John Yates d 16 December 1835

John Yates was born in 1754 in Halifax, Virginia.  He married Jemima Roper in 1779, He died 16 Dec 1835.  Yates was a Revolutionary War pensioner, having applied for his pension the previous year.  The following is a transcript of his application papers, and shows how such papers can provide genealogy information, as well as tell the story the person’s military experience:    

State of North Carolina   Wilkes County

On the 4th day of November (1834) personally appeared in open court, before the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the county and state aforesaid now sitting, John Yates, a resident of the County of Wilkes and State of North Carolina, aged seventy three 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 7th 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated.  That in the year 1776 just before the Declaration of Independence, the Cherokee Indians were very troublesome in the western and northwestern sections of North Carolina. And particularly so on the western side of the Blue Ridge in that section of the country embraced within the boundaries of what is now Ashe County, but which was then a part of Wilkes County; that they had committed many depredations upon the white settlement upon the frontier, and that it became necessary to keep small bodies of the militia almost constantly under arms to repel their invasions. Accordingly about the last of May or first of June 1776 this declarant volunteered his services in Wilkes County, NC and joined a company of volunteer militia commanded by Captain Frances Hargrove and Lieutenant Lewis De Moss; the company rendezvoused at a place known as Holman’s Ford on the Yadkin River, and after being organized marched forthwith to the protection of the frontier settlements on the north side of the Yadkin, and between that and the Blue Ridge. After being engaged in ranging the country between the river and the mountains for some time without being able to meet with the Indians, or any portion of them, they were stationed at an eligible position on the north side of the river about equi-distant between the river and the mountains, where they constructed a fort and where they remained a considerable time for the purpose of protecting the frontier settlements. About the last of August or first of September and while this declarant was stationed at the fort above mentioned, orders were received by Captain Hargrove to march with his company forthwith to join Genl. Griffith Rutherford at the Pleasant Gardens in Burke County, preparatory to a general expedition against the Cherokee Indians.  Accordingly they set out immediately and proceeded to the Pleasant Gardens where they joined Genl. Rutherford with a large number of other troops.  As soon as the whole were organized and prepared for the expedition they set out for their march on the Cherokee towns, and proceeded by the most direct route until they reached the Cowee towns.  These towns they found abandoned by the Indians, and after destroying them, together with the corn, stock, etc. and such other property as they could find, they proceeded to the middle towns where they expected to meet with the South Carolina troops, but in which they were disappointed.  The middle towns they found also abandoned and after destroying them as they had done the Cowee and other towns, Genl. Rutherford divided his army, leaving a portion of it at the middle towns to guard the baggage and provisions, and also to take care of the sick, the whole of which were left at that place. Upon arriving at the latter place, however, they found that the Indians had principally fled, there being only a few straggling men, women and children to be found.  These they captured, and after destroying the towns, they proceeded on their return to the middle towns with their prisoners, and on the way meeting with the South Carolina troops (who were proceeding to join Genl. Rutherford at the valley towns) they delivered the prisoners up to them and what afterwards became of them this declarant does not know.  Upon the return of the North Carolina troops to the middle towns they remained there some time, resting and refreshing themselves, having suffered greatly from the exposure they were subjected to and from eating green corn and beef without salt.  As soon, however, as the troops were sufficiently rested to undertake the journey they set out upon their return to North Carolina, and having marched back into the interior of the settlements, they were severally disbanded by companies and each proceeded to their respective homes.  In this expedition, this declarant is satisfied, he served, from the time he first turned out, not less than six months, having served three months under Captain Hargrove before joining Genl. Rutherford, and three months afterwards.

In the spring of the year following (as this declarant believes), the Cherokee Indians still continue to annoy and depredate upon the frontier settlements on the northwestern side of the Blue Ridge, this declarant again volunteered his services for three months, and joined the company of volunteer militia raised by Captain Benjamin Cleveland at Wilkes Court house, and marched direct to Carters Fort on the Watauga River on the northwest side of the Blue Ridge, where they were stationed for a considerable time (the precise period not recollected) and where they were employed principally in scouting parties to keep the Indians in check, and to protect the frontiers.  After having remained at Carters Fort for a considerable time, Captain Cleveland was ordered with his company to repair to the Long Islands of Holstein (Holsten), where this declarant understood the Indians were about entering into a treaty of peace with the whites.  They set out immediately upon their march, and upon reaching the treaty ground found a considerable number of the chiefs of the Cherokee nation, together with several persons whom he understood were commissioners appointed on the part of the United States, engaged in forming a treaty. After the treaty was concluded, Captain Cleveland with his company marched back to Carters Ford, and after remaining there a short time, set out for home, which place this declarant reached he thinks some short time before harvest, having served in this expedition not less than three months. 

