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Testimony of an American Patriot – Part 2

On 7 June 1822, under an Act of Congress, the United States made provisions for veterans to receive a pension for their service during the American Revolution.  William Kerby (or Curbo) was among those that filed an application for a pension.  His pension hearing was held in the Precinct Court on 16 Sept 1833 in Jackson County, Tennessee before the Honorable Abraham Caruthers, Circuit Judge for the Third Judicial Court in Jackson County as follows:

On the 16th day of September, 1833 personally appeared before the Honorable Abraham Caruthers, Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit for the State aforesaid, now presiding in the County of Jackson and State of Tennessee, William Kerby, or as it is sometimes written William Curbo, a resident of the county and state aforesaid, aged seventy-four years on the 6th of July last {this suggests a birth year of 1758} who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the pension made by the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1932.

That he enlisted into the Army of the United States in the year 1775 {he would have been 17 years old} as he believes, but being wholly illiterate, in this he may be mistaken.  He will however proceed with the narration of such facts or will enable the department without any difficulty to ascertain the justice or injustice of his application.  He enlisted with Captain Thomas Harris, and served in the 4th Regiment of the North Carolina line, as he now understands it.

The regiment to which he belonged was commanded by Col. Thomas Polk, who was from the County of Mecklenburg, North Carolina.  The first Major of the Regiment was George Davidson – long after this period Major Davidson was killed at Beatty’s Ford on the Catouba {Catawba??} River in a skirmish with the British and this declarant is of opinion and his recollection is so that at the time of his death he held the rank of General, in the state troops of North Carolina.  James Fair was lieutenant in Capt. Harris’ Company.  James Costs was Ensign.  When he entered the guard he resided in Anson County, North Carolina near the town of Wadesborrough. 

Captain Harris’ company joined the Regiment at Wilmington, North Carolina.  The next day after reaching Wilmington, they set out on their march for Headley’s Point, near Charleston, South Carolina – where they remained in winter quarters until the following spring.  From Charleston, the troops returned to Wilmington, where they remained, he believes about a month.  From Wilmington, the troops marched to the town of Halifax, North Carolina.  There were then at that place according to his recollection, five Regiments – General Francis Nash had the chief command of what troops were there – they remained there something like a month.  From there they marched to Fredericksburg, Virginia where they only remained a few days and continued their march to the head of Elk in Pennsylvania, where they joined General Washington’s army.  {Yes – the General Washington – future President George Washington!}  From there they went to Philadelphia, by the way of what was called “the floating bridge” on the Schuylkill {River}.   

The Army remained some time in Philadelphia, how long he does not distinctly remember, but according to his recollection, he was in Philadelphia on the day that independence was declared.  {Did you just get the goosebumps?  I did – this is American history in action!}  He was in the Battle of Brandywine [September 11, 1777] where he received a wound in the right arm near the shoulder.  This wound was given by one of the British dragoons with a sword.  {When I first read this I thought that a “dragoon” was a type of weapon; however, I found out that it was actually a type of soldier known as a Dragoon Guard.  This designation was given to refer to a certain type of cavalry regiment in the British Army.}  The wound is now distinctly to be seen, or rather the scar which the found first ??? and will be visible while he lives.  At the same time and as he suppose from the same sword, he received a wound in the right hand, which in like manner has left an indelible mark.  After the Battle of Brandywine, he went with the main Army into winter quarters at Valley Forge, there a great many of the North Carolina troops died, and this declarant, with others, was transferred to the Company commanded by Captain John Somers of Somers.  The name of the Lieutenant was McGibboney.  The name of the Ensign was Blount Whitmil. 

He states that previously to going into winter quarters at Valley Forge, he was in the Battle of Germantown.  The winter of 1776 they occupied Valley Forge as winter quarters.  The following summer, and according to his recollection, on the 17th day of July 1777, he was in the Battle of Monmouth.  They remained, he says in Jersey, the winter of 1777.  The following year, the period of his enlistment which was for three years, expired, and he obtained a discharge, signed by General Washington{I wonder what that would be worth if we had that now??!}  His father’s house was burnt in Anson County, North Carolina, at which time his discharge was burnt.  This was during the war, and while this declarant was in the militia service.  He had gone out as a substitute for his brother Joseph Kerby or Curbo, and the discharge had been left with his father, John Kerby.  The whole period which he served his country was six years and three months; but, he was only three years in the regular or United States Army.  He experienced many privations and hardships while in the militia, and on one occasion, at the capture of Charleston, was taken prisoner.

