State of New York, Rensselaer County, Sept. 6, 1834, Cary Briggs, residence Stephentown, N.Y., age 81 years. Enlisted in Capt. Michael Spencer’s Co., Col. Waterman’s Regt., under Brig. Gen. Cornell, November, 1775, and left same April, 1776, served 5 months; Enlisted in Co., commanded by Capt. Reuben Whitman, Col. Cook’s Regt., September, 1776, and served until December of the same year (1776), 3 months; enlisted as Lieutenant, and received commission in Capt. Michael Spencer’s Co., Col. John Waterman’s Regt., Jan. 1, 1777, and served till June 1, 1778, 17 months; August, 1778, drafted and served as Lieutenant, Capt. William Hall’s Co., Col. Waterman’s Regt., from August, 1778 till fore part of October, 1778, 40 days, in Sullivan’s Expedition; September, of October, drafted and went to defend Sunderland, in the State of Vermont, against the Indians, in service from September, 1780 to October, 10 or 15 days; called out and served as Lieutenant, Capt. Skinner’s Co., to defend Saratoga, N.Y. against the Indians, in service from December, 1780 to January, 1781, about 2 or 3 weeks. Residence East Greenwich, Kent County, R.I. at service enlistments, except the 2 last, then resided in the town of Hancock, Berkshire County, Mass.; resided in the State of Rhode Island principally at time of service. At time of skirmishes on Prudence Island commanded the left wing of Co., under Maj. Malachi Hammet; at another time took a British spy between Foot Island and the Lighthouse at Brenton’s Neck; also was in battle and slightly wounded by cannon ball hitting a post standing near and throwing a piece of same (cannon ball) against his thigh laying him up for a short time. Bansfield Capron knows of service. Commission destroyed with other papers, by niece, several years past.
Archibald Bull, Clerk
Desposition of Bandfield, or Bansfield Capron, residence Hancock,
Berkshire County, Mass.
Acquainted with Cary Briggs for a number of years and knowing to his being a Private and Officer as stated; personally knowing to his service under Capt. Spencer and Capt. Whitman as Private and also as Lieutenant under Capt. Spencer.
Before Nathan Howard, Justice of Peace
Affidavit of character by Matthew Jones, Clergyman, of Stephentown, N.Y. and declaration before Randall A. Brown, Supervisor of Stephentown, N.Y.
Declaration before Nathan Howard, Justice of Peace. Born in the town of East Greenwich, R.I., August 19, 1751, living there when called into service; since the revolution, up to 1829, resided in Hancock, Berkshire County, Mass., now living in Stephentown, N.Y., etc.
Dcpostion of John Horton, residence Stephentown, N.Y.
Acquainted with Cary Briggs and personally knowing of his service in 1778, as Lieutenant.
Deposition of Allen Matteson, residing in Berlin, Rensselaer County N.Y.
Personally know of Cary Briggs entering service in September, 1776, Capt. Reuben Whitman’s Co., Col. Cook’s Regt. And that he served at that time 3 months in same Co.; know of his serving in 1777, Capt. Michael Spencer’s Co., Col. Waterman’s Regt.; Deponent not in same Co. at this time, but frequently saw him in service during year; know of his serving in August, 1778, Capt. Hall’s Co., Col. Waterman’s Regt., 20 days; Deponent at this time served in Sullivan’s Expedition and left him in service; all service was in R.I.
Henry R. Bristol, Clerk
Declaration of Cary Briggs
To the query if he served in the Continental Troops, he answered, he served first 5 months as Minute Man and served all his term except 4 days, residing at that time in Rhode Island; was in State Troops as Lieutenant and last 2 times called out in consequence of an alarm by Indians and served as above stated.
Deposition of Major Daniel Brown of the town of Stephentown, Rensselaer County, N.Y.
In latter part of 1780, an alarm was made by Indians in the south part of Vermont and I personally know that Captain Cary Briggs was called out and served with me at this time as Lieutenant; in 1781, an alarm was given and Deponent believes that Capt. Cary Briggs was called out and went as Lieutenant; acquainted with Cary Briggs more than 50 years and he has a good character, etc.
We the subscribers, the town of Hancock, Mass., acquainted with Cary Briggs, of Stephentown, N.Y. a great number of yers and know he has a good character; and believe he was an Officer in the Revolutionary War.
(signed) William Hadsell, Caleb Eldridge, William Lapham, Rodman Hazard, John Gardner.
