Historical background of the events that took place in this pension application:
The British military objective for 1776 was for General Howe to take New York and Newport, and then proceed east and north into New England. General Carleton was to drive the patriots from Canada, take Fort Ticonderoga, then penetrate New England. The two armies combined would regain Boston and crush all resistance.

On August 22, 1776, the British landed on Long Island, attacked the patriots and forced General Washington to evacuate Long Island. On September 29 Washington withdrew to the north of Manhattan and on October 12 Howe resumed the offensive, leading to the Battle of White Plains on October 28. The assault and capture of Fort Washington began on November 14 followed by that of Fort Lee on November 19. At the same time, General Clinton captured Newport.

General Cornwallis chased Washington from Fort Lee to Hackensack to Newark and New Brunswick. Washington retreated to Princeton then to Trenton, collecting all the boats on the Delaware River. On December 8, Washington crossed the Delaware River and Cornwallis followed him to Trenton but couldn’t cross the River for there were no boats for transport. On December 14 Howe went into winter quarters at New Brunswick.

On December 25, Washington crossed the Delaware River, attacked and captured Trenton, then retreated into Pennsylvania. On December 30, 31, Washington again crossed the Delaware, attacked and captured Princeton. Driven north by Cornwallis, Washington retreated to Morristown where he spent the winter of 1776-77.

British Strategy of 1777 was to again concentrate on New England: for General Burgoyne to drive to Albany and Howe to join him there after first capturing Philadelphia.

Howe decided to attack Philadelphia by way of the Chesapeake Bay, greatly delaying his departure until July 23 while waiting transport for his troops. They did not arrive at the northern end of the Bay until August 25 and had the first battle, defeating Washington at Brandywine Creek on September 11. Howe captured Philadelphia on September 25 but Washington attacked at Germantown on October 3, nearly defeating the British. Howe decided not to resume the offensive, spending winter quarters in Philadelphia while Washington was at Valley Forge the winter of 1777-78


No. 18844, Pennsylvania
Cornelius Van Fleet of Lycoming Co., in the State of Penna who was a Private in the company commanded by Captain Schooley of the Regt. commanded by Col West in the NJ line for 9 months.
Inscribed on the Roll of Pennsylvania at the rate of 30 Dollars per annum to commence on the 4th day of March, 1831
Certificate of Pension issued the 8th day of Oct. 1833 and sent to W. Cox Ellis, Muncy, Lycoming Co., PA
Arrears to the 4th of Sep. 1833, 75.00; Semi-anl. allowance ending 4 March 1834, 15.00, $90.00
Revolutionary Claim Act June 7, 1832
Recorded by D. Brown, Clerk, Book E, Vol. 5, Page 63.
Paid at the Treasury under of act of 6th April 1838 from 4th Sept. 1838 to 4 March 1839. Agt. notified D. Lang, 1840


