Allen County Indiana Revolutionary Soldiers
Allen County Indiana Cemetery Project

William Berry

Revolutionary Soldiers

William Berry

On November 2, 1832, William Berry, then a resident of St. Mary’s, appeared in the Mercer County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas to apply for a pension in connection with his previous service in the Revolutionary War. He stated that he was born in Augusta County, Virginia, on March 18, 1763. He lived in that part of the county that became Rockbridge County in 1778 until 1794 when he moved to Fayette County, Kentucky. However, in common with many of the early settlers, he soon became dissatisfied and moved into Scott County, Kentucky, where he stayed for “ten or eleven years”. Eventually he was attracted to the Ohio country and again moved, this time to Miami County, Ohio. That still failed to overcome his compulsion to travel, so after six or seven years he settled at St. Mary’s in Mercer County. But this was not the end of his migration as deed records show that he came into Allen County, Indiana, in the year 1836. The Federal Census of 1840 of this county lists him as a veteran of the Revolutionary War, aged seventy-six.

According to his declaration, William Berry entered the service of the United States in Rockbridge County, Virginia, sometime in the month of February, 1781. He was a volunteer for a three-month tour of duty in a company commanded by Captain Alexander Tilford in the regiment of Colonel Samuel McDowell and Major Alexander Steward. With his company he marched through the Blue Ridge Country, through Bedford County, across the Staunton and Dan Rivers to Guilford where he took part in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. This battle signaled the beginning of the end of the Revolution when the British forces under Lord Cornwallis were forced by the American forces commanded by General Nathaniel Greene to retire to Wilmington, North Carolina. From there Cornwallis went to Yorktown, Virginia, where he surrendered. After the battle Berry stayed with the Army in the neighborhood of the battleground until his term of service expired and he was discharged and returned home to Virginia.

On June 1, 1781, he again enlisted in Rockbridge County as a volunteer in the militia company of Captain John Tilford. The regiment to which this company was attached had been raised in consequence of a report that British troops had landed in the area and were marching through Virginia. Nearly every man in the neighborhood capable of bearing arms turned out. They marched to Deep Run Church about thirteen miles from Richmond where they learned that the British had retired and the militia were no longer needed. Berry was again discharged after about six weeks in service.

Again in the same year sometime in the last of July or first of August,, he enlisted for three months as a militiaman in the company commanded by Captain William Moore which rendezvoused with Colonel Andrew Moore also of Rockbridge County. They marched to Richmond, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. They were in the latter place during the siege of Yorktown and the final surrender of the British which ended the war. In his pension application Berry told of being one of the guards who conducted four thousand British prisoners to Winchester, Virginia, where he was discharged at the end of his second tour of duty.

William Berry’s last years were spent in Allen County, Indiana, where he died on January 17, 1842. He was buried in the Leo Cemetery. The name of his wife is not known but he was survived by several children, namely, William, George, Jane Manning, and possibly another daughter, Mary.

Braumbaugh, Gaius Marcus, Revolutionary War records, Volume I, Virginia….Washington, D.C., 1936

1840 Census, Allen County, Indiana (microfilm)

Gwathmey, John H. Historical register of Virginians in the Revolution…Richmond, Virginia: The Dietz Press, 1938

O’Byrne, Mrs. Roscoe C., comp. & ed. Roster of soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution buried in Indiana. n.p., Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution, 1938

© 2008-2011 Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter NSDAR