James Winn, Son of Daniel of Lunenburg: Lost but now Found? Probably …

REVISED TO INCORPORATE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY A DESCENDANT

I recently stumbled across online images of a Winn family Bible I had not seen before.[1] The Bible is from the family of James Winn, son of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg County, Virginia. James’s wife was Mary Ann Winn, daughter of John and Ann Stone Winn, also of Lunenburg. I wrote about James and Mary Ann briefly in Part IV of the recent Lunenburg Winn series.

What stands out about James in that article is his Revolutionary War service. He enlisted in February 1776 for two years in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, as did his brothers Elisha and William Winn.[2] He is shown on a Revolutionary War roll as a Sergeant in May 1777.[3] His individual service record lists him in Capt. Billey Haley Avery’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment from August 1777 through January 1778. He was discharged in February 1778 at Valley Forge.[4] That catches most people’s attention, as well it should. And because today is November 11, I hereby send best wishes and gratitude to all veterans, including my husband Gary, a Vietnam vet, and (posthumously) to James Winn, a many-greats uncle of mine.

Back to the Winns: my article goes on to say that James probably left Lunenburg because there doesn’t seem to be a will or estate administration for him there. I added that I did not know where he went. In short, I just flat lost James and Mary Ann.

So … have we found James, son of Daniel, in this family Bible record? As a black plastic “Magic 8 Ball”[5] might say, “all signs point to ‘yes.’ ” For starters, the first members of the family recorded in the Bible are named James and Mary Ann Winn. The Bible says he was born in 1757. I had estimated that Daniel’s son James was born in 1757-1758, so the Bible’s birth year is spot on.

Also, several descendants of this family have been accepted by the D.A.R. on the basis of the Revolutionary War service of James Winn, son of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg. In short, there is every reason to accept that the James and Mary Ann Winn in the Bible record are the same people as James and Mary Ann Winn of Lunenburg.

But wait, there’s more … one descendant of James posted a comment on the original version of this article. She says the line has been Y-DNA tested and is well-established as part of the genetic family of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg. This blog has turned out to be a great way to meet nice cousins, and she is another one who is also a great researcher.

There is an “in memory of” marker for a James F. Winn in the Oakwood Cemetery in Martinsville, the county seat of Henry County, Virginia. Here it is:

Please note that the marker is fairly modern, perhaps mid 20th-century. The cemetery wasn’t founded until 1883, sixty-eight years after James died, so it is virtually certain that he was not buried there.[6]

A minor nitpick: the many Lunenburg records for James Winn, son of Daniel, never included a middle initial. The same is true for his military service records, which have his first and last names only, with no middle initial. There is no evidence of a middle name or initial in the Bible, either … he is simply James Winn. Nevertheless, the marker includes a middle initial, and most Ancestry trees identify him as “James Francis Winn.” Of course, people routinely include middle names for 18th-century men without any basis in the records, so this isn’t s a big surprise.

OK, back to the Bible. It was printed in 1833, roughly two decades after James and Mary Ann died. The family entries are in two parts.  First, there is a list of gifts of the Bible from one Winn family member to the next – i.e., the Bible’s ownership provenance. Four pages headed “Family Register” follow. Those pages record names, dates of birth, and some marriages for family members. I was reeling after reading both, and didn’t feel as though I had a handle on this family until I did a fair amount of additional research. May you have better luck.

Here, sans commentary, is a verbatim transcription of the family information. It begins with the provenance of the Bible and continues with the four pages of “Family Register” entries.

“This my fathers family Bible. I will to my niece Susie Winn Shute after my death it is to be hers. [Signed] Mary A. Thompson. April 30, 1895.”

“I give this Bible to my cousin Walter S. Winn & if he ________ [indecipherable] _______ William Winn. [Signed] Susie W. Shute.”

“I give this Bible to John T. Winn Jr. with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. Walter S. Winn, June 5th1920.”

“I give this Bible to William Edward Winn with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. Jan. 28, 1962, Charlotte, NC, John T. Winn Jr.”

“I give this Bible to Thomas Edward Winn with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. April 26, 2003, Charlotte, NC.”

Here is the first page headed “FAMILY REGISTER.” In the original Bible, the names are shown in two columns on each page. I couldn’t make that format work here. Sorry. It would be easier reading.

Column 1

James Winn was born April 14th 1757

Mary Ann was born 14th December 1759

Olive Winn was born January 28th 1779

Crecy Winn was born November 29th 1780

Archelaus Winn was born November 17th 1784

Younger Winn was born April 12th 1786

Frances Winn was born October 15th 1787

Coleman Winn was born June 30th 1789

Elizabeth Ann Winn was born June 15th 1791

Column 2

James Winn and Mary Ann Winn were married on the 15th of May 1778

Jerusha James Winn was born March 7th 1793

James Sibley Winn was born January 1st 1795

Arlysha Scott Winn and Clearecy Harloe Winn twin sisters were born February 4th 1797

Whitehead Washington Winn was born February 22nd 1799

Clarecy Harloe Winn died Sept 6th 1802

Mary Ann Winn the wife of James Winn died August 13th 1813

End of first page of the register. Here is the second page, also titled FAMILY REGISTER …

Column 1

James Winn died June 14th 1815

Mary Ann Winn his wife died August 13th 1813

Susanna Winn died Dec 16th 1864.

Archelaus W. Winn died April 13th 1868

Column 2

Calma C. Winn wife of Rev. G. W. Winn died Aug 4th 1893.

George Washington Winn died April 8, 1895

Livin A. Winn died May 16th 1892

Louisa Yourman? Winn died June 25th 1894

Mary Ann Winn Thompson died Oct 29 1905, the last of the old family

End of the second page. Here is the third page of the Family Register …

Column 1

Archelaus W. Winn was born Nov. 17th 1784

Susanna Ballanfant was born January 23rd 1789

Ebenezer P. Winn was born Aug 17th 1809

James Winn was b. June 26th 1812

John B. Winn Sept. 2nd 1814

Joseph B. Winn Dec. 6 1816

George W. Winn b. Jul 5th 1819

Mary Ann Winn Nov. 23, 1821

Column 2

Louisa Y. Winn 28 Apr 1824

Levin A. Winn 22 Mar 1826

William Alexander Winn Aug 29th 182? 1828?

Franklin L. P. Winn 20 May 1831

Mary Elizabeth Hoskins was b. 21 Dec 1837

F. L. P. Winn and M. E. Hoskins were married 1855

End of the third page of the register. Here is the fourth and final page …

Column 1

Joseph B. Winn died Jan 9th 1828

John B. Winn died Oct 23rd 1855

Ebenezer P. Winn d. 12 Jul 1863

John A. Thompson died Oct 21 1866

William A. Winn d. 12 Dec 1866

Silas D. Thompson d. Nov 8th 1882

Column 2

John Thompson Winn d. July 12, 1932, Bedford Co., TN, son of F.L.P. and M.E. Winn was born Mar 23, 1856.

Walter Salt? Winn son of Livin A. Winn and Marth A. Winn was b. July 2 1864

Emma Ellen Maxwell Winn wife of W. S. Winn was born Oct. 5, 1871

John A. Thompson and Mary A. Winn was married Aug 10th 1852

S.? D. Thompson and Mary A. Thompson m. Dec 13th 1870

E. L. Winn son of J. T. Winn Sr. was born Feb 16 1882

And that’s all of the family information in the Bible. If the spirit moves, I will prepare and post a conventional descendant chart for clarity, along with some additional information from census and other records.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] The Bible is online at the Library of Virginia at this link.

[2] James Winn’s military muster rolls at the National Archives can be viewed  at this link.

[3] Online at FamilySearch.org, United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783: May 1777 muster roll, Sergeant James Winn and Corporal Elisha Winn in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, available here.

Id., Capt. Billy Haley Averys Company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, January 1778, Sergeant James Winn and Corporal Elisha Winn. NARA Series M246, Roll 103, online at this link.

[4] See Valley Forge Muster Roll Project here.

[5] Mattel still manufactures the Magic 8 Ball.

[6] Here is a link to the Find-a-Grave site for Oakwood Cemetery.

QUERY: (1) WHO WAS JOHN WINN d. AMELIA COUNTY 1781 and (2) WAS HE RELATED TO THE LUNENBURG WINNS?

— ANONYMOUS

Hooray! A query via email …

Answer #1: the circumstantial evidence is that Lt. Col. John Winn of Amelia County, Virginia (hereafter “Col. John”)[1] was a son of Richard Winn of Hanover County. Richard’s wife and perhaps John’s mother was Phebe, widow of a Mr. Pledger.

Answer #2: Yes, Amelia John was related to the Winn families of Lunenburg County.

Well. I suppose an explanation and some evidence is in order. Alternatively, we could avoid a lot of footnotes if readers would just accept my version of the facts as readily as people accept unsourced family trees on Ancestry.

No?

I thought not.

For Answer #1, we need to look at records involving Richard Winn of Hanover County. They establish that (1) Richard married Phebe ___ Pledger,[2] (2) he owned land in Amelia County, (3) he didn’t live in Amelia but paid taxes on some enslaved people there, and (4) Col. John subsequently acquired Richard’s tract and the enslaved people, evidently via inheritance.

(1) A 1733 Hanover County lease and release proves Richard Winn’s wife was Phebe, the widow of a Mr. Pledger.[3] We don’t know when Richard and Phebe married, so we can’t be certain that Phebe was the mother of Richard’s children.

(2) In 1744, Richard Winn of Hanover County bought 388 acres in Amelia County in the fork below the Little Nottoway River and Lazaritta Creek.[4] Richard had tithable (taxable) people on that tract in at least 1746, 1748, and 1749, even though he didn’t live in Amelia.[5] In 1749, John Wilke or Wilkes, perhaps Richard’s overseer, was one of his taxables. The two other taxable people with Wilkes were enslaved persons named Harry and Flowrey? The latter name is difficult to read on the film. Turns out it is “Flora,” perhaps pronounced “Flory,” see item (3).

(3) In 1751, the Amelia tax list includes an entry for John (rather than Richard) Winn, with taxables Joseph Wilkes, Harry, Flora, and Jean. Col. John Winn had apparently acquired the tract along with the enslaved people from Richard. There is no Amelia deed for any such purchase. That raises the inference that Col. John acquired the tract and enslaved people via inheritance. Records in Hanover are largely lost, so there is probably no will to be found there.

However, there is other evidence linking Col. John to Hanover. His eldest son Richard Winn[6]  was a Revolutionary War soldier whose widow Jane Pincham Winn applied for a pension for his service. Her application file includes the information that Richard’s father was Col. John Winn (identified by that title) who was born in Hanover County, Virginia.[7]

Other facts for the record … Col. John married Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr., in 1754.[8] John was probably born in the early 1720s and died in January 1781.[9] Col. John’s sister Susanna Winn married John Irby (Susanna Irby Winn’s brother) in 1757.[10] Are we dizzy yet? John and Susannah Winn Irby had children named Charles, Lucey, and John. Another sister, Phebe Winn, was the wife of Michael Holland.[11] The Winns and Irbys of Amelia County played a significant role in proving the Amelia-Lunenburg Winn family connection.

Which brings is to Answer #2, Col. John’s relationship to the Lunenburg Winn families.

The Winn DNA project results table does not include a group identified as descendants of Col. John Winn of Amelia. However, there is a group  designated “Richard Winn … m. Phebe Pledger, Hanover Co. VA.” If you accept that Col. John was a son of Richard of Hanover  with wife Phebe, then the Y-DNA evidence will convince you that Col. John shared a common Winn ancestor with Col. Thomas Winn, Daniel Winn, and John Winn (wife Ann Stone), all of Lunenburg.

Of course, Y-DNA doesn’t identify the nature of their relationships. However, there is compelling circumstantial paper evidence that Col. John of Amelia and Col. Thomas of Lunenburg were brothers. The evidence that Daniel Winn of Lunenberg was another brother is also convincing. I identify five people as children of Richard and (perhaps) Phebe Pledger Winn of Hanover, not necessarily in birth order:

Col. John Winn of Amelia (wife Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr.)

Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg (two wives, possibly Miss Bannister and perhaps Sarah Bacon)

Susanna Winn of Amelia (husband John Irby, son of Charles Irby Sr.)

Phebe Winn of Amelia (husband Michael Holland)

Daniel Winn of Lunenburg (wife Sarah, possibly Sarah Tench)

The key to the family relationship between Col. John and  Col. Thomas is Thomas’s Lunenburg will.[12]

Most importantly, Thomas named John Winn of Amelia (expressly described as “of Amelia”) an executor along with his wife Sarah, son William, and Lyddal Bacon. IMO, that is sufficient evidence standing alone that Col. Thomas and Col. John were siblings. The most loved, trusted, and capable members of the testator’s family were usually designated executors. Further, an out-of-county executor was not the norm, because he would necessarily have to travel to administer the estate. Col. Thomas surely named John of Amelia executor out of affection without any expectation that he would perform estate administration duties.

The witnesses to Col. Thomas’s will, who are traditionally also close family members, provide additional evidence that he and Col. John were siblings. Here are the people who witnessed Col. Thomas’s will:

… Members of the Amelia County Irby family, including Susannah Irby, Charles Irby, and Lucy Irby. Susannah was Susannah Winn Irby, proved sister of Col. John. Charles and Lucy Irby were Susannah’s children.[13] Keep in mind that the Irbys had to make a trip across the Nottoway to witness Col. Thomas’s will. One had to witness the will when and where the testator executed it.

… the Winn witnesses were John Winn Jr. and John Winn. As you know if you follow this blog, Lunenburg was awash with Winns named John. That means my opinion is ripe for second-guessing. Because Col. John Winn of Amelia was named executor, I believe that he and his son John Jr. were witnesses.[14]

I have saved the low-hanging (read: easy) fruit for last. Namely, whether Daniel Winn was also a sibling of Col. John, Col. Thomas, Susanna Winn Irby, and Phebe Winn Holland. I will refrain from reciting the many connections between Col. Thomas and Daniel in the Lunenburg deed records. Instead, I offer the following two items.

Naomi Giles Chadwick’s book, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons, states without any citation to county records that Col. Thomas testified in a deposition that Joseph Winn, son of Daniel, was his nephew. I haven’t found that deposition. If true, then Daniel Winn and Col. Thomas Winn were brothers.

There is one more will “factoid.” Joseph Winn and Elisha Winn, sons of Daniel Winn, witnessed Col. John Winn’s Amelia County will. All of the other witnesses (with the possible exception of Giles Nance) were Col. John’s close relatives. And, of course, Joseph and Elisha made the trip across the Nottoway to witness their Uncle John’s will.

With that, I’ll move on. More Winns are tugging at my sleeve.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] John Winn was commissioned a Lt. Col. in the Amelia County militia on 23 May 1771. Lloyd Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988). My Air Force Academy graduate husband tells me that a Lieutenant Colonel is addressed as Colonel. I am doing that in this article.

[2] I am glossing over Phebe Winn’s maiden name in order to avoid a sidetrack into lengthy proof. I believe she was née Wilkes.

[3] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979) 13-14, lease and release from Richard Winn and wife Phebe of Hanover to John Winn, 517 acres with a plantation on Chickahominy Swamp.

[4] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 2: 82-83, lease and release from Stith Hardaway to Richard Winn of Hanover, 388 acres. The tract was then in Amelia but is now in Nottoway County, about 6 miles north of Effing Creek/Falls Creek/Hounds Creek where the Lunenburg Winns lived.

[5] FHL Film #1,902,616 has Amelia County tax lists including those for 1746, 1748, 1749, and 1751. Two of the tax lists identify his property as “Richard Winn list” or “Richard Wyn’s Quarter,” which means the taxpayer didn’t reside in the county.

[6] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 15: 6, deed dated 24 Sep 1778 from John Winn of Amelia to his son Richard of same, for love and affection, 400 acres on the south side of John Winn’s mill pond, part of the tract belonging to the late Col. Irby adjacent John Winn and Charles Irby.

[7] Virgil D. White, Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files Vol. 4 (Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1992). Revolutionary War pension application No. W.6558 by Jane Pincham Winn, widow of Richard Winn, Virginia Line. View it here.. If it is correct that Col. John Winn was born in Hanover rather than a predecessor county, then he was born during or after 1721. Hanover was established in 1721 from part of New Kent County.

[8] My notes indicate that, years ago, Ann Avery Hunter somewhere (!?!) cited the accession number at the Virginia Archives for the marriage bond of John Winn and Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr. The bond was dated 4 Apr 1754. I cannot locate the accession number, nor can I recall where I found the reference. I nevertheless trust Ms. Hunter and my woefully incomplete notes on this fact.

[9] For Col. John’s birth date, see Note 7 saying that he was born in Hanover County. I estimated he was born after 1721 when Hanover was created but during the 1720s because he married in 1754, see Note 8. Colonial men (in my observation) typically married about age 25. His will was proved in January 1781, probably very soon after he died as was the norm. See Note 14.

[10] Amelia Co., VA Will Book 2X: 45, will of John Irby dated and proved in 1763. Executors wife Susannah Irby, “her brother John Winn,” and brother Charles Irby. Children Charles Irby, Lucey Irby, and John Irby. See also Kathleen Booth Williams, Marriages of Amelia County, Virginia 1735-1815 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978, originally published Alexandria, VA, 1961), John Irby and Susanna Wynne married 29 Jan 1757, surety John Wynn.

[11] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 8: 314, deposition of John Nance re Michael Holland’s gift of enslaved people to his children Mary and Joseph. Nance testified that Michael Holland’s wife (unnamed) wanted the gift recorded and asked Nance to have her “brother Winn” take care of it. Nance’s testimony proves only that Mrs. Holland was née Winn. However, Susannah Irby, a proved sister of Col. John, also testified on the gift issue. Id. at 315. Finally, Mrs. Holland’s given name was Phebe. Amelia Deed Book 14: 1774 deed from Pheby Holland, widow of Michael Holland, and his son Joseph and wife Mary to Medkip Tomson of Amelia. That combination of facts convinced me that Phebe Holland was Col. John’s sister.

[12] Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org film #32,380, will of Thomas Winn dated 18 Sep 1779, proved 12 Apr 1781. Thomas named six of his eleven children in his will, see the  article about a chancery suit identifying all of his children.

[13] See Note 10.

[14] Col. John Winn had sons Richard, John, and Charles, and a daughter Jane Winn Epes. Amelia Co., VA Will Book 2: 360, will of Col. John Winn dated Mar 1780, proved Jan 1781. He named his wife Susanna (née Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr. and wife Susanna), sons Richard, John, and Charles, and daughter Jane Winn Epes. Executors were his wife, Truman Epes, and Charles Winn. Truman Epes was John’s son-in-law. Witnesses were Giles Nance, John Irby, William Gooch, Elisha Winn, Joseph Winn, and Jane Epes. I have long suspected that John Nance or Giles Nance married a Winn, but cannot prove it. John Irby’s wife was Susanna Winn Irby, sister of Col. John. William Gooch married Henrietta Maria Irby in Nov. 1769; Charles Irby testified that Henrietta was 21 and the daughter of Charles Irby Sr. Kathleen Booth Williams, Marriages of Amelia County, Virginia 1735-1815 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978, originally published Alexandria, VA, 1961).

 

PART IV Addendum: a Friend Told Me Where Daniel Winn’s Son Thomas Migrated

I may start a regular “Query” feature. Readers would email questions about any line they found on this blog. I would assemble and publish them as often as appropriate. I know that queries here WORK: I recently published an article about Daniel Winn of Lunenburg and asked if anyone knew where his son Thomas Winn (possible wife Joyce) had migrated. I had a response within days from a descendant who has tracked Daniel’s line like Frank Hamer on the trail of Bonnie and Clyde: Daniel Winn’s son Thomas and his wife Joyce of Lunenburg went right next door to Brunswick County.

I must blush. I immediately opened my document containing Brunswick records, and there, big as Dallas, was Thomas’s will naming his wife Joyce and his brother Joseph as executor. I should have been able to find that in my own dang research.

Below is an image of a transcription of the will. More blushing and forelock tugging is appropriate. I did all my Southside Virginia research very early on, when I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Consequently, I have no idea what the source of this transcription might be. All I know is that I found it in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and that it is on page 36 of some book. Worse, I cannot find the will among the microfilm of Brunswick probate records available online. If that makes you entertain doubts about its authenticity, can’t say that I blame you.

For what it’s worth, here ‘tis. And that is all I know about Daniel Winn’s son Thomas and his wife Joyce of Lunenburg and then Brunswick Counties, Virginia … and their children Buckner Winn, Caty Winn Laffoon, Martitia Winn Bishop, Robert Winn, Oratio Winn, Freeman Winn, Marian J. Winn, and Betsy Winn.

See you on down the road. Another Frank Hamer type sent an email about another son of Daniel. I need to investigate to see if I have equally nebulous evidence about him.

Robin

PART IV of ?? John Winn Sr. of Lunenburg Who Died in 1795.

In Part I of ?? of the Lunenburg Winn series, I promised articles about three Lunenburg Winn patriarchs – Col. Thomas Winn, Daniel Winn, and the John Winn who died in 1795. I discussed Col. Thomas in Parts I and Part III. Daniel Winn was the topic of Part II. Relative to those others, this article is short and sweet. If you already have even cursory knowledge of John Winn’s family, this may be a yawner.

There are several reasons John is getting short shrift. First, I don’t know much about him because he was not the focus of my Lunenburg research. Col. Thomas and Daniel are my ancestors; anything I learned about John while researching them was collateral, so to speak (oooh, bad pun!). Second, I don’t want to get up the learning curve on John because there are several ideas for fun Winn articles bouncing around in my skull. The squeaky wheel gets the research effort, and John isn’t making any noise. Third, there are countless Winn researchers out there who already know everything worthwhile to know about John. I have nothing to offer except a few bare facts. That’s fine for people like me who just want to know how John’s family fits in the overall Winn picture.

I cannot answer even that much about John. I have no idea who his parents were, or where he came from before he lived in Lunenburg. A reasonable guess is that his family was from Hanover County. That guess runs counter to online trees I have seen, which attach John to the line of Speaker Robert Wynne and his wife Mary Sloman Poythress Wynne of Charles City, Prince George, and Surry Counties.

Those trees are fighting a losing battle against Y-DNA. If I am counting and comparing markers correctly (this is a genuine issue and I may well have goofed), the John Winn who married Ann Stone is a hopeless mismatch with Speaker Robert’s line. Only one descendant of John and Ann has tested on more than twelve markers. Comparing his results to the modal values for Speaker Robert’s descendants, there are 15 mismatches on 37 markers. The Winn DNA project puts John in the same genetic family as Col. Thomas Winn and Daniel Winn of Lunenburg.

I don’t know how John is related to the other two men. The three were not brothers, a topic of another potential article. Someone who has researched John thoroughly may know the answer, and will perhaps let us know. All I know is that John is connected to Col. Thomas and Daniel in the Lunenburg records, primarily in land transactions. The only  close connections are that John and Ann Stone Winn’s daughter Mary Ann Winn married James Winn, probably a son of Daniel. Also, John and Ann’s daughter Jane (“Jincy”) married first Richard Stone and then Alexander Winn, another son of Daniel.

So far as I know, John first appeared in the Lunenburg records in 1740. He patented 314 acres that year in what is now Lunenburg on a famous watercourse renamed, with a heavy dose of irony, from “Effing Creek” to Modest Creek.[1] Daniel and Col. Thomas also owned land there. John frequently appeared in deed records with the other two men, e.g., John witnessed a deed along with John and Richard Stone from Samuel Wynne to Col. Thomas Winn of Hanover conveying 150 acres on Modest Creek.[2] Significantly, Col. Thomas conveyed 762 acres on Modest and Fall’s Creek to John in 1762 at a very favorable price.[3]

John’s wife Ann Stone was a daughter of John Stone.[4] They were married by at least May 1755, when she was a grantor in a deed along with John.[5] He reportedly had a wife prior to Ann Stone, although I have not seen any evidence on that issue.

John’s will named ten children.[6] Here are the barest of bare facts about them, to the extent I know anything at all.

John Winn (Jr.). was born by at least 1744.[7] His father gave him 381 acres on Modest Creek in 1765. John and his wife Mary sold that tract in 1775 and[8] may have moved to Mecklenburg County soon thereafter.[9]

Peter Winn bought 381 acres from his brother John Jr. in 1779. He was shown each year on the Lunenburg land tax lists from 1787 through 1807. He had died by April 1808, when his estate was appraised.[10] Like most of the Lunenburg Winns, he was a wealthy and literate man.[11] The only children I have identified are sons Peter Winn and Archer Winn, both minors in September 1809.[12]

Lucretia Winn. Her father’s will identified her surname as Hundley. According to Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham, Tidewater Families of the New World (Tollhouse, CA: Historical Publications, Inc., 1996), Lucretia was born 23 Feb 1753. Her husband was William Hundley Sr., born in Amelia County and died in Mecklenburg County.[13]

Little Beary or Littleberry Winn. He married Mary Maynard in 1783 in Mecklenburg. The couple were living there in 1800 when he sold his inherited tract to his brother Peter.[14]

Morning Winn (sic, probably Mourning, a male). I have no information about him.

