Bennett Greenwell Revolutionary War Pension Application

Sacred to the memory of Bennett Greenwell, born December 7, 1761, died July 12, 1838, aged 77 years.  ‘May he rest in peace.’  Revolutionary Soldier, Bennett Greenwell, 1777-1781, placed by Lady Washington Chapter, DAR, Houston, Texas.  St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, Scott County, Kentucky.

Bennett Greenwell, a citizen of Scott County, Kentucky, was born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, in 1761, and served his country during the American Revolution years of 1777 to the close of the war in 1781.

During those years, at the age of 16-21, he risked his life guarding a portion of the Maryland coast along the Potomac River – from Poplar Hill Creek to Flood’s Creek (notated in purple in the middle of the photo).  He kept horses at the ready to take expresses of information to those troops nearby.  The British gun vessel Roebuck was very detrimental to American navy ships, so it was important to know its location.  I could not find information on the Foy, but Mr. Greenwell’s spelling of its name may not have been correct.  This was the most interesting revolutionary account by a pensioner that I have read.

State of Kentucky, Franklin County

On this 6th day of February 1833, personally appeared before the Honorable Samuel Todd, sole Judge of the Franklin Circuit Court, now in session in the capital in Frankfort, Bennett Greenwell, a resident of the County of Scott and State of Kentucky, aged seventy-one years, 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 the 7th 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States and served as herein stated:

That, on the 8th day of December 1777, he entered the service of the United States as a volunteer, in Captain John Greenwell’s company of volunteer militia, who acted as

minute men in the Maryland Militia, that Captain John Greenwell, with his company, was engaged from December 1777, until the close of the Revolutionary War, in guarding that part of Maryland, which lies between the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers on the Chesapeake Bay; that the said Bennet Greenwell was stationed, by Captain John Greenwell, on that part of the Potomac which lies between Poplar Hill Creek and Flood’s Creek, being about two miles on said river; that the duty assigned to him was to guard that portion of the Potomac, keep a good lookout for the British rebels and give immediate notice to Captain John Greenwell’s company of militia, or to Captain Shelton’s company of light horse, or to any other troops that might be nearest to his station when it should become necessary for him to give the alarm; that he kept two horses constantly in the stable, to be always ready to carry the expresses

during the whole of the time he was in the service, which was from the 8th of December 1777 until the close of the war, in October 1781; that he frequently carried expresses during the period intervened between December 1777 and October 1781; that whilst he as engaged in watching the Potomac and carrying expresses as aforesaid, several British vessels sailed up the Potomac and committed depredations on the inhabitants upon the Maryland shore, that he recollects particularly two British 174 gun vessels, the Roebuck and the Foy, which frequently sailed up the Potomac, that on one occasion they burnt the house of Hubert Blackstone at the mouth of Clement’s Bay (the other purple line), which empties in to the Potomac at Blackstone’s Island (the green island circled) and the crew took a great many beeves and nails from the island; at another time they burnt William Gwider’s house at Piney Point neck (circled bottom right); that on all of these occasions he carried his expresses to the nearest company to his said station; several of these expresses were carried to Captain John Greenwell,

several to Captain Charles Shelton, who commanded the light horse; several to Bennet Raighly, the lieutenant in said troop of horse and several to Bennett Coombs, the lieutenant of Captain John Greenwell’s company of volunteer militia.  During the whole of the period from December 1777 until the close of the war, as aforesaid, he was engaged as one of Captain Greenwell’s company, and by his orders, in watching the two miles on the Potomac and in all necessary occasions carrying expresses.  He further states that he never received any written discharge from the service; but that after the news was received of the capture of Cornwallis, Captain John Greenwell, who was his relative, told him that the war was over and that he was discharged.  He has no documentary evidence and knows of no person by whom he can positively prove the aforesaid services, except William Fenwick of Franklin County, Kentucky, who is about seventy-five years of age; whose testimony he will attach to this statement.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or

annuity, except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of the United States.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

Bennett Greenwell

Questions put to the applicant by the Court:

Where and in what year were you born?  Answer, I was born in the County of St. Mary in the State of Maryland on the 7th day of December 1761.

Have you any record of your age and if so where is it?  Answer, I have none, but my father had which was in the possession of my brother Joseph in 1810 when I was last in Maryland, and I then took a copy from it, which I have examined and know it to be as stated above.

