Benjamin Standifer’s Revolutionary War pension application



Files of pensions awarded for service in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the Civil War can be treasure troves of family information.  At one time these records had to be ordered from the National Archives And Records Administration (NARA), a cumbersome process taking months to complete.  Pension files can consist of a dozen or more records, so published abstracts aren’t going to furnish details like the soldier’s area of operations during the conflict.

Now it’s possible to find many pension records online.  Benjamin Standifer’s pension file is available from HeritageQuest Online, offered through my local library.  This letter is part of his file. I’ve transcribed this letter, but the original is elsewhere in this blog. You can obtain a copy of the original from HeritageQuest Online’s images of NARA pension files.

Even if no pension was awarded (usually due to death of the soldier before the enabling Act), applications for Bounty Land Warrants often contain similar information.

Benjamin Standifer’s daughter Milly (Mildred) married William Chipman.  William and Milly (Standifer) Chipman’s descendants in Lauderdale County, Tennessee and elsewhere are eligible for SAR and DAR membership based upon Benjamin Standifer’s service.



State(s): NC

Series: M805  Roll: 765  Image: 427

File: W822/BLWT21803-160-55 


Rev. and 1812

Wars Section

W. 822

Benjamin Standefer

Old War Invalid File

No. 20377

Howell Harton                       March 1, 1930 


Hon. William E. Brock

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.


My dear Senator Brock:

In response to your letter of February 25, 1930, I have the honor to advise you that you are herewith furnished the information desired by Mrs. Zella Armstrong of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

From the papers in the Revolutionary War pension claim W. 822, it appears that Benjamin Standefer or Standifer was born May 17, 1764 in Maryland.

While a resident of Orange County, North Carolina, he enlisted and served as a mounted rifleman with the North Carolina troops as follows:

From May 1780 or 1781 three months as orderly sergeant in Capt. Douglas’ company in Colonel Dudley’s Regiment; in 1781 three months as orderly sergeant in Captain Abraham Allen’s Company in Colonel Mcbane’s Regiment, and was in the battle of Lindley’s Mill.  He then served various short tours amounting to six months in all, as a private in Captain Davis Grisham’s Company.

He was allowed pension on his application executed August 15, 1832, at which time he was a resident of Bledsoe County, Tennessee.

He died March 13, 1839 in Bledsoe County, Tennessee.

The soldier married in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, December 29, 1802, Nancy Echols.

She was allowed pension on her application executed May 5, 1853, at which time she was a resident of Hamilton County, Tennessee, and was seventy-three years of age.

She died in Hamilton County, Tennessee, February 28, 1864.

She was survived by the following children:


Sarah Howard

Milly Chipman


A grandson, William Standefer, was living in Hamilton County, Tennessee in 1870, at which time he stated he was thirty-three years of age.

Remainder of this letter in care of Howell Harton O.W. Inv. File 20377

From the papers on file in this bureau it appears that Howell Harton served under Colonel Thomas Eaton and was transferred from the Invalid pension roll of North Carolina to the East Tennessee roll, upon his application executed February 28, 1824.

The dates of his enlistment and discharge, length of service, war in which service was rendered and the nature of his disability are not matters of record; the only reference to his service being, that he was “under Colonel Thomas Eaton.”

On March 16, 1825 he applied for a new pension certificate, stating that the original had been destroyed by his children about sixteen years previously, near Warrenton, North Carolina.  The names of his children are not stated, nor is there any other reference to his family.

There are no papers on file for the above claim prior to 1824 for the reason that the pension papers filed prior to 1814 were destroyed when the British burned Washington in that year.

It is proper to add that the list of Invalid pensioners of Hamilton County, Tennessee, reported by the Secretary of War in 1835, shows that Howell Harton was pensioned as a private, at $57.60 per annum, and died May 20, 1832.

Very truly yours,

Earl D. Church



The preceding is a transcription of the entire letter, although not all of it refers to Benjamin Standifer.  Evidently Mrs. Zella Armstrong of Chattanooga, TN, wrote Senator Brock to ask for assistance in getting information regarding her ancestors, probably for the purpose of joining DAR.

This letter illustrates why southern genealogy can be so frustrating:  Benjamin Standifer was born in Maryland, served during the Revolutionary War in North Carolina, married Nancy Echols (his 2nd wife) in Georgia, and died in Tennessee.  Those four events chronicle the travels of one man.  At any point relatives might remain in one place, or split off for another destination altogether, and again wind up together in the same spot, more by accident than design.

The lure was cheap or free land, the appetite for it whetted by reports that must have been largely fantasy.  Scandanavians considering settling in the upper Midwest of the USA probably had more accurate information about their proposed destination than had Benjamin Standifer.  East Tennessee is justly celebrated for its beauty, but the land itself can be tough and only arable in the valleys.

Somewhere in the Bledsoe County section of Sequatchie Valley, Benjamin Standifer breathed his last, and I think with satisfaction recalled that though he had been born in the Colony of Maryland, he died in the United States of America.

Revised Dec.23, 2016

~ by Jeffrey Thomas Chipman on November 25, 2015.

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