Armbruster, Eugene L. The Wallabout Prison Ships, 1776-1783, (New York, NY: no publisher cited, 1920.)
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (Kent,OH: The Kent State University Press, 1999.)
Lowenthal, Larry. Hell on the East River: British Prison Ships in the American Revolution, (Fleischmanns, NY: Purple Mountain Press, 2009.)
No Last Name Given, Kat. "Find a Grave Memorial: John Slover (unknown - unknown), (www.findagrave.com, record added - April 23, 2005.)
Revill, Janie, copier. Copy of the Original Index Book: Showing the Revolutionary Claims Filed in South Carolina Between August 20, 1783 and August 31, 1786, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., reprinted 1969.)
Stryker, William Scudder. Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolution, (Trenton, NJ: Wm. T. Nicholson & Co., Printers, 1872; reprinted 1965.)
Pension Application of John Slover W6205
As the readership of this blog can see from the bibliography of this specific post, not a great deal of information is recorded concerning John Slover. In fact, the amount of vital information concerning his life is scant. But, his pension application, "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", has survived and gives to us most of the information we know today concerning his life and services to the patriot Cause. Yet, his life does display certain unique elements that make it well worth recording in this overall blog. First, he served on board the frigate South Carolina just prior to and during her final voyage of December 1782. Second, according to his pension application, he was recruited for and signed on to the ship well after she had reached the port of Philadelphia, PA on May 29, 1782, so his services on board the patriot frigate were even more abbreviated than usual. Third, and as a direct result of the capture of the frigate South Carolina, he spent time on board one of the British prison "hulks" in New York City harbor. Fourth, and lastly, he was from the middle colony of New Jersey instead of one of the New England colonies or South Carolina. But, most interestingly, in his pension application, he identified his rank/rating on board the frigate South Carolina. Finally, it may be possible to locate the actual burial plot for John Slover.
According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", page 165, the following information appears:
John Slover no "position" given
So, John Slover appears to be one of the over one hundred personnel of the frigate South Carolina who is almost completely unknown except for the recording of his name. But, there are two sources that seem to clear up this issue. The first is Stryker's work, Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolution. In this work, on page 873, the following piece of information appears under the collective heading of "Seamen":
"John Slover - Seaman, United States frigate South Carolina."
This work, originally published in 1872, and as its name implies, attempts to identify all of the men from New Jersey who served in ether the army or navy during the American Revolution. John Slover is clearly identified as a "seaman" who served on board the frigate South Carolina, even if the ship-of-war was misidentified as being a "United States frigate" instead of a "South Carolina States frigate".
Second, and much more importantly, John Slover identifies himself as a seaman/sailor on board the frigate South Carolina in is own pension application, "Pension Application of John Slover W6205". According to the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", page 1, John Slover writes "...that he entered the service of the United States as a sailor on board the Ship South Carolina...". These two latter works, that of Stryker and in Slover's own words, seem the clear up the issue of John Slover's "position" on board the frigate South Carolina - he was employed as a seaman/sailor.
Details of John Slover's life, both before and after his service on board the frigate South Carolina, are very sketchy at best. He filed his pension application on September 17, 1832 in "...State of New Jersey Middlesex County..." before a series of "...Judges of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas the County of Middlesex now sitting...". John Slover stated at this hearing that he was a resident of "...Court Bridge in said County of Middlesex & State of New Jersey aforesaid..." and that he was sixty-seven years old at the time.
(Note: In dealing with various pension applications of men who served on board the frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, this is the first instance where the writer of this blog has encountered multiple judges who a potential pensioner appeared before. There are at least four named judges that John Slover appeared before and to whom he made his statement. These men are Robert McChesney, Thomas Hanes, Josiah Ford, Nicholas Booramen [?] & others...". These men are all implied to have served as judges in "...the Inferior Court of Common Pleas the County of Middlesex...". Up to this point in time, in the testimony given by a potential pensioner as contained in their pension application, the writer of this blog has encountered only a single judge or justice of the peace sitting to hear that testimony.)
