupied by the WAR DEPARTMENT; and the south building by the NAVY DEPARTMENT. Both these edifices are enclosed, and the grounds ornamented with trees and shrubbery. The west entrance is from Seventeenth street....
    The War, Navy, State, and Treasury buildings
occupy portions of the President’s square, and are
erected east and west of the President’s House.”38 Flags taken in some of the most important battles in American history were kept in the War Department building. These included the Battle of Saratoga, the great victory at Cowpens, and the surrender at York Town.

    The evidence was accepted at the War Department and placed in a wrapper. A notation was made that Mr. Saunders was “Present,” meaning he was there waiting for action to be taken on the claim.

Additional Evidence outer wrapper

Additional evidence in
support of the claim of
Edward Harvin Va

Mr Gunnell Saunders
Mount Gillead
                Loudon Co

    Edward’s application was approved and certified for payment by the War Department on 17 April 1834, the very day that the testimony of John Richardson was certified in Leesburg. Clerk Nathaniel Rice prepared the War Department certification record; his name appears on other pension certification records of this era. Mr. Rice also wrote on the record that the Certificate of Pension was delivered to Saunders, who was “Present.”
    Once the War Department had inscribed Edward on its rolls, the paperwork had to go to the Treasury, on the southeast corner of the Square, for actual cash payment. Mr. Saunders might have taken it there himself, collected the money, and been able to return to Loudoun County the same day, delivering the certificate and payment to his very happy and relieved client that evening. Edward was paid an arrearage of $300.00 for the three years up to 4 March 1834, and $50.00 for the period to September 1834. The total was $350.00, less any fee paid Saunders. In the future Edward would receive semi-annual payments of $50.00 each March and September, for life. The money was surely needed. It may have been their only income and the sole source of support for the aging couple. It’s possible that Gunnell Saunders later acted as Edward’s pay agent, collecting those semi-annual payments in Richmond, which was much farther away than Washington City.

Certification record

               Virginia      23874 


                Edward Harvin —

 of  Loudon  in the State of   Va

who was a pr: cav: in the__  __commanded by

 Captain ____ of the Regt     commanded  by

 Col: Stone      on the  Va   Md

   line for  2 years  ___


    Inscribed on the Roll of    Virginia

at the rate of 100 Dollars "" Cents per  annum

  to commence on the 4th day of March, 1831.


Certificate of Pension issued the17th day of Aprl34  

                            and delivered Mr

Sanders _Present~~ ~~~~~~~~~~


Arrears to the 4th  Mar:34            :     300—

Semi-anl. Allowance ending Septr        50—  

                                                 $       350—   

                            {Revolutionary Claim}

                             {Act  June  7,  1832 }

Recorded by Nath: Rice  __    Clerk,

Book       C__   Vol. 6 ½     Page   18-


    John Richardson apparently did not apply under this new pension act, preferring to continue receiving his pension payments as they were. Here is an image of the payment ledger maintained by the pension office in Richmond. John died on 23 October 1837. He was due $15.11 at the time of his death, and the amount was claimed by his three children.38


1840 Sixth United States Census

We find Edward and Rebecca listed, with the surname once again spelled Harvin. Both are aged over 80 but under 90, living in their empty nest in the Second District. Perhaps this is Unison, where they had been living all along. Note the name “Thomas R. Galleher” is listed just above Edward’s name. Census Image left side Galleher family traditions indicate that Thomas R. Galleher was the brother of Samuel N. Galleher, and that Samuel moved west in 1834. Edward gives his age as 85, although, born in 1757, he is actually only 83 years old. He is still receiving his semi-annual pension payment.
     As shown on the right side, one of the questions asked in this census was “number of pensioners for Revolutionary or military service.” This data was compiled and published separately in 1841 as a census of Revolutionary War pensioners. In it we find the following information for Loudoun County, Virginia.

Names of pensioners for revolu-        Ages                      Names of the heads of families
   tionary or military services.                                               with whom pensioners re-
                                                                                               sided June 1, 1840.

James Hogland     -         -         -           81                         James Hogland.

John Russell         -         -         -           92                         John Russell.
Charles B. Atwell -         -         -           75                         Hugh Smith.
Edward Harvin   -         -         -           85                         Edward Harvin.
Issachar Brown    -         -         -           80                         Issachar Brown.

Enoch Furr           -         -         -           95                         Enoch Furr.

Hannah West       -          -         -          68                          John Onison.

Sarah Copeland    -          -         -         72                         Sarah Copeland.


            1st CITY DISTRICT.

John H. Richardson         -          -          83                         John Wor.

