Tag Archives: Jesse Head

Thomas Kyle – Minister and Revolutionary War Veteran

A few days ago I published some Mercer County marriage returns by a Rev. Thomas Kyle.  I have found that he was also a Revolutionary War soldier, and is buried in the Old Mud Cemetery, along with many other veterans.  Thomas Kyle was a son of James Kyle and Mary McArthur, of Pennsylvania.  At the young age of seventeen he joined the Revolutionary army and fought in many battles.  He came to Kentucky about 1800.  The following is his request for pension for his military service.

State of Kentucky – Mercer County Court

On this 6th day of May 1833 personally appeared in open court Thomas Kyle, Sr., a resident citizen and clergyman in Mercer County and State of Kentucky, aged seventy-five years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declarations in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June the 7th 1832.

That he left home in July 1775, then in his seventeenth year, and entered the army at Bunker Hill and in a very short time thereafter we fought the battle, this was his own voluntary act, he belongs to no particular detachment in this battle, he then remained with the main army until the Battle of Long Island when I became detached to General Putnam and rode as an express for him until the Battle of White Springs, after which we were driven out of the York State and through the Jersey State across the Delaware into Pennsylvania, when we received reinforcements and re-crossed the Delaware and came up with the Hessians at Trenton and defeated them with dreadful loss, and in a few days after we defeated the British at Princeton from which place we marched to Kingston and tore up the bridge and got to Somerset that night and the next morning we drew rations the first that we had got for three days.  General Washington then went into winter quarters with the main army at Morristown and Putnam with his detachment at Princeton.  Then I returned home to rest and get some clothing.  And in the winter of 1777, I volunteered for a militia tour under my friend and acquaintance Captain James Gibson of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and marched to Philadelphia and got our arms repaired and from thence we marched to Princeton and I saw General Putnam whose headquarters was in a Stockton brick house, and remained with him upwards of

four months when we were honorably discharged by General Putnam from his brigade, and we returned home.  The British having come around and landed at the head of Elkton and marched in the direction of Brandywine.  I without delay joined the detachment of General Armstrong and marched and we met the enemy at Brandywine when we were defeated.  I remained with the army until after the Battle of Germantown, both which battles were fought in 1777, after which I returned home, and in the year aforesaid, I cannot recollect the month, I joined Captain Crouch’s Company of volunteers and served a militia tour of three months during this tour we were marched to a place called White March Mills above Germantown, from this place we marched under General Irvine and attacked the British at Chestnut Hill and were defeated with the loss of General Irvine taken prisoner and 15 or 20 killed and wounded and we retreated into this country and our tour of three months having expired we were discharged at Lancaster in Pennsylvania and returned home.  And in the year 1778 or 9, I cannot recollect which, I volunteered with Captains Brady and Campleton and marched up the western branch of the Susquehanna, when the Indians had broke out and were committing murders and depredations upon the inhabitants and succeeded in rescuing the inhabitants.  During this time we suffered very much being exposed to all kinds of weather.  Again in the year 1779 I volunteered and under Captain Campleton a tour of three months our principal station was at Wallace Mills.  We marched up the eastern branch of the Susquehanna and acted as security and spies against the Indians and built stockades and block houses and gathered in the inhabitants.  He states that he would have had sufficient evidence of his service during the War of the Revolution, but he met with the

loss of having his house burned up together with money and papers he will recollect of having his discharges filed away in his desk, and that he has no documentary evidence of his service.  He hereby relinquishes every other claim whatever to a pension except this present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

Thomas Kyle

We, Jesse Head, a clergyman residing in Mercer County, and Peter Huff, residing in the same county and state, do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Thomas Kyle, a faithful and pious clergyman, who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration that we believe him to be the age he states himself to be in his declaration, and we do know that he is respected and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a brave and faithful soldier of the Revolution.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

Jesse Head, Peter Huff

Mercer County May County Court 1833

And the said Court do hereby declare this a pension after the investigation of the matter and after putting the interrogation prescribed by the War Department that the above named application was a Revolutionary soldier and served as he states and that the Court further certifies that it appears to them that Jesse Head, who has signed the preceding certificate is a clergyman resident in Mercer County and that Peter Huff, who has also signed the same is a resident citizen in said county and is a credible person and that their statement is entitled to credit, and we do further certify that Thomas Kyle, the applicant for a pension herein, and Jesse Head, a clergyman, and Peter Huff, severally came into Court and swore to the statements by them respectively subscribed.

