Family Stories

John Gorin, Revolutionary War Soldier, Who Guarded General George Washington’s Home, Mount Vernon – Barren County

In memory of John Gorin, Born 1763, died August 5, 1837. Glasgow Municipal Cemetery, Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky.
John Gorin, Serg Continental Line, Rev War, War of 1812, May 15, 1763 – August 5, 1837. Glasgow Municipal Cemetery, Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky.

John Gorin, May 15, 1763 – August 5, 1837, was a Revolutionary soldier who lived in Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia, and joined the army as a Sergeant in 1777.  He volunteered several times (as many did), since tours of duty were generally three months.  But his most interesting duty was in spring of 1781 when he helped guard General George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.  According to Mary V. Thompson, a research historian at Mount Vernon, ‘The ship that threatened Mount Vernon in the spring of 1781 was named Savage.  George Washington was very angry when he learned that his farm manager, Lund Washington (a distant cousin), had given supplies to the British ship, in order to keep them from destroying Mount Vernon.  Seventeen enslaved people from Mount Vernon also left with the ship, when the Savage finally sailed away.  George Washington said that he would have preferred to have the plantation devastated, rather than have people think that he (or his manager) had given aid to the enemy.’

Even if our ancestors did not file for a pension, just reading these great remembrances can give us a clearer picture of the time period during and after the Revolution.  I’m sure these men sat and told their stories to several generations of interested listeners – to family, friends, neighbors and perhaps those passing through their neighborhoods.  Why don’t we have that experience more often – turn off the television or the IPAD and listen to your history through grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others.

In Kentucky, A History of the State, 1887, by Perrin, Battle and Kniffin, in the biography of John Gorin’s son, Franklin Gorin, it says that his father married in Fairfax County, Virginia, and soon after the Revolutionary War he immigrated to Kentucky in what is now Barren County.  He was among a group of pioneers who came and settled on a large body of land that later was the site of the town of Glasgow, donated by Gorin.  It also says that John Gorin’s parents were natives of France and came to Virginia about the middle of the 18th century, where John was born.

I have seen John Gorin’s first wife listed as Elizabeth Franklin, but have no proof.  They had a large number of children.  After his first wife died, he married Elizabeth Turpin Duvall.  The couple had three sons.

In the next post we will learn even more about John Gorin!

State of Kentucky, Barren County Court

On this 28th day of September 1832, personally appeared in open court before the Judge of the Circuit Court of Barren County, now sitting John Gorin, a resident of Barren County of the State of Kentucky, aged 69 years the 15th day of May last, 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 June 7th 1832.

He states that he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated, that he was born and raised in the County of Fairfax, State of Virginia, near Alexandria, and in the year 1777 volunteered as a soldier under Captain Thomas Pollard and Lieutenant William D. Neale in the Virginia Militia and was attached to Cols. Rumsey and Gilpin’s regiment and marched to Pennsylvania.  It there was attached to General Charles Scott’s brigade, under his excellency, General George Washington and was at the Battle of Germantown and shortly afterwards this day at the Legion Hill, assisted in dislodging the Hessians at the Schuylkill Bridge near Philadelphia.  We then prepared to go to the white marsh but did not go.  That he was then sent home for the winter.  He doesn’t recollect the exact period he served at this time but thinks it was about three months.  He obtained a legal discharge but has now lost it.  In this tour he acted as Sergeant.  Shortly after his return home the troops were called upon to guard General Washington’s house.  The British were cruising in the Potomac River, and stopped at the Mount Vernon plantation.  He again volunteered and went with the troops as a private, for some weeks, the number not now remembered.  From this service he received a discharge but cannot now tell what has become of it.  In 1781 he served as a Press Master in raising a troop of horse and went to the place of rendezvous.  He made then after several months, from the beginning of said service, dismissed for the present time being.  In a short time, the troops were again called for to join the army in Virginia to put a stop to the British army in that state and he immediately joined Captain Hugh Douglass’s company as an orderly sergeant and served in that capacity and attached to Col. Summers regiment, and took up the line of march and joined the army at

the Manbin (?) Hill behind Richmond, and was there attached to General Stevenson’s brigade.  Col. Summers was sent home.  Col. Meriweather and Major John Hardin took the command, being regular officers, but having at the time no command until hey took it as said.  He marched to Williamsburg, thence moved on to Yorktown; was at the taking of Lord Cornwallis and his army.  He was then discharged, but afterwards, assisted Cornwallis’ troops to Baltimore.  He served on this tour 4 or 5 months before the discharge was obtained and some time after the discharge, cannot recollect the exact time, he, after the surrender went home, but returned with wagons and met Cornwallis’ troops at Alexandria, from whence he assisted in conveying them and baggage to Baltimore.  He has now no documentary evidence, nor does he now know of any person whose testimony he can procure who can testify to his services.  He hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state or (if any) only on that of the agency of the State of Kentucky.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

John Gorin


1.  Where and in what year were you born?

Answer – In Fairfax County, Virginia, near Alexandria, on the 15th day of May 1763.