Transcript of Pension Application:
State of Pennsylvania
Lycoming County set. On this 6th day of October AD 1832 personally appeared in open court before the Judge of the Court of Common pleas of Lycoming county now sitting, Cornelius Van Fleet, esquire, a resident and Justice of the Peace in Washington township in Lycoming County in Pennsylvania aged between 75 and 76 years, who being first duly sworn, according to Law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress, passed June 7th 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers, and served as herein stated. In March 1776 there was a call for part of the Militia of Hunterdon County in the State of New Jersey where I then lived, it was the first call upon the Militia in that part of New Jersey, in the Revolutionary War, I volunteered as a private in a company of militia of that county - Captn. Joseph Hankerson was the Captain of the Company to which I belonged but to the best of my recollection I think he did not march with the company, who commanded the company while in service I cannot now remember - I think the 1st lieutenant of the company while in service was named Lane - The draft was made from the whole regiment which was commanded by Col. Wm Mahelm - he did not go out at that time - I think the company detailed on that service, way upwardly of 60 men. We marched to Perth Amboy and then to Staten Island, when we lay some time - the time not exactly remembered. In the month of August 1776, the part of the militia to which I belonged in Hunterdon County was again called out. There was a certain number out of each company called, and in case of drafting the quota was then made up by volunteers. I volunteered as a private upon this call and marched under the command of Captain John Tenbrook, Col Wm. Mahelm was the Colonel of the Regiment but I cannot remember whether he was on duty on this Force - We marched to Perth Amboy and lay there a month or more. We were there at the time of the Battle of Long Island, could hear the firing plainly, and saw the smoke rising like a great cloud - One half of the militia of Hunterdon County, and I think of that Part of New Jersey, which was near the lines of the enemy, were continually on duty I think from August 1776, to some time in the Spring of 1777 - My father Wm Van Fleet, my brother Garret Van Fleet and myself were on the militia rolls. The age of exemption from militia duty was 53 - when my brother or self were at home, and a call was made upon our father who was then about the age of exemption we either of us volunteered for him as his substitute and had to perform our own tours of duty at the same time. Under this family arrangement, and to comply with the drafts made of the militia of Hunterdon County I was on duty and in service from the end of the tours after August 1776 nearly during all the fall and winter of 1776 and till the spring of 1777 - I was a Private in that service till April 1777 under the command of different Captains, say Jos. Hankerson, Moses Easty, Thomas Jones and Doer Jennings. I served under Capn Jones during the months of November and December 1776 to the best of my recollection, at the time of the retreat of the American Army through New Jersey, to Pennsylvania, we layed at Elizabeth town point when the army marched thru Elizabeth Town under General Washington - here for the first and last time, I saw that great and good man, marching in the rear of the army - after the army had marched thru Elizabeth town - I was detailed with about 400 others, to guard the transportation of military stores by the passage of Staten island sound & Rariton view, to New Brunswick - I believe I was a Seargent at that time - This service was considered dangerous, on account of the forces of the British on Staten island - From New Brunswick, the militia were detailed on different duty - the party of militia to which I was attached, under John Tenbrook who was now the Major of our Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel John Taylor had the command of the Regiment Thomas Jones was our Captain - We marched thru Bound brook and Flemington to the Delaware river crossed into Pennsylvania, re-crossed the Delaware and joined party our Regiment at Penny Tours. Then we marched up the Delaware to Eastons and brok down all boats and the other craft on the river to Sherreds ferry, to prevent the enemy from crossing the Delaware. From thence we marched to the Raritan and lay there the remainder of the winter of 1776-7 - while the British army lay at New Brunswick - In December 1776 and January 1777 while I was on duty the Battles of Trenton and Princeton were fought. In the last of April 1777 I moved to Sussex County in New Jersey - In the fall of 1778 or 1779 and which years I cannot remember I was called out as a militia man in the company of Captain Samuel Schooley. The British army then were in New York and on Staten island there was another company of militia engaged in the same service, under the command of Capn Benjamin McCullough. Both companies were stationed at Elizabeth Town to guard that part of New Jersey from invasions of the enemy. Both companies were under the command of Col Jacob West, and Major Bescharer. I remember that Jacob Shipman whom I have known ever since and who now resides in Muncy Creek Township in Lycoming county, was 1st Lieutenant of the company of Capn McCulloch. I was afterwards out in on that tour, to the upper end of Sussex county against the Tories who were very troublesome, as that time there is no person that I know of now living in this part of Pennsylvania besides Jacob Shipman and Daniel Dugan who knew of any part of my services in New Jersey during the Revolutionary war. More of my early companions and friends who are not now removed by death must reside perhaps in New Jersey, my native state. So that far advanced in life, remote from the scenes of my services in early years - I find myself unable to support the statement of this declaration except by the testimony of Jacob Shipman and Daniel Dugan above mentioned. In 1783 I moved from then Jersey to then Northumberland now Lycoming County in Pennsylvania where I have resided ever since and still continue to live. Jacob Shipman moved from Jersey in the year 1784 to the same place and has lived in this county ever since. While the American army lay at Valley Forge [winter of 1777-78] I drove a Continental army team, in the service of the United States for that winter & till May & part of the next winter.