I, Thomas Allin Jr., Clerk of the Mercer County Court, do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said Court in the matter of the application of Thomas Kyle for a pension.

In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal of office this 6th day of May 1833.  Thomas Allin, Jr., Clerk Mercer County Court


Statement shewing the service of Thomas Kyle, Mercer County Kentucky

Entered July 1775, private, given one year of service.  Fought during the battles of bunker Hill, Long Island, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown.

Thomas Kyle, Private, General Putnam’s Brigade, Pennsylvania Line, Revolutionary War.  1757-1846.  Bunker Hill, Trenton, Germantown.  Old Mud Cemetery, Mercer County, Kentucky.

Mercer County Clerk

IMG_0272I want to share with you today one of my favorite places – the Mercer County Clerk’s Office in Harrodsburg (about ten minutes away from my home – a little more if you are caught by the train)!  I could spend hours and hours in here – there is just that much history!  The picture above shows the older records in one section of the very large room.

A few years ago our old courthouse was torn down to build a new one – and most of the offices (circuit clerk, sheriff, judicial, etc.) were transferred to what used to be the old Gateway building, a former grocery store.   The County Clerk was housed in what was known as the Court House Annex, across the street from the original court house.  Once the new building was completed the Judicial Courts and the Circuit Clerk moved into the new court house, and the County Clerk was moved to the Gateway building.

IMG_0273This room is filled with old records!

IMG_0274Marriage bonds, court orders, wills, deeds, guardianship bonds, minutes – numerous records from about the 1780’s!

IMG_0276This drawer holds the oldest marriage bonds and parental consents.

IMG_0277Inside it looks like a jumble of old papers – but what information those papers hold.  I would like to organize this one day – perhaps the clerk will allow me!  These precious pieces of paper must be handled very carefully!

IMG_0278This is the marriage license for Don C. Dixon and Mary J. Allin – Mary Jouett Allin, who is the daughter of the man issuing the license – Thomas Allin, County Clerk – first clerk of Mercer County – and who continued until June of 1833 due to his death during the cholera epidemic.

IMG_0285This is a marriage return by Jesse Head, minister.  Some were excellent about turning in their marriages, some not so good!

IMG_0287This is a little later marriage license and certificate – 1866.  It was printed on very thin paper, almost like tissue paper.

IMG_0289One of my goals for this day was to copy of the will of Lewis Rose.  If you remember he was included in a blog I wrote about Memorial Acre at Fort Harrod.

IMG_0290As you can imagine this will be a future blog!

Always remember that the county clerk’s office is a valuable source for genealogy research.  In almost every county the clerk has been very helpful to me – and will be to you!  They realize that some of us have been at this a long time – and some are brand new to genealogy research!  Which County Clerk’s offices have you visited?



Fort Harrod and Its Pioneer Graveyard


Reproduction of Fort Harrod

I feel very fortunate to live in a small Kentucky town known as the “Birthplace of the West”.  Harrodsburg was the only colonial city, and first permanent settlement, west of the Allegheny and Appalachian Mountains.  Broadway Street has the distinction of being the oldest street west of those mountains.  It was settled in 1774 by James Harrod of Pennsylvania.  The fort was originally to be built much closer to what is now the small town of Burgin, but the huge number of bison that consistently ran through that area, made it impossible.

Harrodsburg was first the county seat of Fincastle County, Virginia, then Kentucky County, Virginia.  When Kentucky County was divided in three counties, Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln, Harrodsburg continued to the be county seat of Lincoln.  In 1785 Mercer County was formed and retained Harrodsburg as the county seat.  Stanford became the new county seat for Lincoln.


Osage Orange Tree

Fort Harrod is now a reproduction that draws many visitors each year.  It has been a popular field trip for students from the far reaches of the state – and out of state – and even our own children make their way there at least once during their years of education.  And most take their pictures lined on the huge, sprawling limbs of the Osage Orange Tree.

