Monday, February 23, 2015

Captain John Chambers - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 8, "Good Deeds"

"Good Deeds" is the theme for this week's #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, hosted by +Amy Johnson Crow of  I have chosen to write about my paternal 6th great-grandfather, Revolutionary War soldier John Chambers, for this post.  As I thought about whom would be a good ancestor about which to write, he rose to the forefront of my mind for a several reasons:
  1. He performed a great deed of service by fighting for American freedom in the Revolutionary War.
  2. Unknowingly, he did another great deed by being my patriot ancestor on which my acceptance into Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was based.
  3. Again, not knowing the long-term ripple effect, my paternal great-great grandmother - Margaret Ida Spain Briggs (see pedigree below) - carried out a wonderful deed by becoming a member of DAR and, thus, laying the groundwork to make my DAR application process much easier.  (Plus, her DAR application gave me the opportunity to see her actual handwriting and signature!)
  4. And, last but not at all least, I personally experienced the kindness and good deeds of complete strangers while going through the DAR application process.  Two DAR members, in particular, were invaluable in making my goal of becoming a member happen.  I am so grateful for wonderful, selfless people like Betty Crockford of Texas (now of California) and Virginia Kracaw (of Colorado) who assisted me every step of the way with my application.  Without their generous help, I know I would still be staring at the incomplete and not-yet-submitted paperwork instead of being a DAR Colorado Member-at-Large.
Current DAR Logo

This shows my direct relationship to Capt. John Chambers.
My father (living) and I would be listed below Elizabeth Lee Henderson.
John Chambers was born in 1742 in Lynch's (a.k.a., Lynches) Creek near Camden, Kershaw County, South Carolina.  His father, John Chambers, was born circa 1699 in County Derry, Ireland (now Northern Ireland), immigrated to Pennsylvania, and then moved to Camden District, South Carolina.  (Reference clipping below from page 104 of Chambers Family from Genealogy: A Journal of American Ancestry, Volumes 8-10.)  His mother's name is unknown.

Red pin marks the approximate location of Lynches Creek in Kershaw County, SC.
(Courtesy of Google Maps.)

John married Elizabeth Rutter, daughter of Edmund and Ann Rutter, who was born circa 1741 in Maryland.  They settled in the York County area of South Carolina, and Elizabeth bore 6 children - 5 boys and 1 girl - between 1771 and 1799 in this order:

  1. James
  2. John
  3. Jane
  4. Benjamin
  5. Samuel
  6. Edmund

The Moultrie Flag designed in 1775 by Col. William Moultrie
to be flown by SC Troops during the Revolutionary War.

John - while residing in Bullock's Creek, South Carolina - served 35 days in the Revolutionary War militia, starting out as a private in the New Acquisition District Regiment, which was established in February 1775 under Captain John Steel and Colonel William Bratton.

Google Map showing the location of Bullock('s) Creek, South Carolina,
where John Chambers lived in the summer of 1780.

John Chambers on page 161 of the Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the
American Revolution, Volume I, A-J
by Bobby Gilmer Moss.

The earliest records I have found specific to John's service shows him fighting under Colonel William Bratton in Huck's Defeat, also known as the Battle of Williamson's Plantation and the Battle of Bratton(s)ville, on 12 July 1780.  This important battle took place near present day McConnells, York, South Carolina.  The York County Cultural and Heritage Commission quotes Louise Pettus' 1999 book, Huck's Defeat, saying (emphasis below is mine):

"At the same time British forces were moving through York County west of the Catawba River, Thomas Sumter had established the main rebel camp east of the Catawba in northern Lancaster County on Clem's Branch. Being informed that [Christian] Huck was at White's Mill, William Bratton and John McClure with their men set out from the rebel encampment to destroy the notorious Tory. Along the way Bratton and McClure were joined by others; Edward Lacey, William Hill, John Moffett, Andrew Love, Samuel Watson, James Moore, John Chambers, John Mills, Thomas Neal, James Mitchell, John Nixon, James Wallace and Richard Winn, along with their men. No other battle fought in the Carolina Backcountry, including Kings Mountain and Cowpens, would bring together such a concentration of local rebel leaders."

