FEDERAL CENSUS FOR 1840
SULLIVAN COUNTY, TENNESSEE
UNITED STATES 6TH CENSUS
We have been involved in an extensive study regarding the U. S. Revolutionary War Pension of a Jacob Beeler that lived in east Tennessee. He was 70 years of age when he filed his pension application on August 22, 1832, in the Sullivan County Court of Quarter Sessions, Tennessee. The War Department Office of Pensions paid that pension until September 7, 1842, and it was over. The pensioner was dead on or very shortly after as no other claim or payment was made. No date of death is shown and no date of death was required. There is no evidence whatever that this Jacob Beeler who was 70 years of age on that August 22, 1832, was alive after September 7, 1842.
It had been suggested by several that this Jacob Beeler 1761-1842 had an “Uncle” that was also named Jacob Beeler. What has happened is that Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 has been shown to have no relationship to any member of Ulrich and Maria Buehler’s family. It is nothing but a historical hoax and there is not an older set of “brothers” that were sons of Ulrich and Maria Buehler.
The famous “Beeler Family Bible” had no such relationship shown and was nothing but a hoax conducted over a period of twenty years.
However, the age of this supposed “Older Jacob” is well documented and he lived into January of 1843. Only the younger Jacob Beeler 1761-1842 had a brother named Joseph Beeler and this situation developed the question of who did what in the Revolutionary War.
The evidence of the Older Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 being a son of Uhlrich and Maria Buhler had supposedly been revealed in the “Beeler Family Bible”. The “Bible” consists of four Xeroxed pages and no relationship to anyone is shown. It had furnished the beginning of a historical hoax about 1993.
There was a significant error that became very clear by a review of the U. S. Pension S.5277, to Jacob Beeler for his service in the Revolution. The age which had to be “invariably shown” as required by the Act of Congress June 7th 1832 was 70 years. It was recorded and sworn to by officers and witnesses in the Court in both script and Arabic numbers. It was clear, easily read and there could be no question that the document said what it said. Most researchers would have considered the issue absolutely settled.
The older Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 was 81 years old on that 22nd day of August 1832. It was easy to determine from the tombstone in the Beeler Cemetery, Bristol, Tennessee. It is an eleven year difference and no question about it. Two different men with the same name in the same county. Not really all that strange but the Pension did make the distinction without any question.
The 1840 Census Entry: There was an entry in the 1840 Federal Census for Sullivan County Tennessee for a 89 year old Jacob Beeler. The 1840 U. S. Census had two columns in which to enter information about pensioners. They are as follows:
Heading: “Pensioners for Revolutionary or military services, included in the foregoing.”
Next Column over: “Ages”
The entry may be found at Sullivan County Tennessee, page 34, line 15. There is no relevance of the Census entry to the U. S. Pension S.5277. It has no bearing on that Pension and no connection.
I will now show why that is the case.
THE 1840 U. S. CENSUS – PENSIONER ENTRIES
The 1840 Census provided two columns with the name first and followed by the age. It would seem to be proof of military service in the American Revolution. However, it is not and it is why the U. S. Pension Office answered many queries about ancestors that had been listed in the 1840 Census in the way they did.
The 1840 Entries have absolutely no correlation with the U.S. Revolutionary Pension files. They confirm nothing and have no corrective value at all. The U.S. Census entries are not stand alone proof and the researcher is only able to suggest, not prove, service in any war from 1775 to 1816.
It is often difficult and takes considerable time to confirm the 1840 Entries even with a computer and the online documentation now available. Use of the 1840 Entries as genealogical proof of service is a very amateur mistake.
It is only a clue that there might be a pension and nothing more. To use the 1840 Entry as “correction” to any pension is absurd and the following examples will show why. Those with experience in research already know why but it now seems necessary to explain the lack of any real value to the genealogy community.
The Entries are just an interesting note to add to a family tree. For some Revolutionary Descendants today, these 1840 Entries may have been the only “proof” they have and regretfully, it is no proof at all.
