John Woodson (1586-1644) and Sarah Winston Woodson (1590-1660)–One Survived a Massacre, the Other Didn’t

John and Sarah arrived in Jamestown in 1619 on the ship George, settled in Floradew Hundred, and survived the horrific Indian massacre on Good Friday, 1622. We know these things from a census of survivors taken in January, 1624.

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I am descended from them through their older son, Robert (1634-1707); his son, also named Robert Woodson (1660-1729); and the second Robert’s daughter Elizabeth (1689-1784), who married the second of the four John Knights in my family tree. I evidently have a nice chunk of their DNA code, because there are at least three distant cousins of mine, as determined by autosomal DNA testing, who claim descent from the elder Robert Woodson, the younger Robert Woodson, and Elizabeth Woodson Knight, respectively. (The two Robert Woodsons were Quakers; Elizabeth married out of the faith in 1728. I’ll post about the Quakers later. )

There is a large amount of material about John and Sarah Woodson on the internet—some of which is vehemently questioned and disputed—stemming largely, as far as I can tell, from family histories written by descendents in 1785 and 1888. To summarize the major issues:

Why did the Woodsons Move to America?

Some sources claim that John was the younger son of an aristocratic family that, naturally, worshipped in the Angican Church, while Sarah was a religious dissenter of some kind, and that John had to give up his inheritance to marry her. That might be true.

Was Robert Woodson really a son of John and Sarah Woodson?

One ancestor has suggested that it’s odd that the Woodsons married in 1619 but didn’t start having children until 1634. I mention the point for what it’s worth. They may have had some earlier children who died. Lots of people died in the early years in Jamestown.

A Physician or a Surgeon?

There seems to be general agreement that John Woodson was a medical man. Some sources claim that he was a ship’s surgeon on the ship George. Others say that he was a physician, who attended St. John’s College and trained to be a physician. (Of those adherint to the latter position, some say it was St. John’s College, Cambridge, and some say Oxford. Either might be true, because each university has a St. John’s College.)

John probably was not both a physician and a surgeon. In those days physicians were college men, trained in theoretical medicine—though much of the theory was wrong—as well as Latin and Greek, while surgeons were considered skilled tradesmen, members of the guild of barbers and surgeons. The physicians liked to bleed patients with leeches, while the surgeons performed operations. The latter were more likely actually to do some good.

I think the claim that he was a ship’s surgeon is more plausible than the claim that he was a surgeon. (1) It seems no one can find any records of the alleged college education. Sixteenth and seventeenth century evidence of his alleged aristocratic origin has also proved to be elusive. (2) Records show one or two physicians in Jamestown in those early days, and John was not one of them. (3) The 1624 census records John and Sarah’s possessions, and they were not plentiful—more the sort of thing that a tradesman than a a gentleman would have. To wit: four bushels of corn, one sword, one “piece fixed” (that is, a firearm in working order), three pounds of lead, and one pound of gunpowder. The census takers also inquired about a number of food and other items—fish, beans, boats, houses, suits of armor, helmets, etc.; the Woodson family had none of those.

Was John Woodson One of the First Slave Owners?

A number of internet sources—relying, I think, on the eighteenth and nineteenth century family histories—claim that John Woodson owned six Africans. That may be, but there is no evidence that he owned them in 1624; the Africans where he was living at that time belonged to someone else.[1]

John Woodson’s Death, Sarah’s Heroic Fight, and “Potato Hole Woodson’s” Survival

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The story of John Woodson’s death on April 18, 1644, has the air of an oft-told tale that has benefited greatly in the retelling. It has many versions. Here is the most lurid I have found:

The Woodson’s, like all settlers, owned several guns. The doctor always carried a gun with him on his medical calls and frequently brought home game in his medical saddle bags. The gun that hung over the Woodson log cabin mantelpiece was seven feet six inches long, and had a bore large enough to admit a man’s thumb. How anyone could lift it, much less fire it to kill, Sarah had no idea. But she was one day to learn!

The Woodson boys were eight and ten years old on that fateful April 18, 1644. And the boys might have been out in the tobacco fields working that morning, except for the visit of an itinerant shoemaker named Ligon, who was there for his yearly visit to measure the entire household for their year’s supply of shoes. Sarah hoped that the doctor would return from his medical call before Ligon the shoemaker had to leave, for the doctor needed a new pair of riding boots.

