Pension Declaration Captain Henry Connelly 15 August 1833
Captain Henry Connelly
Henry Connelly was a Captain of Cavalry, in the War of
Independence, in North Carolina. The record of this service is
contained in declaration made in application for a pension, now on
file in ther Bureau of Pensions, Washington, and of which I made
copies in the year 1902. These declarations are set out here:
On this 15th day of August, 1833, personnally appeared before
me, James Davis, a Justice of the Peace now sitting, HENRY CONNELLY, a
resident of Floyd County, and State of Kentucky, aged Eighty one
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 act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832:
That he entered the service of the United States under the
following named officers and served as herein stated:
That he entered the service and commanded one hundred State
troops of North Carolina (called militia) as the Captain thereof on
the 7th day of July 1777, for five years or during the war in the
County of Guilford, North Carolina. His Colonel in the first
instance was Colonel John Williams. Then under Colonel Paisley.
Then by Colonel John Taylor.
And lastly, by Colonel Billy Washington. This applicant's company
was a Horse Company and was raised for the especial purpose of
keeping down a daring Tory Colonel by the name of Fanning who had
made several daring attempts in the neighborhood of Salisbury and
Charlotte. During the first year of the service of this applicant,
by the orders of his Colonel, the company traversed
and marched to Rowan and Guilford in order to keep Fanning and his
During this year, in the month of October, the company encountered
his scouts and routed them with some loss. The general rendezvous
of the Tories was in that region of the country called the Haw Ford
on the Haw River.
These counties and the adjacent neighborhood was assigned to the
applicant's charge by His Excellency the Govenor of North Carolina,
in the month of June 1778.
And that winter he and his company rendezvoused at Salisbury. The
particulars of this years service was only a few fights with the
Tories. The War was raging in the North, whither that distinguished
and active officer, Colonel William Davidson had gone, and all
remaining for the constituted authorities to do was to keep down the
Tories, which were so numerous in this region of North Carolina.
During this year
1778, the men suffered much for clothes and every necessary, and our
forage master frequently had to press forage for our perishing
Continential money was then one hundred dollars for one - for this
applicant could not get a breakfast for $100 in Continental money
During this year, by order of the Govenor, this applicant's company
was placed under the direction of Colonel Davie, who then commanded
the North Carolina Cavalry; but he renewed the old orders, and my
district still remained as under my former orders.
Early in March, 1779, the Tories broke out with great fury at a
place called the Haw Fields, whither this applicant and his horse
company repaired and dislodged them with the assistance of Colonel
Lyttle from Rowan who commanded a regiment of militia. During this year
the Tories were fast accumulating in Rowan, and this applicant's Horse
Company was almost withdrawn from Guilford to that section of North
Carolina. The Whigs this year took a great many Tories, who were all
put in jail at Hillsborough (Hillsboro) and Salisbury.
In the month of November 1779, orders were received by Colonel
Paisley from Colonel Davie, the Commanding Colonel, to rendezvous at
Salisbury to the South to join General Lincoln at Savannah, but
about this time news arrived that General Lincoln was overtaken at
Charlestown, and all were taken prisoners.
General Davidson now raised several hundred men, and
Colonel Brevard had several skirmishes with the Loyalists, in which
this applicant and his company actively participated at Colson's
About this time at a place in the western part of the state (N.C.)
the Tories had collected to a great number and we marched
against them and (met them) at Colson's Mills.
This was in the month of May 1780, as well as this applicant
recollects. He recollects well that it was just before or about the
time of Gates' defeat at Camden. During this winter and the fall
this applicant's company abandoned his district of "protection"
and under Colonel Davis and General Davidson opposed the
passage of Lord Cornwallis through North Carolina.
At the time of approach of Cornwallis to Charlotte, under
Colonel Davie the troops posted themselves to meet the enemy.
On the enemy's approach the companies commanded by this applicant
received the first onset from Tarleton's Cavalry, and the
firing became general on the left wing. The troops
were commanded by Colonel Davie in person, and for three times we
succeeded in repulsing the enemy. At length we had to yield to
In this battle we had many men killed, several from under this
In December, just before Christmas, General Nathaniel Greene, from
the north, took command of us all. This was in 1780. We all, by his
proclamation and the orders of our Govenor, were placed under his
command, and assembled at Charlotte. From there this applicant was
placed under Colonel Washington and Marched to Augusta and Ninety
Six. After marching in a southern direction for several days
news came that Tarleton was after us.