EXAMPLE 1- 1840 Census Pensioner but no U. S. Pension
We now include one of numerous letters from the Pension Office in Washington during the 1930's and '40's in response to queries regarding the listing of men as pensioners in that 1840 Census. The Pension sited is that of Jacob Bledsoe, S.3012. It involves a “match” problem with the 1840 Census listing. The inquirer, Marine W. Bledsoe sent a letter to the Pension Office and the response was dated June 13, 1933. There were two Jacob Bledsoes that lived in Bedford County, Tennessee. Marine Bledsoe’s Jacob Bledsoe was the son of a Aaron Bledsoe and had been included on the 1840 Census as a Revolutionary Soldier.
At least, that was what Marine saw and believed. Marine Bledsoe was an attorney and pursued the 1840 Entry for a number of years which the U.S. Pension file can show.
The U.S. Pensioner Jacob Bledsoe, S.3012 seemed to be the man but it did not “match”. Why was he not a “match”? The name was correct, the Bedford County was correct and he was listed on the 1840 Census. S.3012’s father was named Jacob. There were two men of the same name in the same County etc.
The age was even very close being 2 years off as it turned out.. The response regarding 1840 Census entries that did not “match” should be noted and is as follows:
The answer from Mr. A. D. Hiller of the U.S Pension Office in Washington was consistent with many others he sends out and was as follows:
"That compilation (the 6th census pensioner listing) was completed without reference to the records of this office. It is not always possible, therefore, to verify the statements contained therein. All persons whose names appear on that list were not United States pensioners, but were pensioned by the state for which the service was rendered, nor were they all Revolutionary War soldiers."
Therefore, the inclusion on the 1840 does not prove a U.S. Pension of military service ever existed and an inquiry will receive the “Hiller Response” if the Pension Office cannot find a match to the name and age. It should be noted that the case of the “Jacob Beelers” is eleven years off and is not a match for sure.
SULLIVAN COUNTY TENNESSEE, 1840 CENSUS ENTRIES
I will now show why it has no value whatever as proof of Revolutionary War military service. As the example, I will use the 1840 Census for Sullivan County Tennessee. Recent actions by the NSDAR make the use of that particular Tennessee County especially appropriate.
There are 32 pensioners listed for Sullivan County on the 1840 Census. A soldier had to be 12 years of age to receive credit for military service by the United States. That would require that the soldier had to be born about 1771 and no later to be at least twelve before the end of the War.
The 89 year old Jacob Beeler is one of the 32 and he was old enough. So far, so good and I absolutely agree that the 1840 Census for Jacob is, or could be, correct. Curious position on my part maybe, but not really and the reader will see why....
The problem is that there are five of the 32 pensioners that are less than 60 years old. What has happened is the enumerators followed the letter of the heading and picked up “or military services” which would, could, and did include State militias in the War of 1812, Indian Wars between the 1812 and Revolution and also the Revolution.
It simply failed to record any reference to what war the service was in or to what entity and that’s why A. D. Hiller of the Pension Office answered the way he did.
George Bushong, age 48 years, is the youngest Sullivan County pensioner in the 1840 Census. He could have served in the Indian wars or the War of 1812 but was too young to have creditable service in the Revolution.
There are two Henry Maggotts. One on page 62 and the other on page 64 of the 1840 Census of Sullivan County. One is 80 and the other is 54 years old. We cannot tell the relationship and we can’t tell which war their service was in.
Is it just a double entry? Which age is correct? Essentially, we can’t prove anything with the entries except that someone told the enumerator he was a pensioner and there seems to be two of them.
I believe I have a well above average level of experience in transcribing and reading of the Revolutionary Pension Files. Even so, it required about an hour to confirm that the 80 year old Henry Maggott was probably Henry Magert, S.1850, aged 71 years when he applied for his pension on August 22, 1832. (He was in the same court room on the same day with the 70 year old Jacob Beeler and he probably knew he was 70 too!)
He may have been 79 years old for the 1840 Census but if you are only the 1 year off, that is a “match” for our purposes because of the lack of an actual birthday which is the most common case with the Act of Congress 7 June 1832 Pensioner Service.
We don’t know if Henry Magert had service in the other wars but we would obviously accept that approved U.S. Pension S.1850. It speaks for itself.