The spring planting had taken the slaves into the fields so that Sarah and Ligon and the two boys were alone in the cabin when the Indians attacked.

The blood-curdling war whoops rang out and Sarah froze as she looked through the cabin window and saw the feather headdresses come pouring out of the woods. Automatically, Sarah dropped the heavy cross-bar on the cabin door. Ligon lifted the seven-foot gun down from the mantelpiece.

An arrow hit a window ledge. Sara bolted the inside shutters on the windows. At the half-story window above in the sleeping loft Ligon poised the giant gun on the window ledge, ready. A powder horn and extra balls lay within hand’s reach, ready.

She must hide the boys, Sarah thought. But where? The potato bin hole beneath the cabin floor! It was half-empty and tar-kettle dark! It ought to be safe! She lifted the trap door and told one frightened boy to jump, and not to utter a sound.

There was an empty wash tub in the corner of the built-in shed. Eight-year-old Robert might be able to squeeze inside it. He wasn’t very big. Sarah told him to squat on the floor. She upturned the wash tub over the boy and then hurried to the hearth to build up the fire under the cooking kettle hanging from the fireplace crane. The kettle held the family’s supper soup. She added water to fill it to the top and pushed it over the hottest coals. If one of the demon Indians tried to come down the chimney she had a scalding bath ready.

Looking through a chink in the window shutter Sarah counted nine savages in the howling mob about the cabin. Suddenly her husband appeared, riding out of the forest with his gun ready to fire. Sarah saw him before the Indians did. She let out a cry and then held her breath as she watched.

Before the doctor could shoot, one of the Indians turned and saw him. He aimed and shot his arrow. It struck the doctor and his gunfire went astray. He fell from his horse and several of the Indians rushed at him waving their battle axes. Sarah covered her eyes.

Ligon’s rifle kept cracking. He had gotten three Indians. Sarah watched them fall. Ligon killed five Indians before Sarah heard the noise in the chimney.

They had killed her husband. She was ready to die defending the lives of her sons!

Sarah stood to one side of the hearth with her hand on the kettle. The water scalding, the coals red hot. the Indian came down feet first. Sarah tipped the kettle and gave it to him in full force. He screeched in agony and lay writhing on the floor.

There was more noise up the chimney. Another one was coming down. Sarah grabbed the heavy iron roasting spit. She raised it above her head, holding it with both hands.

As the second Indian stooped to come out of the chimney, Sarah brought her weapon down on his head. It sounded like a pumpkin splitting. He fell heavily to the floor, killed instantly.

She looked up from the bloody bodies to see Ligon unbolting the cabin door. “‘I’m going to fetch the doctor’s body,'” he told her. ‘The red devils are finished.’

Sarah counted seven dead Indians in the clearing. The heavy Woodson rifle had served them well.

Although John Woodson had been killed by the Indians, his sons lived to carry on the Woodson name. today, some 300 years later, it is a proud family tradition among the Woodson descendants to be known as either the potato hole Woodsons or the wash tub Woodsons.

The Woodson Musket

The Virginia Historical Society displays a musket, some part of which is said to date to the events of 1644.

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Sarah’s Widowhood

After the unfortunate events of 1644, Sarah remarried, evidently twice, the second time to a man named Johnson. She died in 1660, leaving this will:

A true and just account of the estate of Sarah Johnson widdow deceased….

Imprimis two cowes One two yearlinge hifer

One Cowe calf One chest

One fether bed with its furniture

One Pott One pewter dish

One pewter… One wooden dish

One spitt A Taylos… Iron and shayres

One… wascott with a sarge peticote… with other clothes

This disposed of a little before her death and by her order as followeth….

To Deborah Woodson one Cowe the fether bed with its furniture & what tobackoes was left her debts first satisfyed exceptinge onelye a debt form Robert Woodson & this to be towardes her mainenance

The other Cowe to John Woodson to be killed att his plasure beinge an ould Cowe, but as longe as he shall thinke fitt to lett her live what Cowe calves shall from the sd Cowe be raised to be for use of Deborah Woodson

To Elizabeth Dunwell ye hifer & the Cowe calfe above mentione (with) ye …waiscott and sarge peticott,

To Robert Woodson what tobackoes he owed her a spitt, pott and pweter dish

The calf be given to Elizabeth Dunwell to remayn in ye handes of John Woodson till ye sd Elizabeth come of age. ffins

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Thomas Jordan (c. 1600-1644) and Samuel Jordan (1578-1623)

There is persuasive evidence that Thomas Jordan was my eighth great-grandfather. Numerous sources say that he was born in England around 1600, he arrived in Virginia on the ship Diana some time before 1623. He was initially in service to the governor of Virginia, as a leader of his guard, perhaps in the capacity of an indentured servant. Later, he became a well-to-do tobacco planter.

