Monday, August 11, 2014

Why It's Really Important to Use Primary Source Documents in Your Genealogy Research!

My ancestor JAMES WHITECOTTON, of the previous post, fought in the Revolutionary War as a private, for three tours of duty: first in 1776 enlisting with Capt William Fountains Company of Infantry, joining Col Woolford's, which fought at the battle of Long Bridge, Williamsburg with a total term of service 1 year;  second, in 1778 with  Capt Leonard Helm's Co, Illinois Regiment, joining Col George Roger Clark, for a 9 month term of service; and third, in 1779 with Capt Joseph Bowman's regiment, Kaskaskia, Illinois, under Col George Rogers Clark, term of service 1 year. His total Revolutionary War service was 2 years, 9 months.  He never advanced beyond the rank of private.  And this information is from his own Revolutionary War pension application, which can be found in its entirety on the website Fold3.

I received a visit from a Whitecotton cousin yesterday who presented me with some written material (source unknown) showing that there was supposedly a second JAMES WHITECOTTON, who served as a lieutenant under Col George Rogers Clark in Illinois. This second JAMES WHITECOTTON was supposedly mentioned in the Revolutionary War Pension application of a man named Lt John Roberts, who also served with Col George Rogers Clark in Illinois. The reference cited was a book called "Brumbaugh's Revolutionary War Records, Volume 1, Virginia" by Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, published Washington DC, 1936.

I found a copy of this book on, and found the reference on page 535:

ROBERTS, JOHN; Lieutenant, VA State Troops, Illinois Regiment; Capt Robt Todd's Company of Foot. (No. 8706, Pension Office, April 1852). Mentioned: Col (later Gen) Geo Rogers Clarke; payroll Robt Todd's Company;  Capt Benjamin Roberts; Capt Abraham Chaplin (Chapline);  Lt Anthony Crockett; Lt John Roberts; Ensign William Roberts, et al, of the Illinois Regiment; Gen G. R. Clark. Entire payroll of Capt Robt Todd's company. Lt Col Montgomery; also Stephen Chilton, "soldier", Col Joseph Crockett's Regt; Bland W Ballard; Wm Fleming; John Edwards; Thomas Quick; Maj Inf. James Meriwether, Light Inf;  Mark Thomas, Capt of Inf; Lt Joseph Slaughter; Lt James Slaughter; Lt Wm Clarke; Lieut. JAMES WHITECOTTON;  Henry Foster "soldier". 

Here is a transcription of the actual pension record, from the website "Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters" for Lt JOHN ROBERTS; his widow SARAH HAWLEY ROBERTS later applied for his pension while living in Switzerland Co Indiana.

The Hon. Secy. of the Treasury
I am very respectfully your obedient servant S/ Jas. E. Heath
Upon the Petition of the heirs of Lieutenant John Roberts of the State line, for bounty
The evidence in support of this claim has been presented by the Petitioners

