Family Stories

Revolutionary War Veterans In Hardin County

From Two Centuries in Elizabethtown and Hardin County Kentucky 1776-1976, by Daniel Elmo McClure, Jr., we find mention of many, many Revolutionary War veterans that settled in Hardin County.  The following excerpt names just a few.

Kentucky is said to have been settled by a greater proportion of Revolutionary War veterans than any other state west of the original thirteen colonies, and Hardin County shared in the great influx of those hardy men.  Two centuries of time and the incomplete records of that period render difficult any attempts at this time to list all of the old soldiers who came to what is now Hardin County.

Some names are recorded in military records, land grants and pension lists; however, many of the veterans did not apply for pensions, feeling they had only done their duty as citizens and patriots.  The writer recognizes that the following list of Revolutionary veterans is only a partial record and does not have the names of many who served during the long struggle.  In fact, many settlers came into the territory long before the war’s final battle at Yorktown.

Isaac Van Meter was born February 2, 1759, and died November 4, 1840, in Grayson County.  He enlisted in western Pennsylvania in 1778 as a private under Captain William Harrod and Colonel George Rogers Clark, served six months under Harrod, served six weeks in 1780 under Captain John Swan, was under Colonel Lynn in the fall of 1782, and later under Captain John Vertrees and Colonel John Floyd.  He was at Kaskaskia, Vincennes, Chillicothetown and Piqua in the Campaign in the Northwest.

Edward Rawlings, who married Rebecca Van Meter, served in the Revolutionary Army before coming to Elizabethtown.  He was born in 1745, and died in 1796.

Isaac Vertrees, born April 15, 1755, a son of Jacob Vertrees, who with his brother, John, fled from France to America, was a private and fought in the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania, and at Boundbrook.  He died in Meade County in 1822.  John rose to the rank of captain and later settled in Elizabethtown.  Isaac served in the8th Regiment of Pennsylvania Line.

General John Thomas, who rose to major general in the War of 1812, was a captain in the Revolution.

Captain John Vertrees (family name was originally Van Tress) fought at the Battle of King’s Mountain, October 7, 1780.  Prior to that he was one of the 175 Virginia volunteers of George Rogers Clark called by the Indians ‘the Long Knives’ in the campaign of the Northwest.  He took up 1,300 acres of land in Severn’s Valley under Virginia land warrants in 1781.  He died in Elizabethtown in 1803.

Captain John Swan, whose wife was Elizabeth Van Meter, was killed by Indians on the Ohio River enroute to Kentucky.

Colonel Francis Slaughter, who died in Elizabethtown in 1805, was a native of Essex County, Virginia.  Another record shows his birth as 1730 in Culpeper County, Virginia.

Captain Thomas Helm, one of the settlers who built the three forts at the site of Elizabethtown in the fall of 1780, was a lieutenant in the Colonial Army, and was a native of Virginia.

Samuel Haycraft, Sr., another of the builders of forts at Elizabethtown, was likewise a veteran of the Revolution.

Colonel Andrew Hynes, the third builder of a fort in Severn’s Valley, saw Revolutionary service.


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