According to the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", page 1, John Slover swore before the judges of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas that "...he was born on the 11th day of September in the year 1765 near his present residence & has always lived in the immediate neighborhood thereof & has a record of his age in an old Dutch family Bible.". Two features of John Slover are immediately evident from this personal statement. First, John Slover is accurate in assessing his age and in grasping the passage of time. So many of the aged veterans of the American Revolution had trouble even accurately estimating their current age when they appeared before the judges to file their pension applications. But, John Slover does not have this same inability to address the passage of so much time since the events he is relating to the group of judges before whom he is testifying. He stated that he was sixty-seven years old and if he was indeed born in 1765 and the year of his filing for his pension was 1832, then he is accurate as to his exact age. As a matter of fact, if he was indeed filing his pension application on September 17, 1832 and he was born on September 11, 1765, then he had been sixty-seven years old for six days at that point in time.
(Note: Normally, pension applications usually do not give any indication as to the national origin or ethnicity of the applicant. But, there might be a hint of John Slover's ethnicity contained within his application. In the paragraph immediately above, John Slover stated that the record of his exact age is contained "...in an old Dutch family Bible.". But, his name, John Slover, does not seem to be very Dutch in origin. But, at the end of the pension application, when John Slover is listing all of his children, there appears a statement that "...the names of all of the child [children] is [are] given in the family register as 'Selover'.". This name appears to be Dutch in origin. Several sources cite the name as being of Dutch origin. A couple of these same sources cite the name as originally being "Seloivre" from France. According to "Selover Surname Meaning, Origins & Distribution":
"...the oldest known ancestor is Thomas Isaac Seloivre (1590-1641), a French Huguenot who moved from the Calais area to Middelburg, Netherlands around 1630. His son and grandson, both named Isaac, came to New Amsterdam (now New York) in the 1680s, where the Dutch influence changed the spelling to Selover or Slover.
Other sources seem to corroborate this assertion. Interestingly, one of the sources, Margaret Beaty Selover Ziesenhenne, "Selover - Slover Family (Origins)", page 1, indicates that "...Isaac Selover, born probably in Zeeland, son of Isaac Selover and Susanna Sohier...was living in Faltbush [NY] as late as 1715.". Flatbush, NY was one of the communities to which the naval and marine officers from the captured frigate South Carolina were sent on their parole in December 1782.
In conclusion, the spelling of the Slover name as "Selover" occurs no where else in the records as far as the writer of this blog knows, except in the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205". But, with all the evidence presented above in this note, it is fairly certain that even though John Slover was born in New Jersey, he was of Dutch extraction.)
Second, he, like so many other 18th century Americans, never moved very far away from the place of their birth. Many people of this time period never strayed far from their place of origin and it would seem that John Slover fell into this category of colonial Americans. Even after the cessation of hostilities with Great Britain, as so many people began to move westward into the newly opened lands beyond the Appalachians, there were many people who decided to remain where they were and make their lives over again in a familiar place. John Slover and his family were one of those that chose to stay rooted where they were and continued their lives in Middlesex County, New Jersey.
Immediately following the statement concerning his birth and place of residence, John Slover begins to relate his services and experiences on board the frigate South Carolina. According to the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", page 1:
"...That he entered the service of the United States as a sailor on board the Ship "South Carolina" carrying twenty-eight forty-two pound guns between decks & twelve 18-pound guns on the Spur [?] deck, Capt. Joiner Lieutenants White Fitzgerald & another whose name is now forgotten. On the 17th day of September before the peace in the [year] 1782 at South River in New Jersey for 6 months & longer if required -- went from South River to Philadelphia immediately thereafter & went on board the Ship at Gloucester Point a few miles [from] the Philadelphia where the ship lay. The lower [?] decks guns were not on board but were put on board after the Ship got below [two indecipherable words, could be "said point"]. That he sailed from the coast on the 19th day of December following & was on the next day taken by the British Ships Diomede 50 guns,
Eagle & Ostrich of about 40 guns Each. Part of the crew among whom was Deponent were put on board the Diomede & taken to New York, where they were put in a prison ship. Deponent remained in the prison ship until he became sick & was then put on board a hospital Ship where he remained until the last of April 1783 when he was discharged & returned home. Thomas Bisset went from the same neighborhood with the deponent & served in the "South Carolina" & is deceased. The Deponent Enlisted in the service & was to have 3 pounds 10 shillings per month -- received at the time he entered $6 bounty from the recruiting officers [several indecipherable words or names].... -- never received any written Discharge and has no documentary evidence of his Services -- Obadiah Herbert, Jacob Van Wrible, John Outcalt of persons to whom deponent is known & to whom he refers for his character for truth and veracity & their belief of his services in the revolution.".