Thomas was a Puritan. His son of the same name, my seventh great-grandfather, converted to the Quaker faith around 1660, long after his father’s death.

The manner in which Thomas died is not recorded, but it might well have been in the great Indian massacre of 1644.

Many sources claim that Thomas Jordan was the son of Samuel Jordan, and that the son, born in England, followed his father to Virginia. Others claim that the relationship is unproved. I cannot resolve the conflict.

In an any event, whether or not he was my ninth great-grandfather, Samuel Jordan arrived in Jamestown in dramatic fashion in 1610, having been a passenger on a relief convoy that left England in 1609, only to be hit by a hurricane in the north Atlantic and blown ashore in the Bermudas. The sailors had to rebuild their ships, which considerably delayed them in reaching Virginia. An account of their ordeal was published in London by another passenger, Sylvester Jordan, allegedly a relative of Samuel’s; the work became the inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

In his work on the early years in Virginia, John Smith, claiming to speak from the testimony of Samuel Jordan and several others, related the experience as follows.

The First English ship to have known to have been cast away upon Bermuda, 1609. From the relation of Master Samuel Jordan,Master John Evens,Master Henry Shelly, and Divers others.

You have heard ,that when Captain Smith was Governor of Virginia,there were nine ships sent with Sir Thomas Gates,and Sir George Somers, and Captain Nuport,with five hundred people,to take in the old Commission,and rectifie a new government: they set sail in May,and in the height of thirty degress of Northerly latitude,they were taken with an extreme storm, or rather part of Hericano, upon the five and twentieth of July (1609), which as they write, did not only separate them from the fleet, but with the violet working of the Seas,their ship became so shaken, torne, and leakie, she received so much water as  covered two tier of Hogsheads above the ballast, that they took up to the middles,with Buckets, Baricos, and Kettles, to baile out the water.

Thus bailing and pumping three daies and three nights without intermissions, and yet the water seemed rather to increase than diminish,in so much that being utterly  spent with labour,was even resolved without any hope to shut up the hatches, and commit themselves to the mercy of the sea,which is said to be merciless, or rather to the mercy of Almighty God, whose mercy farre exceeds all his workers; seeing no sense or hope in mans apprehension,but presently to sinke; some having some good and comfortable waters(spirits), fetched them and drank one to another, as taking their last leves until a more happy and more joyful meeting in a more blessed world; when it pleased God out of his most gracious and merciful providence,so to direct and guide their ship for her most advantage.

That Sir George Somers all this time sitting upon the poupe, scarce talking leisure to eat ot sleep, couing (coning) the ship to keep her as upright as he could, otherwise she must, long ere that, needs have foundered, most wishedly and happily described land: whereupon he most comfortably encouraged them to follow their work, many of them being fast asleep. This unlooked for welcome news, as if it had been a voice from heaven, hurridth them all above hatches, to look for that they scarce beleeve;so that imporvidently forsaking that taske which imported no less than their lives,they gave so dangerous advantage to their greedy enemy the salt water, which still entered at the larg breaches of their poor wooden castle, as that in gaping after life,they had well-nigh swallowed their death. Surely it is impossible any should be urger to doe his best,and although they knew it,(to be ) that place all men did so shun,yet they spread all the sail they could to attain them: for not long it was before they struck upon a rock, till a surge of the sea cast her from thence: and so from one to another, till most luckily at last (she struck) so upright between two,as if she had been in the stocks.

Till this they expected but every blow a death: but now behold, suddenly the wind gives place to a calm, and the billows, which each by overtaking her, would in an instant have shivered her in peeces, become peaceable and still; so that with all conveniency and ease,they unshipped all their goods, victual, and person  into their Boats, and with extreme joy, even almost to amazedness, arrived in safetie, though more than a league from the shore,without the loss of a man;yet were they  all one hundred and fiftie.

