Relics of the Revolution

Among the active participants of the Revolutionary war earliest to settle here were Robert Acock, Sr., Michael Kennedy, Samuel Davis, Robert Harris and George Randolph. The latter served eighteen months under Capt. Shelton in Col. Matthew’s regiment of the ” Virginia Line,” and was discharged by Gen. La Fayette. A little later came Charles Hamon and, Charles Hounsler. The latter served under Capt. James Newenn in Col. John Montgomery’s regiment. He enlisted on New River in Virginia; marched thence to Long Island on the Halston River; thence to Big Creek and joined Col. Shelby; thence the forces embarked for Chickamaugatown, Louisiana Territory; thence to Kaskaskia, and from there proceeded to a post at Koko. From this point the command ascended the Illinois River, and thence returned to Kaskaskia, where he was discharged. Mr. Hounsler then enlisted for three years or the war, and was stationed at the falls of the Ohio, where his company remained during the war. On the 7th day of June, 1832, Congress passed an act pensioning soldiers of the Revolutionary war, and the declarations required bring out the fact that quite a number of this class settled in this county after the ones already mentioned. Conrod Lear was one of these, and at that time was ninety-four years old. He enlisted in 1775 with Capt. Ross, and served in the First Regiment of Horse under Col. William Washington of the Continental Line. He served as trumpeter to the Colonel during the whole time of his service. He was discharged soon after the battle of Germantown, when he re-enlisted from Lancaster County, Penn., and subsequently took part in the battles of Boston, New York, New London, Conn., Princeton, N. J., and Brandy-wine. At the battle of Trenton his force aided in the capture of 500 Hessians. In the course of the campaigns of the army he marched through Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Benjamin Pannell, aged seventy-five years, deposed that he enlisted in 1778, and served in the army up to the surrender of Yorktown. Ambrose Madison, aged sixty-five years, enlisted in 1776 under Capt. Benjamin Temple in the First Regiment of the Virginia Line, and served eighteen months, taking part in the battles of Brandy-wine, Germantown, Amboy and Morgantown. He was at that time a resident of King William County, Va. Peter Petrie, aged sixty-eight years, enlisted under Capt. William Moore, and served eighteen months in a regiment of North Carolina in the Continental Line. He enlisted in 1782; was in the command of Gen. Green, but was engaged in no important battles, though taking part in skirmishes at James Island and on the Edisto River below Orangeburg. With his command he marched from Hillsboro, N. C., to Orangeburg, S. C., thence to Guilford and James Island, and was stationed subsequently near Charleston. Henry Maben, seventy-six years old, enlisted in 1777, was subsequently taken prisoner and held at Charleston nearly two years. He served under Gen. Lincoln, but was in no general engagement. He enlisted from Chester County, S. C.’ Jonathan Smith, seventy-four years old, was a resident of Middlesex County, N. J., and was drafted into the army in 1776 or 1777. He served about seven years, but not continuously, his service being chiefly in raiding and scouting expeditions, which allowed him to remain at home when not in active service.

