Thomas M. Owen's Revolutionary Soldiers in Alabama



"It is believed that the publication of this compilation will be of much practical service to large numbers of people interested in a study of the personal records of the Heroes of the American Revolution. And this is true, although the lists are manifestly incomplete, and the sketches are wanting in many desirable details.


"The lists have been made up from altogether reliable and authentic sources. These consist of contemporary obituaries, drawn from old newspaper files; the Revolutionary Pension Roll, published by the U.S. Government as Senate Document 514, 3 volumes, 23rd Congress, 1st Session, 1833-34; the Census of Pensioners, taken officially in 1840, and published by the U. S. Government in 1841, in one volume; inscriptions from tombstones; well authenticated data taken from published family histories; and the manuscript Pension Book, kept officially by the State Branch Bank at Mobile. A few other sources have been drawn upon. Citation of the authority or authorities has been given in each case.


"In 1904 Mrs. P. H. Mell published a paper containing thirty sketches, entitled "Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Alabama." It appears as pp. 527-572, Vol. iv. Transactions of the Alabama Historical Society, l899-l903. Mrs. Mell had been State Historian of the Alabama Division of the Daughters of the American Revolution. While limited in numbers, her paper was prepared with great care. The sketches appear in their proper places in the list here presented, with due credit. Although a few lists of names, either by counties or localities, had been compiled, no pretentious effort prior to the work of Mrs. Mell, had been undertaken.


"Inasmuch as this is but a preliminary effort looking to a complete and exhaustive record, the attention of the Department should be brought to any and all errors, to dates and places of death, to places of burial, to the names of those who removed from the State, and to all others whose names ought to be included.


Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 30, 1910."

Editorial Notes to
"Revolutionary Soldiers in Alabama,"
Alabama Historical Quarterly
(Winter, 1944)

"In view of the fact that there are thousands of Alabamians who are descended from Revolutionary soldiers, either those buried in this State or in other States, the Alabama State Department., of Arch,ives and History is devoting the 1944, Winter Issue of the. Alabama Historical Quarterly to that subject. In 1911, Thomas McAdory Owen, founder and for twenty years Director of the Department, published as Bulletin No. 5, a pamphlet entitled "Revolutionary Soldiers in Alabama".


"In the thirty-four years intervening between that publication and the present one additions have been made to the list. The most active and zealous investigators of the subject are the Daughters of the American Revolution of which Society there are several hundred members in the State, descendants of Revolutionary soldiers of the original thirteen Colonies. In addition to the information derived through the D.A.R., other sources have contributed to the list which sources have been credited in connection with each listing. In only one case was a Negro found on the list, Ned Rice of Jackson County. There were, however, many Negroes in the Revolutionary forces.


"The last list published here, located in Washington by Miss Maud McLure Kelly, Historical Materials Collector of the Department, is made up of men or their widows whose applications to the Federal Government for pensions were denied. These applications were either rejected outright or were suspended pending additional proof which was usually never made. The most frequent grounds for the rejection of the application was that the service shown in the Continental Line had been of less than six months duration or that the service shown had not been rendered in the Continental Line but had been in the State Militia troops, or that the service had been non-military, such as wagoner for the troops, or express riding.


"The transportation of troops and other supplies was then a civilian job, not a part of military duties, and those engaged in it were civilians and not entitled to Pensions under the law. One application was rejected because the applicant was too young to qualify for a pension under, the Act of Congress. Three were rejected because the service was rendered after the Revolution had officially ended and three because the applicants had deserted. The rejection of the applications of the widows was because they had married after the date named in the Act of Congress. One Act required that the marriage must have occurred before the close of the Revolutionary War, and the other Act of Congress fixed the date as before January 1, 1794. With the exception of the three whose service occurred after the close of the War and of the three who deserted, all of these men were loyal veterans of the American Revolution.


"The Director of the Department of Archives and History wishes to express her appreciation of the painstaking work of Miss Mary R. Mullen in the compilation of this Quarterly. Miss Mullen has been the Librarian of the Department for twenty-seven years having graduated in library science in the Library School of Emory University, Georgia. She has for twenty-five years been the Secretary of the Alabama Library Association and is regarded by the librarians of the Nation as a leader in the library profession." Alabama Historical Quarterly, (Winter, 1944), pp. 520-522.


Updated: April 23, 2013