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Application for Pension, 1833

Note: Though William is here identified as Senior, this designation probably is used to distinguish him from the younger William, son of Ford Southern, who was living in the same neighborhood in Stokes County in the early 1830s. He is not believed to have had a son named William himself, and he should not be confused with William Southern (also called Senior in some records) who was married to Magdalen and who died in Stokes County in 1794. That older William (born ca. 1720), also from Buckingham County, Virginia, may have been this man's father or uncle.

(Explanatory notes appear as bold numbers in parentheses and are cited at the end of the narrative. To view a note as you read the text, click on the note number. Then use your "back" button to return to your place in the text.)

State of North Carolina
Stokes County

Be it known that on the 30th Day of July A.D. 1833 personally appeared before me Charles Banner one of the Justices of the peace in and for the County aforesaid William Southern Sen. at his own place of residence in said county aged about seventy five or six years, who having 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 the 7th June 1832.

First he states that from the infirmaties of old age also he being badly Ruptured that he is unable to travel to Germanton the Seat where the Courts of Record are held in the County of Stokes aforesaid it being upwards of twenty miles distant from his residence, and he further states that from old age and the consequent loss of memory he cannot precisely mention the different periods or dates where he entered into & returned out of the Service of the United States. But as well as his memory will serve him that he entered the Service of the United States under the following named Officers and served as hereinafter stated (to wit)

The first Service he entered and served as a private volunteer Militia Soldier of Infantry under the Command of Captain William Meredith in Surry County North Carolina [illegible insert here: ___ Ensign Hickerson] for three months and marched from Surry Court house to Salisbury N. Carolina & there joined head quarters under the Command of General Rutherford & from thence marched to a place called Ragleys Mills near Camden in South Carolina and after remaining at that place a week or ten days perhaps there being a call for a reinforcement to join General Sumpters Brigade to Scour the Country & Rout a party of British & Tories around about the Cataba [Catawba] tribe of Indians on the Cataba River. This applicant turned out with seven others of his Capt. Merediths Company under Ensign Thos. Hickerson & marched & joined Genl. Sumpter on the said River near the Nation of Indians during this Rout the Notorious Battle of Genl. Gates defeat happened and our army was compelled to flee from the Enemy & were irregularly dispersed and retreated homewards.(1) He thinks this happened in the month of

(Page 2 of original document)

August 1780 he was [illegible] with a Capt. Jack [?] Lewis [illegible] Lieutent. Robt. Hill who was accidentally wounded by the fall of a tree near or in Cabareus [Cabarrus] N.Carolina. In this service he served three months & was discharged in Salem N.Carolina by his Capt. Meredith some time in September 1780 --- He thinks he can prove this Service by [illegible] Lieut. Robt. Hill or Wm. Meredith if in this County.

The next Service this applicant performed was he was drafted in Surry County N.Carolina and marched from Richmond (2) in said County commanded by Capt. Arthur Scott to Haw River & thence to the Water Course called Alamance in Guilford County N.Carolina at which place we joined the Army under the command of General Green and marched from thence towards Guilford Court house when & where the Notorious Battle of Guilford happened which was in March of 1781 (3) in which Battle this applicant served as one of the Guards [?] of the Baggage & Military stores and after serving nine weeks or two months & 7 days [illegible insert: a private?] was discharged by his Captain & returned home very sick. He knows of no person that he can get to testify as to this Service.

The next Service he rendered was as a draft private Militia Soldier under Capt. David [illegible- Humphrey?] at old Richmond in Surry County N.C. which was not [illegible] many Months after Guilford Battle aforesaid and marched from thence to Guilford & then joined Col. James Martins Regiment then marched towards Wilmington in N. Carolina crossing Deep River & through several counties he does not recollect the names to a place called the Raft Swamp (4) & to a Brick House near Wilmington. General Rutherford was our Commander in Chief during this Tour when some time in Novem. 1781 we were ordered to form in a line which being done our officers came riding along the lines making proclamation aloud that the Enemy had surrendered; Cornwallis was taken; with his whole Army; by Washington & his forces -- whereupon our Officers ordered a salute to the Glorious News by firing several rounds.

(page 3 of original document)

In this Service the applicant served three months, and can have the [illegible - same?] by [illegible - a name], Edwin Hickman and a [illegible - a name] if living Stokes County which he believes they are, he had a discharge but has lost it.

He has no documentary evidence of his services. And after [illegible- responding?] the 7 interogations prescribed by War department - he answers as follows to wit

1st that he was born in Buckingham County in Virginia in the year 1758 or 59.

2nd that he has no record of is age only [traditionary?] information.

3rd, 4th, & 5th that he lived in Surry County N.Carolina when he entered each Tour of Duty, the first as a volunteer & the two last as a drafted private each time; that he knew & served with all the officers named in the foregoing, that he now resides in the same neighborhood (which from the division of Surry is now Stokes County) where he resided ever since the Revolutionary War.

6th that he only rec'd one written discharge as he can recollect from his Capt. or Col. Js. Martin he does not recollect which has been lost.

7th that he is acquainted with many good citizens in his county that can tesitfy as to his character for veracity and will name Col.s James Martin & James Davis [illegible- Esq.?] that there is no clergyman in his neighborhood but itenerant preachers that is not settled citizens of the county. 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 and subsribed this 30th day of July 1833 before me

Banner J.P.

William Southern

North Carolina
Stokes County

We James Martin Senr. and James Davis Senr. do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with William Southern Senr. who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration, that we believe him to be seventy five or six years of age that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a Soldier of the Revolution & that we [illegible-- agree?] in that opinion. Sworn and subsribed the date above mentioned before me this 2nd day of October 1833.

Banner J.P.

[Note at bottom corner in a different hand:]

Js. Martin Sr. formerly
Colonel of Guilford Militia
Js. Davis Senr.


1. The Battle of Camden (S.C.) was fought on August 16, 1780. The British force under Cornwallis routed the patriots under Horatio Gates. The Americans made amends later that year, defeating Patrick Ferguson's British force at Kings Mountain (S.C.) on October 7 and beating Bananstre Tarleton at Cowpens (S.C.) on January 17, 1781.
2. Richmond was the county seat of Surry County prior to the partitioning of Stokes County in 1789, when Rockford became the county seat of Surry and Germanton became the county seat of Stokes. Richmond was located in what is now northwestern Forsyth County. There are no standing buildings at the site today, but it is of archaeological interest and the site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
3. On March 15, 1781, Cornwallis's force of 2,000 British regulars drove Nathanael Greene's American force of about 4,000 from the field at Guilford Courthouse, N.C. Corwallis lost about a fourth of his army and was forced to retreat to Wilmington, N.C., for reinforcements and supplies. He never recovered his balance after Guilford Courthouse. Moving next into Virginia, he surrendered to Washington at Yorktown on Oct. 17-19, 1781.
4. From William S. Powell, The North Carolina Gazetteer: "Raft Swamp rises in s Hoke County and flows se into central Robeson County where it enters Lumber River. Much Tory activity during the Revolution was centered here, and the name is frequently mentioned in records of the time."