It is very interesting to get a personal perspective on the American Revolutionary War times and the lives of our ancestors during that period. Below is a very colorful (albeit long) story (yarn?) spun by an old veteran of the American Revolution in 1833. In order to prove that he was indeed an veteran of the big war and deserving of his share of the newly created U.S. Revolutionary War Veterans Pension Fund, the subject, 83 year old Thomas Lovelady, laid his experiences out as evidence. One of the things that makes this story even more interesting, is that Lovelady was living with George Gose - son of Stephen Gose, Jr and grandson of the immigrant Stephan Gose – at the time that this testimony was given.
George was born in 1785 in Castlewood, Russell County, Virginia and died in 1861. In the 1860 census, George is found to be the wealthiest landowner in Russell County, Virginia. He and his descendants were very prominent in Russell County for many years.
George served as one of Thomas Lovelady’s "character witnesses". You will find him referenced towards the end of the story and in the final testimony questioning process.
As you read this story, you will be amazed at the recollection of the war that this man had. You will almost wonder if he is making a lot of this stuff up, but he really seems to have some details that are collaborated by others. One must keep in mind that a war experience such as this must certainly have been a very important and impressionable part of this man's life. Perhaps, given the same circumstances, we too would be able to recall the details as vividly as does Thomas Lovelady!
State of Virginia, Russell County, ss
On the 8th day of January 1833, personally appeared in open court, before the County Court of Russell County now setting, Thomas Lovelady, a resident of the said County of Russell and State of Virginia, aged eighty three years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832;
That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers, and served as herein stated. That he entered the service in the War of the Revolution in the same year that Charleston in South Carolina was taken by the British. He then resided in Guilford County in the State of North Carolina and was drafted for a three months' tour to go against a band of tories upon Cross Creek in the vicinity of Newbern, headed by one Fannin - the said Thomas Lovelady then belonged to a company commanded by Capt. William Bethel. The name of the Lieutenant and Ensign not now remembered. The Battalion to which his company was attached was commanded by Majors, Thomas Owens, and Nelson, and formed a part of the regiment of North Carolina Militia, commanded by Colonel Martin, and served out the said tour of three months, and was discharged at Lower Little River Bridge and returned home, where he remained about ten days and volunteered for a three months tour again under the same officers, marched through the County lying between Guilford and the Congaree River into the State of S. Carolina, but had hitherto been in no engagement, and after marching from point to point for the purpose of attacking the enemy, that tour of three months expired and they were discharged and returned home; twelve of his company set out together, and on their return, called at the house of an old Dutch tory by the name he thinks of Adam Apple living on a creek called Stinking Creek, a stream he thinks of the Big Alamanse River, and asked for some refreshment, which was refused, pinched by hunger which has few restraints, they helped themselves, and after eating, the company, except the said Thomas Lovelady and the dutchman's daughter lay down upon the floor and went to sleep, and he requested the young lady to go to bed, assuring her that she should not be interrupted, she however declined, and he knowing that they were in an enemy's house, determined not to sleep, lest she should give notice to the tories that they were there - He however, overcome by fatigue, fell asleep in the chair and awaking sometime afterwards missed the young lady, and found she was not in the house, and immediately waked up his companions and advised them to leave the house; but they refused; and about day break or a little after, the band of tories commanded by Fannin and Major Bill Nickols, the latter is the same who killed William Letcher in bed in the long hollows of Dan River came up and surrounded the house - Fannin, whom the tories called Colonel, shot one of their company by the name of Johnston Tyler, and was in the act of shooting the said Thomas Lovelady when the said Bill Nickols __ eleven, but required them to take an oath administered by the said Fannin, not to fight thereafter against his Majesty the King of Great Britain, and then released them upon a parol of honer. They then set out on their way homeward, and soon met with a company of Whigs, when six of their little part joined them, and the said Thomas Lovelady one of that number and returned, back to see the old dutchman and his daughter, and their morning guests - But Fannin and his party having fled they took the young lady into Stinking Creek, and gave her a sound ducking, and left her in a situation not the best suited for carrying speedy expresses - and returned home wards - reaching home sometime afterwards and made a visit to see a sister in the them County of Washington, but now County of Scott in the State of Virginia, where he volunteered under Captain Montgomery, Lieutenant Daniel Frazier, commanded by Col. Evan Shelby to go against the Chickamoggy Indians on the Tennessee River - they went down by water from the Long Islands of Holston and took from the Indians a good many horses and cattle, and after some little skirmishes, returned back to Washington County aforesaid, after having been in that service about three months - Sometime afterwards he returned home to Guilford County in the State of N. Carolina, and went with two horses at the request of his father to the State of S. Carolina to aid an uncle in removing to Guilford County in N. Carolina, whose property had been taken away from him by the tories - and whilst there, enlisted for nine months with Captain Anderson a recruiting officer, and was marched by him and Major Anderson from point to point as the depredations of the british and tories might require, until a few days before the battle of Cow Pens, when they joined