We were all now under General Morgan, and a terrible conflict ensued
at the Cowpens between Tarleton's men and the army under General
Here the Americans were victorious and took a great many military
stores, cannons, baggage and six or seven hundred British and Tory
Prisoners. This was in January 1781. It was cold weather but
inclined to be raining during this battle.
The company which belonged to this applicant was placed
under Colonel Howard, on the extreme right of the Division, and this
applicant commanded a company in the center. Our company, when just
about to catch up to our horses was hid about four hundred paces in
the rear of the line of battle. (The enemy) fell upon us with great
fury, but we were fortunately relieved by Washington's Legion that
hastened to our assistance.
After this engagement we all formed a junction with General
Greene, and retreated with him to Dan (River) and crossed over into
Virginia and remaining there but a short period, marched back to
Guilford Courthouse, and this applicant actively participated in that
memorable battle, and he had the mortification to see his men in a
panic fly at the approach of the enemy; and although this applicant
endeavored to rally them, it was impossible, and many even retreated
to their homes. But this applicant remained
and continued to fight until the Americans were thrown into disorder
and confusion and defeated. About this time or a few days afterwards,
this applicant being unwell, and his company broken, obtained a
respite for a while, which was granted him (by the Govenor).
He remained at home and did not go with General Greene to Ninety Six.
During this summer he did all he could to get his company to assemble.
Their cry was "no pay" and their families required them at home.
He then went from Guilford over into Virginia, and in September 1781,
he raised a small volunteer company for three
months, to join General Washington at Little York (Yorktown).
Little York was, however taken before this applicant arrived. He
knew a great many Continental Officers, and regiments, and
Militia Officers, during his service.
In the Month of October the term of service of the Company from
Montgomery County, Virginia, just mentioned, expiring, he gave them their
discharges, and he himself returned to North Carolina, where he received the
thanks of the Govenor and a certificate stating his services.
This applicant knew General Smallwood, General Davidson, General
Rutherford, General Pickens, General Sumner, General Otho Williams,
Colonel Cleveland, Colonel Lyttle, Colonel William Washington Colonel
Malmody? (Malmedy)?, Colonel Lee (Light Horse Harry-from
Virginia),General Goodwin, Colonel J. E. Howard, who commanded the
Third Maryland Regiment, Captain Holgin, Colonel Paisley,
John Williams. The Baron Dekalb, Colonel Brevard and many
other Continental and Militia Officers that he now
forgotten. He has now no documentary evidence in his favor, having
forwarded his commission about six years ago by General Alexander
Lackey to the War Department. It has never been returned to this
applicant. He received a letter from the Secretary of War
informing him that as he was not a
regular he could not be allowed (his pension). His commission was
from the Govenor of North Carolina. He has made search and inquiry
for it for sometime, and he believes the same is lost or mislaid.
He refers the War Department to Henry B. Mayo, Esq., The
Honorable David K. Harris, to Colonel Francis A. Brown, to Colonel
John Van Hoose, the Reverand Henry Dixon, the Reverend Cuthbert
Stone, the Reverend Samuel Hanna, the Reverend Ezekiel Stone,
Reverend Wallace Bailey, to Andrew Rule, Esq., to John Rice,
and to Jacob Mayo, Esq., Clerk of the Floyd County
These can testify to his character for his veracity and their
belief of this applicant's service as a soldier and officer of the
Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.
signed - Henry Connelly
Att: J. Davis
We, Wallace Bailey, a Clergyman, residing in the County of Floyd
and State of Kentucky, and John Rice, residing in the same, to wit
Floyd County, Kentucky, hereby certify that they are well acquainted
with Henry Connelly, who has subscribed and sworn to the above application,
that we believe him to be eighty-one years of age, that he is
reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have
been a soldier of the Revolution, and that we concur in that opinion.
Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.