    A certain “John H. Richardson” is shown living in the town of Leesburg, the county seat of Loudoun. He apparently was another John Richardson, also a Revolutionary War survivor, also a dragoon. Here is his payment ledger entry. He was apparently paid by the Richmond pension office from 1835 to 1840.

Death of Edward Darnall Arvin

     On 9 August 1840, a little over two months after this census was taken, Edward “departed this life.” The Loudoun County court made a determination (reverse side) that an order was to be sent to the pension office in Richmond, stopping payment of the pension and identifying the widow of the deceased. So, a
t its monthly session held on the 14th day of September, the Loudoun County court recorded in its Order Book that it had taken this action (page 130.)40 In Richmond, the pension office made an entry in its ledger that payment had stopped. The ledger is badly damaged and the entry can barely be made out. Only Edward’s last name, spelled “Harvin,” is visible, third entry from the bottom, more clearly seen in this enlargement. The entry reads, “Died 9...1840 Paid 4th qtr 1840.” Under legislation passed in 1838, Rebecca would have been entitled to a widow’s pension through September of 1841. Another act passed in 1843 would have entitled her to a pension beginning in March 1843. But there is no record of her ever filing a claim for a pension. We are left to conclude that she must have died.

        Like their parents before them, and like so many other common people of these times, we know little about Edward and Rebecca’s twilight years, and little of their deaths. No family traditions, which would have come to us through the Kentucky and later migrations of the family, have survived to shed any light on the events. Presumably Edward and Rebecca died and were buried in Loudoun County, Virginia, in a cemetery serving Unison. The exact location is not known.    
     But they are not forgotten. Thinking back to the war years, we can imagine a young Sallie, waiting for her man, not knowing where he was, what his condition was, not knowing when (or if) he would return to her. And the war which they endured is especially well documented. With the help of Sergeant-Major William Seymour, who kept his Journal of the Southern Expedition as the Maryland Line made its way through the Carolina’s, we can still see young Edward and his fellow soldiers, forcing themselves on under unendurable circumstances. Seymour writes about North Carolina in the late fall of 1780: “We lay on this ground from the 22d November till the 17th December, and marched to Charlotte, fifteen miles. Same day General Smallwood set out on his march for Maryland. At this time the troops were in a most shocking condition for the want of clothing, especially shoes, and we having kept open campaign all winter the troops were taking sick fast. Here the manly fortitude of the troops of the Maryland Line was very great, being obliged to march and do duty barefoot, being all the winter the chief part of them wanting coats and shoes, which they bore with the greatest patience imaginable, for which their praise should never be forgotten; and indeed in all the hardships which they had undergone they never seemed to frown.”
    Edward Darnall Arvin, who risked and almost lost his life for his country, received precious little from it in return. But he was a survivor of the War for Independence, quite literally. He returned home to his family and made his sweetheart Sallie his wife, and they started their own family. In the aftermath of the Second War for Independence, Edward lost almost everything he had, even his wife. When Sallie died young, Edward again became a survivor, but he found happiness with Rebecca. This “Tiller of ground” was just an ordinary person, the fourth son of poor Irish and English parents. But he lived an extraordinary life. He was Edward Darnall Arvin.

Continued from   Edward Darnall Arvin     Part 1 – The War for Independence

Researched and written by Robert Joseph Arvin, Jr.    
©  Copyright  A.D. 2009



Thanks to Flora Hillman of VAGenSearch, a genealogy research and document retrieval firm based in Loudoun County Virginia (, for her research assistance in obtaining records at the Loudoun County courthouse.

Special thanks to Ms. Betsey Krempasky, retired Director of Planning and Codes Administration for Caroline County, Maryland, and long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. Her family owned Arvin’s Enlargement from 1962 to 1972. Her insight and resourcefulness was invaluable in bringing this story together.





1.  Maryland State Archives, Accession MSA S 1161-4-12, 1/4/5/47

2.  L. Marx Renzulli, Jr., Maryland, The Federalist Years (1972), p 17
3.  Originally published in the Seventeenth Report of the National Society of the Daughters of the
     American Revolution
(October 11, 1913 to October 11, 1914). Published (1973) by
     Genealogical Publishing Company as Pierce’s Register, “Register of the certificates issued by
     John Pierce, Paymaster General and Commandant of the Army Accounts of the United States
     officers and soldiers of the Continental Army under act of July 4, 1783”
4.  Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State
(1996), Introduction v-vi, xv-xvi.
5.  “Army Accounts” MSA Vol. 2, p 31.  In April of 1780, the Continental Congress recognized
     the need to adjust the pay of officers and soldiers to offset the depreciation on continental
     bills of credit. In October of that year, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation
     appointing the Auditor General a commissioner who was to settle and adjust pay due. He was
     to estimate, in specie, what had been paid through 1780 and credit their pay according to a
     depreciation scale. Several supplemental acts were passed between 1780 and 1783.
     (paraphrased from the Archives of Maryland Online website: See Vol. 18
     Military Records, Auditor General agency history)
6.  Maryland State Archives, 1786 Revolutionary Records Pay Accounts: 1783, Vol. 1, p 72  
7.  “Soldiers entitled to Land westward of Fort Cumberland,” Maryland State Archives,

