Some extensive military operations were mounted at various times after Guilford Courthouse in an attempt to stop the depredations of the British Loyalist troops commanded by Colonel David Fanning. Although little documentary evidence exists concerning the details of the battles with the Tories, it appears that one of the major skirmishes took place in July 1781 at the mouth of Sandy Creek, where several roads crossed at a ford across Deep River. The only record of this battle survives in three applications for federal pensions made by elderly veterans more than fifty years afterwards. Randolph County historian Barbara Newsome Grigg discovered them in the National Archives in the mid-1980s. I’m transcribing these pension applications and publishing each separately, and I’ll write about the battle later.
JAMES MORGAN (Pension # S.7251)
(born 26 Apr. 1760 @ Baltimore, MD; pension granted in Yancey County, NC, in 1834 when he was 74 years old)
Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress of the 7th of June 1832–
State of North Carolina
County of Yancey
On this 20th day of October 1834 personally appeared before the court of pleas and quarter session the Reverend James Morgan a resident of the county of Yancey and State of North Carolina aged 74 years who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the act of Congress passed June the 7th 1832. That he entered the army of the United States as a volunteer in the spring of the year 1781 in Randolph county in North Carolina where he was living at that time.
That he was called out by Colonel Collier and placed under Captain John Hines & Lieutenant William York and marched down to Chatham county after the enemy, and says at this time he was sent out against a party of Tories and had an engagement with them, and was defeated with the loss of three men killed and two wounded among the latter was his Lieutenant William York, and says they took a good many prisoners during the time he was out in this tour. But how long he was out he cannot say precise, but believes it was seven weeks, or more.–
Some short time after he was discharged, colonel Collier give orders to raise another company in Randolph county to suppress the Tories. This was about the latter part summer or the beginning of fall in the same year 1781 when he substituted for three months for which he got a horse– but not having any acquaintance with the man for whom he substituted he cannot recollect his name at this time– and says he was placed under the command of captain Thomas Dougan and lieutenant William Cray– that they marched from Randolph county through Chatham Orange and Moore counties but had no battle with the enemy but took a number of straggling tories prisoners and brought them in and says his officers acted under General Butler and says after the expiration of this tour he went to live in Guilford county in N.C. and in the year of 1782 colonel Paisly gave orders to raise men to suppress the Tories who were collecting in large numbers in the lower end of Randolph county and the counties adjoining–
That he volunteered under Captain Daniel Gillespie and lieutenant George Sparks and commanded then by colonel John Paisley and Major John Gillespie that he served under these officers seven weeks and two days before he was discharged that they were marched twice through Randolph and Chatham counties during this term of service but had no engagement—and says that in all his tours he served as a private– and says from the best information he can get he was born in Baltimore county in the state of Maryland on the 26th day of April 1760– that his parents brought him to North Carolina where he was raised and was living when he entered the service and continued to live after peace was concluded until he was upwards of forty years of age—
Since that time he has lived in different parts of the county– that is in South Carolina and different parts of the western country and last before he dame into this county in Ashe county in this state until a few months ago he came to live in this county. That he has followed teaching school and preaching & travelling for many years—and says that this is the first time he has ever made application to be put on the pension roll of the United States or any other state because he could not get anyone to prepare a declaration for him– and says he does not know that he can find any living witness at this time by whom he can prove his services– He hereby relinquishes every claim to whatever pension or annuity except the present and he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency or state– Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid