My Ancestors Signature #43 ~ Reuben Coffey

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 4th Great Uncle


Reuben Coffey 1759-1842
From his pension application dated September 21, 1833

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

Sunday Salute #46 ~ Thomas Ogan ~ Revolutionary War

Thomas Ogan, my paternal 4th Great Grandfather, was born in 1740 at sea in the Caribbean. He was the son of Major Thomas Henry Ogan (1716-1779) and Elizabeth MNK. He married Ann Martin (1738-1813) in Frederick Virginia about 1766. They had 5 children, 4 girls, and 1 boy.

Thomas, at the age of 16 fought under George Washington during the French and Indian War between 1756 and 1763. Twelve years later at the start of the Revolutionary War, Thomas joined Captain William Johnson’s 11th Virginia Regiment under the command of Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Brigade in 1775. After the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. Thomas was a wagoner in the regiment.

Morgan had served as an officer in the Virginia Colonial Militia since the French and Indian War. He recruited 96 men in 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them 600 miles to Boston, Massachusetts in only 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775. What set Morgan’s Riflemen apart from other companies was the technology they had with their rifles. They had rifle barrels with thin walls and curved grooves inside the barrels which made them light and much more accurate than the British muskets. Morgan used this advantage to initiate guerrilla tactics by which he first killed the Indian guides the British used to find their way through the rugged terrain and also to kill the British officers that led the troops. While this tactic was viewed as dishonorable by the British elites, it was, in fact, an extremely effective method that created chaos and discord for the British Army.

On December 31, 1775, a battle was fought between the Continental Army and the defenders of Quebec City. During this encounter, Daniel and 400 of his men including Thomas, were captured while leading an assault against the British. Benedict Arnold had originally been leading it, but he was injured and this forced Daniel to take command of the troops. They got trapped in the lower city and were forced to surrender. They were held prisoners until reinforcements arrived in the early spring.

Thomas spent the entirety of the war in Morgans brigade fighting many battles including the one at Valley Forge with General George Washington. He also fought in the battle of Freeman’s Clearing under the command of General Horatio Gates.

After the war, he and his family were given a land bounty of 200 acres in Rockingham Virginia. Here he farmed the land and raised his family under the flag of freedom that he fought for. He died at home in December 1813 at the age of 73.

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

Here’s Your Sign #28 ~ Dr. Joseph Warder

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large, and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

Dr. Joseph Warder is my maternal 5th Great Grandfather. He served as a field doctor in the Revolutionary War under Captain Hezekiah Garner in the 26th Battalion of Charles County, Maryland. This marker was placed on the Barren County Courthouse, in Kentucky, by the Edmund Rogers Charter of the DAR. Joseph’s name is the last one on the list.

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

Sunday’s Salute #41 ~ Eli Coffey ~ Substitute Soldier Revolutionary War

I just wanted to place this disclaimer here: I understand that some of the events that is written about in this blog are disturbing. However, it is a part of history and it should not be covered up because of this. This blog does not glorify the events nor does it condone them. It is just stating the facts of the little known history of the Revolutionary War.

Eli Coffey, my 1st cousin 5 times removed, was born on March 1, 1763, in Blue Run, Orange County, Virginia. He was one of eleven children born to Reverend James Coffey (1729-1786) and Elizabeth Cleveland (1729-1826). He moved with his parents and siblings to Morgan, Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1778. Here is where he began an unusual stint in the Revolutionary War.

In December of 1780, Eli’s maternal Uncle Thomas Fields, was drafted into the regiment of Captain John Barton. Thomas had a large family and a sick wife, and he asked if he could be excused from serving. His request was denied, but he was told if he found a substitute he would be able to stay home. When Eli heard of his Uncle’s dilemma, he volunteered to be a scout in Thomas’ place. The length of service was only for 3 months. By 1779, George Washington had earned the famous moniker “Father of His Country.” However the Iroquois Indians of the time bestowed on Washington another, not-so-flattering title: Conotocarious, or the “Town Destroyer.” This lesser-known title also had its origins in 1779, when General Washington ordered what at the time was the largest-ever campaign against the Indians in North America. After suffering for nearly two years from Iroquois raids on the Colonies’ northern frontier, Washington and Congress decided to strike back.


