Posted in Archives and Libraries, Military, Military pension, National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, Revolutionary War, Websites, Worldcat

William Tong – Revolutionary War Pension

In honor of Independence Day this post features a snippet from the Revolutionary War pension file for my 4th great-grandfather, William Tong.  He was born 9 Aug 1756 at Piscataway, Prince Georges County, Maryland and died at age 93 at Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County, Illinois.

Military pension files, as mentioned previously in this blog, are of immeasurable value for their content.  Note the answers William gives the interviewer:

William Tong, p. 10, “Revolutionary War Pensions, Maryland,” Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900,” originally NARA publication M804, digital image,

Here he gives a rundown of the battles he participated in when his company of minute men joined the army of General George Washington at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown:

William Tong, p. 8, “Revolutionary War Pensions, Maryland,” Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900,” originally NARA publication M804, digital image,

Years ago I made the wonderful discover of William Tong’s autobiography, edited by Herald Stout, at the Library of Congress by searching the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC).  The published version of the autobiography also contains his obituary.  Today the NUCMC catalog is also searchable through

Worldcat is the catalog for more than 10,000 public and university libraries worldwide, and items you find can be ordered through Inter-library loan to your local public library.  I was able to order a copy of his autobiography through my small-town library.

Today, I discovered this same thirteen page autobiography has been transcribed and  put online by someone. Check it out—it is fascinating.  If you are on the trail of someone, determine if he (and sometimes she) would have been of age to join the military during a war or other armed conflict, and track down their military service record and/or pension record.


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

5 thoughts on “William Tong – Revolutionary War Pension

  1. Hi Dayna,
    I just stumbled on this blog post. You found the transcribed autobiography of William Tong on my web site. I transcribed it from Herald Stout’s book. When he died, his widow sent me many of his records. I have just recently started a blog to highlight the stories and histories we find as we research our families. ( I don’t have access to William Tong’s Revolutionary War Pension records. Will have to put that on my list.

    I also noticed your Story of John Gooch and Mary Tong. What a great document!

  2. Margaret, you will be interested to know I just ran across the name Abel Owen on a list of early members of the LDS Church in Missouri! The LDS settlement was in Jackson County, near Lafayette County. I was so surprised and thought you would get a kick out of that.

    1. Hello. I am related to Abel Owen and saw your post. Can you tell me where you saw this information? There was a non-LDS Abel Owen in the area in Lafayette in the 1820s and 1830s whose family was came from North Carolina. He was a local official at several times. I just want to make sure we have two different men.


      1. Hi Steven – I don’t have access to my notes right now, but will check that source when I return home in a few weeks. If I remember right it was a compiled source with names of early LDS members in the Jackson County locality but it gave no details other than names. In order to tell more about the LDS Abel Owen, more early LDS records could be searched for mention of other details in his life, such as birth date and family members. That would be the best way to differentiate between the two men, if they indeed are not the same person. By the way, I’m sure Margaret Owen would love to hear from you. She is a follower on this blog and is from your same Owen clan. She has found a lot of really interesting early records for the Owens.

  3. Wow – I just read William Tong’s autobiography. He was clearly a gentleman. We could use a few more gentlemen these days. And 26 children – he did leave a legacy! I wish more of the old ones had written their stories for those of us who are now here. Another of his daughters, Matilda Tong, married a fellow named George Counts. They ended up in the same California town, Mariposa, about the same time as my ggf, William Rensselaer Owen, who was a nephew to John Gooch and Mary Tong. Was this coincidence, or did all these folks know each other in Missouri? I don’t know. William, aka “Cow Bill” Owen, moved on by 1860. But Matilda and George are still in Mariposa at the Masonic Cemetery. If you’re ever traveling that direction, you could stop in and visit your great-great-great aunt! :-))

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