by Karen J. Dunn
After accumulating Bedford County, Virginia American Revolutionary War documents for many years it became clear if these documents were assembled into spreadsheets it would be easier to understand the people, militia, county government and battles. These spreadsheets made it possible to follow the lives of soldiers and their families from colonial days to the end of the revolutionary war. Experienced colonial soldiers became officers of the revolutionary war and leaders of their communities.
Militia captains were active in the organization and administration of the county government. They held positions of County Lieutenant, Justice of the County Court, Sheriff, listed taxable property and led militia companies into battle when called upon.
These positions were transferred from the colonial government to the independent government of the county after the Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776.
This is a book of spreadsheets. All names are in alphabetical order followed by the date of event.
Each spreadsheet is ordered by surname, given name / the spelling found in the original document, date, militia rank and reference. Please be aware of names spelled phonetically. Mis-spelled names became clearer after found on multiple documents.
Names of towns and creeks listed on the maps and spreadsheets are spelled as found in the original documents for years 1774-1783. The names of towns, creeks and rivers have changed through the years. Staunton River was used in all records 1774-1783 while today the river is named Roanoke River. The term used in most cases is Roanoke/ Staunton but sometimes Staunton or Roanoke.
New London was the county seat of Bedford County until Campbell County was formed in 1782. Liberty became the county seat for Bedford County in 1782 and a new courthouse and goal (jail) were built. A dividing line between Bedford and Campbell County was surveyed. Liberty grew to town status in 1839 and the name changed to Bedford in 1890.
Land grant information for service during the American Revolution is not included in this book. Soldiers pension information who served with Bedford County Militia Captains is included here.
An Index was not made for this book because each individual can be quickly located alphabetically on each spreadsheet.
Another important aspect of this book is identifying available and missing documents during the revolutionary period. Maybe these records exist somewhere but their importance is not understood. Hopefully, this book will help bring these documents to light.
The Bedford County Committee (Correspondence/Safety/Inspection)
Committees were formed in each county to oversee the protection of the said county and state.
Committee members for of Bedford County, Virginia were elected May 23, 1775. The County Lieutenant held the rank of colonel and supervised all of the militia companies.
Oath of Allegiance 1777 Spreadsheets & Map
Bedford County Court records identify twenty-three militia companies taking the Oath of Allegiance in 1777. A spreadsheet was made identifying each assigned militia company by captain and the individual/s assigned to administer the oath. In order to locate the bounds (precinct) of each militia company, the general vicinity of the residence of the captain was plotted on a sketched Bedford County map of the period 1754-1782. The location was determined from information found in Bedford County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1783 by Creel (2011). Each captain was researched to locate his residence. It was found the highest populated areas had the most militia companies. The militia precincts could not be defined beyond “general vicinity”. The availability of 1777 Oath of Allegiance documents will be discussed in detail later.
Bedford County Militia Officers
This spreadsheet was generated from data found in Bedford County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1783 by Bevin J. Creel (2011).
J. T. McAllister (1913) published a list of Bedford County Militia Officers in Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War. McAllister typically listed a single rank and commission date for each officer. Although the two lists are similar, McAllister does not include the numerous detailed records found in Bedford County Court Orders book. This spreadsheet makes it is easy to follow the advancement in rank for each officer to the end of the revolutionary war by date. Generally, the governor approved militia promotions. It must be noted some promotions occurred in the field and are not recorded in the court orders book. Especially in the years of 1780-1781 when Virginia was being invaded by Great Britain.
Colonial Justices of the Commission of Peace
This spreadsheet was made listing Bedford County Justice members of the Commission of Peace colonial years 1770 and 1774. This spreadsheet was generated from data found in Virginia State Papers Vol 1; and Bedford County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1783 by Bevin J. Creel (2011). This document identifies the senior Justices in the county.
Justices of the Commission of Peace Bedford County 1776-1783 Parts 1 & 2
This list names the Justices members of the Commission of Peace 1776-1783.
This spreadsheet includes militia companies assigned to generate a list for taxable property and tithes within their respective bounds (precincts) for revolutionary war years. This spreadsheet was generated from data found in Bedford County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1783 by Bevin J. Creel (2011). The spreadsheet was so large it had to be divided into two parts: Part 1 1776-1778 and Part 2 1778- 1783. A new commission of Peace was formed in November of 1778.