About the first, or in the early part of August in the year 1780, this declarant again volunteered his services for three months, and joined the company of Captain David Viar, at Wilkes Court House, and thence marched to the defense of the southwestern section of the state, and it was understood that Majr. Ferguson was approaching from South Carolina with a large body of British and Tories.  Having proceeded some distance into Burke County, they were joined by a considerable number of other troops, the whole being then placed under the command of Col. Benjamin Cleveland.  While remaining in Burke organizing themselves and awaiting some expected intelligence as to the movements of Majr. Ferguson they were also joined by a regiment of militia from Virginia under the command of Colonel Campbell.  The whole body of troops then moved on towards South Carolina, but upon the way (at some point not now recollected) intelligence was received that Majr. Ferguson was posting himself on Kings Mountain, upon receiving which it was immediately proposed that all who had horses or who could produce them should proceed forthwith with all possible dispatch in order to attack him.  This declarant having no horse and not being able to produce one, was left behind with a large number of troops and did not reach the battle ground in time.  The engagement having been fought and the Americans with their prisoners being on their return some distance when they met them.

After meeting the army on its return that portion of the troops which had been left behind rejoined them and returned with them assisting in guarding the prisoners until they reached Wilkes Court House where a considerable number of fresh troops were ordered out to proceed with them and where this declarant (being nearly destitute of clothing and his feet much cut to pieces for the want of shoes) was discharged by Col. Cleveland and went home, having served during this tour not less than two and a half months.  This last tour of duty closed the services performed by this declarant during the Revolution except some short tour performed in the early part of the war, for which he declines to set up any claim.

This declarant was born in the County of Pittsylvania in the State of Virginia in the month of March 1754 as he was informed by his mother, but has no record of his age nor never had.  He was living in Surry County now Wilkes, North Carolina when he was called into service and has continued to live in the same county ever since.  All the services performed by this declarant were performed as a volunteer.  The answer to the fifth interrogatory is contained generally in the body of this declaration.  This declarant never received a written discharge from the service, nor has he any documentary evidence of any kind to prove his services, but refers to the testimony of Moses Watters, David Laws and William Viars, hereto annexed, all of whom served with him, and who can testify to his services.  He also refers to the Rev. Thomas Fletcher and Joseph McNeill, as to persons to whom he is well known in his present neighborhood, and who can testify as to his character for veracity and their belief of his service as a soldier of the Revolution.

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 the agency of any state.

     Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid

                                                     his

                                                John  x  Yates

                                                     mark

Wm. Mastin CCC

(Under his signature, Jemima Yates states that she was married to John Yates 2 or 3 years prior to the Battle of Kings Mountain, in Orange County, Virginia and in a short time moved to North Carolina).

*A marriage certificate dated 8 March 1779, is on record for John Yates and Jemima Roper in Caswell County, North Carolina (formed from Orange Co., NC)

Application for widow’s benefits was filed by Jemima Yates in 1841

State of North Carolina   Wilkes County

On this 18th day of May AD 1841 personally appeared before James Reynolds, one of the acting justices in and for said county, Jemima Yates, about eighty two or three years of age, being as near as she can recollect, who being first duly sworn according to law doth on her oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress passed July 4, 1836.  That she is the widow of John Yates, who was a soldier in the revolutionary war who was a pensioner at the time of his death. The said Jemima Yates has no means by which she can prove the time her husband John Yates entered the service and length of service, only on reference to the declaration of her husband John Yates, which is on file in the Pension Office in Washington City, D.C. She further declared that she was married to the said John Yates some two or three years before the Battle of Kings Mountain in Orange County, Virginia, and removed a short time after this marriage to North Carolina, where she has remained ever since.  She further states that her husband, John Yates died in the month of December 1835, and that she has remained a widow ever since that period, as will more fully appear by reference in the proof hereto annexed.  She further declares that she has lost her eyesight and is so old and infirm that she cannot possibly go to the court house; neither has she been able for some years to leave her house.

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