John Rice (seal)
And I do hereby declare my opinion after the investigation of
the matter, and after putting the interrogatories prescribed by the
War Department, that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary
soldier (an officer) and served as he states. An I further certify
that it appears to me that Wallis Bailey who has signed the
preceding certificate is a clergyman resident in the county of
Floyd and state of Kentucky, and that John Rice, who has
also signed the same, is a resident of the County of Floyd and state
of Kentucky, and are credible persons, and that their statement is
entitled to credit, and do further certify that the applicant
cannot, from bodily infirmity, attend court.
(signed) James Davis, J.P.F.Co.
Where and what year were you born?
Ans. I was born in Pennsylvania, Chester County, on the 2nd day of
Have you any record of your age, and if so, where is it?
I have it in my Bible, recorded there by my Father (In Dutch). I
have it at my house.
Where were you living when called into service, where have you lived
since the Revolutionary War, and where do you now live?
I was living in Guilford County North Carolina, where I have lived
since my father moved from Chester (County), Pennsylvania. up to the
Revolution. I have lived three years in the County of Montgomery,
in the State of Virginia, and the residue of the time I have lived
in this County - where I now live.
How were you called into service. Were you drafted, did you
volunteer, or were you a substitute, and if a substitute, for whom?
Ans. I was a volunteer, under the Government of North Carolina by an
invitation from the Govenor, and (my Command) were called State
Troops or Militia. A part of the men under my command were drafted
men for eighteen months. A Small portion was for six months, and
about forty were volunteers for and during the War. I was called into
service by a recruiting officer by the name of Holgin,
I think a regular officer. I made up
my company and reported to the Colonel and went forthwith into
Did you ever receive a Commission, and if so, by whom was it signed,
and what has become of it?
Ans. I did receive a Captain's Commission from Govenor Burke of
North Carolina. It was, I believe signed by him. I gave it about six
years ago to General Lackey, who says he sent it to the War
Department, he thinks. I have made search and cannot find it. It
was never returned to me.
State the Names of some of the regular officers who were with the
troops when you served, such Continental and Militia Regiments as
you can recollect, and the general circumstances of your service.
Ans. I knew General Greene, I have seen General Gates at Hillsboro.
(I knew) General Smallwood, General Davidson, General Pickens, General
Sumner, General Otho Williams, Colonel Billy Washington. Colonel Lee,
Colonel Howard, the Baron Dekalb. I have seen in 1780, Captain
Holgin, Colonel John Williams, Colonel Nat Williams, who commanded
the Ninth Regiment North Carolina Militia in 1778,
Colonel Paisley, Colonel Buncombe, Captain Charles Briant,
Colonel Brevard, Major (often called Colonel) De
Malmody, and old Colonel Cleveland., Lieutenant Joseph Lewis,
Major Charles Anderson, and William Boma Ensign.
I was directed by Govenor Burke and Colonel Davie to keep down
Fanning in Guilford and Rowan. This applicant did with one hundred
men, a horse company. He served in 1777 in this capacity, likewise
in 1778 and until the fall of 1779. He then joined General
Davidson and was with him at the battle of Colson's Mills
where he (General Davis)got wounded.
This was in May or June 1780. He was at the battle of Hillsboro and
had nineteen of his horsemen killed on the field and seven died the next
day of their wounds. I was in the battle of COWPENS, under Colonel Washington
and Colonel Howard in January 1781, and Tarleton was defeated and we
took his baggage and several hundred prisoners. I retreated with my horse
company with General Greene to Dan (River) - went over into Virginia, and
remained with the Army until the battle of Guilford (Courthouse).
I was in that battle and my men broke very near at first charge,
in a panic, and fled, and many went even home.
When my roll was called at the Iron Works I had but a few men left.
I was then
State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present
neighborhood and who can testify as to your character for veracity,
and their belief of your services as a soldier and officer of the
I refer to General Lackey, to Colonel Brown, Colonel T. W.
Graham, to Austin Litteral, to Jacob Mayo, Esq., to Andrew Rule, to
the Rev Ezekiel Stone, to Rev Wallis Bailey
Sworn to before me.
(signed) James Davis.
Personally appeared before the undersigned, one of the Commonwealths
Justices of the Peace, Phillip Williamson, Senior, of the County of
Lawrence, Kentucky and made oath that he is eighty-four years of
age, that previous to the commencement to the American Revolution he resided
in Wake County, North Carolina, that he shortly after the commencement of the
Revolution moved to Guilford County, and afterwards to Rowan County, that in
the year of 1777, in the fall season thereof, Captain Henry Connelly, now of
was constitutional and commissioned a Captain in the North Carolina
Cavalry. I was then well acquainted with him, and he was appointed
to keep down Fanning.