(Note: John Slover was incorrect in giving the names of the three British men-of-war that captured the frigate South Carolina on December 21, 1782 just off the Capes of the Delaware. He cited the names as being HMS Diomede, of fifty guns, HMS Eagle, of forty guns, and HMS Ostrich, of forty guns also. As is evident through out this overall blog site the actual names are HMS Diomede, HMS Quebec, and HMS Astraea. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 92, the HMS Diomede carried fifty-eight guns and the HMS Quebec and HMS Astraea both carried thirty-eight guns a piece. John Slover may well have correctly cited the name of the British man-of-war HMS Diomede because it was the British ship that carried him into New York City harbor and subsequent imprisonment on one of the various British prison "hulks" moored in Wallabout Bay, NY.)
The "Pension Application of John Slover W6205" is rather brief for a pension application, but, this may result from the lack of complete literacy not only with John Slover but, also with other family members who "wrote" supporting documents for the pension application. The term, "wrote", is used very loosely because at least two of them, James and Daniel Slover, "made their mark" in the space provided for the signature which means that they were illiterate and could only "make their mark", ie, make an "X" in the provided space, rather than sign their names. But, the point being made here is that the above cited statement of John Slover sums up the totality of his service on board the frigate South Carolina.
John Slover is interesting on at least a few accounts. The first of these accounts, in the opinion of the writer of this blog, is one of the most fascinating to date in this overall blog. This is the fact of his late enlistment on board the frigate South Carolina. The majority of the pension applications concerning the frigate South Carolina are produced by those of men who signed on board the frigate for one of the two cruises upon which she went - the first or maiden cruise from Holland to Philadelphia (August 4, 1781 to May 29, 1782) or the second, brief cruise out of Philadelphia to her capture off the Capes of the Delaware (December 19 to 21, 1782). John Slover's personal experience with being recruited on board the patriot frigate is related towards the beginning of his pension application and is direct and detailed as possible. He stated above that:
"...he entered the service of the United States as a sailor on board the Ship "South Carolina"... on the 17th day of September before the peace in the [year] 1782 at South River in New Jersey for 6 months & longer if required -- went from South River to Philadelphia immediately thereafter & went on board the Ship at Gloucester Point a few miles [from] Philadelphia where the ship lay...".
Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, pages 86-87, relates the situation in the environs of Philadelphia, PA as the war was winding down to its conclusion. It states:
"Because the war front had moved away from Philadelphia, there were a number of young men looking for adventure who could not find it with the stationary army units in the area. Life aboard the South Carolina seemed more attractive to some than than the rural charms of army camp. Gillon's ethnic and cosmopolitan background helped in Pennsylvania recruitment, as it had in Europe. Non-English-speaking citizens could sign on and be welcomed aboard the frigate, particularly those from the German-speaking communities of the region. Indeed, German was almost certainly the predominant language on the South Carolina when she departed the Delaware. The Commodore was quite willing to accept landsmen as crew members and then train them as sailors. His officers estimated that the vast majority of the crew were "country lads" who had never seen salt water, let alone set a sail. Gillon offered a recruitment bonus along with a promise of prize money, financial incentives that seemed to many a quick way to improve one's lot before the war ended. Moreover, he [Gillon] had no reluctance in gathering riffraff from civilian prisons along the Delaware whenever necessary. Lastly, unlike other recruiters, Gillon signed people for only a six-month enlistment, a short commitment that offered the prospect of doing something else soon. By November the South Carolina had well over three hundred sailors.".
This description seems to fit John Slover on several accounts. The main theater of the war had moved well away from Philadelphia, PA by the time that the frigate South Carolina docked in the harbor of the "City of Brotherly Love". The appeal of service on board a mighty ship-of-war at the very end of the conflict might have been a little too enticing for a young country boy to resist. According to the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", at the time he was recruited by officers representing the frigate South Carolina, John Slover had just turned seventeen years old, so he definitely fitted the description of a "young man".
John Slover may have also fallen into the group addressed in this passage as being members of the "...non-English speaking citizens..." of the colony of New Jersey. John's last name is almost certainly of Dutch extraction as well as that of the woman he married in July 1785, Margaret Scobie. She may have also been of Dutch extraction, as her name might indicate. John Slover might have spoken Dutch and been impressed as well as drawn to the patriot frigate to hear that the Commodore could also speak his home language.
The portion of the text above that addresses the willingness of the Commodore to accept "landsmen" and train them at sea to be "sailors" for the frigate South Carolina, almost certainly fits John Slover's situation at the time he signed on the patriot frigate. A "landsman" was a nascent sailor who had very little or no experience at his new profession when he signed on board the ship with which he had chosen to sail. As the passage of text above alludes to, the officers of the frigate "...estimated that the vast majority of the crew 'country lads' who had never seen salt water, let alone set a sail...". John Slover more than likely fell into this broad category of "country lads" and most probably had never been on board a regular large sailing ship, much less a ship-of-war going in "harm's way".
The reference in Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 87, to the Commodore's offer of "...a recruitment bonus..." is confirmed in the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205". John Slover states that he "...was to have 3 pounds 10 shillings per month -- received at the time he entered $6 bounty from the recruiting officers...". So the first listed amount was to be his regular salary as a sailor and the "...$6 bounty..." was offered to entice the young men with extra money to sign on the frigate South Carolina. The recruiting officers were given authority to offer this amount to any likely young man who appeared interested in shipboard duty in order to draw them into the service of the ship-of-war.
Finally, this account by John Slover of his services on board the frigate South Carolina explicitly states the length of his enlistment on board the ship-of-war. This length of enlistment is also corroborated by the pension application of John Slover. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 87, states the he enlisted crew members and marines for only a six-month enlistment which initially gave the prospective members of the ship's crew the understanding and assurance that if naval duty did not suit them, they could be set free from their obligation in a relatively short period of time. The "Pension Application of John Slover W6205" states clearly that he signed on the frigate South Carolina "...for 6 months & longer if required --...". The Lewis reference stated that Gillon had more leeway with his enlistment dates than other recruiting officers and thus he could entice recruits with shorter enlistment periods. The war was winding down and many people knew this to be fact. But, most of the recruiters would have been recruiting for the army which routinely employed three year or the duration of the war, whichever came first. This would easily work to dissuade young men from enlisting in the army because everyone thought that the war would end before this period of time expired. They did not want to commit to any amount of time that might cause them to serve for a longer period of time as others were going home.
(Note: In providing the information cited above in his pension application, John Slover gives us further information on another member of the crew of the frigate South Carolina. According to the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", the following information appears towards the bottom of page 1:
"Thomas Bisset went from the same neighborhood with deponent & served in the "South Carolina" & is deceased.".
According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 138, Thomas Bisset does indeed appear as a crew member on board the frigate South Carolina, but with no "position" cited for him on board the patriot ship-of-war. More than likely, he, too, was an inexperienced "landsman", like John Slover, who signed on as a sailor for a relatively small salary but, the promise of prize money and a bounty. Additional information we have on Thomas Bisset is that he was from the same area as John Slover - namely, somewhere in the environs of South River, NJ. He, too, like John Slover, was most probably a young man seeking some type of adventure at the end of a long war for independence. At issue here though, is whether or not Thomas Bisset died as a result of his capture by the three British men-of-war on December 21, 1782 and subsequent imprisonment and captivity on board one of the infamous prison "hulks" in Wallabout, Bay, NY or if he survived and died later on in life. All that John Slover states is that Thomas Bisset served with him on the frigate South Carolina and at the time of the filing of the pension application of John Slover, Thomas Bisset is referred to as "...& is deceased...". The tone of this writing implies that Thomas Bisset died much later in life and well after the cessation of hostilities between the newly-formed United States and Great Britain. The name of Thomas Bisset does not appear on any of the captive's lists for any of the three British men-of-war contained within this blog on "03/24/2015", "03/25/2015" or "03/26/2015". It is possible, but not likely, that he was one of the few - very few - American mariners who was killed on December 20-21, 1782 in the running battle leading to the capture of the frigate South Carolina off the Capes of the Delaware. But, it would seem the John Slover would have mentioned this occurrence in his pension application, especially if it happened to someone he was acquainted with for some period of time. and who was from the same area as John Slover. More information is needed to clear up this important point.)
