Saturday, November 12, 2011

Military Service Timeline Reconstructed

As a little nod to Veterans Day I thought I would post my research on James Franklin’s service records. Special, considering our Veterans date from 1775 to 2011 and James Franklin is in the 1775 group.

Prior to the Revolution James Franklin is listed as a Private with Captain Phillip Love's Company of Volunteers from Botetourt County, VA. They marched with the Virginia Militia in August of 1774 as part of Lord Dunmore's Colonial Army of Virginia against the Native Americans of the Ohio in West Virginia. Fascinating are the cast of characters that participated in this battle near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. So many on the
roster would ultimately ended up in the Cumberland Settlements with James Franklin. Also listed in Love’s Company is William Franklin (assumed brother who is wounded) and James Neeley. Sprinkled in other companies are well-known TN founders like Evan and James Shelby, William Neeley, Samuel and John Savage, James Knox and James Robertson. The majority of the men fighting were Militia from Fincastle or Botetourt County, VA.

Lord Dunmore was widely accused of pushing this battle to divert Virginians from differences with the royal administration of the American colony, and for this reason the fighting at
Point Pleasant has sometimes been called the first battle of the Revolution.

Tracking the Officers

Three people are tied to James Franklin’s Revolutionary service after Point Pleasant. DAR records list James as served with Captain Pleasant, Col. Parker and Captain Anderson in the Virginia 5th and 3rd Regiments. A thorough investigation of Revolutionary War service records confirm James Franklin listed in service with these officers.
Col. Josiah Parker
Also, in order to follow the paper trail of these men we have to understand the history of the Virginia 5th and 3rd Regiments of the Continental Army. The 5th Virginia Regiment was raised on December 28, 1775 at Richmond, Virginia for service with the U.S. Continental Army. The regiment saw action at the Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Siege of Charleston. The regiment was joined to the 3rd Virginia Regiment on May 12, 1779. General William Russell and Col. Josiah Parker were two of its commanders. Service records also indicate Captain Pleasant’s Company in the 5th is also recorded as Captain Mosby’s company.

Militia to Civilian to Patriot
Service with the VA Army around 1776 was not organized. A common occurrence was varied enlistment times. Since there was no draft or requirement to serve, sometimes service lengths were negotiated. The typical service time was one to three years. But, negotiating in 3 month pay clips was not uncommon. Many former militia who were used to serving close to home were not keen on relocating to far-away battle fields for long periods of time.

It is possible James takes a break from service sometime in early 1776.  It is during this time he marries Mary Lauderdale and relocates to the North Holston Settlements. The North Holston was then Washington County, VA. Eventually it became Sullivan County, NC then later TN. In 1775 the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals opened up this territory for settlement.

At some point in 1777 James enlisted in the VA 5th.  The VA 5th is famous for participation in Washington’s battle at Trenton and the winter in Valley Forge. It is unlikely James was in service at this point in the war. James Franklin’s records do not pick back up again until Private James Franklin is listed in Dec of 1776 on the company payroll of Captain John Pleasant of the 5th VA regiment. In July of 1777 Mosby’s 5th payroll notes state that soldiers who were owed back pay were left in Virginia and had only joined up with the company one month ago. Captain Mosby is in charge of the 5th under Col Parker in Nov of 1777 where Private Franklin is listed as on furlough. All muster rolls and pay rolls from this point forward have James with an official enlistment date of December 1777 with the 3rd VA Regiment stating a commitment of 3 years. But, it would seem he again was in and out of active service. It is well documented the the Continental Army had problems paying its soldiers. When he did finally return in the winter of 1778-79, he was promoted to Corporal of the VA 3rd under Anderson’s Company.

Middlebrook Muster Roll

In Nov 1778 and January 1779 James is still on the Muster Rolls of the 3rd VA reg under Captain John Anderson. The company is part of the famous Washington’s 1778-79 winter Second Middlebrook Encapment in Boundbrook, NJ. Middlebrook is written at the bottom of the roll. The 3rd VA Regiment would patrol in the NJ/NY area throughout 1779. No other records for James appear after December of 1779. The history of the 3rd VA regiment states it begins its participation in the Southern theatre in 1780. Most of the regiment was captured at Charlestown, South Carolina on May 12, 1780 by the British and the regiment was formally disbanded on November 15, 1783. All evidence points to James Franklin’s discharge at the end of 1779, before the 3rd marches to the Southern theatre and Charleston. He plans his move to the Cumberland by Spring of 1780.

RECAP James Franklin's Path to the Cumberland
1774 - James fought at the Battle of Point Pleasant
1776 - James and Mary Lauderdale are married and move to the North Holston Settlements
1777 - First child John born in the Holston in January
1777 - November listed by Continental Army as “on furlough”
1777 - Enlists for 3 year commitment in the Continental Army on December 1st. (Records show he only served 2 of the 3 - or they counted time in service around the beginning of the Revolution)
1778-79 Winter Encampment at Middlebook, NJ.
1779 - Second child, James, born in the Holston in October. This would put James and Mary together around January 1779. With furloughs in 1778 prior to his promotion to Corporal and encampment at Middlebrook there is certainly enough time for a second child to be born. Or the birth date is one year off, aligning with winter of 1777-78 right when James Franklin signs an official enlistment. I will need to find source record of James Jr.’s birth to better establish that timeline. But the encampment at Middlebook and 2nd child’s birth does not align well.
1780 - Isaac Franklin’s Bio states Mary and James arrive in the Cumberland in the Spring of 1780. It is possible just James arrived and Mary stayed behind until proper living quarters were established.
1780 - helped build Mansker Station
1780-1782 - Listed  in the Cumberland Settlements census. James Robertson names him as part of the “Immortal Seventy”
1782 - Daughter Jane stated to be born in the Holston. This would put James in the Holston around August of 1781 or Mary in the Cumberland? Jane may have been born in the Cumberland.
1783 - Helped Build Station Camp fort near present day Pilot Knob, Sumner County, TN
1786 - Land Grant, Pilot Knob/Station Camp Creek, Sumner County, TN (Then Davidson County, NC)

So while the puzzle pieces do not fit neatly together, there are some major periods of time that do align and overlap to match with records. One would assume the above timeline is approximately James Franklin’s and Mary Lauderdale’s path to the Cumberland Settlements based on James’ service in the Continental Army. These records also firmly establish James Franklin as a Patriot.

Sources: Revolutionary War Rolls. membership access to Revolutionary War Rolls and Service Records. Downloads of first source microfilm obtained in this search. Public Member Search.
Image posted: Middlebrook Muster Roll

Settlements along the Holston

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