Revolutionary Soldier

Previous writings by Henry P. Scalf relate some of the oral folklore in the line of John Scalf Sr. Although folklore would not be considered reliable in documenting ones family, it does play an important part in providing clues with which to find documentation. Had we no folklore in the family, we most likely would have a much more difficult time finding names in our family lines.

We must remember, however, that through the generations much can be lost in the translation of family folklore. The ancestral grandfather that migrated to this country can sometimes become the great great or great-grandfather with the passing of time and the telling and re-telling of the legends through the various generations. Time also has a way of changing the stories as they are passed from one generation to the next.

Documentation is required to prove one's lineage but a genealogy with family legend does hold much more interest to the reader than merely a long line of names. Whether the legend is accurate or not, it certainly adds interest to the long lines of names as we read through searching for our own family line. It has been suggested that there is no need to repeat family legends for they have no bearing on proving the lineage.

I see no reason to avoid family legends as long as we realize it is legend and that it does not prove the lineage. In some instances, family legend can and has been proven. I also respect the wishes of those who do not wish to have their family names exposed or the legends in their families. For this reason, some family legends will be referred to only as another family legend. Names, legends, and/or lineages will not be posted when specifically requested not to do so.

Please inform me by email if you do not wish to have your information posted. Otherwise, I will assume that I have your permission. My email address is posted on the homepage of this website. In the event my address should not be listed, please inform me via the Webmaster.

Although one may consider that family history should be public property, this is also a matter of opinion. Regardless of opinion on this matter, I have chosen not to break the confidence of folks who have placed trust in me concerning their family legends by repeating them when asked not to, nor will I post one's lineage if asked not to. Where research on the line has been done by me, my research will be posted. Where research has been done and submitted to me by a descendant with the request that it not be published, this request will be honored.

The feelings of others concerning these matters are of much more importance than making this story more interesting. Research can produce most of what someone deems necessary to document a family because the records are a matter of public property; therefore, I see no need to damage a relationship by intentionally doing what I am asked not to do. If you cannot find your family line in the database when it is posted, it is either due to this reason, or I have no knowledge of the line. Please email me and I will be glad to help you in any way that I can to find this line.


Family Folklore


One of the first legends related to me by my dad was that of a Scalf ancestor who had an Indian wife. According to the story passed to him, this man became very quarrelsome and grumpy when he did not get his breakfast right away. His wife would have to chop the wood in order to have a fire to cook with, among other chores around the farm before she could even begin to cook breakfast. Apparently, her husband was a bit on the lazy side.

She was a quite, gentle, somber-minded woman who spoke very little. However, on one of these occasions when breakfast was not awaiting her husband he began his routine ritual of swearing and cursing her. She did not return a word and in fact, did nothing concerning the meal. When her husband realized his cursing and swearing were useless, as she continued ignore him, he proceeded to chop the wood for the fire to cook his breakfast. He continued his cursing and swearing at her all the time he was chopping wood. This was ultimately a mistake on his part.

Apparently, his wife was not feeling like chopping wood, cooking breakfast, or any of the other normal daily chores of farm life that she had so faithfully attended over the years. When he had finished chopping the wood he buried the axe in the chop block (the custom on the farm) and bent over to gather his load of wood. Her husband was still cursing and paying no attention to her. Before he could gather the wood and stand up, this quiet, gentle little woman came from behind him, grabbed the axe, and struck him with the sharp edge in the back of his head.

The cursing and swearing stopped that day among other things. It is amazing what reaction one action can produce. In spite of the split in the back of his head this man lived. He lived to get up, chop wood everyday, and attend to many of the farm chores that his quiet, obedient, loving little wife had been taking care of for many years. This leaves little doubt that actions can and do speak much louder than words.

Many things changed that day for this family and her husband began to work around the farm, as he never had before. The swearing and cursing stopped and he became very polite in asking for what he wanted. He most likely formed a relationship with God that day as well. I'm sure he probably did some praying since doctors were many miles away and a person could bleed to death before the doctor arrived.

Maybe his wife took pity on him and used her native knowledge of the herbs to stop the bleeding and promote healing. Most likely, she sewed up the cut herself with homemade stitches. Regardless of how the man's life was saved the lives of this family changed. Whether this is a true story or not, I have no way of knowing.

When I asked my dad who this family was he only knew that it was a story passed down in the family. No names were mentioned or could be recalled. There was no recollection of the family line involved in this legend but he was certain it was from his Scalf family and not his maternal side of the family.

When I became involved in the genealogy I thought of this story and naturally, since the legend also existed that my gg-grandmother married my gg-grandfather to avoid the Trail of Tears I thought this might have been her. It was logical to me to assume the legend may actually have been my own gg-grandmother since I am a very quiet person myself. <Smile> There has been no indication from the records or hearsay that my gg-grandfather, Berryman Scalf, was lazy. Neither have I found any records that indicate that my gg-grandmother was of native heritage. I have not dismissed this search though and do not intend to do so.

No doubt, somewhere in one of the lines of the Scalf family this event had taken place. Whether the woman was of native ancestry or whether she was only thought to have been, something similar to this had happened and made its impression on the family so much that the story was carried on. The details may have gotten a bit turned around and possibly even less dramatic than what was translated through time; but, nevertheless, I believe something similar had happened to someone in the Scalf family.

I have received repeated requests to help someone find their native ancestry in this family and there are many legends existing in the Scalf family of native ancestry so this could have happened in any one of the Scalf lines. Without names to relate to this legend, we will probably never know which family this story comes from.

