Southern Campaign American Revolution
Pension Statement


Pension application of William Hillhouse S7008 fn56SC [illegible; HQ13]
Transcribed by Will Graves; annotated by Charles B. Baxley

State of Alabama, Marengo County

On this third day of February - personally appeared in open Court, before the Honorable
William J. Alston Judge of the County Court of Marengo now sitting William Hillhouse, Senior a resident of township 18, range five, East in the County of Marengo and State of Alabama, aged 73 years on the 18 of March last; who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to attain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7, 1832. I entered the service of the United States, in the month of December in the year 1775, under the command of Brigadier General Richardson (1) , in the Regiment of Colonel Thomas Neil (2), as a private soldier in the company commanded by Captain Thomas Kirkpatrick and left the service the first of October 1781. I resided when I entered the service in York District South Carolina. I entered as a volunteer holding myself ready at all times when ever called to go into service.

The first tour of duty I performed, was for the term of two months, in which tour I marched through the District of York and Union in the State of South Carolina, and Lincoln County North Carolina. During this Campaign I did no service with any Continental troops, nor was I in any battle. My next term of service commenced about the last of July 1776, and continued two months. This tour was performed principally in the then Indian Country, now the Districts of Greenville, Anderson and Pickens, in the State of South Carolina.

In this period of service there was skirmishing with the Indians, some of them, and a few of our soldiers were killed, but there was not what might be called a battle. I was next called into actual service about the first of December in the year 1777: which service continued as well as I now recollect for 60 days. I was then under the command of Brigadier General Williamson (3) and marched through the Districts of Union, Laurens and Abbeville to 96, White Hall (4) and Fort Independence. About the last of March in the year 1778 I commenced another tour of military duty, which terminated on the 28th of June following. During this service I was commanded by His Excellency Governor Rutledge, and marched through almost all the low country of South Carolina, especially those parts watered by Cooper and Edisto rivers. Count Pulaski (5), a Regular officer having under his command a troop of Cavalry, frequently visited the encampment to which I belonged.

In May 1780 I again went into actual service, and continued till October 1781. I entered as orderly Sergeant, in which capacity I served a short time, when I was elected Lieutenant of the Company in which I had hitherto done duty. Brigadier General Thomas Sumpter (6) [sic, Thomas Sumter] now commanded the Brigade, and Colonel Andrew Neil the Regiment to which I belonged; and Captain J. Jamison the company. During this campaign I marched through the greater part of the middle and lower sections of South Carolina, and through a considerable portion of North Carolina. As well as I can recollect, I was, during this term of duty, in the following Battles, viz., at Williamson's plantation (7) in the District of York South Carolina I was in a battle in which the British and Tories were commanded by the British officers, Captains Hook [sic, Huck] and Adams, and most gloriously defeated by a few Militia Boys, my Companions in arms, commanded by Colonel Neil. Some time in the same month I was called to face my Country's enemy at Rock Mount (8) [sic, Rocky Mount], where my brave and beloved Colonel Neil was slain (9). Eight days after, I was in the battle of the Hanging Rock (10), in which my Captain was severely wounded, and rendered unfit for service. In the heat of the battle I took command of the Company, which command I held until sometime in the April following when I resigned. Some time in the month of August, on the same day, if I mistake not on which General Gates was defeated, I was in a battle at Campden Ferry (11) [sic, Camden Ferry], where our troops captured a British Guard and a number of Wagons. In two or three days after I was in the battle where my brave General Sumter was defeated (12)