Butler’s Rangers

On the afternoon of November 11, 1778, Captain Benjamin Warren had led a group of soldiers out of the small fort at Cherry Valley, New York, and straight into a scene from hell. As the Patriot soldiers walked through the once-thriving farming community, they saw nothing but carnage: a man weeping over the mutilated and scalped bodies of his wife and four children; other corpses with their heads crushed by tomahawks and rifle butts; charred human remains in the smoking ruins of cabins and barns. It was, Warren later wrote, “a shocking sight my eyes never beheld before of savage and brutal barbarity.” The savagery had begun early that morning, when a hundreds-strong force of Loyalist militiamen, Seneca Indians and a few British soldiers had appeared out of the fog and rain. The town and its small garrison were taken completely by surprise, and the raiders—led by Tory Captain Walter Butler and Mohawk war chief Joseph Brant—launched into an orgy of death and destruction. The fort managed to hold out, but the town and its people were defenseless. By the time the attackers withdrew, more than 30 civilians—mostly women and children—and 16 soldiers were dead and nearly 200 people left homeless. The assault soon became known as the “Cherry Valley Massacre,” and it would help convince General George Washington to launch a massive, no-holds-barred retaliatory expedition.

Captain John Barton led one of the regiments that retaliated against the British and their Indian allies. Eli’s job was to scout the countryside for the villages where these Indians were living. It is not known if he ever participated in the fighting between the two factions, or if he only pointed the way to the villages. The Indians who stood with the British generally fought alongside American and Canadian Loyalists. The most infamous band of Loyalists to utilize Indian allies was Butler’s Rangers—a partisan regiment formed in 1777 under Lt. Col. John Butler, a Tory from the Mohawk Valley. While focusing their activities on the New York and Pennsylvania settlements, Butler’s irregulars ranged as far out as Virginia and Michigan. They were extremely effective and, at times, brutal. The 1778 Wyoming and Cherry Valley massacres—the bloodiest of many border fights—were largely the work of Butler’s Rangers, together with “Cornplanter”, a Dutch-Seneca war chief and Brant’s Mohawks and Indians from other tribes. Again, it is not known if Eli actually participated in any of these events or if he just scouted out the targets of them.

Eli completed his service and returned home to North Carolina. Within a few months his older brother Ambrose was drafted to go against the Cherokees, but he was severely near-sighted. Once again Eli volunteered to serve, this time for his brother. He enlisted as a horseman. He entered the service in Wilkes County, North Carolina under Lieutenant Isbell of Wilkes. Colonel Miller of Rutherford, Colonel Joseph McDowell and General Charles McDowell of Burke rendezvoused with Isbell at Pleasant Garden, Burke County, North Carolina. They crossed the Mountain at the head of Swannanoa River, and marched forward crossing the French Broad River, the Big and Little Pigeon Rivers, and Tuckaseegee entering an Indian town called Tuckaseegee and they took the town. They then crossed the Tennessee River and headwaters of the Hiwassee River, passing through the various parts of the Cherokee Nation. They burnt down other Indian villages along the way including the Overhill Towns, the Valley towns and the Shoemake Towns and then returned home and the entire regiment was discharged at the expiration of the three months, the term for which he had entered.

Eli married Hannah Allen (1765-1845) in 1790, and they had 3 sons. Eli bought 50 acres of land in Burke County and began farming. They moved to Wayne County, Kentucky, about 1815 where he then purchased 21 acres. In 1828, they once again moved, this time to Mc Minn County, Tennessee, near his older brother Rice’s farm. Eli died on September 5, 1847, at the age of 84.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

Sunday’s Salute #38~ Benjamin Strother ~ Revolutionary War

Benjamin Strother, my 1st cousin 7 times removed, was born on June 25, 1750, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was the youngest of 5 children born to Anthony Strother (1710-1765) and Behethland Storke (1716-1753 ). He joined the Virginia State Navy in 1768, at the age of 18. After 3 years of service he was promoted to midshipman which was a rating for an experienced seaman. He was then assigned to the ship the Tempest, at Frazer’s Ferry under the command of Captain Collier Saunders.

During the American Revolutionary War, the provisional government of the Virginia Colony authorized the purchase, outfitting, and manning of armed vessels to protect the colony’s waters from threats posed it by the Royal Navy. The Virginia fleet primarily patrolled the Chesapeake Bay, and was perpetually undermanned and poorly armed. Some of the ships were used in commerce, sent on voyages to the West Indies and even Europe. Between 1775 and 1779 the fleet captured 15 prizes, but also lost several ships the same way. The British raided the shipyard at Gosport in 1779, destroying stores and several unfinished vessels.

The arrival of British forces in South Carolina in 1780, and increased raiding activities by the British in Chesapeake Bay created increased demand for naval defense, and Virginia had to resort to forcing some men to serve as seamen. After a British fleet landed troops led by turncoat Benedict Arnold in December 1780, Virginia in desperation, hired privateers to assist the Navy. Even so, Arnold advanced up the James River as far as Richmond. A fleet of over twenty small Virginia ships and privateers pursued him, and in a one-sided engagement in April 1781 (The Osborne’s), the British captured twelve and the rest were either scuttled or burned. The Tempest was one of the ships destroyed.

