Notes from the past…

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“… a gallant Revolutionary soldier.” Part 3

(My apologies for taking so long to post Part 3 of this series. Got tied up with some other stuff and couldn’t get back to it.)

In Parts 1 and 2 of my series “… a gallant Revolutionary soldier.”, the story of the hunt for my 5th great-grandfather John Isler, I described my excitement about finally tracking down this most elusive gentleman, and reviewed some of the evidence collected.

I have located and downloaded images of several original documents, as well as transcribed and indexed data that pretty well establishes the “Life and Times of John Isler of Jones County, North Carolina”. This man served as an officer in a North Carolina militia unit during the Revolutionary War and later was quite active in early Jones County and North Carolina government and politics. He is mentioned numerous times in these sources throughout the the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.

Ok, so John Isler did exist. But was this John Isler my John Isler?

How do I connect this


… to this?


I think I may have found the link that I have been searching for. The first image above names Major John Isler as the father of Harriett A (Isler) Kennedy.

Now read this excerpt from John Isler’s transcribed will:


Again, this single transcribed document does not prove conclusively that this John Isler and Harriett Isler are my John Isler and Harriett Isler Kennedy. I will certainly continue to look for more evidence, but taken as a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and examined in relation to the other puzzle pieces that I have mentioned in this series, and to other data that I have about Harriett Isler Kennedy from her later life as the wife of John Kennedy (born ca 1805 in North Carolina, married ca 1825 in North Carolina, 1st child born 1826 in North Carolina), I believe at this time that these two people are probably a good fit for my 5th great-grandfather John Isler, and his daughter, my 4th great-grandmother Harriett Isler Kennedy.

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“… a gallant Revolutionary soldier.” Part 2

Have I finally broken through the John Isler brick wall? Have I found Maj John Isler of North Carolina, that “gallant Revolutionary soldier” and my fifth great-grandfather?

Well, I have most certainly found a John Isler of Jones County, North Carolina. This man was a prominent citizen, Revolutionary War veteran and member of the General Assembly:

  • 1786 House of Commons
  • 1794-95 Senator
  • slave owner- 47 slaves in 1790 Federal Census
  • 108 references to John Isler in Records of Jones County, North Carolina, 1779-1868 Vol. I- witnessed numerous legal documents, mentioned in numerous property documents, as well as the abstract of his will from August, 1822
  • Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications Files- Capt John Isler is described as a militia regimental commander in the applications of Robert Williams and Benjamin Cox of Jones County, North Carolina

So it seems John Isler was a “Revolutionary soldier” and was also very active in the formation and early government of North Carolina, which became the twelfth state to ratify the United States Constitution on November 21, 1789.

[miniflickr photoset_id="72157624183461358" ]

The flood gates have opened, so it seems, as I now have lots of data on John Isler. But I still don’t know…

Was he my John Isler?

End of Part 2

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“… a gallant Revolutionary soldier.”

isler John Isler was my fifth great-grandfather. Prior to tonight, the only “evidence” that I had of his existence was some census pages and a vague reference in a biographical sketch of my third great-grandfather Nathan B Kennedy from a 1892 Hill County, Texas county history book. 

(Since this book was published when Nathan Kennedy was still alive, I like to think that it might possibly be accurate… at least a little)

I have developed an equally vague image of John Isler:

  • 1800 Federal Census- Jones County, North Carolina
  • 1810 Federal Census- Jones County, North Carolina
  • 1820 Federal Census- Jones County, North Carolina
  • father of Harriet Isler, born ca 1805 Jones County, North Carolina
  • Major in Revolutionary War

I’m not 100% sure that the John Isler of these census entries is my John Isler. This is the only John Isler enumerated in North Carolina during those years.

Harriett Isler’s info is from the Hill County book and from her later enumerations as the wife of John Kennedy of Sumter County, Alabama.

Fast-forward to 2010.

Tonight I was just surfing around, not actually researching anyone. I eventually landed at and started looking at the Revolutionary War Pensions database. My previous post tonight was a Wordle image of my ancestors who had been in the military and the wars in which they fought. WWI, WWII, Civil War… but no Revolutionary War vets… except for John Isler, the “gallant Revolutionary soldier.

So I entered Isler into the search box for the Revolutionary War Pensions database, and up popped John Isler of North Carolina in 3 images! Could it be? Have I finally found John Isler, the gallant Revolutionary soldier?

End of Part 1