Mary Ann Winn married some James Winn of Lunenburg, probably a son of Daniel Winn. I wrote in Part II of the Lunenburg Winns that James had difficulty managing money. The couple probably left Lunenburg. They are the subject of one of the fun Winn articles I have in the queue. Please stay tuned.

Jincy Winn Stone became Jincy Winn Stone Winn after her husband Richard Stone died. See Part II of the Lunenburg Winns about Alexander Winn, son of Daniel, her second husband.

Jerusha Winn Gunn. Jerusha married Daniel Gunn Jr. of Lunenburg in 1786.

Elizabeth Winn Allen. I know nothing about her.

Millinder Winn Stone. Ditto.

 As I predicted, this was short shrift for John and Ann Stone Winn. They undoubtedly deserved much better, but c‘est la vie. Now to convince one of the potential Winn articles knocking around my head to become the primary squeaky wheel …

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] Cavaliers and Pioneers Volume IV 236; Virginia Patent Book 18: 883. John Winn patented another 230 acres on Modest Cr. in 1746. The old deeds and patent books apparently had no qualms about calling it F**king Cr. before it was renamed.

[2] Deed Book 1: 71. See also Deed Book 7: 227, John Winn and wife Ann to John Stone, 230 acres on Modest Cr. witnessed by John Winn, Thomas Winn, and Daniel Winn. That was the same day as a conveyance from Col. Thomas to Lunenburg John, 762 acres on Modest Cr., Deed Book 7: 231. Note: all citations to record books in this article are Lunenburg Deed, Will, and Order books unless expressly identified otherwise.

[3] Deed Book 7: 231, deed dated 8 Apr 1762 from Thomas Winn to John Winn for £20, 762 acres on the  South side of F**king Cr. in the fork of Fall’s Creek adjacent Irby, Evans, grantor, et al. Witnesses John Winn, Daniel Winn, John Winn.

[4] Mecklenburg Co., VA Will Book 3: 243, will of John Stone dated and proved 1782 naming among others his child Anne Wynne.

[5] Deed Book 4: 162, deed dated 17 May 1755 from John Winn and wife Ann of Lunenburg witnessed by Melania or Melinia Winn, who proved the deed.

[6] Will Book 4: 83b-84, will of John Winn of Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg, dated 17 Aug 1793 proved 12 Feb 1795. Wife Ann. Children John Winn, Peter Winn, Lucretia Hundley, Little Beary (also Littleberry) Winn, Morning Winn (son), Mary Ann Winn, Jincey Stone, Jerusha Gunn, Elizabeth Allen, and Millinder Stone. Executors John Winn, Peter Winn, and William Hundley.

[7] Deed Book 10: 165, gift deed dated 1765 from John Winn Sr. “the elder” to John Jr., 381 acres for love and affection and 5 shillings, 381 acres on F**king Cr. adjacent William Stone.

[8] Deed Book 12: 435, deed dated 12 Jan 1775 from John and Mary Winn. She is not mentioned in the deed, but the deed book index names her as a grantor along with John.

[9] Mecklenburg Deed Book 5: 46, deed dated 12 May 1777 from John Winn of Mecklenburg to John Stone Sr. of Same, John’s wife Mary relinquished dower.

[10] Will Book 6: 234, 1808 appraisal of the estate of Peter Winn, £641.10.5.

[11] Will Book 6: 234a, 1808 inventory and appraisal of the estate of Peter Winn. The estate included 8 enslaved persons, a black walnut desk and table, and other personalty. Books included Burket on the Old Testament, a large Bible, the Buchun family physician, Gutheries Grammer, and unidentified others.

[12] Lunenburg Guardian Accounts, 8 Sep 1808  account of Charles Betts, guardian of Peter and Archer Winn, orphans of Peter Winn, dec’d.

[13] Tidewater Families lists Lucretia Winn Hundley’s children as (1) Willis Hundley, b 3 Nov 1777, Mecklenburg, died 1816, (2) Nancy Hundley, born 18 Dec 1779, (3) William Hundley, Jr., born 30 Jan 1783, Mecklenburg, may have married Mary Stone 3 Dec   1805, Lunenburg, (4) Lucretia Hundley (Jr.), born 18 May 1785 in Mecklenburg, (5) Patty C. Hundley, born 18 Feb 1787 Mecklenburg, died 6 Apr1816, may have married Peter Winn on 7 July1810, (6) Jennie Hundley born 25 Jan 1789, and (7) John Hundley born 16 Dec 1792 Mecklenburg, died 15 Feb 1834, New Orleans, LA. Lucretia Winn Hundley and her children reportedly moved to Sumner County, TN in 1810. I have not verified any of that information.

[14] Deed Book 18: 217, 13 Apr 1800, Littleberry Winn and wife Mary of Mecklenburg to Peter Winn of Lunenburg, £165 for 248A. The will of John Winn, dec’d  gave the land and plantation where John Winn lived to Littleberry. This deed conveys the upper part of John Winn’s land to Peter.

Part III of ?? How Many Times Was Col. Thomas Winn Married?

(OR MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT INTESTATE DESCENT & DISTRIBUTION)

My recent article about Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg County, Virginia (circa 1718 – 1781) may have been unclear about that question.[1] The answer: Thomas was married more than once. More importantly, Thomas had children by more than one wife. A Lunenburg chancery lawsuit concerning the estate of his son Washington Winn makes it abso-effing-lutely impossible to conclude otherwise. This might be important to some, because a legion of people claim Col. Thomas as an ancestor.

Perhaps the only way to set the record straight on this issue is by analyzing the chancery lawsuit orders. But first, let’s flesh out the bottom line …

Col. Thomas had seven children by his first wife (or wives).  Their mother is unproved but she is traditionally identified as Elizabeth Bannister.

  1. MOURNING
  2. ELIZABETH
  3. THOMAS
  4. RICHARD
  5. WILLIAM
  6. BANNISTER
  7. JOHN, who predeceased Col. Thomas

Col. Thomas Winn’s widow, who was at least his second wife, was named Sarah. Her maiden name is also unproved, although she is often identified as Sarah Bacon. Sarah and Thomas had four children who survived him:

  1. KETURAH
  2. HENRIETTA MARIA (or MARIE)
  3. EDMUND
  4. WASHINGTON

Proving these children is not easy. If you don’t wish to hear how the law of intestate descent and distribution in late 18th century Virginia treated siblings and half-siblings, or why a married woman was not allowed to appear as a party to a lawsuit on her own and how that matters in this case … and if you have no desire to dissect just the style of a lawsuit for family information, and also scrutinize the court’s distribution of estate assets for more family information … for heaven’s sake, people, quit reading NOW!! Otherwise, grab a cup of coffee or an adult beverage and pull up a chair. Anyone who makes it all the way to the end will receive a suitable reward to be announced later.

Before we start, it is important to know that Washington Winn, whose estate was the subject of the chancery lawsuit, was a son of Col. Thomas Winn. See Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org Film #32,380 (will of Thomas Winn proved 1781 named his underage son Washington Winn).

Some law and why it is important for figuring out Col. Thomas Winn’s family

First, the easy part: legal issues. This discussion is largely based on personal knowledge. I will spare you and myself citations to  Hening’s Statutes at Large. I will try to explain why this legal esoterica is important to identifying the family of Col. Thomas.

  • Coverture is “the condition or state of a married woman … [sometimes used] … to describe the legal disability which formerly existed from a state of coverture.” Black’s Law Dictionary, from a very ancient edition I acquired during law school. What it means is that a married woman had no legal rights of her own because she had no legal existence apart from her husband. Thus, a married woman could not be a party to a lawsuit on her own behalf. Her husband had to be a party to assert her rights and to receive her award, if any. On the other hand, when a lawsuit involved a married man, there was no need to include his wife as a party. She just.didn’t.matter, to mangle a famous Bill Murray line.

Why is coverture important to the family of Col. Thomas? Because understanding it proves that Elizabeth Winn and Mourning Hix were his daughters. It also tells us that Elizabeth’s husband was Joseph Winn, who was a son of Daniel Winn, not Col. Thomas. The chancery lawsuit is the only evidence of the identity of Joseph Winn’s wife that I have found.

  • Style of a case. “Style” refers to the title of a lawsuit, so to speak. For example, Marbury v. Madison. The style of the Winn chancery suit is not easy to decipher. That is because it is very, very long and the clerk of court wrote it differently in two separate court orders. He also made an error or two. But deciphering the style of the Lunenburg chancery case is essential to identifying members of this Winn family.
  • The law of intestate descent and distribution. “Intestate” as a noun means a person who died without a will. If a deceased person left a valid will, the estate is distributed according to provisions of the will. Period. If there is no valid will, then the decedent’s estate is distributed according to the applicable statute of intestate descent and distribution. Every state has such a statute (although I can’t speak for Louisiana, which is its own form of crazy). Here is what the chancery suit reflects about the Virginia law at the time:
    • If a person owning an estate died intestate without a wife or children, his estate was distributed to his siblings and a surviving parent. This is important because it tells us that Washington Winn had no wife or children and he died intestate. His estate would therefore be distributed  “according to the statute,” as the court said. Washington’s mother Sarah also received a “child’s share” of his personal property, although we aren’t concerned about that here. The important thing is that Washington’s estate distribution revealed the identities of the other children of Col. Thomas – and Washington’s relationship to each one. 
    • Half-sisters and half-brothers were called “siblings of the half-blood” by the Lunenburg court. By law, each received half as much of the distribution amount paid to a “sibling of the whole blood.” The amount distributed to each sibling thus tells us whether he or she was a half sibling or a full sibling. The court’s order proves that Washington had siblings of both the half-blood and the whole blood. His siblings of the whole blood had the same mother as Washington, namely Sarah, Col. Thomas’s widow. His siblings of the half-blood had a different mother than Washington. Thus, Col. Thomas necessarily had a wife (or wives) before he married Sarah, by whom he had children who survived him.
    • If a sibling (claimant) of an intestate has died, his share was divided among his children, if any. If he had no children, then his share went to his surviving siblings.

The lawsuit

At this point, we have no alternative except to dive into the court’s orders in the lawsuit. These were difficult for me to grasp, and I like to think I have had some decent experience in the law. I nevertheless had to read the orders several times before I began to comprehend them. That also makes them difficult for me to explain, so the explanation may induce “MEGO” (“my eyes glazed over”). If so, I understand and sympathize.

The court clerk recorded two slightly different versions of the style of the suit. See Lunenburg Order Book 17 at 134 (order of 12 Nov 1796) and at 292-293 (order of 10 Nov 1797) (FamilySearch.org, Lunenburg Order Books 1796 – 1805, Film #32,410, image 113 and image 192 et seq.)

Here is the style in the 1796 order. The silly colors make it easier to discuss each group.

John Hix and Mourning his wife, Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Winn, Richard Winn, William Winn and Banister Winn, Children and Coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d, and Harrison Winn, Beasley Heart and Elizabeth his wife, and John Winn, children and legal representatives of John Winn, decd, who was the son of the last mentioned Thomas Winn, dec’d, and Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon, infants, by Edward P. Bacon their guardian and Keturah Hardy, Armstead Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy, and Jeane Hardy, by Alexander Winn, Gentleman, their next friend,

Complainants in Chancery,

v.

Edmund Winn, administrator of Washington Winn, dec’d, and Sarah Winn,

 Defendants.

And here is the style in the 1797 order.

Mourning Hix, wife of John Hix, dec’d, Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Winn, Richard Winn [William Winn’s name omitted here] & Bannister Winn, Children and Coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d, Harrison Winn, Beasley Heart & Elizabeth his wife, and John Winn, children and legal representatives of John Winn, dec’d, who was son of the last mentioned Thomas Winn, Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon & Thomas Winn Bacon, by Edmund P. Bacon their next friend, William Winn [William is moved here from the first group] & John Hardys children by Alexander Winn, Gent., their next friend

 Complainants in Chancery,

v. 

Edmund Winn Administrator of Washington Winn, dec’d, and Sarah Winn,

 Defendants.

Might be time for a refill on that adult beverage.

Let’s start with the parties listed in red. They are described as “children and coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d.” Thomas is Col. Thomas. An early Winn researcher transcribed “COHEIRS” as “COUSINS.” This is an understandable mistake because the handwriting is small and cramped, but it will drive you nuts if you try to make sense of the relationships among all the parties on that basis. I stared closely at the original in the Lunenburg courthouse. It is “coheirs,” I promise, not “cousins.”

First, notice the four men separated by commas at the end of the red group: Thomas (Jr.), Richard, William and Bannister. They are obviously children of Col. Thomas because that is how they are expressly described. Because men had legal rights of their own, there was no need to name their wives as parties.

Now consider coverture, and notice “John Hix and Mourning his wife” in the first order in the red “children and coheirs” group. John Hix was obviously not Col. Thomas Winn’s child, so Mourning must be his daughter. Her husband John had to be named as a party, though, because … Mourning had no legal existence or rights apart from him.

Also, we already knew from Lunenburg Winns: Part I  that John Hix was Col. Thomas’s son-in-law and Mourning was a daughter. That’s how Col. Thomas identified the couple in his will. See Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org Film #32,380 (will of Thomas Winn proved 1781, naming his son-in-law John Hix and wife Mourning Hix). John had died by the second order, making Mourning a single woman. She was therefore no longer subject to a married woman’s legal disability of coverture and could be named as a party in her own right, as “Mourning Hix, wife of John Hix, dec’d.”

The remaining names in the red group are Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife. They are confusing because they are both Winns. Consider coverture again. If Joseph had been a son of Thomas Winn and was asserting rights to his brother Washington’s estate, his wife Elizabeth wouldn’t be named. Thus, Elizabeth, not Joseph, was a child of Col. Thomas. Joseph was her husband — who had to be joined as a party to the lawsuit because she had no legal rights except through him.

The only hiccup in the red group list is William, who migrated locations in the style from the first order to the second. He is included in the red group in the first record, but the clerk forgot him for a while in the second order … and stuck his name in between the blue group and the magenta group. I can sympathize with the clerk. All those names, and think how tedious all that copying must have been.

The red group proves these six children of Col. Thomas:

  1. Mourning Winn, wife/widow of John Hix
  2. Elizabeth Winn, wife of Joseph Winn
  3. Thomas Winn
  4. Richard Winn
  5. William Winn
  6. Bannister Winn

The next group, shown in green, is identified as “children and legal representatives of John Winn, dec’d, who was the son of … Thomas Winn, dec’d” (still Col. Thomas). We already know from Part I  that Col. Thomas had a son John who predeceased his father. John died in 1768 leaving a will naming his children Harrison, Betty (a nickname for Elizabeth), and an unborn child. See Lunenburg Will Book 2: 326 (will of John Winn of Lunenburg dated and proved in 1768, naming children Harrison, Betty, and a child “wife Susannah is now big with,” and appointing his father Thomas as one of his executors).

This lawsuit nicely identifies for us the name of Betty/Elizabeth’s husband, Beasley Heart, and the name of the unborn child. Not surprisingly, John’s afterborn son was also named John.

This adds another name to the list of children of Col. Thomas:

  1. John Winn (who had children Harrison, Elizabeth [“Betty”] married Beasley Heart, and John).

Moving on to the blue group. The differences in the two versions of the style are not significant. The only substantive error the clerk made in the first version is that the Bacon children’s guardian should be Edmund P. Bacon, not Edward.

Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon, infants, by Edward P. Bacon their guardian, in the first version, or

Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon & Thomas Winn Bacon, by Edmund P. Bacon their next friend.

These children, like Harrison Winn, Elizabeth Heart, and John Winn in the green group, were grandchildren of Col. Thomas. Because their surname was Bacon, they were obviously the children of a daughter of Col. Thomas who married (presumably) Edmund Bacon. She was dead by the time the lawsuit was filed, or she and her husband would have appeared in the “red” group and their children would not have been named.

The magenta group poses the same situation. A daughter of Col. Thomas married John Hardy and has died, leaving children. Had she been alive, she had John Hardy would have been listed in the “red” group and the names of their children omitted. Here is how they are identified in the two versions of the style:

Keturah Hardy, Armstead Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy, and Jeane Hardy, by Alexander Winn, Gentleman, their next friend, in the first version,

or

 John Hardys children by Alexander Winn, Gent., their next friend.

FYI, Alexander Winn was just the legal representative of the Hardy children, not their guardian or a parent. He was a justice of the Lunenburg court, making him a good choice to be the Hardy children’s advocate.

Here are the eighth and ninth children of Col. Thomas: 

  1. _________ Winn Bacon, wife of Edmund P. Bacon
  2. _________ Winn Hardy, wife of John Hardy

And here are the remaining two children of the eleven who survived Col. Thomas:

  1. Washington Winn, the deceased son whose estate is the subject of the lawsuit; and
  2. Edmund Winn, administrator of Washington’s estate.

The last four (children #8 through #11) are identified in Col. Thomas’s will. He named his daughters Keturah and Henrietta Maria, not yet married when he wrote the will, and his sons Edmund and Washington.

We are down to two remaining questions: (1) which daughter married a Bacon and which married John Hardy; and (2) which of the children were Washington’s siblings of the whole blood, and which were Washington’s siblings of the half blood?

The order book muddies the answers to the first question. In the first order, I believe the clerk reversed the daughters’ surnames and entered this: “children of representatives of Keturah Bacon and Henrietta Hardy, deceased …” In the second order, the clerk entered, “to the children of Keturah Bacon, dec’d…” and “to the children of Keturah Hardy, dec’d,” erroneously using the same given name twice.

Both orders are probably wrong. In the original order book, someone struck out the Bacon entry “Keturah” in the second order and penciled in “Henrietta.” I believe the person who defaced the order book was correct … Henrietta Maria was the mother of the Bacon children and Keturah was the mother of the Hardy children. But I cannot find the evidence and I’m not certain! Can anyone help me out on that issue?

The last remaining question is the easiest. The second order details the amounts to be distributed to each party. It says this:

To Mourning Hix of the half blood £48.14.10

To Joseph Winn of the half blood ditto (recall Joseph was the husband of Elizabeth and therefore received her share)

To Thomas Winn of the half blood ditto

To Richard Winn of the half blood ditto

To William Winn of the half blood ditto

To Bannister Winn of the half blood ditto

To Harrison Winn, Beasly Hart & Elizabeth his wife and John Winn, heirs of John Winn, dec’d, son of Thomas Winn, dec’d, £48.14.10

The court doesn’t expressly describe John Winn, dec’d, son of Col. Thomas, as Washington’s sibling of the half blood, but the amount of the distribution (the same as the other half-siblings) proves it.

Tying a neat bow around the status of each sibling (ignoring the question of which daughter married a Bacon vs. a Hardy), the court record says:

To the children of Keturah [Keturah is struck out in pencil and “Henrietta” written in] Bacon, dec’d, Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon, Thomas Winn Bacon, of the whole blood, £123.9.8 

To the children of Keturah Hardy, dec’d, Keturah Hardy, Ann Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy & Jeane Hardy of the whole blood, £123.9.8 

to Edmund Winn his part £123.9.8 

The court doesn’t expressly state Edmund’s status as Washington’s sibling of the whole blood, but the amount of his distribution again proves the relationship.

In the final analysis, here is what the chancery case proves regarding the children of Col. Thomas:

Seven children were Washington’s siblings of the half blood and were children of Col. Thomas’s wife (or wives) prior to Sarah:

  1. MOURNING
  2. ELIZABETH
  3. THOMAS
  4. RICHARD
  5. WILLIAM
  6. BANNISTER
  7. JOHN

The siblings of the whole blood, who were children of Washington’s mother Sarah, were:

  1. KETURAH
  2. HENRIETTA MARIA (or MARIE)
  3. EDMUND
  4. WASHINGTON

Did anyone make it this far without experiencing MEGO? If so, are we clear, Col. Jessup? Answer (I hope): “Crystal.”

If not, I’m going to have to ask someone else to give it the ol’ college try. I’m tuckered out.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] I say that my prior article (Part I of ???) may have been unclear because a friend emailed to me a link to a website that cited this blog as a source. In fact, the website cited that specific article, which was primarily about Col. Thomas Winn. Among other things, the article identified his eleven children and their probable mothers. But the person citing my article as a source totally botched that family. Since that may have been caused by my lack of clarity, I figured I’d better try to explain it better.

Lunenburg Winns, Part II of ? – Daniel Winn

I considered retitling this series “Tangled Roots and Branches.” That would merit a D-minus for originality, since probably 25% of all family histories use some version of that metaphor. We’ll stick to the uninspiring “Part II” instead.

Part I identified three Lunenburg Winn patriarchs. It discussed one of them, Col. Thomas, and a persistent myth concerning the Lunenburg Winns.[1] Here is a brief recap.

Col. Thomas Winn and Daniel Winn of Lunenburg were two of the Winn patriarchs of Lunenburg. They were brothers. Their father was Richard Winn of Hanover County, whose wife was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger. The third patriarch, John Winn of Lunenburg, was genetically related to Col. Thomas and Daniel. Putting it another way, the three men shared an unknown male Winn ancestor. I haven’t figured out their precise relationship – they are presumably cousins of some stripe. None of the three men were descended from or genetically related to Speaker Robert Wynne and his wife Mary Sloman Poythress Wynne of Charles City/Prince George Counties. Y-DNA testing establishes that descendants of the Lunenburg Winns do not match descendants of Speaker Robert.

Col. Thomas (born circa 1718, died in 1781) was a wealthy landowner who lived a high-profile public life in Lunenburg. He was married at least twice. First, perhaps, to Elizabeth Bannister then, probably, to Sarah Bacon, who survived him.

Col. Thomas had eleven surviving children, seven by his first wife and four by Sarah. They were (birth order unknown) (1) Bannister, (2) Elizabeth, (3) Thomas Jr., (4) Richard, (5) William, (6) John, and (7) Mourning (by his first wife), and (8) Henrietta Maria/Marie, (9) Edmund, (10), Ketturah, and (11) Washington (by Sarah).

Moving on to new territory, here is …

Patriarch #2: Daniel Winn, born circa 1720, died in 1799

Daniel first appeared in county records witnessing a 1744 Surry County deed.[2] That date establishes he was born by at least 1723, placing him in the same generation as Col. Thomas. The first two Lunenburg county records concerning Daniel were 1752 and 1754 deeds executed when he resided in Prince George County.[3]

Daniel was a Lieutenant in the Lunenburg militia.[4] Like his brother Col. Thomas, he was a wealthy landowner. By 1763, he had acquired about 2,000 acres in Lunenburg.[5] He built a grist mill on Great Hounds Creek at “the main falls” which he and his son Joseph sold in 1780.[6]

The military service of some of his sons may be Daniel’s greatest claim to fame. Six of his nine sons were Revolutionary War soldiers.[7] Three of them – Elisha, William and James Winn  – enlisted in February 1776 in the same company in the 6th Virginia Regiment. At minimum, the three were in the battles of Trenton in December 1776 and Princeton in January 1777, and probably others as well.[8] James and Elisha were discharged in February 1778 while at Valley Forge.[9] Three other brothers – Joseph, John, and Galanus Winn – fought at the 1779 Battle of Stono Ferry near Charleston, South Carolina in the militia company commanded by Joseph.[10]

Daniel’s will did not name a wife, who evidently predeceased him. She may have been Sarah Tench, daughter of Henry Tench.[11] As of 1768, Daniel’s wife was definitely named Sarah.[12]

Daniel distributed considerable wealth to his children. The only child named in his will was Joseph, who inherited Daniel’s remaining estate. Six of his other nine children are proved by gift deeds. Most of the deeds recite that the consideration was “natural love, goodwill, and affection” for the grantee, who is usually specifically identified as Daniel’s son or daughter. The identities of Daniel’s sons are also indicated by their appearances as tithables (i.e., taxable people) on his personal property tax lists.

Here are Daniel’s children. Their birth years are estimates, except for Galanus, whose birth date is proved by his Revolutionary War pension application. I have listed the sons in the order they appeared as Daniel’s tithable on a tax list, a reasonable proxy for birth order.

  1. Marticia/Martisha Winn was probably born between 1741 and 1746. Her husband Cornelius Crenshaw (son of Joseph) was from an Amelia County family. The Amelia Crenshaws lived in the same tax district where Richard Winn’s Amelia County property was taxed (he lived in Hanover).[13] The Winn and Crenshaw families likely knew each other well before any of them arrived in Lunenburg.

Marticia was the first of Daniel’s children proved by a gift deed reciting “natural love and affection.”[14] She and Cornelius had five children.[15] After he died, Marticia married James Jennings on 18 Dec 1787.[16]They had six children, including five having names of her brothers.[17]

  1. Thomas Winn was probably born by 1744.[18] He is proved as Daniel’s son by a 1765 gift of 300 acres on Little Hounds Creek.[19] He last appeared on a Lunenburg tax list in 1788. He may be the Thomas Winn with a wife named Joyce who sold a tract on Little Hounds Creek that year. Orsamus Winn, another son of Daniel, witnessed the conveyance.[20] I found no Lunenburg will or estate administration for Thomas, suggesting he moved away. I hope someone reading this knows where he went and will post a comment.