the old Waggoner Col. Morgan and remained with him until after the battle, and fought with him on the memorable occasion, which by the united efforts of Col. Lee and the brave Col. Washington ended in the complete discomfiture of Tarlton and his troops and in which Tarlton narrowly escaped the pursuit of the intrepid Col. Washington - continued their marches from place to place, annoying the enemy and defending the country, until the nine months for which he had enlisted expired, when they were discharged and returned home - Sometime afterwards he visited his relatives in Washington County in the State of Virginia, and again volunteered for no certain time, with Captain William Edmiston, Major Dasy, Col. William Campbell, Col. Shelby and Col. Sevier to go against the British forces in the South - whence they marched, and after crossing the Blue Ridge into the State of S. Carolina, they formed a junction with Col. Benjamin Cleveland. All the forces were then put under then command of Col. Campbell. They then pursued the British under the command of Ferguson, until the two armies met upon the top of Kings Mountain, where a most spirited and bloody engagement took place, which resulted in the death of Ferguson and about 400 of his men killed, and about 1200 taken prisoners - marched on from thence with the said army, guarding the said prisoners until they reached Wilks (old) Courthouse in N. Carolina, where he with others from the same section of country was discharged, after having been in the service of the country about three months, and returned back to the County of Washington, where he remained until sometime in the nesxt winter, he thinks in the month of January, when he volunteered again at Abingdon in the State of Virginia, under Capt. Montgomery on another expedition to the south against the British forces under Cornwallis, who was said to be pillaging and devastating the Southern country. He was then commanded again by his old leader Col. Campbell who feared neither tory nor british red coat, and marched from Abingdon by the lead mines upon New River to the Moravian Towns in N. Carolina in number about 1200 riflemen, and from thence to Guilford County in the same state, where they got upon the pursuit of Cornwallis, followed him nearly to Boyd's Ferry on Dan River, when he took a turn round through Caswell County in the direction of Reedy Fork of Han River - Col. Campbell took a narrow route and intercepted him at Whitsel Mills, where Col. Campbell found it necessary after a short engagement to order a retreat, and was closely pursued, and would probably have been taken or cut to pieces but for the timely succour of Cols. Washington and Lee who covered the retreat and thus saved us from an enemy, only superior in numbers. A few days after Col. Campbell offered to let his rifle men return home, many of whom had lost their horses and blankets, and were badly equipped, for a winter campaign, and nearly all of them accepted his kind offer. The said Lovelady and 10 or 11 others remained with their old Colonel and told him they wanted one more shooting match with the red coats, and sure enough they got it, they were then attached to a company commanded by Capt. Perkins and the same day joined the army commanded by General Greene - The two armies seemed to be watching the movements of each other, and manuvering about for several days, until they came together about one half mile from Guilford Courthouse, where the engament commenced, which occupied a good part of the day and ended at the said Court House and after a very bloody engagement in which many were killed on both sides. General Greene ordered a retreat and his forces were marched to Perkins' ironworks upon Troublesome Creek about 10 or 12 miles distant - They returned back the next day to Guilford Courthouse, and found that Cornwallis had buried his dead in rather a hasty manner, and left the ground - General Greene had our killed buried, and again pursued Cornwallis to Ramsoner's Mills, where the Virginia troops were discharged, and the said Lovelady returned back to Washington County in the State of Virginia, after having been in the service that time three months. That in the month of September next preceeding the battle of Little York in the State of Virginia, himself and six others left home to find their old Col. Campbell who was yet in the Army, and arrived at Richmond whilst he was there sick and of that sickness died at that place, and turned about and returned back to Washington County, Virginia. He, after peace was declared went to the State of Georgia to live, and whilst there had the misfortune to have his house burnt, and with it, all his several discharges, and every thing also in his house, which was done by a party of Indians so that he cannot now produce that evidence of his services - nor does he know any person now living by whom he can prove all his services, but hopes to prove circumstances enough, aided by the Character of a long life of honesty and rectitude, to entitle him in his old age to the bounty of that Government for the liberties of which, it was once his pride to fight by the side of his old Col. William Campbell, after having served in the War of the Revolution upwards of two years. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension or an annuity, except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state. Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.
Thomas T. Lovelady
Witness: Henry Ingle
Law Order Book 10, Page 144
03 Jun 1834
State of Virginia, - Russell County, to wit:
On this third day of June, 1834, personally appeared in open court before the County Court of Russell County now sitting, Thomas Lovelady, a resident of the said county, and who swore to and subscribed his declaration for a pension before this court, on the 8th days of January, 1833, and who being again duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following answers, to the following interrogatories prescribed by the War Department, in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832:
1. Question, by the Court. Where, and in what year were you born?
Answer, by Thomas Lovelady. I was born in Guilford County in the State of North Carolina in the year 1750.
2. Question, Have you any record of your age, and if so where is it?
Answer, I have the record of my age in an old family prayer book, now in my house.
