Tuesday, April 1, 2008

William Armstrong of Caldwell County Kentucky

[There were TWO William Armstrong’s from North Carolina receiving Revolutionary War pensions. This is the one who moved to Caldwell County Kentucky.]

William Armstrong of Caldwell County in the State of Kentucky was a private in the company commanded by Captain Armstrong of the reg’t commanded by Col. Dixon in the North Carolina line for 1 year and 1 month.

Inscribed on the Roll of Kentucky at the rate of 43 Dollars 33 cents per annum to commence on the 4th day of March 1834.

State of Kentucky Caldwell County; On this 20th day of August 1832 personally appeared in open court before William Lander, Morton A Rucker, Coleman Ratliff, Jas C Weller Esqrs justices of the county court of said county now sitting at the courthouse in Princeton, William Armstrong a resident of said county & state, aged seventy nine 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 7th 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated: That in the year 1780 in the county of Lincoln state of North Carolina (here he then lived) he was drafted in the militia of that state for a three months tour, against the Brittish in South Carolina. That he was commissioned the Captain of the company from Lincoln and commanded as such in the expedition – that the rendezvous of the troops was near Charlotte, and his company was placed in the Regiment commanded by Colonel Alexander and Gen Griffith Rutherford commanded the Brigade and Wm Rankin was Lieutenant of his company. From Charlotte we marched down the Yadkin river; and thence across Black river to Rugely’s Mill (a tory) and there encamped for the night, but about 12 at night, the line of March was again formed and we proceeded towards Camden - that the same night the advanced guards had some skirmishing with the enemy guards. That we joined the main army during the night and at dawn of day the battle of Camden commenced. That Rutherford’s brigade and perhaps others were divided into platoons instead of their companies; and that he this applicant commanded a platoon on that memorable day instead of his company. He states that he fought during the whole of that battle, and knows that he done his duty. The battle lasted but a short time, yet long enough to defeat Gen’l Gates, who according to the general opinion acted dastardly on that occasion. The continental troops or a portion of them was commanded by Gen’l DeKalb who was killed in that engagement and I well remember he was much lamented and his untimely fall produced a general sympathy. I remember my own feelings to this day and the circumstances are fresh in my remembrance. I will mention, that on our way to Camden about 40 prisoners (Brittish & Tories) were committed to my charge as Captain of the Company, who were guarded by my company until they were sent ?? here for safe keeping. That shortly after the battle some of my company were discharged by Col. Dixon (if I mistake not) after having served out our time of service. At this time the Tories were very numerous and had about overrun the country – I was appointed Captain of my company in Lincoln, and shortly after the Battle of Camden I called out my company to volunteer in defense of the country, but to my mortification I found but twelve men good and true – the rest having joined the tories. With these I again entered the service as a Captain and immediately joined Colonel Dixon, and remained under him two years. During which time my company was sometimes large and then smaller, as I could get men to serve; and during all this time the service was most dangerous and laboring. The tories had the ascendency in point of numbers and many times we were unable to oppose them and frequently had to act defensively owing to the want of men. The force under Col Dixon were incessantly employed against the tories and scouting parties of the Brittish – marching from point to point – as occasion required to relieve the country and had many skirmishes and engagements. Frequently I acted in the capacity of a spy, and had the command of a spy company. At one time I had only eight men under me, and was sent out to Saris?? Mill in Rowan County for the purpose of discovery and on arriving there we found 42 footmen and 15 draggoons there before us. They had discovered an approach and lay in our bush & fired on us as we entered the creek, but luckily killed none of us. We instantly turned to fire, but at the moment saw the dragoons advancing us from their ambush on the opposite side of the creek and we were obliged to retreat through a contiguous old field, and reserved our fire for more urgent necessity as we expected to be pursued; but strange as it may seem when we reached the other side of the field we halted and looked back and discovered the enemy retreating in some haste. This movement of theirs was unaccountable unless they supposed a large force was near at hand. They threw out their forage and precipitately retreated and we in turn pursued them five or six miles, and might have killed and taken them all if Col Dixon had sent reinforcements as I had requested by a messenger, but the reinforcement did not arrive in time to effect the object. About this time our service ws uncommonly severe – Cornwallis was marching through the country from Charleston towards Virginia, and almost every day we encountered some scouting party, and notwithstanding all our exertions the country suffered much and it was impossible for our force to afford complete protection to the inhabitants. I myself suffered materially by them having while out in service been robbed of everything I had and having lost five horses at one time by the tories. I continued under Colonel Dixon, in this service till the close of the war which [?? About December] was upwards of two years- indeed near three years but the precise time I cannot fix. I forgot to name one circumstance: At the battle of Ronsour’s, Gillefall commanded the wigs and was killed there and the regiment to which I belonged would have been in the action, but the express did not arrive time – this action was fought the 20 June as well as I remember. I was a captain, regularly commissioned as such during all the time of my service in the revolution, which could not be much short of three years. I could name many persons who served with me in the revolution, but I suppose they are all dead – I know of none living. In the Leander expedition one Cathey & Rutlege served in my company, and whether they are dead is a little uncertain but I suppose they are as I have not heard from them in a great while. I further state that I know of no person now living who has a personal knowledge of my service – there is an old acquaintance (and an old soldier too) living in an adjoining Livingston named Tho Brashier who knew me in South Carolina, particularly since the war and by him (and others) I can prove my character and standing in that country and by him I suppose I can prove the existence once of my said commissions as a captain in the revolution, which I kept many years; whose affidavit I can probably procure. I further declare, that I have no documentary evidence in my possession now, which would prove my service as I have lost my said commission a good many years ago nor do I know of any such evidence, unless the Secretary’s office of North Carolina will afford it, but I have no means of examining it. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state whatever. And the said ?? ?? the several interrogatories as directed by the war department, and he answered as follows….

