Family Legends

Do you have family stories that get told again and again. In my family, most of those stories were more recent and easily proven. A couple that come to mind were stories of the flooding when my parents were married and my brother’s premature birth. These are the stories I grew up hearing.

As I’ve researched my family tree, I’ve come across stories related to the revolutionary war that I’ve yet to prove. The first was that Hiram M. Currey of Champaign County, Ohio served with George Washington at Valley Forge. The second is a story that a Crandall ancestor took part in the Boston Tea Party.

One revolutionary war story that I didn’t think I’d have trouble proving was that my ancestor, Jason Hammond, fought in the revolutionary war. After all there is a listing for Jason Hammond with a wife named Rachel Hale in the 1994 edition of the DAR Patriot Index.

My great aunt, Esther Crawford Noll, was listed in the 1980 directory for the Kansas Society of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

And, I have a partially filled out, hand written copy of an application to the DAR for my great-grandmother, Josie Hammond Crawford.

The National Archives microfilm, ‘Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War’, contains a record for a Jason Hammond serving under Col. Wells.

However, my application to the DAR thru Jason Hammond was denied, not because I couldn’t prove my relationship to Jason Hammond, but because I couldn’t prove his service. The DAR has closed applications for Jason Hammond.

Since my application was accepted thru Jason’s father, Nathaniel Hammond, the reason for denial was not that the proof was not up to current standards.

Thus, it appears that the ‘same name’ issue strikes again. Even though I don’t have any other Jason Hammonds in my file of an appropriate age to have served, it is possible and even likely that there were other Jason Hammonds living in Connecticut at the time of the revolutionary war.

For now, this story of a revolutionary ancestor has been placed on the shelf as ‘legend’. At some point, I may try to prove otherwise, but for now, it is just a legend.

Revolutionary Ancestors

Were any of your ancestors in the colonies prior to the American Revolution? If so, have you tried to identify ancestors who may have fought in the Revolutionary War?

Since I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), I already knew that one of my ancestors provided patriotic service during the war: Nathaniel Hammond of Connecticut.

I had also started collecting documentation to prove William Buckles on my mother’s side of my tree. 

Beyond that, I didn’t know which of my ancestors might have served. Thus, I needed to create a list of ancestors who might have served so that I could research them in Fold3 and the DAR databases. 

To create a list of potential people, I needed to know who was of the appropriate age to serve. I found a wiki on FamilySearch that lists various wars and suggests ‘Ages of Servicemen in Wars.’ 

Using that information, I was able to create a marked group of those whose
     Birth date is after 1715 AND  Birth date is before 1767

Using this group, I created a custom report to list the names, birth dates and birth places. (Note: I should have added the death date and death place to my report.) 

I saved the report as a text file so that I could open it in Excel.

When I opened the text file in Excel, I had almost 270 individuals in my list.

Since this list was NOT limited to ancestors, I had to manually figure out who on the list was an ancestor. 

To help identify those ancestors, I created a marked group in RootsMagic for my ancestors. This allowed me to have an alphabetical list of ancestors in RootsMagic and compare it to the list of potential revolutionary war ancestors in my Excel spreadsheet.

After marking the ancestors on my list of potential revolutionary war people, I was down to 20 names.

I then looked up those 20 names using the DAR Ancestor Search site. 
Of my 20 ancestors of the appropriate age to have served, only five of them had service information in the DAR database. An additional 2 men were in the DAR database, but their service information is questionable. 
Revolutionary War Patriot Ancestors

Potential Patriot Ancestors – DAR designated ‘Must Prove’

Ancestors of Appropriate Age but NOT in DAR database

  • Richard Beckerdite
  • Frederick Briles (Broyles)
  • Theodore Hale
  • William Harding — LOYALIST
  • John Iglehart
  • John Ralston
  • John Ricketts
  • Benjamin Rush
  • Crafford Rush
  • James Story
  • Green Wells
  • Nathaniel Wells
  • Oliver White

Now that I have identified potential revolutionary war participants, I can watch for their names in county histories, court records and other documents. 

True or False?

Do you have ancestors living in the colonies prior to the revolutionary war? Have you applied to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) or Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) for those ancestors? If so, have you ever encountered a warning that ‘future applicants must prove correct service’?

This happened to me when I applied for the DAR. I was trying to use my great-grandmother’s application (Josie Winifred Hammond Crawford – #319934) to apply.  She applied thru her great-grandfather, Jason Hammond (1762-1830). Unfortunately, I was told they wouldn’t accept Jason Hammond as a revolutionary war ancestor. Since there were other Jason Hammonds living in Connecticut at the time, I’m assuming that the other Jason Hammond was the one who served. Fortunately, I was able to apply thru Jason’s father, Nathaniel Hammond, who provided support for the revolutionary troops.

As I’m researching various James Crawford families in early Kentucky, I’ve found that the DAR has limited applications for one of those James Crawfords.

