Ancestral Journeys

Genealogical research and thoughts

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  • David W. Suddarth

    Welcome to Ancestral Journeys, my genealogy research blog. Researching one's ancestors is like taking a journey back through time. Each of our ancestors have a story and those stories are waiting to be told. I hope to do that, as well as outline research methods and other information relating to genealogy and family history. Even if we do not share the same ancestry, I hope you will find some of the discussion and ideas of benefit. For my complete profile, click on the 'About' tab at the top of the page.

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A Recap of James Suddarth’s Military Service

Posted by dwsuddarth on 6 October 2009

In the last few posts, I have transcribed James Suddarth’s applications for bounty land.  He was eligible for this bounty land because of service in the War of 1812.

What I have found out is that he originally enlisted in the Kentucky State Militia in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky on the first of January, 1813 for a period of three months.  During this time, he served as a pack horse driver under Captain Higgins.  He continued in this service until about March 20, when he received an honorable discharge on account of being sick.  He was discharged in Dayton, Ohio and made his way back home where he stayed for the summer.

On about the 17th of August, 1813, he re-enlisted at the Casey County courthouse in Casey County, Kentucky, again for a term of three months.  He served as a Corporal in the Company commanded by Captain Jesse Coffey in the 6th Regiment of Kentucky Militia.  During this service he was in the Battle of the Themes in Canada.  James never received his discharge after his three month term on account of being sick with the measles.  He was forced to spend time at Nicholasville, Kentucky, near Lexington due to his illness.  Upon returning home, he attempted to obtain his certificate of discharge by calling at the home of Jesse Coffey two different times, but was unable to obtain the certificate due to Coffey not being at home.

I decided to contact the National Archives to see if, by chance, they had any more information regarding James’ service.  Since he was in a state militia, there are no Federal records of his service.  All records, including enlistment records and muster rolls, would be held at the state level.  I then contacted the Kentucky Military History Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky to find where these records may be located.

The news I received was not what I wanted.  Kentucky destroyed all of its military records in 1874 for all wars prior to the Civil War.   This was done to make room for the vast amount of files which were being created for Civil War service.  They needed more space to store those files.  Making a listing of all soldiers who served in prior wars (the Adjutant General’s Report), they then proceeded to destroy all older records.

Even though I have not been able to find any information regarding who James’ parents are, looking through the bounty land application file has been interesting.  In addition, it has added more to my understanding of James.  He is more than just a name and date.  His military service is just the kind of thing which makes family history research so interesting.


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