Another legend also related to me by my dad was the fact that the Scalf name originated in Germany and at one time was much longer than the simple spelling of Scalf today. However, he was also told that it came from England. He had no idea where it actually came from but often thought it was possibly native due to the many legends in the family of native ancestry. I have not been able to connect this name to Germany before the1900s, but records indicate there were probably Irish and English roots with very probable native connections.

One of the legends told in my family line is that of the Scalf men being so skilled in the art of woodwork. This, I have found to be more accurate than anything else and more documental. Many of the Scalf men in my direct line were carpenters and very skilled in many various types of woodworking. My gg-grandfather was a well-known wheelwright in the area of Russell and Scott County, Virginia during early and middle 1800s. It has been said that he made perfectly rounded wagon wheels and he was highly recommended to those needing wagon wheels replaced. Most of his sons were noted for their various carpentry works.

One son was noted as being the best around at making perfectly balanced wheat cradles. Another son was noted for his ability in making cabinets and furniture and yet, another son was noted for his hand carving of a stair railing that stands in the home he built for his family in 1860. This home is listed as a landmark, is now 142 years old, and is presently occupied.

Another legend related by the wife of a descendant of one of our Kentucky relatives of the John Sr. line states that her husband's ancestor received ponies in trade for his daughter's hand in marriage because she was Indian. Such are the legends among the different lines of our Scalf family.

These types of legends are very difficult to trace. It is much easier to trace the legend of carpentry than Indian ancestry. During the days of John Sr. and his children, natives were treated much like slaves and many were sold into slavery in the early colonial times. Most natives tried to hide their ancestry and did a very good job of it as one will find when trying to trace it.

The line of John Scalf Sr. abounds with legends. Many of them have come from various lines of the family since I began this search. Many of them indicate some solid foundation and again, some may be considered a little far-fetched but one never knows just how accurate they may be. For the most part, I believe there is a certain amount of truth to all legends and I do not regard any family legend as simply tales of the old folks. I have found that somewhere between the legend and the records most often lie the facts. So, if you have submitted family legends, please rest assured you are in a file of family legends and these are used to cross-reference other family legends I have received.

These are used as guideposts in finding the names of the family lines and support of the legend as fact if possible. These are not disregarded! These legends have helped with this research in compiling names. It is of importance that you do not think that some little tidbit of information is not of value in researching your family. It may seem worthless at one point only to find out later it was the most valuable piece of information one has to tie a family to its proper ancestor. Never disregard anything or throw it out until it has been ruled out as no possibility whatsoever.

Many times, I have worked with someone on a family line to find out after years of trying to make a link that they were holding the one piece of information because they thought it was not significant or had completely forgotten about it and/or filed it in file #13. Many bits and pieces of information are used to tie names together where the records are not clear. The little things on a record are very, very important, such as a doctor's name or a clerk that may have signed a record. The dates and/or odd names on the records can sometimes play an important role in making connections or at least in determining the next area of research.

There are so many things involved with this type of research that this chapter could be written on this subject alone. I am guilty of some silly things myself when I first started this research. Maybe you have or are doing the same things. If you are, then DON'T do it again.

In the beginning of this research, names were the only valuable piece of information I thought necessary in finding my heritage. Diligently, I searched every index of any book for Scalf. When the page number with the name was found, a copy of that page was made or the information was written down from it. Somewhere along the way, I began to read the chapter of where that name was found. Many, many times, this helped in putting the story together and giving some direction in where to look next because valuable information existed in the chapter I had missed. This was a valuable learning experience and proved in many instances to lead me in the right direction.

I began to read more and more of places, events, and the folks involved and not just Scalf. When I realized the mistake I had made, I spent a lot of time back-tracking the same things I had already tracked (I thought) before. Now, nothing is thrown away that is similar to the story. <Smile> There are tons of paper in my computer room to prove it and they do not necessarily have a Scalf name on them, but they do hold an event, a date, or names of others involved with my family.

This is often one reason that many new researchers give up. There is a good deal of reading, cross-referencing and studying involved that many folks to not have the patience or the time to do. There is nothing wrong with that, but in some cases it is required to find the family you may be looking for so please, do not throw anything away until it is completely ruled out.

Henry P. Scalf and Elmer Scalf, (previous writers of the history of our family) along with Mrs. Elsie Payne Archer have gathered a great deal of information for us to follow and have been very instrumental as guides in our own search. I do not always agree with them on some points but I have learned during my search to admire their willingness to undertake such a task for it is most definitely a horrendous task as most who have taken up this hobby have found.

Although Mrs. Archer lived a good distance from where our ancestors passed through, she was able to obtain a good deal of the records to study. Not only is it necessary to see the original records, but it is also of great value to be able to decipher these records and determine in which direction one might need to search. Mrs. Archer was very talented at this and this is reflected throughout the book, Chronicles of the Scalf Family. This requires a good deal of studying these old documents.

Not to take away any credit from Henry P. Scalf, author of the book, for Henry had an equally difficult task in researching his Kentucky relatives as well. He also had the task of putting the book together and that certainly is no walk in the park as I can relate from experience.

According to copies of correspondence from Mrs. Archer, it is obvious that she did a great deal of the research on the other lines of the family. Mrs. Archer was a descendant of the line of Ira Scalf and Rosannah Gibson Scalf through their daughter, Jane Scalf Phllips, wife of Benjamin. She was an avid Scalf researcher and was extremely interested in finding not only her Scalf roots but also the history of the Scalf family. Unfortunately, she is no longer with us but the efforts of her, Henry and Elmer Scalf to find the information that has helped so many of us is greatly appreciated by this writer.

