Family Stories

‘Devil Tom’ Thomas McClanahan – Revolutionary War Veteran

In Memory of Thomas McClanahan, son of Rev. William and Mary Marshall McClanahan, born Westmoreland County, Virginia, 1753, died Simpson County, Kentucky, October 15, 1845. A Revolutionary War Soldier under Captain John Green and Col. Patrick Henry 1775. Married Ann Green 1778, Tabitha Williams 1817. Moved to Kentucky 1788.

Thomas Marshall McClanahan has rested in Green Lawn Cemetery in Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky, for 177 years. A native of Westmoreland County, Virginia, he was the son of Reverend William Thomas McClanahan and Mary Sophronia Marshall. Thomas’ grandfather, William, came from Ireland – as if you didn’t recognize that ancestry from the surname! Thomas married Ann Green March 14, 1778, in Culpeper County, Virginia, (although I have also seen the marriage listed from Fauquier County, Virginia, same date). After her death on April 10, 1816, Thomas married Tabitha Williams in 1817. It is said he and his two wives had a total of 22 children. Unfortunately the Simpson County Courthouse burned May 17, 1882, with all early records going up in flames. More on Devil Tom McClanahan in a future post.

The Franklin Favorite, Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky

Thursday, October 13, 2005

McClanahan Grave Marking Held Oct. 2

The Thomas McClanahan monument in Greenlawn Cemetery was the site of a grave marking ceremony held Oct. 2.

Conducted by the descendants of Thomas McClanahan, the ceremony was directed by Larry D. McClanahan, former President General Sons of the American Revolution.  Members of the Thruston Chapter, KYSSAAR and the Tennessee Society SAR participated in the Revolutionary War Color Guard that presented the national and SAR flags.

Local families representing the descendants were Mary Leslie and Willis Yokely, Lucy and Carl Stoner, Beck Scearce, Mr. and Ms. Merle Mosely, Ms. Emily Downing, Mary Ann Downing, Sue and Dr. Dewey Wood, Jackie and Larry Powell from Russellville attended with Emily Downing being a great-granddaughter of Thomas.

Thomas, known as “Devil Thom” McClanahan was born in 1753 to the Rev. William and Mary Marshall McClanahan.  He began his military service with the Continental Regiments of Virginia in late 1775 serving under Col. Patrick Henry and Thomas’ uncle, Thomas Marshall, father of future Chief Supreme Court Justice John Marshall.  He served in the Virginia Line in the New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania battles and in Valley Forge during the terrible winter of 1777-78.

Later he served briefly under Captain Richard Taylor, President Zachary Taylor’s father, before moving to western Virginia with his first wife, Ann Green.  By 1780 he was in Boonesborough, Kentucky, where he served as a ranger lieutenant and Indian scout during the latter war years.

In 1800 he moved from Bourbon County, Kentucky, to the Simpson County portion of Logan County.  After the death of Ann Green he married Tabitha Williams.  McClanahan died in 1845 with 20 of the 22 children he had by the two wives still living.

Judge Edward F. Butler, SAR Genealogist General, and a descendant of Thomas, delivered remarks.  Michael McClanahan and Richard McClanahan gave the invocation and benediction.  David Sympson, SAR Historian General gave the national and SAR pledges.  Greetings were provided by Dr. Will Schrader, President KYSSAR, Jim Thweatt past president TNSSAR and Sara Jo Caldwell, Regent Simpson Chapter KYSDAR.

Other family members at the ceremony included Dorothea Taylor, Connie, Chester and Jason Adamson of Florida; Jeraldine Lewis of Oregon, Vickie Hager of Franklin, Robin Collins of Portland and Marta Stinson, Meredith, Jack, Gracie and Mike Dyer and Betty McClanahan and Donna McClanahan of Nashville.

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