An American Family History

Jonathan Pitts

Stokes County, North Carolina was formed in 1789 from Surry County.

Jonathan Pitts was born on April 12, 1756 in Rowan County, North Carolina. His parents were Andrew Pitts and Martha Stroud. He was born in a part of the county that became Stokes County in 1789.

He married Winnie Wadkins. She born about 1775.

John Pitts (1810)
Alfred Pitts (1812)
Mexico Pitts (1814, maried Dicey Shepard),
Sarah Pitts (1814, married James Barnett),
Thomas Pitts (1816, married Dicey Hodge and Rachel Sturgeon),
Washington Pitts (1820, married Sarah Morrison),
Rebecca Pitts (1824, married Samuel Prather), and
Izanna Pitts (1826).

Jonathan Pitts + Elizabeth Brown ~ 6 Sep 1824 bond ~ John Shields

Jonathan died in March, 1849 Floyd County, Kentucky.

Rowan County, North Carolina was formed in 1753 from the northern part of Anson County. In 1770, the eastern part was combined with the western part of Orange County to become Guilford County. In 1771 the northeastern part of what remained of Rowan County became Surry County. In 1777 the western part of Rowan County became Burke County. In 1788 the western part became Iredell County. In 1822 the eastern part became Davidson County. Finally, in 1836 the part of Rowan County north of the South Yadkin River became Davie County.




During the American Revolution a Tory or Loyalist was used in for those who remained loyal to the British Crown.

A grist mill is a building where a miller grinds gain into flour.

Pension application of Jonathan Pitts (Pytts) 1 W26321
Winney (Winna) Pitts f60NC
originally transcribed by Will Graves

State of Kentucky, Floyd County
SS On this 5th day of June 1833 personally appeared before me the undersigned a Justice of the Peace for Floyd County now sitting, Jonathan Pitts,a resident of Floyd County and the State of Kentucky aged seventy seven years of age....

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated, to wit: under Col Davidson [William Lee Davidson] of the State of North Carolina and Captain Crawford [James Crawford] as a volunteer for one year in the county of Rowan on the 22nd day of October 1779.

In the county of Rowan the company was ordered by Col Davidson to defend the counties adjacent from the attacks of the Tories. This was until the month of February 1780. The companies under Col Davidson was all put in motion to march to South Carolina, the army took the direction for the Cheraw Hills and marched till the army arrived at the house of a man by the name of Smith four miles from the line between the two states. At this place he was taken back and was placed at Smith's by the Col.

The army proceeded and was gone but a short time when they all came back in small squads with orders to return to Salisbury, N.C. The men was collected and employed to keep down the Tories under Johnson, a Scotchman and a Col by the name of Fanning [David Fanning] nothing but running fights ensued at the Grist Mill with some Tories.

Col Davidson got wounded, he was after this a General. At this time this Applicant was transferred to Captain Shils [sic, Shields ? Steels?] Co[mpan]y and placed under Col Polke [sic, Thomas Polk], shortly after we was all marched to join Gates' [Horatio Gates] army to march to South Carolina, this was about the 15th day of July 1780, the Army proceeded till we arrived at Rugeley's Mills. On the night of the attack this Applicant was transferred to the Regiment of a Continental Colonel by the name of Howard [John Eager Howard] and remained under him during the battle. Our Genl Rutherford [Griffith Rutherford] was taken prisoner and this Applicant was wounded by a musket ball. We was defeated [Battle of Camden, August 16, 1780] and all retreated to Hillsboro, but this Applicant remained at Salisbury.

After this he was placed under the command of Col Perviand [sic, Alexander Brevard? or James Purviance?] and a Captain by the name of James Black. He remained with the army and in the service till the 23rd day of October 1780. He returned home having remained at home but about fifteen days.

This Applicant was again prevailed on by Genl Davidson in person to again enter the service. Accordingly he did so on the last day of November 1780. Genl Davidson still commanded as Col although he was then called Genl. The term of this engagement was for Eighteen Months, [The Eighteen Months Men] He immediately went into the army and here was again place under his old commander, Captain Crawford and Genl Davidson, then being promoted to Genl. Our regiment was commanded by Col Perviand.

