Sorry, yes, I did say Civil War because you can still order those and hold the original documents and see the signatures for yourself.But the original post was regarding the Revolution, and anyone claiming pension for RW service needed to provide the same sort of declarations, and more, since the service records for the Revolution burned.The difference is that the RW files are too fragile for NARA to let you hold the actual paper, you have to view the documents on microfilm or online.
Try looking at some RW pension files and it is obvious that the signatures are from the often shaky hands of the old veteran, not from a clerk.If you have one that was signed by someone else, this is an aberration, and there is probably another deposition in the file with regard to this...or a power of attorney or some other notarized explanation.Maybe the soldier was too ill or incompetent at that point, and a guardian was appointed to do business for him.
As for deeds...there should be one from Pottis to Duval, and then shortly after that a deed from Duval to someone else, since he claims not to have stayed in Louisa for very long.It might even be on the same roll of microfilm.The deeds will give a lot of information, and might contain something that can be used to prove relationships.Who were the witnesses to the signature?Were they the same witnesses that he used in his pension file?Who were the adjoining land owners?Did his wife sign, too?Etc... If there was someone from the Bates family signing as his witness or living nextdoor, that would be a good proof.
Proving things from the Revolutionary period can be difficult, so it pays to obtain all of the documents for a particular ancestor or person of interest.
If you don't want to try to help Mr. Bates, fine, but I was willing and checked some of the more obscure federal records.I did what I could.