"Tennessee Trails" through Bedford County
Captain Thomas Scurry’s Regiment
Colonel Thomas Williamson Commanding
2nd regiment west Tennessee mounted gunmen
Michael P. Hart - June 12, 2014
The year is 1800 and the western boundary of the young nation of America is the Mississippi River. The British were battling with the French and Napoleon through a series of coalitions with other counties each battle ending in a defeat of the coalitions. In 1802 Thomas Jefferson the president started Negotiations with Napoleon for the purchase of New Orleans. During this time a young America was becoming rich by sending supplies to both the English and the French. British Sailors being paid very little and having harsh conditions on board the British naval ships would desert to the new America merchant ships for higher pay and better conditions. Having trouble getting enough sailors to man their ships the British started boarding American merchant ships and turned to impressment of any man they believed to be a British deserter. Capturing what was believed to be thousands of men to servitude on British Naval ships. In 1803 America and Thomas Jefferson who was ready to purchase just the New Orleans area for $10 million dollars was instead offered the whole lands of the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million. In 1804 the Lewis and Clark “Corp of Discovery” set off for their great exploration of the newly acquired America lands west from Saint Louis Missouri to Cape Disappointment at the Pacific Ocean. In 1808 an Army was raised to protect the newly acquired lands of the Louisiana Purchase and the uprising of the Indian nations of the north and south. The British were stirring things up by using Tecumseh and the Indian nation in order to put in check the ambitions of the young nation of America and stop their expansion west, north, and south. In 1812 America declared war on the British and the young nation was put to the test.
Henry Hart was born in New Bern, NC in 1781. Henry was the first son of Edmond Hart a merchant of New Bern, and Mary (Burton) Hart. Henry’s Grandfather James Hart of the Colony of Virginia also a merchant came to New Bern in 1771 bringing the family with him.
In 1790 Henry’s Father Edmond died. The 1790 Census line 2D-55 for Craven County, NC has Mary as Head of House with two sons and a daughter. Thus Henry likely had a brother and sister. At the time of his father’s death Henry was nine years old. In 1791 the Craven county court of pleas and quarter session at New Bern ordered “Henry at age ten December next be bound to Joseph Loftin to learn the cooper’s trade”. Times were very hard for Henry’s mom Mary after losing her husband. Ten years later Henry was again apprenticed per the courts to a John Dewey after Joseph Loftin’s death. Henry was sixteen at the time. As soon as he was able Henry took to working around on farms for 7 dollars a month plus room and board. Thus Henry became a farmer and not a merchant like his father and grandfather before him. Henry had grown to a man 5’8” blue eyes and light hair.
On August 8, 1808 in New Bern, North Carolina Henry enlisted for a term of five years in the United States infantry Army 3rd Regiment under Alvoree Partens who later resigned and the unit thus became Capt. William Butler’s company. The records show Henry was sick in the hospital in Baton Rouge from Sept 27th to October 16 1811, present in Nov, and sick in the hospital again from Nov 20th to Dec 14th 1811. To recruit a new force to battle the British Congress passed land bounty acts on December 24, 1811, January 11, 1812, and May 6, 1812, in which Congress provided that noncommissioned officers and soldiers serving for 5 years (unless discharged sooner), or their heirs, would be entitled to 160 acres of land from the public domain in partial compensation for their military service. Six million acres of land in the Territories of Michigan, Illinois, and Louisiana were set aside for this purpose. Henry having enlisted much sooner was not entitled to these bounty lands. Henry spent most of his service in the south in and around New Orleans and Baton Rouge. On Aug 7th 1813 after serving five years in the Army, at the Washington cantonment in Mississippi, Joseph Constant signed Henry’s Honorable discharge.
In March of 1813 five months before Henry’s discharge Andrew Jackson was in the same Washington cantonment. It was at this time when Andrew Jackson after being told to disband his troops refused to disband his troops and paid out of his own pocket for supplies to get his troops home that earned his nickname “old Hickory”. I’m guessing because of the order of events but I think Henry was stationed at the cantonment during that time. I say this because after being discharged Henry didn’t enlist again at the Washington cantonment. Henry instead traveled the Natchez trace in the winter and ended up in Fayetteville, TN.
Henry could have gone home his enlistment completed. However on January 28th, 1814 in Fayetteville TN Henry reenlisted for three months as a Sergeant in Capt. Campbell’s unit under Col Steele Tennessee Volunteer Militia. Col Steele’s unit served the men at Horseshoe bend from Fort Strother by guarding the supplies and supply wagons. Henry’s old 3rd regiment of the US army was also here in the fight against Tecumseh. Henry was discharged in Fayetteville TN on May 15th 1814.
