Family Stories

Samuel Haycraft, Sr., – Revolutionary War Soldier, Kentucky Pioneer

Haycraft Plot in Elizabethtown Cemetery, Hardin County, Kentucky. Samuel’s grave is covered by a plant, Elizabeth is buried beside him.

From The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Kentucky of the Dead and Living Men of the Nineteenth Century, J. M. Armstrong & Company, 1878.

I have permission from Southern Historical Press, Inc., to use the biographies in this volume on my blog.

Judge Samuel Haycraft, pioneer and farmer, was born September 11, 1752, in Virginia, and was the son of James Haycraft, an English sailor, who belonged to the British navy.  His father’s ship touched some American harbor, probably on the coast of Virginia, about 1740, and for some cause, he remained in this country.  He married in Virginia, and himself and wife both died, leaving three sons – James, Samuel and Joshua – who were raised by Col. John Nevill, a wealthy Virginian.  Samuel Haycraft received a good common-school education, and remained with Col. Nevill until he was of age, when, with a letter of recommendation, he started out to shift for himself in the world.  He entered the army as a common soldier, and served his time out, in the war of the Revolution.  While in his soldier’s uniform, he was married to Margaret Van Meter, [September 9, 1778] at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; in the fall of 1779, emigrated, with the whole Van Meter family, to Kentucky; in the spring of 1780 settled at Cave Spring, in what is now Hardin County; built a fort, in which he long resided with his family; shared in all the trials and dangers of the early settlement; kept pace with the growth of the country; served as sheriff of his county; was one of the judges of the Court of Quarter Sessions; was one of the Assistant Judges of he first Circuit Court organized at Elizabethtown; represented his county in the Legislature, in 1801 and 1809; was one of the first who built a house in Elizabethtown; was characteristically hospitable, his house being one of the popular resorts during the sessions of the early courts; was a man of great honor and probity of character, and was one of the most useful and highly esteemed of the old pioneer farmers of Kentucky.  He died October 15, 1823.  One of his children, at least, survives him.

Samuel Haycraft

Samuel Haycraft’s gravestone is overgrown by a plant.  I did my best to push it back to get a photo of the newer stone.

Sacred to the Memory of Samuel Haycraft departed this life the 15th October 1823, aged 71 years, 1 month and 4 days.

From Two Centuries in Elizabethtown and Hardin County, Kentucky, Daniel E. McClure, Jr., Hardin County Historical Society, 1979.

From Mr. McClure’s above-mentioned book, we find more information on the Haycraft family.  He says that several Haycraft brothers were among the first settlers in Hardin County, including Samuel, James and Joshua – sounds like the three brothers!

‘Samuel Haycraft, Sr., built a large house in Elizabethtown and raised his family there.  He owned considerable land in the Mill Creek section.  His farm adjoined that of the Lincolns [Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and son Abraham], the two families being good friends.  They were interested in Mill Creek church and attended it often.  Samuel Haycraft, Jr., inherited the land at the death of his father, and in turn his daughter, Sarah Maria (who married Stephen McMurtry), inherited it and it was the homeplace of the McMurtrys for many years.’

Samuel ‘Haycraft built the first mill in the valley in 1797.  Thomas Lincoln, father of the President, was employed by Mr. Haycraft in the building of it.’

Sacred to the Memory of Margaret Haycraft, consort of Samuel Haycraft, Sen., departed this life the 12th April 1843, aged 83 years, 3 months and 16 days.

Margaret Van Meter Haycraft’s gravestones, original and newer.

Records in the National Archives show that Samuel Haycraft enlisted to serve in the Revolutionary War for three years.  He served under Captain James Hook in the 13th Virginia Regiment, under Colonel William Russell, later under Captains Sullivan and Springer, then under Lieutenant Ralph.  The 13th regiment was changed to the 9th and commanded by Colonel John Gibson.  Samuel Haycraft was discharged August 2, 1779.  

The following muster roll is difficult to read – I did my best!  Notice Haycraft is spelled ‘Heycraft’.  At first I couldn’t find his record – always check a different spelling!

A Muster Roll of Capt. James Hook’s Company in the 13th Virginia Regiment in the service of the United States Commanded by Colonel William Russell, taken to 7th September 1777.  Commissioned December 19, 1776, James Hook Captain; Uriah Pringer, 1st Lieutenant, Arthur Gordon, 2nd Lieutenant, January 9th, 1777, John Harges, Ensign.


  1. William Parkison, the war, deserted July 25
  2. James Brandon, 3 years
  3. Thomas Tannishied, 3 years
  4. Thomas McClung, 3 years


  1. Cornelius Johnston, 3 years
  2. John Johnston, the war
  3. Morgan Kelly, the war, absent without leave
  4. Matthew Janoren, the war
  5. Daniel Murray, the war
  6. John Duncan, 3 years
  7. Thomas Heathway, the war, in hospital
  8. Henry Lawson, the war
  9. John Defavoun, 3 years
  10. Henry Charlton, 3 years
  11. Johny Colbert, 3 years
  12. Amos Hendrickson, the war, on command PB
  13. Benjamin Foman, 3 years, sick hospital
  14. Elijah Veach, 3 years, sick hospital
  15. James Athens, 3 years
  16. James English, 3 years
  17. Thomas Walker, 3 years


  1. William McNary, 3 years
  2. John Miller, 3 years
  3. James Gunner, 3 years

Drums and Fifes:

1.  John Aldrige

2.  William Coxson


18.  John James, the war, sick in hospital

19.  James Hannah, the war, Camp Cman.

20.  Frances Brannan, the war, PMburg

21.  Thomas Whine, the war, PMburg

22.  Samuel Street, 3 years

23.  John Mosby, 3 years, Dpg

24.  William McClung, 3 years

25.  William Wood, 3 years, Pisttsburg

26.  Samuel Heycraft, 3 years, Pittsburg

27.  Phillip Henthron, the war

28.  Cornelius Montgomery, the war

29.  John Hook, Volunteer, Pittsburg

30.  James Williams, deserted May 25th

31.  Thomas Burns, deserted May 25th

32.  Thomas Higgenbottom

33.  James Dawson, deserted May 25th

34.  Thomas Conner, deserted 24th

35.  James Conner, deserted 24th

36.  Timothy Joline, died 22nd February

37.  William Delenway, discharged 7th June

38.  Alex Leige, ?

40.  Benjamin White

41.  Zach Wilson

3 replies »

  1. Phyllis, what’s the best way to reach you? I’ve tried every email address I can find!

  2. I appreciate your work. I found one record that Col John Neville is actually a Haycraft, son of James. Any truth to this?

  3. You should google Transported. The true story of James Haycraft. Its a youtube video produced by a historian.

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