(Note: At issue through out this entire blog has been the exact location that the frigate South Carolina docked when she reached Philadelphia, PA. The "Pension Application of John Slover W6205" may well clear up this issue. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 79:
"The South Carolina may not have docked in Philadelphia proper but anchored in the Delaware River some distance below the city. One crew member records that the frigate went aground on June 5 at "Mudfort", a site near Philadelphia, possibly Fort Mifflin on Mud Island. Since this was only a week after city newspapers broadcast her arrival, it would have been unlikely that the South Carolina docked at Philadelphia and then so suddenly moved downstream.".
John Slover's pension application seems to verify this alternate choice of anchorage other than Philadelphia, PA. According to the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", the following passage appears immediately after the details of his enlistment on board the patriot frigate:
"... -- went from South River [NJ] to Philadelphia immediately thereafter & went on board the Ship at Gloucester Point a few miles [from or below] the Philadelphia where the ship lay.".
"Gloucester Point" is located on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River just south of the center of the city of Philadelphia by about eight to ten miles. It is located directly across the river from Windy Point in Philadelphia County, PA. It occupies the northern sector of Gloucester City, Camden County, NJ and today is considered a part of the metropolitan Philadelphia area.)
Just over three months after he signed on board the frigate South Carolina, John Slover would probably get his first taste of salty sea air and actually see the open ocean. According to the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", on December 19, 1782, the patriot frigate set sail from wherever she was moored in the Delaware River and headed south down the river towards the Atlantic Ocean. His new adventure was to be short-lived though. On December 20, 1782, within five hours of emerging from the Capes of the Delaware, the frigate South Carolina was sighted by three British Royal Navy men-of-war - HMS Diomede, HMS Quebec, and HMS Astraea. These men-of-war gave chase over the next eighteen hours and finally brought that frigate South Carolina to heel. The frigate chose to strike her colors and surrender instead of resisting further.
According to the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205", the details of his imprisonment and final release from British custody are related as follows:
"...[After the capture of the frigate South Carolina]... part of the crew among whom was Deponent were put on board of the Diomede & taken to New York, where they were put in a prison ship. Deponent remained in the prison ship until he became sick & was then put on board of a hospital Ship where he remained until the last of April 1783 when he was discharged & returned home.".
The members of the second grew and marines of the frigate South Carolina were fortunate due to the fact that the war was winding down to its logical conclusion - the eventual evacuation of the Crown Forces from American soil. The end of the war was only matter of months away. But, these months would mean life or death for each of the individual captive members of the patriot frigate's crew and marines.
The captivity and imprisonment of John Slover at the hands of the British forces in New York City in early 1783 is attested to by at least two individuals who both filed supporting affidavits for the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205". Both of these supporting statements are brief in nature and refer to the imprisonment of John Slover in New York City. These individuals are James Slover, who stated in the supporting affidavit that he was the brother of John Slover, and Daniel Slover, whose relationship to John Slover is not indicated but, was most likely a family member of the same immediate family. James Slover stated that he was actually present at the release of John Slover and that "...the said James [sic, John?] had been very sick & was then quiet [quite] weak but recovered gradually.". Daniel Slover's supporting statement indicates that "...Witness [Daniel Slover] frequently heard of his [John Slover] being a prisoner & recollects when he returned from New York.". As stated earlier, both of these men were seemingly illiterate because they both signed their supporting statement by making their mark. Thus, they signed with nothing more than an "X" in the appropriate spot on the document.
Upon arrival on board the HMS Diomede, John Slover and his fellow captive Americans of the frigate South Carolina, were assigned to a prison ship or "hulk" in Wallabout, Bay, NY. More than likely, John Slover was placed on the most infamous of these prison "hulks" - the Jersey or Old Jersey as she was sometimes called. It has been estimated that thousands of patriot prisoners, both American and other nationalities that supported the American Cause, died on board this one prison "hulk" as she rode at anchor in the tidal mud flats of Wallabout Bay, NY. Much has been written about this aged British man-of-war utilized as a prison "hulk", abandoned by the evacuating British forces at the end of the war, and left to rot in the shallow waters of Wallabout Bay, NY until she broke up and sank from sight.
