Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Express Riders of 1776-1851.

The express rider was a important part of the army they took intelligence reports to other commanders and to Congress and to the Congressmen and Senators. One can see way George Washington was concern when Congress was thinking of doing away with the express man and only use the Post, the express man had to be of good character not only because of the intelligence they carried but the vast amount of money they carried as will as much as $150,000 dollars at a time. The express rider was accountable for all that he carried until it reached the hands it was intended for so if it was lost or stolen he had to make it good.

Note. Although there is no family info here it was important to place these names here to help family's find other family members and to let them know what they were doing at this time in History. If you would like to add any information to the names or have any questions you may at the following address

The Express Rider.

In 1779 there was a act in Congress to the discharging of all express riders in the pay of the United States, as they were in constant pay at the public expence and would be a grate measur to save the expence to the private expresses. George Washington would not admit to a general discharge of the express rider till he got directions from Congress. Washington felt that circumstances frequently arise that demmand an instant communication. He explained that to place intirely out of the tract of the post, nor dose it appear to him that it would answer to rely on getting of occasional expresses at the moment they are wanted, both on account of the delay that would often happen and the risk of employing improper characters. He went on, If one half of the present expresses were dismissed I should think this would be carring the experiment as far as would be safe and whether to extended any farther. As a result of Washington concers, On January 14, 1779 Congress made this statement. "That the Commander in Chief be authorised to order so many expresses to be retained in the public service as he may judge necessary for the immediate purposes of the army," and subsequently left the supervision of the express service to Washington and the Board of War. Nevertheless, its intervention at this time resulted in the striking reduction in the number of expresses from 112 to 17, and the unauthorized use of them by staff and civilian officers significantly diminished."

Note. The year date beside the name is the year the information came from Congress.

1778. Lawellin Barry, all I could find on him was one line that stated that a warrant was issue on the Treasurer to him for $200. Dollars which he was accountable.

Note. Mr. Barry's, first name was also spelled ( Levallin ) as to the right spelling I couldn't fine out.

William Dodd.

In 1778 a letter from Henry Laurens was sent to William Heath Mr. Laurens had this to say; "The Bearer William Dodd who has hitherto in the business of a Messenger to & from Boston merited the Character of a diligent discret Young Man, in the Moment of his departure demands from me two hundred Dollars without which he cannot proceed. His present chief errand is, to conduct a large Sum of Money from the Treasury & Board of War for the use of the Commissary of Purchases in the Northern department & therefore he ought, if he is intitled to receive any supplies here, to have obtained the necessary Sum from one of those Offices, but at this time of day both are shut up. Should I refuse to enable him immediately, another day will be passed before he can proceed. I have therefore judged it best to grant him the Sum he required. I take the liberty of requesting you to enquire & inform me if Mr. Dodd is not particularly in the service of the State of Massachusetts & if he is, to give an intimation of this advance to the proper Board or Office in order that his Account may be properly charged & a loss avoided which may otherwise attend this irregular payment either to the public or more properly to myself whose Wages will not bear it."

In 1778 a warrant was issue on the Treasurer in favor of William Dodd, an express rider, for 200 dollars, to be advanced him; and for which he is to be accountable.

1778. There is due to William Dodd, for his service as express, rider, from the 3d October, 1776, to the 31 October, 1777, as more fully appears by a particular state, filed with his account, a balance of 370 30/90 dollars.

Richard Ross.

1777. A warrant was issue on the treasurer in favor of Richard Ross, express rider, for 300 dollars, to be advanced in part of his demand to the 16 October; he to be accountable.

1778. There is due, to Richard Ross, for riding express from January 15, 1777, to November 1st, 289 days, a balance of 195 dollars.

Martin Nicholas.

1777. A warrant was issue on the treasurer in favor of Martin Nicholas, for 30 dollars, a gratuity for his riding express with intelligence to Congress.

John Henry Zimmerman.

1798. John Henry Zimmerman, praying that he may receive the arrearages of pay due to him, as a soldier and express rider in the Pennsylvania line; and, also, that he may be allowed compensation for a valuable horse, the property of the petitioner, which was lost while in the service of the United States, during the late war.

Edward Merritt.

1858. Edward Merritt, an army express rider in the Mexican war, praying to be allowed a pension or other compensation for services rendered and injuries received in the public service.

Note. I know there's not much info on Mr. Merritt here but now at lest you know two things about him, one he was an express rider and two he was in the Mexican War, and maybe three he was in the army, although it states he was a army rider does not mean he was in the army he may have been a privet citizen hired as a express rider.

William H. Owen.

1850. William H. Owen was a Private in Captain W. B. Gray’s company of Texas Troops. He was paid the sum of $250. Dollars for his services riding express from Camargo to Corpus Christi in February 1847, and for the value of a horse lost in that journey.

1856. Samuel W. Owen, executor of William H. Owen, deceased, praying compensation for the services of the deceased as an express rider from Camargo to Corpus Christi during the war with Mexico.

Patrick M'Closky.

1776. Due to Patrick M'Closky, for his pay as express rider, from the first day of January to the 31 October, 1777, a balance of four hundred and eighteen dollars.

Simeon Geron.

Simeon Geron, was a express rider in the war of 1812, in 1814 & 1815 he was under Baigadier General Taylor and was also a rider in the Mexico war.

Charles B. Fitch.

Charles B. Fitch, of the state of Ohio, asking to be compensated for services rendered to the Government, during the late war with Great Britain, as an express rider, under the orders of general Wadsworth.

Samuel Howell.

In 1783 Samuel Howell, of New Jersey, was asking Congress to be put on the penson rolls as he had been a express rider between Congress and Headquarters for two years and was at great labor and exposure and a good deal of hazards. At first his pension was to be $12. Dollars a month then it was put down as $8. Dollars a month. He was also asking to be paid for a house that was burned down while occupied by some officers of the United States army. His Bill was still in Congress in 1829, and still had not been paid.

John Le Roy.

John Le Roy, was a express rider in theMexico War and was wounded while going his duty. He received a pnsion of twenty dollars a month for life. Commencement was to on Feb. 22, 1847, his pension Bill was passed on August 25, 1852.

Thomas Graves.

Thomas Graves, of Russell county, State of Kentucky, was asking for a pension in consideration of his services he had rendered as a soldier in the revolutionary war and which he was an express rider as will.

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