3. Question, Where were you living when called into service, where have you lived since the revolutionary War, and where do you now live?
Answer, I was, when first called into service, living in my native County, Guilford, North Carolina, since the revolutionary War, I have lived in the State of Georgia, also in the Counties of Washington, Augusta and Russell, in the State of Virginia, and was living in the last named county at the time of the late war, at which time, although old, I enlisted, and went into the service again as a regular soldier, served out the time of my enlistment, returned to the County of Russell again, where I have resided ever since.
4. Question. How were you called into service, were you drafted, did you volunteer, or were you a substitute, and if a substitute for whom?
Answer. According to my best recollection at this time in which I believe I am correct, I was first drafted in Guilford County, N.C. for a tour of three months under Capt. Bethel, Major Thomas Owens, and Major ____ Nelson and Col. Martin. Afterwards I volunteered for another tour of three months to go against the Chichamoggy Indians, then on the Tennessee river, was commanded in that expedition by Capt. Montgomery, Lieut. Frazier and Col. Shelby. I afterwards enlisted in the State of South Carolina for a tour of nine months under Capt. Anderson and remained with him and Major Anderson until the battle of Cow Pens. I afterwards volunteered again, under Capt. William Edmiston, Major Dasey, Cols. William Campbell, Shelby and Sevier, but if for any specified time I do not now remember but am morally certain that the time exceeded three months, but will say that upon that occasion I was in the service three months at least. I agin volunteered afterwards at Abingdon, Va., under Capt. Montgomery for another tour of three months in an expedition to the South and commanded again by Col. William Campbell.
Question 5. State the names of some of the Regular officers who were with the troops, where you served, such Continental and Malitia Regiment, as you can recollect, and the general circumstances of your service?
Answer, I remember that Capt. Anderson whom I mentioned was a regular recruiting officer - Col. Morgan was also sometimes in the same service with ___. At one time the company to which I belonged was attached to the 6th or 7th Regiment of Virginia infantry and marched sometimes before and sometimes in the rear of the Cavalry. I remember also Col. William Davis who was with us at the battle of Guilford Court House, at the same time and place was also Genl. Green. I do not now remember sufficiently well to name any particular continental or Militia Regiment, further than I have already stated in this and my original declaration.
6. Question. Did you ever receive any discharge from the service, and if so by whom was it given, and what has become of it?
Answer. I received a discharge from the recruiting officer, Capt. Anderson - one from Col. Martin, whom I have mentioned and who was as I afterwards understood promoted to the high appointment of general - one from Capt. William Bethel, and another from Capt. Montgomery, all of which several discharges were afterwards destroyed by fire by the burning of my house in Elbert County upon Broad River in the State of Georgia by the Indians. After the termination of the Revolutionary War, at which time almost every thing I possessed was also destroyed and I and my wife narrowly escaped as the Indians were approaching.
7. State the names of person to whom you are known in your present neighborhood, and who can testify as to your character for veracity, and their belief of your services as a soldier of the Revolution?
Answer. George Gose, Esquire, John Bickley, P. Master at Bickleys Mills, Major James Dickenson, Rev. Christian Easterly, Colonel Abel Alderson, Capt. Oscar Love, Sabastian H. Bickley, Esq., and Major Henry Dickenson.
Thomas x Lovelady
On the same day and before the same Court personally came John Hackney, an aged, and respectable witness and who has for many years been a resident of the said County of Russell, and who has for many years been receiving a pension from the United States and who after being duly sworn, according to law, deposeth and saith, That he was acquainted with Thomas Lovelady, in the revolutionary war and that the said Lovelady then belonged to a company commanded by Capt. Anderson, who as this affiant now thinks was a regular officer, and another officer called and known as Major Anderson, of Col. Lee's infantry. That he remembers well that the said Lovelady was in the battle of the Cow Pens and also in the battle of Guilford Courthouse in the State of North Carolina. That he became acquainted with the said Lovelady some time before the battle at the Cow Pens, and although they were occasionally seperated in the service, that he saw the said Lovelady frequently between that time and the time of the battle of Guilford Courthouse, and that he saw him then and knows that during that time the said Lovelady was regarded by all who knew him, to be a good and faithful soldier. That they returned from Guilford Court House by order of General Green to Perkins old ironworks upon Troublesome Creek and remained in the same army together for some time, and were by the order of their officers, seperated, and never met again until they met in said County of Russell. That from the first time he saw the said Lovelady until he saw him last in the War of the Revolution, that he is morally certain that the said Lovelady was in the service of the Revolution of the States of South and North Caroline under the command of Captain and Major Anderson fully nine months. That he now recognizes the identity of the person of the said Thomas Lovelady, and that the said Thomas Lovelady in relation to whose service in the War of the Revolution this affiant has herein testified, is the same Thomas Lovelady who swore to the foregoing interrogatories, and who swore to and subscribed his original declaration in this Court on the 8th day of January, 1834.
John x Hackney