Naomi Giles Chadwick’s book, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons, confuses Daniel’s son Thomas with Col. Thomas. Ms. Chadwick cites the book Lost Links to identify Thomas Winn, son of Daniel, as the same man as his uncle Col. Thomas.[21] The mistake is obvious because Daniel’s son Thomas continued appearing on Lunenburg tax lists after Col. Thomas died in 1781. It’s the old “same name confusion” error. We’ve all done it. If you have not, you just haven’t been doing genealogy long enough.

  1. Joseph Winn was born about 1746-1748 and died in Lunenburg in 1800.[22] His wife was Elizabeth Winn, a daughter of Col. Thomas. Joseph identified nine children in his will.[23] For the most part, Joseph stayed out of the records. He was a Justice of the County Court. His service as a Captain in the Revolutionary War is proved by the pension applications of his brothers Elisha and Galanus Winn, plus applications by Richard Bacon[24] and Henry Cook.[25] Joseph’s militia company was in the 1779 Battle of Stono Ferry, South Carolina, near Charleston. I am not aware of other engagements.
  2. John Winn was born about 1747-1748.[26] I found no conveyance to him from Daniel reciting love and affection or identifying him as a son. However, Daniel and his wife Sarah conveyed 300 acres to some John Winn in July 1768.[27] The grantee was probably Daniel’s son John because Joseph and Thomas Jr., sons of Daniel, witnessed the deed, and the acreage was the same as gifts to Thomas Jr. and Elisha. John was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. He served in the militia company commanded by his brother Joseph that was at the Battle of Stono Ferry.[28]

There were a plethora of John Winns in Lunenburg.[29] I am frankly not certain I have correctly sorted them all out. However, I believe that Daniel’s son John Winn died in 1821, leaving a will naming his wife Susannah, two sons, a daughter, and two grandsons.[30]

  1. Elisha Winn was born between 1749 and 1753, based on his appearance in Daniel’s tithable list.[31] Daniel is proved as his father by a gift of 300 acres in 1781.[32] His wife was Lucy, probably Lucy Elliot.[33]

The only significant source of information about Elisha is his Revolutionary War pension application.[34] He enlisted as a private from Lunenburg in February 1776 in Capt. James Johnson’s company, which later became Capt. Billey Haley Avery’s company, in the 6th Virginia Brigade. His brothers James and William also enlisted in Johnson’s company at that time. Elisha was discharged in February 1778 at, as he called it, “Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.”[35] His first petition for government financial assistance was rejected. In it, he stated that “while in the Service of his Country he contracted a disease in his eyes which he believes was brought on from cold during the Cold Winter of 1777 while encamped at Valley Forge.”

He served another tour in a Lunenburg militia company commanded by his brother Joseph as a substitute for his brother James. The company fought at the 1779 Battle of Stono Ferry, just east of Charleston, South Carolina.

Elisha and Lucy were still in Lunenburg in 1812, when they sold a tract on Big Hounds Creek.[36] Elisha (I don’t know whether Lucy was alive then) was still in Lunenburg in 1814, when he witnessed a conveyance by his brother John.[37] Elisha moved to Madison County, Alabama soon thereafter. He applied for a pension in Madison County in April 1818, stating among other things that he had lived there for about four years. He also swore to facts establishing he was indigent, a requirement under the pension act at that time.[38]

Elisha died in Madison County, Alabama in 1821. His estate file does not identify his children. “Bass F. Winn” of Lunenburg is the only child of Elisha I have proved, thanks to a power of attorney Bass gave regarding his father’s estate.[39] Elisha’s estate file establishes that he left no will but had six heirs.[40] The 1810 federal census for Lunenburg lists Elisha with five women in his household, presumably Lucy and four daughters. If anyone knows their identities, I would love to hear about them.

  1. Alexander Winn was born between 1753 and 1756, based on his appearance on Daniel’s tithable lists. He died in 1828. He is proved as Daniel’s son by a 1776 deed for 325 acres on Hounds Creek reciting the customary “natural love and affection.”[41] His first wife was Elizabeth _____, maiden name unproved. Based on Alexander’s will, they had thirteen children.[42] Their first son was named Lyddal Winn, perhaps prompting speculation that Elizabeth’s maiden name was Bacon.[43]

Alexander married as his second wife Jane (“Jincy”) Stone, widow of Richard Stone, in July 1816. The couple had a prenuptial contract, an unusual practice in the early 19th century. Jane had a large personal estate which she apparently wished to dispose of as she saw fit. Absent such an agreement, she had no legal right to control her own property after she married. She was a daughter of John Winn, the third Lunenburg patriarch, and his wife Ann Stone.[44]

  1. William Winn was also born during 1753-1756.[45] He is proved by both his appearance on Daniel’s tithable list and a 1777 deed in which Daniel conveyed to him 585 acres on both sides of Hounds Creek.[46]He likely sold 300 acres of that tract in 1781: Daniel’s sons Joseph and Alexander witnessed the deed.[47]

William was another Revolutionary War soldier from Daniel’s family.[48] He enlisted in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment in February 1776 along with his brothers Elisha and James. William, a Sergeant, served through May 1777.

By 1783-1784, William was no longer taxed in Lunenburg. I found no estate administration for him and don’t know where he moved. I’m hoping someone who reads this has some evidence and will share it in a comment.

  1. Orsamus Winn was born during 1754 – 1756 and died in 1820 in Lunenburg.[49] His wife’s name was Frances, probably Jeter.[50] Daniel gave Orsamus 605 acres on Falls and Hounds Creek in 1781 in a deed identifying Orsamus as his son.[51] I didn’t find any interesting details about his life in the records.  His will named seven children,[52] and an eighth child is proved by a power of attorney from a son in Tennessee.[53]
  2. James Winn was born in 1757.[54] I found no gift deed from Daniel to James. He is nonetheless a proved son because (1) he was on Daniel’s tithable lists and (2) a Revolutionary War pension application by a proved son of Daniel identified James as his brother. He enlisted in February 1776 for two years in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment.[55] He is shown on a Revolutionary War roll as a Sergeant in May 1777.[56] His individual service record lists him in Capt. Billey Haley Avery’s company, 6th Virginia Regiment, from August 1777 through January 1778. He was discharged in February 1778 at Valley Forge.[57] So far as I know, he never filed a pension application.[58]

He may be and probably is the James Winn who married Mary Ann Winn, a daughter of John and Ann Stone Winn, the third Lunenburg patriarch.[59] James had a hard time managing money.[60] I found no will or estate administration for him and don’t know where he moved. HOWEVER, serendipity intervened: I accidentally stumbled over him in family Bible images posted online. The Bible doesn’t establish where he moved after he left Lunenburg, but it does provide great information about his family. See the article about James here.

  1. Galanus Winn was born 2 Feb 1760 in Lunenburg and died 15 May 1839 in Madison County, Alabama. He married Rebecca Lester, daughter of Andrew Lester, in Brunswick County in January 1783.[61] He was the youngest of Daniel’s sons to serve in the Revolutionary War, enlisting in February 1779.[62] He served as a substitute for his brother James as a private in the militia company commanded by his brother Joseph. That company was in the Battle of Stono Ferry. One of his tours was in a “volunteer horse company” – a cavalry unit. He testified in his application that the captain of the company hurt his own horse’s back, appropriated Galanus’s horse, then discharged him. That is surely a unique way to obtain a discharge.

Galanus moved from Lunenburg to Laurens County, South Carolina by 1788. Rebecca apparently died there between 1810 and 1812. He moved to Madison County, Alabama about 1827. He applied for a Revolutionary War pension there in October 1832. One Huntsville newspaper carried an obituary for him with the headline “Another Revolutionary Soldier Gone.”[63] The Madison County court ordered a final distribution of his estate on March 15, 1841, naming three sons and four daughters.[64] Deed and probate records prove another son who predeceased Galanus in Laurens County.[65]

And that’s it for Daniel Winn, the second Lunenburg patriarch. Whew! The third, Lunenburg John Winn, is up next.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] See Part I  here.

[2] Surry Co., VA Deed Book 4: 226, deed dated 13 Jun 1774 witnessed by Daniel Winn, Daniel Carter, and Joseph Carter. That location may have convinced some researchers to place Daniel in Speaker Robert Wynne’s line, some of whom appeared in Surry. Daniel also lived in Prince George, another location for members of Speaker Robert’s family. Note: unless expressly stated otherwise, all citations in this article are from Lunenburg deed, probate, tax, and court records.

[3] Deed Book 3: 226, deed dated 4 Nov 1752 from Samuel Wynne of Lunenburg to Daniel Wynne of Prince George Co., 100 acres on the south side of Hounds Creek. Deed witnessed by Thomas Winn, undoubtedly Col. Thomas. See also Deed Book 3: 501, deed dated 15 Mar 1754 from Charles Irby of Amelia County and Stephen Evans of Lunenburg to Daniel Wynne of Prince George, 400 acres in Lunenburg on Falls Creek. Witnessed by Lyddal Bacon, Thomas Winn (Col. Thomas again), and Richard Stone.

[4] Order Book 11: 86, entry of 11 Jul 1765.

[5] Daniel acquired 100 acres on Hounds Creek from Samuel Wynne in 1752 (Deed Book 3: 226), 400 acres on Falls Creek from Irby and Evans in 1754 (Deed Book 3: 501), and 1,497 acres from Col. Thomas in 1762. See also Deed Book 7: 232, deed dated 8 Apr 1762 from Thomas Winn to Daniel Winn, 1,497 acres on Little Hounds and Great Hounds Creek. Witnessed by John Winn, John Winn, and John Winn.

[6] Order Book 4: 60, entry of 2 Dec 1755, petition of Daniel Wynne to build a water grist mill at the main falls of Great Hounds Creek. Deed Book 14: 169, deed dated 22 Jan 1780 from Daniel and Joseph Winn to William Hardy and Lyddal Bacon, 14 acres with the mill adjacent the Mill Pond.

[7] For evidence of the Revolutionary War service of each man, see the individual discussions in numbered paragraphs.

[8] You can find information about the 6th Virginia Regiment here and here. In addition to being among the units at Valley Forge, the Virginia 6th was also at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and the famous crossing of the Delaware River.

[9] People who were on military rosters while at Valley Forge can be found  here.  I searched on the 6th Virginia Regiment for the name “Winn.” Elisha and James both turned up. The individual service record for each man says that he was discharged in February 1778. Gen. Washington’s army encamped at Valley Forge in December 1777.

[10] See information about Stono Ferry  here. Galanus Winn’s pension application says that he was at Stono with his brother Joseph’s company.

[11] Will Book 3: 85, will of Henry Tench dated 1777 and proved 1784. The will names his daughters Sarah Winn and Ann Tench. If it is correct that Col. Thomas’s wife Sarah was née Bacon, then the only “available” Lunenburg male Winn with a wife named Sarah in 1777 was Daniel Winn. Some researchers give her maiden name as Finch. Original Lunenburg tax, probate, and deed records are somewhat ambiguous, but most indicate Tench is correct. That opinion is based on my viewing of various original records at the Lunenburg courthouse.

[12] Deed Book 11: 183, 1768 deed from Daniel Winn and wife Sarah to John Winn, all of Lunenburg, 300 acres on Falls Cr. Witnessed by Thomas Winn (Col. Thomas), Joseph Winn (Daniel’s son), and Thomas Winn Jr. (also Daniel’s son). Sarah’s mark was a “V,” perhaps prompting some Winn researchers to identify her as “Sarah V. Winn,” “Sarah Vee Winn,” or even “Sarah Virginia Winn.” The odds that any of those middle names/initials are correct are de minimis.

[13] Joseph Crenshaw’s property (with tithables Cornelius Crenshaw, Gideon Crenshaw, and William Crenshaw, presumably his sons) and the tract owned by Richard Winn of Hanover were on the Amelia County list of “tithes below Deep Creek” in 1746.

[14] Deed Book 6: 404, gift deed dated 6 Apr 1761 from Daniel Wynne “for natural love and affection for daughter Martashi, wife of Cornelous Cranshaw,” an enslaved person. Daughters frequently received a gift when they married. If that was the case here, then Marticia was probably born between 1741 and 1746, assuming she married at age 15-20.

[15] Will Book 3: 241, will of Cornelius Crenshaw dated 28 Dec 1785, proved 9 Feb 1786, naming his wife Martisha and sons Daniel, Nathan, Pleasant, Cornelius, and Fortune Crenshaw.

[16] A Roster of Revolutionary Ancestors of the Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution Vol. II (Evansville, IN: Unigraphic, 1976) 385.

[17] Id. Children of James Jennings and Martisha Winn Crenshaw Jennings were Joseph, Thomas, Alexander, William, Elisha, and Erasmus. Marticia had brothers by each of those names except for Erasmus.

[18] Thomas Winn Jr. appeared on the 1764 tax list on the 300 acres his father Daniel gave to him. Men were tithable then at 16, suggesting that Thomas was born by 1748. However, it was unusual for a man to give land to an underage son, so I based the estimate for his birth year on the 1765 gift deed.

[19] Deed Book 10: 148, gift deed dated 11 Apr 1765 from Daniel Winn to his son Thomas Winn “Jr.” (Col. Thomas was “Senior”) for love and affection and 5 shillings, 300 acres on both sides of Little Hounds Cr.

[20] Deed Book 15: 213, deed dated 12 Apr 1788 from Thomas Winn to William Hatchett, both of Lunenburg, 371 acres on both sides of Little Hounds Creek. Witnesses were John Walker, Orsamus Winn, and James Trotter. The gift deed from Daniel to Thomas stated it was for 300 acres, which is the amount Thomas was taxed on in 1788. The increase in acreage may have been due to a new survey made when Thomas conveyed the tract.

[21] Naomi Giles Chadwick, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons 6, citing Elisabeth Wheeler Frances and Ethel Silvey Moore, Lost Links,  (Nashville: Mcquiddy Printing Co., 1945).

[22] I estimated Joseph’s birth year based on his appearance as a tithable in Daniel’s tax list in 1764. Naomi Chadwick says he was born about 1755, but that is way too late to have been at least 16 and taxable in 1764. There is no earlier personal property tax list on which Daniel appeared. All the 1764 tax list tells us is that Joseph must have been born by 1748. He was a Captain of a militia company in 1779. He was probably more than thirty to have that rank.

[23] Will Book 5: 20, will of Joseph Winn dated and proved in 1800. He gave his wife Elizabeth a “plantation called his father’s old place on Great Hounds Creek.” He made bequests directly to eight children and left a bequest in trust to his executors for the support of his son Benjamin, “but not liable for payment of any of [Benjamin’s] debts.” Joseph’s children were Daniel, Joseph Jr., Bannister, Sarah (“Sally”) B., Kitturah, Minor, Mourning, Elizabeth, and Benjamin Winn, the ne’er-do-well son who is my ancestor.

[24] Revolutionary War pension application of Richard Bacon (S.16625) proves Joseph Winn was a Captain in the revolution. See John Frederick Dorman, Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications, Volume 3 (Washington, D.C.: 1959) 73-76.

[25] Id., Volume 22, application of Henry Cook (S.3181) dated 5 Sep 1832, Williamson Co., TN. Cook declared he served in the company of Capt. Joseph Wynn and Lt. John Wynn in the regiment of Col. David Mason and Lt. Col. Lewis Burwell.

[26] John first appeared as one of Daniel’s tithables in 1764, so he was at least sixteen by then. There isn’t an extant tithable list for the few years prior to 1764, which would have allowed a better estimate of John’s birth year. The next best age “indicator” is the 1768 deed to John from Daniel and Sarah. Men often received or purchased land soon after they came of age.

[27] Deed Book 11: 183, deed dated 23 Jul 1768 from Daniel Winn and wife Sarah to John Winn, all of Lunenburg, 300 acres on Fall’s Cr. Sarah’s mark was “V,” which may be why some Winn researchers identify her as “Sarah Vee Winn.” Col. Thomas Winn, Joseph Winn, and Thomas Winn Jr. witnessed the deed.

[28] Lt. John Winn’s service in his brother’s Lunenburg militia company that participated in the Battle of Stono Ferry is proved by Henry Cook’s pension application, see Note 25.

[29] E.g., Deed Book 7: 232, deed dated 8 Apr 1762 from Thomas Winn to Daniel Winn witnessed by John Winn, John Winn, and John Winn.

[30] Will Book 8: 170, will of John Winn Sr. dated 29 Apr 1819 and proved 10 Sep 1821. John named his wife Susanna, sons John and James, daughter Priscilla, and grandsons James S. Brown and Paschall B. Brown. The grandsons were children of his daughter Susan Winn and her husband William Brown who married in Lunenburg  in 1797.

[31] See Deed Book 12: 249, Elisha Winn witnessed a deed dated Nov. 1775. He was therefore born by 1754.

[32] Deed Book 13: 376, deed dated 8 Feb 1781 from Daniel Winn to his son Elisha Winn, both of Lunenburg, 300 acres for love and affection.

[33] I have located deeds in which Elisha’s wife Lucy relinquished dower, but I cannot find my source for her maiden name. Unfortunately, I did a lot of my Lunenburg research when I did not know what I was doing and often failed to record my sources.

[34] Here is a link to Will Graves’s excellent transcription of Elisha’s pension application.

[35] See Elisha’s service record here. The muster rolls don’t state his location, although the Valley Forge roster project includes his company (Capt. Avery’s) and his regiment (the Virginia 6th). Elisha’s pension application states that he was discharged at Valley Forge in February 1778.

[36] Deed Book 22: 214.

[37] Deed Book 23: 337.

[38] Elisha’s estate was valued at $780 in 1821. $700 of the total was attributable to two enslaved persons. The remaining $80 was attributable to a saddle, saddle bags, bridle, horse, mortar and pestle, ax, curry comb, skillet, and Dutch oven. FHL Film #5087877, image #93 et seq. Madison County, Alabama Estate case file, Winn, Elisha, 1821, Case No. 1086.

[39] Deed Book 25: 462, power of attorney dated 9 Oct 1822 from Bass F. Winn to Edmund Hardy, both of Lunenburg, concerning the estate of his father Elisha Winn, who died in Madison County.

[40] Madison County Probate Record Book 2: 211, 1822 court order to sell enslaved persons in Elisha’s estate because they could not be divided among six “legatees,” sic, heirs. Film #5176365, image #220 of 1767.

[41] Deed Book 12: 523, deed dated 23 Oct 1776 from Daniel Winn to Alexander Winn for natural love and affection and 5 shillings, 325 acres on the heads of Hounds Cr. adjacent Thomas Winn, “carpenter” (son of Col. Thomas) and Daniel’s son Thomas Jr. Daniel gave Alexander an additional 46 acres in 1777. Deed Book 13: 37, deed dated 30 Jul 1777 from Daniel Winn to his son Alexander, 46 acres on the head branches of Hounds Cr. adjacent another tract conveyed by Daniel to Alexander.

[42] Will Book 9: 223, will of Alexander Winn dated 1 Dec 1825 and proved 14 Jan 1828. Sell entire estate and divide among children Lyddall Winn, Daniel M. Winn, Hinchy Winn, William Winn, Alexander Winn Jr., Jonathan P. Winn, Joseph E. Winn, Asa B. Winn, Frances G. Pyles, Rebecca M. Jackson, Eliza R. Snead, Pamela B. Oliver, and Sally B. Morgan.

[43] Men named Lyddal Bacon abounded in Lunenburg. E.g., Will Book 2: 428, will of Lyddal Bacon dated and proved in 1775 naming, among others, a son Lyddal Bacon (Jr.). I have a Lunenburg ancestor named Lyddal Bacon Estes.

[44] Deed Book 24: 234, marriage contract dated 5 Jul 1816 between Alexander Winn and Jane Stone, Edmund Winn as trustee of Jane’s personal property.

[45] Daniel’s son William is first shown as a tithable on Daniel’s list in 1772, so he was born by 1756. He was not listed as a tithable in 1769, establishing he was born after 1753.

[46] Deed Book 13: 29, deed dated 23 Apr 1777 from Daniel Winn to William Winn for natural love and affection and £ 60,  585 acres on both sides of Hounds Creek.

[47] Deed Book 13: 387, deed dated Jan. 1781 from William Winn to Isaac Medly, 300 acres on Hounds Creek witnessed by Joseph and Alexander Winn. No dower release mentioned.

[48] The National Archives and Records Administration’s service file for William can be viewed  here.

[49] Orsamus Winn was listed as one of Daniel Winn’s tithables in the 1772 Lunenburg tax list but was not shown on the 1769 list. He thus reached taxable age (16) during 1770 – 1772.

[50] I cannot find my source for Frances Winn’s maiden name. Orsamus Winn’s will proved her given name was Frances. She also left a will in Lunenburg, something one doesn’t often see in the 19th century. My notes indicate her maiden name was Frances Jeter, although I failed to record a source. Two Jeter men witnessed her will, which is circumstantial evidence of her maiden name.

[51] Deed Book 13: 376, deed dated 12 Apr 1781 from Daniel Winn to his son Orsamus Winn, both of Lunenburg, 605 acres on branches of Falls and Hounds Creeks adjacent Thomas Winn and Robert Crenshaw.

[52] Will Book 8: 120, will of Orsamus Winn of Lunenburg dated 13 Jul 1819, proved 13 Nov 1820. Children Booker Winn, Edmund P. Winn, Eliza Elliott Winn, Mariah Hughes?, Janet (or Jean/Jane) Snead,  Frances P. Toon, and Lewellyn F. Winn.

[53] Deed Book 25: 424, deed dated 27 Jun 1822 from Munford Winn of Sumner Co., TN to Edmund Winn of Lunenburg, power of attorney in the estate of his father Orsamus Winn, dec’d.

[54] James Winn first appeared as a tithable in Daniel’s list in 1774. He was not on the 1772 tax list, so he probably reached age 16 in 1773 or 1774.

[55] James Winn’s military muster rolls at the National Archives can be viewed  at this link.,

[56] United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783: May 1777 muster roll, Sergeant James Winn and Corporal Elisha Winn in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment. Available online  here.

Id., Capt. Billy Haley Averys Company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, January 1778, Sergeant James Winn and Corporal Elisha Winn. NARA Series M246, Roll 103, online  here.

[57] See Valley Forge Muster Roll Project here.

[58] Lack of a pension application could mean that a soldier didn’t live long enough to file under the 1832 act, or he was unable to prove that he was indigent, a requirement of prior pension acts.

[59] Deed Book 22: 15, deed dated 24 Oct 1808, James Winn to Alexander Winn, all rights of James’s wife Mary Ann in the estates of John Winn, dec’d, and Ann Winn, dec’d, her mother. James is indebted to Alexander Winn as administrator of the estate of Peter Winn, dec’d, and the “conveyance” was security for the debt. Lyddal Winn (son of Alexander) was a witness.

[60] Id. See also Deed Book 21: 188, deed of trust from James Winn Sr. and trustee Lyddal Winn to Thomas Townsend, all of Lunenburg, trust secured by seven enslaved persons, livestock, most of James Winn’s estate. Witnesses Peter Lefflett, A. Winn, Alexander Winn Jr.; Deed Book 22: 8, pursuant to deed of trust to Lyddal Winn, trustee for Thomas Townsend, James Winn consents to sale by Townsend of an enslaved person to Alexander Winn, who has conveyed her to Samuel Vaughan for $100. Witnesses Richard Winn, Alexander Winn Jr.

[61] John Vogt and T. William Kethley, Jr., Brunswick County Marriages, 1750 – 1853 (Athens, GA:  Iberian Publishing Co., 1988).

[62] Here is Galanus’s original pension application file at the National Archives. And here is Will Graves’s excellent transcription, which is much   easier on the eyes.

[63] The Democrat, Huntsville, AL, issue of 1 Jun 1839, page 3, col. 6, Vol. XXV, No. 185. Headline: “Another Revolutionary Soldier gone.” “DIED – On the 15th ultimo, at his residence near Lowevillle, Madison county, Ala., Mr. Gallenus Winn, aged 79 years. He was a Revolutionary Soldier, and drew a Pension for the last seven or eight years, and a native of Lunenburg county, Va. He entered the army in his seventeenth year and served three tours. For the last eight or ten years he has suffered much from a stroke of the palsy, which rendered him almost entirely helpless. In early life he emigrated to South Carolina, and from there to this county, where he has resided for the last eleven or twelve years.”

[64] Distributees of Galanus Winn’s estate were Andrew Winn, the heirs of Alexander Winn, Edmund Winn, Patsy Dendy (widow of William Dendy), Charles Todd and wife Elizabeth Winn Todd, John B. Finlay and wife Rebecca Winn Finlay, and the heirs of Sally Winn. Madison Co. Probate Record 9: 438, 15 Mar 1841.

[65] Laurens Co., SC Deed Book K: 243, 10 Mar 1803 conveyance by Alexander Winn, part of a tract sold by Galanus Winn “to his son Daniel Winn;” Laurens Co. Will Book D-1: 368, letters of administration granted to Galanus Winn on the estate of Daniel Winn, 25 Mar 1817.