No doubt, these folks made mistakes but one cannot tackle something of this magnitude without making mistakes. With the limited access these people had to the records, they did a tremendous job in opening the paths for us to follow. We will all make mistakes and though not intentional, they will surely happen. However, the inaccuracies should inspire us to keep searching. Please remember when you find my mistakes that although they are not intentional, they will hopefully inspire you to correct them.

Veteran or Imposter?

This chapter will cover as much as is possible with the records of the life and times of John Scalf Sr., son of Lewis Scalf (1745-1839) and his first wife who is still a mystery to us. While reading the previous writings concerning John Sr., I found myself experiencing mixed emotions about this man. Many times I asked myself the question, was he really an imposter as he was accused? Was his children taken away because he was shiftless, lazy and would not provide for his family or was it due to some type of disability John acquired from his war service? It would seem logical on the one hand that he may have been guilty of these things, due to the records in North Carolina of his involvement in the theft of a hog and the fact that a John Scalf was detained in the Prestonburg, Kentucky jail for some unknown reason.

However, after reading the complete pension file concerning his war record among other things, I find it difficult to believe that a man who was so determined to restore his character and honor could be guilty of being lazy and shiftless. In consequence of these feelings, I made a trip back to Russell County, Virginia to search for something that might give some clues as to what actually took place in Russell County, Virginia and in the life of John Scalf Sr. from 1820 to 1837.

I began to notice little things I had not noticed before and in searching around for other information that might shed some light on the time period, I began to map and cross-reference bits and pieces of the information of this man's life. Not that I had not already done this, but only with names and family relationships in mind. I had not previously wondered if something might have caused John to do the things he was accused of. It was not until I had done this, did some things begin to come into focus.

It is interesting to note that during the colonial days of our history and up until near the 1980s (though not as much) many illnesses were viewed in a very different aspect than today. Folks had a tendency (some still do) to fear what they do not understand and these folks did not understand some types of illnesses and/or deformities. For instance, if someone had an illness such as seizures, they were considered idiotic and insane during colonial times. This continued up through the 1900 census for I have found folks listed this way and I knew of their medical problems. They knew no other name to place on these problems due to muscle reactions brought on by some types of seizures. Seizures have also been related to accusations of witchery.

Common illnesses that we have come to understand now were once viewed in a different light. A seizure could have been mistaken as being possessed. Many stigmas were placed on folks that were perfectly fine other than the illness they suffered from. Such was the case of folks that were crippled. If a person had a deformity strangers might view them as poor, worthless and even idiotic. People shunned other people who were not normal in the aspect of what normal meant to them at the time. Downs Syndrome was viewed as insanity during this time and the person avoided the person afflicted at all costs because some thought, evil spirits caused this.

This may have contributed in part to how John Sr. was treated as he moved around among strangers. It is my opinion that John Scalf Sr. possibly had a deformity of his leg due to the wounds received in the Revolutionary War. To folks he was familiar with, this would have been no problem as they would have been aware of what happened to him and knew that he had not been born this way. This was of great importance at this time.

If someone was born with an infirmity, they were sometimes not accepted as normal and no matter what the deformity was, it was avoided because it was believed by many to have been caused by some type of disobedience to God or some type of curse. Strangers quite possibly may have shunned him and treated him differently, which in turn, caused John to be on the defensive all the time. This may be why John appears to have been in trouble often. This, we cannot know and this is only speculation on my part based on reading different types of medical history and the pension file of John Sr. It is also worth noting here that thyroid problems can cause different types of actions.

I have been informed that thyroid disease appears to be consistent in the Scalf family. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can be an underlying cause of mood swings, temper tantrums and hyperactivity (swinging from the ceiling so to speak). Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) can be related to not feeling like doing anything at all and barely able to move about due to a lack of energy. I have witnessed both of these in full operation as I have a son that has hyperthyroidism and a daughter with hypothyroidism.

Try taking a trip with these two folks. One was hot and one was cold, no matter what the temperature was. It was a constant; turn the heat off turn the heat on. Sweat is dripping from the face of one and the other was huddled in an overcoat in the middle of summer. Let's go do something, let's stay inside. One wanted one thing and one wanted another. They were totally opposite in how they felt. For me, it was a constant state of hot or cold just being with them and I had no thyroid problems.

For a very long time, I had no idea how two people of the same blood could be so totally different and obnoxious. A simple trip to the store was a nightmare with these two. Now, I understand these symptoms. One had an overabundance of energy, which came in spurts, and one had none whatsoever.

My son was subject to have what the doctor referred to as thyroid dumps. When this happened, he could get mad at the drop of a hat over nothing and when he did, he said exactly what he thought no matter where or to whom and had an uncontrollable temper. At other times, when this was not happening he would be a totally different person. This was very frustrating to say the least.

On the other hand, my daughter appeared to be lazy and seemed to want to sleep continuously. My son rarely slept and when he did it was in short intervals such as two hours at a time. My daughter's condition reached the point where she could not wake up to help her own daughter get ready for school. It was not until this, that she found out what was wrong. She still has problems with this but not to this extent. Most people thought she was just lazy until this was discovered. I had chalked it up to trying to do too much at once since she was married, in college, overloaded with classes, and trying to do all the extra curricular activities of college as well as be a wife and mother. Her body was overloaded and could simply not keep up.