The troops marched to assist Morgan who were then running from the British. The troops was to guard on the River at Beatties Ford to prevent the British from crossing. After getting there, the British were seen on the other bank and the Battle commenced with great fury on each side. In this conflict Captain Crawford was mortally wounded. Genl Davidson was shot down within 20 feet of this Applicant [Cowan’s Ford, February 1, 1781].

A great many of the troops never returned to the main army. This Applicant did and remained with Genl Greene [Nathanael Greene] till they arrived at Guilford C. Ho. [sic, Guilford Court House].

This Applicant was then dispatched to Burke County, N.C. to procure the quota of militia in the North Carolina State troops. The knowledge of the country that this Applicant had enabled him to evade the loyalists and he arrived safe in Burke in March 1781. After the news of the Battle of Guilford [March 15, 1781] and the quota got ready to march and taking a circuitous rout and crossing the Catawba [River] high up at the last effected a junction with the army the day before crossing the Catawba [River] high up at the last effected a junction with the army the day before the battle of Ninety Six [Siege of Ninety Six, May 21-June 19, 1781] late in the spring, the siege lasted for sometime and here the Americans had to retreat.

This Applicant here remained with the Army until the fight at the Eutaw Springs [September 8, 1781]. The commander of this Applicant's Company was [illegible] and his Col was Col. Campbell [William Campbell] and he actively participated in this battle.

After this the forces followed the British and Tories down the country until the troops heard that peace was about to be made and that Cornwallis had surrendered. This Applicant marched to Charleston but was permitted to return home to see his friends, this was the day before Christmas 1781.

The Tories was still troublesome and he passed through by the way of Burke County, after he arrived here he was informed the balance of his time was no longer required. This was the case of all the "Eighteen Months Volunteers." He received his discharge also—after remaining in Burke for some time one Henley [?] came from Kentucky to get Indian spies.

This Applicant again volunteered (but not by authority of N.C.) and himself and thinks he started on the 2nd day of March 1782 to Kentucky, arrived at Boone's Station in April 1782 and was there placed under a Col Miller and Genl Canaday [?].

This Applicant was put in Ashton's Fort and the Indians shortly after attacked the same, on attempting to catch some horses, this applicant was taken prisoner and carried to Rintopo [?] about 40 miles from Detroit, where he was kept till 1783. In June he escaped.

This Applicant was born in Rowan County, North Carolina and lived there before his services. He left his discharges at Burke when he went against the Indians. He was born on the 12th day of April 1756.

He states that he has known
Col Davie [William Richardson Davie],
Col. Washington [William Washington],
Genl Greene,
Genl Smallwood,
General Caswell,
Col Malemedy [sic, Malmedy],
Col Williams [Otho Williams] and
Genl Pickens [Andrew Pickens],
Genl. Sumpter [sic, Thomas Sumter] and Major Watson,
then Genl Davidson intimately from a boy.

He refers the War Department to the Revd John Morris and ___ who can testify to the character of this Applicant for his veracity and their belief in of his having performed the service herein stated as a soldier of the Revolutionary War in which capacity he states he served during the term of his service.

He has no documentary evidence in his favor to establish his services. He hereby relinquishes any claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any other state. Sworn to and subscribed by the day and year aforesaid. [John Morris, a clergyman, and Andrew Martin gave the standard supporting affidavit. [Attested by Joel Martin, JP] [p 15]

Questions propounded by me to the Applicant

1st Question: Where and in what year were you born?
Answer: I was born in Rowan County, North Carolina on the 12th day of April 1756.

2nd Question: Have you any record of your age and if so where is it?
Answer: I have no record of my age and only know the same by tradition.

3rd Question: Where were you living when called into service, where have you lived since the Revolutionary War and where do you now live?
Answer: I was living in Rowan County, North Carolina and have lived a part of my time in Tennessee and the residence (and for a long time in Floyd County Ky) and I now live in Floyd County, Ky

4th Question: How were you called into service were you drafted did you volunteer or were you a substitute?
Answer: I volunteered the first time and received no pay. The last I volunteered and was an "Eighteen Months Man" under the State of North Carolina.