According to the passage from the "Pension Application of John Slover W6205" cited above in this post, John Slover claimed that he remained in the prison ship, or "hulk", until he became ill and then he was transferred to a hospital ship. The aspect of a "hospital ship" in this rarefied environment of imprisonment of rebels is singularly unique. To nurse rebellious personnel back to a state of health is a strange concept but, the British at least made the attempt to do so. An accurate description of the hospital ships moored in Wallabout Bay, NY is provided in Lowenthal's work, Hell on the East River, page 35:
"Around the dismal Jersey clustered satellite hospital ships. As noted earlier, many prisoners thought them places to go to die, an opinion supported by the few examples of anyone returning from them. Taylor lists the Falconer, Good Hope, and Hunter as hospital ships, located 200 to 300 yards southeast of the Jersey. He is apparently mistaken about Good Hope, which burned in 1780. Although the sources are incomplete and sometimes contradictory, it is highly unlikely that the Good Hope and Jersey were in prison service simultaneously at Wallabout Bay. The Frederick is described as a hospital ship by Andrew Shelburne, who entered it in January 1783. An important piece of evidence about the hospital ships is an advertisement on the eve of the British evacuation in 1783, in which the naval store-keeper offered for sale the hulls of the prison hospital ships Perseverance and Bristol Packet. The former was described as 'French built, burthen 196 tons', and the latter American built.".
Since John Slover was captured on the brief, second cruise of the frigate South Carolina, it can be safely assumed that he would have been placed on one of the numerous prison ships or "hulks", most probably the Jersey, that were moored in Wallabout Bay, NY towards the end of the American Revolution. A short while later, when he became ill, he was placed on one of the hospital ships that were moored within a short distance of the Jersey. Again, this would have been a hospital ship that would have served as a prison hospital ship at the end of the American Revolution. This time frame should serve to narrow the possibility of the specific hospital ship on board of which he was placed.
According to Armbruster's work, The Wallabout Prison Ships, 1776-1783, pages 26-27, from 1780 to the end of the American Revolution, the hospital ships moored in Wallabout Bay, NY were the Falmouth (1780), the Hope or Good Hope (1780), the Hunter (1780), and the Frederick, Perseverance, and Bristol Packet, these last three all utilized in 1783 and at the end of the war their hulls were offered for sale. The Hope or Good Hope is recorded as burning in 1780 in the above citation taken from Lowenthal's work, Hell on the East River, page 35. But, Armbruster's work, The Wallabout Prison Ships, page 27, documents that use of this vessel to transport Loyalists to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia in 1783.
(Note: it is completely feasible that there were two ships both containing the name Hope. One of these vessels would have carried the name Good Hope and is recorded as burning and later sinking in 1780. The other by the name of Hope was used first as a hospital ship in 1780 and later utilized to transport the Loyalists to Canada.)
The citation immediately above is the only reference we have to either the Falconer or the Falmouth. But, the crucial piece of information may well be that in 1783 the hulls of the hospital ships the Frederick, the Perseverance, and the Bristol Packet were all offered for sale as the British forces were withdrawing from New York City. Thus, more than likely one of these three hospital ships was the receiving ship of an ill John Slover in early 1783. A definitive identification of the specific hospital ship to which John Slover was assigned to recover from his illness will have to wait for an as-of-yet undiscovered piece of information to be revealed.
John Slover closes his pension application with his release from the prison hospital ship and his return home some time in "...the last of April 1783...". Both of the supporting statements - one given by James Slover, his brother, and the other by Daniel Slover, of undisclosed relation to John Slover - stated that they remembered John Slover's return to his native hometown in New Jersey. According to his supporting statement, James Slover was actually present when John Slover was released from the prison hospital ship in New York City.
John Slover, "sailor" of the frigate South Carolina, closes his pension application with the following statement:
"The Deponent Enlisted in the service & was to have 3 pounds 10 shillings per month -- received at the time he entered $6 bounty from the recruiting officers [several indecipherable names or words]. Don't now recollect any of the officers in the line of the Army of the revolution -- never received any written Discharge and has no documentary evidence of his Services -- Obadiah Herbert, Jacob Van Wrible, John Outcalt of [are] persons to whom deponent is known & to whom he refers for his character for truth and veracity & their belief of his services in the revolution. James Slover knows this part of the applicant being a prisoner as aforesaid.".