Looking back on this, I don't know how she managed to stay on her feet at all with this thyroid problem untreated. She could have used some of my son's hyperthyroidism at this time. He couldn't slow down and she couldn't get any speed so you can imagine what my life was like with these two. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in the semester prior to her last semester of college and he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism one year later.

One disease is just as debilitating in its way as the other when left untreated. There is more compatibility now that we know what the problem is. They almost appear to be related now. Of course, they are grown now and understand each other's problem. I have received letters from various lines of the family stating that there are thyroid problems in their families. I find almost no thyroid problems in my maternal line, nor are there any in my children's paternal lines.

I suspect that our Scalf ancestors may have had one or the other, if not both, of these diseases but of course, I cannot say that for a fact and it would be difficult to even speculate based on the meager medical records we have. This is also not limited to the line of John Sr. I have spoken to descendants of the brothers of John Sr. who have stated there are thyroid problems in their lines as well, so this possibly reaches farther back.


The Early Years


When the Revolutionary War began, mothers and wives watched as husbands and sons went off to fight for their country and its newly found freedom. These hardy pioneer women were left alone to fend for themselves and some with very small children. In the home of Lewis Scalf, the children had no mother for she had died prior to this war. Had John's mother been living, she may have talked her son out of taking part in this war. Being a mother, I'm sure I certainly would have tried to persuade my eleven or twelve-year old son to stay home. However, John's mother had already died at this time and John was forced to become a man at a very young age.

It is reported that Lewis married his second wife, Elizabeth Blackburn in Halifax County, North Carolina in February of 1777. I have not seen this marriage record but I am assuming that Elmer Scalf did see this since he also gives the date for the marriage of Elizabeth's sister, Amy Blackburn, on the same date which was February 28, 1777.

What concerns me here is, if Elizabeth Blackburn did not marry Lewis Scalf until February 28, 1777 how could she have been Elizabeth Scalf on January 23, 1777 when her father wrote his will? I am assuming here that Elmer may have intended to state January --1777, instead of February. (Will Abstract of John Blackburn, 1777)

The Revolutionary War began in this year so the first Mrs. Lewis Scalf had surely died before the beginning of the war. Just three months after the marriage of his father, John Sr. enlisted in the company of Captain Gregory in the 10th Regiment of the Continental Line for a term of three years. (State of NC Secretary of States Office, 1837)

John states in his pension papers that his Colonel was Col. Shepperd. Not only did John state this information, but also a comrade who served with John in the 10th Regiment, Mr. Thomas Pratt, offered his statement confirming that John was a soldier in the 10th Regiment. Mr. Pratt was known to be a highly respected man in the neighborhood. This statement was sent to Mr. J. L. Edwards, Commissioner of Pensions in 1837. (Statement of John Scalf and Thomas Pratt, Sept. 1837 - part 1)

(Statement of John Scalf and Thomas Pratt, Sept. 1837 part 2)

John could not have been more than eleven or twelve years old at the time he enlisted in the Revolutionary War if he was born in 1765 or 1766. We can only approximate a death date for the mother of John Sr., and in view of the assumed birth date of David S. Scalf, the youngest son, 1772, it is likely that their mother died between 1772 and 1777. Sarah was certainly born during this time, either between Benjamin and David S. or the last child born and it is possible that their mother died in childbirth to Sarah or David. This speculation would still put her death date 1772-1777.

The records show that John Scalf Sr. was released from service in 1780 after spending the winter under the care of a physician. In his pension file, John stated that he enlisted in Johnston County, North Carolina. This is the only indication I find that suggests where his father, Lewis, may have been living in 1777 and is also possible that Lewis was living in Halifax County since he is reported to have married there in this same year. He did not necessarily have to be living in Johnston County for John to have enlisted in Johnston County. John states in his pension file that his father was also a soldier but no records have been found of his enlistment.

After John's pension was revoked in 1838, depositions were taken from various folks in Hawkins County, Tennessee to try and persuade the War Department to re-instate the pension. Mr. Edwards of the War Department turned deaf ears to these statements. He ignored the statements of some very prominent citizens of Hawkins and instead, sent a letter to Hawkins County requesting that John answer some questions to confirm his service. John answered these questions, but they were also to no avail.

This is the response, though not in its entirety, of John Scalf Sr. via the Justice of the Peace for Hawkins County, Tennessee. The original document (page 1) is listed on this website to compare this typed copy. If anyone can see a mistake or believes they recognize something that should be different, please let me know. This document is very difficult to read and I have been copying and re-copying for clearer readability for many years and I welcome any input.

State of Tennessee
Hawkins County

Personally appeared before me Robert Rogers an acting Justice of the Peace for said County John Scalf who being first duly sworn States in answer to the forgoing questions as follows answer to 1st question The respondent has no recollection of Ever having obtained a warrant for bounty land if ever such was obtained it must have been rec'd by affiants father who Served in the war of the Revolution with affiant and affiant being at that time Young and inexperienced did not inquire for it or attend to getting it . In answer to 2d Question (misspelled word marked through) affiant immigrated from Clay County Kentucky and resided there about two years at the Goose Creek Salt works owned by Wm. Hubbard, Esq. To show he bore the reputation of having been a Revolutionary Soldier he refers Mr. Edwards to Esqr. Hubbard Lewis Jackson (?) and James Jones - William (----) --------------------------------(line faded) Kentucky this affiant lived in Russell County Virginia where he lived for nine or ten years where affiants Son was indicted for passing a counterfeit half dollar and employed the Honorable Mr. Hopkins Member of Congress to defend him after his son was acquitted of the charges Mr. Hopkins had his land taken to pay his fee and because this affiant would not pay the balance Said Hopkins threatened he would have affiants pension Stopped for purposes of this reason affiant refers to a gentleman by the name of (line drawn through name) Sharpe Esq. Lawyer --------------(last line faded out)
(John Scalf, Sr. 1839 Hawkins Co original document pg 1)

My note: The second page of this document is very faded and only a word here and there can be deciphered. The name JERRY COUCH near Lebanon, Russell County, Virginia can be seen. This appears to be in reference also to John's witness of his service but more work will need to be done on this to decipher exactly what John was saying here.