I was frequently with him in the next year in Rowan. This was in
the summer of 1778. He then commanded the company of cavalry
aforesaid. I recollect to have seen him several times in
Hillsboro where the prisoners were kept.
I also recollect him and his company was in the service
during the year following in 1779, for I well remember
several Tories his company brought in.
In the month of February 1780, I left Rowan, and came back over to
Washington County in the State of Virginia. I remained there till
may and then I went back to North Carolina. Captain Connelly was
then out with his Horse Company with General Davidson against the
Tories. I do not remember that I saw him anymore for some time.
I, about this time enlisted in the service as a "three months" man
and joined General Greene.
When we were retreating I again saw Captain Connelly commanding
his company in the service as a Captain. The infantry was
compelled to assist the cavalry over the streams.
He was at the battle of Guilford. I recollect that I
saw him a day or two afterwards in the Army. I have known him for a
long time since the Revolution.
Captain Connelly was a Captain of the Troops raised by
North Carolina (not Continental). And further this deponent saith
Phillip Williamson (seal)
Sworn to and executed before Francis A. Brown, Justice of Peace of
County, October 2nd 1833.
On this 24th day of August 1833, personally appeared before me,
the undersigned, one of the Commonwealths Justices of the Peace for
Floyd County, Jonathan Pytts, an aged man, and now on the Pension
Agency of Kentucky, and made the following statement on oath relative to the
service of Captain Henry Connelly, who was an officer in the Revolutionary War.
states that he resided in Rowan County, North Carolina long before
the war, and that during 1777, Captain Connelly, who was a Captain of a horse
company from Guilford arrived in the neighborhood of the uncle of this
affiant, with whom this affiant resided. His business, he told us, was to
assist us in keeping the Tories down. A great many Scotch Tories
had accumulated under Fanning, and many about the Haw Fields,
and a place called Cross Creek, He was, off and on,
during that year in Rowan. I saw him several times in
Salisbury in that year. In the year 1778 he and his company still
were in Rowan.
He knew him very well in the year 1779, for he was according to this
affiants recollection, all year in Rowan until Colonel William
Davidson came back from General Washington's Army and raised men
to go help General Lincoln at Charleston, South Carolina.
This affiant saw Captain Connelly frequently in Rowan.
And the next year or the year after, this affiant again saw
him and his company just before General Greene got to Dan. He was
along with the Army. This affiant does not know whether
Captain Connelly was in the battle of Guilford or not,
for this affiant had been sent on an express to
Burk (now called Burke). He does not know how long Captain Connelly
enlisted for. He belonged to the North Carolina Cavalry,
and how long he served this affiant does not not know precisely.
He does not know who was Captain Connelly's Colonel;
if he ever knew he has entirely forgotten. The impression
of this affiant is that Captain Connelly's horse company consisted
of one hundred men, but he does not pretend to certainty about this fact.
And further this deponent saith not.
Subscribed and sworn before Stephen Hamilton, Justice of the Peace,
County, Kentucky, August 24, 1833.
On this (10th) day of October 1833, personally appearing before
me, the undersigned, one of the Commonwealth's Justices of the Peace,
Benedict Wadkins, aged seventy-four years, who being duly sworn on
the holy evangilists, (deposes and says) that he was a resident of the State
of North Carolina, Rowan County, during the Revolution; that in the
year 1777, and 1778, he knew there Captain Connelly, who then commanded
as a Captain in the North Carolina Cavalry; and I saw him in Salisbury
also in the summer of 1779. He was still commanding his horse company in the
service of the United States as a Captain. Captain Connelly, then I think,
lived in Guilford (County). When the army was under General Greene I saw him
once with the Army at Hillsboro; and he was with the army in the retreat
The last time I remember to have seen him was after the battle of
Guilford - the next day. He was then a Captain as he was in 1777
and 1778 and 1779. I cannot state how long Captain Connelly served,
but I know he was commissioned as a Captain of Cavalry and served
in that capacity for several years. When I came to the Sandy
(the Big Sandy Valley) many years since, I found
Captain Connelly here. Since then I have known him well. I
recollect to have heard it asserted that he was at the
COWPENS when Tarleton got defeated,
but as I was not there, I cannot attest to that fact. The Tories
were very bad in the western part of the State and Captain Connelly was
appointed to keep them down. I distinctly remember that he
commanded one hundred men and they were all chiefly Dutch Soldiers.