Cary Briggs had formerly stated that he had a Captain’s Commission, but never enlisted under it and it must have been destroyed by rats or mice; my impression now is, that it was a Commission which belonged to my father. Statement of capture of British spy, by Cary Briggs: While at Newport, at Room’s Wharf, and doing duty as Lieutenant, was ordered by Col. Cook, in absence of the Capt., to take command of a boat and go to Brenton’s Point to set Guards around the house of one Brenton, a Tory; it was very dark and stationed my men, there were 6, around said house, when done, I passed along to barnyard, being about 11 o’clock at night, and the bar fall, stood perfectly still, then squat down and discovered something moving resembling a man; hailed him and told him to advance and give the countersign; he advanced, I charged with my bayonet, but he could not give the countersign; I told him to stand, took him by the collar and asked him where he was going; he said going lobstering; I told him it was too dark to catch lobsters, he would not be able to tell the sea from the land unless he stepped on it; asked him where he belonged; he said, to the house and made an excuse he wanted to go there; I replied, he could not, as I had 6 men there guarding, then took him to the house and searched him; found he had a pistol loaded; asked him if he shot lobsters; he said no he did not, but did not know what he might come across; I replied, you have come across a Yankee; I held him there until day, after taking his pistol away, then took him to Brenton’s house and asked Mr. Brenton if he, the spy, belonged there; Mr. Brenton said no; I asked, did you ever see him before; he answered, D__ you, no nor you either; I then took him to headquarters where he was examined and a writing was found on him, with an inquiry what the situation of American was, whether prepared for battle, how strong, etc., which paper condemned him as a spy and he was sent to Providence; the letter was directed to Mr. Brenton and Mr. Brenton was to write back. I did not have a Lieutenant’s Commission, and understood was not intended to have one, but was voted in as Lieutenant, served as such, enlisted as one in Capt. Michael Spencer’s Co., but had no Commission in 1777.
Deposition of Oliver Collins, town of conquest, Cayuga County, N.Y.; age 83.
Oliver Collins served as Private, Artillery Co., Captain John Garsia, Col. Elliott’s Regt. in 1777, and 1778, and stationed at Warwick Neck, R.I. and there knew Cary Briggs, a Lieutenant in Militia co., which had been commanded by Capt. Michael Spencer; I understood that Capt. Michael Spencer left the Regiment in consequence of becoming a follower of Jemima Wilkinson, a “Friend”; any way Capt. Spencer left the Co. and Cary Briggs commanded as Lieutenant, there being no Captain; the Co., commanded by Cary Briggs, was stationed at Warwick Neck, in col. Waterman’s Regt., Thomas Tillinghast, Lt. Col., Maj. Barton; I know that Cary Briggs served as Lieutenant and as Lieutenant in Capt. William Hall’s Co.; I saw Cary Briggs in Sullivan’s Expedition frequently and he served as Quarter-master’s clerk for the remainder of the time he was Lieutenant, Capt. William Hall’s Co., know that Cary Briggs enlisted September, 1777, and served as Lieutenant and commander about 11 months and 20 days; remainder of the 14 months I served know that Cary Briggs served as Lieutenant; also in the fall of 1778, I served 4 months part time on Rhode Island, Middletown, etc., and Cary Briggs enlisted for 14 months and at expiration of the 14 months, he left service.
Deposition of Allen Matheson, of Berlin, Rensselaer County, N.Y., age 79 and acquainted with Cary Brigs, know he was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. In 1776, I enlisted in above Co., about October 1, in the town of Coventry, served 3 months and Cary Briggs was a soldier at the same time and served as such for 3 months; both enlisted and served in same Co. commanded by Capt. Reuben Whitman and served at Newport Island, Cary Briggs served as a Lieutenant, stationed part time at East Greenwich, R.I., Deponent served that year about 6 months, Cary Briggs all the time I was in service in that year; had seen Cary Briggs with green cockade on left side of had, believe he served as Lieutenant most of the year 1777; often saw Cary Briggs after I left service; I served fore part of year (1777), also fore part of 1778; was credibly informed that Capt. Michael Spencer quit service and joined Jemima Wilkinson, a “Friend”, in 1778. I was in service in Sullivan’s Expedition and saw Cary Briggs, who served as Lieutenant.
January 10, 1838, before John L. Sheldon, Justice of Peace
Deposition of Cuff Spencer, of Stephentown, N.Y., age 78, acquainted with Cary Briggs and believe him to be 84 years old, acquainted with him ever since I was a lad. About 1773, I was in North Kingstown, R.I., called Updike’s Newtown, with my Master, Christopher Spencer; I went to Rocky Point, R.I. after rock weed for the sheep with a William Briggs and on our return with the weed was met by a corporal, who hailed us, he kept us a few minutes then let us go on home; the soldiers were stationed at Updike’s Long House and believe Cary Briggs had command at that place; believe that Cary Brigs spent much of his time in the Revolutionary War, during the War; I know that Capt. Michael Spencer joined Jemima Wilkinson, the “Friend”, myself and Phones Spencer joined same society.
December 13, 1835 before Nathan Howard, Commissioner
Rensselaer County, N.Y. September 27, 1851, before Rufus R. Allen, Justice
Of Peace, Benoni Briggs, residence Stephentown, for pension due father, Cary Briggs, who died January 12, 1835 or 1836, power of attorney given to William Valentine, Albany, N.Y.
Certificate from Asa Potter, Secretary of State of R.I., April 13, 1852. I examined rolls and Records of the Revolutionary War in this office to see the Revolutionary soldier’s names and the name of Cary Briggs does not appear. Rolls and Records very deficient as to registry of names and services of Revolutionary soldiers and claimants.