Lunenburg Winns: Part I of ???

This is another case of “my hair’s on fire,” pronounced mah har’s on far. I decided to write an article sorting out three Winn families of Lunenburg County, Virginia. I should have been warned off by a 1762 deed from Thomas Winn to Daniel Winn witnessed by John Winn, John Winn, and John Winn.[1] There were no designations identifying the witnesses, e.g., “Senior,” “Junior,” or “John Winn of Amelia County.” <Insert demented laughter here>

Red flags notwithstanding, I plowed ahead. One objective was to provide sufficient information for you to track any of these Winns if you wish — or perhaps have an Aha! moment when you spot a possible ancestor. A second objective was to spotlight a persistent error about these families.

The subjects

The subjects are three Winns who were born in the first quarter of the 18th century and died in the last quarter in Lunenburg.[2] Y-DNA establishes they were genetic relatives.[3] Here they are:[4]

  • Thomas Winn, the grantor in that baffling 1762 deed. Let’s call him Col. Thomas because he was a Lunenburg militia colonel.
  • Daniel Winn, the grantee in the 1762 deed. Daniel, bless his heart, has a reasonably unique name and doesn’t require a nickname to distinguish him from other men having the same name. Daniel and Col. Thomas were brothers.[5]
  • John Winn of Lunenburg, as opposed to John Winn of Amelia. Amelia John was a brother of Col. Thomas and Daniel. Lunenburg John was not their brother, although Y-DNA testing proves a genetic relationship. The three patriarchs are also connected in many Lunenburg records. Lunenburg John is surely at least a distant cousin of Daniel and Col. Thomas, although I can’t figure out the family relationship.

This begins by briefly discussing each patriarch and  identifying their children. That is also where it ends, because the three men had thirty-one children among them. Information about grandchildren is therefore limited, so far. In fact, I now find this article is so long that I must break it up into two and perhaps three or more parts….

… this Part I, about the persistent Winn error and Col. Thomas Winn.

… Part II about Daniel Winn and Lunenburg John Winn.

… additional articles with further detail about children and grandchildren.

First, a persistent error about these families

There is a mountain of disinformation on the web about the three senior Lunenburg Winns. Literally thousands of trees at Ancestry attach at least one of the three men to the line of Robert and Mary Sloman Poythress Wynne of Charles City and Prince George Counties, Virginia. Y-DNA testing has conclusively proved that cannot be correct. Descendants of Robert and Mary Wynne’s line do not match descendants of Col. Thomas, Daniel, or Lunenburg John.

Robert Wynne was an interesting character. He was the Speaker of the Virginia “Long Parliament” and a grandson of a mayor of Canterbury. He owned land in Kent. His grandparents died of the plague. One can understand why Winn descendants of the Lunenburg families might be happy to identify him as an ancestor, especially since Daniel Winn once lived in Prince George.

The mistake was understandable, at least until Y-DNA disproved it. The records of Charles City and Prince George are incomplete. There are also ambiguities in surviving records and Wynne wills. Furthermore, identifying the actual family of origin of Col. Thomas and Daniel involves analyzing a vast quantity of county records and connecting a multitude of dots. And I still haven’t identified the family of origin of Lunenburg John Winn, although Y-DNA also proves he was not from Speaker Wynne’s line.

Making him even more attractive as an ancestor, Speaker Robert’s line has a link to a fabulous historical figure familiar even to schoolchildren. Here’s the connection. A woman named Anne Stith married Robert Bolling as his second wife. Robert Bolling’s first wife, Jane Rolfe, was the granddaughter of Pocahontas. Anne Stith Bolling’s sister was Agnes Stith Wynne, wife of Speaker Robert’s son Thomas Wynne.

Speaker Robert’s line was fun for reasons besides the research. Among other things, descendants of the Robert Bolling-Anne Stith marriage include a lovely woman who was once my younger son’s partner. When she introduced herself as a Bolling and said her family was from Virginia, I said, oh, hell, I know the Virginia Bollings! My son rolled his eyes and asked how on earth that could be. Every genealogist who has done research in the Virginia Southside during the 17th and 18th centuries, I explained, knows the Bollings on account of Pocahontas. Failing to spot them would be akin to reading the Old Testament without noticing God.

OK, enough about the Speaker Robert error. Let’s get on to the Lunenburg patriarchs.

Patriarch #1: Col. Thomas Winn, born circa 1718, died in 1781[6]

Col. Thomas was the most prominent of the three “senior” Winns. He was a son of Richard Winn of Hanover County, Virginia.[7] Hanover Richard’s wife by at least 1733 was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger Winn, the widow of Mr. Pledger.[8] She was a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Wilkes.[9] I don’t know whether Col. Thomas was Phoebe’s child or the son of an earlier wife, or whether Hanover Richard even had a marriage prior to Phoebe.[10]

I first found Col. Thomas mentioned in 1743 as “Page’s overseer” in Hanover County.[11] He appeared in Lunenburg records for the first time in a 1746 deed executed when he was still residing in Hanover.[12]

He lived a high-profile public life in Lunenburg. He was a surveyor of a road in his area and was appointed to take tax lists, both positions of trust in the community.[13] In 1751, he was sworn as a justice of the Lunenburg county court with the honorific “gentleman.”[14] In 1755, he was sworn a “Captain of Foot” of the Lunenburg militia.[15] He was a wealthy landowner; by 1761, he had amassed over 3,500 acres.[16] In 1765, a commission appointed him Colonel and he was recommended by the Governor as a “fit person to be added to the Commission of the Peace” for Lunenburg.[17] In 1772, the Governor of Virginia appointed him county coroner.[18] He was a vestryman of Cumberland Parish from 1766 through 1780.[19]

His first wife’s identity is unproved. She is traditionally identified as Elizabeth Bannister, perhaps because she had children named Bannister and Elizabeth.[20] Col. Thomas’s widow Sarah is usually identified as Sarah Bacon. In yet another case of combining two different people into one, many internet trees identify Col. Thomas’s wife as “Elizabeth Sarah” or “Sarah Elizabeth.” A Lunenburg chancery suit proves beyond dispute that Col. Thomas had children by more than one wife, however. And his widow appeared in Lunenburg records simply as “Sarah Winn” with no middle name. I haven’t seen proof of her maiden name, although there is circumstantial evidence for Bacon.[21]

Sarah (Bacon?) Winn was apparently a strong woman. She outlived three of her four known children, a terribly cruel fate. She was guardian and presumably caretaker for her dying son Washington. She executed an agreement with her surviving son Edmund Winn and a John Winn Jr. (perhaps a son of Daniel Winn).[22] Edmund promised to build a house for John Jr. on the land where Edmund and Sarah lived. As a result of prior transactions, John Jr. would own the land after Sarah’s death. The agreement provided that neither Sarah nor Edmund would prevent John Jr. from using the tract. Edmund, however, stipulated that he was bound only for his own conduct, not the conduct of his mother.

Col. Thomas had seven surviving children by (perhaps) Elizabeth Bannister and four by his widow Sarah (probably) Bacon. All eleven are identified in a chancery court suit concerning the estate of his youngest son, Washington Winn.[23] In addition to Col. Thomas’s children, the suit establishes the married names of some of the women, the identities of some grandchildren, and relationships among the eleven children.[24] It also proves that Col. Thomas had at least two wives. Here are his children.

Children by Col. Thomas’s first wife, birth order uncertain:

Bannister Winn was probably born between 1753 and 1756 based on his appearances as a tithable on Col. Thomas’s personal property tax lists. Bannister was in Chatham County, Georgia by at least 1793, when he was on a tax list there.[25] His wife was Jane Barnard. [26] He died intestate in Chatham in November 1801.[27] He and Jane had five children.[28]

Elizabeth Winn married her first cousin Joseph Winn, a son of Daniel Winn. Joseph was a Captain in the Revolutionary War. He died in 1800, leaving a will naming Elizabeth and nine children.[29] If you are descended from Joseph and Elizabeth, you are a “double” Winn – descended from both Col. Thomas (Elizabeth’s father) and Daniel (Joseph’s father). You are also a lock for admission to the D.A.R. or S.A.R. if that is your thing, assuming you can prove Joseph was your ancestor. Proving that he was a Revolutionary War vet is a piece of cake.

Thomas Winn (Jr.) was born about 1748.[30] He died in Abbeville County, South Carolina in early 1797. His first wife was Philadelphia MNU, identified in family oral tradition as a cousin. His will mentions his brothers Bannister and William, as well as his half-brother Washington Winn, so there is no doubt that Thomas Winn of Abbeville was a son of Col. Thomas.[31] Thomas Jr.’s second wife was Lettice Martin Carter McFarland, who had been widowed twice. They married about 1786 in Abbeville. Thomas Jr.’s will named nine children, seven by his first wife and two by Lettice.[32]

Richard Winn. I am not certain when Richard was born or where he migrated. He was still alive in 1796 when the Lunenburg Court issued its order in the chancery court suit concerning his half-brother Washington Winn’s estate. I don’t even know whether he left Lunenburg. He may be the Richard Winn whose fairly small estate was probated there in 1807, although I doubt it.[33] Some Winn researchers believe the Richard Winn who married Sarah Hall in Mecklenburg County in 1775 was the son of Col. Thomas. That’s possible, I am just not aware of compelling evidence one way or the other. Alternatively, he may be the Richard Winn who was a surveyor in Laurens and Craven Counties, South Carolina in 1767. Surveyor was a position of trust (e.g., George Washington), which sounds like Col. Thomas’s family. Richard also witnessed a deed in 1772 as Captain Richard Winn — ditto. He obtained a land grant in Laurens in 1785 and sold it the same year.[34] I didn’t find a Richard Winn in either Laurens or Craven in a census. I would love to hear from someone who has evidence about Col. Thomas’s son Richard.

William Winn was probably born during 1749-1753 based on his appearance as a tithable of Col. Thomas. His wife was probably named Elizabeth (nickname Betty), maiden name unknown. They were married by April 1779, when she appeared in two deeds relinquishing her dower interest.[35] They may have moved to Abbeville, South Carolina with his brother Thomas Jr. Some William Winn is listed in the 1790 Abbeville census with a large family and a number of enslaved persons.[36]  I have no further information on William and would appreciate hearing from someone who does.

John Winn, who predeceased his father, died in 1768. He fought in the French and Indian War.[37] He had three children, one of whom was born after he died.[38] John named Thomas Winn an executor and specifically identified him as his father.

Mourning Winn married John Hix and remained in Lunenburg. As is often the case with 18th-century women, the records reveal little about her.[39] John Hix named their twelve children in his will.[40]

Children by Col. Thomas’s widow Sarah:

Henrietta Maria Winn, wife of Edmund P. Bacon. They had four children. She died before November 1796, when the Lunenburg court issued an order in the chancery suit case that proved her siblings, half-siblings, and children.[41]

Edmund Winn was born about 1765. Like his father, he was a justice of the Lunenburg County court. A cross-stitch sampler preserved by the family says he married Elizabeth H. Cousins in 1789. The sampler also names six children born during 1791 through 1812.[42] In 1818, he married Sarah A. Winn Snead, a widow. She was probably a daughter of James Winn, granddaughter of John Winn, and great-granddaughter of Daniel. I think. Incredibly, he left no will. His estate included 36 enslaved persons and was valued at $13,100. The record of his estate sale in November 1847 required four pages in a will book. His widow Sally A. Winn was the major purchaser.

Washington Winn was born between 1773 and 1777; he died between June 1793 and January 1794.[43] The chancery suit concerning his estate proves he was unmarried and childless at his death, despite claims to the contrary in some family trees. His estate was appraised at £ 324.10.6. in February 1794.[44] That amount did not include the value of land Washington inherited. One can understand why there was a lawsuit over his estate. With those sums at stake, his executor and heirs would undoubtedly have preferred a court-ordered distribution, especially considering that Washington’s mother, the headstrong Sarah Winn, was a party.

Keturah Winn, wife of John Hardy. They had five children. She also died before the Lunenburg chancery court order, which proved the names of her children [45]

And that is all I have for now on Col. Thomas, unless we get lucky and someone provides more information. Up next: Daniel Winn, brother of Col. Thomas.

See you on down the road. Soon, I hope.

Robin

[1] Deed Book 7: 232, deed from Thomas Winn to Daniel Winn conveying 1,497 acres on Little Hounds Cr. and Great Hounds Cr., part of 2,959 acres granted to Thomas Winn in 1761. Witnesses were three men named John Winn. Unless expressly noted otherwise, all citations in this article are to Lunenburg deed, will, tax, and court records.

[2] So far as I know, birth years have not been proved for any of the three Winn patriarchs. They died within an 18-year span of each other (1781 through 1799). All three had grown children and grandchildren when they died. Only one had minor children, and they were by a second wife.

[3] Y-DNA testing of descendants of the patriarchs (Col. Thomas Winn, Daniel Winn, and Lunenburg John Winn) establish that they shared a common Winn ancestor, see this article.

[4] This ignores a rogue named Samuel Wynne, see an article about him here. He is probably a relative of Col. Thomas, Daniel, and Lunenburg John. However, there seems to be no Y-DNA evidence on the issue.

[5] A book about Daniel Winn’s family says that Col. Thomas referred to Joseph, a son of Daniel, as his “nephew” in a deposition. Naomi Giles Chadwick, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons (Riverside, CA: 1976) xiii. Ms. Chadwick did not provide a source (!!@#%!!&!) and I haven’t found the deposition she referenced. There is also good circumstantial evidence that Col. Thomas and Daniel were brothers.

[6] There doesn’t seem to be evidence of Col. Thomas’s exact birth year. The St. Paul’s Parish (Hanover Co.) vestry book has an entry for 3 Mar 1743 mentioning Thomas Winn, “Page’s Overseer,” in a processioning order. C. G. Chamberlayne, The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Virginia 1706-1786 (Richmond: Division of Purchase and Printing, 1940). It was not uncommon for young men from well-to-do families to get OJT as another wealthy family’s overseer. A reasonable guess is that Col. Thomas was about 25 at the time, thus born circa 1718.

[7] This fact has a convoluted evidentiary trail. The short story: there is excellent circumstantial evidence that Col. Thomas and John Winn of Amelia County were brothers. Solid circumstantial evidence also establishes that Amelia John was a son of Richard Winn of Hanover Co., whose wife was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger Winn. It follows that Col. Thomas was also a son of Richard Winn of Hanover. See a discussion in this article.

[8] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979). Court Records at 13-14 and 16-18 record two fascinating Winn conveyances. In a lease and release dated 19-20 Jan. 1733, Richard Winn and his wife Phebe of St. Paul’s Parish conveyed to John Winn a 517-acre plantation on Chickahominy Sw. “purchased by said Phebe in her widowhood by name of Phebe Pledger.” On January 31 and February 1, 1733, John Winn of St. Paul’s Parish reconveyed the same tract to Richard; his wife Elizabeth released dower. A second John Winn witnessed the transaction. I don’t know the purpose of the land exchange.

[9] Id. at 148-149, agreement dated 6 Aug 1734 between Joseph Wilks of Blissland Parish, New Kent Co. and Richard Winn. Richard agreed to identify land (part of Richard’s tract) for Joseph and wife Elizabeth to live on; Richard also promised to build all necessary buildings and lend enslaved persons to Joseph. John Winn and John Winn (!!!) witnessed Joseph’s bond.

[10] I suspect Hanover Richard Winn did have a wife prior to Phebe. That is pure speculation based solely on the fact that the name Phebe doesn’t appear even once that I have found in the Lunenburg Winn family, which recycled given names ad nauseum.

[11] See Note 6.

[12] Deed Book 1: 71, deed from Samuel Wynne of Brunswick to Thomas Wynne of St. Paul’s Parish in Hanover, 150 acres in what was then Brunswick and is now Lunenburg. John Winn, John Stone, and Richard Stone witnessed the deed. The tract was on what is possibly the most well-known creek in Southside Virginia genealogy. In a fine example of irony, it is now called “Modest Creek.” It’s original uncensored name was “F*cking Creek.” See the article linked in Note 4.

[13] Order Book 1: 397, Thomas Winn appointed surveyor of the road from Nottoway across Modest Cr.; OB 13: 67, he was appointed to take tax lists.

[14] Order Book 2: 446, Thomas Wynne, gent., was sworn as a justice of the county court.

[15] Id. at 400.

[16] Deed Book 1: 71, 1746 deed from Samuel Wynne to Thomas Wynne, 150 acres; 1747 patent, 425 acres (can’t find citation, but it can be found in  Cavaliers and Pioneers Vol. 5); Deed Book 7: 231, referencing 1761 patent for 2,959 acres by Thomas Winn.

[17] Order Book 11: 86; id. at 84.

[18] Deed Book 12: 132, Thomas Winn’s bond as county coroner.

[19] Landon C. Bell, Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg County, Virginia, 1746-1816 Vestry Book (Richmond: The William Byrd Press, Inc., 1930).

[20] My friend and distant cousin William D. Lindsey exhaustively researched the Bannister family. He says he found no evidence that Col. Thomas’s first wife was Elizabeth Bannister, although he didn’t disprove that possibility.

[21] Sarah Winn named a son Edmund/Edmond. That was a frequent given name in the Bacon family. John Bacon of Lunenburg definitely had a daughter Sarah. Will Book 1: 258. In 1759, John Bacon’s daughter Sarah chose her own guardian, which meant she was born between 1738 and 1745. She was still single in May 1760, so her children would have been born between 1761 and 1779, when Col. Thomas wrote his will. Her son Edmund was born about 1765; her youngest son Washington was born between 1772 and 1777. Sarah Bacon thus “fits” to be the same woman as Sarah Winn, wife of Col. Thomas.

[22] Deed Book 25: 82, agreement dated 16 Jan 1820 between Edmund Winn and John Winn Jr.; Sarah Winn also signed. See also Lunenburg Deed Book 24: 386, deed from two children of Bannister Winn to John Winn Jr. confirming a prior deed to John Winn Jr. for Bannister’s remainder interest in the tract after Sarah’s life estate ended.

[23] Order Book 17: 134. This is one of the best pieces of genealogical evidence I’ve ever seen, even though the court’s order has two errors. First, it incorrectly named Edmund P. Bacon as Edward P. Bacon. Second, it switched the married surnames of Col. Thomas and Sarah’s daughters Keturah and Henrietta Maria. The court identified Keturah as Keturah Bacon and Henrietta as Henrietta Hardy. The reverse was correct. Keturah Winn was married to John Hardy; Henrietta Winn was married to Edmund P. Bacon.

[24] Among other things, the suit proves that Joseph Winn’s wife Elizabeth was a daughter of Col. Thomas. Since a married women had no legal existence of her own, her husband had to be a named party to any lawsuit. The suit also proves which children were Sarah’s and which were children of a prior wife. Under the Virginia law of intestate descent and distribution, the siblings of “the whole blood” received a full share of their brother Washington Winn’s estate. Siblings of “the half blood,” who had a different mother than Washington, received a half share. Washington, an unmarried minor, died intestate.

[25] FamilySearch.org film # 8628429, image #15, 1793 tax list for Chatham Co., GA included Bannister Winn.

[26] FamilySearch.org film # 5765260, image #1011 et seq. Bannister died intestate and I found no distribution of property to his heirs, although he owned both land and enslaved persons. He was described as “late of Chatham County, planter.” His estate file establishes that his wife was Jane Barnard Winn.

[27] Id. Administrators’ bond for the estate of Bannister Winn by William Barnard and Jane Winn (sister of Barnard) dated 27 Nov 1801.

[28] Bannister’s son Barnard Winn died single in 1806, see id., image #1022, Chatham Co., GA, 1806 estate file containing the will of Bernard Winn naming his sister Jane Williams; Lunenburg Deed Book 22: 12, deed dated 10 Nov 1807 from Bannister’s widow Jane Winn and children Jane Winn Webb Williams (wife of David Davis Williams), Rebecca Winn Williams (wife of John F. Williams), and minors Thomas Winn and Charlotte Winn. Charlotte subsequently married a Mr. Piles/Pyles, see Deed Book 24: 386, deed from Thomas Winn and Charlotte Winn Piles, children of Bannister Winn, confirming the deed which had been executed when they were minors.

[29] Will Book 5: 20, will of Joseph Winn dated 28 Mar 1800, proved 12 Jun 1800. Wife Elizabeth, children Daniel, Joseph, Bannister, Sarah B. Winn, Kitturah Winn, Minor Winn, Mourning Winn Gunn, Elizabeth Winn Brown, and Benjamin Winn, the ne’er-do-well son who was my ancestor.

[30] William D. Lindsey, a thoughtful and thorough researcher who is descended from Thomas Jr., estimated his birth year and provided information about his wives.

[31] Abbeville Co., SC Will Book 1: 173, will of Thomas Winn dated 31 Oct 1796, proved 28 Mar 1797. Wife Lettice. Two younger children Lettice and Robert, the latter under age. Sons Abner, Elemuel, Thomas, Elisha (money due from brother Washington Winn’s estate in Lunenburg), and Richard Winn. Daughters Sarah and Elizabeth Winn. Mentions money “in the hands of” his brothers William Winn and Bannister Winn.

[32] Id.

[33] Will Book 6: 233, inventory and appraisal of the estate of Richard Winn, dec’d, dated 23 Dec 1807. Estate included one enslaved person. There was only one bed and one saddle, a man’s. It is a good bet Richard was single.

[34] Laurens Co., SC Deed Book D: 319.

[35] Deed Book 13: 219, deed dated 28 Apr 1779 from William Winn and wife Elizabeth to Thomas Winn the elder, both of Lunenburg, conveying tracts of 400 acres and 167.5 acres; Deed Book 13: 265, deed dated 14 Oct 1779 from William Winn and wife Betty to Minor Wilkes, 200 acres.

[36] 1790 federal census, Abbeville Co., SC, William Winn, 1-4-7. One male > 45, b. by 1745, 4 males < 16, and 7 females. Six enslaved persons.

[37] Thomas Winn proved that John Winn enlisted and served his time, and that Harrison Winn was his son and heir, for a bounty land application for service in the French and Indian War. Lloyd Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore:  Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988).

[38] Will Book 2: 326, will of John Winn dated Mar 1768, proved May 1768. John named his wife, children Harrison and Betty, and child “wife Susannah is now big with.” Executors father Thomas Winn and Joseph Winn.

[39] Col. Thomas Winn’s will named his son-in-law John Hix and John’s wife Mourning. Will Book 3: 75, will of Thomas Winn dated 18 Apr 1779, proved 12 Apr 1781.

[40] Will Book 4: 149a, will of John Hix dated 19 Feb 1795, proved 8 Dec 1796. Children Elizabeth Hawkins, Aggy Gee, Sally Gee, Martha Blankenship, Susanna Hix, Thomas Hix, Nancy Bevill, William Hix, James Hix, Nathaniel Hix, John Hix, and Frances Haggard.

[41] Order Book 17: 134. Henrietta Maria/Marie Winn Bacon’s children were Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon.

[42] The sampler identifies Edmund and Elizabeth’s children as Ketturah W. Winn, Henrietta M. W. Winn, Frances E. Winn, Thomas W. Winn, Edmund C. Winn, and Harriett H. Winn.

[43] Several records establish ranges for Washington Winn’s birth and death dates. He chose his mother Sarah as his guardian on Oct 1791, which meant he was born by 1777. Order Book 16: 194. He was still a minor and alive in June 1793, when Sarah produced an account of his estate in her role as his guardian. Id. at 295. He was thus born after 1772 but by 1777. He had died by January 9, 1794, when the court granted his brother Edmund administration of his estate. Id. at 348.

[44] Will Book 4: 45a, inventory and appraisal of the estate of Washington Winn, dec’d.

[45] Children of Keturah Winn Hardy and John Hardy were Keturah Hardy, Armstead/Armistead Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy, and Jeane Hardy. Order Book 17: 134.

UPDATE: Rankin DNA Project Families, August 2021

This article is about Rankin families whose descendants participate in the Rankin DNA Project. It is a long read with numerous sources in footnotes, but that is the nature of the beast. It should be easy to find families of interest to you.

Two things stand out among the details. First, colonial Rankin families produced a considerable number of Revolutionary War soldiers. This is no surprise, because the Scots-Irish had little love for the British. Second, Rankin immigrants’ Presbyterianism frequently persisted for several generations. That was so often the case I concluded that non-Presbyterian Rankin immigrants may have come to the colonies from England rather than Ulster or Scotland.

Here are some Project basics. It began in 2006 with two Y-DNA test participants descended from the same immigrant ancestor. Fifteen years later, 75 of the 212 Project members are Y-DNA test participants[1] whose surname is Rankin or whose Y-DNA proves they are genetic Rankins.[2] The results identify nine genetic lineages comprised of at least eighteen different Rankin family ancestors.

