"Tennessee Trails" through Bedford County

Bedford County TN


It is appropriate at this time to present available information concerning the origin of Nancy Rainey, wife of Henry Hart and mother of his fourteen children. Most of the information is contained in the application made by her father, John Rainey, for a pension for his service in the Revolutionary War. Provisions for this pension were made possible by an Act of Congress, June 7, 1832. John Rainey was over 82 years of age at the time and although he served as a captain beginning November 1, 1778 for an aggregate period of approximately three years, due to old age and loss of memory when he applied for his pension, he could not remember enough details to prove he was a captain. Consequently, he accepted the pension pay of a private at $80 per year. He was still drawing his pension in 1841 at age 91.

This pension aplication, No. S4035 in the National Archives in Washington D.C. is important to us as it furnishes consideration information about him and his family. It furnishes his birthdate and place, locations of battles he was in and, among other things, the year he left South Carolina and migrated to Bedford County, Tennessee, where he was when he made application for his pension. A Rainey descendant, Mrs. C.F. Bridgers of Burlington, North Carolina, refers to this pension on a partial lineage chart which also shows that John Rainey was the son of Thomas Rainey who had four sons who served in the Revolutionary War. Thomas Rainey is listed as coming to the United States from Ireland in 1740 and settling in Sussex County, Virginia.

Using the information herein, it appears that our immigrant ancestor on the Rainey side, Thomas Rainey, came to the United States in 1740, settled in Sussex County Virginia, but moved to Caroline County, Virginia prior to May 20, 1750 at which time John Rainey was born there.

Our next record of John Rainey is his enlistment November 1, 1778, when he was commissioned a captain in the service of the United States in charge of a volunteer company. This company built a garrison in the "Cherokee Nation, just over the S>C. line" and he and sixty men held it for about nine months. Upon return home he must have been discharged as he again enlisted as a captain in August 1779 and he reported that he served as a recruiter, kept down the Torries, guarded the frontier, was taken prisoner by the British and escaped, fought in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. While on a march to join General Pickens in N orth Carolina, he met his wife and five children who had been driven from their home in South Carolina by the Tories. They were exhausted and hungry. John Rainey turned his command over to "one Major Moore and they went ono and he conveyed his wife (and children) off a distance of about thirty miles and procured a house for them and from thence went home to S.C. and was not in the service afterwards." This was ca 1781.

John Rainey gave as his place of residence before and after the war as Laurens, South Carolina. It was here that our maternal great-great-grandmother, Nancy Rainey, was born on November 11, 1784. One source places her birth in Caroline County VA, but there is no record to refute the fact that John Rainey said that he and his family were in Laurens County, South Carolina before and after the war, which would include the year of 1784.

Our next record is the statement of John Rainey that he left Laurens, South Carolina and moved to Bedford County TN, in the year 1808. It is there that he received two land grants from the state, one for twenty acres on May 22, 1814 and the other sixteen acres on April 19, 1815, both located on the headwaters of Big Flat Creek, a south branch of Duck River. These grants are on file in the State Archives, Nashville TN. This is the same area in which Henry Hart settled and received three land grants, one in 1823, and two in 1826. Although we do not have any other record of additional grants or deeds to property to John Rainey, he evidently did acquire more property, as the 1820 Bedford County census records that in addition to his wife and three children, he had eight slaves. This number of slaves could work a much larger farm that the 36 acres he received by the two land grants in 1814 and 1815.

John Rainey is not recorded in the 1830 Bedford County Census, but as he was 80 years old it is assumed that he was living with the family of one of children.

On August 16, 1832, John Rainey, age 82, appeared in open court in Bedford County before three Justices and made his declaration of oath, his application for his pension for service in the Revolutionary War. It is assumed that he died approximately March 1841 as there are no further records of him after that date. He and his wife are probably buried in the old part of the Mount Hermon Baptist Church Cemetery and the graves poorly marked, as thee is no evidence they were buried in any other cemetery in the Flat Creek or Mount Hermon area.

*** (His declaration for pension clearly shows: wife and children, 5 in all. We belive at that time he only had 4 children.)