Deposition of Daniel Harrison, George Rose and Joshua Whitford, of Stephentown, N.Y., that Cary Briggs, a Revolutionary soldier, died January 12, 1837; left a widow, Elizabeth, and children, Benoni, Gideon, Sarah Briggs and Polly Moon; Cary Briggs’ widow, Elizabeth, died October 12, 1838; children all over 21 years of age.
Before Alanson N. Green, Justice of Peace; Henry A. Chase, Clerk
Deposition of Benoni Briggs, only surviving son of Cary Briggs, December 1, 1849. Three sisters living, Sarah, Polly and Lucy; power of attorney given to William R. Hoyt, New York City, N.Y., as attorney.
Before Rufus R. Allen, Justice of Peace. Ambrose H. Sheldon, Clerk of Court.
Deposition of Philander H. Thomas, a Physician and Surgeon, residing in Sand Lake, Rensselaer County, N.Y. from 1826. Was the family Physician to Cary Briggs to the time of his death, in Stephentown, N.Y., January 10, 1836; Cary Briggs often related incidents which occurred to him, or came under his observation, while a soldier in the Revolutionary War; he was a claimant for a pension; his character good; acquainted with Benoni Briggs and believe him to be the only surviving son of Cary Briggs.
Before Jacob Wheeler, Justice of Peace, January 22, 1849
Duplicate appointment to Benoni Briggs as sole Executor, November 8, 1852
Letter from Philander H. Thomas, June 26, 1846. Attended Cary Briggs as his Physician; an error was made by the one who made out his application for a pension, consequently it was refused, etc.; the spy he captured was supposedly sent out by General Prescott, at Newport, etc.
Letters from L.A. Pugh, 1852; F.S. Evans, 1851; Archibald Bull, 1833; R.J. Powell, 1844; William K. Hoyt, N.Y.
Letter from Henry Bowen, 1834. No document in Secretary of State’s office by which Cary Briggs’ service can be ascertained; have examined records from 1776 to May, 1781.
BELOW ARE LETTERS, WHICH WERE WRITTEN WITH REFERENCE TO CARY BRIGGS’ MILITARY SERVICE:
State Record Commissioner
May 14, 1928
Mr. C.A. Briggs
1933 Hewitt Avenue
In reply to your inquiry regarding the Revolutionary service of Cary Briggs and Thomas Briggs, the Military Census of 1777 notes a Cary Briggs in East Greenwich, aged 16-50, “able to bear arms.”
Our records show that a Cary Briggs, born in East Greenwich, R.I., August 19, 1751; enlised November 1775 and served in various Companies to October 1778; died in Stephentown, N.Y., January 12, 1837.
The Military Census of 1777 shows a Thomas Briggs in East Greenwich, aged 16-50, “able to bear arms.”
Our records show that a Thomas Briggs, Jr., born East Greenwich, R.I., December 23, 1760; served as Private from 1776 to 1779, also served as substitute for father, Thomas Briggs; became a pensioner and died June 18, 1841. A Thomas Briggs, date of birth not given, served as Private, Capt. Riggs’ Co., Col. Smith’s Regt., enlisted June 6, 1777, for 15 months. A Thomas Briggs, who “says he was born in Wrentham”, deserted from Capt. Jabez Westcott’s Co., Col. Elliott’s Regt. Artillery, advertised in Providence Gazette, August 9, 1777.
There is not definite evidence of service for Thomas Briggs, father of Cary Briggs.
A certificate of these services will be sent you for a fee of one dollar each.
Very truly yours,
(signature) Herbert O. Brigham
State Record Commissioner
From: United States Department of the Interior
Bureau of Pensions
To: C.A. Briggs
1933 Hewitt Avenue
January 15, 1929
I advise you from the papers in the Revolutionary War pension claim, S. 28650, it appears that Cary Briggs was born August 19, 1751, in East Greenwich, Kent County, R.I.
While residing at said East Greenwich, he enlisted and served with the Rhode Island Troops as follows:
From November 1775, five months as a private in Captain Michael Spencer’s company, Colonel Waterman’s Regiment
From September 1776, three months in Captain Reuben Whitman’s company, Colonel Cook’s Regiment
From January 1, 1777 to June 1, 1778, Lieutenant in Captain Michael Spencer’s Company, Colonel Waterman’s Regiment
From August 1778 to October 1778 lieutenant in Captain William Hall’s Company, Colonel Waterman’s Regiment and was in Sullivan’s Expedition.
While residing in Hancock, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, he served in the Massachusetts Militia as follows:
In September or October 1780, ten or fifteen days, no officers stated
From December 1780 to January 1781, as Lieutenant in Captain Skinner’s Company
Pension was allowed on his application executed September 6, 1832, at which time he was living in Stephentown, Rensselaer County, New York. He died there, Janaury 12, 1837.
His widow, Elizabeth, died October 12, 1838, there are no details as to their marriage. The following children survived her: Benoni Briggs, Gideon Briggs, Sarah Briggs and Polly Moon or Moore.
Cary Briggs homestead, East Road, Stephentown, NY, built in 1830. Porch
ell were added in 1856. (Photo from
Stephentown Historical Album - 1977)