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Agnes Laird, Her Widow’s Pension

07 Dec

Laird-Nat-30Nathaniel Laird, 1755–1832, my 5th great-grandfather, was also my Laird immigrant ancestor. I’m not sure if he came from Scotland or Ireland, but I hope to nail that down soon.

He was 20 when the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, just the right age to sign up to fight in the Revolution. He was a private in the 4th Regiment, Infantry, of the Pennsylvania Line in the Continental Army.

In 1781 he married Agnes Scott in Rowan County, North Carolina where they established a home after the war. In 1789 Iredell County was formed out of the western part of Rowan County and that is where Nathaniel and his family were counted in the 1790 US Census. His five children were all born in North Carolina, the youngest in 1802. Sometime after 1802 and before 1820 the family moved to middle Tennessee and settled in the Maury/Bedford County area.

It was confusing to find him in two different counties at different times on different records. I thought there must be another Nathaniel Laird until I looked at the historical county maps and then found this land record.

On June 21, 1828, Nathaniel Laird received a grant of 75 acres, at the rate of one cent per acre, signed by Sam Houston, governor of Tennessee. (Yes, the same Sam Houston that turned up in Texas.) It was paid into the office of “entry-taker of Maury & Bedford countys;…” Maury and Bedford county lie side-by-side with Maury to the east and Bedford to the west. The land description says: “lying in said county, on the waters of flat creek and bounded as follows to wit, beginning in Maury county, …”

Later records list Nathaniel in Bedford County. Seems the county line moved west, putting all 75 acres in that county. If I can find a more specific description of the location—…north 40 poles to a cedar the NW corner… 40 poles to a dogwood, then south 40 poles to a hickory in a field… while colorful, isn’t enough—I’ll match it to the county maps and see if that’s the case.

Nathaniel died Feb. 27, 1832 and subsequently his wife, Agnes (Scott) Laird applied for a Revolutionary War Widows Pension to continue the pension previously received by her husband. He’d been getting $8 per month since August 1826. Her application was accepted and she received $40 per year starting Dec. 1843, I don’t know if she got “back pay” from when her husband died eleven years earlier or not. But, I came across a simple note that reads:

Agnes Laird
Tennessee

Suspended
let 16 dec 39

Act of 7 July 1838

Evidently there was a LOT of fraud going on in the Revolutionary War Pension system so a couple of times Congress had to revise the program to get rid of the dead beats who shouldn’t be getting a pension. Pensioners reapplied and were accepted or rejected under the new requirements.

Agnes Laird’s application includes her husband’s original statement of his military service dated Dec. 12, 1825; dozen of letters, reports and witness statements documenting his service; statements indicating she was his wife and had not remarried since his death. As soon as I translate more of the colonial penmanship (everything from elaborate calligraphy to  scrawled cursive, many pages splattered and smeared with ink) we’ll get a glimpse of his life as a patriot soldier.

And as to Agnes Scott.  I wonder if she’s part of my grandmother’s Scott line which dead ends with John Scott born in 1800 in Buncombe County, NC. Agnes was born in Rowan County in 1761. Chronologically she could be an aunt, or maybe a cousin to my  4x great-grandfather, John Scott. I hope it’s a mystery I’ll solve.

Jan

Me > my Mom > Grandma Lela Scott Rose (1911, Pottawatome County, OK) > Avery Albert Scott (1887, Lauderdale County, AL) > Judia Isabell Lard Scott (1867, Lauderdale County, AL) > Jim Lard (1830, Hardin County, TN) > James Lard (1789, Rowan County, NC) > Nathaniel Laird (1755, Scotland or Ireland)

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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Scott

 

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