Yet their deliverance was not more strange in falling so happily upon the land, as their feeding and preservation was beyond their hopes; for you have heard, it hath been to the Spaniards more feared then an Utopian Purgatory; and to all Seaman no less terrible than an enchanted Den of Furies and Devils; the most dangerous and forlorn place in the world: and they found it the richest, healthfullest and pleasantest they ever saw, as is formerly said.

Being thus safe on shore, they disposesd themselves to search for food and water; others to get ashore what they could from the ship; not long Sir George wandered but he found such a fishing, that in half an hour with a hook and line, he took so many as sufficed the whole company. In some places they were so thick in the coves,and so great, they durst not go in least they should bite them,and these rock are so great two will load a man,and fatter nor better fish cannot be. Master Shelly found a Bay near a quarter mile over, so full of Mullets,as none of them before had ever seen or heard of the like:the next day seeking to kill them with fish-gigs,they struck so many the water in many places was thick with blood,yet caught not one; but with a net they caught so many as they could draw a shore, with infinite number of Pilchards and divers other sorts. Great craw-fishes in a night by making a fire they have taken in great quantity. Sir  George had twice his hook and line broke out of his hand, but the third time he made it so strong he caught the same fish;which had pulled him into the sea had not his men got hold of him, whereby he had his three hooks again(that) were found in her belly. At their first hunting for hogs they found such abundance,they killed 32: and this hunting and fishing was appointed to Captain Robert Walsingham and Master Henry Shelly for the company in general: they report they killed at least 500. Besides Pigs, and many that were killed by divers others;  for the birds in their seasons, the facility to make their cabins of Palmeta leaves, caused many of them utterly forget or desire ever to return from thence, they lived in such plenty,peace and ease.

But let us  remember how the Knights began to resolve in those desperate affairs. Many projects they had, but at last it was concluded,to deck their long boat with their ship hatches;which done,with all expendition they sent Master Rauen,a very sufficient Mariner,with eight more in her to Virginia, to have shipping from thence to fetch them away. The weeks or a month they expected her return, but to this day(1624) she was never more heard of.

All this time was spent in searching the iles: now although God still fed them with this abundance of plenty, yet such was the malice of envy or ambition, and for all this good services done by Sommers, such a great difference fell amongest their Commanders,that they lived asunder in this distress, rather as meere strangers then distressed friends:  but necessity so commanded,patience had the victory.

Two ships at this time by those several parties were a building;  in the mean time two children were born, the Boy called Bermudas,the Girl Bermuda, and amongst all those sorrows they had a merry English marriage.

The form of these iles you may see at large in the Map of Master Norwood,where you may plainly see no place known hath better walls, nor a broader ditch.

But having finished and rigged their two new Ceder ships with such provisions they saved from the Seaventure they left amongst the Rocks, they call the one the Patience,the other the Deliverance; they used Lime and Oile, as may did for Pitch and Tar. Sir George Sommers had in his Barke no Iron at all but one bolt in her Keele; now having made their provisions of victual and all thing ready, they set sail the tenth of May 1610. Only leaving two men behind, called Christopher Carter and Edward Waters, that for their offences, or the suspicions they had of their judgement,fled into the woods: and there rather desired to end their daies than stand to their trails and the events of Justice; for one of their consorts was shot too death,and Waters being  tied to a tree also to be executed, had by chance a Knife about him,and so secretly cut the rope,he ran into the woods where they could not find him.

There were two Indians also sent from Virginia by Captain John Smith,the one called Namutack the other called Matchumps: but some such differences fell between them, that Matchumps slew Namutack, and having made a hole to bury him,because it was too short, he cut off his legs and laid them by him; which murder he concealed until he was in Virginia.

The four and twentieth of the same month (May 1610) they arrived in Virginia at Jamestown,where they found but threescore persons,as you may reade at large in The History of Virginia of the five hundred left by Captain Smith: (as) also the arrival of Lord De La Warr, that met them thus bound for England, returned them back; and understanding what plenty there was of hogs and other good things in the Bermudas, was desirous to send thither to supply his necessary occasions. Whereupon  Sir George Sommers, the best acquainted with the place,whose noble mind ever reguarded the general good more than his owne ends, though above threescore years of age,and had means in England suitable to his ranke,offered himself by Gods help to perform this dangerous again for the Bermudas;which was kindly accepted, so upon the 19 of June (1610), he embarked in his Ceder ship,about the burthen of thirty tunnes, and so set sail.

