William Kelly's Revolutionary War Pension Application
transcribed by John Kelly Ross, Jr., jkrossapex

My great great great great grandparents were WILLIAM KELLY (born 1758 - died June 29, 1847, in Elbert County, Georgia) and PHILADELPHIA (maiden name unknown, born 1767 - died between 1830 and 1833 in Elbert County, Georgia).

William Kelly's Revolutionary War pension application was W25993 and his B. L. W. was 43528-160-55. He had enlisted in Virginia on January 19, 1778, for three years service in Captain William Pierce's company of Colonel Charles Harrison's 1st Battalion of Continental Artillery. William was captured by the British at the August 16, 1780, Battle of Camden in South Carolina and held a prisoner until his enlistment ran out.

William Kelly's 1843 will named as his second wife a Lucinda Harris who he had married in February 1833. They had no children together. William and Philadelphia's sons were James W. Kelly, David Kelly, and William Kelly. Their daughters were Sarah, Martha, Philadelphia, Elizabeth, Milley, Rebecca, Lucy, and Rutha. None of the married names of the girls were given.

The following pension application came from the National Archives. Among the documents was a 1939 cover letter replying to an earlier request for copies of the records of William Kelly. The cover letter states that William Kelly's rank was a matross in the artillery service. A matross was the same as a private in the infantry service. My understanding is that they moved the cannons around to aim them and brought the powder charges & cannon balls to the cannon for loading. The rank of matross is not mentioned in the pension application below. Some difficult to read words have been put in parentheses with a question mark at the end of them.

Declaration in order to be placed on the pension list under the Act of the 18th March 1818
Georgia, Elbert County
On this seventeenth day of July 1827 personally appeared in open court being a court of record for the County aforesaid William Kelley resident in said County, aged sixty seven years & some months, who being first duly sworn according to law doth by his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the provisions made by the Act of Congress of the 18th March 1818 and the 1st May 1820 that he the said William Kelley enlisted for the term of three years on the 19th day of January in the year 1778 in the State of Virginia in the Company commanded by Captain William Pierce, in the Regiment commanded by Colonel Charles Harrison in the line of the State of Virginia on the Continental establishment. That he continued to serve in said corps until he was taken prisoner at Gate's defeat in the battle at Camden in the State of South Carolina and was detained a prisoner of war until after the termination of his term of enlistment. That he hereby extinguishes every claim whatever to a pension except the present. That his name is not on the roll of any State as a pensioner. And that this following are the reasons for not making an earlier application for a pension to wit that until within the last few years he had been able by manual labor to support himself & family which he is now (new dircd?) incapable of doing by reason of Rheumatic pain Age & etc. all attendant infirmity. And in pursuance of the Act of 18th of may 1820 I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the (listed?) State on the 18th day of March 1818 and that I have not since that time by gift, sale, or in any way or manner disposed of my property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provisions of an Act of Congress entitled an Act to Provide for Certain Persons Engaged in the Land & Navel Service of the United States in the Revolutionary War passed on the 18th day of March 1818. And that I have not nor has any person in trust for me any property or security contracts or debts due to me. Nor have I any income other than what is contained the schedule here to annexed and by me subscribed
100 acres of land 3rd quality $150
1 horse 40
1 cow & calf 10
8 hogs 8
part of set knives (ofask?) 1
plates & dishes 1
coffee pot & cup .50
5 old chains 1.25

$211.75 William Kelley

1 old shovel .25
1 old ax mattock & hoe 1
1 old plow & (gear?) 1
1 old drawing knife .25


William his XX mark Kelly

(atest?) Frances W. Kind (Clk?)

I further swear that I am by occupation a farmer and that I am (newduid?) unable to support myself in pursuit of my occupation by Rheumatic pains Age & infirmity. I have here in family besides myself to wit my wife Philadelphia aged about sixty years barely able to support herself by labor. My son William in the fourteenth years of his age in good health. Rutha my daughter in the eleventh year of her age in good health. I further swear that there has been not material change in my property since the 18th of March 1818 - none by bargain sale or gift - the only change has been induced by casualties in my live stock of cattle & hogs.
Sworn to and declared on the 17th day of July 1827 in open court before William his XX mark Kelly

Beverly Allen J. J. C.
Henry White J. J. C.
Joseph Blackwell J. J. C.