An Important New Revolutionary War Title
Pension Applications Transcribed and Annotated by C. Leon Harris
Revolutionary Warriors and Widows of Henry, Franklin, Patrick and Floyd Counties
This book is a compilation and transcription of all the pension applications made by Revolutionary soldiers and widows known to have lived at any time in present Henry, Franklin, Patrick, or Floyd counties in Virginia.
These pension applications provide a unique historical perspective on a region situated to become embroiled in virtually every facet of the Revolutionary struggle. From the earliest days of the war soldiers from this area were called upon to help defend the settlers west of the Blue Ridge and the crucial lead mines at present Austinville against Cherokees and Tories. In their pension applications they describe skirmishes too obscure for the history books, but no less crucial in denying the British the support of Indians, Loyalists, and essential materiel. Those soldiers also participated in more conventional and famous engagements, including the Battle at Guilford Courthouse 60 or 70 miles to the South. There they helped make Cornwallis’s victory so costly that he had to delay his invasion of Virginia. When Cornwallis did enter Virginia those soldiers once again answered the call, and many shared the final triumph at Yorktown.
The soldiers’ accounts of these events are especially valuable because the Revolutionary War in the South has been so neglected in comparison with events in the North, such as Bunker Hill and Valley Forge. Some battlefields in the South where hundreds fought and bled are less famous than places in the North where George Washington merely slept.
Veterans applying for pensions had to prove their services by naming their officers and regiments and by describing their travels and engagements. This was especially important for militiamen, because written records of their service, if kept at all, were in county or state archives rather than in the War Department in Washington. During the Revolution all able-bodied men between 18 and 55 were required to belong to the militia of their county, and they volunteered or were called out as needed to serve tours of several weeks or months. In contrast, Continental soldiers either enlisted or were drafted to fill state quotas set by Congress, and they typically served for 18 months, or for two or three years, or for “during of the war.” Both militiamen and regular soldiers usually served in companies with their neighbors. It is clear from reading the pension applications that their service made indelible impressions on these young men. More than half a century later almost all remembered the names of their captains and the battles they were in.
These depositions have already enabled historians to correct and amplify many published accounts of events during the war.
The pension applications of the soldiers and their widows are also valuable to genealogists. The applicants generally had to state their ages, and depending on which act the application was made under, they had to provide information about their families and where they had lived. The first act of interest here was passed in 1818 and applied only to veterans in the Continental Line (Regular Army), and only if they were in “reduced circumstances.” Even with these restrictions an enormous number of veterans applied – so many that in 1820 Congress required those pensioners to prove their need by describing their property and families. In 1832 Congress finally provided pensions for all surviving Revolutionary War veterans, regardless of need or whether they were Continental or Militia soldiers, and it required the applicant to state when and where he was born and where he had lived. Congress later provided pensions and bounty lands to the widows of veterans, and those applications are especially rich in genealogical information, sometimes including original family registers from Bibles and copies of marriage bonds.
Listing of transcribed applications:
Mary HATCHER ASBURY; Joel and Milly BRIZENDINE ASHWORTH; John ATKINS; Elihu and Lydia OWEN AYERS (AYRES); James AYRES; John and Mary ADAMS BANKS; Richard BARNS (BARNES); John BARRETT; Benjamin and Rachel PRATHER BEASLEY; Bartlet and Alice BELCHER; Benjamin BELCHER; Walter BERNARD; Henry and Fanny SIMPKINS BISHOP; Willoughby BLACKARD; Joel BLANCIT (BLANCET, BLANCETT); Abraham and Susan WIATT BLANKENSHIP; Henry BLEVINS; James BOAZ; John BOMAN (BOWMAN); Thomas BOOTH; Betsy ARTHUR BOWLES, widow of George BOWLES; James BOYD; Andrew and Dorothy MCNEALY BREDEN; William BRIZENDINE; Jesse BROCK; James and Ruth DYER BRYANT; Daniel BURCHEL; Jarvis BURDETT; Michael BURRUSS;
John CAMPBELL; William and Sally CAMPBELL; John CARPER; William and Martha MCKINSEY CARTER; William and Susannah CARTER; James CASSADAY; Tully and Rebecca SIMS CHOICE; William and Mary McDONALD CHOICE; William and Nancy VAUGHN CLOUD; Samuel and Sarah NORTHCUTT COCHRAN; William and Mary BARNS COCHRAN (COCKRAN); William COFF (CUFF); Daniel and Mary HURT CONNER; Sterling COOPER; John Peter and Flizabeth PARR CORN; Nancy HANCOCK CORN, widow of Jesse CORN; Thomas and Mary DAVIS CRAIG; Nancy CRITZ, widow of Haman CRITZ; John CROUCH; James CROWLEY; Richard and Polly HAISLIP DALE; Lewis DAVIS; Isaac DEHAVEN; William and Jane KING DESHAZO; Elijah DICKENSON; Benjamin DILLEN ;
Nathaniel DIXON; William and Anna CHAPPEL DRAKE; John DUNCAN; Isham and Mary EAST; Benjamin EDWARDS; Robert ENGLISH; Adria DUDLEY ENGLISH KEMP, widow of William ENGLISH; Lyddal ESTES; William FAIN; Matthew FARMER; John FIELDS ; Harvey and Elizabeth GAZAWAY FITZGERALD; Thomas FLEEMAN; Charles and Mary NELSON FODRELL; Lewis FRANKLIN; Ann GUTHRIE FRENCH, widow of Daniel FRENCH; William FRENCH; William FUSON; James GARDNER; John GIBSON; Richard GILLEY; William and Mary GOING; Thomas GOODSON; Jacob GOWEN; Zephaniah GOWEN; Charles GOWENS; David GRAVES; Joseph GREEN ; William and Betsy GREEN; Moses GREER ; Chisholm GRIFFITH; Thomas HALE; John HALL; Sarah DALTON HANBY, widow of Jonathan HANBY;
Benjamin and Susannah MARTIN HANCOCK; William HAPPER (HOPPER); Henry HARRIS; James and Keziah MINOR HARRIS; James and Patte HARRIS; William Harris and Lydia RENFRO HARRIS; John HEARD (HURD); Abram HELTON; Edward HENDERSON; Zachariah HENDRICKS; James and Elizabeth HICKEY; Miles and Maria JOHNSON HICKS; Edward HILTON (HELTON); Farthing HIX; Abednego HODGES; Sarah TURNER HOLLAND, widow of Drury HOLLAND; John M. HOLLIDAY; Peter HOWARD; Daniel HOWELL; Hall HUDSON; Thomas HUDSON; John HUFF; Joseph HUNDLY; Leonard HUTTS; Nathaniel Newman HYLTON; Micah JOHNSON; Joice WELLS JOHNSTON, widow of James JOHNSTON; David JONES; John JONES; Thomas and Lavina JONES; Zacharia James KEATON; David KEETON; William and Elizabeth GARLICK KEMPLIN ;
John KING; Stephen KING; Ephraim and Polly BOLIN LANDS; Henry LAW; John LAW; Randolph LAWSON; Martel and Elizabeth BACON LESUEUR ; Charles and Patty RIVES LUMSDEN; Mary BAILEY MARTIN, widow of George MARTIN; Joseph and Patsy BAILEY MARTIN; Francis and Sally BURRUSS McCRAW ; Andrew and Anna FISHER McGINNIS; Archibald McHONE; John and Judith LEATHERS McLAUGHLIN; Jacob McNEIL; John and Mary PARSONS MIDKIFF; Jordan and Mary PEACOCK MILAM; James MILLER ; Henry MITCHELL; Ambrus MULLINS; Joseph and Sarah MURPHY; Newsom and Mary NUNN PACE; Edmund PAINE; Elizabeth BEHELER PHARIS, widow of Amaziah (Amariah) PHARIS; Charles PHILLPOTT; James and Betsy SMELSER PIERCY; Michael PILGRIM; Chapman and Elizabeth RUNNELLS POINDEXTER; Chattin and Mary GREER POLLARD;
Jonathan PRATER; John PRICE; Richard PUGH; Thomas RAMSEY; Benjamin and Frances HURTWILL RAY; James RAY (WRAY); John REDD; John and Esther PEAK RENFRO; Alexander REYNOLDS; Richard D. and Nancy GRISOM REYNOLDS; Richard RICHARDSON; Thomas RICHARDSON; Richard ROBERTSON; John ROYAL; Philemon SAUNDERS; Nathaniel SCALES; Humphrey SCROGGINS; Joseph SEAMONS (SIMMONS); Matthew SEAY; William SHACKELFORD; John and Frances SHARP; Daniel SHELOR; Samuel SHUMATE; Augustin SIMS; Abraham SINK; Henry SMITH; Henry and Elizabeth POWELL SMITH; John SMITH; Sarah SPENCER SMITH, widow of John SMITH; William SMITH; William and Anne PRESTON SMITH; John and Sarah LYNCH SPENCER; Moses SPENCER; Timothy and Mary SPENCER; James STAGEL; Richard STANLEY; David STEPHENS;
William STEWART; Benjamin STRATTON; Daniel SULLIVAN ; Frances PENICK SUTHERLAND, widow of Philemon SUTHERLAND; James TARRANT; James TAYLOR; Joseph TERRY; William TINCH (TENCH); Thomas TOWNSEND; Thomas TRAIL; Dennis and Martha COOPER TRAMELL; Joseph and Molly MCKENNEY VARNER; John and Sarah WRIGHT VIER (VIAH); Benjamin VIERS; Axton WHITECOTTON; William WILLIAMS; Josiah WOODS; Martin and Susana ROBERSON WOODY; Peggy WRIGHT, widow of James WRIGHT; John WRIGHT; James YOUNG; John YOUNG;
8 ¼" x 10 ¼" format, xiv, 376 pages, color cover, internal illustrations, bibliography, comprehensive index, maps, charts, graphs. Paperback.