Monday, February 3, 2020

Richard Bell

Richard Bell’s Revolutionary War pension file states that he resided in Montgomery County, North Carolina after his Revolutionary War service. He was a Private in the Company commanded by Captain Robinson of the Regt commanded by Colonel Love in North Carolina. For 17 months service, Richard was included on the pension Rolls of North Carolina, his pension being $59.16 per year and commencing on 4 Mar 1833. His certificate of pension was issued 12 Jul 1833 and was sent to Edmund De Berry of Lawrenceville, North Carolina. Richard was paid arrears of $118.32 from 4 Mar 1833, that is the equivalent in purchasing power to about $3,619.66 in the year 2020.

Richard Bell is noted as being 74 years old at the time of his pension application, he was engaged in no battles, but served what looks to be five tours equaling 17 months service.

On the first of Oct 1832, at the Court of common pleas and quarter sessions, October term, Richard Bell appeared in open court before the Justices and declared that he was a resident of Montgomery County in the state of North Carolina, aged 74.

He entered the service of the United States in 1774 or 1775 and served against the Cherokee Indians three months under Captain Cornelius Robinson in the regiment commanded by Colonel Love belonging to General Rutherford’s Brigade. He was stationed at the head of Broad River beginning in Jul and remained there for some time. From there he marched to Pleasant Gardens and onward to the Cherokee nation where, by orders, his unit destroyed an Indian town and crops. Afterwards, he was marched back to the east side of the Blue Ridge and was verbally discharged by Colonel Love, as there was no paper to write on.

The second tour, he served five months under Captain Kimball, belonging to the Regiment commanded by Colonel Ledbetter who was also attached to General Rutherford’s Brigade. He was marched from his residence in Montgomery County, North Carolina, formally a part of Anson County, North Carolina, early in the summer of 1780, to Salisbury, (Rowan County), North Carolina, then to Colson’s [Plantation] on Pee Dee [River] then to Cheraw, South Carolina and from Cheraw to Rugley's Mills. There he joined the army of General Gates, and from there was sent back to Cheraw to guard the Magazines and prisoners.

From Cheraw he marched to Fayetteville [Cross Creek], North Carolina under the command of General Harrington and was stationed there for several weeks then marched back to Hailey’s Ferry on Pee Dee [River] where he was discharged by General Harrington in writing but lost the papers years ago.

Colson’s Plantation, also a ferry and Ordinary, located in a strategic location at the confluence of the Rocky River and Pee Dee River, in what was then Anson County, but now Stanly County, on a major north-south route that included other subsidiary routes to important cities, such as Cross Creek, Salisbury, and Hillsborough.

General Nathaniel Greene, Patriot commander of the Southern Campaign during the American Revolution, began his strategic planning in Dec 1780, initiating many engineering programs, including surveys of water ways, stockades, depots, magazines, boat building and the building of a fort. (Colson’s Plantation, Cross Road in the American Revolution by Stewart Dunaway)

Richard Bell states that he was at Colson’s Plantation in the early summer of 1780 and that he was sent to guard Magazines and prisoners (stockades). I can’t help but wonder if his dates are a bit off as he is providing details of what happened during Greene’s planning phase in late 1780 to 1781.

Richard’s third tour was served as a volunteer under Captain Kimball in the Horse under Colonel Loftin in the latter part of 1780. He served in Montgomery and surrounding counties and scoured the counties and operated against the Tories. At the end of three months, he received a verbal discharge.

The fourth tour was also served as a volunteer for three months under Captain Joseph McAlester (?), under Loftin in the Horse. He was employed in suppressing the Tories and lodging in jail Torie prisoners. He, again, received a verbal discharge.

Richard’s fifth and final tour of three months was spent in pursuit of the Tories under Fanning. He spent his time on the Cape Fear River and Pee Dee River.

Richard claims the only testimony that he might be able to procure to testify to his service would be that of Christopher Chappell and Benjamin Bell.

2 Oct 1832, Benjamin Bell, aged 71, provides his statement that he and Richard Bell served together for a time in the summer of 1780 but were separated for the remainder of their tours. Benjamin states that Richard returned home in the Fall of that year.

Christopher Chappell, aged 94, on 2 Apr 1833, provides his statement that he also served with Richard Bell about the year 1775 when they went against the Indians. Christopher says that both he and Bell lived in Anson County, now Montgomery, at the time that they joined the service.

William Bruton, a clergyman, and Joseph Parsons Esq. of the county of Montgomery certified the declaration of Richard Bell.

Further on in the declaration of Richard Bell is found his birth year, 1758, and he states that a record of his birth is in the possession of Benjamin Bell, indicating a family relationship. He says that he was living in Anson County, in the part that became Montgomery, when he was called into service, that he has lived in Montgomery County until lately when he removed to Randolph County. He names Joseph Parsons, Edmund De Berry, William Bruton, Hardy Morgan, Littleton Harris and Eli Harris as persons in his neighborhood who are acquainted with him and can attest to his service and his character.

In 1779, Richard, age 21, entered a land grant for 400 acres of land in Montgomery County on Rocky Creek, current day location between Hwy 24/27 and Hwy 109. The grant was issued in Nov 1790. Another land grant dated 2 Jan 1816, shows Richard entered for 200 acres of land on Uwharrie River, joining his own corner. His neighbors being James G. Mask and Benjamin Bell. The land was granted 22 Sep 1818.

After the Revolutionary War, Richard settled down to raise a family. He is found on the 1790 Census for Montgomery County, North Carolina living between Joseph Benton and David Bell. The Census shows he has a wife and a daughter and one slave living in his household. Based on his date of birth listed in his Revolutionary War pension file, 1758, Richard would be 32 years of age.