5th Question: State the names of some of the Regular officers who were with the troops where you served, such Continental or Militia Regiments as you can recollect and the general circumstances of your service?
Answer: I knew Gen. Greene, Gen. Caswell and General Rutherford, Gen. Davie, Col William Washington and Genl Davidson as to the names of the Regiments I cannot remember, as to the general circumstances of my services I can only state that I volunteered on the 22nd day of October 1779 for one year in Salisbury, NC under Col. Davidson and Captain Crawford and then was in the battle of Gates' defeat and afterwards in the battle of Ninety Six and at the battle of Eutaw Springs and was one year in the service first time and a year and about 10 days the last time after he went home the Indians had him about a year.

6th Question: Did you ever receive a discharge from the service and if so by whom was it given, and what has become of it?
Answer: I received one from James Black and the other I was in Burke and I forget whose name was signed on it. I left them in Burke.

7th Question: State some of the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood and who can testify as to your character for veracity and their belief in your services as a soldier of the Revolution.
Answer: Joseph Gearheart, Esqr. William Gearheart, John Hays, Andrew Martin, David W. Allen, Esqr George Allen, William Prater, the Rev. John Morris, the Rev. Peter Hale and Benjamin Morris.



The American Revolution was ended in 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed.

Guilford County, North Carolina was organized in 1771 from parts of Rowan and Orange Counties.

The Deposition of Benedict Watkins
aged 72 years of age,
taken before the undersigned a Justice of the Peace for said County,

who deposeth that he was well acquainted with Jonathan Pytts from a boy and knew when he entered the service of the United States in 1779, that during the first year of his service he and Pytts was in several Battles together and that he knows of his second engagement under Colonel Davidson in the State of North Carolina that Pytts in the winter of 1782 was permitted to go home, and this applicant remained with the Army on James Island, and in all he knows that Mr. Pytts served more than 2 years in the service.

They afterwards lived neighbors and was raised together in the same neighborhood. Mr. Pytts was highly esteemed for his daring courage and great confidence was placed in him while all the officers.

He knows nothing of the wounds he received, nor does he know anything about his services against the Indians these things were always believed after Pytts got away from them and came home.

He knows that he went out first under Colonel Lytle, but cannot say as to the Captain. Pytts was in the battle of Ninety Six and he thinks the Eutaw Springs he was one of the 18 months Man from Rowan and I know him to be the same man having known him from a boy all though he is several years older than myself.

Pytts and James Wadkins a cousin of this deponent was in the same Company and this deponent substituted for him.

And further this deponent saith not.
S/ Benedict Wadkins [sic]



The Deposition of Phillip Williams

an aged man 75 years of age who deposeth that he was well acquainted with Jonathan Pytts a Revolutionary applicant, that he knew him well in the Revolutionary War, and that he is confident that said Pytts served as he states, the length of time inhibits a precise knowledge ideas affiant of recollecting the length of time Mr. Pytts served, but he states according to his recollection that when he first saw him he was under Colonel Davidson of North Carolina and afterwards under General Greene, he and that Mr. Pytts was much regarded in the Army for his activity and services, he knew them after the end of the war, and after he had got away from the Indians.


On July 11, 1855 in Floyd County Kentucky

Winna Pitts, 80, made application under the 1853 act for a widow's pension stating that she is the widow of Jonathan Pitts, a revolutionary soldier pensioned at the rate of $80 per annum; that her husband died in March 1849 while he resided in Floyd County Kentucky where he had resided the last 40 years of his life;

she can not remember the time of her marriage or the date of the same; she declares that she lived with her husband for over 50 years and raised a large family of children and that she had a record of the ages of her children but it has been removed and lost; that she remains a widow and resides some 12 or 15 miles from the courthouse.

[She signed her application with her mark.The bounty land claim dated July 11, 1855 filed by Winna Pitts, 80, in which she says that her name prior to her marriage was Winney Wadkins. She signed this document with her mark.]



Other facts in the file:

In a filing dated November 29, 1855 and made in Floyd County Kentucky, the widow stated she could not recall the name of the County and which she and her husband were married but that it occurred in the state of North Carolina;

she stated the names and ages of her children as follows
John Pitts aged 45
Alfred Pitts aged 43 about
Mexico Pitts aged about 41 years
Sarah Pitts about 39 years of age
Thomas Pitts about 37 years of age
Washington Pitts about 35 years of age
Rebecca Pitts aged 33
Izand Pitts aged 31 years

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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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