Posted by Amy Johnson Crow on July 4, 2014 in Collections, Research

John Trimble served his country while it was still fighting for its independence from England. His first enlistment was in February 1778 and was at Valley Forge. His job was “guarding the people from taking provision to the British in Philadelphia.” But when his two-month tour was over, his service was not. He enlisted again in April 1779 for nine months and later fought in the Indian conflicts in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Trimble was born in March 1756 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and it was from there that he first enlisted. After the Revolution, he moved for a brief time to Westmoreland County, then to Fayette County, and finally to Harrison County, Kentucky. His move to Harrison County happened sometime before 20 September 1832.

We know all of this from John Trimble’s 1832 affidavit in his Revolutionary War pension file. This file also documents the names of his commanding officers. Though it doesn’t list any family members by name, he does make a reference to family still living in Pennsylvania.

Beginning of John Trimble's affidavit.
Beginning of John Trimble’s affidavit.

For his service, John Trimble was awarded a pension of $46.66 per year.

The U.S. Pension Roll of 1835 was created by the Commissioner of Pensions at the request by the Senate to compile a list of those who were drawing military pensions for service in the Revolutionary War. This collection has recently been updated on It now has an index to go along with the images (making it easier to use) and all four volumes of the roll are together.

Why use this index instead of going straight to the Revolutionary War and Bounty Land Application Files? The 1835 Pension Roll lists the pensioners by county and also lists the unit in which they served. Take a look at who else is in the county who served in the same unit as your ancestor. You might pick up clues about migration. Did your ancestor serve with John Trimble? Maybe he also followed the path from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania to Westmoreland County to Fayette County to Harrison County, Kentucky. Also take a look at the pensioners from the same unit in surrounding counties.

Two notes about the 1835 Pension Roll. First, pensioners are listed in the county where they were living at the time the roll was created. Also, widows who were drawing pensions are not listed by their names. Instead, they are listed under the veteran’s name. You can tell that it is a widow’s pension if the remarks column states that the veteran has died.

Pension Roll of 1835, Harrison County, Kentucky (portion)
Pension Roll of 1835, Harrison County, Kentucky (portion)



Amy Johnson Crow

Amy Johnson Crow is a Certified Genealogist and an active lecturer and author. Her roots run deep in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. She earned her Masters degree in Library and Information Science at Kent State University. Amy loves to help people discover the joys of learning about their ancestors and she thinks that there are few things better than a day in a cemetery. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Amy Johnson Crow.