Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pension File of Thomas Jones

In December 1852, Tennessee Congressman Albert Watkins wrote to the Pension Office on behalf of my 5th-great-grandfather, Thomas Jones, concerning his War of 1812 pension. According to the file published on Fold3, Thomas had been a Corporal in Captain George Gregory's Company of the Second Regiment, East Tennessee Militia commanded by Colonel Samuel Bunch. James Tillet, 2nd Lieutenant in Captain Gregory's Company, also provided a statement on behalf of Thomas attesting to his service. It appears that the Pension Office rejected the claim, but perhaps not all of the file has been loaded onto Fold3.
Source:, Pension file of Thomas Jones
Based on the information in the file, Thomas Jones joined Captain Gregory's company on 8 January 1814. He was mustered into service in Knoxville on 10 January 1814, and was honorably discharged in May 1814. Between January and May, the company was in Northern Alabama, where the Creek Indians were reportedly conducting hostile operations. Thomas' company was part of the larger force commanded by General Andrew Jackson in his campaign against the Creek Indians.

When the company arrived at Lookout Mountain, they learned that they were low on arms and men. Thomas was ordered back to Jefferson County to secure a supply. Thomas, Lieutenant Tillet and four others marched back to Jefferson County.

They began their journey in March 1814. The men reached Chickamauga Creek and were not able to find a crossing, so they crossed the river in waist-deep water. It was cold and stormy. They marched for another five miles after crossing the river before stopping for the night. Because Indians were in the area, Tillet ordered that they not make a fire and remain hidden. When they awoke the next day (5 March 1814), Thomas had partial paralysis on his right side where he had been sleeping. Thomas continued in the campaign, marching to Fort Strother and Fort Williams (a supply depot used in preparation for the Battle of Horseshoe Bend). Thomas claimed this pain continued throughout his service, and caused his current disability. He asked to receive the benefit of the Act of 24 April 1816, allowing pensioners disabled in service to receive benefits.

In Tillet's testimony, he stated that on the night of 4 March, it snowed on them while they slept on the ground in blankets. The next morning the men complained of stiffness and pain. Tillet later left Thomas at Fort Williams, Alabama after they returned from their gun supply run. When the company returned to Tennessee from service (after May 1814), Tillet met up with Thomas and he mentioned that he now suffered from numbness in his right arm and pain on his right side.

Thomas died in July 1857 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. I am hoping there is more information to be posted in the pension files, as Thomas' file is currently missing some of the other good historical details I have seen in others.

Statement of Thomas Jones

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