Alice Downing's case file states that the 80 year old was enticed to lie about the date of her marriage to her husband by Seth R Shackford who also may have created false documents supporting these incorrect statements. Included in the file is a statement that while the case was being investigated, Alice refused to testify against Seth R Shackford as he was a neighbor and friend but statements from friends supporting Alice stated that the widow told Seth that her marriage occurred after the war but was enticed to lie about the date in a deposition. The records continue to state that the records of Alice's marriage had been delivered to "a son of Seth R Shackford who is very deeply implicated in these forgeries of pension papers" Included in the file is a statement by the US Attorney John Coffee? who was pursuing the case stated that he hoped "to be able to bring to justice one of the most consummate villains that ever preyed on this community."
We do not know how many other pension cases submitted by Seth and or William involved fraud but founds a statement in the pension file for Jesse Prescott recommending review of all pension applications submitted by Seth R Shackford and William A Shackford due to possible fraudulent documents and a similar statements about these two being implicated in fraudulent cases in the files for Hannah Spinney, widow of Jediah Witham.
Included in the files are statements that the two may have run off to Portsmouth, Ohio after the fraud was discovered to a location where they had a deceased uncle who had left a considerable estate. The author of this letter is most likely referring to Seth's granduncle, Josiah Shackford who had died in 1835.
These records reminded us that we'd run across a newspaper article from the May 23 1838 Washington Daily National Intelligencer which indicates that the investigators of this case were able to convince a grand jury to try the case against Seth R Shackford and his son William A Shackford. A similar article was published in the May 18, 1838 publication of The Sun, a Baltimore newspaper.
"At a Circuit Court of the United States, held in the town of Portsmouth, N.H. on the 9th instant, Samuel Prescott, of New Market, N. H. was tried for forging a marriage certificate of a Mrs. Crummett in order to obtain a pension for her as a widow of a Revolutionary solder. He was convicted, and sentenced by the Hon. Joseph Story to two years' confinement in the New Hampshire State Prison for that offence. We understand that there were seven other indictments found against him, but the District Attorney entered a nolle prosequi in the other cases.
Seth R Shackford, Justice of the Peace, of New Market, and William A Shackford, his son, of the same place, were recognized to appear at the same Court for the same offence, but forfeited their recognizances."
We don't know if Seth and William were ever tried for this crime but hope to find these court records in our 2016 trip to New Hampshire. Seth R Shackford was a Judge at the time of this accusation and the grandson of Samuel Shackford who had served in the American Revolution. He died in Newington in 1848. His son William A Shackford became a judge in Newmarket New Hampshire and also served as a representative to the State Legislature.
The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 18 May 1838; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 18 May 2015).
"Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files," digital images, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com : accessed 2 July 2015), Pension for Alice Downing, widow of Jonathan Downing
"Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files," digital images, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com : accessed 2 July 2015), Pension for Jediah Witham
Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 23 May 1838, Seth R Shackford and William A Shackford; online images, Access Newspaper Archive (http://access.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 June 2013)