There is a Henry Maggott aged 54 years. What about him? We could say that the 80 year old Henry could be the 54 year old persons, father, uncle, or cousin. Age difference (if it was correct, which we don’t know that either) would probably rule out brother and suggest son. However, we cannot prove a relationship at all from the 1840 Census. This begs the question, how can we change anything on the U.S. Pension S.1850? You cannot!
Also, we have missing pensioners that we know filed for the Act of June 7, 1832. There are two of them that come to mind right away. Peter Hughes, aged 79 and Jacob Beeler aged 79.
Both of them filed for their pension in August 1832. Peter Hughs is in the Census and Jacob Beeler 1761-1842has been missed, maybe. I assume that the 89 year old Jacob Beeler is telling the truth or maybe James Gregg didn’t hear correct. Who knows? What can we make of all of this?
Do we change Peter Hughs pension? No, that 1840 Census entry has absolutely no corrective weight at all.
Peter Hughes is listed but no entry under Military Service Column. Jacob Beeler is not listed and the Older Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 is listed but we don’t know what his pension is for.
The U.S. Pension Office is consistent for answering all of these reasons. The U.S. War Department Pension Records were NOT used by the Census Marshalls and is only word of mouth to the enumerator and nothing more. It is non-specific, unverified data and is not made, essentially, in any legal forum.
The U. S. Pension Office records were not involved and there was no corroboration with that Office and the Marshalls of the 1840 Census. In short, if the age and name “matched” a U. S. Pension, fine. If it did not, you got the A. D. Hiller letter that said he could not verify your ancestor “claim”.
That is exactly the condition we have with the Jacob Beeler 1840 Census entry. The name matches but the age is eleven years off. THAT IS NOT A MATCH AND IF YOU HAD SENT AN INQUIRY ON THAT ENTRY, THAT IS THE ANSWER YOU WOULD HAVE RECEIVED.“It is not always possible, therefore, to verify the statements contained therein”, the Hiller Response.
EXAMPLE 2 – 1840 CENSUS LISTING, BUT NOT RECEIVING A PENSION
Robert Hansley, Hawkins County, Tennessee. Applied for and was granted a U. S. Pension, file S.4323. He is listed in this same 1840 Census as a pensioner and 81 years of age.
Robert Hansley is, as a matter of obvious fact, receiving no pension at all from the United States of America when he is contacted by the enumerator in 1840. He was removed from the pension role of the Knoxville Agency in the 2nd Quarter of 1836 and charged with lying about his age on his pension declaration.
He was charged by indictment and tried in the Federal Court at Knoxville Tennessee. Hansley was eventially found not guilty but his pension was never restored.
Jacob Beeler was in the same Knoxville Agency as Robert Hansley. I imagine it would not have been very easy to convince Robert Hansley that it really doesn’t matter what you say your age is!
A listing on the Pensioner Survey in the 1840 U. S. Census cannot prove military service in any particular war. It should be obvious that any qualified researcher would see the definite lack of value as I have indicated. Also, it is obvious that proof of Revolutionary War Service is not there.
The best prediction possible, and still no real proof, would be for an individual between 40 to 43 years of age. His service would have to be during the War of 1812, period. Not proof, but an indicator. If the soldier is over 43 years of age, there is the possibility of Indian Wars and War of 1812. The worst case scenario is for those persons over the age of 69 years of age. They could have been in any of the wars from the Revolution through the War of 1812.
The area of the United States we are considering is east Tennessee which was a volatile area from 1775 until 1816. The Census is not a sworn court document and therefore would also be open to question from the outset. By 1840 the Revolutionary conflict ended 57 years in the past and recollections and those that had them are fading quickly.
There should be no question that the 1840 U.S. Census Survey has very limited use.
The best possible case anyone could make is that a listing in the 1840 Census Survey is the following: There is the possibility that there may be a pension for military service. That’s all anyone can say. Essentially, this analogy could easily be made, “I have an insurance policy (pension) but you don’t know who issued it, what it was for or what war it was. It could be U.S. or State, Pension, Bounty-Land Warrant AND for Revolutionary War, Indian War or War of 1812”.
