How many Adam Stahler/Stohler/Stollers were there serving in the Revolutionary army from Pennsylvania? A pension application surprised me with an answer.
Thanks to Fold3, the website that digitizes millions of military records including pension applications, and thanks to the Family Search Center at a local LDS church, I have been able to see the eighty-plus page application for a widow’s pension for my 4x great-grandmother Eva Marie Stahler, survivor of Captain Adam Stahler. I say “see” advisedly, because just because you can see an image of an old document does not necessarily mean you can read it. (More about that in my next post.)
Several references on Ancestry.com referred to Adam’s service in the American Revolution –or the Continental War as it is called in some of the pension application legal papers. However, those Ancestry references in other people’s trees were not sourced, so I could not verify the information.
I knew that Eva Marie/Mary, Adam’s wife had received a widow’s pension because as I wrote in this article on her–the 1840 census told me so. But that didn’t help with information about where Adam served and when.
Maddeningly, the only piece of paper available on Ancestry.com that might prove his service, the pension application, had this scanty information, a cover page to a pension application.
This is the cover page of the lengthy file for Mary’s application for a widow’s pension. Her husband died long before she did. He died in 1803 and she not until 1842. The act re-authorizing the orphans’ and widows’ pensions passed in July 1836. Between 1784 and 1836 widows received no pensions, and their right to pensions was reinstated in 1836. The changes in the pension law over the years are quite complex.
The rest of the legal document resides at Fold3, a pay-for site for which I do not have a subscription. To the rescue comes the Family Search Center a few miles from me. At the LDS Family Search sites, you can utilize their computers to find documents on some pay sites.
I struggled through the many, many pages with the many, many different forms of unreadable handwriting and faded images since I wanted to squeeze out every bit of information possible. I knew from studying some of the records of my New England Revolutionary veterans that they would contain a full description of Adam’s service, as well as verification of things like birth and death and marriage dates and place of residence.
What I didn’t expect was sworn testimony that Adam Stahler, my 4th great-grandfather was the ONLY officer with that name, including variant spellings.
Sure enough, one witness swore that he had studied the officer’s lists from Pennsylvania for men named Adam Stahler, Stohler or Stoller, and verified that the Captain Adam Stahler whose wife was applying for a pension stood alone.
YAY! That nagging fear that I might be mixing up the records of two people vanished. A witness in 1853 provided information helpful to a family history search in 2018. Amazing!
Next up: Adam’s military record and why there is testimony coming in in 1853, when Eva Maria/Mary first applied for the pension in 1836 and she had died in 1842. Curiouser and curiouser.
How I Am Related
- Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
- Paul Kaser, who is the son of
- Clifford Kaser, who is the son of
- Joseph Kaser III, who is the son of
- George Kaser, who is the son of
- Joseph Kaser and Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, who is the daughter of
- Adam Stahler.
A Note on Research
Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, The National Archives, Application of Eva Maria Stahler, widow of Captain Adam Stahler, www.fold3.com/image/18467518?terms=adam%20stahler&xi
d=1945 Accessed at the Family Search Center, Tucson NW