WILLIAM THOMAS, REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIER, WAS BORN TO MARGARET BREVARD & JACOB THOMAS IN ROWAN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, ON 3 SEPTEMBER 1761, AND DIED 1 APRIL 1833 IN DYER COUNTY, TENNESSEE, HAVING REMOVED THERE, SOME 3 YEARS PRIOR, FROM WILSON COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE.
APPLICATION OF ELIZABETH PURVIANCE THOMAS (MRS. WILLIAM THOMAS) FOR REVOLUTIONARY WAR WIDOW’S PENSION, NUMBER 53780
DYER COUNTY, TENNESSEE, 2 JULY 1834
This day appeared before me GEORGE W. [TICKLE ? ] TINKLE, one of the acting justices of the peace for the county of Dyer, ELIZABETH [PURVIANCE] THOMAS, widow and relict of WILLIAM THOMAS, deceased, late of said county, at the residence of the said ELIZABETH [PURVIANCE] THOMAS because from age, said Elizabeth was unable to appear before me, and made the following declaration in order to obtain the benefits of the Act of Congress passed the 7 of June A.D. 1832.She states that on the first of April 1833 her husband WILLIAM THOMAS departed this life being then a citizen of Dyer county where he had resided about 3 years having removed from the county of WILSON where he had lived for many years, to the county of Dyer where he died. She states that she intermarried with the said WILLIAM THOMAS, deceased, some time about 19 May 1791 in the state of North Carolina. She further states that the said William Thomas in his life time made his declaration to avail himself of the benefits of the aforesaid act of Congress and departed this life, which declaration was returned for informality. She further states that [her son-in-law] EDWIN A. McCORKLE, one of the executors of the said WILLIAM THOMAS, deceased, in like manner made an amended declaration which was in like manner returned.
And the said ELIZABETH [PURVIANCE] THOMAS, widow and relict of the said WILLIAM THOMAS, deceased, further declares and says that the said WILLIAM THOMAS has always been held and taken for a soldier of the Revolution and a man of good character and undoubted veracity, and that the substance of his declaration is herewith embodied and set forth which the said ELIZABETH THOMAS believes to be true, having often many years heretofore heard the said WILLIAM THOMAS repeat the same, the substance of which is as follows:
Declarant [William Thomas] stated that he was born in the county of Rowan, North Carolina, on the 3rd day of September 1761, where he continued to reside until the close of the revolutionary war and he stated that he entered the service of the United States and served under the following officers; that sometime in the year 1780 he was drafted to go into South Carolina to serve a tour of three months against the British. The company to which declarant belonged was commanded by James Purviance, Lt. Abel Armstrong, Ensign John Lucky [?]. He rendezvoused at Salisbury, North Carolina, where the command of the regiment was taken by Col. MARTIN ARMSTRONG. At this place the troops joined Gen l Rutherford who took command of the whole. After lying there awhile, they were marched on to meet Gen l Gates whose army they fell in with after crossing Peedee River in South Carolina from when they proceeded to HUGULY’s (?) mills not far from Camden, where he was detached under Colonel Graves (Isaacs?) to join Gen l Sumter who was lying at the Catawba River. After lying here awhile, they heard of the defeat of Gen l Gates, when they were marched up the Catawba River where they were overtaken by a body of British who attacked the troops and defeated them. From thence the declarant went home.
“ Shortly after this, declarant was again called out, his time of service not having expired, by Gen l Davidson, when they went to Mecklenburg where he remained until the expiration of his tour of service and he was regularly discharged by Maj JOHN JOHNSON, which discharge has since been lost.