Where born? I was born at Fog’s Marrow, State of Pennsylvania on the 14th February 1753
Any record of your age…? I have my father’s record of my age, drawn off in a Bible of my own at my own house.
Where were you living when called….? I was living in the county Lincoln State of North Carolina (which I had move from Pennsylvania when quite young) when I first entered the service, and after the war, I moved from there to Greenville district South Carolina (and the reason of my moving was this: I could not live in a neighborhood where nearly all had been Tories – there was no good blood between whig & tory) I lived in Greenville District until about thirty years ago, when I moved to this county where I have lived ever since.
How called into service…? I was drafted in the expedition to Camden, but for the rest of my service I volunteered.
Officers…..? I served altogether in the militia and with the militia except in the Camden expedition, and there I knew Gates, DeKalb and several others but I was only a short time in Gates army and did not become aquainted either with the officers or regiments, except the head commanders. (Hehere proceeded and related the general ?? tours of his service substantially as is set forth above).
Receive a commission….? I did receive a commission as captain, signed by Governor (as I now remember) Carswell of North Carolina, under which I held the office of captain….
Names of persons…. In your neighborhood…..: Hon. C. Lyon, Benj G Rice, Jesse B Pemberton, George Robertson, and Rev. John Barnett and others.
[signed] William Armstrong X his mark

[an affidavit signed by John Barnett, George Robison and Kinsay Robison was attached.]

[an affidavit was signed by Thomas J Brasher talking about seeing the commission papers of William Armstrong in South Carolina while Armstrong was serving on a court martial for …” an officer who had insulted his colonel when on parade”….. Also appearing was Catherine Brasher. She said she is the sister of William Armstrong and that she knew of his service. Catherine remained with the said Williams wife for company (Jabe? Was then married). Catherine is now about sixty two years of age. ]

[William Armstrong appeared in the court of Caldwell County Kentucky again 20 May 1833 at the age of eighty. He again went through his service history with the skirmishes etc. He lists a few more details than before, and maybe I’ll type those in here in the future. – in this one he mentions “There is another old lady, Ann Armstrong, the wife of my brother, John (who is dead) by whom I can prove my commission and my service…” “I am now very old, and afflicted with the palsy and cannot attempt again to prepare my case if this proves insufficient.”….]


workshop said...

Thank you for putting this up. Catherine Armstrong Brasher is my 4th great grandmother, and I am thrilled to see this information.

Deb said...

I'm so glad you found it useful.

CraneHunter said...

I am very interested in this Ann wife of John Armstrong. I descend from a John and Ann Armstrong who lived in what is now Spartanburg / Greenville Counties of South Carolina. John was killed by indians in June 1776. Could you tell me more about this Ann ?

CraneHunter said...

I am very interested in this Ann wife of John - Could you tell me more as I descend from a John and Ann Armstrong from what is now Spartanburg and Greenville counties of South Carolina

Deb said...

From the info shown, this John was still living in 1832, so I don't think this would be your John and Ann. My Armstrong connection is a Chittenden Armstrong (who died in 1848, and I'm still trying to figure out his parentage). I have tracked the Armstrongs in Caldwell/Lyon counties in KY, in search for mine, so I have the marriages, births, deaths and census records that I've uncovered so far, in those counties, and you're welcome to those.