However, this affidavit does confirm that Lewis Scalf was in fact, a Revolutionary Soldier in the Revolution with his son, John Scalf Sr. . Lewis was allowed to draw in the 1830 Georgia Lottery of which he was a fortunate drawer. Due to the fact that a number of different criteria had to be met for one to draw in the lottery, it is still un-established as to whether Lewis was allowed to draw due to his age or his service in the Revolution or possibly both.

It is possible that Lewis used another name when he enlisted and the name has not been recognized. Lewis was not found in the records of North Carolina after his birth in 1745 until 1777 when he married Elizabeth Blackburn and again in 1779 when he is found in Cumberland County listed in the tax records of that year. From 1745 to 1777 is a total of thirty-two years that Lewis disappears from the records. We do not know where he was living before he married in Halifax County to Elizabeth Blackburn.

Lewis may have lived in Pasquotank County with his first wife but there is no record of a marriage there for a Lewis Scalf unless the record was not recognized. In all likelihood, Lewis had another name besides Lewis as most folks had a first and middle name. It is possible he used another name on records that we are unaware of and would not recognize, or it may simply have been overlooked.

At some point, Lewis may have left Pasquotank County and moved over to Johnston or Halifax County before his first wife died. He may also have married her in one of these counties. Whether Lewis was living in Halifax County or whether he was living in Johnston is difficult to determine without other records such as land deeds to refer to. John would have been living with Lewis in 1777 when he joined the Continental Line.

In estimating the births of Lewis' first children, if John Sr. was born about 1765, he would have been twelve years old when he entered the service. If Benjamin was the next son, and was actually 105 years old at this death in 1870 in Illinois, then he was born around 1765. However, I am inclined to believe that Benjamin was actually born in 1767 or 1768 and not 1765, unless he was the oldest son, which is very difficult to determine as well. It is also likely that Benjamin did not know exactly how old he was and his children could have misstated his age at his death not knowing the exact year of his birth.

This is only a matter of three years and is typical of the times. He was possibly around 102 years old instead of the 105 stated in his obituary. If this information is near correct, then he would have been around 9 years old when John Sr. entered the service. If David S. Scalf, brother of John Sr. and Benjamin, was born around 1772 as believed, then their mother (the first wife of Lewis Scalf) surely died between 1772 and 1777. This is as close to a death date on Lewis' first wife as I have been able to determine.

David S. Scalf would have only been five years old in 1777. It is unknown how old their sister, Sarah, may have been. It is also just as possible that David was the last child and Sarah was born between Benjamin and David since there is a time-span of four years between Benjamin and David. Most often, children were born every other year during this time. Whatever the scenario here, the mother of John Scalf Sr. died at a young age and was most likely only married around twelve to fifteen years at her death.

The pension file relates that John was discharged home in the spring of 1780 after almost three years of service. The tax records of 1784 show that Lewis, John's father, was living in Johnston County in 1784. However, the tax records of Cumberland County, North Carolina reveal that Lewis was living in Cumberland County in 1779 just two years after the war began. Cumberland County was a neighboring county to Johnston County in 1779 and located southeast of Johnston. Edgecombe County was a neighboring county located to the north of Johnston and Halifax was a neighboring county of Edgecombe located north of Edgecombe.

In her deposition in Rogersville, Tennessee Edy Carlisle Scalf states that she was married to John Scalf on February 15, 1787 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. They were most likely living in the home of John's father on the tax list of this year. It is believed that this Carlisle family lived along Fishing Creek in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

By 1790, Lewis was living in Edgecombe County near Edeah Carlile/Carlisle's family as can be seen from a transcribed copy of the 1790 census. In the home of Lewis Scalf at this time were two white males sixteen years and up including the head of house. This is probably Lewis and John Sr. since son, William, would not have been 16 years old at this time.

Lewis had three white males under sixteen in the home and five females including his wife. By this time, Benjamin and David were most likely married. We know that John Sr. was married for he married in 1787 to Edeah Carlile/Carlisle according to her statement. John Sr. cannot be found as head of house in 1790. For this reason, I am assuming he is the male on this census over 16 years old listed with the head of house. One of the females is probably Edy Carlisle Scalf. Of the five females in the home, two of these girls were probably daughters of John Sr. and Edy Carlisle Scalf. Nancy and Polly Scalf were born 1788 and 1789 respectively according to the pension file of John Sr.

If one female is Elizabeth Blackburn Scalf, one is Edy Carlisle Scalf, and two are Edy's daughters, then the other female could have been Sarah Scalf, daughter of Lewis and his first wife. One of the males under sixteen is most likely William, son of Lewis and Elizabeth. It is equally possible that one male under the age of sixteen was John Jr. if he was in fact, born in 1790.