Much foul and cross weather he had, and was forced to the North parts of  Virginia; where refreshing himself upon this unknown coast,he could not bee diverted from the search of the Bermudas, where at last with his company he safely arrived:  but such was his diligence with his extraordinary care, paines and industry to dispatch his business, and the strength of his body not answering the ever memorable courage of his mind; having lived so long in such honorable services the most part of his well beloved and virtuous life, God  and nature here determinded, should ere remain a perpetual memory of his much bewailed sorrow for his death: finding his time but short,after he had taken the best course he could to settle his estate; like a valiant Captain he exhorted them with all diligence to be constant to those Plantations, and with all expedition to return to Virginia. In that very place which we now call Saint George Towne,this noble Knight died,whereof the place taketh his name.

But his men,as men amazed, seeing the death of him who was even as the life of them all, embalmed his body and set sail for England; being the first that ever  went to seek those lands:which have been ever since called Summers Lles, in honour of his worthy memory, leaving three men behind them,that voluntarily stayed, whose names were Christopher Carter, Edward Waters, there formerly left as is said; and Edward Chard.

This Cedar ship at last with his dead body arrived at Whit-Church in Dorsetshire; where by his friend he was honorably buried,with many vollies of shot, and the rites of a Souldier: and upon his tomb was bestowed this Epitaph.

Hei mihi Virginia quod tam cito praeterit AEstas,Autumnus sequitur,saeuiet inde et hiems;At ver perpetuum nascetur,et Anglia laeta,Decerpit flores florida terra tuas.

In English thus:

Alas Virginia’s summer so soon past, Autumn succeeds and stormy Winters blast, Yet England’s joyful Spring with joyful showers, O Florida,shall bring thy sweetest flowers.”

 

 

John Ratliff (?-1609)–Tortured to Death by Indians; Turned into a Cartoon Character

My ancestry may reliably be traced back to Richard Ratliff (1642-1686). (Richard and his wife Elizabeth were converts to Quakerism; I’ll blog about their story in due course.)

A large number of fellow descendents of Richard Ratliff accept that his father was William Ratliff, whose dates are about 1610-1700, and that William was the posthumous son of John Ratliff, who died near Jamestown in 1609. The documentation for these claims appears elusive, but, because of the number and unanimity of researchers making the claim, I will accept that John Ratliff a tenth great-grandfather. I hope this acceptance is not unduly influenced by the fact that John Ratliff lived and died in a dramatic way.

Born John Sickelmore, he evidently took the name Ratliff (spelled in various ways, including Ratcliffe) from his step-father. In 1605 he served with an English mercenary force fighting for the United Provinces of the Netherlands. On December 20, 1606, he set sail as captain of the Discovery, the smallest of three ships sailing from London to found the Jamestown colony. They took a roundabout route, via the Canary Islands and the West Indies. It is recorded that, having lost sight of land for three days at one point, my putative ancestor became so discouraged that he was about to turn back for England, just before sighting land in Virginia.

Once the three ships reached land, Ratliff was named as a member of the governing council in May, 1607. As all students of American history know, things went very badly in the early days at Jamestown. In September, 1607, Ratliff and John Smith formed a cabal to depose the first head of the council, Sir Edward Wingfield, and Ratliff was chosen as the new council head.

Fairly soon thereafter, Smith and Ratliff began to quarrel, and at one point Ratliff had Smith sentenced to be hung. Smith, in turn, claimed that Ratliff was deposed as head of the government, though that claim is disputed by others.

Late in 1608 Ratliff returned to England—according to Smith, “lest the Company should cut his throat”—but returned in 1609, and arrested Smith, sending him home to England to “answer for his conduct.” Smith never returned, but severely criticized Ratliff in his version of the history of Jamestown.

Jamestown historians call 1609-1610 the “starving time.” in November, 1609, Ratliff led an expedition of about a dozen men seeking food from the Indians. He was captured and tortured to death, in an inventive manner. An eyewitness reported that “…when the sly old King espied a fitting time, [he] cut them all off, only surprised Captain Ratcliffe alive, who he caused to be bound unto a tree naked with a fire before, and by women his flesh was scraped from his bones with mussel shells, and, before his face, thrown into the fire, and so for want of circumspection miserably perished.”

In addition to his many other distinctions, John Ratliff is the only person in my family tree to serve as the basis for a cartoon character—“Governor Ratcliffe”—in two Disney movies, Pocohontas and Pocohontas II.