After, reading and digesting William’s testimony, I was overwhelmed with the wealth of information it contained.  I wondered – was William Kerby just a fanciful story-teller?  Or did he really live out this very fascinating piece of our American history?  The oral family history insists that “William and Joseph were present when Cromwell surrendered to General Washington.”  At first I thought – sure – wishful thinking!  Now, I’m not so quick to disregard this family story.  I found out that he was in fact not a storyteller – all of his claims are historical fact.  (See my notes below regarding the people he mentions in his testimony.)  In the end, William’s testimony was credible and the Judge ruled favorably by stating,,,,,and the said Court does hereby declare their opinion that the above-named applicant was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states.  

Captain Thomas Harris, the Army officer that William claims to have enlisted with, did in fact exist.  He was a resident of Iredell County, North Carolina.  His pension hearing took place on 24 May 1821.  On his oath he declared that he joined the continental army in April 1776 as a captain in the Fourth North Carolina Regiment and served in that army for {page torn} years in which time he rose to the rank of Major.  He then on account of his health and other circumstances resigned his commission but afterwards went out in the Militia and acted as Aid to General Griffith Rutherford and was wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Camdon  on 16 Aug 1780.

The following commanding officers – all served in the Revolution – actually existed – and are documented:

Thomas Polk – born abt 1732 in Pennsylvania – was one of the original settlers in the area now known as Charlotte, North Carolina.  During the 1750s, this area was located in Anson County, North Carolina.  In 1775, Thomas was one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  He was a revolutionary war officer and rose to the rank of Brigadier General.  He died in June of 1794.

George Davidson – born abt 1738 in Ireland – was a Captain who commanded the First Regiment of the North Carolina Line from Sept. 1775 to Feb 1777.  He later rose to the rank of Colonel of the North Carolina Militia.  He died in Iredell County, North Carolina.

John Summers/Somers – He served in the North Carolina Regiment as Lieutenant and later as Captain.  He was taken prisoner at William’s Plantation in July of 1780.  He retired from military service in 1883.

Patrick McGibboney – was a Captain with the Fourth Regiment, North Carolina Continental Line.  He was born in Scotland about 1743 and died in Greensboro, Gilford County, North Carolina in February of 1804.

Thomas Blunt Whitmill – was known as Blunt.  His widow filed an application for his pension.  She stated that he was a Lieutenant in the North Carolina Continental line.  She states that her husband received a land grant for his service; that he participated in the Battle of Brandywine.  She stated that her husband died in September of 1798.

General Francis Nash – was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia in 1742.  Early in his life his parents moved to North Carolina.  At a young age, General Nash became a merchant, attorney and Justice of the Peace.  In 1775, he was elected Lieutenant Col. of the First North Carolina Regiment, Continental Army.  He took part in the expedition to Charleston – and was in short order promoted to Brigadier General.  He received orders to march his troops north to join the Army of General George Washington.  While in the north, General Nash commanded a bridge at the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania where on 4 Oct 1777 he was mortally wounded.  Further, when researching life in the City of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, I found out that what is now known as Market Street Bridge is located where Market Street crosses the Schuylkill River.  Before the bridge was built, the citizens depended on ferry boats and a couple of crude floating bridges to cross the river.  While the British were in possession of Philadelphia during the war, there existed a pontoon bridge at this location and later a plank floor bridge of floating logs.  I suppose this could be the “floating bridge” of which William speaks in his testimony.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – brick walls – a contest – and a prize !!

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Curbow, Times and Places

 

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Chasing the Curbow Brothers – Part One

Some days I get thoroughly disgusted with trying to track down my brick wall ancestors. Why don’t they make their presence known to me?! I am sure the answers to my unsolved mysteries are right under my nose – I just need to practice patience – not always one of my strong virtues.