Samuel Gordon, seventy-one years old, was a citizen of York County, S. C., and joined the militia of that State in 1779, under the command of Capt. Latimore in Col. Neel’s regiment. From the place of enlistment the regiment marched to Philip’s Fort in Georgia, where it was stationed three months, and then allowed to return home. In the latter part of the same year he was drafted into the army, and went to the ten-mile house ” in South Carolina, where he remained until discharged at the expiration of his term of service. Soon after his return home he was again summoned to arms, and went out as a mounted volunteer in Col. Walton’s regiment, which proceeded to Mobley’s Meeting-house in South Carolina, where a party of Tories was attacked, defeated, and a large number of them taken prisoners. Soon afterward a party of Americans under the command of Col. Brandon was defeated by the English at the stations on Fishing Creek. The next engagement was at Hill’s Iron Works, where the Americans were again defeated and the works burned. About this time Col. Walton became discouraged and threw up his command, when Gordon with twenty-six others joined Gen. Sumter, who, uniting his forces with Col. Lock and Maj. Fall, attacked and defeated Moore at the head of 1,100 Tories, at Ransom’s in North Carolina. From this point the American force marched down the Catawba and met the enemy under Beaufort Brown at Love’s Ford, who was promptly driven out without the firing of a gun. The force then returned to Rocky Mount, where a spirited skirmish took place, and thence proceeded across the Catawba River to Hanging Rock, in North Carolina. Here this force joined the command of Major Davy, and had constant skirmishing with the enemy until the mouth of Fishing Creek was reached, where the Americans were brought to a stand and defeated. From the scene of this action the force proceeded to Biggen’s Bottom, where they spent some time in recruiting their strength and numbers, and subsequently followed down the course of the Congaree River, skirmishing with the enemy at Wright’s Bluff and at Congaree Fort, S. C. Making a long, tedious march from this point to Bratton’s old field, the command again fell in with the enemy, who gave way after a slight skirmish, but was again overtaken and defeated on the Broad River. The command then marched to Shire’s Ferry, and thirty of the force were ordered to worry Tarleton’s force on the opposite side of the river. At Black Stocks, another skirmish took place. Gen. Sumter, who had been laid up with a wound, now rejoined his command, but being called by Gen. Greene to Orangeburg, his command was attached to that of Col. Wade Hampton. The united forces then turned toward Charleston, and defeated an outlying force of the British near that city. During the balance of Mr. Gordon’s service the command was engaged in scouring the country, engaging in repeated skirmishing, out of which he came unhurt.

Gideon Thompson, aged sixty-eight years, entered the service in 1782, and joined the command of Gen. Sumter. He was engaged in no battles, though taking part in several skirmishes. Matthew Thompson, aged seventy-two years, enlisted from Bedford County, Va., in 1775. He served in the First Regiment of the Line, commanded by Col. George Washington, who was afterward made Commander-in-Chief. Thompson enlisted for three years, and joined his company at New London, Conn., where he received clothes and his bounty money. From New

London his command was marched about 250 miles down the sea-shore, passing through Richmond and Williamsburg. They returned to the latter place, and stripping the lead covering from Lord Dunmore’s house melted it into bullets. From this point he was marched to North Hampton where the force was stationed for a time, and then marched to Little England.

Henry Boyd, aged seventy-four, enlisted from Halifax County, Va., in 1778, under Capt. Moses Fountain, and marched to Charlotte Court House, Va. The company was attached to Col. Parker’s command at Petersburg, and joined the expedition against Savannah, where the Americans were defeated October 1, 1779. Retreating to Augusta, Ga., the army spent the winter, and in the spring joined the forces under Gen. Lincoln at Charleston. Here after a siege of forty days the American Army was forced to surrender to Gen. Clinton. Boyd remained a prisoner some fifteen months. At first, with others, he was put into barracks, but after three or four months so many made their escape, the prisoners were removed to the prison ships in Charleston Bay, where Boyd was confined some ten months. At the expiration of this time, in company with Joshua Hawthorne and William Thompson, he made his escape by swimming about two miles on planks in the night, and was not in the service afterward.