Governor-Ratcliffe

Henrietta Ayers Edwards (1720-1768) and John Edwards (1720-1796)

John was born in Brunswick County, Virginia, but moved to Orange County, NC, at some point before 1738.

Henrietta was born in South Wales, and probably came to the colonies with her father and mother, who are poorly documented. She settled in Orange County, SC, and became John’s second wife in 1750 and the stepmother of a number of children by his first wife. Henrietta bore John around 15 more children in the next 18 years before dying in 1768,  probably  while trying to give birth to twin boys.

John married again in 1754, but there are no known issue of the third marriage.

A sixth cousin (as identified by autosomal DNA testing) shares Henrietta and John as common ancestors, as does a seventh cousin, once removed.

John Hair/Hare (1740-?) and Margaret Kosch Andrews Hare (1742-1814)

John was a Scotch-Irishman, said to have been born in Northern Ireland in 1740. His life, and that of his wife Margaret, are poorly documented. I don’t know when he arrived, when they were married, or anything of Margaret’s origins.[1] In 1763 they were living in Cumberland County, NC, where their son John C. Hare was born.

The circumstances of John Hare’s death are not recorded. (There is a record of a John Hair, born in 1740, having served as an officer in the Continental Army in North Carolina.)

Apparently John died and Margaret remarried, to a man named Andrews. Her 1814 will has survived. In it she left property to “my beloved son John Hair and my son Peter Hair and my beloved daughter Elizabeth Vuncannon.” One doesn’t know what act or omission caused Peter to be less than beloved.

What little we know of John’s life fits well into a larger historical context. In 1730 the population of North Carolina was about 36,000, concentrated in the east. By 1750 it had doubled, mostly because Scotch-Irish—driven by poverty, high rents, differences with their Catholic neighbors, and differences with the Anglican clergy, whom they were taxed to support—flooded into the Piedmont area of North Carolina. And they kept on coming. By 1770 the total population of the colony was 180,000. See http://www.scottishtartans.org/ulster.html.


[1] Several North Carolina Kosch’s are buried in Jewish cemeteries. Many eighteenth century Jewish residents of North Carolina worshipped in Anglican churches. See http://www.isjl.org/history/archive/nc/wilmington.html.

John Sheffield (1728-1790)–a Three Year Old on a Boatload of Felons–and Nancy Turner Sheffield (1730-1770)

According to some accounts, John Sheffield was born in Yorkshire, England. He may or may not be the same John Sheffield who is recorded as having arrived from England in 1731 on a boat full of felons; if so, presumably it was his father or mother who offended the Crown. In any event, John settled in Duplin County, NC, and, based on his will, owned a decent sized farm. His first wife, from whom I am descended, died, and he remarried the widow of one John Gaddy, killed in 1776 in the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge.

John was probably too old to fight in the Revolution and his son William, my ancestor, was probably too young.

James Boulware (1732-1791) and Agatha Rutherford Boulware (1732-1821)–Molested by Tories

The Boulware family had been in eastern Virginia for about a century when John and Agatha decided, in 1780, to move to frontier South Carolina, together with members of Agatha’s family. I think it’s likely they wanted to get away from the British. Lord Cornwallis captured Charleston, South Carolina, in 1780 and then marched north, making life unpleasant for the patriots. This jibes with another descendant’s claim that Agatha “shouldered a musket and followed her husband in pursuit of the Tories who had molested their home.” (http://www.carolshouse.com/familyhistory/boler/#James%20Boulware%20m%20Agatha%20Rutherford)

The same source refers to records saying that James furnished beef and corn to the South Carolina militia in 1781. At age 49, he was apparently in no shape to do further fighting, but three of his sons are said to have fought for the Revolution.

My descent is through his son William Boulware (1760-1821), who is probably the same William Boulware that shows up in Charleston, SC, census records of 1778 and 1780. My guess is that he was in Charleston because he was fighting the British. And I suspect that the reason why the Tories were bothering his parents, and why they felt the need to flee to the frontier, maay have had a lot to do with his war service. I don’t know, but it all fits together.

When William moved to Clarke County, Alabama, he kept his Revolutionary War musket, but probably used a newer and more valuable shotgun for hunting. When he died his executor sold the shotgun for $6.50. The musket went for a dollar.