Revolutionary War Soldier

Information submitted by ©George & Rick Greenfield

©Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group

John McDill, Sr. was recognized by the DAR in a ceremony in 1930 marking his grave in the Old Bethel Cemetery in Sparta, Illinois. On that occasion the following remarks were made by Frederick McKelvey, the son of one of Mr. McDill's dearest friends. Mr. McKelvey's remarks that day:

We have met here today to honor the memory of a soldier of the American Revolution, John McDill, Sr., a man of whose services to his country we are proud to recognize in placing this bronze tablet. We do not know the exact date of his birth, which occurred in 1749 in the country of Ireland. His grand parents appear to have been John McDill, who was born in 1675 and died in 1761, and Janet Leslie; they lived near Broughshane, Ballymena parish, county of Antrim. They have five sons and one daughter, all of whom came to America. Of these was the father of John but we do not have his name.

It was probably in 1776 when John married Jane Bell. Ten children were born to them. John McDill was living in the Camden District, Chester County, South Carolina. His record during the War is as follows: he served as a private in the South Carolina troops. In 1778, two months in Captain Alexander Turner's company; in 1779, two months and seven days in Captain John Nixon's company, Colonel John Winn's regiment; in 1780 and 1781, five weeks in Captain Samuel Adam's company, Colonel Lacy's regiment, and was in a skirmish at Fort Congaree; in 1781, one month and twenty-one days in Captain Adam's company; in 1782, one month and fifteen days in Captain Cooper's company. He appears to have obtained a pension for his services.

From McDonough's history of Randolph County (Illinois) we learn of the time when he came west. A number of families belonging to the Associated Reformed Church of South Carolina had moved into the country early in the present century. John McDill, Sr. and Hugh McKelvey, from South Carolina, came in the summer of 1818 and bought land in Township 4 - 5. On their way home they stopped with William Edgar, Samuel Nisbet and Samuel Little, who had removed from South Carolina a number of years earlier and informed them of the mission begun in Illinois. Mr. McDill did not move until November 1819.

John McDill's wife, Jane Bell, died sometime before his return to Illinois. We are fortunate to have the notice of this man's death which appeared in the Kaskaskia Republican on March 30, 1824 and read: "Communicated-Departed this life on the 15th of January at this residence in Flat Prairie, Illinois. Mr. John McDill, aged about 75 years, he is lamented by his very respectable children, numerous friends and acquaintances. He was a native of Ireland and was early distinguished by his attachment to civil and religious liberty. During the Revolutionary War of this country he conducted himself with bravery and magnamimity which characterized the Whigs of 1776. He lived and died a pious member of the Reformed Pres. Church."

Today, one hundred and six years after his death, we mark thus simply, lest we forget, the grave of John McDill.

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