It is obvious that John Slover "...never received any written Discharge..." from the service of the frigate South Carolina. The reason for this is that on December 21, 1782 the patriot frigate was captured by elements of the British Royal Navy and he was held as a prisoner-of-war "...until the last of April 1783 when he was discharged [from British custody] & returned home...". The British had greater concerns than issuing "official" discharges from their prisoner status to rebel crew members at the end of the war. John Slover would have to depend on written or verbal testimonies of personal friends who believed in "...his services in the revolution...".
John Slover filed a claim against the state of South Carolina for services on board the frigate South Carolina after the conclusion of the American Revolution. But, there is no indication as to the amount of recompense he received from the state. According to Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, page 314, his claim was part of Return Number 52 which was sent out of the offices of the legislative committee on May 13, 1785 for payment to the veterans of that conflict. As a sailor and one who had spent little actual time on board the patriot frigate, John Slover might not have receive a large amount of recompense for his services on board the frigate South Carolina.
Very little information is known of the latter life of John Slover. According to an attachment to his pension application, on January 9, 1847, in Middlesex County, NJ, a woman came forward and stated before a court of law that her name was Margaret Slover and that she was the widow of John Slover. At the time, she was seventy-seven years old. She also stated that she married him "...in July 1785..." and that John Slover "...died on December 5, 1838...". According to this evidence, John Slover would have been almost twenty years old when he married Margaret Scobie Slover, who was his senior by about five to six years. He was seventy-three years old when he died.
John Slover and Margaret Scobie Slover had five children during their married life together. These children were all born within the first ten years of their marriage and are as follows:
"Hulda - born October 4, 1786
Isaac - born March 12, 178-- [last digit torn off]
John - born September 18, 1790
Mary - born December --, 1792 [birthday is illegible]
Neley - born November 14, 1795
The names of all of the children is [are] given in the family register as 'Selover'.".
A note cited below the above information states that "...a Hulda Culver, 61, gave testimony in 1847 in support of Margaret's claim, but she doesn't state she is her daughter...". If Hulda Slover Culver was indeed born on October 4, 1786, then she would have been sixty or sixty-one years old in 1847. "Culver" must have been her married name at that point in time.
There does exist one final piece of information that may well be related to John Slover. This pertains to the location of his burial plot. According to Kat No Last Name Given's entry on "Find a Grave Memorial" for John Slover, there exists one particular burial in a cemetery in Somerset County, NJ which is indicated as being that of a "John Slover". This grave is located within Ten Mile Run Cemetery in Rocky Hill, NJ. The headstone indicates neither the birth date nor the death date of the individual buried there. It only displays the inscription "...In his 77th year...". There exists no other graves for a "John Slover" who lived in Middlesex or Somerset Counties, NJ who have dates of birth and death that are even close to being feasible for one who served on board the frigate South Carolina. John Slover testified in his pension application that he was born on September 11, 1765. His widow, Margaret Scobie Slover testified before a judge that John Slover died on December 5, 1838. Thus, he was seventy-three years old when he died. There exists only a four year discrepancy between the actual death age of John Slover, who did indeed serve on board the frigate South Carolina, according to the statement of his wife, Margaret, and the inscription on the headstone located on the grave of John Slover in Ten Mile Run Cemetery. This is a completely acceptable time frame discrepancy for an eighteenth century grave. John Slover commented in his pension application "...that he was born on the 11th day of September in the year 1765 near his present residence & has always lived in the immediate neighborhood thereof...". He later on in his pension application intimates that he was from South River, NJ. South River, NJ is located in Middlesex County, NJ which is the county within which he field his pension application "...on this 17th day of September A.D. 1832...". South River, NJ is only about seventeen miles away from Ten Mile Run Cemetery, which is located in southernmost Somerset County, NJ. It is completely feasible that upon the death of John Slover, his mortal remains were taken a short distance of seventeen miles, from one county to the next neighboring county, for some unknown reason, and that he was interred there. Finally, though, it should be emphatically stated that this information provided here is only conjectural in nature. It is completely possible that this could indeed be the grave of another individual by the same name and who happened to live out his life and be buried in the same area as the John Slover, "sailor/landsman" of possible Dutch extraction, who did indeed serve briefly on board the frigate South Carolina.