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

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Sunday, July 11, 2010

John Nicholson, Sr. -- Revolutionary War Soldier

Before I begin today's column, let me thank all who e-mailed, called, or sent get-well cards to wish me God-speed during my six-day hospital stay and recuperation at home. I still face gall bladder surgery soon. That, I am told, is a routine procedure by laparoscopy. I thank my son, Keith Jones, for filling this space last week with his remembrances and thoughts on "Was It That Long Ago?" He, like his Mom, likes to write and he sometimes gets "carried" away. Thanks, Keith, for your love of the written and spoken word. And thanks, Sentinel,, for allowing him to sub for me.

And now to the subject of the day, beginning a new series on John Nicholson, Sr - Revolutionary War Soldier

The burial place of John Nicholson, Sr. is at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Cemetery almost eight miles west of Blairsville's Old Court House Square just off Highway 76. There a Daughters of American Revolution tombstone marker gives this patriot's name, but no date of birth or death. We have to search elsewhere to find his origins and his service as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

John Nicholson was born in Bute County, modern name Warren County, in North Carolina. His father was William Nicholson, who no doubt links back to the first William Nicholson to come to Virginia in colonial America from England. The Nicholsons in Virginia and Maryland owned large tracts of land there. William Nicholson, John's father, migrated to the area around Tarboro, North Carolina and became a landowner there. The name of his mother is not known to this writer.

The birth date of John Nicholson, Sr. is given as either May 1, 1762, or May 1, 1763. Most researchers on his family line opt for the year 1763. When an adult, John Nicholson moved to Buncombe County, N. C. There he became active in forming what was known as Walton County, joined to Georgia in the "Orphan Strip" of land. It was a part of Georgia until the Georgia/ North Carolina border along the 35th latitude, a state line dispute, was settled in 1813. But this strip and John Nicholson's involvement in it are stories for a later column.

John Nicholson served a total of twelve months as an American Revolutionary soldier. His four terms of service, each three months in length, are documented by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution. As a citizen of Bute County, N.C., his first enlistment in the Revolution was in 1780. This term of service was for three month's duration as a private in Captain John White's Company, under General Caswell's charge. Col. Eaton led the Regiment of which Nicholson was a soldier. They saw action in the Battle of Camden where General Bates was defeated. David F. Trask, historian, writing about the military during the Revolutionary War period stated that "The military tradition, together with the growing dislike for British professional troops, reinforced the anti-military bent in the colonies and encouraged a tradition that demanded the subservience of military to civil authority… The nation relied on volunteers to augment the regulars in the Continental Army." (p. 500, Oxford Companion to US History, c2001). It was in the spirit of volunteerism that John Nicholson fought and won at the Battle of Camden. His honorable discharge from this duty occurred at Adkin, NC.

His second tour of duty, again for a three-months' enlistment, occurred in 1781.

That time, he was assigned to serve under General Greene, with Captain Flewallen and Captain Norsworthy as Regiment leaders. In this period, the Regiment fought in the famous Guilford Court House foray. He was again honorably discharged at Col. Ramey's Mill in North Carolina.

His third volunteer trek occurred later in 1781 when he enlisted with his commander Col. Linton's North Carolina Troops. No battles are recorded in this tour of duty. His discharge was at Tarborough, NC after three months of duty.

His fourth and final three months in service, making a total of a year for him, was in 1782. He entered as a private in Captain Cox's Company in famed Colonel Sevier's North Carolina Regiment. His discharge came at the Tennessee River in NC.

He was granted a Revolutionary War pension on July 30, 1833 of $40.00 per year. At the time the pension was approved, he was 72 years of age and living in Hall County, Georgia. My next column will continue with more on the Life and Times of Revolutionary War soldier John Nicholson, Jr. and how he came to be a citizen of Union County, Ga.

c 2009 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Mar. 5, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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