Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Yo! Pigman!

I was out geocaching in rural Indiana with my frequent geocaching partner when we ran across a strange surname of "Pigman". Mark and I thought that was funny and we kept thinking of the "pig man" episode on Seinfeld where Kramer was convinced he has seen a half-man/half pig which was the result of a government genetic experiment to produce an army of pig warriors. I am a grown man and I laugh at Uranus jokes too.

"They're probably creating a whole army of pig-warriors!"
- Cosmo Kramer, in Seinfeld: "The Bris"

After the obligatory Seinfeld references were made, I snapped a pic of Jesse Pigman's grave marker because I noted he was a very young Revolutionary War veteran and thought I'd look up this Pigman warrior later. Incidentally, we were on our way to Connersville Indiana when we stopped at the Mount Garrison cemetery for a geocache find. We would later learn that this nearby community has a gigantic drug problem, mainly methamphetamine and heroin. So, I found it interesting that when I was researching, I kept getting hits on Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad. Hmmm.

“Yo! What good is being an outlaw when you have responsibilities?”
- Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad: "Kafkaesque"

We saw several other Pigman's that day. Twenty are buried in the same cemetery with Jesse. I was getting confused in my online searches because there are two Jesse Pigman's. It turns out they were father and son but there aren't many online records for either. I did, however, uncover some interesting things.
The almost great state of Westylvania

Both Jesse's along with other Pigman's are listed on the petition for the proposed 14th state of Westsylvania right after the war. If successful, this state would have been carved mostly out of Virginia and Pennsylvania essentially where West Virginia is now. This would have been the first US state after the original 13 colonies. Take that Vermont! Their chief complaint? The distant government was too far removed to protect them and understand their needs. The Westsylvanian dream was short lived as the newly formed US Congress never even voted on it. A prominent Federalist named Hugh Brackenridge got the Pennsylvania Assembly to squash the idea by declaring such independence talk treasonous and punishable by death. Didn't we just finish a war over something similar?
A little more background to the proposed state. Prior to the big war of independence against Britain, the settlers along with the help of Ben Franklin tried to have that area become the 14th colony called Vandalia but it was rejected by the British Crown. The irony gets thicker. Two attempts at separation. But wait, there's more!
A third and final attempt at secession occurred in 1863 when its pro-Union residents separated successfully from Virginia to form West Virginia during the Civil War. Yo, they really seem to have secession fever in their blood!

Back to Jesse Pinkman, er Pigman. He was married at least one time to Luren Newland and had six children. Lurene died in 1805 I am assuming in or after the birth of Rachael who was born that year. We are reminded again of how hard life was back then. With Jesse being only 40 years old and having several young children to care for, I would expect that he married again but I found no record of a second marriage.

He wrote about his military service in his pension application in 1844 at the age of 79.  There is a Q&A section along with witness testimony. From this, I learned he mostly fought Indians in the Wheeling area under his father Captain Jesse Pigman beginning in March 1780 when he was drafted as a 15 year old Private. After 6 months he served as an Ensign in a "spy company" under a Captian Joseph Van Meter for just over a year until November 1781 after which he was discharged following Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown.  The Ensign rank, by the way, was discontinued in the Army in 1815 but was equivalent to a Second Lieutenant. He states in this document that he received a commision but the paperwork was lost. He admits he was illiterate at the time but recollects it was signed by Governor Patrick Henry. Yes, that one. Per the Pension Act of 1832 veterans who served less than two years could apply for pensions at half their pay. He applied for his pension in 1834 but it was rejected for insufficient information. I wasn't able to determine if his 1844 application was successful but he died eight years later in 1852. Ensigns earned about $10 per month in the war so he would have been applying for half that which is roughly $80 today. We seem to have a history of taking veterans for granted.

Other notable burials at Mount Garrison Cemetery include English born Reverend Robert Worster (1729-1830), a Methodist Episcopal minister who allegedly preached the first sermon west of the Alleghenies and lived to 101 years old. Quite an accomplishment then and even now.
Other veterans include Revolutionary War soldiers, Amos Milner (1759-1851), Harrod Newland (1766-1848), War of 1812 veteran, Adam Pigman (1789-1876) and Civil War veterans James W Nuxum and Francis Marion.

Oh by the way. Do you know how we learned Connersville Indiana has a big drug problem? When Mark and I were geocaching, at one stop we were visited by three police cruisers. After the officer snatched up the geocache from its hiding spot and inspected it, we explained, "It's ok we are geocachers!" He had heard of geocaching so after he ran our IDs, he rolled up the log and put it back, we had a short congenial chat and we were on our way. All good. That afternoon, we were also visited by a concerned citizen who also mentioned the drug problem. Then we are positive we were photographed at another location. Jesse Pinkman wouldn't have lasted a day in this town.

- Jesse Pigman listing on the Roster of Soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution Buried in Indiana, page 292