However, it is not likely that the third male belonged to John and Edy. The other male was probably a son of Lewis and Elizabeth that either died young or has eluded the records. It is this record that lists Lewis Scalf as Lewis Calf. Although there was a Calf family, the fact that Lewis is living near the relatives of his daughter-in-law would suggest that this is Lewis Scalf.

1790 North Carolina Halifax district - Edgecombe County pg. 54a.

1st No. - free white males 16 years and upward and head of families
2nd No. - free white males under 16 years
3rd No. - free white females and head of families
4th No. - all other free persons
5th No. - slaves

Carlile, John..................................1-1-4-0-0
Calf, Lewis...................................2-3-5-0-0
Carlile, Robert...............................1-1-3-0-0
Carlile, Clark.................................1-1-2-0-0

Lewis and his family traveled in a southwesterly direction across North Carolina and John Sr. was probably with him until he left Wilkes County
1803 1806. The Carlile family listed here is most likely the family of Edy Carlile/Carlisle.

By 1800 John is listed as head of house in his own home in Surry County, North Carolina. Lewis is living nearby. John is listed with one white poll. By 1803 John is in Wilkes County and this is where he had gotten into some trouble over the theft of a hog. Wilkes was created from Surry and John was probably living in the area that became Wilkes instead of moving as it appears. By 1810 a John Scalf is in Floyd County, Kentucky. John most likely left Wilkes around 1805 or 1806 by estimation.

John arrived in Russell County, Virginia by the year 1820 where he is listed on the 1820 Russell County census and in the court records of Russell County in that same year.

In Russell County, Virginia John would begin a new battle. This battle was different from the one he had fought in the Revolution and one that would last for many more years to come. There is little doubt as to John's ability to take care of his family. After reading the statements of the doctors who examined him in Rogersville, Tennessee, I cannot imagine how he managed as well as he did.

John had not only been shot in the right leg near the ankle joint, he had been shot in the abdomen and the right thigh. After John was wounded, he stated that he laid all winter under the care of a phision in the country by the name of Brimson. He was examined in the spring and thought not fit for service and in the summer was permitted to go home if he could.. He sent to his father and scuffled on as well as he could until he met his father and arrived home in the fall of 1780. In my opinion, this word, phision is simply a misspelling by the clerk writing down the information and it should have been physician.

Dr. A. Carmichael and Dr. Walker of Rogersville, Tennessee were requested to examine John's wounds and give an opinion concerning the scars as to whether they were gunshot wounds. I quote from that record in part.

John had been shot through the leg immediately on the right side of the tibia, close to its anterior angle or spine and not far from the middle of the bone and to have passed out at or near the middle of the external side of the limb, having splintered or fractured in its course the fibula as appeared from a scar an inch and an half or two inches lower down on the same side of the limb where the fractured piece of bone is said to have crossed.

The tibia and fibula are the two bones, which connect the knee to the ankle joint. John stated in his deposition that the bones were shattered and coming out at the ankle. John was also shot in the same leg above the knee in the anterior part of the right thigh. Anterior means directed towards the front. This would suggest that John was shot in the front part of the right thigh with the shot entering about five to six inches above the right knee. This musket ball was extracted according to the papers so the physician that cared for John had apparently been able to remove this musket ball. The musket ball, which John received in the lower part of the leg near the ankle, most likely went completely through the leg splintering/fracturing the tibia and fibula bones.

The doctors stated that the scar from the shot to the abdomen was located in the left hypochondriac region. This region is located in the upper lateral (away from the midline plane of the body) abdominal region, overlying the costal (ribs) cartilages on either side of the epigastrium (upper and middle region of the abdomen). It appears the shot would have hit him around the upper left rib area or in the mid upper abdomen near the left rib area. (Carmichael and Walker Statements)(See also for certificates)

These statements leave little doubt in my mind that John Sr. was crippled and no doubt, in pain for the most of his lifetime. This twelve-year old boy had fought for the freedom of his country, had been shot to pieces and was very fortunate he did not die from the loss of blood or gangrene. I have no way of knowing the extent of the deformity of John's leg or foot but I would imagine it was possible from this type of wound that his leg would have been deformed to an extent. The thigh shot was probably a clean shot leaving little damage but probably still painful as the years went by and arthritis set in. I doubt the abdomen or the lower extremity was anything but painful and troublesome all of his life.

In light of these facts, there is little doubt in my mind as to why John could not take care of his family during a time when survival was tough on an able-bodied man much less one who was not. John had no pain pills to take when the weather changed and the rain or cold made his bones hurt. Whisky and moonshine were the choice painkillers of the day and the report of these doctors suggests to me that John was unable to take care of such a large family. Due to this, it is not surprising that John was known to take a drink now and then.

It has been suggested that John Sr. may have been an imposter and did not serve in the Revolutionary War. This was of concern to me as some evidence seemed to suggest that it was possible; however, after reviewing the complete pension file, I have concluded that John was not an imposter but was in fact, a Revolutionary Soldier. This also can be a matter of opinion among researchers and I can only present my basis for my belief that he was not an imposter.

It appears that John was often confused with John Scarf, Pvt. John Scarfe served 39 months in the Revolution under Col. Lockheart. This John Scarf received 297 acres of bounty land for his service in the Revolution (warrant #584). This probably also caused John Sr. some problems in having his pension reinstated after it was revoked. When asked if John had ever received any bounty land for his service during this process, John stated no, that he knew nothing of any bounty land. He also stated that if there had been any, his father may have gotten it since John was too young to know about these things.

For quite sometime I thought it was possible that John may have actually impersonated this John Scarf and claimed his pension until I discovered these two men served in different Regiments. In order for John to impersonate anyone, it would have had to be someone with the same name or a similar name. In my opinion, this rules out the possibility of John Scalf impersonating John Scarf.

A request was sent to North Carolina by the court clerk in Rogersville, Tennessee to check the records for this bounty land and the response was returned stating that John had been issued bounty land when most likely it was not John Scalf Sr., but rather, Pvt. John Scarf who received the bounty land. John Sr. enlisted in Gregory's company and is stated on the rolls as Corporal Jno. Scalf. He enlisted May 30, 1777 for three years and was released from duty in 1780 sometime after he was wounded. Pvt. John Scarf served three years and three months without incident for which he received bounty land issued to him by bounty land warrant #584. I am assuming that this is why the clerk responded that John Scalf had received bounty land. He apparently was also confused between the names of the two men.

Andrew Johnson, Representative, later President Andrew Johnson, became involved with the case after John's pension was revoked. Mr. Johnson requested this information from J. L. Edwards in their correspondence. The fact that Mr. Johnson later requested bounty land in the amount of 297 acres suggests to me that he checked into the matter and found that Pvt. John Scarf or someone else had received this bounty land that was allegedly given to John Scalf.

Mr. Johnson made a motion in Congress when he was a Representative that John be granted 297 acres of bounty land for his service. This record is discussed further along. There is no record in the pension file that mentions anything about 297 acres of bounty land. Nothing in this file suggests that John ever received any bounty land other than the response from North Carolina suggesting that he had. His wife, Edy, did receive 160 acres after the death of John Sr.

From the records I have read concerning bounty land issues, this could have been the amount of bounty land issued to a Private. The higher the rank, the more the allotment of bounty land. Obviously, since John Scarf was a Private, he would not have been issued 297 acres unless there had been confusion between the two names but the warrant issued to John Scarf states 297 acres. (Secretary of State, North Carolina-1837)

No doubt, the records were confusing. There appears to be no record of a pension file for John Scarf in the Washington Archives. When I requested the pension file of John Scalf Sr., stating he was in Gregory's company and the time he served, I received the file on John Scalf Sr. When I requested the file from the Archives for John Scarf in the company of Col. Lockheart, again I received the pension file of John Scalf Sr.

I have found no evidence that John Scalf Sr. ever served under Col. Lockheart. Therefore, I must assume that they are two different people. It is possible that John Scarf died before the pension act was passed and if this is true, there would be no pension application on file for John Scarf. If not, then his pension application may have been destroyed by one of the many tragedies in history such as burned courthouses.

Lewis Scalf is reported to have had a brother, John Scarf. Whether this John
Scarf was that brother or not, I have no way of knowing. If he was, then it is likely that he died before the pension act was ever passed or possibly may have been too old to recall enough information to obtain his pension. Although we can only speculate what may have happened concerning these two men, it is my opinion that there is enough supporting evidence to safely conclude that there was definite confusion between the two and John Sr. likely suffered a good deal because of this.




This segment of the chapter on John Scalf Sr. is an effort to take you through the life and movements of John Scalf, Sr. according to his pension file. Hopefully, the pension file and the court minutes of Russell County, Virginia, will help someone in their search for more facts. Some of these documents you have previously read in the earlier writings. I will also present further documents so you may be able to read the accounts and form your own opinion of what is fact and what is speculation.

Copies of the original documents will be posted. Most of these documents are not difficult to read. However, a couple might present some close studying. Some of these documents will not be posted at the same time as this chapter due to the time involved in scanning. However, all documents will be posted as soon as scanning is completed.

I cannot say if John Sr. may have brought troubles on himself, nor can I say he was unjustly accused. I can only relate the evidence I have found, for this is ultimately a matter of opinion. The records I have studied of Russell County, Virginia suggests there may have been other things happening behind the scenes that did in fact, instigate problems for John Sr. I cannot give a well-informed opinion as to what may have been the problem in North Carolina or Kentucky because there are not enough records to make an informed assumption. However, there is a strong indication that some of the things that happened in Russell County happened for reasons John had no control over.

As in a court case, family history is merely a preponderance of the evidence. To withhold the evidence is not justly or accurately presenting enough evidence for the jury to deliberate with. This manuscript is not presented to give you a simple opinion, nor are we trying John Sr. on a specific charge. This manuscript is presented to help aid you in your search while trying to give you a rounded balance of the evidence found in my research. It would be wonderful if I could say without hesitation that these are all facts without any speculation, but this is not, and will not, be the case with any genealogy. The period of time in which our ancestors lived hinders this due to the lack of laws regarding record keeping and the tragedies of the burnings of what records were kept.

However, in defense of not only John Sr., but many folks of this period, many things happened that might suggest these folks were not very reputable people. On the contrary, these folks were very much reputable. Although the majority of our ancestors were not of the more prominent of society, they were hardworking, honest, and some of the toughest among men. The majority of the early ancestors were brought here as indentured servants to work out the payment of their passages after their arrival for they had no monetary means of payment for their transport. Some were considered vagabonds. Some were imprisoned in jails in England for one thing or another. History relates that England wanted rid of her less fortunate society and most of our ancestors certainly qualified in this category.

These people were illiterate and this was a majority, not a minority. This also did not necessarily correlate only to the region one may have lived in. Most of the folks who were literate were in positions of government for the Crown or some type of prominent position. Being illiterate did not cause one to be totally ignorant, however. In the early colonial period of our country, what we refer to in Appalachia as common horse sense applied more to survival than literacy. History proves that this adventure to the New Word would be a survival of the fittest.