The next battle in which I was engaged was, I believe, in the month of February 1781 at Granby Fort on the Congaree River (13) In a few days after, I met and fought the British at a place called the Big Savannah (14), where our forces captured a large guard and a great quantity of military stores. Some four or five days after, I was in another engagement at Fort Watson commonly called Wrights Bluff (15). In a few days, I again fought the enemy near Black River not far from Kingstree Bridge (16). In the month of May 1781 I was in a second rencounter with the enemy at Fort Granby (17). In the August following the Brigade to which I belonged was marched under the command of General Green [sic, Nathanael Greene] to Orangeburg, in South Carolina, in a design to draw out the enemy from his entrenchment; but he refused to come out, and there was no battle (18). During this tour I had the pleasure of knowing General Greene, Colonels Washington and Lee (19). I would also state to the War Department, that the British Commander in Chief Lord Cornwallis on his march to Virginia in January 1781 made my plantation (20) his place of rendezvous from Tuesday till Friday, stripping me of all my possessions except the land which he could not destroyed. I have no documentary evidence to offer to the Department in proof of the foregoing declaration, but have procured the testimony of two witnesses, whose certificates are here annexed in proof of my service, and the rank I held, during the Revolutionary conflict.

I hereby relinquish every claim whatever to a pension or annuity, except the present and declare that my name is not on the pension roll of any agency of any State. I became the lieutenant of the company to which I belonged the first of July 1780, and continued in that command about three weeks, when owing to the disability of Captain Jamison as before stated, I took the command of the company, after Captain J. with the other wounded were put in a place of safety and the soldiers who had charge of them had returned to camp an election was held for Captain, in which I was unanimously elected. This election took place about the last of July, which rank I held until the last of April 1781, under the command of Colonel William Bratton at which time I resigned.

After my resignation Frame Woods was elected Capt. under whom I served five months. The Department will therefore discover from this declaration, that I served during the Revolutionary war, 14 months as private soldier, five weeks as Sergeant, three weeks as Lieutenant, and nine months as Captain.

The answers of the said William Hillhouse, Senior to the interrogatories prescribed by the War

Department Answer to the first--
I was born in the year 1760 on the 18th day of March near Land's Ford on the Catawba River, in the State of South Carolina and in of what is now called Chester District as I think.

Answer to the Second
I have no record of my age, as to that, and the place of my birth, I received the information orally from my parents

Answer to the third
When called into service I was living in what is now called York District South Carolina,
since the Revolutionary War, I have lived for the most part of the time in the District of Pendleton
South Carolina, then in Greene County Alabama, and now in Marengo County Alabama.

Answer to the fourth.
I went into service as a volunteer

Answer to the fifth
General Greene, Col. Count Pulaski, Colonel Washington and Colonel Lee were occasionally with the troops among whom I served. The Continental regiments were those of Colonel Washington (horse), Colonel Lee (horse) Colonel Pulaski (horse) the Militia Regiments were those Colonel A. Pickens, Col. John Thomas, Col. Thomas Brandon, Colonel Edward Lacey, Col. Richard Wynn [sic, Richard Winn], there were others not recollected.

I was in the following engagements, at Williamson's plantation, S. C., Rocky Mount, Hanging Rock, Camden ferry, Sumter's defeat, Fort Granby, Fort Motte, the Big Savannah, Fort Watson on Santee, near Kingstree on Black River and another on Fort Granby and Biggin Church, near Moncks Corner. As to a more particular detail I beg leave to refer to my declaration.

Answer to the sixth
I never received any written discharges, we were discharged by our Captain verbally. I never received a commission; I was elected by the company owing to the situation of the State during the period that I was in office it being overrun by the enemy the Governor and Council were compelled to suspend the operations of the Executive department and consequently, Officers could not receive commissions. In confirmation of this fact, I would refer to the Department to Ramsey's History of South Carolina from the 12th of April 1780 to May 1781.

Answer to the seventh
I refer to His Excellency John Gayle Colonel Patrick Norris1 (a revolutioner [sic]) both
of Greene County, the Honorable J. Murphy Representative in Congress from the State of Alabama,
Colonel James Pickens of Marengo County and Frederick Peck Post Master at Greensboro, Alabama.

S/ Wm Hillhouse
[James Hillhouse, a clergyman, and John Burke gave the standard supporting affidavit.]