The disaster on the James left the Virginia Navy with a single ship, the Liberty. She supported operations that resulted in the Siege of Yorktown later in 1781, as did three additional ships hired by the state. When Cornwallis was forced to surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, citing financial reasons, discharged most of its seaman. This is when Benjamin enlisted in the Continental Army until the end of the war.

Benjamin married Catherine Price (1753-1805) in 1778 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They had 5 children, 1 son and 4 daughters. They moved to “Forest Park” near Charles Town, Jefferson County, Virginia (now in West Virginia). Here he died on October 10, 1807, at the age of 57.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

Sunday’s Salute #35 ~ John Ennis Jr. ~ Revolutionary War

John Ennis Jr, my 5th Great Grandfather, was born in 1736 in Albemarle County, Virginia. His father, John Ennis Sr. emigrated from Athlone, Westmeath County, Ireland, when he was 6 years old arriving in Boston in 1716. They settled in Virginia. John Jr married Mary Ann Whitlock (1740-1827) in 1763 in Albemarle County. They had 5 children, 2 sons, and 3 daughters. John was a man of prominence in Virginia having inherited a sizable estate from his parents.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, John mustered in as a Private to the 4th Virginia Regiment on December 28, 1775, at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Virginia. He served in this regiment until 1783. He participated in 6 major battles over that time, with the last one being the Siege of Charleston in North Carolina.

The siege of Charleston was a major engagement and major British victory, fought between March 29 to May 12, 1780, during the American Revolutionary War. The British, following the collapse of their northern strategy in late 1777, and their withdrawal from Philadelphia in 1778, shifted their focus to the American Southern Colonies.

After approximately six weeks of siege, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, commanding the Charleston garrison, surrendered his forces to the British. It was one of the worst American defeats of the war. The British captured some 5,266 prisoners, 311 artillery pieces, 9,178 artillery rounds, 5,916 muskets, 33,000 rounds of ammunition, 15 Regimental colors, 49 ships and 120 boats, plus 376 barrels of flour, and a large storehouse of rum, rice and indigo. Following the surrender, the captured soldiers were brought to a powder storehouse. A Hessian officer warned that some of the guns might still be loaded, but he was ignored. One prematurely fired, detonating 180 barrels of powder, further discharging 5,000 muskets in the storehouse. The accident killed approximately 200 people and destroyed six houses. The prisoners of the siege were diverted to multiple locations, including prison shops, the old barracks where the College of Charleston is today, and the Old Exchange and Provost “Dungeon”. Prison hulks awaited the majority of the 2,571 Continental prisoners, while parole was granted to the militia and civilians who promised not to take up arms. This ended the power of an American army in the South.

John and a few of his fellow soldiers were able to escape. They had been starved and treated horribly however, when they returned home he rejoined the fight. He mustered out on January 1, 1783.

Around 1805, John and most of his grown children trekked to Warren County, Kentucky from Amherst County, Virginia. There they bought several adjoining properties and began farming. John died in Warren County on January 15, 1829, at the age of 89.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

My Ancestors Signature #26 ~ John Coffey

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 3rd Great Grandfather


John Coffey 1776-1845
From Land Sale dated 1799
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Timeand Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Here’s Your Sign #12 ~ Arthur Lee

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large, and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

Grave of Arthur Lee

 

Arthur Lee, my 2nd cousin 9 times removed, was a very political person. Here are a few of his accomplishments.

Delegate from Virginia; born at ‘‘Stratford,’’ in Westmoreland County, Va., December 20, 1740; attended Eton College, England; studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and was graduated in 1765; returned to London in 1766 and studied law at Temple Bar 1766-1770; was admitted to the bar and practiced in London 1770-1776; commissioned as an agent of Massachusetts in England and France in 1770; appointed correspondent of Congress in London in 1775; commissioner to France in 1776 and to Spain in 1777; returned to Virginia in 1780; member of the State house of delegates 1781-1783, 1785, and 1786; Member of the Continental Congress 1782-1784; member of the Treasury board 1785-1789; died in Urbanna, Middlesex County, Va., on December 12, 1792; interment in Lansdowne Garden, in the rear of ‘‘Lansdowne,’’ his home, at Urbanna

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

 

 