Growth notwithstanding, the Project needs work. Some Y-DNA participants don’t yet have a match in the Project. That’s a concern because DNA is now an important tool for identifying ancestors. Little is known about some Y-DNA participants’ families. And the Project website isn’t always timely updated to add new information. Addressing these issues requires more Y-DNA testing, research, and administrative time. This is not criticism of Project administrators – I am one. It’s just a fact.[3]

This article treats the nine lineages and their component families unevenly. It contains considerable information and a wealth of supporting documentation for some families. Others receive cursory treatment, or none at all, pending further research. I must also apologize to Rankin daughters: my research is focused almost exclusively on the male line.

So that you may quickly identify lineages of interest to you, here are the earliest known families in each:

Lineage 1 – Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford, NC, David and Margaret Rankin of Iredell, NC, and Joseph and Rebecca Rankin of New Castle, DE.

Lineage 2 – John Rankin of Lancaster, PA, Samuel and Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin of Lincoln, NC, David and Jennet McCormick Rankin of Frederick, VA, and William Rankin Sr. of Fayette, PA.

Lineage 3 – David Rankin Sr. of Greene, TN.

Lineage 4 – Three members. No writeup is included in this report pending further research.

Lineage 5 – Chambers Rankin of Bedford, PA, James Rankin of Ayrshire, Scotland and County Tyrone, Ireland, and Michael Rankin of County Tyrone.

Lineage 6 – Lt. Robert and Margaret (“Peggy”) Berry Rankin of VA, KY, AL, TX, and LA, John and Elizabeth Clay Rankin of Henderson, KY, Moses and Mary (“Polly”) Gill Rankin of Mason, KY, and John Rankin of Stafford, VA.

Lineage 7 – Two members. One identifies his earliest Rankin ancestor as John Rankin of Lochaber, Inverness, Scotland. Reporting awaits further research and testing.

Lineage 8 – Two members. William O. Rankin Sr. of SC is the earliest Rankin ancestor of one of them. No report pending further research and testing.

Lineage 9 – Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin of Lancaster, PA.

Let’s jump in …

Lineage 1

Lineage 1 (“L1”) has two sub-lineages: L1A, Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford County, North Carolina, and L1B, Joseph and Rebecca Rankin of New Castle County, Delaware. Robert was definitely the original Rankin immigrant in his line. Joseph was probably the original immigrant in his. The common Rankin ancestor for Robert and Joseph is unknown. Both Y-DNA results and traditional paper research indicate virtually no chance of a common ancestor in the colonies. He probably exists around 1400, plus or minus a century, almost certainly in Scotland.

Lineage 1A

Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford came to the colonies about 1750 from the Irish province of Ulster, County Donegal, Letterkenny Parish. That information is from an impeccable source: the autobiography of Rev. John Rankin,  a grandson.[4] Rev. John was an ordained Presbyterian minister who converted to Shakerism and founded a famous Shaker colony in Kentucky. Robert and Rebecca’s family also produced at least three Revolutionary War soldiers. Two survived the war. A third died at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill in Lincoln County, North Carolina. Like most Scots-Irish immigrants, this was a family of farmers and (except for Shaker Rev. John) staunch Presbyterians.

The Guilford Rankins belonged to the Buffalo Presbyterian Church in what is now Greensboro, North Carolina. Many Rankins are buried in the church graveyard.[5] Reverend Samuel Meek Rankin wrote a history of the church.[6] There is no extant marker for either Robert, who died about 1770-73, or Rebecca.[7]

Robert’s first appearance in colonial records was probably on the 1753 Chester County, Pennsylvania tax list.[8] That same year, he and his son George also began turning up in North Carolina deed records.[9] Robert and Rebecca’s children were undoubtedly adults by the time they arrived in Pennsylvania. Two sons, Robert (died in 1795) and George (died in 1760) are proved. There is good circumstantial evidence in the Rowan and Guilford records for other children. They include a son John Rankin and daughters Ann Rankin Denny (husband William Sr.), Margaret Rankin Braly or Brawley (husband John), and Rebecca Rankin Boyd (husband John).

Robert and Rebecca’s son Robert  died in Guilford in 1795, leaving a son George and four daughters.[10] The identity of his wife is controversial.[11] Robert’s brother George died in 1760, leaving two young sons, including the future Shaker Rev. John Rankin and his younger brother Robert. George’s wife was Lydia Steele, who married Arthur Forbis/Forbes after George died.[12]

Lineage 1A also includes the line of David Rankin (wife Margaret MNU) who died in Iredell County, North Carolina in 1789.[13] David may have been a son of Robert and Rebecca of Guilford. Two descendants of David and Margaret have Y-DNA tested, and the results show a close match to Robert and Rebecca’s line. Y-DNA doesn’t reveal the nature of the family relationship.

Iredell David and Margaret had two sons, Robert and James, and a daughter, Elizabeth Rankin McCrary (husband Samuel). James died at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill.[14] He left four children whose guardian in Lincoln County was John Alexander, a brother of James’ widow.[15]

Robert Rankin’s wife was named Jean, possibly Jean Denny of Guilford County.[16]  In the late 1820s, Robert moved from Iredell to Gibson County, Tennessee.[17] He filed a Revolutionary War pension application there. His relative Robert Rankin, a grandson of Robert and Rebecca of Guilford, was also a Revolutionary War veteran.

Robert and Jean Rankin’s sons James (wife Elizabeth McMin) and Denny (wife Sarah McMin) remained in North Carolina. Both sons and their wives are buried in the Centre Presbyterian Church cemetery near Mooresville, as is their mother Jean.[18]

Lineage 1B

Joseph and Rebecca Rankin of Delaware had six sons, four of whom served in the Revolution. According to family tradition, two sons were in the 1781  Battle of Guilford Courthouse.  Shortly before the battle, British soldiers took “all the grain, cattle, sheep, hogs, and fowls (except one old setting hen) from both [Rankin] plantations.”[19] Two other sons of Joseph and Rebecca, a Lieutenant and a private, served in Capt. Walter Carson’s company in the Delaware line. In civilian life, Joseph and Rebecca’s family were farmers and, of course, Presbyterians.[20]

Joseph (1704 – 1764) arrived in the colonies about 1730, roughly two decades earlier than his kinsman Robert Rankin of Guilford. The approximate time Joseph arrived suggests he migrated from Ulster, although he may well have been born in Scotland.[21] He is probably the Joseph Rankin taxed as a “freeman” (unmarried and not a landowner) on the 1729[22] and 1730[23] tax lists for London Britain Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania. In 1731, Joseph acquired a tract on White Clay Creek in New Castle County, Delaware, just a stone’s throw from London Britain.[24]

Joseph and Rebecca had at least one daughter in addition to their six sons. Four sons –  Joseph Jr., Thomas, William and John – are proved by deeds.[25] Two sons, Robert and James, are established by circumstantial evidence.[26] A daughter Ann Rankin is proved by the will of her brother Joseph (Jr.).[27]

Based on the birth dates of three sons,[28] Joseph and Rebecca’s children were born in Delaware. Two sons – John and William, the ones whose farms were plundered by British soldiers  – moved to Guilford County, North Carolina.[29] Descendants of both John and William  have tested and are an excellent Y-DNA match.[30]

Joseph Jr.[31] and Thomas[32] remained in New Castle County. Joseph Jr. apparently had no surviving children; he left his estate to two nephews and his sister.[33] Son Thomas left five children.[34]  Probable son James was likely the Revolutionary War soldier who filed a pension application and left a will in Washington County, Pennsylvania.[35] I was not able to trace probable son Robert.

Joseph (Sr.) is buried at Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Castle County. His 1764 tombstone still exists.[36] His wife Rebecca’s maiden name is unproved. She and William Rankin, a son, were administrators of Joseph’s estate.[37]

Lineage 2

Rankin Lineage 2 (“L2”) is the largest group in the Rankin DNA Project. As of August 2021, there are twenty-five participants whose Y-DNA places them in L2. The families in L2 are diverse, although Y-DNA results are not. The L2 members are fairly close matches, suggesting a common ancestor about 400-500 years ago, almost certainly in Scotland or Ulster. The Y-DNA results for L2 members are so similar that paper research is the only reliable way to assign members to sub-lineages.

L2 has three sub-lineages designated L2A, B, and C. There are also eight “one of a kind” L2 members (“L2U”) who are not assigned to one of the sub-lineages. None of the L2U members (so far as is known) share an ancestor with any other L2 member. Some members of L2U are “one of a kind” because they have not provided information about their Rankin line, although they may well belong in one of the L2 sub-lineages or share a common ancestor with another L2U member.

The three L2 sub-lineages are (1) L2A, John Rankin who died in 1749 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, (2) L2B, Samuel and Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin of Lincoln County, North Carolina, and (3) L2C, two families, David and Jenette McCormick Rankin of Frederick, Virginia, and William and Mary Rankin of Fayette, Pennsylvania.

Lineage 2A

This is the Rankin family memorialized on the famous tablet in the Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church cemetery in Jefferson County, Tennessee. The Mt. Horeb church was organized in 1841 with four ordained elders, two of whom were Rankins. The land on which the original church was built was donated by another Rankin.

L2A includes Hazel Townsend, the Project Administrator who single-handedly started the Project fifteen years ago with two of her relatives as the first Y-DNA participants. She and her Rankin relatives hold a reunion at the Mt. Horeb church every year during the second weekend in July.

The original immigrant in this line was John Rankin, who died in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1749. Family oral history on the Mt. Horeb tablet identifies John’s wife as Jane McElwee, although John’s will named his wife Margaret. John’s will also named his sons Thomas and Richard, six daughters, and two sons-in-law.[38]

All of the L2A members are descended from John’s son Thomas. The Mt. Horeb tablet says that Thomas  was a Revolutionary War Captain, although that is likely a case of “same name confusion.” Thomas lived in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania,[39] moved to Augusta County, Virginia,[40] then to east Tennessee.[41] John’s other son, Richard, moved from Cumberland[42] to Augusta and died there.[43]

According to family oral tradition, John was a son of William Rankin and grandson of Alexander Rankin of the Scotland Killing Times and the 1689 Siege of Londonderry – the legend inscribed on a tablet in the Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church cemetery in Jefferson County, Tennessee. [44] I have not found anyone having evidence that John was a son of William and that William was a son of Alexander.

An interesting question about John’s lineage concerns the Adam Rankin who died in 1747 in Lancaster County.[45] Two Project participants are Adam’s descendants. Based on Y-DNA results, they are assigned to Lineage 9. Neither man matches a descendant of John. Family oral tradition for both Adam’s line (L9) and John’s line (L2A) say that Adam and John were brothers. However, Y-DNA proves that John and Adam did not have the same father. Here is the ticklish part: if John and Adam were not brothers, which line – John’s or Adam’s – is entitled to claim the Mt. Horeb legend and its Rankin ancestors?

Lineage 2B

Lineage 2B is the line of Samuel and Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin of south-central North Carolina. A descendant told me he was called “Old One-Eyed Sam.” She heard the story as a child from an older Rankin relative who inherited Sam’s home. Unfortunately, the homeowner had no idea how Sam lost an eye.

Sam’s name is on a D.A.R. plaque honoring “Revolutionary soldiers” that was once on the wall at Goshen Grove Presbyterian Cemetery in Belmont, North Carolina. Sam was buried there.[46] Some Rankin researchers believe the D.A.R. honored him for providing supplies to the army, a contemporary practice. A blue-haired D.A.R. lady in Houston turned up her nose at that, condescendingly comparing those who merely provided supplies to “real” soldiers. Her point may resonate with some, although soldiers did have to eat, and one-eyed soldiers probably weren’t known for marksmanship.

The pension application of Sam and Eleanor’s son William doesn’t exactly burnish the family’s military reputation.[47] William was in the  Battle of Camden, a humiliating defeat in which many patriot soldiers cut and ran. His unit arrived a day late for the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill. He was also in the  Battle of Eutaw Springs,  another British victory. On the other hand, William was in the small-ish  Battle of Colson’s Mill,  a patriot victory.

The best I can do for Old One-Eyed Sam and Eleanor is clear up online misinformation about them.[48] For example, some researchers believe Sam was a son of Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford County (Lineage 1A) or, alternatively, a son of Joseph Rankin of Delaware (Lineage 1B). Both possibilities are foreclosed by Y-DNA results..  There is no known evidence of Samuel’s parents.

Some researchers believe that Sam and Eleanor were married in Pennsylvania. That doesn’t work. Eleanor’s parents James and Ann Alexander were in Anson County by 1753. James made deeds of gift to five of his six children, including “Elener,” before he died in 1753.[49] Sam and Eleanor were probably married about 1760, almost certainly in Rowan County. Their eldest child, the Revolutionary War soldier William, was born there in January 1761.[50]

Sam’s will gave eight of his nine surviving children a token bequest and left the bulk of his estate to his son James.[51] His son  Richard Rankin  predeceased him.[52] Sam’s tombstone in the Goshen Grove Presbyterian Cemetery in Belmont is missing, as is the D.A.R. plaque. A WPA cemetery survey taken in the 1930s recorded the dates on his tombstone as 1734 – 1816.[53]

Sam and Eleanor’s children who did not remain in North Carolina moved to Tennessee or Illinois; grandchildren scattered to the four winds.[54] One descendant had a town in Upton County, Texas, named for him. Rankin, Upton County, Texas has an old corrugated tin building painted with images of Augustus “Gus” McCrae and Woodrow F. Call from “Lonesome Dove.” Call is taking a selfie of the duo. Two other descendants of Sam and Eleanor are currently members of the same Presbyterian church in Houston, Texas. They discovered their kinship after they had known each other for almost a decade. Of course they are Presbyterians.

Lineage 2C

Lineage 2C members are descended from either David Sr. and Jennett McCormick Rankin of Frederick County, Virginia or William Rankin Sr. of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The common Rankin ancestor of David Sr. and William Sr. is not known.

There isn’t much information about David Sr. and Jennett in the Frederick County records. A book containing the genealogy of one of their sons says without providing a source that David Sr. “emigrated from the north of Ireland … about 1738-50.”[55] His 1757 will named his wife Jennett and children Hugh, William, David Jr. and Barbara.[56]

Two of the sons, David Jr. and William, left Frederick and were easy to trace. I have not been able to track Hugh’s line with confidence. David Jr. married Hannah Province or Provence, daughter of Thomas Province, in Frederick County.[57] The couple moved from Frederick to Washington County, Pennsylvania and then to Harrison County, Kentucky, where David Jr. died.[58] David Jr.’s brother William and his wife Abigail also moved from Frederick to Washington County. William died there in 1799, leaving eight surviving children.[59]

The second family in L2C is the line of William Rankin Sr. of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. William Sr.’s will was dated 1794 and named his children James, Hugh, William Jr., and Elizabeth Rankin Gillespie (husband William Sr.).[60]

One writer said that James had serious “financial troubles” and “removed to the west,” although I don’t know where.[61] James executed an agreement with several creditors that contained so many conditions it made Enron look like a more secure credit risk.[62]  Creditors named in a second deed were all members of his family.[63]

James’ brothers Hugh (wife Esther) and William Jr. (wife Jane) remained in Fayette and apparently stayed out of financial trouble.[64] There is no doubt this was a Scots-Irish Presbyterian family. Many of their descendants are buried in the Associate Reformed Cemetery and the Laurel Hill Presbyterian cemeteries.

Three of Hugh and Esther’s children moved “west;” their fourth child, Thomas, remained in Fayette.[65]William Jr. and Jane Rankin’s family Bible has names and birth death dates for eleven children, some of whom also remained in Fayette County.[66] Descendants of the Thomas Rankin who is buried in the McCoy Cemetery in Londonderry Township, Guernsey County, Ohio believe he is the same man as Thomas, son of William Jr. and Jane Rankin.[67] The death date on his tombstone matches the date in the family Bible. Two descendants of Thomas have tested and are Y-DNA matches with descendants of David Sr. and Jennett McCormick Rankin of Frederick County, Virginia.

Lineage 3

This lineage has a known common ancestor for its four participants: David Rankin Sr. who died in Greene County, Tennessee in 1802. His will identified seven children but not his wife, who evidently predeceased him.[68] David Sr. was reportedly among the “Overmountain Men” who fought in the Revolutionary War Battle of King’s Mountain, a decisive victory for the patriot forces.

David Rankin Sr.’s home in Greene County is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.[69] Some researchers (including whomever filed the National Registry application) believe that David Sr. was a son of the William Rankin who died in 1792 in Franklin County, Pennsylvania and his wife Mary Huston. That possibility is negated by both Y-DNA and paper evidence, including William and Mary Huston Rankin’s family Bible. David, son of William and Mary, moved to Des Moines County, Iowa rather than Greene, Tennessee. A descendant of William and Mary Huston Rankin has Y-DNA tested and does not match the L3 participants.

An interesting question is where David Sr. lived before coming to Greene County in 1783. A friend and excellent researcher who is a descendant is certain that David Sr. of Greene was the same man as the David Rankin who received a 1771 land patent in Bedford County, Virginia. He is probably right. I still have doubts. Bedford County David Rankin was a Quaker,[70] conflicting with the Presbyterianism of David Sr.’s children.[71] It is also hard to reconcile Quaker pacificism with David Sr.’s participation in the battle of King’s Mountain.

David Rankin Sr. of  Greene County, Tennessee may have been the immigrant ancestor in his line.

Lineage 5

Rankin Lineage 5 has four members who come from three families. Their common ancestor is not known. L5 is archetypal Rankin, tracing ancestors back to the province of Ulster in Ireland and Ayrshire in Scotland.

Chambers Rankin is the earliest ancestor in the only L5 family without proved roots in Ulster, although he was undoubtedly Scots-Irish. The family tradition is that his wife was Native American. Their only child was Franklin R. Rankin (1834 – 1878), a Civil War soldier. Portions of his diary are used in a book about two communities in the war, including Franklin County, Pennsylvania.[72]

Chambers died at age 30 in 1835 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania and is buried in the Old Log Cabin Union Church Cemetery near Schellsburg, Pennsylvania.[73] He had three known siblings: (1) Martha Rankin Bisel, born in 1818, buried in Harrison City Presbyterian Cemetery in Westmoreland County; (2) John C. Rankin, 1805-1897, buried in the same cemetery; and (3) Culbertson Rankin, born about 1793. Their parents may have been David Rankin and his wife Martha Culbertson of Westmoreland County. The Rankin Project needs a descendant of David and Martha to Y-DNA test in order to prove the ancestry of this line.

Another L5 participant still resides in County Down, Northern Ireland, in the traditional province of Ulster. The earliest known Rankin ancestor for this line is Michael Rankin, who died in County Down in 1722.

James and Rosana Rankin, the earliest ancestors in the third L5 family, are buried in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Descendants have located the family acreage and home, a charming farmhouse with a traditional thatched roof. James and Rosana are buried in the Old Donagheady Burial Ground in County Tyrone along with a son. The tombstone is inscribed “Sacred to the memory of James Rankin of Carrickatain who died Nov. 1835, aged 80 years. Also Rosana, his wife, Oct 1834 and his son William, died 29 Jan 1866 age 66.”[74]

William’s widow Matilda and children migrated to Perry County, Alabama. Several are buried in the Marion Cemetery there. The tombstones for Matilda Rankin and her son Anthony state that each of them was born in County Tyrone.[75]

Lineage 6

Lineage 6 has two men who men with fascinating Revolutionary War stories. L6 may have a common Rankin ancestor in the Northern Neck of Virginia, where Rankins began appearing in the late 1600s.[76] They migrated westward, primarily in counties on the south side of the Potomac River.[77] By the 1770s, Rankins had appeared in many of Virginia’s Northern Neck counties and into the area that became Berkeley and Morgan Counties, West Virginia. Given their early arrival in the colonies, they may have come from England rather than Scotland or Ulster. Further, the Northern Neck Rankins apparently lack the multigenerational Presbyterianism characteristic of  Scots-Irish  immigrants.

The  earliest known Rankin ancestor for each of the six L6 participants was born in Virginia. Four of the L6 lines lived in Frederick County; one lived in Stafford County. The Virginia county origin of the sixth L6 ancestor is unknown, although his birth in Virginia is established.

Robert Rankin (1753-1837) and his wife Margaret (“Peggy”) Berry are the ancestors of three people in Lineage 6. Robert was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. His brother William was also a Revolutionary War soldier.. The two Rankins originally enlisted in Hugh Stephenson’s Maryland and Virginia Rifle Company, an elite unit of sharpshooters. William was captured at the Battle of Ft. Washington and endured a lengthy imprisonment in brutal conditions. Upon release, an officer and family friend sent him home to Virginia in a wagon. Lt. Robert  also has a remarkable military history. He survived the famous winter at Valley Forge and was captured at the Siege of Charleston.

Lt. Robert, William, and John Rankin, another brother, all lived in Mason County, Kentucky. They may have had other siblings, but the Northern Neck Rankins are hard to pin down. The brothers’ parents are unproved, although speculative theories abound. William[78] and John[79] died in Mason County. Lt. Robert left Mason and lived in Logan County, Kentucky, Washington County, Alabama (then part of the Mississippi Territory), Texas while it was still part of Mexico, and St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. His wife Peggy’s pension application and her will prove she and Lt. Robert had 10 children.[80]

Lt. Robert and Peggy’s line is unusual in several respects. First, one descendant is established by a combination of autosomal and Y-DNA testing. Second, two of their descendants have an unusual unknown in their line. They know they are descended from a son of Robert and Peggy, but which of two sons is unknown. Third, those two members’ descent from Lt. Robert and Peggy is convincingly established by Texas land records written in Spanish.

Here are the details. Two of Lt. Robert and Peggy Rankin’s sons, Thomas Berry Rankin and Joseph Rankin, died at the Battle of Ft. Mims, Alabama in 1813.[81] There seems to be no evidence of children’s names in Alabama records. Fortunately, Texas land grants help fill the evidentiary gap. Lt. Robert’s 1834 land grant in Joseph Vehlein’s colony[82] in Texas (then part of Mexico) states that he came to Texas with “mi mujer y tres huerfanos” – his wife and three orphans. [83] Lt. Robert and Peggy came to Texas from Alabama.

Texas land grant records also include character certificates[84] for two men named William Rankin and James Rankin. Each identified himself in his character certificate as an orphan from Alabama. They were the right age to be sons of the Rankin casualties at Ft. Mims. Because of the lack of Alabama evidence, it is uncertain which Ft. Mims soldier was either orphan’s father. Both orphans have a proved descendant in the project. One, a descendant of Orphan William, has Y-DNA tested and is a match to Lineage 6. He is an autosomal match to a proved female descendant of Orphan James. And that’s a really fine example of the value of DNA testing.

John Rankin (died in 1841) of Henderson County, Kentucky is the only L6 ancestor who cannot be placed in a specific Virginia County. There were two Rankin lines in Henderson County in the 1800s. Dr. Adam Rankin, a grandson of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was the patriarch of one Henderson County family. A descendant of his has tested and belongs in Lineage 9. Dr. Adam’s line can be distinguished from the L6 Rankin family based on Henderson tax lists.

John and his wife Elizabeth Clay Rankin also lived in Henderson County. They are not related to Dr. Adam’s line. A census says that John was born in Virginia,[85] but I have found no evidence of the county. John and Elizabeth’s children are established by a convincing web of connections in county records.[86] Among their children was an interesting character named Abia Benjamin Rankin, who traded a flatboat for land and subsequently amassed substantial acreage by bidding on adjoining tracts. He also planted a huge orchard which bore apples useless for anything except making cider. He gave the fruit to all comers. There is a picture of Abia at this link. at this link.

Moses Rankin (died in 1845) is the earliest known Rankin ancestor of a third L6 family. He lived in Frederick County and perhaps other Virginia counties, including Loudoun.[87] He migrated to Mason County, Kentucky, possibly from Frederick. His Mason County will named his wife Mary and a son William. He mentioned “my children” without providing their given names and a farm in Nicholas County.[88] His wife was Mary (“Polly”) Gill. They married in Mason County in 1795.[89]

A second John Rankin (born by 1766) who lived in Stafford County is the remaining L6 ancestor. His whereabouts prior to Stafford are unknown. Some of Stafford John’s family apparently moved to Licking County, Ohio. A descendant of the Licking County family who identifies Stafford John as an ancestor is a Y-DNA match with the Northern Neck Rankin descendants.

Lineage 9

Only two members of the Project who have tested have solid paper trails proving their descent from Adam Rankin and Mary Steele Alexander of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The two men are a Y-DNA match, although not a close one. One man is descended from Dr. Adam Rankin of Franklin County, Pennsylvania and Henderson County, Kentucky. Dr. Adam was a son of William and Mary Huston Rankin of Franklin and grandson of Adam and Mary. The other L9 member is descended from Reverend Adam Rankin of Lexington, Kentucky. Rev. Adam was a son of Adam and Mary Steele Rankin’s son Jeremiah Rankin and his wife Rhoda Craig.

Adam and Mary have some interesting descendants. They include Rev. Adam Rankin of Lexington, who established a Presbyterian congregation there and is known for his obsession with a theological issue known as “Psalmody.” Adam and Mary’s line also includes Confederate Brigadier General Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson, famous for capturing an Ohio town during the Civil War without firing a shot. He used a clever ruse involving, of course, a stovepipe. Adam and Mary Rankin’s descendants also include Revolutionary War veterans, many doctors, two professional baseball players, the Chairman of the Board of Churchill Downs, and the editor of a Texas newspaper. With such an abundance of interesting characters, I have written about this line often. If you are a descendant, you might be interested in some of the articles about Adam’s line identified in this link.  