Daniel Dugan, who resides (I believe) in Franklin Township in Lycoming County, was in service with me as militia men from Hunterdon County in New Jersey at Perth Amboy in 1776 and at Elizabeth town while the British were in New York and Staten Island.

The testimony of Jacob Shipman and Daniel Dugan will be amended in support of this declaration.
He hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever or a pension or annuity, except the present and declares, that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.
Sworn and subscribed this day and year aforesaid. J. Wood, Corn. Van Fleet

We Peter Vanderbelt a Justice of the Peace & John Beaver residing in Lycoming County do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Cornelius Van Fleet esquire who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration and we believe him to be between 75 and 76 years of age, and that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood, where he resides, to have been a soldier of the revolution and that we concur in that opinion.
Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid. J. Wood, Clerk Peter Vanderbelt, Jr., John Beeber

And the said court do hereby certify and declare their opinion, after this investigation of the matter, and after putting the interrogatories prescribed by the War department, that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary soldier, and served as he states. And the court certifies that it appears to them that Peter Vanderbelt a justice of the Peace & Jno Beaver who have signed the prescribed certificate are resided in Lycoming County and are credible persons and that their statement is entitled to credit.
John Cummings, A. Davidson.

I Joseph Wood, clerk of the court of common pleas of Lycoming County aforesaid to hereby certify that the foregoing contains with the annised depositing the original proceedings of the said court in the matter of the application of Cornelius Van Fleet, esquire for a pension.
I further certify that Simon Schuyler esquire and Henry Funston esquire before whom the annexed depository of Jacob Shipman and Daniel Dugan have been taken are Justices of the peace of Lycoming County commissioned and acting as such.

In testimony whereof I have herewith set my hand and the seal of the said court the 6th day of October AD 1832. J. Wood, Clerk

The applicant in answer to the interrogatories directed by the War department to be propounded declares as follows:

I was born in Hunderdon County in the state of New Jersey on the 6th day of March 1757.
There is a record of my age which I have often seen, entered in my father's family Bible.
I lived in Hunterdon County in New Jersey when first called into service. I have lived since the revolutionary war in Northumberland and Lycoming County in Pennsylvania and still continue to reside in Lycoming county.
I volunteered and was drafted as a militia man as I have stated in my declaration. I was sometimes a substitute for my father.
To this I can no further answer than I have stated in my declaration.
I received a discharge at Elizabeth town in 1778 or 9 - by whom given I cannot remember nor what has become of it - supposing that it was of no use to me.
I never received a commission
I am known to Judge John Cummings, to Samuel Stewart, esquire, Jos. B. Anthony, John Beaver and Peter Vanderbelt, esquire.


Declaration of Sarah Van Fleet
State of Pennsylvania, SS

On this the twenty fourth day of August eighteen hundred and forty six personally appeared be me one of the associate judges of the court of common pleas of Lycojming County, Sarah Van Fleet, a resident of Washington Township in the county of Lycoming State of Pennsylvania, aged eighty five 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 provisions made by act of Congress passed July 17th 1838 entitled, an act granting half pay and pensions to certain widows" that she is the widow of Cornelius Van Fleet, who was a soldier in the revolutionary war and that he obtained a pension under the act of 1832 (Sec. recorded in the pension office in Book E, Vol 5, Page 53 by D. Brown, Clerk) she further declares that she was married to the said Cornelius Van Fleet on the twenty second day of December in the year seventeen hundred and eighty - that her husband the aforesaid Cornelius Van Fleet, died on the seventh day of December, eighteen hundred and forty one. She was not married to him prior to his leaving the service but the marriage to place previous to the first of January seventeen hundred and ninety four viz. at the time above stated and she further declares that she still remains widow.
Witness present, Solm Bestreft, Jacob Shafer
Sarah, her mark, Van Fleet.