Sunday Salute ~ Colonel Richard Allen ~ Revolutionary War

An image of the american revolution

Richard Allen, my 5th great-grandfather, was born on November 26, 1741, in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the son of John (1717-1767) and Ann (1722-1746), Rhodes Allen. His family moved to Rowan County, North Carolina in 1743 and his mother died there in 1746. By 1759 we find him living in Fredrick County, Virginia. Richard was the youngest of nine children born to John and Ann and the family was considered to be poor. When he and Miss Lindsey fell in love, her father, who was wealthy, opposed the marriage. The young lovers persisted, and he married Nancy Ann Lindsey in 1763 in Virginia, and they had 8 known children, 5 sons, and 3 daughters. After the birth of their first child, Thomas (my 4th great-grandfather) in September of 1770, they again moved, this time back to North Carolina to avoid the ill will of her family.

In the month of October 1775, he entered the service of the Patriots as a volunteer for six months in Capt. Jesse Walton’s Company of minute men. It was the first company ever raised in the county of Wilkes. He was appointed First Sergeant. Immediately after the company was raised and organized they marched to Salisbury, where they remained about sixteen days engaged in training and exercising the men, after which they were discharged and returned home, where they arrived a few days before Christmas.

On the 13th day of February 1776, they set out upon their march forPatriot pic Cross Creek because they had heard that the Scotch Tories were committing great devastation in the country there. On their way, they were joined by Col. Martin Armstrong with the Surry militia at a place called old Richmond. After joining Col. Armstrong they continued their march until they reached Randolph County, where they were joined by Col. Alexander Martin of the Continental line with a small body of troops under his command. They engaged the Tories that were in this area.

Not long after the expiration of his first term Richard was chosen an ensign in the company of militia commanded by Capt. Benjamin Cleveland and they received orders from Col. Armstrong to go against the Indians who were committing acts of destruction upon the frontier of the Western part of North Carolina. In this expedition, they served about two weeks scouring the frontier settlements for any problems.

Benjamin Cleveland StatueEarly in the year 1778, Captain Benjamin Cleveland was appointed a Lieutenant Colonel and Richard was appointed to succeed him as Captain of the company which commission he held until the close of the war. In the latter part of the year 1779, a call was made for troops to march to the defense of Charleston. A draft was made from the militia in Wilkes for the company and a draft also made from the Captains of Companies for a Captain to command that company. The lot fell upon Richard, and he rendezvoused with the company on January 13, 1780. As soon as they could organize and make the necessary preparations they marched directly to Charleston, S. C., where they joined the third regiment of North Carolina militia, commanded by Col. Andrew Hampton.

Newspaper Richard's PlaceGen. Lincoln ordered all the troops into the city where they remained until the term of service of Richard and his men expired. They were then discharged and returned home, Richard arrived home sometime in the month of April 1780. In the month of September 1780, information was received by Col. Benjamin Cleveland that Major Ferguson of the British army was advancing from South Carolina with a large body of British and Tories, upon which Col. Cleveland immediately issued orders for all the Troops within the County of Wilkes to rendezvous at the Court House. Richard along with what men he could gather together immediately set out on their march to join the fight. At this time he was promoted to Colonel. They continued their march as quickly as possible in the direction of King’s mountain but was not able to reach it in time to engage in the battle. After this, Richard and his men again returned home to Rowan (now called Wilkes), County.

Richard Allen hsIn 1778, Richard was a member of the Constitutional Convention in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Richard was also appointed the First Sheriff of Wilkes County after the end of the War. In 1785 he served as a justice in the county. In 1793, he was a Representative in the General Assembly as well as serving a term in the House of Commons. Beginning in 1798 through 1804, Richard was once again made Sheriff of Wilkes County. He then served as the clerk for the Baptist Association until his death on October 10, 1832, in Edwards Township, Wilkes Co, North Carolina at the age of 90.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

Here’s Your Sign #7 ~ Colonel Richard Allen Sr.

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large, and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

Richard Allen sign Roaring river, Wilkes Co NC

Colonel Richard Allen Sr, my 5th great-grandfather, was born on November 26, 1741, in Baltimore, Maryland. His family moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina when he was 5 years old. When the Revolutionary War began, he readily signed up. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a Colonel. He participated in several battles but is most notable for his courage during the Battle of Kings Mountain. After the war, he was appointed the first Sheriff of Wilkes County. In 1785 he served as Justice of the County, He was also a delegate to the Hillsborough Convention in 1788 and the General Assembly and served on the House of Commons in 1793. He then served as Sheriff again from 1798-1804. He died on October 10, 1832, in Edwards, Wilkes Co, North Carolina at the age of 90.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.