And further this deponent saith not.
The deposition of William Haney, aged 75 years, that in 1781 he
became acquainted with Captain Connnelly of the North Carolina Light
He was then commanding as a Captain in the North Carolina Troops.
When General Greene's army retreated into Virginia I remember that he was
with the army. He was in the battle of Guilford Courthouse, I well
Remember. I have known him many years since the revolution, and I know him well
to be the same man.
Given under my hand this 9th day of October, 1833.
(signed) William Haney
Sworn to before Shadrach Preston, Justice of the Peace, Floyd
County, October 9th 1833, and the Justice certifies that Haney was a
credible witness, as had all Justices of the other affiants.
Kentucky, to wit.}
The statement of Mesias Hall, aged fifty-five years, who upon
his oath, states that he is a native of the state of North Carolina,
That he recollects many of the events at the close of the
revolution. That he lived and was raised a near neighbor to Captain
Henry Connelly, Sr. That he always understood from all persons that
he served in the North Carolina State Troops in that capacity in
which he stated. That he never was doubted by any person.
He thinks one of his brother-in-laws served under
him in the Revolution. who is long since dead.
Subscribed and sworn to before John Friend. Justice of the Peace,
Floyd County Kentucky. who certifies that Hall was a creditable
The Attorney who made of the papers of Captain Connelly was Henry C.
Harris,of Prestonsburg. He was attorney for the family for a
In a letter, in the files relating to the pension of Captain Connelly
there is a letter written by Mr. Harris, in which he says:
"The old man is a Dutchman, and when I made out his statement I
could scarcely understand a word he said."
His claim was allowed and he was placed on the pension roll of
the Soldiers of the Revolution at one hundred and fifty dollars per
annum,beginning the 4th of March 1831.
After his death, his widow, Temperance Connelly, was granted a
pension,and in consideration of the inadequate allowance to Captain
Connelly, she was paid six hundred dollars per annum. In making this
allowance to the widow of Captain Connelly a copy of his declaration
for pension was sent to the Comptrollers Office of North Carolina for
verification. Concerning his service, the Comptroller wrote the
Commissioner of Pensions the following letter.
CAPTAIN CONNELLY WAS ALSO GRANTED 160 ACRES OF BOUNTY-LAND. I DON'T
KNOW WHERE THIS LAND WAS LOCATED - THEY COULD BE SOLD AT ONE TIME
MONEY KEPT BY THE ONE WHO SOLD IT. NOT EVERYONE WANTED TO GO TO
RALEIGH NORTH CAROLINA
NOVEMBER 10, 1851
I have attentively examined the records of this office
respecting the Revolutionary Services of Captain Henry Connelly, and
regret to say, unsuccessfully. A portion of the records are
undoubtedly lost. The Capital was burned about twenty years ago
and many papers of this office were destroyed.
In addition to this, I find a remark in the Journal of the
Commissioners on behalf of this State to state the account of North
Carolina against the United States, that Colonel (afterwards General)
W. R. Davie
neglected to make a return of the Cavalry forces of this State under
his command, and expressing strongly the difficulty which they
experienced in making out the accounts of the dragoons.
The abstract of the declaration which you sent me contains the
Best history of the Revolutionary Struggle from 1777 to 1781, in the
Middle Counties of North Carolina which I have ever seen.
There are not five men in the State who could have written so
concise and correct a history. I could not have done it and I have
studied the subject for ten years with unusual opportunities
The names of officers, places and dates are all correct. Where did
he get them from? For you must remember that the History of the
Revolutionary War in North Carolina has not been written
(except Colonel Wheeler's history, now in press).
Is it not the presumption then, powerfully strong that
these statements relative to his service are also correct.
I hope at some future time to write a historical memoir of the
period embraced in the declaration, and will keep your letter to
Wm. J. Clarke.,