1782 Property Tax & Tithe List for Bedford County Spreadsheet and Map
The militia companies assigned to make a list of taxable property and tithe for 1782 were put into a spreadsheet, available documents noted and data plotted on a Bedford County map. This information is useful following various militia companies during the war. The various available 1782 documents will be discussed. This spreadsheet was generated from data found in Bedford County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1783 by Bevin J. Creel (2011).
1783 Property Tax & Tithe List for Bedford County Spreadsheet and Map
The militia companies assigned to make a list of taxable property and tithe for 1783 were put into a spreadsheet and plotted on a Bedford County map. As before available documents are noted. This spreadsheet was generated from data found in Bedford County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1783 by Bevin J. Creel (2011).
Number of People Paying Taxes & Tithes in Bedford County 1774-1783 This list shows the number of people paying taxes, the amount of tax per poll, the reference and availability of each document. The year, numbers, amount of poll data was found in Bedford County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1783 by Bevin J. Creel (2011).
Combined Comprehensive Spreadsheet
This spreadsheet was prepared with facts about Bedford County militia from the following sources: books, documents purchased from various places, websites and spreadsheet generated during this study. Each fact on this spreadsheet is referenced. The spreadsheet includes colonial and revolutionary service. Families can now be followed from one generation to the next during the revolutionary war period.
Some but not all information found in the Bedford County Militia Officers spreadsheet was included in the Combined Comprehensive Spreadsheet.
This combined spreadsheet accounts for as many individuals as possible associated with the militia. Many individuals in the militia in 1776 were still in Bedford County in 1782. They were found on the 1782 tax list. Many individuals were missing too, some likely killed in the war. After the fighting ended in 1781 many soldiers received their bounty land and moved away.
It must be noted numerous names appear in the Index of Bedford County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1783 by Bevin J. Creel (2011) that are not found on the Combined Comprehensive Spreadsheet presented here. Every male above sixteen years of age was required to swear to an Oath of Allegiance in 1777. Since so many documents of those taking the Oath are missing it is likely most of the male individuals listed in the Index by Creel (2011) were in the militia.
Tax list are available for 1782 and 1783. Lists for 1776 through 1781 were made but are missing.
Bedford County Militia Companies Service Records
Records found during this study on the deployment of the Bedford Militia and Continental Army service records are included in this spreadsheet. This information was gathered from pension applications. Each fact is referenced.
The majority of the Continental Army were captured by the British at Charleston, SC in 1780.
Robert P. Davis April 2003 lecture to the Sons of the American Revolution – Richmond Chapter put it like this.
“It should be remembered that in 1781, Virginia had no regular continental troops in the state-only Virginia militia”.
The Pension Act of June 7, 1832 provided benefits for: 1. Regular Troops; 2. The State Troops, Militia and Volunteers; 3. Persons employed in the Naval service; and 4. Indian Spies. This was fifty-one years after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis on October 19, 1781 at Yorktown, VA.
Failing memories of the soldiers is apparent in their pension application statements. However, some soldiers had very clear and detailed memory. Those with failing memory are supported by those with detailed memory. Numerous soldiers recalling the same event gives clear and detailed facts about the battle or event. It is interesting that this spreadsheet shows seven Bedford companies went with Col. Charles Lynch to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC March 15, 1781. The Bedford militia was involved in many major revolutionary battles in the south.
Organization of Virginia Regiments 1775-1781
This spreadsheet shows the rapid changes in the Virginia Regiments which made up the Virginia Line in the Continental Army. There was rapid reorganization and name changes of the regiments. 1780 was a very bad year for the Continental Army when most of it was captured by the British at Charleston, SC.
American Revolutionary War Battles in the South 1780-1781
This spreadsheet lists the victories and defeats for the American Army and the British Army.
The militia served in large numbers when the British invaded Virginia in 1780-1781.
Sketches of Bedford County 1754-1782 (Appendix)
Sketches of Bedford County were made because it is impossible to understand the Bedford County Court Road Orders if the general location of the creek mentioned was unknown. The location of some of the creeks named in the court records were never located, therefore they could not be placed on the maps.
A sketch of a Bedford community on Ivy Creek on the James River is included as an example for building a community from road orders and facts found in the Bedford County Court Orders book.
A good map of Bedford County accurate to the years of 1776-1782 would be a very useful for researchers.