John Roberts was Commissioned, December 31st 1778, Lieutenant in a Company of Infantry in the Illinois Regiment, which company was commanded by Captain Robert Todd. The only Payroll, which has been preserved, of Captain Todd's Company, notices Lieutenant Ro. Roberts thus – "Roberts John Lieutenant – commissioned 31st December 1778 – went recruiting
1 Va. Half Pay See N. A. Acct. No. 874 050 144 Half Pay John Roberts 2
page1image30760 page1image30920
August 17th 1779, and never returned – charged with Paper-money which exceeds the amount of pay" (see Payroll of Captain Ro. Todd's Company – Vol. 1st Illinois Papers) this Payroll comes down to June 1780 at that time Lieutenant Roberts had not returned to his Company.
It appears, that on the 13th of August 1779, General Clarke [George Rogers Clark] issued his general orders, at Fort Patrick Henry in which is the following order, to wit, – "Officers for the recruiting service – Captains – Quirk, Evans, Taylor, Woothington, Kellan, Lieutenants – Roberts, Crockett, Ramsay, Calvet, Ensign – Montgomery" – (see Illinois Papers – Vol. 1st Division No. 2. D.)
Lieutenant John Roberts received, himself, December 10th 1785 a certificate for £129.19.8, the balance of his full pay, for services rendered in the Illinois Regiment, prior to January 1st 1782 – (See Army Register of the State line.)
In the printed list of officers &c of the Illinois Regiment &c No. 4, page 11 – I have reported Lieutenant John Roberts, entitled to bounty land for the war. My reasons for making this Report, I now presume, were the following – that Lieutenant Roberts was commissioned in 1778 – (December 31) – that he received a large sum of money & the balance of his full pay for services rendered before January 1st 1782 – that this proved, that the account given of his services, in Captain Ro. Todd's Payroll above referred to be showed that he was always engaged in the recruiting service – that I had not been able to find any [paper torn and one or more words of text are missing] of his resignation – that there was no proof of his desertion, or of his having been cashiered or suspended. – That Captain Ro. Todd's Company was in service until the end of the war – and that Lieutenant Roberts ought to be presumed to have served to the end of the war, notwithstanding the contents of the payroll above mentioned.
The above stated facts are all, whether supporting or invalidating the claim of Lieutenant Roberts' a heirs for bounty land, which I am able to report to the Governor. They are, without further comment, respectfully submitted
S/ John W Smith, Commissioner
November 4th, 1834 

And here is a copy of the original statement, from the website Fold3:

I have been through the entire pension file, both for JOHN ROBERTS and for his widow SARAH HAWLEY ROBERTS, and I have not found one reference to Lieut. JAMES WHITECOTTON.   Likewise, in the pension file of Private JAMES WHITECOTTON,  I have found no reference to JOHN ROBERTS. There was a JAMES WHITAKER, who signed as county clerk, in the John/Sarah Roberts pension file and I suspect that Brumbaugh mis-transcribed WHITAKER as WHITECOTTON. 

So in my opinion, based on the actual records, there was no second person called  "Lieut. JAMES WHITECOTTON" in the regiment of Col George Rogers Clark in Illinois, and the citation in the book was an transcription error on the part of  Gaius Brumbaugh.

In all other sources concerning Col George Rogers Clark's campaign in Illinois, JAMES WHITECOTTON is listed as a private. He received 108 acres from a 1781 land grant in what is now southern Indiana, that Col George Rogers Clark & his soldiers received from the state of Virginia. Lt. JOHN ROBERTS is on a list of Clark's men who did not receive bounty land from the 1781 grant.

If anyone has any further information or documents, I would love to see them!

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RUTH NEWTON HUDSPETH Was Definitely the Second Wife of JAMES WHITECOTTON of Hampshire County Virginia, Who Died 1849 Marion County Kentucky

With the discovery of the following documents from the Revolutionary War Pension application of MARY MILES, wife of MICHAEL MILES, deceased,  1840 Marion County Kentucky, it is now entirely clear that RUTH NEWTON HUDSPETH was the second wife of JAMES WHITECOTTON of Hampshire County Virginia, and not the mother of his eldest children born before 1795 in Hampshire County Virginia.

RUTH states in her deposition that she was age 75 in 1840 (thus born 1765), and that she came to the "Falls of the Ohio" i.e. Louisville, Kentucky in 1780 with her father's family.

JAMES WHITECOTTON, then age 90,  states in his deposition for MARY MILES application that he was a soldier in Kaskaskia, Illinois in 1780.  He also appears in tax &  census records in Hampshire County Virginia until 1792.

There is no indication whatsoever that RUTH's family ever lived in Hampshire Co Virginia. Clearly they married after he moved to Kentucky after 1792.  Their first son JAMES HENRY WHITECOTTON was born Dec 13, 1795 in Washington County Kentucky.

JAMES WHITECOTTON's oldest eight children were born 1771-1788 in Hampshire County Virginia. Since RUTH was born 1765, she could not have been the mother of at least five of them, as she would have been far too young to bear children.

Here is a transcription of the original documents, which are available on the website Fold3.


