Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Sunday, February 28, 2010

John Nicholson, Revolutionary War Soldier (Part 1)

Last week we looked at the life and service of Revolutionary War soldier, Michael Tanner, who was buried in the Old Choestoe Cemetery.

Another Revolutionary War soldier’s grave is that of John Nicholson who was buried at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Coosa District. To access the cemetery and see this grave marker, travel from the square in Blairsville west on (old) Highway 76 for about 7.8 miles. The church was founded in 1842. Although the old gravestone shows neither a birth date nor a death date for John Nicholson, family records attest to his birth being on May 1, 1762 or 1763 in Old Bute County, NC (present-day Warren County). Family history also indicates that John Nicholson died December 20, 1858 at age 96. If he did live to this ripe old age, his birth date then would have been in the year 1762.

John Nicholson had moved from Hall County, Georgia to Union County, Georgia to live with his son Alfred whose farm was in the Harmony Grove section of Arkaquah District. Another son, Walter, lived in the Fodder Creek section of Towns County, Georgia. In 1858, John Nicholson was at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Lewis Akins in the Coosa District near Pleasant Grove Church. This daughter’s name was Luvicia, b. 1802 and called Vica. The family buried their father in the nearby church cemetery. Travel arrangements were not conducive then to transporting the body to Hall or Habersham County where one of his spouses had been buried in the many moves of the family.

John Nicholson (May 1, 1762 or 1763-December 20, 1858), was a son of William Nicholson. The Nicholsons had first settled in Virginia prior to the Revolution and had large land holdings there. The family migrated to North Carolina prior to the Revolution. It was in Bute County (later named Warren County), N. C. where John was born.

John Nicholson, Sr. enlisted in the Revolution from Bute County, NC. His first term of enlistment began in 1780 and lasted for three months. He was under the command of Captain John White and in Colonel Eaton’s North Carolina Regiment, with General Caswell. This Regiment was at the Battle of Camden when General Gates was defeated. This first three-month term was as a substitute for someone else. He mustered out on the Adkin River.

His second enlistment of three months was in 1781 as a private under General Greene, in the N. C. Regiment commanded by Captains Flewallen and Norsworthy. The Regiment was in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. After this three-month service, he was discharged at Ramey’s Mill.

His third three-month enlistment was under Colonel Linton in the North Carolina Troops. He was discharged at Tarborough.

For the fourth enlistment, again of three months in 1782, he served in Captain Cox’s Company of the North Carolina Regiment under Colonel Sevier. His honorable discharge came on the Tennessee River in North Carolina. Altogether, Private Nicholson served a year during the Revolution.

John Nicholson made application for a Revolutionary War pension on November 2, 1832. He was then a resident of Hall County, Georgia. He had been counted in the 1830 census of Hall County, along with his son, John Nicholson, Jr. (1802-1884). The pension was granted and Private John Nicholson received $40.00 per year until his death for his Revolutionary War service. By the 1850 census, John, Sr. was living in Cherokee County, Georgia in the household of his youngest son, John Nicholson, Jr. who had married Elizabeth Allred in 1827. That same year, 1850, John Nicholson, Sr. paid taxes in Union County, Georgia on land he owned, with his son-in-law, Lewis Akin, making the tax payment for him.

From the records, it would seem that John Nicholson, Sr. traveled about a lot. The aged soldier was probably moved from one child’s home to another to be cared for by them in his dotage. Reaching age 96 in those years was an accomplishment within itself. We can imagine that he had colorful stories to tell his children and grandchildren as he re-lived his four-term enlistment in the Revolution. The battles of Camden and Guilford Courthouse no doubt loomed large in his memory as he recalled the North Carolina farmers mustered out to protect their freedom and to win independence.

[Next week: More on the life and times of John Nicholson, Sr.]

c2004 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Feb. 26, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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