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Research Guides & Indexes

Revolutionary War Virginia State Pensions

Documents submitted by Virginia pensioners and widows to claim a state pension

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Revolutionary War Virginia State Pensions

Overview

Between 1777 and 1785, the Virginia General Assembly passed several laws authorizing pensions for disabled soldiers and for widows of soldiers who died while on active duty. This collection of 646 pension files provides digital images of the documents submitted for pension claims. The documents usually provide proof of service, records of payments, medical evaluations, and statements of disability from the local court. Details about military service and the applicant's family may also be included. Most of the claims are for Revolutionary War service, but there are a few claims for service in the French and Indian War (1754–1763) and Dunmore's War (1774).

Only state pension records are in this collection. It doesn't include records of Virginia's “half-pay” pensions provided to the state's military and naval officers who served until the end of the war. It also doesn't include records of military pensions issued by the Federal government, which are held by the National Archives.

Search Tips

  • Records may be searched by name, service unit, rank, and county (both the location of their service and the location their residence at the time of application).
  • Using quotes around phrases may return fewer, more relevant results.
  • Boolean operators OR, NOT and AND written in ALL CAPS may be used.  By default, all search terms will be combined with the AND operator. To exclude terms, use the NOT operator before a term.
  • Wildcards can be used to find variant spellings. The question mark (?) will match any one character. For instance, "Ols?n" will match "Olsen" or "Olson". The asterisk (*) will match any number of characters (including zero characters). "Ch*ter" would match "Charter", "Character", and "Chapter", and "Temp*" would match "Temptation", "Temple", and "Temporary". Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search or within phrase searches (quotation marks).

Related Resources

Archival Collections

  • Virginia. Auditor of Public Accounts (1776–1928). State Pension Records, 17711841. Auditor of Public Accounts Inventory Entry No. 230, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. See Finding Aid.  Available on microfilm,  Pension Applications Reels 1–15 (arranged alphabetically by pensioner’s name). 

Books

  • McGhee, Lucy Kate Walker. Virginia Pension Abstracts of the Wars of the Revolution, 1812 and Indian Wars. Washington, D.C., 1958–1966, 35 vols. plus index to vols. 1–25.
  • Virginia Council of State. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1931–1982. 5 vols. Coverage: 1776–1791. Council records include approval or rejection of pension claims. Available online (Hathitrust).
  • Virginia Revolutionary War State Pensions. Richmond: Virginia Genealogical Society, 1980. 
  • Weisiger, Minor, comp., Virginia Revolutionary War Records. Richmond: Library of Virginia, 2006.