There is absolutely no stand alone proof value unless the pension can be found. Of course, if you have the pension, you don’t need the 1840 Census listing. It’s like the man that says he has a life insurance policy. If he dies and you can’t find it, you’re out of luck. If you have the policy and can prove it’s his, you didn’t have to have him tell you he had it.
The case we are looking at is just as clear. There is a Jacob Beeler that is listed as 89 years of age in that 1840 Census. He said he is a pensioner. He could have been in any war from the Revolution through the War of 1812. The listed age suggests he is the older Jacob Beeler. That is all we know. There is no known pension, from any entity, that will match that name and age.
Do we just decide to give the Pension to whoever we decide? Of course not. We do nothing because we have a document without ANY weight in the 1840 Listing. An approved United States Pension pales ANY other document such as the 1840 Listing for authority. No comparison at all.
All pensions for military service include the age, or birthday if known, of the soldier and is without exception. There are over 65,000 examples of Revolutionary War, United States War Department Pension Applications in the NARA files. Please show me one that has no age of the applicant shown.
As in the Bledsoe example,
What does the 1840 U.S. Census, or the list compiled from it, prove relative to the U.S. Pension S.5277? Nothing, it is not a match. The Name, State and County are correct and that is all. The age is off eleven years and therein lies the answer. The U.S. Pension S.5277 is that of a person that was 70 years of age on the 22nd day of August 1832.
I can think of no stronger instrument that could be obtained from the early nineteenth century that was under the custodial care of the United States War Department. It speaks for itself.
Again, in the Bledsoe example the age is only off 1 year! Marine Bledsoe had that with his Jacob Bledsoe in the first example above. What was the outcome? There was no change or correction in the original document. There was absolutely no “maybe his father’s name is incorrect comment by the Pension Office”. There was no “lets study this and see what everyone thinks it should have been”. The very suggestion that maybe there is an error in that 180 year old Federal document and that we should fix it to fit another person is absolutely absurd.
The very idea that a group of genealogists that thrive for proper historical documentation would accept the notion that 70 = 81 and the word seventy = eighty-one for any reason when they looked at that pension document so it suited someone’s needs cannot be considered serious. Let’s just take out of a pension document what works for us and call it a day. I am at a loss for words to describe this sort of behavior. Bogus.
There is no stronger argument on the table that absolutely proves the existence of two brothers, out of the four Beeler men, than that U.S. Pension S.5277. There was only one 70 year old Jacob Beeler that lived in Sullivan County, Tennessee, on August 22, 1832 and he filed for that Pension.
It was not the 81 year old Jacob Beeler. That anyone ever finds another single document or shred of evidence of Jacob Beeler's 1761-1842 existence is NOT required. Other primary documents do exist but are not required. That Federal document speaks for itself and requires no explanation or additional documentation.
The idea that we need to “tamper” with or explain what that Federal Document says, figuratively or otherwise, for any reason is absolutely repulsive and ridiculous.
Another very interesting aspect of this whole affair is that there is no evidence that this “Older” Jacob Beeler lived in Sullivan County until 1812. The Sullivan County Tax list for 1812 includes this “Older” Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 and his son Samuel Beeler born in Pennsylvania in 1781. Neither one of them are on the Tax Lists for Sullivan County, Tennessee, in the years 1796 and 1797.
The last place any record of the “older” Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 exists is in the U.S. Census for 1830. Both Jacobs are on the same page 71. One is on line 15 and the other is on the bottom. It should be noted that a “very old” male is in those households. The ages are not very accurate but you can see who they are.
The “Jacob” on line 15 is written over “James”. Who is James? James Beeler is probably the son of a Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 and he is living with him. James was only 12 years old when they came to Sullivan County, Tennessee, in 1812. James Beeler also shows up on the 1840 U.S. Census but the “old” Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 is gone sometime soon after 1830. Where is he? We don’t know where he is.
The Tax List for 1837 does not list either Samuel or his father Jacob Beeler so they have both left Sullivan County, Tennessee. I do believe Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 has buried his wife in Bristol before he leaves. It is for that reason he is brought back in 1843 and buried in the Beeler Cemetery in Bristol.
