>Nathaniel Draper Pension Application
On February 10, 1777, Nathaniel Draper enlisted in the 6th Massachusetts Regiment as a drummer. He was 20 years old, which was just a little over the average age of musicians in the Continental Army. Later, he was promoted to drum major. He participated in the Battles of Saratoga (September 19 and October 7, 1777) that marked the climax of General Horatio Gates’ Saratoga campaign, giving a decisive victory to the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War.
Nathaniel Draper later embraced Shaker pacifist teachings and rejected his right to collect a U.S. government pension for his military service.
In 1853, 15 years after Nathaniel Draper’s death, his daughter Ruth J. (Draper) Clark applied for his pension. She was entitled to his pension because he had never collected it and she was his only surviving child.
Enfield Shaker Trustees Caleb Dyer and Jason Kidder assisted her by providing affidavits regarding his early life, his time with the Shakers, and his military service. Both Trustees stated, however, that it was “contrary to the rules and disciplines of the Shaker Society to collect pensions.” Harvard, Massachusetts Shaker Brother Abel Jewett and Trustee Augustus Grosvenor each provided information about Ruth Draper’s mother, Martha (Beckett) Draper, while she was a member of the Harvard Shaker community.