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  • A Death Date for Solomon Beebe

    Dorothy E. Hopkins

    Documentation for Solomon Beebe of Salisbury, Vermont, and his family has eluded researchers for many years. Happily, Solomon’s death date was discovered during the March 1993 NEHGS research tour to Washington, D.C. amidst our exploration of the vast resources of the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the DAR Library. My own goal was to learn more about the National Archives; with help from Bill Schoeffler, I learned about treasury records - a research tool I want to share with others.

    Solomon Beebe, who enlisted at Ludlow, Mass. 9 April 1776, served in the Revolutionary War but was stricken from the Vermont pension roll in 1819 due to his property holdings. He petitioned for reinstatement from Salisbury, Addison Co., Vt. on 11 Aug. 1823 (Pension #12.775 VT). Solomon’s pension record contained affidavits from several Salisbury neighbors, who on 10 Dec. 1822 confirmed his need for reinstatement. Henceforth Solomon and his second wife Lydia seemingly disappear - with one exception. A Lydia Beebe was buried in the Holman Cemetery in Salisbury, “age 74, died August 1856.” Solomon’s wife Lydia was 58 in 1820, according to the reinstatement application. Could “94” have been transcribed as “74”?

    Neither Solomon nor Lydia appear in the 1830 census index for Vermont. Some Beebe family historians have thus concluded that Solomon died after his 1823 reinstatement but before the 1830 census. If his elderly widow lived with other family members, she would not have been listed as a head-of-household. However, the census microfilm itself reveals Solomon Beebe’s household, consisting of one male 70-80 and one female 70-80. Thus Solomon Beebe died after 1830. At this point treasury records helped.

    Revolutionary pension files normally contain a certificate number and the date of the Act under which the pension was granted. Also in the file is the name of the pension agency or regional office through which payment was made, and its amount. A notebook on top of the Revolutionary pension file cabinets at the National Archives provides a key to final payments of Revolutionary pensions. In this case, the book’s Vermont section located pensions under dates of the various pension acts. With the name of the regional office and the act under which the pension was paid, I could consult microfilm rolls in the lower cabinets, which indexed pensioners by regional office. When payments stopped, the office (in this case, Burlington, Vt.) noted the pensioner’s transfer to another roll or date of death. I thus learned that Solomon’s pension was reinstated, and continued until his death 16 May 1835. A pension for his brother, Ezekiel Beebe, was transferred to the Albany, N.Y., roll in 1836. Such were the rewards of my trip to the National Archives with NEHGS. Dorothy E. Hopkins, 14 Brookside Road, Asheville, NC 28803

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