November 28, 1994Dear Mr. Sherman, My sincere thanks for the materials which you were kind enough to send me. Rest assured, the materials will be used. I am currently assembling a comprehensive file on Revolutionary War pension applicants from Monmouth County and am happy to add the information on Thomas Shearman.
In response to your questions, this is what I know about Thomas Shearman, his name shows up in the following sources:
-Private, Monmouth County Militia, listed in William Stryker's Officers and Men of New Jersey in the American Revolution, Genealogical Publishing Co.: Baltimore, MD, 1967.
-Pension Application rejected, see Rejected or Suspended Applications for Revolutionary War Pensions, Genealogical Publishing Co.: Baltimore, MD, 1969.
-Listed in the Kenn Styker-Rodda's The Revolutionary Census of New Jersey, Polyanthos: New York, 1972.
What is most interesting about Thomas Shearman's service may be how uneventful it was. His is the first pension application I've seen where the applicant claims to have served throughout the war, but is unable to remember even one battle, raid, or incident--which goes a long way toward explaining why it was rejected. Similarly, the militia captains who Thomas Shearman served under, William Davies (Davis), Daniel Hampton, and Joseph Bishop, were undistinguished commanders. The lack of specific information in Shearman's pension application, then, indicates to me that at least one of the following is true:
1. Shearman served in one of the several "dysfunctional" militia companies from old Shrewsbury Township--these companies were chronically undermanned and seldom given anything but the most routine patrols.
2. Shearman may have exaggerated his actual militia service in hopes of receiving the pension. It seems unlikely to me that any Monmouther's who served throughout the war could have been lucky enough to completely avoid combat (remember that applicants were supposed to list all actions in which they participated).
3. For some reason, Shearman did not understand that he was supposed to list battles, actions, etc. in the pension application.
Michael S. Adelberg, Historian
Last revision Sunday, September 29, 2013