“Declarant further stated that some time in 1780 he was called into service to go against the Loyalists in N.C. under Col. HUGH BREVARD. They were marched towards the south fork of the Catawba. Here they were engaged for some time against the tories some of whom they took prisoners and dispersed others. He further stated that they then returned home. He further stated that within the last of 1780 or the first of 1781, they were again drafted to serve a tour under Gen’l DAVIDSON against the British under Cornwallis, who were pursuing Genl MORGAN [Swamp Fox: Francis Marion Morgan] after the battle of COWPENS. They were marched under Gen’l DAVIDSON to the Catawba river in N.C. and were stationed at the ford to oppose the crossing of Cornwallis. Shortly after they took their station here, the British came up and commenced a passage of the river at day-break, when the action commenced, the British repulsed them and in their retreat he saw Gen’l DAVIDSON a few minutes before he fell. After this event, they were ordered to retreat by Maj. WM. POLK. He stated that he then returned home. He was again called into service under Col. FRANCIS LOCKE to join Gen’l GREEN in Virginia. They accordingly marched from the Yadkin [River] in N.C. and shortly after joined GREEN. He remained with the army till his term of 3 months expired, and was discharged and returned home.
“He stated that he then remained in Iredell County, N.C., until the year 1791, when he removed to SUMNER COUNTY, Tennessee, where he remained until 1799, when he removed to Wilson County, Tenn., where he remained till the year 1830, when he removed to Dyer County, Tenn., where he resided at the time of his death. He stated that he was 71 years of age on the 3rd of September 1832, according to a copy of the record of his father’s [Jacob Thomas’s] family bible in N.C. which he had in his possession; that he had no documentary proof to prove his service, his discharge being lost. He referred to [his brother] HENRY THOMAS to prove 3 months of the service, whose affidavit proved 3 months of service time mentioned in said affidavit and the said [widow of the declarant] ELIZABETH [PURVIANCE THOMAS] states that the said HENRY THOMAS is now dead. He stated that his name was not on the roll of pension agency for any state and the said ELIZABETH hereby relinquishes all claim whatever for a pension or annuity except the present. And the said ELIZABETH THOMAS refers to DANIEL HENDRICKS and EDWIN A. McCORKLE [then aged 35 her son-in-law], citizens of Dyer county as to the reputation of the character and services of the said WILLIAM THOMAS, dec’d, as well as to her intermarriage with the said WILLIAM. She further refers to [her brother-in-law] JAMES THOMAS .of Gibson county, whose affidavit will be hereto attached.
“Sworn to and subscribed before me this 2nd day of July 1834
George W. Tinkle, J.P.
“[signed] ELIZABETH THOMAS
1. Jane Maxwell Thomas (Mrs. Edwin Alexander McCorkle) was one of the daughters of Elizabeth Purviance (Thomas) and husband, Revolutionary War soldier William Thomas. Jane Maxwell Thomas McCorkle was therefore a sister-in-law to Margaret Permelia (Pamela) McCorkle Scott (1804-1853) (Mrs. Lemuel Locke Scott); to Jehiel Morrison McCorkle (died 1849); to RAH McCorkle; to Elmira Sloan McCorkle Roache, to Rebecca Cowden McCorkle Thompson, inter alia. Jane Maxwell Thomas McCorkle's most famous brother was David Thomas, 1795-1836, a hero of the Republic of Texas and its first attorney general and acting secretary of war; see Wikipedia entry on David Thomas, Texas Politician. Another brother was Hiram Jacob Thomas, M.D., who removed from Middle Tennessee not to Dyer County but to Yazoo, Mississippi.
2. Pension Application also contains Affidavits of reputation for veracity of William Thomas and wife Elizabeth Purviance Thomas made by affiants Daniel Hendricks, a neighbor and pioneer settler in Dyer County, and by Edwin Alexander McCorkle….]
3. The related affidavit of James Thomas of Gibson County was made on 2 July 1834, aged about 78 years, at the residence of Elizabeth Purviance Thomas in Dyer County. He avers that he is a brother to William Thomas and that the latter was twice drafted during the Revolutionary War for 3-month periods.
4. Daniel Hendricks was a pioneer to eastern Dyer County. Then aged 51; Daniel Hendricks was Joyce Cope Huie’s great-great grandfather through her father Ira Mitchell Cope’s mother, “SIS” Narcissus Elizabeth Hendricks Cope (later Mrs. Narcissus Forcum.
This application has been provided for personal use only, and is not to be copied,
redistributed, or used for any commercial purposes.