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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Amanuensis Monday: John Isler and the Revolutionary War Pension File

The following is a three-page, handwritten document attesting to the Revolutionary War military service of surgeon Robert Williams of North Carolina. In this document is mentioned the name of John Isler, my fifth great-grandfather.

While this document only refers to John Isler once and gives very little information about him, it is still a fascinating recollection of one man’s actions during this historic time!

Page 253 Page 293 Page 315

State of North Carolina
Pitt County
On this the ninth day of Aug. 1832 Personally
appeared in open court before the Justices of the court of Pleas and Quarter
Sessions for the State & County aforesaid now sitting (being a court of
record Robert Williams a resident of Pitt County and State aforesaid
aged seventy four the 25th inst. 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
of the 7th of June 1832.
That he was born on the 25th August 1758 by the record of his
father in County of Pitt & State of North Carolina and raised in
said county that he has lived in said county & still continues
to live in every since except some less that two years
that he lived in the town of Windsor in Bertie County in
the above State upwards of fourty five years past, and except
when he was in the service of the state or on some
business a short time. That his first going into the
service after the revolutionary War commenced was when
a body of tories up the Cape Fear River most in Cumberland
County in said State, that the said tories was making their
way to the sea board below Wilmington where a British
ship of war was then lying, that col. Robert
Lalter commanded the troops he was with who got to a bridge on the north Coast
River of Cape Fear. That Col Richard Caswell commanded another
party of men who got to Moore’s Creek Bridge, where the said
tories attempted to cross and were totally defeated when we
all returned home perhaps in one month. I then was appointed
Quarter Master. These was the first troops that I believe march
in this state after the war commenced and expect it was the
year 1775 or in the early part of the year 1776. I was then a
short time in the Continental line of this state acting as Surgeons
Mate under Dr. Usher in the year 1779 as I believe I was
appointed Surgeon to a Regiment raised by the State of North
Carolina, that John Herritage was Col and John A Allen Major
of said Regiment that Bryan Whitfield, William Herritage, Herring
John Garland Shadrack Allen, John Isler & Gideon Edwards
were Captains, and Benjamin Foswell Captains of cavalry belonging
to said Regiment, that they went across Peedee River perhaps
two hundred miles from their homes that they were some month
employed in taking those tories who had refused to comply with
the Laws of the State and would not take the oath of Allegiance.
They then went to Fort Caswell below Newbern which
elected to prevent small armed Vessals of the Enemy from
commiting depredations on said Town, they after-wards removed
to the neighborhood of Kinston where they mostly remained
untill discharged by the Legislature or the governors orders
which I believe was in November, the time I acted as Surgeon
I think was about nine months. the next service I entered
into was in I think August 1780. When Gates went to the south
there was about eighty men turned out Volunteers in the
County of Pitt under Col James Gorham to aid Genl Gates but
before we had gone far we met men that was in Gates’ defenc
we continued on until we joined the remains of the defeated
Army at Ramsey Mills on Deep River in this state, then
under the Command of General Jethro Sumner who was a
a Brigadeir in the Continental Line, James Cole Montflorence
was his Aid, he gave me appointment of Surgeon General
which I went and returned, because I was young and there was
several surgeons on the Continental establishment who had
been several years in service; he then give me an appoint
ment as Surgeon to the Army , as he said the Doctors he believed
that was there was inattentive to their duty and some of them
drank hard, we moved towards South Carolina and a few
miles below Charlotte in Mecklinburg Country near the South
Carolina line, a reconoitering of ours took some British prison-
ers when we found we was near Cornwallace, we then retreated
next day our Horse had a skirmish at Charlotte; Some was
Killed and several wounded. we retreated on this side the Yadkin
where we lay a considerable time and where I hept an hospital
and continued until reduced by excessive fatigue and our
time all nearly expired, which was three months. I then had
orders from the general to discharge the sick and come on
home with them, which I done accordingly. I was a short
time out when Lord Corn Wallace passed through our State.
Whilst I kept the hospital above, Col. Washington with his
Regiment Of Horse and Genl Morgan passed on by us. It would
take up to much time to mention all the officers I then knew,
suffice it to say General Davidson commanded the Horse, and
William R. Davie was Col. of a Regiment of Horse, our whole
numbers were about two thousand men, as I believe.

I know of no person now living nor have I any docu
ments to prove the foregoing facts, only for part of the time.
Willis Willson who was in Capt Benjamin Caswell’s company
of Cavalry in the State Regiment was then with me and has
known me Ever Since. I have never been on any pension list and
duely relinquish all claim to any such

Sworn to & sunscribed in in open Court the day above
Robert Williams

Footnote Unique ID: 28351661
Collection: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications Files
Veteran’s Name: Robert Williams
Pensioner’s Name:
State: North Carolina
Branch of Service: N. C.
Pension Number: S. 7922
Film Number: 972593
NARA Publication Number: M804

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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