In 1818 the United States Congress passed the Revolutionary War Pension Act. As part of the process to acquire a pension, applicants had to go before any “court of record” to “make a declaration, under oath … setting forth, if he belonged to the army, the company, regiment, and line, to which he belonged: the time he entered the service, and the time and manner of leaving the services.” If the judge was satisfied by the testimony he would transmit the information to the Secretary of the Department of War who would make the final determination if a federal pension was to be granted.
In Chester County, the Court of Common Pleas acted as the “court of record.” The records in this index contain those declarations filed under the 1818 Pension Act and subsequent versions thereof. The information contained within each file varies.
Note: The original records were acquired by the Chester County Historical Society in the late nineteenth century but have been returned to the County. They were assigned manuscript numbers which have been used in this index for cross-reference purposes. The Historical Society maintains a digital copy of the records and researchers may also access them there.