Pension Application of John Cox: R2404
Transcribed and annotated by C. Leon Harris
On this 16th day of October in the year 1834 personally appeared in open Court before the Court of the County of Scott in the Commonwealth of Virginia, now sitting, John Cox a resident of said County aged seventy six years, who being 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 the 7th day of June 1832 –
That in the year 1775 or 1776 [sic: see notes below] as well as he now recollects, his father was drafted in a detachment commanded by Col Lewis to serve a tour in the northwestern Territories of Virginia against the Indians who were than making war upon the settlements of Virginia and this declarant then quite a youth volunteered as a substitute for his father to perform the said tour of service, which lasted six months. This declarant then resided in the County of Montgomery in the said state, and joined the Company Commanded by Capt James Thompson, who died before joining the main Army Commanded by Col. Lewis. At his death, the declarant and the Company to which he was attached was put under the Command of Capt. Dickinson whose Christian name he thinks was William, but of this his recollection will not enable him to speak with certainty. They joined the main Army Commanded by Col. Lewis and marched to the point between the junctions of the Keshawe and Ohio rivers, where the Indians were active and in great numbers, and attacked them at this encampment, and defeated them with great slaughter. In this engagement Col Lewis was wounded and Capts Dickinson and Skidmore were killed. Col George Paris [sic: Pearis] also belonged to the Army, and commanded the Regt after Col Lewis was wounded. After serving six months on this expedition, and in guarding the Frontiers this applicant was discharged, but has long since lost his discharge. During the war of the revolution, but in what year the declarant does not remember, he was drafted for a six months tour of service and marched to North Carolina against the British and tories in a regiment Commanded by Col. William Preston in the company commanded by Capt. Russell whose Christian name he does not recollect. In this service this declarant was at the Battle at Ramsour’s[?] Mills, but he does not recollect the names of the Officers who commanded the American forces upon that occasion. He recollects that the first [word illegible] was disastrous to the Americans, but Col. William Campbell coming up with a large reinforcement at a [word illegible] rallied the retreating Americans, recommenced the engagement, and finally drove the British and Tories, making great slaughter. The tour of service for which the declarant was drafted having been served, this declarant with many others volunteered to go with Col. Campbell against an encampment of Tories in the Militia of Carolina commanded by a Capt. Francis that intercepting them on an excursion from their encampment we attacked them unawares and killed the most of them. The declarant was then discharged after a service of [two words illegible] six months and returned home. And he also long since lost his discharge for this service.
The revolution having not yet expired, this applicant was drafted for another six months four of service as a spy against the Indians in the [word illegible] of Virginia on the head of Clinch, in a company commanded by Capt John Preston, son of Col William Preston; John Crockett being the Lieutenant. In this service five of the spies belonging to the company were encamped one night on Guyandotte river and were attacked early the next morning at their camp by a party of Indians, who fired on the men in the camp and rushed in after them, wounding one of our men in the collar bone. One of the Indians seized upon one of our men and was about to tomahawk him, when this declarant [word illegible] up to his relief and the indian seeing him approach, made a blow with his tomahawk at the Declarants head who threw up his left arm and received the blow upon his Wrist and was badly wounded with the edge of the tomahawk. The declarant then stabbed the Indian with his butcher knife, and killed him dead upon the spot. And the Indians were then beaten off. – The declarant was discharged at the end of his six months services and returned home, but he has also lost his discharge for this duty.
The affiant was afterwards in an expedition against the Indians after their murder of Major Moore and the captivity of his Lady[?] and was abroad about a month, having killed three of the Indians and retaking one of the prisoners.
The Declarant hereby relinquishes any claim to any pension or annuity whatever, except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of any State whatsoever, nor has it ever been. – Sworn to and subscribed the day and year first before written. John his X mark Cox
Cox’s application was rejected, possibly because of discrepancies in his account of his services. Although he stated that he enlisted in 1775 or 1776, the engagement he described during the first tour was apparently the Battle of Point Pleasant at the junction of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers on 10 Oct 1775, when Col. Andrew Lewis repelled an attack by the Shawnees under Chief Cornstalk. There is no record of Lewis’s having been wounded there, but Capt. John (rather than William) Dickenson (or Dickson) and Capt. John Skidmore were wounded there.
Cox’s account of his second tour appears to mention the Battle of Ramseur’s Mill in North Carolina on 20 June 1780, but neither Col. Preston nor Col. Campbell were at that battle. Preston and Campbell were together at the skirmish at Wetzel’s Mill in NC on 6 March 1781, and Preston may have been at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on 15 March 1781, where Campbell did serve. However, Cox’s description does not fit either of these two engagements. If Cox remained with Campbell afterwards, the following engagement must have occurred before June 1781, when Campbell was promoted to General of militia and reassigned to Gen. Lafayette in the north. I could find no engagement by Campbell’s troops that fit the description given by Cox. The closest appears to be the skirmish at Shallow Ford on the Yadkin River in North Carolina on 14 Oct 1780, where militiamen of North Carolina and Montgomery County VA defeated about 500 Loyalists. Capt. Henry Francis of Montgomery County and 15 Loyalists were killed in the fighting.