There is no way Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 could be the pensioner. He has moved from somewhere (Pennsylvania) to Bristol, TN, in 1812. He again moves before 1837 to somewhere out of Sullivan County, TN. He never registers his moves with the United States Pension Office in Washington, D.C. Why? It is not his pension.
It is the pension of another man who is the “Other” Jacob Beeler on the Tax List for 1812 and the U.S. Census for 1830.
The Final Payment Voucher from the GAO in Washington, D.C. shows that the Jacob Beeler 1761-1842 never moved after he came to North Carolina Territory from Virginia in April 1770. Not once. He was 8-1/2 years old when he got to Sullivan County, N.C. Territory.
The Older Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 was married in the mid-late 1770’s in Virginia, moved to PA, raised a large family and finally came to the Bristol area when he was 62 years old. Most of his children did not come with him in 1812. The males would have showed up on the Tax Lists in 1812 if they had come.
Samuel Beeler was his oldest son and would have made the 1796 and 1797 Tax Lists if he had been in Sullivan County, TN. Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 lived in Sullivan County for 18 to a maximum of 24 years, 1812 arrived, gone before 1837. No other evidence exists to the contrary.
What another researcher can find or cannot find about anyone of the other three men can add absolutely nothing or detract anything from that set of documents. It is correct the way it stands and that is really all that can be said. You take it all or you take nothing but there are no changes.
The whole problem developed when my ancestor and his brother had what others coveted. It is proof of military service at a known battle of the American Revolution, King’s Mountain, South Carolina. That is the real problem for some others and figuring out how to undo that and “rewrite” the issue seems to have consumed and brought others in the fray.
Fortunately, the issue is really not difficult at all, and I was able to solve the question in four days during December of 2009. The birth and death of the Older Jacob and the S.5277 is all that is needed.
It is obnoxious that someone would go through all sorts of deliberate obfuscation to snap up the military service record of two Revolutionary soldiers. It is just wrong to do that, a disgrace to the genealogical community and there is no need to let it go. The clever, groundless, claim is rather repulsive and is all that can be said about it.
It never happened. Not only didn’t happen but Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 and Joseph Beeler 1744-1833 have NO documentable military service whatever in any war of the United States. Not even Patriotic Service, The grants often referred to belong to other men. Same name but that is all.
No corrections or explanations were made by the Pension Office. If your soldier matched the information on file with the United States Pension Office it would be obvious to the inquirer. Differences from that information indicate another person with the same name. The use of middle names had not yet become common in the late eighteenth century.
Same name, same birth location, age difference of eleven years is not a match. There are two Jacob Beelers in Sullivan County and the U.S. Pensioner is the younger of the two. The system works just as it should and the soldier is Jacob Beeler 1761-1842.
The fourth paragraph in the A. D. Hiller letter in Pension File S.3012 explains a non-match. Wrong county. In reading the S.3012 file there is an age difference also. This was the only way the government could distinguish individuals at a time prior to photography. It solved this Jacob Beeler question that only began in 1990.
There are two people with the same name that lived in Sullivan County Tennessee and Jacob Beeler 1761-1842 applied for U. S. Pension S.5277 and Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 did not. Are they related? We don’t know but there is no proof they are.
Although it has been spread widely on the internet since 1993, there is absolutely no evidence or documentation that Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 is a son of Ulrich and Maria Buhler.
There are two sons of Ulrich Buhler that did live in Sullivan County Tennessee and they are Joseph Beeler 1744-1833 and his brother John Valentine Beeler 1737-1823. The claimed “brother” connection of Jacob Beeler 1750-1843 by so called “evidence” in the “Beeler Family Bible” does not exist and is a historical hoax.
The purpose of the hoax is to gain military service for Joseph Beeler 1744-1833 by creating a “brother” relationship to Jacob Beeler 1750-1843. It was then that the U.S. Pension S.5277 of Jacob Beeler 1761-1842 could be falsely claimed. Combined with the Shelby Dispute, brothers Jacob and Joseph Beeler served at the Battle of King’s Mountain, and the hoax was complete. That service in the War of the Revolution does not exist. Not only were they not there, they were not brothers.Once a hoax is started no credibility is possible and the “older set of brothers” has been shown to be nothing but a charade.