[facts in the file: Veteran was living in 1844 in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi; he died April 28, 1848, leaving children, William, Jane and Sarah Hillhouse.]
State of South Carolina, Anderson district

Before me personally came and appeared James Brown2 & made oath that he was well
acquainted with William Hillhouse during the Revolutionary War that this deponent & him lived within about a mile of each other in York District, South Carolina. This deponent was with him at the Battle of the Hanging Rock under General Sumter and Captain Jamison & Lieutenant William Hillhouse when Jamison was wounded said Hillhouse then took command of the company, this Deponent knows when Hillhouse was Elected I was there and I did several Tours of duty with Hillhouse in the same Company - was with him at the Battles, Congaree, Wrights Bluff and at the Big Savannah we took 16 Wagons, & took all or killed them except one Wagoner - I think by served from 10 to 14 months with him he was a good Whig & did his duty faithfully there was no better officer of his grade - he moved to Alabama several years ago as I have always understood & believed.
Sworn to the first of October 1833 Before me
S/ Benj. Dickson, J. Q. S/ James Brown
State of South Carolina, Pickens District

Before me personally came John Craig3 and made Oath, That he knew William Hillhouse in
time of the American Revolution in York District in South Carolina. They both belong to Captain
Jamison's Company of volunteers was a long time with him William Hillhouse who was Lieutenant and when Captain Jamison was wounded at the Hanging Rock - Hillhouse took command of the Company and this deponent did help to appoint him Captain & served with him as Captain several tours, this deponent was with him as Lieutenant. This deponent knows that William Hillhouse & James Brown was good soldiers was much with them - That the said William Hillhouse as he has understood has moved into the State of Alabama Marengo County - Deponent was with Hillhouse at the Big Savannah when they killed four men & took six prisoners at the Big Savannah.
Sworn to 8th of October 1833 Before S/ John Craig, X his mark
S/ Bailey Barton, JQ
I William Hillhouse of the County of Greene and State of Alabama Solemnly aver that the following Statement and explanation of a declaration heretofore made by made for the purpose of drawing a pension is true.

1 FPA S15198
2 FPA W25294
3 John Craig W22864
I am aged and infirm and unable to ride to any considerable distance to make another declaration and I deem it unnecessary as I respectfully call the attention of the Pension agent to the one formally made by me.

In that declaration (if my memory serves me correctly), I charged that I had served at different
times during the revolutionary War in all amounting to 25 months. To wit under General Richardson for the term of two months, beginning in the latter part of the year 1775 and ending in the beginning of '76. Also one tour in the same (the latter) year for the term of two months under General Williamson.

Also a tour of two months under the same General in the Year 1777. Also a tour of three months under Captain Governor Rutledge of South Carolina in the year '79 in all amounting to nine months for which I was paid in Continental money which was almost totally valueless to me but for which time I never made any charge against the State of South Carolina and it is not embraced by the record of Services filed with the Comptroller of public accounts of the State of South Carolina. I also served seven months, at intervals as required and was generally in active Service and always ready at a moments warning - except about three months of sickness brought on by over exertion and fatigue and suffered far from home and in a strange land. For which seven months I never made a charge against the State of South Carolina and for which I have never received any even the smallest compensation. This latter Service was not performed under any field officer but was very severe and at the time thought efficient.

It will appear by the record in the office of the Comptroller of public accounts of the State of
South Carolina that nine months and a few days Service together with the loss of two horses was
charged by me against the State of South Carolina for which I had received no compensation whatever: But I did not charge the nine months for which I had been paid in Continental money, nor did not charge the seven months occasional service in which time I had been sick and all which time had not been under any field officer.

This explanation is Given from memory without the power of referring to my declaration
heretofore made to which reference is respectfully solicited.
Given under my hand this ninth day of March A.D. 1838.
In presence of S/ Wm Hillhouse
S/ W. F. Strudwick
S/ E. Young

[There are several pages in the version of this file which are illegible, even with its
excellent viewer.]

NOTES by Charles B. Baxley

1) Richard Richardson, general SC militia, commander of the backcountry militia early in the Revolution.