Adam and Mary’s three proved sons – James, William, and Jeremiah – lived in the part of Lancaster County that became Cumberland and then Franklin County. James died in 1795, leaving six children and a wife Jean, maiden name unproved.[90] William married Mary Huston and died in Franklin in 1792.[91]

Jeremiah married Rhoda Craig and died in 1760 in a mill accident. He left four sons, including Rev. Adam Rankin of future Psalmody fame. All four sons (Rev. Adam, Jeremiah, William, and Thomas) went to Fayette and Woodford Counties, Kentucky. So far as I have found, the only county record in which Jeremiah Rankin appeared was Adam Rankin’s 1747 Lancaster County will.

If you are a male Rankin descendant of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin, I hope that you will do a Y-DNA test and join the Rankin DNA Project. Please contact me for information and anything I can do to help! This important line warrants further testing.

And that’s all the news that is currently fit to print. Your comments, questions, and corrections are most welcome.

See you on down the road with, I hope, exciting news in 2022.

Robin Rankin Willis

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[1] The Project website doesn’t show a total of 75 Y-DNA test results. That is because some participants do not permit FTDNA to display Y-DNA results, despite anonymity. If you are considering testing, please be assured that Y-DNA information is identified on the website only by FTDNA kit number to safeguard privacy.

[2] Y-DNA participants include men who were adopted and have a surname other than Rankin, although their biological fathers were Rankins.

[3] The Rankin DNA Project needs additional administrative help. Please contact me if you are interested in grouping members into lineages, doing occasional research, maintaining and creating material for the Project website, identifying lines which need testing, or recruiting men to test. None of those things are difficult. They just need to be shared.

[4] Rev. John Rankin (1757-1850) found his Presbyterian faith emotionally unsatisfying and became a Shaker. A transcription of his autobiography is available from the Library Special Collections department of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

[5] Raymond Dufau Donnelly, Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Cemetery (Greensboro: The Guilford County Genealogical Society, 1994). Mr. Donnell’s book contains tombstone inscriptions and many relationship identifications. It is meticulously sourced.

[6] Rev. S. M. Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People: Greensboro, N.C. (J. J. Stone & Co., Printers, 1934).

[7] Find-a-Grave has a number of Rankin tombstone images at Buffalo Church, as well as several fanciful claims. https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1987536/memorial-search?firstname=&middlename=&lastname=Rankin&cemeteryName=Buffalo+Presbyterian+Church+Cemetery&birthyear=&birthyearfilter=&deathyear=&deathyearfilter=&memorialid=&mcid=&linkedToName=&datefilter=&orderby=r&page=2#sr-161801342. In the latter category, the website has the patriarch Robert Rankin’s name (no tombstone image) listed as Robert Estes Rankin. My opinion of that claim is unprintable.

[8] Robert and George Rankin were on the 1753 Chester Co. tax list for West Nottingham Township. J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, History of Chester County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881), reproduction facsimile by Chester County Historical Society (Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, Inc., 1996).

[9] Shaker Rev. John Rankin’s autobiography says the family came to NC in 1755. The first deeds I found to which Robert was a party were executed in 1753. E.g., Rowan Co., NC Deed Book 2: 102, Granville grant to Robert Rankin dated 1 Dec 1753, 480 acres on the south side of Brushy Fork in a part of Rowan that later became Guilford. Robert and Rebecca gave that tract to their son George, see Rowan Co. Deed Book 2: 70, Robert Rankin and wife Rebecca to George Rankin, 480 acres on the south side of Brushy Fork for five shillings. The token consideration of five shillings flags the conveyance as a gift.

[10] Guilford Co., NC Will Book A: 318, will of Robert Rankin dated and proved in 1795. It named his son George, three sons of his deceased daughter Mary Rankin Wilson, and a daughter Isabel Rankin. Two other daughters are proved by the terms of the will but are not identified by name. Robert’s 1795 will identifies the testator as Robert Sr., perhaps causing some researchers to wrongly conclude the will was that of Robert, the original immigrant. See discussion of that issue at this link. http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2016/05/28/the-rankins-of-guilford-county-nc-the-mistake-identity-of-the-robert-rankin-who-died-there-in-1795/

[11] I believe the wife of the Robert Rankin who died in 1795 is unproved. Some researchers identify her as Jean Denny, see Note 16. I disagree because I believe the Robert who d. 1795 was Jean Denny’s uncle. Jean’s parents were William Denny Sr. and Ann Rankin Denny. Ann was a daughter of Robert and Rebecca, proved by a gift deed of land from her father Robert to her husband. William Denny’s will named his wife Ann and a daughter Jean Denny. Their daughter Jean was the only Jean Denny I found in Guilford who was of marriageable age in 1775, when she married a Robert Rankin.

[12] Guilford Co., NC Will Book A: 119, will of Arthur Forbis dated 1789, proved 1794. Executors were John and Robert Rankin, identified by the testator as his stepsons.

[13] Iredell Co., NC Will Book A: 200, will of David Rankin of Rowan Co. dated March 1787, proved 1789. Iredell was created from Rowan Co. in 1788.

[14] The evidence that James Rankin, son of Iredell David, died at Ramsour’s Mill is lengthy and difficult. See a discussion in this article. http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2017/01/18/the-mysterious-robert-rankin-of-gibson-county-tn/

[15] Anne Williams McAllister & Kathy Gunter Sullivan, Civil Action Papers, 1771-1806, of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Lincoln County, North Carolina (Lenoir, NC: 1989), April 1791, guardian bond of John Alexander as guardian of David, Jane, Margaret, and William Rankin, orphans of James Rankin, deceased.

[16] Some Robert Rankin married Jean Denny in Guilford in February 1775. Frances T. Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records 1771-1868 Volume III Names O-Z (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1984). Many Rankin researchers believe the 1775 groom was the son of Robert and Rebecca of Guilford. However, that Robert was probably Jean Denny’s uncle. I believe the man who married Jean Denny was Iredell David and Margaret’s son Robert. See http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2019/08/06/robert-rankins-guilford-county-nc/  Robert and Jean Rankin of Iredell named a son Denny.

[17] See the article about Robert Rankin of Gibson Co., TN at http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2017/01/18/the-mysterious-robert-rankin-of-gibson-county-tn/.

[18] See Lois M. P. Schneider, Church and Family Cemeteries of Iredell County, N.C. (1992). There are five Rankin graves in the Centre Presbyterian Church cemetery: Jean, James, Elizabeth (wife of James), “Dennie” [sic, Denny] and Sarah (wife of Denny). Elizabeth and Sarah were sisters, maiden name McMin. See Lincoln Co., NC Will Book 1: 124, will of Rachel McMin of Lincoln dated 1828, proved 1829, naming daughters Elizabeth Rankin and Sarah Rankin.

[19] Rev. S. M. Rankin, The Rankin and Wharton Families and Their Genealogy (Greensboro, N.C., J. J. Stone & Co., printers and binders, 1931) 22. Rev. Rankin argued convincingly that John and William Rankin fought at Guilford Courthouse. Id. at 255-257.

[20] The members of Joseph and Rebecca’s family who remained in Delaware belonged to and are buried at Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/191343/memorial-search?firstname=&middlename=&lastname=Rankin&cemeteryName=Head+of+Christiana+Church+Cemetery&birthyear=&birthyearfilter=&deathyear=&deathyearfilter=&memorialid=&mcid=&linkedToName=&datefilter=&orderby=rand White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church in https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/977816/memorial-search?firstname=&middlename=&lastname=Rankin&cemeteryName=White+Clay+Creek+Church+Cemetery&birthyear=&birthyearfilter=&deathyear=&deathyearfilter=&memorialid=&mcid=&linkedToName=&datefilter=&orderby=rNew Castle County.

[21] One unsourced history says that Joseph came from “Clyde Scotland.” It also claims that Joseph’s children were born in Scotland, which is not correct. Bill and Martha Reamy, Genealogical Abstracts from Biographical and Genealogical History of the State of Delaware (Westminster, MD: Willow Bend Books, 2001). The Find-a-Grave image of Joseph’s tombstone https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14416262/joseph-rankin says he was born in Ulster. It is also unsourced.

[22] USGenWeb Archives, Chester Co., London Britain Township, 1729 tax list, http://files.usgwarchives.net/pa/chester/taxlists/london1729.txt identifying “Joseph Ranken” as a “freeman.” London Britain Township is in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, bordering the MD and DE lines. Strickersville, the largest town in London Britain, is less than four miles from Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church in Newark, where Joseph is buried.

[23] Id., 1730 tax list, http://files.usgwarchives.net/pa/chester/taxlists/london1730.txt.   “Joseph Rinken” was taxed as a freeman in London Britain Township.

[24] I cannot locate the 1731 deed in which Joseph acquired the White Clay Creek tract. The conveyance is proved by recitals in another deed. See New Castle Co., DE Deed Book Y1: 499, deed dated 9 Apr 1768 from John Rankin and wife Hannah of Orange Co., NC (a predecessor county to Guilford) and William Rankin of New Castle Co., DE, grantors, to Thomas Rankin and Joseph Rankin, both of New Castle, grantees, 21.75 acres on the south side of White Clay Creek. The deed recites that James Miller conveyed to Joseph Rankin 150 acres on the south side of White Clay Cr. in 1731. It also recites that Joseph Rankin’s will devised 21.75 acres of that tract to John and William Rankin, who conveyed it to Thomas and Joseph Rankin. I have been unable to find Joseph’s will in the New Castle probate records.

[25] Id.

[26] Both Robert and James Rankin served in Capt. Walter Carson’s militia company in the Delaware 1st Battalion, as did Joseph’s proved son Lt. Thomas Rankin. Henry C. Peden, Jr., Revolutionary Patriots of Delaware 1775-1783(Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1996). Additionally, Joseph Jr., Robert, James, and Lt. Thomas all signed an “Oath of Allegiance” in New Castle. Delaware Archives Revolutionary War in Three Volumes, Volume II (Wilmington: Chas. H. Story Company Press, 1919) 998. Finally, the 1782 tax list for White Clay Creek Hundred lists James immediately adjacent Thomas and Joseph Jr., suggesting the three were living together. Ralph D. Nelson, Jr., Catherine B. Nelson, Thomas P. Doherty, Mary Fallon Richards, John C. Richards, Delaware – 1782 Tax Assessment and Census Lists (Wilmington: Delaware Genealogical Society, 1994).

[27] New Castle Co., DE Will Book S: 116, will of Joseph Rankin (Jr.) dated Oct 1819 proved Jun 1820. Joseph left $100 to his sister Ann and provided that she was to live with “my two nephews Joseph and Thomas Rankin” (sons of Lt. Thomas and Elizabeth Montgomery Rankin).

[28] Rankin, The Rankin and Wharton Families 55, 149. Rev. Rankin gives John’s birth year as 1736 and William’s as 1744. He said both men were born in Delaware. Joseph Sr.’s probable son James Rankin was born in 1749 and lived in Delaware when he enlisted.

[29] Id. Rev. Rankin’s book is the definitive source for descendants of Joseph and Rebecca’s sons John and William Rankin.

[30] Only one of Joseph’s two descendants who have tested participates in the Rankin DNA Project. The non-participant is a Y-DNA match with a member of the Project. I confirmed the non-participant’s descent from Joseph via traditional paper research.

[31] See Note 27, will of Joseph Rankin (Jr.) was probated in New Castle.

[32] New Castle Co., DE Orphans’ Court Book 5, an 1801 petition for sale of part of Thomas Rankin’s land to pay debts. Joseph Rankin Jr. was an administrator of the estate. The petition said Thomas was survived by his widow Elizabeth and five children: Joseph, Hannah, Montgomery, Margaret and Thomas. The eldest was fifteen in 1801.

[33] New Castle Co., Deed Book N5: 7, deed reciting that Joseph Rankin Jr. devised his land to Joseph and Thomas Rankin, sons of Joseph’s brother Thomas. See also Note 27.

[34] See Note 32, petition for sale of land.

[35] Washington Co., PA Will Book 5: 370, will of James Rankin of Smith Township, Washington Co., PA dated 1834, proved 1837. James named his children William, Joseph, John, Martha (“Patty”), Rebeccah, and Mary Rankin. John went to Belmont Co., OH and William went to Delaware Co., OH. James Rankin’s entire pension file is available with a subscription on Fold3 at Ancestry.

[36] Joseph and Rebecca’s son Lt. Thomas is evidently buried in the same grave as Joseph because there is a marker for Thomas at the foot of Joseph’s tombstone. See images at  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15494084/thomas-rankin and https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14416262/joseph-rankin

[37] New Castle Co., DE Orphans’ Court Record for 16 Apr 1765, online at Ancestry.com in Delaware Wills & Probate Records, 1676-1971, Register of Wills, Anna Racine – Lydia Rash, file of “Rankin, Joseph 1765.” The record refers to William and Rebecca Rankin as administrators of Joseph Rankin’s estate rather than as executors of his will. That suggests the will may not have been admitted to probate, which might explain why it doesn’t seem to be recorded in the New Castle will books.

[38] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J: 211, will of John Rankin dated 1 Jan 1749 and proved 25 Feb 1749/50. Some researchers seek to reconcile the conflict between the family oral history (John’s wife was Jane McElwee) and John’s will (his wife’s name was Margaret) by giving John’s wife a middle name: Jane Margaret McElwee or Margaret Jane McElwee. The overwhelming odds are that a person born circa 1700 did not have a middle name. Another possibility is that John married more than once. A third possibility is that a different John Rankin’s wife was Jane McElwee.

[39] Thomas Rankin was a grand juror in Cumberland, PA in 1752. Diane E. Greene, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Quarter Session Dockets 1750-1785 (Baltimore: Clearfield Company, Inc. 2000), citing Quarter Sessions Docket 1: 16. Thomas and his wife sold a  Cumberland County tract in 1779. Cumberland Co., PA Deed Book 1E: 511, Thomas and Isabel Rankin of Cumberland to John Rankin of same, 100 acres in  Fermanagh Township on the north side of the Juniata River.

[40] See the pension application of Thomas and Isabel Rankin’s son William transcribed at the end of this article. The pension application relates the family’s migration within Pennsylvania and then to Augusta Co., VA.

[41] See, e.g., Timber Ridge Church: A Two Hundred Year Heritage of Presbyterian Faith 1786-1986 (Greeneville, TN: 1986), identifying Thomas Rankin of Pennsylvania as a church elder. According to the Mt. Horeb tablet, the twelve children of Thomas and Isabel Clendennon Rankin were (1) John 1754-1825 m. Martha Waugh, (2) Richard 1756-1827 m. Jennett Steele, (3) Samuel 1758-1828 m. Miss Petty, (4) William 1760-1834 m. Sarah Moore, (5) Thomas 1762-1832 m. Jennett Bradshaw, (6) James 1770-1839 m. Miss Massey, (7) Jane m. William Gillespie, (8) Margaret M. m. Samuel Harris, (9) Ann m. Lemuel Lacy, (10) Isabel m. Robt. McQuiston, (11) Mary m. James Bradshaw, and (12) Nancy m. Samuel White.

[42] See, e.g., Cumberland Co., PA Will Book B: 138, will of Robert Reed dated 18 Feb 1772 witnessed by Richard Rankin et al.

[43] Ruth and Sam Sparacio, Virginia County Court Records Land Tax Book Augusta County, Virginia 1788 – 1790 (The Antient Press, 1997), 1788 tax list included Richard Rankin Sr.; Lyman Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1965), Volume III 199, will of Richard Rankin dated 1 Mar 1788, proved Dec. 1792. Richard Sr.’s will named sons Richard, Isaac, Joseph, George, John, James, Samuel, and Armstrong Rankin and daughters Rachel Gilston and Mary Johnson.

[44] There is a transcription of the legend at this link. http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2018/07/17/pa-tn-rankins-famous-rankin-legend/

[45] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J, Vol. 1: 208, will of Adam Rankin dated and proved in 1747 naming his sons James, William, and Jeremiah and his daughter Esther Dunwoody.

[46] The marker has vanished, but it was inscribed, “In memory of the following Revolutionary soldiers” with the names Robert Alexander (brother of Eleanor Alexander Rankin), William Rankin (Sam and Eleanor’s son), Samuel Rankin, et al. FamilySearch.org Film # 0,882,938, item 2, “Pre-1914 Cemetery Inscription Survey, Gaston Co., prepared by the Historical Records Survey Service Division, Works Progress Administration.” Samuel Sr.’s tombstone has  disappeared, but Eleanor’s tombstone http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2020/10/19/eleanor-ellen-alexander-rankins-tombstone/ still exists.

[47] William Rankin’s pension application is transcribed at this link. http://revwarapps.org/s7342.pdf

[48] There is a discussion of these issues in this article. http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2017/07/05/samuel-and-eleanor-ellen-alexander-rankin-a-few-corrections-to-the-record/

[49] Anson Co., NC Deed Book B: 314 et seq., gift deeds dated 12 Jan 1753 from James Alexander of Anson to his children James Jr., John, David, Eleanor, and Robert. James and Ann Alexander also had a son William, their eldest. Rowan Co., NC Deed Book 3: 495. Prior to NC, the Alexanders lived in Amelia Co., VA. I don’t know where they lived before that, but Cecil Co., MD, New Castle, DE, and Lancaster or Chester Co., PA are all reasonable bets. That area is swamped with Alexanders.

[50] See note 47.

[51] Lincoln Co., NC Will Book 1: 37, will of Samuel Rankin of Lincoln Co. dated Dec 1814 and proved April 1826. The will names sons William, Samuel, David, Robert, Alexander, and James and daughters Jean Heartgrove, Anna Rutledge, and Nelly Dickson.

[52] Richard Rankin died in 1804. Charles William Sommerville, The History of Hopewell Presbyterian Church(Charlotte, NC: 1939). Circumstantial evidence proves Richard was Samuel and Eleanor’s son. Samuel’s sons William and Alexander were administrators of Richard’s estate. Samuel Rankin Jr. was guardian of Richard’s children. See NC State Library and Archives, C.R.065.508.210, Mecklenburg County Estates Records, 1762 – 1957, Queen – Rankin, file folder labeled “Rankin, Richard 1804” (administrators’ bond); Herman W. Ferguson, Mecklenberg County, North Carolina Minutes of the Court of Pleas Volume 2, 1801-1820 (Rocky Mount, NC: 1995), abstract of Minute Book 4: 663, an 1807 order appointing Samuel Rankin guardian for the children of Richard Rankin.

[53] WPA cemetery survey, see note 46. The survey recorded tombstones for both Samuel (1734 – 1816) and Ellen Rankin (Eleanor, 16 April 1740 – 26 Jan 1802). Samuel’s last appearance in the Lincoln records was in July 1816, supporting the death date in the survey. Lincoln Co., NC Deed Book 27: 561, deed dated 25 Jul 1816 from Samuel Rankin to James Rankin for land on Stanley’s Cr.

[54] Sam and Eleanor’s children David, Samuel Jr., Robert, and Nelly Rankin Dickson went to Rutherford Co., TN. David stayed in Rutherford, but his three siblings moved to Shelby Co., Illinois. William, Alexander, James, and Anna Rankin Rutledge stayed in Lincoln. Jean Rankin Heartgrove http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2017/08/06/line-samuel-one-eyed-sam-eleanor-ellen-alexander-rankin-jean-rankin-heartgrove/  and family lived across the Catawba River in Mecklenburg Co., NC.

[55] Charles A. Hanna, Ohio Valley Genealogies Relating Chiefly to Families in Harrison, Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio, and Washington, Westmoreland, and Fayette Counties, Pennsylvania (New York: Press of J. J. Little & Co., 1900) 103 et seq.

[56] Frederick Co., VA Will Book 3: 443, will of David Rankin Sr. dated 1757 and proved 1768. Some researchers identify David Sr.’s wife as “Jennett Mildred,” although no Frederick County records identify her with a middle name or initial. Researchers who call her Jennett Mildred may have  conflated her with an entirely different woman, a Mildred Rankin who was married to a David Rankin who was a grandson of David Rankin Sr. See Frederick Co. Deed Book 13: 8, lease dated 22 Mar 1769 for the life of David Rankin and his wife Mildred and Smith Rankin, his brother. The deed was dated after David Sr. died.

[57] Abstracts of Wills, Inventories, and Administration Accounts of Frederick County, Virginia, 1743-1800 (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1980) 31, will of Thomas Province dated 5 May 1767 naming among other children his daughter Hannah Rankin.

[58] Harrison Co., KY Will Book A:3, will of David Rankin of Harrison Co., KY naming his wife Hannah, sons William, Thomas, and David, and daughters Jenny Blackburn, Sarah Roberts, Hannah Morrison, Mary Rawlings, and Lettey Hays or Hals.

[59] Washington Co., PA Will Book 1: 206, will of William Rankin of Raccoon Cr., Smith Twp., Washington Co., PA. William named his wife Abigail and sons David, Matthew, Thomas, William, Jesse, and Samuel, his daughter Abigail Rankin Campbell (wife of Charles Campbell), a daughter of his deceased son Zachariah, two children of his deceased son John, and two children of his daughter Mary Rankin Cherry (wife of Thomas).

[60] Fayette Co., PA Deed Book D: 192, conveyance by William Jr. and his wife Jane recited provisions of the will of his father, William Sr., whose will was dated 5 Aug 1794. I have not found the will, although the deed recitals prove one existed.

[61] Franklin Ellis, History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., 1882) 672: “Financial troubles overtaking Mr. Rankin, he disposed of his property about the year 1800 and removed to the West.” See also Fayette Co., PA Deed Book C3: 1241, agreement dated Sept 1798 to secure notes owed by James Rankin to his relatives James Rankin, Samuel Rankin, and Elizabeth Rankin Gillespie’s family.

[62] Fayette Co., PA Deed Book C3: 1387. The lengthy agreement specified when to sell tracts, when to move out, where to live, access to pasture, how to pay, and numerous other detailed conditions. It listed debts to four men who lived in Ohio Co., VA, Uniontown, Fayette Co., PA, Charlestown, VA, and Washington Co., PA, plus a woman who lived in Uniontown.

[63] See deed in prior footnote.

[64] Find-a-Grave has images of the identical tombstones of Hugh (1750 – 1826) and Esther (1760 – 1831) in the Associate Reformed Cemetery in Laurel Hill. See also Fayette Co., Will Book 1: 275 (Hugh Rankin’s will proved in 1826) and Will Book 1: 330 (Esther Rankin’s will proved in 1831).

[65] Franklin Ellis, History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, identifying Hugh and Esther’s children William, Esther, Ann, and Thomas; only Thomas remained in Fayette.

[66] The family Bible says William Rankin (Jr.) d. Dec 1807; wife Jane d. 1837. Both are buried in the Associate Reformed (Presbyterian) Cemetery in Laurel Hill, Fayette Co. The Bible entries for the birth dates of their children are: Thomas Rankin 1786, Esther Rankin 1788, James Rankin 1789, Ann Rankin 1791, Hugh Rankin 1793, Samuel Rankin 1795, Mary Rankin 1797, James Rankin 1799, William Rankin 1800, John Rankin 1802, and Joseph Rankin 1804.

[67] Find-a-grave has images for the tombstones of both Thomas https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/47828906/thomas-rankin  and his wife Elizabeth Stevens. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/47828808/elizabeth-rankin

[68] Will of David Rankin dated 7 Feb 1802 abstracted by Goldene Fillers Burgner, Greene County, Tennessee Wills, 1783-1890 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1981). David Sr.’s will named his children James Rankin, Mary Williams, Robert Rankin, David Rankin Jr., Ann Rankin, Elizabeth Rankin, and Jane Rankin.

[69] See https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/29dbc658-cdcc-4f12-8c30-8dc877e7fdb4. The application for historic site designation contains several errors.

[70] Will of James McMurtree dated 30 Dec 1771, Bedford Co., VA, witnessed by David Rankin and proved 24 Mar 1772 by his “solemn affirmation,” David “being one of the People called Quakers.” Joida Whitten, Abstracts of Bedford County, Virginia Wills, Inventories and Accounts 1754-1787 (Dallas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1968). I found only one David Rankin in Bedford County in the late 1700s.

[71] See, e.g., Mt. Bethel Presbyterian Cemetery in Greene County, tombstones of David Rankin Jr., 1775 – 1836 (son of David Sr.) and his wife Jane B. Dinwiddie, plus a number of their descendants. Buford Reynolds, Greene County Cemeteries from Earliest Dates to 1970-1971 (1971).

[72] Edward L. Ayers and Anne S. Rubin, The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Inc., 2000).

[73] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/121616688/chambers-rankin. The Old Log Church is Lutheran, although Chambers’ siblings are buried in Presbyterian cemeteries.

[74] See the tombstone transcription at this link.

https://cotyroneireland.com/graveyard/donagheady/pg044.html.