A DAR Lineage book also references his service in this battle against the "marauding Tories:"
From page 336 of the DAR Lineage Book, Vol. 28.

I next found him documented as fighting under Brigadier General Thomas Sumter in the 18 August 1780 Battle of Fishing Creek (also known as the Battle of Catawba Ford).  Though the exact location of the battle remains unknown, it was fought on the west side of the Catawba River and the north side of Fishing Creek, near the point where Fishing Creek flows into the Catawba.

Location of the Battle of Fishing Creek.
(Courtesy of Google Maps.)

In this battle, a 160-man British Legion troop, led by Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, attacked Sumter’s 800-man camp by surprise.  When the attack occurred, Sumter's men were performing daily, in-camp tasks such as cooking, sleeping, and bathing and, thus, were completely unprepared to fight.  American losses for the Battle of Fishing Creek totaled 150 dead and 300 captured.  John Chambers was one of those captured and taken as a prisoner of war by the British.

South Carolina Historical Marker for the Battle of Fishing Creek.
(Photo courtesy of South Carolina Backcountry Revolutionary War Sites.)

Battle of Fishing Creek Granite Monument Erected by DAR in 1930.
(Photo courtesy of South Carolina Backcountry Revolutionary War Sites.)

John Chambers being taken prisoner - excerpt from
page 104 of Chambers Family from Genealogy: A Journal of American Ancestry, Volumes 8-10.

Page 3 of the Record of the Chambers Family from the genealogical files of the Georgia Department of Archives and History records this about John Chambers' escape from the British and the exposure he suffered in the process:

I have not been able to determine the exact date when John Chambers became a Captain during the Revolutionary War.  However, I found the below reference to him from which one can deduct that he became a Captain before or during 1781.  William Fowler served for one year, from 1781-1782, and served in Capt. John Chambers' Company:

Excerpt from page 51 of Randolph Co, Il Veterans by Turner Publishing Company.
Additionally, many Revolutionary War Pension Records, such as the one shown below, list John Chambers as a Captain.

Page 20 of Thomas Henderson's Revolutionary War Pension Record showing him enlisting
on 01 Jul 1780, serving 2 Years, and serving during that time under Capt. John Chambers.
(Image from

The U.S. Census Reconstructed Records, 1660-1820 - based on the 1778-1779 petite jury list for the New Acquisition for the District of Camden - lists John Chambers on the back of page 10 of the jurors list.  Genealogy Trails History Group states the following about the jury lists:  "These jury lists are the closest thing we have to a complete [South Carolina] state census before 1790. Except for the alphabetized lists, the names are probably grouped with others who lived nearby, which give close to neighbors and relatives. These names indicate who many of the residents of South Carolina were before the influx of settlers after the Revolution."  Therefore, he is recorded as living in Camden District, South Carolina, in 1780.  The map below shows the seven South Carolina districts, including Camden District, as of 1778:

Map courtesy of Genealogy Trails History Group.
The area that Camden District encompassed at that time aligns with John Chambers living in today's York County, South Carolina.

Despite the negative effects he suffered from exposure as a POW in 1780, Capt. Chambers lived over 19 years after the war ended.  He remained in York County, South Carolina, until the end of his life, which came at age 60 on 27 December 1802.  He was laid to rest in Beersheba Presbyterian Church Cemetery located in Clover, York, South Carolina.

Tombstone of Capt. John Chambers contributed to FindAGrave Memorial #50399418
by Greg Matthews, FindAGrave Member #47449255.

©Amy Wood Kelly, 2015 - I am happy to share my genealogical research and writing with others, as well as to help others with their research efforts.  However, please do not reprint this post in full or in part or use excerpts from this post without giving full credit to me, Amy Wood Kelly, as the researcher and author as well as providing the permalink to this post.  Thank you, in advance, for showing respect for my request and the work I put into creating this post.