Where were you living when called into the service?  Where have you lived since the revolution?  And where do you now live?  Answer, I lived when called into the service in St. Mary’s County in Maryland, where I resided until 1795, when I moved to Kentucky and settled on the

waters of Elkhorn in Scott County, Kentucky, where I have resided ever since.

How were you called into the service?  Were you drafted?  Or did you volunteer?  Or were you a substitute and, if so, for whom?  Answer, I volunteered.

State the names of some of the regular officers, who were with the troops where you served; such continental and militia regiments as you can recollect, and the general circumstances of your service.  Answer, there were no regular officers with the troops where I served and no regiments wither of continental troops or militia.  The only troops where I served were the light horse cavalry, and volunteers or militia, to act as light troops, to fly from point to point, as occasion might require, to repel the predatory invasions from the British shipping along the Maryland shore of the Chesapeake Bay, between the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, and also along the Maryland shore of both those rivers.

Did you ever receive a discharge for the service, and if so, by whom was it given and what has become of it?  Answer, I never received any other discharge than a verbal one from Captain John Greenwell

at the close of the war.

State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood, and who can testify as to your character for veracity, and their belief of your services as a soldier of the revolution.  Answer, I am well acquainted with Col. Richard M. Johnson, who is now in congress; I am acquainted with Mr. William Fenwick, who can testify as to my service as a soldier in the revolution, and with Mr. Samuel P. Weisiger, Major J. J. Belt, Stephen Fenwick and many others who can testify as to my character for veracity.

We, William Fenwick, Joseph J. Belt, Stephen Fenwick and Joseph Smith, citizens residing in the county of Franklin and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Bennett Greenwell, who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration; that we believe him to be seventy-one 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 Fenwick, J. Smith, Joseph J. Belt, Stephen Fenwick

And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion after the investigation of 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 Fenwick, Joseph Smith, Joseph Belt and Stephen Fenwick, who have signed the preceding certificate are residents of the County of Franklin and state aforesaid, and as credible persons and that their statement is entitled to credit.

State of Kentucky, Franklin County

I, Philip Sargent, clerk of the Franklin Circuit Court, in the State of Kentucky, do certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said Court in the matter of the application of Bennet Greenwell for a pension.

In testimony whereof, I have hereto set my hand as clerk and affixed the seal of said Court this 6th day of February 1833.

Philip Sargent.

Bennett Greenwell received a pension of $40 per year for his military service during the Revolutionary War.

1881 Will of James Theophilus Harris – Nelson County

James Theophilus Harris married Elizabeth Curry November 27, 1866.  Theophilus was born in 1812 and on the marriage certificate it says they were both of age.

The couple was married for fifteen years before Theophilus’ death in 1881.  His will leaves everything to his wife and daughter, Elizabeth and Minnie Elizabeth.

Will of James Theophilus Harris

Nelson County Will Book 19, Pages 42-43

I, James Theophilus Harris, of Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky, do make the following my last will and testament.

I give to my wife, Lizzie Harris, and my daughter, Mattie E. Harris, all my estate of every kind during their joint lives and then to the survivor of them during the life of said survivor.  And should my said daughter leave children or descendants of her body then at the death of my said daughter and the termination of the estates for life or lives above mentioned, then my estate or such as then may be on hand to go to such child or children of hers in fee as the statute would distribute to them.

But should my daughter die without descendants then one-half of my estate to pass to my brothers and sisters or their descendants and the other half to pass to such of my wife’s people as would be her heirs at law and they to take same as her heirs would take from her.

Such of my estate as my wife might think necessary to sell and dispose of, she hereby is empowered to sell and convey and to use and control the proceeds as may be required for the comfortable support of herself and the support and education of my daughter.  This power is also given her over my personal estate to use and control for the same purpose.  I hereby appoint my wife Executrix of this my last will and testament and direct that she may qualify as such without giving security as executrix on her bond.

Given under my hand this the 30th day of June 1881

J. T. Harris

Witnessed by us in the presence of testator and each other this 30th June 1881.

J. W. Muir, Joseph Brown

State of Kentucky                                       August Term

Nelson County Court                                 August 8, 1881

A writing purporting to be the last will and testament of James T. Harris, deceased, was this day produced in open Court and duly proven by the oath of J. W. Muir, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, who also proved the signature of Joseph Brown, the other subscribing witness, both of whom signed same in the presence of each other and in the presence of, and at the request of the Testator, who then and there signed and published same as and for his last will and testament.