[75] E.g., https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/100035922/matilda-rankin

[76] E.g., Dec. 1693, power of attorney granted to John Rankin. Richmond Co., VA DB 1: 102, abstracted by Beverley Fleet, Virginia Colonial Abstracts Vol. XVI Richmond County Records 1692 – 1704 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1961) 33. See also the 1706 deed witnessed by Robert Rankin, Richmond Co. Deed Book 4: 86a, abstracted by Ruth and Sam Sparacio, Virginia County Court Records, Deed Abstracts of King George County, Virginia (1753-1773) (McLean, VA: 1987).

[77] For example, there are a wealth of Rankin records in King George Co., VA in the 1700s. Rankins lived there along with Berry, Kendall, Marshall, Woffendall/Woffendale, and Harrison families. Those families are all connected to Northern Neck Rankins.

[78] William Rankin left no will, but a Mason Co. court record has information about his family. William d. 12 Apr 1836 and his widow Mary Ann Rankin d. 29 Jul 1836. Their children were Harrison, Blackstone H., James M., John L., Robert P., Thomas, Elizabeth Hall (husband John), Sarah Rankin (who married a John Rankin), and Harriet Stockson (husband George D.). Lula Reed Boss, Mason County, Kentucky: families, court records, Bible records, declarations of soldiers (Limestone, KY chapter of the DAR, 1944-45) 403; original court record at FamilySearch.org Film #7647144, images 1042-43.

[79] Mason Co., KY Will Book E: 53, will of John Rankin (Sr.) dated and proved in 1819. The will named his wife Winnifred, “affectionate brother William Rankin,” and children Nancy Rankin (wife of John Rankin (Jr.), a son of Moses Rankin), Huldah Rankin, Marshall Rankin, Frances Rankin, Polly Rankin, Margaret Rankin, and Elizabeth Rankin. There were apparently two men named Moses Rankin in Mason Co.

[80] Lt. Robert and Peggy Kendall Rankin’s children were (1) Thomas Berry Rankin (1783 – 1813, Ft. Mims), (2) Elizabeth Rankin (b. 1785, no further record), (3) William Marshall Rankin (b. 1786), (4) Joseph Rankin (1788 – 1813, Ft. Mims), (5) John K. Rankin (b. 1791), (6) James Rankin (b. 1792), (7) Frederick Harrison Rankin (1794 – 1874), (8) Henry Rankin (b. 1796, no further record), (9) Massena Rankin McCombs, and (1) Francis Rankin Hubert.

[81] See, e.g., Gregory A. Waselkov, A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814 (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2006), Appendix #1 250-51. The book identifies Joseph Rankin as a “Tombigbee resident, born in Kentucky, brother of Thomas Berry Rankin.” The book lists both Joseph and Thomas B. Rankin as casualties at Ft. Mims. It has two errors about the Rankin family: it assigns both Lt. Robert and his wife Margaret (“Peggy”) three names. Specifically,  it identifies Joseph and Thomas B.’s father as “Richard Robert Rankin” and his wife as “Margaret Kendall Rankin.” There seems to be no evidence in voluminous records about this couple to support three names, or even middle initials. It is 99% certain that neither “Richard” nor “Kendall” is correct.

[82] Vehlein’s Colony included the area where Robert Rankin’s family settled, now in San Jacinto Co., TX. See the map at this link. https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/vehlein-joseph

[83] If anyone has a yen to translate Lt. Robert’s grant, here is the online image  https://s3.glo.texas.gov/ncu/SCANDOCS/archives_webfiles/arcmaps/webfiles/landgrants/PDFs/1/0/3/0/1030662.pdf   at the GLO website.

[84] Gifford White, Character Certificates in the General Land Office of Texas. (Austin: 1985).  Character certificates were required by Mexico in order to obtain land. See also the “Spanish Collection of the General Land Office,” which contains land titles issued by Mexico during 1821-1836, along with associated documents such as character certificates.

[85] See 1880 federal census, Fords Ferry, Crittenden Co., KY, listing for A. B. Rankin (Abia Benjamin), born in Illinois, parents born in Virginia. Abia was a son of John and Elizabeth Clay Rankin. A descendant of Abia’s has tested and falls in Lineage 6.

[86] John and Elizabeth Clay’s children were Marston T., James W. (administrator of John’s estate), John B., William W., Barnett C., Abia Benjamin, George R., and Mary Rankin Berry.

[87] The given name Moses appeared often in the Northern Neck Rankin line. The Moses Rankin of L6 might be the same man as the Moses who appeared in an Aug 1792 Frederick Co., VA lease to Benjamin Rankin of Loudoun Co., VA for the life of Benjamin and his brothers Moses and Robert, lease witnessed by George Rankin. Frederick Co., VA Deed Book 22: 303. The Moses of L6 is not the same man as the Moses named in the will of Robert Rankin of King George Co. proved Mar 1747/48. That Robert’s will named his children William, John, James, Moses, George, Benjamin, Hipkins or Hopkins, and Mary Rankin Green. King George Co., VA Will Book 1-A: 201. Moses of Lineage 6 was born between about 1770, see the 1830 census for Nicholas Co., KY (Moses b. 1760 – 1770) and the 1840 census for Fleming Co. (Moses b. 1770 – 1780). He was not yet born when Robert wrote his King George Co. will.

[88] Mason Co., KY Will Book D: 357, will of Moses Rankin dated 14 Mar 1845, proved April 1845. There is also a  Kentucky death record identifying Moses and Mary Rankin as the parents of William Rankin, 1808-1877, of Robertson Co., KY. Ancestry.com, Kentucky, U.S., Death Records, 1852-1965 [database online]. Lehi, UT, USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2007.

[89] Selby Publishing, Mason County, Kentucky Marriage Records 1789 – 1833 (Kokomo, IN: 1999), marriage bond dated 14 Nov 1795 for Moses Rankin and Molly Gill, bondsman Edward Gill. Another Moses Rankin married Ann (“Nancy”) Berry the same year.

[90] Franklin Co., PA Will Book Volume A: 345, will of James Rankin of Montgomery Township dated 1788 proved 1795. His children were David, William, Jeremiah, James, Ruth Rankin Tool, and son-in-law Samuel Smith (wife Esther Rankin).

[91] Franklin Co., PA WB A-B: 256, Will of William Rankin dated and proved in 1792. The will names his wife Mary and children Adam, Archibald, James, William, Betsy, David, John, and Jeremiah. Dr. Adam, the eldest, went to Henderson County, Kentucky, married three times, and had a bunch of children. Archibald married Agnes Long and stayed in Franklin County. James, William, John, and Jeremiah went to Centre Co., PA where they had inherited land. David married Frances Campbell and went to Westmoreland Co., PA, Allen Co., IN, and Des Moines Co., IA.

Same Name Confusion: Thomas Rankin of East Tennessee … and What the Heck IS “Depreciation Pay?”

My Aunt Bettye’s name came up in a whining session with a friend about family tree errors. That’s because Bettye’s bogus ancestral claims are the stuff of legend. E.g., she once  floated the notion that we are descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. That claim didn’t gain any traction, even among our family’s wannabe believers.

She also maintained that our German immigrant ancestor, a tailor whose mother was a milliner, was minor royalty in the old country. However, Von Huenefeld – Bettye added the “Von” – is not a name you will find among known baronets. You get the drift. Bettye, bless her heart, was heavily invested in having a fabulous family history.

Most family tree errors are honest mistakes, or perhaps the result of copying someone else’s tree without verifying it. Others, like some of Bettye’s claims, are wishful thinking, embellishment, or just plain fiction. Whatever. All one can do is analyze the evidence concerning each fact, claim, or piece of conventional wisdom. I often conclude that I just don’t know. That’s where I am with some of the oral family history of the John Rankin who died in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1749.[1]

A big “just don’t know” about that Rankin line is the “Mt. Horeb legend.”[2] It is inscribed on a bronze tablet in the Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church cemetery in Jefferson County, Tennessee. I reproduced the inscription in a previous article. Is the legend factual? There seems to be no evidence for some of its claims. That doesn’t mean they aren’t true. It just means they aren’t proved. A second “just don’t know” factoid about John Rankin who died in 1749 is that he had a brother Adam Rankin who died in 1747, also in Lancaster County. So far, Y-DNA testing suggests that is probably not correct.

The questions for this article are whether John’s son Thomas Rankin was a Captain in the Revolutionary War, and whether Thomas’s four eldest sons also served in the war. I concluded that three of Thomas’s four eldest sons were Revolutionary soldiers. I just don’t know about the other son, but seriously doubt he was a soldier. I also believe that Thomas, son of the John who died in 1749, was not a Revolutionary War Captain, or even an enlisted soldier. Thomas has probably been conflated with another Thomas Rankin who was a Captain in a Pennsylvania militia in the Revolutionary War. That is the error called “same name confusion,” an easy mistake to make.

One source for these claims is the Mt. Horeb tablet. It says this about Thomas and his four eldest sons (I have omitted his other children, who aren’t relevant to this article):

“THOMAS RANKIN, 1724 – 1812,[3] MARRIED ISABEL CLENDENON OF PA. AND SETTLED IN THAT STATE. THEIR CHILDREN WERE:

JOHN 1754 – 1825 MARRIED MARTHA WAUGH

RICHARD 1756 – 1827 MARRIED JENNETT STEELE

SAMUEL 1758 – 1828 MARRIED – PETTY

WILLIAM 1760 – 1834 MARRIED SARAH MOORE

…THOMAS RANKIN … WAS A CAPTAIN IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. HIS FOUR ELDEST SONS WERE PRIVATES IN SAID WAR

The question of the four sons’ service is comparatively easy, so let’s begin with them, starting with the youngest.

Son number four in that list, William, filed a Revolutionary War pension application.[4] It detailed the family’s migration from Carlisle to Juniata in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania when he was twelve years old. He testified that his father and their family moved from Pennsylvania to Augusta County, Virginia in June 1780. His wife Sarah Moore filed a claim for a widow’s pension, so there is no doubt William’s pension application was by the William Rankin named on the Mt. Horeb tablet. His service as a private is conclusively proved. I’ve transcribed his application at the end of this article.

The Revolutionary War service of Richard and Samuel, sons number two and three, is established by excellent secondary evidence: a detailed family history written by Richard D. Rankin, who apparently went by his middle name, Duffield.[5] He was a grandson of Thomas and Isabel Clendenon Rankin and great-grandson of the John who died in 1749. Duffield said that Samuel was in the battle of Cowpens and that William and Richard both served in the war. He noted that William was at the Siege of York, which is confirmed by William’s pension application.[6] The Pennsylvania Archives also lists Richard as a Cumberland County militiaman.[7]

 As for John, son number one, the Pennsylvania Archives proves that some John Rankin was in a Cumberland County militia company.[8] However, Duffield’s meticulous history does not say that his Uncle John was a revolutionary soldier. It is likely that the John Rankin who was in a Cumberland County militia moved to Butler County, Pennsylvania. John’s pension application from Butler County stated that he lived in Cumberland County when he enlisted.[9] He was not a son of Thomas, whose son John moved to Blount County, Tennessee.[10] The Mt. Horeb tablet assertion that Thomas’s eldest son John was a private may be another “same name confusion” error.

That addresses the four sons. What about their father Thomas? Here are some reasons that Thomas, son of John d. 1747, was not a revolutionary soldier.

  1. Duffield did not say that his grandfather Thomas had served in the war or held the rank of Captain.[11] The omission is significant because Duffield clearly knew a great deal about his ancestors, including the fact that his great-grandfather John had two sons and eight daughters. Duffield also expressly mentioned the service of three of Thomas’s four eldest sons.
  2. The Mt. Horeb tablet says Thomas was born in 1724. Thomas’s father John’s will, dated January 1, 1749, named Thomas executor.[12] That means Thomas was almost certainly born by at least 1728, confirming the general accuracy of the birth date on the tablet. By the time the war started, Thomas would have been 52 if the tablet is correct, or in any event no less than 48. Thomas was thus a bit long of tooth to have been a revolutionary soldier.
  3. A man whose father was a Captain and company commander typically served in his father’s unit. Thomas’s son Richard served in companies commanded by Captains McClelland, Hamilton, or Gibson.[13] Likewise, Thomas’s son William couldn’t remember the names of his commanders other than an Ensign George Dickey. It is clear that neither Richard nor William served in a company commanded by their father Thomas.
  4. The Pennsylvania Archives lists of militia soldiers do not include a Captain or a Private Thomas Rankin in Cumberland County. Neither does History of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
  5. Ironically, the most compelling argument that Thomas was not an officer is a source cited in an application for the D.A.R. by Miss Mary Rankin, a descendant of Thomas Rankin and his son Richard. She cited only the Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Volume IV, as proof of Thomas’s service.[14] The relevant section in Volume IV is titled “Soldiers Who Received Depreciation Pay.” Miss Rankin cited page 494 of that section, which is part of a list of “Miscellaneous Officers” who received depreciation pay. It includes the name Thomas Rankin.[15]

As usual, the devil is in the details. “Depreciation Pay” was deferred pay to compensate Pennsylvania soldiers who served during 1777-1780. Those soldiers were originally paid in “Continental bills of credit,” which quickly lost value.[16] The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission website says this:

“To make amends for such depreciation, each of these men who in 1781 yet remained in line service was awarded a substantial sum in Depreciation Pay Certificates, which were both interest bearing and negotiable.”

Emphasis added. Thomas Rankin, husband of Isabel Clendenon and father of three Revolutionary War soldiers, was in Augusta County, Virginia by mid-1780. He no longer remained in service in a Pennsylvania unit in 1781, and was not eligible to receive Pittsylvania Depreciation Pay Certificates awarded that year. He was thus not the same man as the Thomas Rankin listed among “Miscellaneous Officers” who received Depreciation Pay Certificates.

That leaves us with a big loose end: who was the Thomas Rankin who was an officer in a Pennsylvania militia and remained in service in 1781, long enough to receive a Depreciation Pay Certificate?

Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission Website to the rescue. In 1781, a Thomas Rankin was Captain of the 5th Company in the 2nd Battalion (later the 4th  Battalion) of Washington County Revolutionary War Militia, Cecil Township.[17] The 1781 tax list for Cecil Township confirms his residence and rank, naming a “Capt. Thomas Rankin.”[18] There are also several 1782 returns of classes in “Capt’r Thos. Renkon’s Compy.” of the 4th  Battalion of Washington County Militia. Each is signed “Thomas Rankin, Cpt. 4 B.M.”[19]

In short, there is no doubt there was a militia Captain named Thomas Rankin in Cecil  Township, Washington County, who was still in service in 1781. He is surely the Thomas Rankin listed in the Pennsylvania Archives as having received Depreciation Pay.

To which Rankin family did Captain Thomas of Cecil Township belong? That’s a tough question that I haven’t sorted out yet. Washington County was awash with Rankins in the latter part of the eighteenth century. There were four (I think) different men named Thomas Rankin in records from 1769 through 1781: one in Strabane Township, one in Nottingham Township, and two in Cecil Township, including Captain Thomas. I will leave that question for another article. This one is already overlong.

In sum, Thomas, son of the John Rankin who died in 1749 in Lancaster, was almost certainly not a Captain in the Revolutionary War. The pension application of Thomas’s son William establishes that the family left Pennsylvania in June 1780. Thomas (son of John) was therefore not eligible to receive a Pennsylvania Depreciation Pay Certificate. “Same name confusion” probably explains the erroneous information about Thomas and his son John on the Mt. Horeb tablet.

See you on down the road. But first, here is William Rankin’s pension application.

Robin Rankin Willis

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Source: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804. Images of application for Pension Number W.1,081, pages 11-15. I have transcribed the application verbatim except for correcting obvious misspellings, ignoring some capitalization, and adding occasional punctuation for clarity.

“State of Tennessee               §

Greene County                       §                      October Session 1832

On this 23rd day of October 1832 personally appeared in open court before the Justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the county aforesaid William Rankin a resident citizen of Greene County aforesaid aged seventy four years the 27th of January  arriving 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 7th June 1832.

That he was born in Cumberland County Pennsylvania five miles below Carlisle and raised there til twelve years of age and then moved to Juniata in the same county where he continued until the war of the revolution had progressed some time.

He entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein after stated. To wit, in the year 1779 in the month of August he volunteered and served a campaign against the Indians and British who had taken Freelands Fort and committed much depredation in that quarter of the country and pursued the enemy some fifty and more miles and after considerable scouting and fateague (fatigue?) returned to the place from whence he started and was out two weeks and perhaps three weeks or more.

Shortly after that campaign perhaps in one month or less he was drafted to serve two months in the same section of the state against the same enemy and was stationed at or near Freelands Fort and was continued in that campaign his full time ranging the country and guarding the frontier settlements. His officers names on the campaigns he cannot state except he believes Ensign George Dickey was in command who was from the neighborhood of Carlisle.

In the summer of 1780 in the month of June his father Thomas Rankin and family and this applicant moved to Augusta County Virginia near Staunton and soon after perhaps in the fall he was drafted to serve three months and after they rendezvoused he was selected to drive and take charge of a baggage wagon and team and was then marched to Richmond with the troops the officers and men all being strangers to him and for which reason he cannot now name the officers under whom he entered the service at that time. When the troops marched to Richmond Virginia this applicant was present and continued in the baggage wagon department and performed a trip with warlike stores to Staunton River on the border of North Carolina and after unloading at Staunton River they returned to Richmond and then were discharged and returned home having been out seven weeks or more. He remembers he arrived home on Christmas day.

In the summer of 1781 he was again drafted for twenty days and during that time was the battles of Hot Water and Jamestown in June and July. He was one of the detached party who made the assault on the British picket at Jamestown and brought on the battle under Major Ruckard a continental officer tho his name may have been Rickard and after the battle was brought on he was during the battle on the right wing and he was one of the last men who left the ground. Genls Lafayette and Wayne commanded in that battle.

About the first of September 1781 he was appointed by Quarter Master Hunter at Staunton a quarter master to take charge of the baggage wagons to take provisions to Richmond and after conducting the wagons with provisions to Richmond he was then reappointed to the same command by Major Claiborne Quarter Master at Richmond to continue on with the provisions to the Army having had eight wagons under his command. From Richmond he went with his wagons to Williamsburg where he received fresh orders from Colo. Carrington.

He then loaded his wagons with military stores and marched to Yorktown and was then in the main army at the siege of Yorktown with his wagons and was then under the command of Capt. Stuart wagon Master General and remained there in that service until eight days after the surrender of Ld Cornwallis after the surrender he assisted to haul the munitions _____ to the Wharf from there he was sent in charge of a wagon loaded by Major Claiborne to Richmond and then returned to Staunton which ended his military career having served in that service two months or more.

Near Yorktown Genl Washington halted say about five miles from the town and the wagons under the command of this applicant and ammunition lay within about ten rods of his tent until the Army droves in the British outposts. He served nine and a half months altogether to the best of his knowledge.

He has no witness to prove his service except the affidavits of Francis A. McCorkle & James McGill hereto annexed and he has not any documentary evidence to prove his service as he never recd any written discharges and he hereby relinquishes every claim to a pension whatever except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any state or its agency.

Sworn to and subscribed in open court this 23rd day of October 1832.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

[1] John Rankin d. 1749 in Lancaster is the earliest proved Rankin ancestor for Lineage 2A of the Rankin DNA Project. https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/rankin/about/results

[2] The Mt. Horeb legend begins with Rankin Presbyterian martyrs in Scotland’s “Killing Times” during the 1680s. Surviving family members supposedly escaped to Ireland in time for the 1689 Siege of Londonderry. Three sons of a survivor, allegedly including John d. 1749, reportedly migrated to Pennsylvania in the early 1700s.

[3] The Mt. Horeb tablet actually says that Thomas died in 1828, which would have made him 104. His death date was corrected to 1812 in a second bronze marker.

[4] Image available at Fold3.com. See transcription at the end of this article.

[5] Richard D. Rankin, “History of the Rankins” in Chapter IX, “Ancestors of Jane Rankin Magill,” in Robert M. Magill, Magill Family Record (Richmond, VA: Whittet & Shepperson, printers, R. E. Magill, publisher) 129. Available online at this link.

[6] See the transcription of William Rankin’s pension application at the end of this article.

[7] Thomas Lynch Montgomery, Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Vol. VI (Harrisburg, PA: Harrisburg Publishing Co., 1906) 27, 243, 250, 260, 472, and 619.

[8] See id., Vol. IV  242-43, 260.

[9] Virgil D. White, Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Volume III: N-Z (Waynesboro, TN: The National Historical Publishing Co., 1992); Paul W. Myers, Revolutionary War Veterans Who Settled in Butler County, Pennsylvania (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1985) 11. For his information about John Rankin, Myers cites the History of Butler County, the Pennsylvania Archives, and NARA Federal Pension Application, Soldier S5965. See History of Butler County, Pennsylvania, Volume II (R. C. Brown & Co., Publishers, 1895) (Apollo, PA: reprint published by Closson Press, 2001),  “John Rankin, a native of Ireland, settled here in 1804 or 1805. He came from Maryland, raised a large family, and lived to a ripe old age.” A descendant of Butler County John is a participant in the Rankin DNA Project and belongs to Lineage 2U. The line of John d. 1749 and Butler County John are genetically related, although their most recent common Rankin ancestor is almost certainly in Scotland or Ulster.

[10] Richard D. Rankin, “History of the Rankins,” see Note 5.

[11] Duffield Rankin did not mention the Mt. Horeb tablet legend, either. He described what he wrote as “a history of our family.” It contains considerable verifiable detail. It is hard to believe he would have omitted the Mt. Horeb legend’s story of Rankin martyrs and the Siege of Londonderry if those had been a part of his oral family tradition. That suggests the oral family “tradition” was added at a later date.

[12] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J: 211, will of John Rankin dated 1 Jan 1749.

[13] Montgomery, Pennsylvania Archives 5th Series, Vol. VI, 27, 243, 250, 260, 472, and 619.

[14] Daughters of the American Revolution (Indiana), Roster of Revolutionary Ancestors of the Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol. II (Evansville, IN: Unigraphic, Inc., 1976) 263. Mary Rankin’s D.A.R. application cites as her only proof of Thomas’s service a page in the Pennsylvania Archives. See Montgomery, Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Vol. IV  494.

[15] Montgomery, Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Vol. IV. The list on p. 494 states neither the county militia in which the named officer served nor his rank.

[16] You may have heard the expression “not worth a Continental.” It refers to the Continental Bills of Credit. The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission Website discusses “depreciation pay” under the Archives tab at this at this link.

[17] See http://www.phmc.pa.gov/Archives/Research-Online/Pages/Revolutionary-War-Militia-Washington.aspx. Thomas was the Captain of 5th Co., originally 2nd Battalion, then 4th Battalion, Washington Co. Militia. Cecil Township. See also Pennsylvania Archives, 6th Series, Volume II 129.

[18] Raymond Martin Bell and Katherine K. Zinsser, Washington County, Pennsylvania Tax Lists for 1781, 1783, 1784, 1793 and Census for 1790 (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1988).

[19] Montgomery, Pennsylvania Archives, 6th Series, Volume II at 130, 136, 143, 145. “Cpt. 4 B.M.” likely stands for “Captain 4th Battalion Militia.”

Honoring the Blighters in the Trenches

Instead of genealogy, I have been working on the 2nd edition of my book about the Air Force unit with which I served in Vietnam. That detachment of forward air controllers – call sign Red Marker – supported an elite group of American and Vietnamese soldiers. I am publishing this first chapter of the book in honor of those people on the ground. That seems appropriate  because tomorrow is the 246th birthday of the United States Army. So here is a snappy salute from Red Marker 18 to those whom Snoopy called the “poor blighters in the trenches.”

_______________

THE CAMBODIAN INCURSION

Before dawn on the 1st of May 1970, two C-130B Hercules aircraft from the 463rd Tactical Airlift Wing rumbled down the runway at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base and roared into the night sky. They turned out of traffic and headed west toward the Fishhook region of Cambodia.

Two hours earlier, crews from the 14th Aerial Port Squadron, using cranes and muscle power, loaded a 15,000-pound bomb into a cradle on a rolling pallet. They shoved the four-and-a-half-foot diameter, eleven-foot long behemoth nose first up the tailgate ramp and into the belly of each C-130. On board the aircraft, personnel from the 2nd Detachment, 834th Air Division rigged the Commando Vault bomb for deployment, attaching a drogue parachute pack and static lines to the tail of the bomb. Ordinance specialists installed the complex fusing … an extended fuse on a three-foot pipe attached to the nose of the bomb and a tail fuse that would trigger simultaneously, or serve as a backup if the nose fuse failed.[1] With this massive piece of ordinance locked in place, the pilots took off and climbed toward 20,000 feet at 180 knots.

