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by: Louise Harlow

Revolutionary Claim for Daniel Skinner is more than a Revolutionary War document, it contains the signature of a Secretary of War, Lewis Cass and possible President of the United States.  Daniel Skinner, the recipient of this pension; valiant solder in the war; being part of the New York Campaign of 1776. 

Lewis Cass was born in 1782 in Exeter, New Hampshire. After attending Exeter Academy, he moved with his parents first to Delaware, where he taught school in 1899, and then to the Northwest Territory, where he read the law and began to practice. After settling in Zanesville, Ohio, Cass became prosecutor of Muskingum County in 1804. Two years later, he served as a Jeffersonian Republican in the Ohio legislature. From 1807 to 1812, Cass was the United States Marshal for Ohio, a post he held before participating in the War of 1812 first as a colonel and ultimately as a brigadier general. After stints with General William Hull and General William Henry Harrison, he served as a military administrator for Michigan and Upper Canada before President James Madison made him territorial governor of Michigan in 1813. Cass held this position until 1831, when Andrew Jackson asked Cass to become his secretary of war.

He served until Jackson nominated him as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to France in 1836. Cass resigned this position in 1842 and returned to his law practice; within two years, he was in the United States Congress as a senator from Michigan.

Cass remained in Congress from 1845 until 1848, when the Democrats nominated him as their candidate for President of the United States. He lost that election to General Zachary Taylor. Following his defeat, Cass was reelected to the Senate and served in Congress until 1857, when he became President James Buchanan’s secretary of state, a post he resigned in 1860. Lewis Cass died in 1866.

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This application for a pension was most likely arduous for Daniel Skinner, who at 85 had to appear in court to apply in person.  He was granted a bi-annual pension for his service in the Revolutionary War, with the proof of his identity from the family bible. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Daniel Skinner served as a private under Captain Peter Hopkins and Colonel Brodhead.

Brodhead was commissioned by the assembly of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia as colonel of the 8th regt. PA Colonial Troops.  Daniel most likely participated in the battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776 a raw defeat for Washington. 

Before the close of the battle, Brodhead commanded the whole of the Pennsylvania contingent troops, composed of several battalions. He was especially mentioned by Washington in his report to congress on this battle, for brave and meritorious conduct. 

            Probate records show that he served the cause for almost 11 months, in which time he served in NY, PA and NJ battalions. Other probate records show him as serving almost three years in total. There is no record of him being injured.  He lived a long healthy and active life right up to the point of his death at the age of 100 years, 1 month and 12 days.  He is one of the oldest documented survivors of the Revolutionary War.

And finally, the last signature on this document is that of James L. Edwards of Washington DC, has listed his profession in the 1860 Census, not as a Government Clerk but instead as a “gentleman.”   

Lot 37 is available in our April 30th sale. Click here to see this item.

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