My husband’s ggg-grandfather, Tilman P. Curbow was born around 1821 in Georgia. It is believed (but not yet conclusively proven) that he is the son of Henry B. Curbow. Henry was born sometime around 1770 in Anson County, North Carolina (probably near Wadesboro). Many children have been attributed to Henry so it seems likely that he had more than one wife over his lifespan. He spent most of his life in Georgia and then came west to Texas. He died in the spring of 1850 in Cass County, Texas (which was formed from Bowie County, Texas in 1846). Based on Bowie County Tax Rolls along with a claim filed with the Republic of Texas, we know that Henry was in Texas as early as 1846. Now – (and here is where my lack of patience kicks in!!) I know I shouldn’t jump ahead when there are still so many unanswered questions about Tilman and Henry – but I want to know!! Who are the parents of Henry B. Curbow?! According to the vast majority of trees on ancestry.com (which are in large part not documented or sourced) the parents of Henry B. Curbow were John Corbo (various spellings) and Ann Phillips (who married near Baltimore, Maryland).

So I decided to search the early census records – and I found no John Corbo. In fact, the first census (1790) only yielded one Curbow – and that was Henry Carboe who was living in Edgefield County, South Carolina.

In the 1800 census I found two Curbow families – both in South Carolina: (1) Joseph Carbon (Edgefield County) and Henry Kerbow (Barnwell County).  Operating on a gut instinct that there had to be some sort of a family connection, I started researching Joseph. I found out that Joseph was a Revolutionary War soldier who eventually settled in Gwinnet County, Georgia. I also noted that Joseph was born in Maryland. Once I obtained Joseph’s Revolutionary War Pension application, I discovered that Joseph had a brother named William Curbo who stepped in and fulfilled his enlistment when Joseph was injured. I had trouble locating William’s Revolutionary War service records because he is indexed as “William Kerby.” After reading, reviewing and digesting William’s Revolutionary War application for a pension, the pieces started to fall into place.

Based on the applications, these are the things we know for sure about the John Corbo/John Kerby family:

Father:  John Kerby (or Curbo) – lived in Anson County, North Carolina during the Revolutionary War period; his home was burned by the British during the War.  In the database entitled: North Carolina Heads of Families at the First Census of the U.S. Taken in the Year 1790 there appears among other Kerbys, a “John Kerby.”

Sons of John Kerby:

John Kerby (or Curbo) born abt 1768.  He appeared in Court in September of 1833 in Jackson County, Tennessee and testified on his brother William Kerby’s behalf confirming William’s Revolutionary War service.  He stated that he (John) was 65 years old in 1833.  (Could this be John Curbow whose wife was Abigail?)

William Kerby (or Curbo) born abt 1758; Enlisted in the Army at the age of about 17 in the year 1775 – served with Capt. Thomas Harris in the 4th Regiment of the North Carolina line; residing in Anson County, North Carolina near the town of Wadesborrough; He states in his affidavit that he is illiterate; He filed his application in Jackson County, Tennessee, with the judge making a notation: William Kerby, or as it is sometimes written, William Curbo, aged 74 years on the 6th of July;   Brother John Kerby (Curbo) states in his testimony that he was present when his brother William Kerby enlisted and joined the company….that his brother marched off in said company and did not return for three years….that he was aware of William’s ‘surcharge’ and had read it and that it ‘was burned in his father’s house.” 

James Kerby (or Curbo) – said to have also been a Revolutionary War soldier. Brother John Kerby (Curbo) states in his testimony about his brother James Kerby (Curbo), that James Kerby enlisted at the same time, marched at the same time in the same company, returned at the same time, and had always understood from James that they (James and William) had both served out their full term of three years.  He also stated in his testimony that James died many years ago.

Joseph Kerby (or Curbo) – born about 1755 in Maryland; Revolutionary War Soldier; application filed from Gwinett County, Georgia; Served: Capt Thomas Harris, Col. Polk, 4th Regiment; also resided in Anson County, North Carolina; married to Mary Corbin; DAR has “associated” applications for John Curbow and wife Abigail on file.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – I think you will agree, William’s pension affidavit reads like a chapter out of your American History book!