Likely having heard the news of Washington D.C. burning in August, on the 28th of Sept 1814 Henry again volunteered for service under Capt. Scurry of Col Williamson’s Company to go fight the British in the south. Andrew Jacksons troops and Henry served at Pensacola and all engagements in New Orleans. It was Andrew Jackson’s decisive victory at Chalmette battlefield in New Orleans on January 8th 1815 that turned the page of history and allowed the senate to ratify the Treaty of Ghent, for the purchase of Louisiana to become final, and for all things that came after.
On April 27th 1815 Henry was discharged in Nashville and it wasn’t until the 15th day of September of 1815 in Sumner county TN that Henry sold and recorded the rights to his moneys due to Isaac Franklin and Henry Hart finally headed home to North Carolina.
In the years that followed the battle of New Orleans and fresh off the burning of Washington D.C. and the Capital, the young nation of America celebrated not just the July 4th independence day but on Jan 8th each year they also celebrated what was called the Second Independence Day. Americans believed that a vastly powerful British fleet and army had sailed for New Orleans, most expected the worst. The news of victory, one man recalled, "Came upon the country like a clap of thunder, and traveled throughout the confines of the land." The battle boosted the reputation of Andrew Jackson and helped to propel him to the White House. This day has long become forgotten in time for most Americans.
Henry stayed in North Carolina until 1832 when he loaded the family up in the wagon and set out across the Cumberland Gap. Henry ended up in Bedford county Tennessee as a tenant farmer. During Andrew Jackson’s second run for president he was traveling around the country giving speeches trying to conjure up votes. One of these stops was said to be in Shelbyville TN eight miles away from where Henry lived and farmed. Henry as family lore has it walked the eight miles to Shelbyville to see the President. Upon seeing Henry then President Jackson greeted Henry with a found “Hello Henry.” Henry resided in Bedford TN until Congress passed the act of 1850 granting land to soldiers who had signed on earlier than 1811 and 1812 and fought in any war or Indian battle. Henry went into nearby Shelbyville TN and applied for land grants for all three of his enlistments.
With three bounty land warrants (2715 for New Orleans, 15706 for Captain Campbell’s unit, and 20126 for his service in the regular army) in hand the wagon train set out for new lands of the west. It seems fitting to me that the lands of the Louisiana Purchase that Henry had fought so hard for was the place to which he took his family to settle. Today looking back It’s also hard for me to imagine a man setting off on a hard journey west in a wagon. There were no antibiotics, cars, cell phones, no hotels, no fast food stops. To top it off in a time when the life expectancy of a male was 38 years Henry was now 69 and a half when the wagons set out from Tennessee.
At the Mississippi river the wagons stopped to grease or chalk the gaps in the planks so they could float the wagons across the river. Henry’s son Roswell was the wagon master. It was Dec 2nd of 1852 when the wagon train pulled into Springfield, MO. Three years later on December 21st 1855 after having fought many battles ending with the battle of New Orleans the old soldier pasted away and is buried at Wise Hill cemetery in Christian county north of Clever, Missouri. Henry and his sons and daughters were true pioneers of Greene County. His sons would serve in the battles of Wilson Creek and Springfield. (interview with Roswell in the Springfield, MO newspaper dated July 27th , 1913 Vol XXII No. 179 and from Roswell’s service records from the National Archives which contributed Roswell’s service at Wilson’s Creek which helped to allow him to obtain the rank of LTC.)
Today Henry’s family has spread North, South, East, and West having family in Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Maine, Florida, California and I live In Southern Indiana.
I started this research on a promise to my father on his deathbed. I really didn’t imagine the trip I was to take getting this information together. I could not have found most of family information without the help of the Family researcher Dr. Sloan Robertson whose extensive research on the lineage of the family is copied at the Springfield Missouri public library. Barbra Hendricks’s short story about Henry’s travels to Springfield and excerpts recorded on tape, The Book “The Lambert / Lambeth Families of North Carolina” available on CD from Heritagebooks.com, and The book by Tom Kanon “Regimental Histories of Tennessee units during the war of 1812”.
The Lambeth/Lambert books say Henry fought in the battle of Horseshoe bend and New Orleans and the regular Army though it gave no proof except the land warrant number of 2715 for the battle of New Orleans. It was the Bureau of Land management’s site that gave me my breakthrough.
The search of Missouri for Henry Hart came up with 11 Henry Harts. Four of these have no middle initial upon further inspection ended up belonging to my Henry Hart. One result was for a cancelled warrant. The other three were for Henry’s service in the regular army, Robert Campbell’s regiment at Fort Strother and New Orleans. Paperwork back from the national archives shows all three warrants were applied for in Shelbyville, TN through Attorney at law Buchanan Scudder. All three were turned in at Springfield MO.