Some of the research I have read says that Richard married Hannah Thomas and other research claims that no one knows who Richard married. To date, I have found no document that proves who Richard’s first wife was.

Updated research with proof documents that Richard Bell married Hannah Thomas

By 1800, Richard, now 42 years old, is shown still living in Montgomery County, between Benjamin Bell and Mark Bennet, with his wife and three children and three slaves. He lists himself as 45+ years old, his wife 26 thru 44 years of age, his son is under 10 years of age and two daughters under 10 years of age. The dates and ages are obviously off from the 1790 Census.

In 1810, we find out that Richard lives in the township of Hattom, Montgomery County. This matches perfect with the area mentioned on the land grants. Richard, per the Census, has two sons, two daughters, a wife and nine slaves.

Also living in Hattom are Richard’s other Bell family members, Benjamin, James, Joseph, David and John. Joel Hurley and a William, I am unable to make out the surname, are living close by and David Blalock, who is the son of the William Blalock listed, also lives in Hattom. David Blalock is the husband of Martha Dennis, who is the daughter of Andrew Dennis, also shown as living in Hattom. Hardy Morgan and John Stewart, whom I have written a great deal about at Uwharrie Roots, make their home in Hattom.

Richard remarried to Candis Russel, either in Feb 1830 or Feb 1831, she provides both years in her statement for a widow’s pension, so, we know Richard's first wife died prior to 1830 or 1831. Since the 1820 Census was destroyed, I am not able to narrow down the year of her death any further. Newspaper searches, nor estate and probate records, show any record of her death.

It looks to be the belief of most researchers that Candis was the wife of Moses Russell, the son of John Russell and Barbara Stewart (Yes! The Stewart family that married into the Morgan family!). Moses and Candis had at least six sons, Harris (1799), Ansley (1802), Zebedee (1805), Eli (1809), Elijah (1812), Wiley (1815) and one daughter, Eleanore (1816) together. According to a fellow researcher, a cemetery census done many years ago, found Eleanore Russell’s gravestone in a cemetery on the Moses Russell land, near what is now Low Water Bridge Road in Montgomery County, North Carolina. The date of her death was noted as 1830 on the gravestone. Moses Russell’s gravestone was also found, and it looks like he died in 1821.

The 1830 Census was enumerated in Nov 1830 and shows Richard, age 70 to 80, living East of the Pee Dee and Yadkin River. Living with Richard are a male between the ages of 10 thru 15, one male between the ages of 15 thru 20, one female between 10 and 15 and one female between 40 and 50. It is very possible that the older female is Candis, Richard’s second wife, and the children listed are hers by her first marriage with Moses Russell. The ages fit perfectly to be Elijah (age 18), Wiley (15), Eleanore (14), and Candis (47) if the marriage date for Richard and Candis is 1830. There obviously can be other scenarios. Perhaps the children are Richard’s grandchildren and the older woman is his daughter.

In my last post, I ended with the words, “while researching the Bell family I have once again been brought back full circle to the Morgan family – I can’t seem to stay away from them, even if I try!”

So, I have come full circle back to the Morgan family via the marriage of Richard Bell to Candis, whose husband was Moses Russell, whose mother was Barbara Stewart, whose brother was John Stewart who married Rachel Morgan, the daughter of Charles Morgan who died in 1787 in Chatham County! What a whirlwind!

But, let’s get back to Richard…

On 17 Nov 1830, one day after the 1830 Census was enumerated, Richard Bell makes a purchase in Randolph County from Frederick Garner, 190 acres of land on the waters of Big Creek for $350, just across the county line from Montgomery. Frederick Garner had purchased the same land in 1828 from the sheriff of Randolph County who sold it due to a court order issued from both Randolph and Montgomery Counties to pay debts owed by Willis Coggins.

On 28 Feb 1831, Richard Bell purchases 87 acres of land in Randolph County for $144.50 from Sheriff George Hoover who sold the land in response to an order from the court. The land belonged to Willis Coggins who was indebted, and the court issued an order for the sheriff to sell the land to make the money to pay the debt. I am not sure who Willis Coggins is yet but suffice it to say that I am thinking he might be somehow related to the Stewart or Russell family. More research required.

Richard Bell died 6 Aug 1848 and his widow, Candis Bell, applied for a widow’s pension and received it.

Of interest, Richard Bell’s sons did not Administer his estate. His stepson, Zebedee Russell, and George Bruton did. The only clue I have as to who Richard’s children are from his first marriage is the petition of dower by Candis Bell and the settlement papers. On the petition is listed William Bell, George Bruton & wife & 6 children of Martin Rush & wife.

In the settlement papers is listed that part of the money from the estate sale was given to George Bruton as one of the legatees to said estate. George Bruton must have married a daughter of Richard Bell.

So, off to I went in search of George Bruton and found in the Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer (Fayetteville, North Carolina) 11 Jun 1860, Mon Page 3, that Mrs. Ann Thomas, consort of James G. Cotton and daughter of George and Nancy Bruton, died on the 27th of April 1860 at the age of 29. Nancy Bruton is undoubtedly the daughter of Richard Bell from his first marriage.

I found Ann T. Cotton on the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedule, cause of death was Puerperal Fever, a fever caused by uterine infection following childbirth.

From the estate file of Martin Rush dated 1885, I find the legatees from the first wife listed as Mrs. Ann M. Williams, William Hawkins Rush, Benjamin T. Rush, Grigsby Rush, Simeon Rush, and Talefera Rush. The name of the ‘first wife’ is not listed, but it looks like most researchers agree her name was Susan Bell.

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