Sunday’s Salute #40 ~ John Samples ~ War of 1812 ~ The Illinois Rangers

John Sample is my maternal 1st 4 times removed. He was born in 1797 in Morgan County, Illinois. At the age of 17 in 1814, he and his older brother, William enlisted in Captain Samuel Whitesides company of Illinois Rangers, in Morgan County, Illinois and served until the spring of 1816, as a private in John was engaged in protecting the frontier settlements.

Captain Samuel Whiteside’s company was “ranging” from a point of one hundred and twenty miles north of St. Louis to the mouth of the Sangamon River. This line was provisionally agreed upon as the boundary line between the whites and Indians, “until some change of circumstances should take place.” The object sought by these patrolling companies of riflemen was to protect the settlements from small bands of Indians, who would, steal into the vicinity and watch for their opportunity to attack. They would then spring upon their human prey, murder and scalp everyone including women and children. If an Indian was discovered by these rangers while they were patrolling, the alarm was at once communicated to the settlements, and, by retreating to the forts, or otherwise preparing for attack, the danger was averted.

However, three families, the Reagan’s and Moore, were attacked on the Wood river, near where the city of Alton now stands, in what was then Madison county. There were seven persons killed in all. They had been up to the fort, and were returning, on Sunday evening. The parties killed were: Reagan’s wife and two of his children, two of Abel Moore’s boys, and two of William Moore’s boys. All were killed except one little girl, who escaped and sounded the alarm, and soon the Wood River settlement was in arms. Rifles were hurriedly cleaned and bullets molded, and soon Captain William Whiteside had fifty of his rangers on the trail of the retreating Indians, leaving old George Moore and the women and children in the fort. Among the members of Whiteside’s company who took a part in the chase of the murderers of the were William Moore, Abel Moore, Peter Wagoner, Samuel Beeman, John Sample, and William Sample. They pursued them all over the countryside, but they never caught them or recovered the children.

At the end of the war on February 17, 1815, John returned home. He tried to establish his own farm, but he missed the excitement of traveling. Being unencumbered, he set off to see the country. He ended up in McMinn County, Tennessee where he met and married Jemima Divine (1826-1860) on September 30, 1848. They moved back to Morgan County where John served as Sheriff of the county for many years. After the death of Jemima, he married Sarah Hewett (1809-1895) and there were no children born to this union.

John died on February 9, 1869, in Morgan County, Illinois, at the age of 71.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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