2) Thomas Neil (also spelled Neel, Neale) was a SC Patriot militia regimental commander from the "New Acquisition District" of SC.

3) Gen. Andrew Williamson, SC Patriot militia, commanded backcountry militia regiments until his surrender in June 1780.

4) White Hall was Gen. Andrew Williamson's plantation about 14 miles southwest on Ninety Six on US 221.

5) Gen. Casmir Pulaski, a Continental officer who was an aristocrat from Poland, commander of the Continental cavalry; he was killed leading an assault on the Spring Hill Redoubt, which was a part of the defenses of Savannah, on October 9, 1779.

6) Col. Thomas Sumter was a Continental officer who commanded a regiment of the SC Continental Line. He resigned his commission in 1778. The British burned his home in May 1780 which motivated him to retake the field, re-formed the shattered South Carolina backcountry militia around him in North Carolina, returned to South Carolina and led the militia through the remainder of the Revolution.

7) This battle is also known as Huck's Defeat where the local Patriot militias surrounded and surprised a detachment of the British Legion and local Loyalists, and defeated them on July 12, 1780. Capt. Christian Huck, a Philadelphia lawyer and Loyalist, commanded the cavalry troop, was particularly despised for leading a raid which burned Hill's Iron Works on Allison Creek. The site of this battle is at modern Historic Brattonsville in York County, SC. It is open to the public. For an excellent treatment of this battle, see Michael Scoggins book, The Day it Rained Militia.

8) Col. Thomas Sumter decided to attack the British outpost at Rocky Mount on July 30, 1780. He sent North Carolina militia Maj. William R. Davie with his Mecklenburg cavalry on a diversionary raid on the British post at Hanging Rock, about 20 miles away, and concentrated his force against Col. George Turnbull and his provincial regiment, the New York Volunteers, and the local Loyalist militia embodied under Capt. Matthew Floyd. Their attack and siege against the redoubt and fortified houses was unsuccessful. Rocky Mount is in the far northeast corner of Fairfield County, SC and is on private property; however there is a granite marker on Catawba Road and you can get close to the actual site of the British post.

9) The same hard rains which extinguished Sumter's attempt to fire the British post at Rocky Mount raised the water in Rocky Creek about three miles north of Rocky Mount where Sumter's troops awaited them to recede. Col. Andrew Neil was shot from his horse at a skirmish three days after Sumter's unsuccessful siege of Rocky Mount.

10) Since Maj. Davie's diversionary raid against the British post at Hanging Rock was successful, Sumter decided to attack that post in force on August 6, 1780. Here a fierce battle was fought with Sumter's troops besting the British. A public road runs through this battlefield, but it is unmarked.

11) This action is usually called Cary's Fort or Wateree Ferry and it occurred on August 15, 1780, the day before Gen. Horatio Gates' Defeat at the Battle of Camden. Sumter's militia, reinforced by 100 Maryland Continentals, artillery and 300 NC militiamen, attacked the British posts at Rocky Mount and Wateree Ferry and was to hold the Wateree-Catawba River as a line to prevent Lord Cornwallis from receiving supplies and reinforcements from the British posts at Ninety Six or Charleston. The attack on Cary's Fort (in modern Lugoff, SC on private property; the exact location is unknown, but it was near the end of Ward Road) was successful, the Patriots captured the redoubt, Col. James Cary and his Camden District Loyalist militia, two companies of relief troops from the British post at Ninety Six and much needed beef and wagons of supplies. When Sumter's troops arrived at Rocky Mount they found the British had abandoned the post a few days prior.

12) This is known as the Battle of Fishing Creek. After his victory at Cary's Fort on August 15th, Col. Thomas Sumter immediately started a withdrawal north, up the west side of the Wateree-Catawba River, stopped the night of August 17th at Rocky Mount and continued to rest at Fishing Creek mid-afternoon on August 18, 1780. There Sumter's guards were surprised and Lt. Col. Banister Tarleton's British Legion cavalry ran through the camp, completely routed Sumter's vastly superior forces, recaptured all of the British prisoners and supplies from Cary's Fort and captured, killed, wounded and dispersed Sumter's force. US Highway 21 runs through the Fishing Creek battlefield about 3 miles north of Great Falls, SC. There are two historic markers along the road.