Wherefore said writing is ordered to be recorded as such, which is done.

Att.  William H. Rowan, Clerk, By Ansel B. Donohoo, Deputy Clerk

James T. Harris, born February 3, 1812, died July 14, 1881.  Bardstown City Cemetery, Nelson County, Kentucky.

What a beautiful sentiment on the back of Mr. Harris’ stone.

We have laid him to rest, we have folded the pale hands over the pulseless breast; closed the tired eyes; covered him over with sweet flowers, loves own offerings – and laid him away for the resurrection morn, when there shall be oh such a glad reunion of the loved and lost.’

Three Gentlemen’s Civil War Era Photos

I have three photos to share with you today.  All are carte-de-visite, size 2.5 x 4 inches.  And they are from the Civil War era – 1860-1865.

This first photo is a good example of the oversized clothing men wore at this time.  The sleeves of the jacket are huge!  The lapels, wide.  A very thin tie, tied in a simple bow was the norm for this time period.  As you can tell the photo is in bad shape.  But  you can still see what a handsome gentleman he was.

This gentleman’s tie is the same as the first.  Even the pants were oversized in this era.  Only the top button on the vest is fastened – same as in the first photo.  Don’t you love his curly hair!

Our third photo is full-length.  You can see how the length of the coat comes to the the knees.  This gentleman’s vest matches his pants and is fully buttoned.  Again that curly hair!  He wears a pinky ring on his left hand.

All three photos are good examples of how your ancestors might have dressed during the 1860’s.


George Rogers Clark and Locust Grove – Jefferson County

Locust Grove decorated for Christmas in the traditional manor of the 1810’s.

Information on the family of George Rogers Clark is taken from articles written for The Filson Club History Quarterly 1935-1940, by Rogers Clark Ballard Thurston.  In his latter years, General Clark lived with his sister, Lucy, who married William Croghan.  Their home was Locust Grove, located on Blankenbaker Road near the Ohio River.  Ritchey and I love to visit Locust Grove – in addition to being open all year, special events are held – a spring garden show in May, a Jane Austen festival in July, an 18th Century Market Fair the last week in October and Christmas at Locust Grove in December.  I will share some photos we’ve taken.

Tea during the Christmas festivities.

George Rogers Clark was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, in 1752.  Within a few years his family moved to Caroline County, Virginia.  Parents John Clark and Ann Rogers had ten children, all born in Virginia:  Jonathan; George Rogers; Ann; John, Jr.; Richard; Edmund; Lucy; Elizabeth; William and Frances Eleanor.  Some of the general’s family moved to the Louisville area of Kentucky – including his parents.  His parents home, Mulberry Hill, was on the eastern outskirts of Louisville, on Beargrass Creek.  Of the six sons of John and Ann Clark, five served as commissioned officers and the youngest, William, was one-half of the Lewis and Clark duo whose famous expedition to the northwest was made 1804-1806.

Cooking Carolina rice and his Lordship’s beef – delicious together in a bowl – at the 18th Century Market Fair!

With bread and cheese we had quite a sumptuous meal!

George Rogers Clark was a surveyor and as early as 1772 made a trip down the Ohio River.  By 1776 he stayed in Kentucky and became the one to whom others in the state looked to for advice and leadership.  For a short time Clark was at Ford Harrod in Mercer County.

Ritchey talking about cannon and shot.

The general and I discussing his last visit to Washington City.

And jugglers!

In 1809 General Clark stumbled and fell at the fireplace and one of his legs was burned.  Erysipelas set in and his leg was amputated above the knee.  It was at this time that he came to live with his sister and brother-in-law at Locust Grove.  He lived an additional nine years, dying February 13, 1818.  Immediate survivors were his brother William, in St. Louis, and three sisters, Ann Gwathmey, Lucy Croghan and Fanny Fitzhugh.  He was buried in the Croghan family cemetery at Locust Grove.

General George Rogers Clark, November 9, 1752, died February 13, 1818.  Croghan Family Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

In 1869, from a bequest from Isaac Clark, son of Jonathan, lots were procured in Cave Hill Cemetery, and many of the graves were moved to that location, including General Clark’s.

General George Rogers Clark’s burial spot at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.