State of Kentucky, Marion County Crt; 

The affidavit of RUTH WHITECOTTON, wife of JAMES WHITECOTTON, taken at her own house this 23rd day of January, 1840 before the undersigned, justice of peace for Marion County.  And being first duly sworn, states that she is 75 years old. That she came to the Falls of the Ohio River in the spring of 1780.  That she was then well acquainted with MARY HARRISON, who married MICHAEL MILES, and who is the same person named in the foregoing resolution and declaration for a pension. Signed by her.  That she was not at the wedding of said MARY, though the morning after she understood they were married, and that she knows that they lived together afterward as man and wife. She always understood that MICHAEL MILES was an officer in the army of the Revolution.  She thinks the marriage took place in the later part of 1781 or first of 1782. She is acquainted with said MARY, and states that said MARY has remained a widow ever since the death of MICHAEL MILES which she understood took place about 45 years ago.  She also states that MARY is a woman of (illegible) RUTH WHITECOTTON, WILSON EDMONDSON, J P 

The Deposition of Mrs RUTH WHITECOTTON, resident of Marion County, taken this 17th day of August, 1840 to (be) used as evidence in favor of the application of Mrs MARY MILES for a pension.

Deponent being seventy five years old, deposeth & saith that she in company with her father’s family moved to the Falls of Ohio, now Louisville, Kentucky in the spring of seventeen hundred & eighty.  Some ten or twelve days thereafter, the THOMAS HARRISON family landed at the same place, and the deponent on their arrival became acquainted with MARY HARRISON now MARY MILES, the present applicant.  Some time during the year seventeen hundred and eighty one, the Deponent became acquainted with MICHAEL MILES who then belonged to the army and was courting MARY HARRISON.  And the said MICHAEL MILES and the said MARY HARRISON were married in the latter part of the year seventeen hundred and eighty one or the forepart of the winter of seventeen hundred and eighty two. The Deponent was not at the wedding, but heard that she was to be married and the next morning after their marriage heard they were married, for the deponent was still at the said Falls of Ohio.  Deponent further saith that she understood MICHAEL MILES died about forty years ago, and that the said MARY MILES who lives but a few miles from the Deponent, has remained a widow ever since. And further saith not.  RUTH X WHITECOTTON her mark

State of Kentucky, Marion County; the above deposition was this day sworn to and subscribed by Mrs RUTH WHITECOTTON before me the undersigned Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid. And I certify that the said RUTH WHITECOTTON is a woman of good moral character and a person of truth & veracity. Given under my hand the day & year above written. WILSON EDMONDSON JP

The Deposition of JAMES WHITECOTTON a resident of Marion County taken this 17th day of August 1840 to be used as evidence in the application of Mrs MARY MILES for a pension.  Deponent being ninety years old deposeth & saith that he belonged to General GEORGE ROGERS CLARK’s Regiment and was at the taking of Kaskaskia, and while at said place he became acquainted with MICHAEL MILES who was acting at that time as sergeant major in the Regiment commanded by Col JOHN MONTGOMERY, under General CLARK. Shortly after this acquaintance the said MICHAEL MILES was sent off with other troops, and the Deponent thinks to the Falls of Ohio, and the deponent did not recollect seeing the said MILES anymore during the Revolutionary War. The deponent recollects hearing that the said MICHAEL MILES was married to MARY HARRISON but what time the marriage took place, the deponent cannot say. The deponent heard of MILES death, and has been acquainted with MARY MILES, the widow of said MICHAEL MILES for about forty years, and known she has continued a widow ever since the death of said MICHAEL to the present (illegible). JAMES WHITECOTTON

State of Kentucky, Marion County;  The above deposition was this sworn to and subscribed by JAMES WHITECOTTON before me the undersigned Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid, and certify that the said JAMES WHITECOTTON is a man of truth & veracity. Given under my hand this day and year first above written WILSON EDMONDSON JP

NOTE: Wilson Edmondson’s brother WILLIAM EDMONDSON married CATHERINE WHITECOTTON, daughter of JAMES WHITECOTTON & his unknown first wife

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2014