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

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. - Revolutionary War Soldier

John Henry Stonecypher, Jr., Revolutionary War soldier, did not ever live in Union County, Georgia. In fact, after the war, he settled on a large grant of land in what became Franklin and later Stephens counties. But his descendants people the mountain areas across North Georgia, including Union. We turn our focus on this mover and shaker of colonial America.

John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. was born in Culpepper County, Virginia in 1756, the son of German immigrant Johann Heinricus Steinseiffer who came to America in 1753, and the grandson of Johannes Steinseiffer who immigrated to America in 1749. John Henry, Jr. lived in Virginia until his family moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1763.

John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. enlisted in the United States Army in June, 1776 as a private in the North Carolina Militia under Colonel Cleveland and Captain Shepherd. He entered the service at the Wilkes County Court House and was made a guard over some prisoners-of-war at Salisbury under Captain Gordon Shepherd. This was a three months tour of duty.

He returned to Wilkes County Court House and was reassigned to a battalion at the Crew River where they sought to stop the Tories led by a Captain Roberts. At King's Creek they also warded off Tories. That ended his second three-month's enlistment.

He rejoined the service in June, 1780 at Wilkes County Court House under the leadership of Captain Rutledge in the regiment commanded by Colonels Loches and Isaacs. Commander in Chief was General Gates. He also served under General Rutherford. That term of service was three months. His fourth term of duty in the North Carolina Militia began at Salisbury. The regiment was marched to Charlotte Court House and then to Camden, South Carolina where he again fought under the command of General Gates. Life was not easy. His militia was defeated. Stonecypher escaped and returned home to Wilkes County. After a few days of rest, he went again to Wilkes County Court House and signed for the North Carolina Militia under Colonel Cleveland with whom he continued in service and fought in the famous Battle of King's Mountain in October, 1780.

He was then placed under the command of General Davidson and engaged in the Battle of Okimish at Beatty's Ford on the Catawba River. There they were trying to prevent the British under General Cornwallis from crossing the river. General Davidson was killed in the battle. The militia was defeated and retreated to the Widow Torrance's house. There they were attacked the next morning in her Lane and again defeated. He went home for a brief furlough.

Stonecypher returned to Wilkes Court House, again joining with Colonel Cleveland. He remained with Cleveland until the latter was assigned to the Lejis Catuce. Stonecypher was then placed under the command of Colonel Hearne with whom he continued to serve until the Battle of Guilford Court House in March, 1781. At Guilford he was placed among the riflemen under Colonel Campbell. He was wounded in that battle. He returned home for his wound to heal.

In October 1781 he reentered service under the command of Captain Keys, Colonel Hearne and General U. Lowell. They marched to Pleasant Gardens on the Catawba River. From thence they engaged against the Indians who were siding with the British in Cherokee territory. The militia engaged in burning Indian villages at Wautauga, Cowee and Sugar Creek. He served until December, 1781. He was honorably discharged at Wilkes County Court House by Colonel Cleveland. Altogether, John Henry Stonecypher served three years as a private soldier in the Revolutionary War.

He married in Wilkes County, NC to Nancy Ann Curtis, daughter of Joshua Curtis, a lieutenant in the Revolutionary Army. Stonecypher was granted 20,000 acres of land in Rabun and Franklin Counties in Georgia in payment for his service in the Revolutionary War. He and Nancy moved first to Hart County, Georgia in 1784. In 1786 they moved again to what was then Franklin County, Georgia (now Stephens) and located on Eastanollee Creek where he built a dam and a water-operated grist mill. In 1790 he built a stately two-story house, hiring the services of an architect to plan and erect the dwelling.

After moving to Georgia, he continued to fight the Indians, serving as Captain of the militia.

He and Nancy had nine children:

Benjamin, b. 1787, Franklin County, GA, married Elizabeth Collins.
Susannah, b. 1790, Franklin County, GA, married William Nix.
James Thomas, b. 1793, Franklin County, GA, married Martha Ruth Camp.
Fannie, b. 1797, Franklin County, GA, married a Cannon.
Mary, b. 1799. Never married.
Nancy, b. Nov. 11, 1800, d. March, 1854. Never married.
Lucy, b. ca 1801, married Anderson Moseley.
Amy, b. 1803. Married Cooper B. Fuller.
Phoebe, b. April 16, 1807, d. May 10, 1865, married Daniel Moseley who operated the old Stonecypher Mill.
John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. died at age 96 on December 15, 1850 from injuries sustained in a fall from his mill house steps. Nancy Curtis Stonecypher, who was born about 1760, died July 12, 1852 (?). Both are buried in the Stonecypher Family Cemetery near the house he built at Eastanollee near Toccoa, GA. Those interested can see both the cemetery and house. GPS location 34 32 03 N - 83 17 08 W should guide you there.

On July 16, 1994, descendants and admirers gathered for a service of dedication at the cemetery. An historical marker was placed and a patriotic program was conducted recounting Stonecypher's service in the Revolutionary War. Descendant and SAR member John Paul Souther (late) of Gainesville led the effort to erect the fence, place the memorial, and plan and implement the impressive program.

c 2009 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published July 9, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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