8.  Map of Soldier Lands courtesy Library of Congress Map Collection. See also Western Maryland
     Historical Library ( Images kindly provided by Lavada Scott.
9.  “Records of Officers and Soldiers Entitled to Land West of Fort Cumberland ,” MSA No.17302;
     Unpatented Certificate 857, Allegany County Circuit Court, MSA S 1211-911; See also, Clayton
     Colman Hall, Baltimore: Its History and Its People (1912), p 864

10.  Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790 Maryland
 (1907), Introduction
11.  National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy M637
12.  Maryland State Archives Online, image is available at, 

       Vol. 729, p 1387: the “1798 Federal Direct Tax” list   
13.  National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy M32
14.  Library of Congress ( Also see James H.S. McGregor,
       Washington From the Ground Up (2007), p 141, 146, 156-157, 188-191.

15.  Bayly Ellen Marks, The Rage for Kentucky (unpublished manuscript), p 10, as quoted by
       Regina Combs Hammett, History of St. Mary’s County, Maryland (1977), p 85
16.  NARA, Microcopy M252
17.  William Marine, The British Invasion of Maryland 1812-1815 (1913), p 57
Jeanne Robey Felldin, Index to the 1820 Census of Virginia (1976), Introduction
NARA, Microcopy M33
20.  John C. Dann, ed., The Revolution Remembered, Eyewitness Accounts of the War for
(1977), p xv-xvi
21.  William Henry Glasson, Federal Military Pensions in the United States (1918), p 67-68
22.  Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State
(1996), Introduction, viii
23.  Loudoun County, Virginia, Revolutionary War Papers-1820-5 ( Research assistance by

24.  Joseph Lee Boyle, Writings From the Valley Forge Encampment of the Continental Army (2007), p 240.

25.  Henry C. Peden, Revolutionary Patriots of Charles County, Maryland, 1775-1783 (1997), p 240
26.  Peden, Revolutionary Patriots, p 314

27.  Claire Prechtel-Kluskens, “Follow the Money, Tracking Revolutionary War Army Pension Payments,”
       Prologue, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Winter 2008)
28.  Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File, National Archives
       and Records Administration, Microcopy 804, Roll 2039, Pension S46507, B. L. Wt 1574-100 acres
       (Images available online at
29.  Ronald Vern Johnson, Gary Ronald Teeples and David Schaefermeyer, Virginia 1830 Census Index 

30.  NARA, Microcopy  M19
31.  J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland, From The Earliest Period Until The Present Day (1879),
       Vol. 2, p 150-152
32.  John C. Dann, ed., The Revolution Remembered, Eyewitness Accounts of the War for
p xvi-xvii, xxi
33.  National Archives and Records Administration, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land
       Warrant Application Files
, Application No.18014, Record Group 15, Microcopy M804, Roll 1214
Eugene Scheel, Loudoun Discovered, Vol. 4 “Unison, Capital Town of Southwest Loudoun
       p 206-215
Jean B. Lee, The Price of Nationhood (1994), p 145

36.  WPA Writers’ Program, Washington, D.C., A Guide to the Nation’s Capital (1942), p 228

37.  George Watterston, A New Guide to Washington (1840), p 61-62

38.  Ledgers of Pensions, 1818-1872, to U.S. Pensioners Under Acts of 1818 Through 1858
       From Records of the Office of the Third auditor of the Treasury, 1818-1872
National Archives Microfilm Pub. T718, 23 rolls, Records of the Accounting Officers of the Dept.
       of the Treasury, RG 217. (Available on-line at

39.  A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services with their Names, Ages, and
       Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshals of the Several Judicial Districts, under
       The Act for Taking the Sixth Census
(1841), p 131
40.  Loudoun County, Virginia, Court Order Book 07, p 125, 130






Continental Soldier by Don Troiani, from Handbook 135, Cowpens, courtesy National Park Service
The Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy
Washington Inaugural Courtesy of National Archives, Still Picture Branch, 148-CCD-92C
Elevation of the north side of the White House, by James Hoban, c. 1793

Portrait of President James Monroe, artist unknown, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Treasury Department Building 1804 from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, (March 1872), No. 262. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons





 Arvin Ancestry Biographical Sketches