Monday, July 19, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: Anne's Affidavit

In doing research on my Anne Coles Mott for my DAR application, I've struggled because she was 1) a woman and 2) did not participate in the war in a military capacity (and thus, left a much smaller paper trail).  I'm getting more comfortable and satisfied with the proofs of service I have for her and have found some stronger proofs since I wrote this, which I'll consider using.  However, all of the sources for her service mention that she did her service in New York City but none specifically stated that she was "Mrs. Anne Coles Mott of New York City" during the war, it is merely inferred.  And, one of the requirements on the application is a proof of her residence during the war so an "inferred residence" wasn't going to cut it.  Then one night (let's be honest, it was closer to dawn) last week, just as my forehead was about to hit my desk, I found IT, the source to end all sources:

"City and County of New York, ss.
Anne Mott, of the City and County of New York, being duly sworn, saith that during the Revolutionary war she resided in the city of New York; that she and her family being friendly to the Revolutionary cause, she often visited the provost in the said city of New York kept by the British and where the most distinguished of the American prisoners were confined; that same time in the beginning of the winter of the year 1779, she saw Joseph Youngs, Esq. of the county of West Chester, confined as a prisoner in the said prison; (D) that she often carried him, and the other prisoners confined in that prison, provisions and clothing furnished by her husband, and a few others of the Whig inhabitants of the city of New York.  That sometime afterwards the said Joseph Youngs, Esq. was, for some cause unknown to this deponent, put into the dungeon or condemned room, as it was then called; that he continued there until he was in a very weak and debilitated condition; that her husband, Isaac Mott, and one John Franklin, of the said city of New York, solicited the commander of the British forces , in the said city of New York, to permit the said Joseph Youngs to reside at her house, in order to recover his health; that it was granted on condition of the said Isaac Mott and John Franklin becoming bound to the sum of three thousand pounds sterling for the good behavior of the said Joseph Youngs as a prisoner of the British army; that the said Joseph Youngs was permitted to be brought to the house of her husband, the said Isaac Mott, where he continued some time in a very weak and debilitated state; that she is unable to state, with certainty, how long the said Joseph Youngs was confined in the provost and dungeon as aforesaid, but she supposes it to be about one year or more and that she had a brother confined in the same prison some part of the time that the said Joseph Youngs was so confined.

Anne Mott.

Sworn this 16th day of January 1823, before me
    Samuel B. Ruggles, Commissioner to take affidavits, &c."

19th Congress, 1st Session
The Committee on Revolutionary Claims
Report concerning the petition by Samuel Youngs, son of Joseph Youngs
Serial Set Vol. No. 142, Session Vol. No.2, H.Rpt. 154; pages 17 and 18

Apparently Samuel Youngs father, Joseph Youngs, owned a barn near Tarrytown and allowed American troops to stay there.  When the British captured the American troops staying there, they also captured Joseph Youngs and took all the men to the prison in NYC where Joseph met Anne.  Samuel Youngs, Joseph's son and the person who filed the petition, joined the war effort two years after his father was abducted by the British.  Samuel filed a lengthy pension application in the 1830s (which can be viewed on Footnote.com) that included many testimonials which back up what he said in 1823 about what happened with his father and his father's property (the British burned the barn down after they captured the troops and Joseph Youngs). 

What Anne's affidavit means for me:
  • It establishes her residency, something I needed a proof for for my DAR application
  • It establishes her relationship with her husband, Isaac Mott
  • It further establishes and expands upon what was already known about her war service
  • It is worth noting that in the winter of 1779 mentioned above, when Anne was caring for the men of the prison, she was pregnant with her youngest child (a son, Isaac, who was born in March of 1780 on the same day his father, Isaac Sr., died.  Isaac Jr. is believed to have died young).
  • The brother of Anne's mentioned was Jesse Coles, one of the first American spies and an aide and confident of Gen. Washington's
  • 3,000 pounds wasn't a small sum then and it isn't a small sum now.  The fact that they were willing to be bound to that sum tells me a lot.  Namely, that they must have trusted Joseph Youngs a great deal and that they were charitable to a fault.
  • About fifteen years after Anne gave this deposition, her great-granddaughter, Estrella Charlotte "Essie" Mott came to live her.  Essie writes that by then Anne had pretty well lost her mind and was living in a fantasy world centered around the American and British troops she interacted with in her youth during the war.
It is important to note that the source used to establish residency and the source used to establish war service cannot be the same source.  I will only be using the affidavit above as proof of her residency in my DAR application.

1 comment:

  1. WOW oh WOW! What a fabulous find! How long were you doing the Happy Dance??? Congrats!!

    ReplyDelete

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