Unfortunately, many people for many years have mixed these men up. The James Crawford who has data in the ‘correction file’ is one of the James Crawfords living in Fleming County, Kentucky. This James was married to Sarah Vansant in 1786 in Botetourt County, Kentuckyand died in 1836. James Crawford is buried in the Hillsboro Cemetery in Fleming County, KY

The second James Crawford was married to Rebecca Maxwell Anderson. This James Crawford owned land along Paint Lick Creek in Madison and Garrard Counties, Kentucky before moving to Jefferson County, Indiana. James Crawford is buried in Hebron Cemetery in Jefferson County, Indiana.

Both men have tombstones indicating that they are revolutionary war veterans.

Since I’m trying to prove that the James Crawford of Jefferson County, Indiana is the uncle to my ancestor, I’ve been trying to learn about his life. Thus, when I learned about a biography of him, I wrote to the Madison Public Library to see if they had a copy of that biography.

I recently received a copy of that biography. It appears that this biography was clipped from a newspaper and placed in the 1916 DAR scrapbook.

James Crawford
Ancestor of Mrs. Jennie V. Johnson

James Crawford was born in the
colony of Virginia, in 1758. At the
early age of twenty years he ‘as
sisted in establishing American In
dependence,” by enlisting as a pri-
vate from Boetourt county, under
Capt. Wm. Colbert and Col. Patrick
He served three months, and then, 
after a lapse of two years, he re-
enlisted for another three months
campaign under Capt. Alex Henley
and COl. Morgan. He was engaged
in the battle of Camden and the
skirmish on Tadkin river.
The next public record we have of
him is after his removal to Ken-
tucky, where he is mentioned as be-
ing a member of the first convention
held in Kentucky to frame a state
constitution. this body of men con-
vened at Danville in 1792, and as a
result Kentucky took her place
among the United States of America.
James Crawford continued to be
active in public affairs and served
as a member of teh house of repre
sentatives in 1821 and 1822.
He married Rebecca Anderson
and their daughter, Elizabeth, b-
came the wife of Rev. Beverly Vaw-
ter, who was so renowned in his day
as a preacher in the church of the
disciples. His son, Richard Beverly 
Vawter, who married Maria Lane, 
were the parents of Mrs. Jennie 
Vawter Johnson.
James Crawford applied for a pen-
sion April 1st, 1833, while living in
Fleming county, Ky. His claim was
allowed. He lived only three years
longer, dying at the age of seventy-
eight years. His remains lie buried
in Hebron cemetery, Jefferson coun-
ty, Ind.
A headstone has been provided by 
the government and will soon be
placed by the John Paul Chapter,

I had hoped that this biography would open some doors in my James Crawford research. However, the middle part of the biography appears to pull information for several different James Crawfords. So the question becomes: What is TRUE and What is FALSE?

  • Born in Virginia in 1758 — likely TRUE for James Crawford who married Rebecca Anderson
  • Military Service — Likely FALSE – currently DAR is crediting this military service to the James Crawford who married Sarah Vansant. 
  • Member of first Kentucky territorial convention – likely FALSE. Other documents indicate that the Rev. James Crawford of Fayette County, KY was the person who was a representative to the  convention.
  •  Served as a member of the house of representatives in 1821 and 1822 — Likely FALSE. Other documents indicate that the James Crawford (1797-1836) of Fleming County is the one that served in the Kentucky House of Representatives. This James Crawford was married to Elizabeth Stockton.
  • Married to Rebecca Anderson — likely TRUE – land records indicate that the James Crawford of Indiana was married to Rebecca Anderson. 
  • Burial — likely TRUE – Find a Grave supports this burial information

Thus, I didn’t find this biography very helpful. However, it has shown me that I need to find corroborating documents for details in any biography that I find. 

This biography also illustrates why one might need to research everyone with the same name in a particular area. If I hadn’t researched these various James Crawford families, I would not have been able to identify aspects of this biography that are likely for the other James Crawfords.

Captain Love’s Company of Militia

On my way home from the Northeast Kansas Library System’s monthly board meeting, I stopped in Topeka to use the library and archives at the Kansas State Historical Society. One of the books I used was Montgomery County, Virginia: The First 100 Years. [Text by Judge C. W. Crush; Index by Mrs. Frances Terry Ingmire. St. Louis, MO: Mrs Terry Ingmire, 1982.]

On page 94 of this book is a list of Captain Love’s Company of Militia. Since James Crawford was listed as a lieutenant for the company, this list may prove useful to my Crawford research. By knowing the names of the various men in this company, I can search their pension records for mention of James Crawford (or any other Crawford).

Page 94

A list of Capt. Love’s Compy. of Militia — April 5th 1781
William Love, Capt.
James Crawford, Lt.
James Smith, Lt.
James White, Ensign
George Erving, Sergt
David Busher, Sergt
Philip Dutting
John Lashley
John King
Abram Gooding
Christley Vaught
George Vaught
Nathan Morgan
Archy Reagh
William Smith
Peter Neast
Warren Filpot
Adm Dulton
Peter Greger
Peter Laughton
James Fork
John Vaught
David Vaught
Jese James
James James
William Moore
John Brown
Geo. Douglas
Danl. Pearee
Edward Crawford
Michl Plankepicker
Gasper Vaught
David Kirkwood
William James
Kaser Wells
Hugh Con
Christopher Bulyes
Mikl. Burton
John Burton
Zac. Plankepicker
Michl. Branser
John Hunt