Source: James Hart and his Descendants by Charles Gerton Hart 1974

State of Tennessee, Bedford County

On the sixteenth day of August personally appeared in open court before Samuel Phillips, John B. Armstrong, and John L. Neill justices of the Court of pleas and quarter sessions of the County of Bedford in the State of Tennessee afore­said JOHN RAINEY a resident of said county aged eighty two years two months and some days who being first duly sworn according to Law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed 7th June 1832—

That he entered the Service of the United States under the following named officers and served herein stated — He does not know owing to the failing of his memory what time he entered the Service but that it was during the time the American Army lay at Stone ? a place between Charleston and Savanah in South Carolina. That in Laurence County South Carolina he was commissioned by one Colonel Thomas to build a Garrison at the place where Col. Hight was killed which was in the Cherokee Nation just over the South Carolina line, and there remained himself, with about sixty men he had under his command nine months during which time they kept possession of the Garrison, and after the nine months service he and his company returned home, there was but one little en­gagement which' was about half a mile from the Garrison in which engagement there was no white man killed and but one Ind.

This applicant further states that shortly after he returned home from his Service in the Garrison he raised a company of volunteers say about twenty and went in pursuit of the Tories who were then going through the country and trailed them about fifty miles when he got information that Col. Clark and General Pickens were before him and nearer the Tories than he was, he then on that information thought proper to return back home, and immediately himself and Col. Rowebuck & Major Smith turned out and raised more volunteers to keep down the Tories in that part of the Country and guard the Frontier and whilst he was Scouting about down below Camden he was taken a prisoner by the British, and one Col. Ferguson was the Commander of the British at the time he was taken by them, and whilst on their way with him from Camden to Kings Mountain about eighteen miles from Camden between sunset and daylight dawn he made his escape from the British, he then without delay made back home being about forty miles distant to hear if he could anything of Rowebuck, Smith or Genl Green, but his wife could give no account of them (and all in that neighborhood with a very few exceptions were Tories) so he had no chance to make further enquiry but he immediately went on to a place in South Carolina then called ninety six and now Camden, and stayed there some two or three days (being a Whig neighborhood generally speaking but could not still hear anything of the above mentioned men he then returned home again and by this time his wife had got information in what direction Morgan's Army was. He then immediately without staying one single night at home went in pursuit of Morgan's Army to join him which I done when I found Rowebuck & Smith and their companies and ray own company — Morgan's Army then lay about eighty miles from his house, and the morning after I joined them the Battle was fought between Morgan & Tarlton and in which Battle Tarlton and his army was defeated and Tarlton himself wounded. We pursued them on to where Col. Wallies Army was laying and in the pursuit together with what we took on the field of Battle we captured Seven Hundred of the British and we kept on to Halafax Court House in the State of Virginia and then we lay about six weeks — but before we got to said Court house General Morgan gave up his command and I understood went home and General Green took command of the whole — He further states that they marched from Halafax Court house to Hillsborough North Carolina, and directly after they got there they every day nearly had some small engagements and some were killed, and when the Army got up to High Rock in North Carolina Genl Green commissioned him to recruit men to join General Pickens at Ranisours (?) Mills — and he accordingly recruited some where he thinks about thirty. He was in hearing of artillery when the Battle at Guilford was fought and the second day after the Battle of Guilford, him and his men were on march to join Genl Pickens when to his great astonishment he met his wife and all his children with her five in num­ber drove out of their native state by the Tories nearly exhausted by fatigue and might add with hunger in this situation he gave up his command to one Major Stone and they went on and he conveyed his wife off a distance of about thirty miles and procured a house for them, and from thence went home to South Carolina and was not in the Service afterward—

This declarent further represents that he has no documentary evidence to assist his recollection he having received no discharge from General Green or any other person and half a century have no_elapsed since the time of his service he presume many things have escaped his Recollection which might be necessarily stated in his declaration he is not certain'that he recollects all the skirmishes he may have be engaged in many of the officers together with their names with whom he was then familiar he has entirely forgotten, he is unable to state precisely at this remote period the length of time he was engaged in the Service of the United States as a Revolutionary Soldier according to the best of his Recollection it was upwards of three years how much over that time he cannot say. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension role of any agency of any state —

Sworn to in open court 16th August 1832
Jas. McKisack Clk
his X (Mark) ohn Rainey

Attached to the declaration were statements from Malchisadic Bramer, a clergyman, and William Huztill (Wm. Has til), both residents of Bedford County, TN, that they were acquainted with JOHN RAINEY and believed his statement true. Solomon Campbel. a "citizen of Bedford Co., TN, also appeared in court on behalf of JOHN RAINEY.

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