Colby Rucker was born on October 10, 1760, in Culpeper County, Virginia to Peter and Sarah (Wisdom) Rucker. When he was 15 years old his father moved the family to Natchez, Mississippi. At this time Mississippi was part of Florida and the British had taken this land from the French. This area only had a few white settlements and was a true wilderness. When the Revolutionary War started, Colby and his father had several arguments over whether or not they should be involved in the War. His father didn’t want any part of it and forbade his children from participating. At the age of 17, Colby left home with his friend Henry Pumphrey and they joined the fight. The British had taken Fort Panmure at Natchez and they helped in the fight to take it back. Because of their involvement in this battle, he had a huge fight with his father. Colby and Henry then left Mississippi with the intention of joining William Blount in North Carolina.
On their way there, the two boys were captured by the British. They were taken and held in prison in Savannah Georgia. They were there for 3 months under extreme hardship. Colby devised a plan to escape. Every day the women in the town would bring the prisoners food. Colby had one woman from the town smuggle in some women’s clothing for them. So, dressed in women’s nightgowns, Colby and Henry walked out of prison along with all the other women. They immediately made their way to North Carolina and joined the militia and fought with them until the end of the war. Of course, they did change their clothes before heading out!
After the War Colby refused to draw a pension for his service even though his family continually encouraged him to do so. He stated that “Serving in the fight for freedom and obtaining that freedom was payment enough for him”. Colby died on January 20, 1852, in Thorn Hill, Grainger, Tennessee at the age of 91. His children applied for and received his pension after his death.
This is the story that is written about in all of the official documentation that has been found. However, there is evidence to suggest that instead of being held captive in Savannah, Georgia, that Colby and Henry were forced into military service with the British under Captain Isaac Atwood in the King’s American Regiment of the British Army. Perhaps this incident was the reason he refused to apply for a pension. He might not have told his family the “true” story. It looks like I will have a lot more research to do on this Freaky turn of events!
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