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Revolutionary War Pension Application by Magdalen Hawkins Harvey

Pension Application of Magdalen, widow of Matthew Harvey: W19681

Transcribed and annotated by C. Leon Harris

State of Virginia, Bottetourt [sic: Botetourt] County S.S.

On this 3rd day of April 1841, before me James B. Wilson, a Justice of the peace, in and for said County personally appeared Mrs. Magdalen Harvey Aged 67 years a respectable resident of said County, who being first duly sworn according to law; doth on her oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the Act of Congress, passed July 7, 1838, Entitled “An Act granting half pay and pensions to certain widows: That she is the widow of Mathew Harvey dec’d. of said county, who was a private of Cavalry in Lee’s Legion in the revolutionary war; and as well as declarant recollects, her husband Mathew Harvey dec’d. enlisted under Capt. Lee himself, afterwards Col. or Gen’l. Lee) and she further understood from her dec’d. husband, that he served 4 or 5 years in the Revolutionary war, and fully to its end; but for any further information as to her husband services, she will have to refer the Commissioner of pensions to the records and documents in the War departments in Washington, and the Auditors office in Richmond.

And she the said Magdalen Harvey further declares, that she was married to the said Mathew Harvey on the 18th day of August 1788 — and that her husband, the aforesaid Mathew Harvey died on the 20th day of Sep’r. 1823 ; that she was not married to him prior to his leaving the service, but the Marriage took place previous to the 1st day of January 1794, Viz: at the time above stated; as will more fully appear from the proof annexed: and that she has remained a widow ever since the death of her husband as above stated to the present time; her maiden name being Hawkins. Magdalen Harvey

State of Virginia, Bedford County SS.

On this 7th day of May 1841, before me John W. Holt a justice of the peace in and for said county, personally appeared Mrs. Sarah Mitchell a respectable widow of said county who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on her oath say –: That she is 71 years old; and that in August 1788 she was present and saw Mathew Harvey dec’d of the County of Bottetourt, and her sister Magdalen Hawkins (now Harvey) married by the Rev’d Jno Heath at the house of Mr. Robert Harvey’s (deponents step Father) on Catawba Creek about 2 miles from Fincastle, in Bottetourt Co. Va. That said Mathew Harvey, and Ro. Harvey were brothers – this Elder Ro. Harvey married dep. [sic: deponent’s] mother – and Matthew the younger as aforesaid dep. sister. That the Harvey family of Bottetourt, Ro, Wm, Ja’s, and Mathew all came from the head of Elk in the state of Maryland – Ro. Harvey she understood was in the service (Revo?) in Maryland before he came to Bott. which was during the war. That Mathew Harvey dec’d. (who married Magdalen Hawkins) has from time to time told dep. and mentioned it in company, that he enlisted in the state of Maryland in Lee’s Legion at about 16 years old – (and was attached to Cap. Michael Rudolphs company) – that he ran away from his master to whom he was bound to do so – and that Gen’l. Lee told him he was too young, and that he had better go back to his mother and that said Harvey told her he served through the whole of the Revo’y. war to the end – was a prisoner at one time on board a British prison ship – and was exchanged at Yorktown, Va. the most of his time being rendered in the South; and that this Harvey has frequently told of his having his horse shot down, and fell on him in which situation he hid himself behind the horse from being shot by a wounded Tory British soldier, untill his Cavalry got relief [word illegible]. That about the close of the Revo’y. war the aforesaid Mathew Harvey came to Bottetourt Co. on foot with a knapsack on his back in company with Dav’d Fosbier a German – but that Ro. Harvey, Wm. and Jas. came previously – Robert first of all. That the four brothers were at the Battle of Guilford [Guilford Courthouse, 15 March 1781] – the 3 latter as drafted men. – and that Wm was killed at said Battle, and that James Harvey was also at the Battle of Yorktown Va.

And further that the said Mathew Harvey went to school in Bottetourt one year immediately after he came from Maryland was discharged from service – and then commenced merchandizing, by which he accumulated a vast deal of property – and was a very wealthy man at the time of his death – which was in the year 1823. That his present widow Magdalen Harvey has remained unmarried ever since the death of her husband as aforesaid to the present time – and is the widow of said Mathew Harvey dec’d. Deponant also understood Harvey to say that Col. Watts of said Co – and Jude [sic: Judge?] Peter Johnson of Abington [sic: Abingdon] Va. was also in said Legion – and that she has heard Harvey say that he knew Francis Gray (in the Revo’y. war) Agents father; and moreover that she has heard said Harvey, and Henry Bowyer of Bottetourt – who was an officer in Lees or [Lt. Col. William] Washingtons horse – talk for hours at a time together about their Revo’y. Services – and that Henry Bowyer aforesaid distinctly recognized Mathew Harvey aforesaid as having been in the service as aforesaid in Lees Legion in the Revo’y. war. That it was Capt. Egleston [sic: Eggleston] who shot the wounded Tory, and saved Harvey’s life – Harvey being then on foot – met a Tory on horse back with a bag of provisions for Talton’s [sic: Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton’s] Army – captured him and took his horse for himself &c.

Test [signed] Martha Campbell [signed] Sarah Mitchell


Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee enlisted as a Captain under George Washington in April 1775 and remained in that rank until early in 1778. Washington’s army, including Capt. Lee, was at Head of Elk MD (now Elkton) when the British army landed there on 28 Aug 1777 to begin the campaign against Philadelphia. Harvey may have enlisted with Lee during that period. Because of the brilliant performance of his Legion in New Jersey and elsewhere, Lee was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In the spring of 1781 Lee’s Legion was sent to the Carolinas to aid the southern army under Gen. Nathanael Greene. (To his lasting chagrin Lee never attained the rank of general during the Revolutionary War, but President Washington did make him a major general during the Whiskey Rebellion. His son, Robert Edward, has eclipsed him in history.)


Owner of original
Linked toColonel Matthew Harvey; Colonel Robert Harvey; William Harvey; Magdalena Hawkins

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