13) Fort Granby was in modern Cayce, SC near Friday's (Freidig's) Ferry. The actual site has been mined away, but a replica of the Kershaw and Chesnut Trading Company house has been reconstructed nearby and is now used as the Cayce History Museum. After recovering from his wounds received at the Battle of Blackstock's Plantation on November 20, 1780, Gen. Sumter decided to attack the British fort at Granby on February 19-21, 1780. Without artillery his attack was unsuccessful and Gen. Sumter moved down the Congaree River to attack the British post at Col. William "Danger" Thomson's plantation 'Belleville". This too was unsuccessful, but the Patriots soon interdicted the British supply column at Big Glade or Bid Savannah.

14) The actual location of Big Savannah or Big Glade is unknown. It is thought to be a Carolina Bay (now drained for agriculture) on SC 267 (McCord's Ferry Road) southeast of the modern Fort Motte community on the old Santee River Road. Here Sumter successfully ambushed a British column escorting baggage and supplies headed to Camden.

15) Fort Watson was built to top of a large Mississippian era Indian mound. It is located in the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, just north of where I-95 crosses Lake Marion. It is open to the public. The fight between Sumter's militia and the British at Fort Watson started about ½ mile from the little fortress.

16) This reference sounds like the Battle of Lower Bridge, a skirmish between Gen. Francis Marion's militia and Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson, March 14-27, 1781; however since Hillhouse was with Sumter's brigade and not Marion's, although they were very near each other geographically, I would guess that Hillhouse remained with Sumter and this is more likely a reference to Sumter's skirmish with British Maj. Thomas Frasier at Radcliffe's Bridge over the Lynches River, just east of modern Bishopville, SC on March 6, 1781.

17) When Gen. Nathanael Greene returned to South Carolina with his small, battle-hardened Continental Army, Gen. Sumter again reconstituted his militia and laid siege to the British fortress at Granby on May 2 - 15, 1781. After two days, Sumter left his lieutenant, Col. Thomas Taylor, to continue the siege and Sumter moved to attack the British garrison at Orangeburg, SC which surrendered to Sumter on May 11, 1781. Taylor was reinforced by Lt. Col. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee's Legion with a cannon on May 14th and the garrison surrendered on May 15th.

18) After Gen. Greene's failed siege at Ninety Six, both Gen. Greene and Lord Rawdon headed for Orangeburg where Rawdon occupied the jail and strong outpost. Greene moved to Turkey Hill, about three miles from Orangeburg, but Rawdon did not attack.

19) Gen. Nathaniel Greene, "the fighting Quaker" of Rhode Island, was appointed to take command of the Southern Department by Gen. George Washington from Gen. Horatio Gates after Gates' defeat at the Battle of Camden. Lt. Col. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee (father of Gen. Robert E. Lee) led his legion from Virginia to the South where he worked with Gen. Francis Marion, Nathaniel Greene and the South Carolina militia. Lt. Col. William Washington, cousin of George Washington, commanded the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons, a cavalry regiment assigned to Gen. Greene's army in 1780 until his capture at the Battle of Eutaw Springs on September 8, 1781.

20) Hillhouse Plantation was located on Turkey Creek in southern York County, SC on Orr Road (the old Quinn Road) and just south of modern SC 322. It is unmarked and on private property. In January 1781 Lord Cornwallis left his winter camp at Winnsboro to move north to support Tarleton's detachment headed towards Cowpens. He crossed modern Chester County and camped at Hillhouse Plantation on January 16-19, 1781. Lord Cornwallis was waiting on news from Tarleton on Gen. Daniel Morgan's detachment (and there he got news of Tarleton's defeat at Cowpens on January 17, 1781) and for Gens. Alexander Leslie and Charles O'Hara to catch-up with him with reinforcements.