Charles Bickley

Revolutionary Pension Application of Charles Bickley

State of Virginia
Russell County
On the 8th day of September, 1836, personnally appeared Charles Bickley, a resident of the said county of Russell in the State aforesaid, aged about 83 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 provisions made by the act of Congress, passed June 7th 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States in the month of September or October, 1775, within the limits of the now territory of Russell County, Virginia, under Captain William Russell, Lieutenant William Bowen and Ensign James Know, and was rendevouzed and stationed at the Rye Cove in the county of Scott in the state aforesaid, where he remained in service, guarding and defending that fort, until the 23rd day of January, 1776, when he was discharged and returned home, after having remained in the public service at least three months and a half, and as he verily believes four months.

That in the then next ensuing summer of 1776, but at what precise date he cannot now remember, but recollects that he was engaged hoeing corn in the county of Russell aforesaid, a few weeks before when an alarm was raised that the Indians were in the settlements and the people of the neighborhood had assembled at the fort, when a company of militia, from the neighborhood of Reed Creek in the now county of Wythe, commanded by Capt. John Montgomery, Lieutenant Michael Daugherty and Ensign John Simpson, were on their march to Rye Cove Fort, preparatory to an expected expedition against the Cherokee Indians, when he, the said Charles Bickley enrolled himself as a Private, and marched under the said officers, to the Fort aforesaid, where they remained a short time, when in obedience to orders from Col. Bledsoe, then in command of the frontier forces upon that frontier, they evacuated the Rye Cove Fort, and being a more exposed point, and without sufficient forces for the defense, and marched to Blackmore's Fort on Clinch River, and formed a junction with the forces stationed at that fort.

During their stay at the latter fort, and before they set out upon the then contemplated expedition against the Cherokee Indians, information reached the fort, through Captain Daniel Smith that the Indians were upon the waters of Moccasin Creek. Whereupon Captain Montgomery with his company joined Captain Smith and his company and marched in pursuit of the Indians and pursued their trail within a short distance of Houston's Fort upon Moccasin Creek, when from their apparently having separated, were unable to prosecute the pursuit further in that way, and marched to the last named fort. Upon their arrival at the fort, they found no assault had, as yet, been made upon it by the Indians and found there a man from Castlewood, in the county of Russell of the name of Samuel Cowan, riding as this declarent now remembers, a stud horse belonging to Deskin Tibbs. Cowan proposed to leave the fort and return to his family, but was admonished of the danger of an attempt to do so, as the Indians were in the immediate neighborhood, but he persisted in his determination, and set out, but proceeded but a short distance, when firing of guns, was heard in the fort, and the forces sallied out to the attack, when soon they came upon the body of Cowan, shot from his horse, and scalped, and although still alive, was taken to the fort, and died the same evening. The Indians fled, and made their escape. Perceiving that the enemy had fled, and most likely had the settlement upon Moccasin, they were marched back to Blackmore's Fort upon Clinch River, where they remained a short time, until the forces for the proposed expedition against the Cherokee Indians were all embodied and ready to march. They then set out and marched to the Three Springs in the now state of Tennessee where the army remained a few days, and again took up their line of march for the Indian nation under the command of Col. Christy (Christian) and Major Evan Shelby at the head of whose battalion, was placed the company of Capt. John Montgomery. This declarent also remembers that there was also in command upon the expedition a Col McClanahan.

They continued this march without any skirmishing or interruptions until they arrived at a place called by some as the Big Island, and by others as the Dragon Canoe, when some of the chiefs and headmen of the Indians, came in, and proposed to make a treaty of peace, amongst these chiefs and headmen, he remembers the Little Carpenter, Blackhead Partridge, etc. It was agreed on the part of the Indians that hostilities should cease for the present, and it was agreed and assented to by both parties that a coucil should be held, at some subsequent day at the Long Island of Holston, for the purpose of ratifying and confirming a permanent treaty, which was done. The army then marched in a body to that point, where they were discharged, and this declarent returned to his residence in the county of Russell, where he arrived in the fall of the year, but cannot now remember at what precise date, but remembers that there were several excessive hard frosts, during their stay in the Indian territory, which attracted general notice at that time from the unusual number of excessive frosts without any intervening bad weather. He feels assured that he must have remained in the service, upon this tour, at least four months, and he doubts not longer.

Sometime after his return home, but how long he cannot now remember, but thinks from the best of his recollection it was the fall of the year 1777, he was again called out by Capt. E. Shelby, as a militia guard for the protection of the Commissioners and Surveyors appointed to run a line between the state of Virginia and the Cherokee Indians which line was run by Col. William Campbell, beginning at what was called the mouth of Big Creek and ending at the high knob upon Cumberland Mountain, a few miles west of Cumberland Gap, as well as he can now remember. In this service they were engaged at least one month, and he verily believes more. When they returned to the Rye Cove where they remained a short time, when the company to which he was attached, were placed under the command of Ensign Douglas, and marched to the Long Island upon Holston River, where they remained for the term of three months, and were discharged and returned home again to the county of Russell.

This declarent remained at his home upon the frontier, and in the vicinity, engaged in many skirmishes, and performing some occasional service of great danger, but only of a volunteer character, without either military orders or compensation, until the year, he thinks, of 1780, when he was ordered out again about the month of August or September, under Captain John Snoddy, as a military guard for the opening of a new road from the valley of Holston River, via Cumberland Gap, to the settlements in the now state of Kentucky, near the Craborchard in that state, in which service they were engaged at least two months and a half, and were then marched back, as well as this declarent now remembers. One Mr. McBride was the superintendant to open the road which he has mentioned.

This declarent has no written discharge, nor any documentary evidence of his service, but he resides now in the same immediate community in which his services, in chief were performed. He has carefully distinguished in his declaration his services under regular military orders and those which he rendered in deference of his own and the homes and families of his neighbors, and hopes to be able to show to the satisfaction of the government that his claim for a pension is just and well founded by the testimony of those who were witnesses to his service, and those amongst whom he has grown old. He claims a pension for 14 months services, and verily believes that he was longer engaged in the public service.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or an annuity, except the present, and he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency in any state.

Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

                                        Charles X Bickley

And the said court do hereby declare their opinion that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary soldier and served as he states.

I James P. Carroll, Clerk of the County court of Russell in the state of Virginia, do certify that the foregoing is the original declaration of Charles Bickley, applicant for a pension, made in said court.

In testimony whereof I hereto set my hand and annex the seal of the said court this 13th day of December, 1836.

James P. Carroll
Clerk of Russell Co. Court

This information was submitted by Michael A. Dye.
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