2.  Have you any record of your age; if so, where is it?

Answer – I had one, but cannot now tell where it is, probably in Virginia.  

3.  Where were you living when called into the service, where have you lived since the Revolutionary War, and where do you now live?

Answer – I was then living in the County of Fairfax, Virginia, near Alexandria.  I have lived in Kentucky ever since the year 1782.  From Philadelphia I came to Kentucky.  I had been to Philadelphia to superintend a cargo of tobacco.

4. How were you called into service; were you drafted, did you volunteer, or a substitute?

Answer.  I volunteered the 1st and second time, not being then on the Master Roll. I was appointed by the Col. of the County, Pressman, for the horse company, when I went with Douglass, I think I volunteered also.

5.  State the name of some of the regular officers who were with the troops where you worked; such continental and militia regiments as you can recollect and the general circumstances of your service?

Answer – General Washington, Lafayette, General Weedon, General Scott, General

Wayne, General Lee and others not now recollected.  3rd Virginia Regiment, I cannot recollect others.  I was at the Battle of Germantown, the dislodging of the Hessians at Schuylkill Bridge, the surrender of Cornwallis and assisted inn taking the French troops and their baggage from Jamestown, where they landed, to Williamsburg.

6.  Did you ever get a discharge from the service, if so, from whom and what has become of it?

Answer – I did get discharges, but as I never expected to have a use for them, I was carless about them and they are now lost.  I do particularly recollect by whom they were given, perhaps the later ones were given by Brigadier General Stephens.

7.  Did you ever receive a commission, if so by whom was it signed and what has become of it?

Answer – Not in the regular service.  I was appointed by the captain’s orderly sergeant.

8.  State the names of the person to whom you are known in your present neighborhood, who can testify to your character for veracity and their belief of your services as a soldier of the Revolution.

Answer – Captain William Edmonds, Col. Samuel Murrell, Judge John Garnett, William Logan, Edmund Rogers, Christopher Tompkins, Col. Thompson Chrenshard (?), General Covington, Richard Garnet, Henry Cratcher, Col. James Hall and many others.  Sworn to and submitted the day and year aforesaid.

John Gorin

We, William Logan and John McFerron, residing in the same County of Barren, do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with John Gorin, who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration; that we believe him to be 69 years of age; that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a soldier of the Revolution, and that we concur in that opinion.

Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid, William Logan, John McFerron

And the said court do hereby declare their opinion, after investigating the matter and putting the interrogations prescribed by the War Department, that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary soldier and served as he stated.  And the court further certifies that it appears to them that William Logan, who has signed the preceding certificate is a resident in the County of Barren and that John McFerron, who has also signed the same, is a resident in the County of

Barren, and are credible persons and that their statement is entitled to credit.

I, Richard Garnett, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Barren County, do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said Court in the matter of the application of John Gorin for a pension.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal of office this 28th day of September 1832.

Richard Garnett, Clerk

Kentucky 13937

John Gorin, Barren County, in the State of Kentucky, he was a Sergeant Corporal in the Company commanded by Captain Pollard of the regiment commanded by Col. Rumsey on the Virginia Line for 21 days, private 2 months and 10 days, Corporal 4 months, Sergeant

Subscribed on the Roll of Kentucky at the rate of 30 Dollars 88 Cents per annum, to commence on the 4th day of March, 1831.

Certificate of Pension issued the 15 day of July 1833 and sent to Hon. C. Thompkins, Glasgow.

Arrears to the 4th of March                     61.76

Semi-allowance ending 4th September 15.44


Revolutionary Claim, Act June 7, 1832, Recorded by Daniel Boyd, Clerk, Book C, Vol. 7, Page 10

John Gorin died August 5, 1837.

Elizabeth Gorin, John’s widow received a pension of $30.88 per annum beginning February 3, 1853.

2 replies »

  1. That was so interesting reading about John Gorin, I wish I could find more about my Kentucky ancestors in Hopkinsville, Christian, KY 1820’s, the Forbis Family

  2. Thank you for publishing this interesting information about my ancestor John Gorin. The information about the identity John Gorin’s first wife, Elizabeth Franklin, comes from a book called The Times of Long Ago written by their son Franklin Gorin. Elizabeth’s parents and siblings also settled in Barren County.

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