Ephraim Shuffield, aged seventy-eight years, was drafted into the service for three months from Duplin County, N. C., under the command of Col. James Kenyon. The command was moved to Cape Fear, where it remained till the expiration of its term of service. Shuffield was soon after again drafted for a term of three months, which he served under the same commander. The command marched toward Charleston, S. C., and erected fortifications on the Catawba River. While here a detachment of 100 men were sent across the river to dislodge some troops of the enemy, but the force. was found too large, and only twenty of the Americans escaped. The command then began a retreat, the British forces closely pursuing till Cross Creek, North Carolina, was reached, when an engagement ensued in which the pursuers were beaten. After this battle Shuffield was discharged, but was at home but a short time, when he volunteered under Capt. Bowden and marched toward Charleston, S. C. Reaching a point about thirty or forty miles from that city, the detachment turned toward Rock Fish Creek, where it was stationed for a time. Shuffield was then sent to Kingston on the Neuse River, and was subsequently discharged. James Flack, aged seventy-one years, entered the United States service under Col. McDowell and Gen. Butler, in 1779, from Guilford County, N. C. He made a campaign of about four months under these officers, and a second one of about four months under Col. Pacely, in 1780, as Ensign. In 1781 he took part in a third campaign of four months under the command of Cols. Pacely and Isaacs. In the first year the company to which he was attached rendezvoused at Guilford, N. C., and from there marched to Salisbury, and thence through Charlotte, across the Savannah River into Georgia, where they went into camp near Augusta. Remaining here but a short time, the detachment re-traced their steps. They went toward Charleston, S. C., to reconnoiter the ground, but retired, and were discharged without any especial incident to mark their service. In the second campaign the same ground was passed over with the same result, the company being discharged at Mecklenburg. In the third campaign the company was engaged principally in Randolph County in the pursuit of Tories. Ephraim Porter, aged sixty-nine years, entered the army in 1777, at the age of about fourteen. He enlisted from the State of Maryland under the command of Capt. Charles Hammond, Col. Thomas Dorsey and Gen. Smallwood. His company rendezvoused at Elk Ridge Landing, and from there marched by way of Baltimore to the head of Elk Creek, where Lord Howe was expected to land. From thence the command proceeded by several marches to Brandywine, and took part in that engagement. Generals Washington, La Fayette, Wayne and Sullivan commanded the regulars. The Americans were defeated and badly demoralized, Gen. Smallwood’s Brigade retreating to ” Perkeomen.” Proceeding from thence this brigade soon fell in with Gen. Wayne’s command, and the united force marched toward Germantown. At the White Horse,” the enemy having learned the American counter-sign, marched in and attacked the unsuspecting camp, stampeding the whole force. The dispersed force rendezvoused at Jones’ tavern and continued the march to Germantown. Here the American Army attacked the British early in the morning, under cover of a heavy fog. When approaching this point, Wayne ordered his command to lie on their arms on either side of the road, near a large stone mill. While here the Dutch battalion of riflemen passed through the ranks and opened the battle by attacking the pickets of the enemy. The battle became general and lasted until ten or eleven o’clock, the Americans having decidedly the advantage in the early part of the fight, but the failure of Gen. Stephanes to come up at the proper time forced the Americans to give way in disastrous rout. Retreat from this field was made at great loss, and a month later the volunteers were discharged. While on his way home, Porter enlisted in the regular service and was assigned to the horse troop of Col. William Washington. He enlisted at Perkeomen, and from there marched to Frederickstown, Md., where the troop went into winter quarters. Here the troop was engaged in constructing brick barracks and guarding Hessian prisoners of war. In the spring, the troop left Porter sick in the hospital, who was soon after discharged at the solicitation of his mother. He volunteered again, however, in the following April or May, and served five months, guarding the magazine at this place, and in the fall, 1778, was discharged. Overton Harris and Robert Sherrod were Revolutionary soldiers, but who gave no detailed account of their service. In 1840 there were still living here a number of pensioners of this war, of whom nothing more than their age at this date and name is known, to wit: Robert Acock, eighty-six years; John M. Boyd, seventy-seven; James Flock, seventy-nine; George Gibson, seventy-eight; Samuel Gordon, eighty-one; Benjamin Pannel, eighty-three; Peter Petrie, seventy-seven; Jonathan Smith, eighty-three; William Turner, eighty-five; Anna Boone, sixty-seven; Jeannette Mahon, seventy, and Elizabeth Quarles, seventy-five. These disconnected stories tell the simple tale of the Revolution. The pomp and pageantry of war lent little luster to that deter-mined and patriotic struggle, where every man was a ” hero in the strife.” The limited resources of the public treasury forbade the maintenance of a large regular army, and every patriot was invited to ” work over against his own door.” The heroic spirit which possessed the men and women of that day is plainly portrayed in the prosaic sketches recited. Men planted and left the women to cultivate and harvest the crop; discharged at the expiration of one term of service, the loyal partisan on his way home re-enlisted, ” nor cast one longing, lingering look behind; ” and thousands held themselves ready to fly to arms to resist the enemy’s advance, to curb the Tory’s treason, or join the regulars in the sturdy conflict in the ” imminent deadly breach.” Such were the simple agencies which wrought the marvel of the age. Nor did their influence cease with the times that called them forth. “E’en in their ashes live their wonted fires,” and circling round the blazing hearth, a new generation learned of these tales of patriot devotion the deeper meaning of father-land, a stronger affection for its institutions, and a profounder respect for the duties of a citizen.


Battle, J. H., W. H. Perrin, Counties of Todd and Christian, Kentucky : historical and biographical, Chicago : F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1884.

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