On the 23rd day of April 1818, "Caesar Wallace, a man of colour aged about eighty years he believes, he was born in Africa and does not certainly know his age resident in the Town of Meredith County and State aforesaid" [Strafford, N.H.] applied for a pension for his services during the American Revolution. The affidavit continues:
"That he the said Caesar Wallace sometime in the year 1777 enlisted and entered the aforesaid service in Newbury, State of Massachusetts for during the war in the company commanded by Captain Caleb Robinson and regiment commanded by Col. George Reed, New Hampshire line that he continued to serve in said service of the United States in the war aforesaid on the continental establishment from the 1777 until June the 7th 1783 when was discharged at New Windsor in the State of New York. That we was in the battle of Monmouth and at Horseneck and at Newtown and that he is in reduced circumstances and stands in need of the assistance of his country for support."
This initial affidavit is certified by William Badger, Judge on 24 July 1818. Additionally Ebenezer Pitman and Samuel M. Senter, selectmen for Meredith confirmed that Caesar was a resident of that town in reduced circumstances. He then adds that he has wife Katy aged 72 years healthy and one daughter Lucy aged 27 years. He signs the document by mark. The last document is dated 3 July 1820 and says Caesar Wallace, about ninety years old, resident in Meredith, received one cow purchased with money received of government. The entire pension file is only nine pages long. [Rev. War Pension #S43250] George Washington personally signed his discharge.
The problem here, as with any genealogical problem, is proving this man is the same Caesar Wallace discussed in Langdon Parsons's History of Rye. This work was published in 1905 and well after the fact. Here are the records for Caesar:
- Caesar Wallace married Katy Duce at Exeter, N.H. on 25 March 1783 [History of Exeter by Charles Henry Bell (1885), Genealogical Section, p. 62]
- Caesar Wallace at Gilmanton, N.H. in the 1790 census with a household of 4 persons. He doesn't appear separately indexed in either the 1800 or 1810 census. Meredith and Gilmanton were contiguous at this time.
- In 1818 a resident of Meredith, when applying for his pension, aged about 80.
- In 1820, still a resident of Meredith, aged about 90.
- Phillis Wallis died 17 March 1821, aged 80 years.
- One Caesar Seavey Wallis, died 18 November 1821 at age 81. [It should be noted that the Samuel Wallis, the last owner of Caesar was the son of Samuel and Hannah (Seavey) Wallis. Did Caesar once belong to the Seaveys?]
I find it hard to believe there were two separate individuals named Caesar Wallace whose ages were nebulously the same. And reviewing Caesar's service records, one sees that he called both "of Rye" and "of Exeter." How to reconcile the records? Unfortunately the ages themselves preclude the possibility that there were two Caesars perhaps father and son. Parts of the stories corroborate each other. Parsons says that after being granted their freedom (no date given) Caesar went to Salem, Mass. Caeasar himself says he enlisted from Newbury, Mass., both of these towns in Essex County, Mass. However, the records can be reconciled if we accept that the recollections on which the History of Rye are built are faulty and they got Caesar's wife's name wrong. Perhaps Phyllis was the name of another daughter. He has four people in his household in 1790 of which we only can verify two: He and his wife Katy. Daughter Lucy's age in 1818 is 27 and hence born ca. 1791.
Knoblock, cited below, maintains that there were two men of the same name and he distinguishes between the two. The reader should consult this and make their own determination. However, he cites a continuation of the pension of Caeasar that makes him alive up to 1827 or 1828. Yet this page is not part of the Footnote.com nine page pension records. Certainly if alive past 1821, there were two men of the same name.
I've never found Langdon Parsons particularly accurate in his genealogical assertions. He lost more respect from me for this sentence (pp. 268-69): "after the liberation [of Caesar and his wife] they went to Salem, Mass., but finding the delights of freedom fewer than its cares and burdens the pair returned to Rye. . ." I think a different perspective on the reasons for their return is needed. Common sense dictates that they met with such discrimination they were unable to either work or live there. There was, during the colonial era and 19th century, a thriving black community at Portsmouth, N.H., profiled in Mark Sammons, Black Portsmouth: three centuries of African-American Heritage (2004).
Caesar1 WALLACE, obviously an adopted surname, was born ca. 1738 in Africa and died at Rye, N.H. on 18 November 1821. He married at Exeter, N.H. on 25 March 1783, Katy DUCE, born ca. 1745. She may be the same as the person who died at Rye on 17 March 1821. There was a large Duce family in Exeter and several members are recorded in the marriage records of Exeter, including Scipio, Robert, and Cato, all of which were her contemporaries [According to Knoblock, cited below, Robert and Cato were the same person]. Caesar has a biography in Glenn A. Knoblock, Strong and Brave Fellows: New Hampshire's Black Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution, 1775-1784 (2003), pp. 178-80.
Children of Caesar and Katy (Duce) Wallace, surnamed Wallace, list possibly incomplete:
i. Lucy2, born ca. 1791, alive in 1818.
ii. child, born before 1790.
iii. child, born before 1790.
Submission for the Carnival of African-American Genealogy: March 19th: Restore My Name--Slave Records and Genealogy Research.