Let me know how you have been successful in breaking down those brick walls with your own ancestor search.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Curbow

 

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The Ultimate American Patriot

Leonard Miles was my husband’s fifth great-grandfather (from the Atwood line). Leonard served his country in the American Revolution – the ultimate American patriot! According to his pension papers:  I was born in Cumberland County, North Carolina some time in the year 1760 according to the best of my information and of a record of my age now in my possession – Leonard was 72 years old at the time of his application which was called for hearing in Lincoln County Tennessee County Court on 28 Jan 1833.

It appears that at some point during his childhood, Leonard’s father apparently moved the family to the Fairfield District of South Carolina. Interestingly, many of the Curbow clan can also be found in the Fairfield District during this time period.

Leonard Miles’ application for a pension based on his war service is a wealth of information pertaining to his life and military service. He was about 17 years old at the time of his enlistment. In his own words: I lived in Fairfield District, South Carolina at the time I entered the service – some time in the latter part of the year 1777, about four or five weeks (I think) before Christmas. I volunteered in the South Carolina Militia, in a Regiment commanded by Colonel Robert Gooden in the place of my father (Thomas Miles) who had been drafted in said Regiment. Leonard goes on to state that he served off and on from the fall of 1777 through about 1781. He states that he was a private in the cavalry – fighting the British troops – mainly in North and South Carolina and Georgia. While serving, he contracted the small pox in March of 1781. After his recovery, which took four to six weeks, he joined forces under General Sumpter on the Catawba River. There he was involved in the Battle of Eutaw Springs.  The pension application of Leonard Miles can be downloaded from Footnote.com (now known as Fold3.com).

Following the close of the war Leonard returned home to the Fairfield District of South Carolina where he married Mary Reden (1760-1849) on 31 March 1785. He can be found there with her in the 1790 census. The census records of this time period don’t yield very much information, but it appears that he was “engaged in agriculture.” Leonard further states in his application that:  I continued to live in South Carolina 15 or 16 years after the close of the war. I then moved to Sumner County in the State then to this County where I have lived and have lived for about 22 years.

I found a Leonard Miles in the 1820 census living in Jackson County, Tennessee and then in the 1830 census we find him in Lincoln County, Tennessee. It appears that this is where he eventually settled and lived out his life. Leonard made a Will* in Lincoln County, Tennessee about seven days before he died on 8 April 1835. I do not know the final resting place of American patriot Leonard Miles.

*The text of Leonard Miles’ Will is as follows:

Lincoln County Tennessee Wills 1827-1850; Page 119-Leonard Miles:

The last will and testament of Leonard Miles. In the name of God amen. I, Leonard Miles, of the State of Tennessee and County of Lincoln, being weak in body but of sound mind, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, revoking all and every other – First, That all my just debts and contracts be justly and truly paid. Secondly, I give and bequeath the whole of my estate, both personal and real to my beloved wife, Mary Miles, during her natural life. Thirdly, after her death, I do give and bequeath to my children as follows: To Polly Caruthers, one dollar, to Elizabeth Atwood*, one dollar, one feather bed and trunk, to Sally Martin, one dollar, to Nancy Gee, one dollar, to William Miles one dollar, to Leonard Miles, one dollar, to Patsy Linsay and heirs, one hundred and fifty acres of land and one feather bed to the daughter of Polly Lindsay. Forthly, I do appoint William Atwood** my executor to settle all my earthly business. Sealed and acknowledged this first day of April, AD 1835.

*Elizabeth Atwood is Elizabeth Ann Miles Atwood, my husband’s gggg-grandmother; and **William Atwood is William James Atwood, my husband’s gggg-grandfather.

On December 22, 1840 in Lincoln County, Tennessee, the widow of Leonard Miles, Mary Miles, age 80 filed for a Widow’s pension based on her husband’s service. With her application she presented the Miles family bible which records the names of the couple’s children as follows:

Courtney Miles – born January 14, 1786
Mary Miles – born January 14, 1788
John Miles – born January 1, 1789
William Miles – born April 25, 1792
Elizabeth Miles – born April 3, 1794
Sarah Miles – born March 25, 1796
Nance Miles – born April 5, 1798
Leonard Miles – born December 26, 1809 (?)
Samuel Con Miles – born October 14, 18___
Pater Miles – born May 21, 1811

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Atwood, Miles

 

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