1792 Denham – Trusnao Marriage Bond – Madison County

Know all men by these presents that we, John Denham and David White, are held and firmly bound unto His Excellency, the Governor, Isaac Shelby, Esquire, Governor or Chief Magistrate of this Commonwealth, in the sum of fifty pounds to the which payment well and truly to be made to said Governor or his successors.  We bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators, firmly by these presents, sealed and dated this 16th day of September 1792.

The condition of this obligation is such that whereas there is a marriage shortly intended to be had and solemnized between the above bound John Denham and Ellendar Trusnao, both of Madison County.  If there be no lawful cause to obstruct the same then this obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force, power and virtue.

John Denham, David White

Signed, sealed and acknowledged in the presence of Will Irvine.

1853-1903 Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Matt Goff – Daviess County

The Messenger Inquirer, Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Sunday, April 5, 1903

A Golden Wedding

Mr. and Mrs. Matt Goff, two of the most highly respected old people of the county, celebrated their golden wedding last Sunday at their beautiful country home near Sorgho.  They are a wonderfully preserved couple.  Mr. Goff is seventy-six years old, but is as active as most men who are twenty years younger.  Mrs. Goff is sixty-eight and has lost but little of the grace and none of the cheerful brightness of her former years.  Mr. Goff was born at Taylorsville, Kentucky, and Mrs. Goff, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Onan, at New Castle, Kentucky, both removing to Daviess County in their youth.  On the morning of March 29, 1853, they mounted their horses, accompanied by a number of their friends, who adopted the same mode of travel, and rode to St. Alphonsus Church, where their lives were united and their destines made one.  It was a happy wedding and was followed by a happy married life.  They have always lived on the farm they now occupy, and will make it their home until they are called from earth.  They have three daughters, Mrs. J. I. Molohar, of Henderson; Mrs. Edward Stiff, of Calhoun, and Miss Edna Goff of Sorgho, and three sons, Mr. T. S. Goff, of Aveline Kansas, and Messrs. Robert and Sid Goff of Sorgho.  The celebration of their golden wedding was not elaborate, only their children and a few of their neighbors being in attendance, but the presents received were numerous and handsome.  Both declared that they enjoyed their fiftieth wedding anniversary with as much zest as they did their first, which was not doubted by any of

those who saw them as they caressed and smiled upon each other.

James B. Davenport Confederate Soldier – Larue County

James B. Daveport, Pvt., Co K, 8 KY Cav, Confederate States, February 9, 1838 – October 20, 1919.  Red Hill Cemetery, Larue County, Kentucky.

James B. Davenport was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War.  In the 1860 census, just before the beginning of the war, he lived in the household of Daniel W. Dyer and his family, along with four others.  Mr. Dyer was a dry goods merchant and I believe several of these men worked for him.  James, at the age of 21, was a stove merchant.

James Davenport was 24 years of age when he joined Company K, 4th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry.  He joined October 1, 1862, in Danville, Kentucky, for a three year period, and mustered in at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, November 6, 1862.

He was taken prisoner at Cheshire, Ohio, July 20, 1863, and was not released until towards the end of the war on February 24, 1865.

James took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States on February 24, 1865, at Camp Douglas, Illinois.  He was fair of complexion with dark hair and grey eyes, five feet eight and one-half inches in height.

After the war James Davenport returned to Larue County.  He married Fannie E. Barnes on October 7, 1869.  The records show that the gentleman was of age and the guardian of the lady gave consent in person.

One interesting note is the witnesses for their wedding – Ben Dyer and Nannie Dyer.  I’m sure these were members of the family James lived with before the war.

In the 1870 census for Larue County the newlyweds lived in their own household, James was 31 and Fannie 20.  James was a dry goods merchant with a personal estate of $7,500.

In 1900 the couple are 61 and 50, respectively.  They have been married for 30 years and have had four children, two living.  With them is daughter Florence, 23.  Florence must have married shortly afterwards, since in 1910 the couple are living alone.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wednesday, July 24, 1912.

Fannie Davenport succumbed to tuberculosis on July 22, 1912.  She was survived by her husband and two children, Florence and Ernest.  Daughter Florence died of the same disease two years later.

James lived another seven years.  I could find no obituary for him.

J. B. Davenport, September 9, 1838 – October 20, 1919.  Fannie E., his wife, November 11, 1849 – July 22, 1912.  C. N. McGill, March 3, 1869 – August 2, 1937.  Florence D., his wife, March 28, 1877 – April 19, 1914.

Beside this gravestone are those for Daniel W. Dyer and his wife.