Approaching Dalat, the navigator on each plane contacted a precision radar site known as MSQ-77.[2] The controller at the site gave each a heading direct to a target coordinate in the Fishhook, which the navigators repeated to the pilots over the aircraft intercom. Controllers at Dalat fed into their computers the desired aircraft airspeed and altitude, the ordinance ballistics, and target location with its reported wind direction, wind speed, and atmospheric temperature. From this data, the computer calculated when and where to release the bomb to hit within a ten-meter square target. The controllers directed the navigators to the required airspeed, altitude, and heading, and monitored their progress, issuing corrections as needed. As the aircraft cleared the 6,500 foot mountainous terrain of II Corps and approached Song Be, the controllers directed them to slow to 150 knots and descend gradually to 8,000 feet above the rice paddies of III Corps.

Instant Landing Zones

Six minutes prior to the scheduled 0630 drop, the controller advised the navigator to prepare to drop. In response, the loadmaster in each plane lowered the rear loading ramp and released one of two cargo locks holding the pallet in place. On the controller’s signal 30 seconds prior to the drop, the co-pilot remotely deployed the slotted 24-foot drogue parachute attached to the tail of the bomb. The chute fluttered out the open ramp and inflated in the slip stream of the aircraft. The navigator repeated over the intercom the controller’s count down, “Five, four, three, two, one, Mark!” at which point the loadmaster released the second cargo lock. The trailing parachute pulled the skid from the plane. The pilots advanced full throttle as the enormous explosive fell in a silent arc through the sky, stabilized by the drogue parachute. The bomb took 26 seconds  to reach the ground from 8,000 feet. A brush deflector on the extended fuse penetrated the jungle canopy without triggering the bomb. The C-130 was about a mile away when the bomb disintegrated just above the ground in a blinding flash of light and heat. The force of the blast vaporized surrounding vegetation and created a mushroom cloud that blossomed six thousand feet in the air. The crew in each plane heard the explosion and felt the concussive shock wave. The pilots then made a climbing turn toward home.

The first bomb landed very near the Vietnam/Cambodian border at XU552012.[3] The second exploded on its target several klicks to the west.[4] Each created an instant Landing Zone (LZ) soon to be assaulted by Vietnamese Airborne troopers.

There were no casualties from the two explosions. Two hours earlier, B-52 Arc Light missions began pounding the southern Fishhook, dropping 81 tons of bombs from each three-ship cell.[5] One hour behind the B-52s, 8-inch and 175 millimeter artillery from the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment took over the pre-invasion bombardment, firing from bases along the northern border of Tay Ninh Province. The 105 and 155 millimeter howitzers of an artillery battalion of the Vietnamese Airborne Division poured in shells from Katum.  By the time the Commando Vault “instant Landing Zone” bombs had dropped, the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong had long since taken shelter.[6]

Shortly thereafter, three battalions of Vietnamese airborne infantry air assaulted into the new landing zones. At the same time, the American 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment stormed across the southern border of the Fishhook with the mechanized forces of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Air Cavalry Division on their left flank. Later, the Vietnamese 1st Armored Cavalry Regiment rolled across the eastern Fishhook boundary. All were part of Task Force Shoemaker in an operation known as the Cambodian Incursion. Brigadier General Robert M. Shoemaker, Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Air Cav, created the plan to attack the NVA/VC sanctuary in the Fishhook to destroy their basecamps, supplies, and the enemy. Under his plan, the Vietnamese Airborne landed in the new LZs about six klicks north of  the American forces and began ground sweeps. The Americans passed through the Vietnamese positions on Day Two and continued driving to the north. It all began with creating and securing the LZs.

Red Marker Crew Chiefs

As the C-130s dropped their payloads, two Red Marker Forward Air Controllers (FACs) supporting the Vietnamese Airborne Division took off in their O-1E Bird Dogs from Quan Loi, east of the Fishhook. Red Marker crew chiefs Sergeant Jim Stokes and Airman 1st Class Jim Hoppe rolled out of their bunks at 0500, grabbed a cup of coffee at the mess hall, and drove a Jeep to the flight line. The night before, they tied down six Bird Dogs in three steel revetments. If a mortar round landed in one revetment, hopefully the planes in adjacent enclosures would escape damage. They found their planes safe and by the headlights of the Jeep moved two aircraft out of one revetment. The lightweight Bird Dog was easy to move. Each man pulled a retractable hand-hold, a steel tube, from the side of the rear fuselage in front of the horizontal stabilizer. They picked the tailwheel off the asphalt and rolled the O-1 forward on its main gear, maneuvered it into position for startup, and placed wooden chocks in front and behind the main wheels.

Before they bedded down the planes the previous night, Hoppe and Stokes topped off the fuel tanks. With one boot on a wing strut and the other on a footstep below the engine cowling, the crew chiefs opened the fuel filler caps on the top of each wing and pumped in high octane Avgas.[7] This morning, the chiefs rechecked the fuel level in each plane and used the push-valve under the wings to drain the fuel sump on each tank. Overnight, water vapor in the tanks condensed into a small amount of water. The lighter gasoline floated on top, and water collected in the tanks’ sump. Draining the sump ensured no water found its way to the engine. As a double check, pilots also drained the sump on their preflight check.

The crew chiefs checked the oil level in the planes, refilling as necessary, and left the engine cowling unlatched so the pilots could take a quick look at the engine before buttoning up. The Bird Dog was pretty easy to maintain. About the biggest pain in the butt for the crew chiefs was changing oil. And that was only a pain because they had to catch the first oil out of the crankcase in a small test tube. Invariably, the oil went everywhere besides the tube. However, this messy step was vital. A lab at Bien Hoa Air Base tested the captured oil for minute metal filings that warned of abnormal engine wear and potential failure.

Stokes and Hoppe then loaded white phosphorous rockets into the four tubes under each wing, installing red-ribboned safety pins in each tube. The pins held spring-loaded electrical contacts away from the ignitor on the tail of each rocket, preventing inadvertent firing. As the crew chiefs finished their tasks, First Lieutenants Dave Blair, Red Marker 16, and Lanny Mayberry, Red Marker 19, arrived to preflight the plane each would fly.

Red Marker FACs

First Lieutenant Terry Weaver, Red Marker 17, was the most experienced O-1 Forward Air Controller in the unit. Logically, he could have flown one of the first cross-border sorties. However, Terry was “short,” with less than a month to complete his tour in Vietnam. Major Bob Drawbaugh, the detachment’s commander and the Air Liaison Officer for the Vietnamese Airborne put Weaver in the second group of sorties. His decision may have been influenced by the unknown amount of air defenses they might encounter. The previous night, Drawbaugh gave his FACs a multi-page list of reported enemy antiaircraft sites. The FACs dutifully marked the locations on their maps with a “donut” … a pencil dot with a circle around it. The enemy often built an emplacement for their .51 caliber and larger weapons that from the air looked like a donut. They dug a circular trench a few feet deep, leaving the middle of the circle untouched at ground level. The gunners set the tripod of their weapon on the center section and stood in the circular trench. By moving around the circle, they could aim the gun up and in a 360 degree arc. When the FACs finished marking their maps, the Cambodian border was solid gray with penciled circles.

Instead of Weaver, Drawbaugh scheduled Blair and Mayberry, the next most experienced, to fly the first sorties of the invasion. The two wore camouflage fatigues with their name, rank, and pilot wings embroidered in black. A cloth tape above their left pocket read US AIR FORCE in black block letters. The uniforms bore the insignia of the Vietnamese Airborne, the division patch on the left shoulder … a red square with an eagle and a parachute canopy in the middle, and the sword of St. Michael patch on the left breast pocket … a white sword clenched in a yellow-gold winged fist. The FACs also wore the unit’s distinctive red beret. Local tailors had modified their uniforms slightly. They added two zippered pockets to the trousers on the outside of the lower legs. An O-1 checklist fit comfortably in one. The other held a pair of flight gloves when the FAC was not flying, and his red beret when he was in the air. The tailors added three small slotted pockets on the left shoulder that held grease pencils and a ball point pen, and a pocket on the right shoulder for a pack of cigarettes and a Zippo lighter.

FAC Gear

Each FAC slung a CAR-15 rifle over his shoulder and wore a web belt carrying a holstered .38 caliber revolver, leather pouches of extra ammo, a sheathed hunting knife, and a canteen of water. They stashed the rifle in their assigned aircraft, securing the barrel to a clasp on the right side of the cockpit. They draped a bandolier of loaded 5.56 mm magazines over the muzzle of the gun and retrieved their helmets, parachutes, and survival vests from the secure Conex in the revetment.[8] Each put the helmet and parachute on the seat of his plane, donning the vest. It contained a UHF radio, extra batteries, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a map printed on silk, and an emergency ration of high protein bars. The vest also held the airman’s emergency bailout knife. This orange-handled knife had a U-shaped blade with the cutting edge on the inside of the curve. The FACs carried the knife in the vest with the curved blade open. They could use it to cut parachute shroud lines if the lines tangled on bailout or hung up in a tree. At least, that was the theory. An emergency bailout from 1,500 feet above the ground with a manually opened parachute did not give a lot of time to deal with fouled shroud lines before hitting the ground. The knife also had a three-inch blade that opened with a push-button … yes, FACs carried a switch-blade. Several feet of para-cord secured the knife to the vest. The cord was long enough that the FAC could reach above his head to cut the parachute shroud lines. If the FAC dropped the knife while trying to use it, it would not fall to the ground.

Each FAC also had a bulky flak jacket that could be worn under the survival vest. Blair and Mayberry chose like most to sit on the flak vest, hoping it provided extra protection from ground fire. The last thing they loaded into the front cabin was a cloth map case containing a series of 1:24,000 topographic maps of the area of operations. These maps were overprinted with the 10,000 meter squares of the UTM Coordinate grid system as well as regular latitude and longitude. Fast moving fighter-bombers, B-52s, and cargo planes had fancy electronic systems and radar for navigation. However, the UTM grid system was the common denominator for locating and communicating positions among all other elements on the battlefield — ground troops, artillery units, helicopters and FACs.

After Blair and Mayberry completed the preflight inspection of their respective plane, they climbed into the cockpit, strapped on the parachute that was sitting in the seat, and buckled the seatbelt and shoulder harness. Meanwhile, the crew chiefs closed and latched the engine cowling. Each FAC removed his red beret, stuck it into the leg pocket of his fatigues, put on his flight gloves and OD Green ballistic helmet with a boom mike, and plugged the mike cord into the Bird Dog’s intercom/radio system. The FACs confirmed all switches were off and placed their hands in sight, gripping the support braces above the glare shield. Once the crew chiefs saw the pilots could not accidentally arm a rocket, Stokes and Hoppe pulled the safety pins from the rocket launchers and handed the red streamers and pins to each FAC through his open cockpit window. The windows in the front cabin were large rectangles, about 24” wide by 18” high, and were hinged at the top. Both could swing outward and snap to the underside of the wing on each side of the plane. That was the normal configuration when flying in the heat of southern Vietnam. When lowered, the windows were excellent writing surfaces for grease pencil notes.

The crew chiefs stood by with wheeled fire extinguishers as the FACs turned on the battery, adjusted the throttle and mixture levers, shouted “Switches On, Prop Clear,” and cranked the starter.  The propellor moved in fits and starts for a few seconds as the starter whined its typical grinding sound. The engine fired up in a belch of smoke and an unmuffled roar that settled into a muted puttering. The FACs checked oil pressure, engine rpm, and all instruments and radios.

With their engines running smoothly, Blair and Mayberry in turn contacted Quan Loi Tower for permission to taxi. Hoppe and Stokes pulled the chocks as the FACs signaled they were ready to go. Trading a salute with their crew chiefs, each taxied carefully toward the takeoff end of the runway in the predawn light. The chiefs headed back to the mess hall for a quick breakfast before returning to the flight line to roll two more O-1s out for the next sorties. On the taxiway, Blair and Mayberry paused to runup the engine to full power while holding the brakes. They checked that both the right and left magneto were functioning and all engine instruments were normal. With flaps set at 30 degrees, each rolled onto the runway individually, advanced the throttle, held it full open with their left hand, and took off. As they climbed above the ground fog and jungle mist clinging to the treetops, they retracted the flaps, turned west, and headed toward the site of one of the Commando Vault explosions.

The FACs were glad to be off the ground. Even before dawn, the temperature rarely got below 80 degrees in III Corps. With humidity at 80-90%, they were miserable and sweating profusely. Flying at 1,500 feet might have only been 5 degrees cooler, but with the windows snapped up and the wind whistling through the cockpit, they were much more comfortable. The breeze through the cabin, however, did only so much good. Sweat soaked the back of their camo blouse and seat of their pants within minutes. Likewise, the crew chiefs had been working in t-shirts but were dripping wet by the time the FACs got in the air.

Red Marker Control/Radio Operators

Once airborne, each FAC checked in with Red Marker Control on a designated VHF radio frequency. Red Marker radio operators, Sergeants Walter Stepaniak and Jim Yeonopolus, were on duty to take the call. Red Marker O-1s carried six radios, two each VHF, FM, and UHF sets. The FACs monitored three radios at a time and switched among the sets to transmit as necessary. They remained in contact with Marker Control on one VHF radio. They used an FM radio to communicate with the American advisors in the field with the Airborne troops. They talked to fighter aircraft and controlled airstrikes using the UHF radios. Red Marker Control had those same radios plus a long distance HF set to contact the Direct Air Support Center at Bien Hoa. Their radios were mounted on a pallet in an M-108 Jeep. Their radios ran off the Jeep’s electrical system or a portable generator trailered behind the Jeep.

Major Drawbaugh was stationed in the Tactical Operations Center at Quan Loi beside the command staff of the 3rd Vietnamese Airborne Brigade and its American advisors in Team 162, known as Red Hats. General Shoemaker had designated Quan Loi as the headquarters of his Task Force, the units under his command, and the supporting FAC detachments. Therefore, Red Markers, Rash FACs supporting the 1st Air Cav, and Nile FACs supporting the 11th ACR all established radio control operations there. Normally, the operators dismounted the radios from their Jeep and installed the pallet in the ops center. Due to space limitations in this instance, they parked the Jeeps outside.  After hooking the radios to the portable generator and erecting antennae, they were in operation.

Red Marker Control monitored the FACs’ communications, including those with the Red Hat advisors on the ground. By knowing what was happening, experienced operators anticipated the need for additional airstrikes and even the ordinance  required. They sometimes initiated a request to the Air Support Center for another flight of strike aircraft before the FAC or the Red Hats asked for one.

Enroute to the Commando Vault sites, Blair and Mayberry took time to square away their cockpits for action. They climbed to 1500 feet, set the power at 100 knots cruise speed (115 mph), and trimmed the O-1 for level flight. They leaned the fuel mixture to conserve gas and prevent fouling the sparkplugs. They would reset the mixture to full rich before maneuvering to control an airstrike. They pulled a grease pencil from the pocket on their left shoulder and drew a line on the windscreen at the horizon. That line became the horizontal crosshair of their “personal” rocket sight. The vertical crosshair was a metal rod about 18 inches long welded to the engine cowling right behind the propellor. This rudimentary arrangement was remarkably accurate.

Each pulled out the map for his area and identified several land-marks that ensured he was headed in the right direction. They both breathed a sigh of relief as they crossed into Cambodia with no shots fired from the gray-marked border. Each FAC had marked on the map the Com-mando Vault location plus the coordinates of several preplanned airstrikes he would direct around the perimeter of the LZ. He clipped the map in place to his checklist strapped to one knee. He closed one of the cabin windows and wrote in grease pencil the basic data about each preplanned flight – the scheduled time of arrival, mission number, fighter call sign, number and type of aircraft, number and type of ordinance, and target coordinates. A typical grease pencil entry might look like this:

0700/5323/Dog 75/2 A-37

8 Mk-82/XU522044[9]

After completing the notes on the window, each FAC had time to locate his LZ and survey the surrounding terrain. Mayberry had time for a cigarette. Blair did not smoke.

The Air Plan

A few minutes before 0700 when they expected their first preplanned set of fighters, each FAC got a call on UHF from “Head Beagle,” an airborne traffic controller.

Red Marker One Six, this is Head Beagle. Over.”

“Head Beagle, this is Marker One Six. Go ahead.”

 “One Six are you ready for your Zero Seven Hundred fighters?”

 “Affirmative, Head Beagle. Send them on.”

 The Air Liaison Officer for the 1st Air Cavalry Division, Lt. Colonel  “Doc” Daugherty, call sign Rash 01, created the Air Plan for the invasion. Because of the high volume of anticipated fighter traffic and a separate area of operation for each ground unit and its FACs, he established the airborne controller and three rendezvous points for fighter aircraft outside the immediate battle area. On the way to their designated rendezvous, each set of fighters contacted Head Beagle who gave them an orbit altitude. Head Beagle then checked with the assigned FAC to confirm he was ready for the fighters. If so, Head Beagle released the fighters giving them general directions to find their FAC circling low over the jungle. If the FAC could not use the fighters, for example, because of weather in the area, Head Beagle diverted them to another FAC at another target.[10]

Airstrikes

Head Beagle released the 0700 sets of fighters for both Blair and Mayberry on time, and they soon spotted the FACs’ white-winged Bird Dogs above the green jungle background. For the next hour the FACs directed bombing runs from several sets of fighters into the tree lines surrounding the landing zones. Radio communication began with fighter lead contacting the FAC on a pre-assigned UHF frequency.

“Red Marker One Six, this is Dog Seven Five checking in.”

 “Roger, Dog Seven Five. I am at fifteen hundred feet, south of our target area. Do you have me in sight?”

 “Roger, Red Marker, have you in sight. Are you ready for my line up?”

 “Ready to copy, Dog Lead. Go ahead.”

 “This is Dog Seven Five, flight of two A-37s with eight Mk-82 slicks and 7.62 millimeter cannon. We have 20 minutes time on target before bingo fuel.”

 “Dog Seven Five, copy all. Our target is a tree line on the north side of the landing zone blasted out of the trees. Target elevation is about 100 feet. I want you to run in east to west and break to the south. I will orbit south of the target. Nearest friendlies are six klicks to the south, and that is your safest bailout area. Let’s drop in pairs, and I will see if there is anything that can use a strafing run. I have encountered no ground fire. Do you copy?”

 “Roger, Red Marker. Copy all. Run in to the west and break left. Ready for your mark.”

 “Roger, hold for my mark.”

Dog flight took up an orbit at about 3,500 feet. The fighters spaced themselves so they were on opposite sides of a large oval pattern. They were well outside the tight figure-eight pattern Blair flew below them.

Blair eyed the target out of his left window. He cut the power to idle and pulled back the stick bringing the O-1 into a 45 degree climb as he reached overhead with his left hand and armed one of the eight rockets.[11] As the airspeed bled off, he rolled to the left, kicked in some rudder, and with the wings 90 degrees to the horizon dropped the Bird Dog’s nose below the target. He leveled the wings and pulled the nose up, centering the target on the vertical rod/front sight.

Blair continued to raise the nose of the plane until the target reached the horizontal crosshair — that grease pencil mark on the windscreen. He eased off a little backpressure to hold the target in the crosshairs and squeezed the trigger on the control stick. An electric current fired the selected rocket motor with a muffled bang.

At that point, the O-1 was in a 35 degree dive, airspeed had climbed back to 100 knots, and the aircraft was in perfect trim. While the rocket swooshed toward the target, Blair pulled the nose up and added full throttle, turning into his figure-eight orbit at 1,500 feet. The white phosphorous warhead ignited on impact, and pure white smoke billowed from the trees.

 “Red Marker, this is Dog Lead. I have your mark.”

 “Dog Lead, roger. Drop in pairs. You are cleared in hot. Hit my smoke.”

“Roger that. Dog Lead is in hot”

As the Super Tweet made a diving left turn onto his bomb run, Blair turned with him. Dog Lead came screaming past Blair, with the A-37 screeching its distinctive high-pitched whine. Lead pickled two bombs at about 1,500 feet and pulled up sharply to the left. Blair kept Dog Lead in sight throughout its bomb run until it pulled up off the target.

The Bird Dog offered its pilot excellent visibility. With plexiglass windows fore and aft as well as overhead in the roof of the cabin, Blair could keep an eye on the fighter-bomber even when the FAC was in a high-banked turn. If anything went wrong with the fighter – ground fire, a mechanical problem, anything – the FAC would see it first.

“Lead is off left.”

This run was clean. The 500-pound bombs hit the middle of the roiling white smoke, exploding with two bright yellow-orange flashes followed instantly by two plumes of gray smoke. Blair whipped the O-1 around 180 degrees to see Dog Two approaching its turn coming down the chute. Blair kept him is sight, repeating the maneuvers he used to follow Dog Lead.

 “Dog Two is rolling in.”

 “I’ve got you, Dog Two, drop in pairs fifty meters short of Lead.”

 “Roger, fifty meters short.”

 “Dog Two you are cleared hot.”

 “Dog Two is in hot”

 “Two is off left.”

On a second bombing pass, Blair again adjusted the aim point to cover more of the target, and Dog flight dropped its last four bombs.

“Dog Lead, hold high and dry while I take a look.”

 “Roger, Red Marker. Holding high and dry.”

 “Dog Lead, it doesn’t look like we have any good targets for a strafing run today, You are released.”

 “Roger, Red Marker. Standing by for BDA.”

 “Dog Seven Five, negative on BDA right now. We are just kicking ass, not taking names. We’ll send BDA to your squadron in a couple of days.”  [12]

“Red Marker, understood. A pleasure doing business with you. Dog Seven Five Out. — Break. Two, go Channel Five.”

 “click, click” [13]

 “Red Marker One Six, this is Head Beagle. Are you ready for your Seven Fifteen fighters?”

 “Head Beagle, roger that. Send them on.”

And so it went for Blair and Mayberry for the next hour. The smell of cordite  mixed with sweat filled the cabin as they directed multiple airstrikes around the landing zones.

The Cambodian Incursion marked the apex of the Red Markers’ involvement in Vietnam. The unit had a dozen aircraft, six radio Jeeps, and 34 personnel, almost its maximum strength. This campaign employed more of those assets concentrated in a single area of operation and with greater results than any other in its history. Through most of May and June 1970, the Red Markers kept two O-1Es and one O-2A in the air over the Fishhook. Three radio Jeeps supported the operation – one at Quan Loi and one at two Special Forces camps.

The Red Markers operated courageously for eleven years. Even when the unit was markedly smaller, it contributed significantly to the success of the men on the ground. Red Markers share a bond with all who have gone to war, a relationship indescribable to those who have not experienced it and indestructible to those who have.

This history is dedicated to the Vietnamese Airborne Division and its American advisors, the Red Hats of Advisory Team 162, and all Red Markers, especially those who lost their lives in this conflict:

Airman Second Class James C. Henneberry

Captain Paul R. Windle

First Lieutenant Robert M. Carn Jr.

Captain Donald R. Hawley

Major F. Dale Dickens

[1] “Project CHECO Report – Commando Vault,” 12 October 1970

[2] “Project CHECO Report, Combat Skyspot,” 9 Aug 1967. The Air Force developed MSQ-77, a narrow beam, X-band radar system by reverse engineering a highly accurate bomb scoring radar the Strategic Air Command employed to train its forces. Strategic Air Command personnel staffed several MSQ-77 sites in South Vietnam.

[3] Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Coordinates from “Project CHECO Report – Commando Vault,” 12 October 1970

[4] Klick – A kilometer (1,000 meters), approximately 0.6 mile

[5] Arc Light missions were controlled by the same Combat Skyspot radar units that directed the Commando Vault bomb drops. Each B-52 carried 108 Mk-82 500 pound bombs.

[6] Referred to sometimes herein as NVA and VC.

[7] The refueling pit had a small gasoline pump that moved the fuel through a hose from a 3,000-gallon rubber bladder. Air Force C-123s regularly delivered bladders of Avgas and JP-4 jet fuel to the remote airstrip to keep the local helicopters and fixed wing aircraft flying. If the pump failed, the crew chiefs hauled jerry cans to the top of the wing to fill the tanks.

[8] Conex – an 8’ x 8’ x 8’ corrugated steel shipping container with hinged, lockable doors on one side.

[9] Mk-82 is a 500-pound bomb. A high-drag version with retarding fins on the tail was known as “Snake.” A “slick” version had no such fins.

[10] Gen Shoemaker dissolved the Task Force five days into the operation. After that, Red Marker Control handled the fighter aircraft tasked to the Red Markers. Marker Control gave each incoming flight a rendezvous location and orbit altitude before sending the flight to one of several Red Markers who were in the air. Given the heightened activity of the Cambodian operation, two radio operators manned Red Marker Control, double the normal staffing. One handled the radio transmissions, while the other monitored and took notes.

[11] Rocket arming switches on the ceiling of the cabin were simple toggles covered by a hinged plastic guard. Once a tube was fired, the FAC left the guard open. He could then easily tell by feel which tubes had been expended and which had live rockets.

[12] After a strike mission, the FAC usually inspected the target and gave the fighters a Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA). On this first day of the invasion, however, the FACs were too busy to provide that report because they had to get ready for the next set of fighters. The Airborne troops would soon sweep the strike area and report the results directly to Red Marker Control. Control would match the location of the BDA to the strike mission and pass it on to the fighter squadron.

[13] A wingman sometimes acknowledged Lead with a double click of his radio transmit button. This created two audible sounds. Not an approved radio procedure.