My mother was a reenactor one year at the fort, sitting in one of the cabins weaving baskets, in her colonial costume, and sometimes making lye soap over an open fire!  She could certainly tell some stories!  In fact, the gift shop sold out of lye soap the days mom was there!


Pioneer Graveyard at Fort Harrod


The McAfee Memorial Stile, honoring The McAfee Pioneers, James McAfee, Jr., 1736-1811; George McAfee, 1740-1803; Robert McAfee, 1745-1795; Samuel McAfee, 1748-1801; William McAfee, 1750-1780, sons of James McAfee, Sr., and Jane McMichael McAfee.  The McAfee brothers came to Kentucky in 1773 and were the original founders of the Salt River settlement.  Several of the brothers were with George Rogers Clark on memorable expeditions.  They were in the vanguard of those civilizing agencies, which were to redeem the wilderness and make it a fruitful field and the home of a Christian people.  They brought with them not only the axe, the hunting knife and the rifle, but the implements of peaceful and beneficent industry and above the bible respect for law and order and reverence for the Sabbath Day.  They established a community in 1779 where the town of McAfee stands.  A posterity rises up and calls them blessed.  June 16, 1929.


Pioneer Graveyard – This graveyard was just south of Fort Harrod.  The original fort was located on the hill where our present day parking lot is.  Over 480 grave stones still remain in this pioneer graveyard.


This historic cemetery was used from 1775 when the fort was built, until about 1833.  Most of the graves up to 1800 are only marked by rough unlettered stones.  The different grave markings clearly define the progress of civilization at the date of burial, and the materials to be had at the time.


Ann McGinty

Noted pioneer woman Ann McGinty lies buried here.  She brought the first spinning wheel to Kentucky.  She died in 1815.  A Revolutionary Patriot symbol was placed on here stone by the Ann Poage Chapter of the D. A. R.


This is said to be the grave of Thomas Jefferson Head, a son of Jesse Head, the pioneer preacher who united the parents of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, in 1806.  Thomas Jefferson Head died in 1823.


An Unknown Grave


Jane, born August 14, 1810

James Harrod, who lead the first pioneers to Harrodsburg, is not buried in this cemetery.  He failed to return from one of his frequent hunting expeditions and his fate was never known.


Thank you for visiting Harrodsburg with me today!  Hopefully one day you can see it in person!




Revolutionary War Pensions – James Sleet

from Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky

James Sleet and Rachel Sleet, R9658

State of Kentucky, Mercer County, 1833, age 81.  States that he entered the service in 1777 under Captain Thomas Barber of Orange County, Virginia, and marched to Bottom’s Bridge and served a tour of three months, again enlisted 1779 or 1780 and acted as a wagon master, served nine months under Captain Charles Bruce in 1780 or 1781, he was drafted again and marched towards Richmond.

In 1781 he was drafted for a tour of six months in Orange County, Virginia, and joined the army in Captain George Waugh’s company under General Washington.  Jesse Head, clergyman in Washington County, Kentucky, age 70 (1833) and Thomas McIntire, age 58, and near neighbors to the soldier, state that they are well acquainted with him.

Owen County, Kentucky.  Deposition of Sally Thornton, taken at the home of Luke Thornton, November 13, 1838, states that she is the daughter of James Sleet, that she is age 58, and well remembers when her father got married to her stepmother, Rachel Sleet, and knows that the marriage took place in 1789.

Certified copy of the marriage records of the following.

Culpeper County Court Clerk’s Office, Virginia, November 26, 1839.  James Sleet to Rachel White, December 6, 1791, by William Mason, a minister.  James Sleet died December 25, 1838.

It is shown by affidavits made in Washington County, Kentucky, October 2, 1848, by Reuben Coyle and Joel J. Nickles, that Rachel Sleet, widow of James who died December 25, 1838, lived in the county of Washington, state of Kentucky, near the dividing line between Washington and Mercer County, Kentucky, and nearer the seat of Justice of Mercer than of Washington County.  It is proven by the court that they had only one child now living, to wit, Patsy Coyle, wife of James Coyle.