It would have been utterly useless to recite poetry or be able to spell one's name if one did not know or learn how to survive in this new and very dangerous frontier. These folks may not have known how to survive the hardships in the beginning, but they certainly adapted and learned.

We are not here today simply because we had ancestors with royal blood or of the highest book knowledge of the period. We are here because we had ancestors who had common horse sense and with all due respect, little book knowledge.

I believe in education to the highest degree but our ancestors did not have this opportunity, so where opportunity is omitted, common horse sense will sustain. I have no idea where the term common horse sense began but have heard this all of my life. In recent years, horse has been dropped and it is now termed common sense. Times do change. <Smile> I think the proper term for this now is politically correct.

To fully appreciate our history, it is important to read and understand the times our ancestors lived in. The old documents left are more than valuable in finding one's family. They are the story of a place and time that we cannot imagine in our wildest dreams having been able to survive in. From document to document the story is told of the difficult lives of these people who were our ancestors. Some did not survive but many did. Many of the vagabonds sent here became prominent citizens. Descendants of these vagabonds now hold positions of the highest esteem. It is a reminder of the story of The Ugly Duckling and as we know, one day the ugly duckling became a beautiful swan!

John Sr. was a product of his time and truly a mountaineer in all aspects of the term. John lived in a time when fighting was a means of survival. Regardless of what type of survival one was dealing with, whether it be to defend ones self from an enemy physically, or to do what was necessary to sustain ones daily life and family. The Appalachian Region has always been considered a poverty region. This is true in the aspect of material possessions. However, Appalachia is rich in many ways that is often unnoticed by others but is treasured by the natives of Appalachia.

Many family researchers have found it difficult to believe that John Sr. was eleven or twelve years old when he enlisted in the Revolution. I also could not believe this in the beginning of my research. However, after some years of researching and studying the old documents, I have found this was common and not at all unusual.

It might be construed that John Sr. was a very strong-willed, stubborn, outspoken man to the point of causing himself many problems. On the flip side of this coin, John could be said to have been a man of great character and persistence and a loving family man. Many references to the character of John Scalf Sr. can be drawn from reading his pension file but I doubt that it could ever be said that John Scalf Sr. was a man of few words, nor could he be deemed a quitter.

Quite the contrary, I imagine if John Sr. thought it, he said it. If you liked it, that was fine and if you did not, that was equally fine. I cannot imagine this man apologizing for anything he said or did that he truly felt he was right about. This statement is not made to portray John as a man who thought he was always right and everyone else was wrong. However, in my opinion, when he felt he was right he was 100% right and there was no room for doubt. He was also willing to fight to the last for his belief. John had been fighting since he joined the Continental Line in 1777 as a young boy. The battle changed as John got older, but the spirit of the young soldier remained.

It was ordered by the court in Russell County, Virginia, that the children of John be removed due to John's inability to care for them. John Sr. was very upset concerning this and brought his son, William, home the day he met him on the road in Russell County. John evidently did this without any thought or care to the consequences. The removal of his children from the home was a direct blow at John's character and something he was not about to ignore. The fact that he took his son home with him when he met him on the road that day depicts the nature of John Sr. He was ready to fight the man who had taken him as well as the court that allowed it.

I believe it can be said with some degree of confidence that John was now living in a time different from that of his earlier North Carolina years. Almost fifteen years had passed since John had left his home in North Carolina and as we well know, times do change and the process changes as well.

In the years before John made his way to Russell County, Virginia things may have been different concerning the act of apprenticeship. This procedure might have been different in North Carolina than it was in Russell County, Virginia because of the variation of the laws from state to state. Possibly, children were not apprenticed due to poverty in North Carolina. I have read accounts of apprentices in North Carolina history but it was due to the death of a parent. I have not had the opportunity to study this further and it is possible that children were apprenticed due to poverty in North Carolina, but I cannot speak with any knowledge on this matter without further research.

Whatever the case, it was short-lived and John was ready for battle. No doubt, he had no idea just how many more battles were ahead for him that would stem from this one action. I also doubt that it would have changed one thing that John Scalf Sr. did had he had the foresight to see this.

It should be noted here as well that in many instances an apprenticeship was often a legal means of obtaining free labor. Children were sometimes apprenticed to a family for free labor under the misconception that they were learning a trade and in the meantime paying for their upkeep by working long, hard hours and living with nearly none of life's necessities. In fact, in many cases they had little or no upkeep and were often abused by the family they were apprenticed to. Lack of food, clothing, heat, and bedding which were the bare necessities of life were withheld in some instances.

The apprentice might be required to sleep in whatever outbuilding the family deemed necessary and to eat only after the family had eaten if there was food left to eat. If not, a simple meal of corn mush and bread was supplied to the apprentice. Corn mush was simply ground corn cooked into a mush something similar to grits. Sometimes, water gravy would be made in place of the corn mush. Water gravy is certainly not a delicacy and not very nutritional for one working ten and twelve hour days at hard manual labor in the heat or cold. Corn mush would have been tastier but alone; it was not very nutritional for the labor of farm life.

Clothing was often no more than the clothes they wore when they arrived and more often than not, they were barefoot during all the seasons. The only time shoes were worn was when an old ragged pair was discarded by one of the family. Being barefoot during this time was of little significance as most folks were barefoot in the summer months. The one pair of shoes one owned was saved for important occasions such as church on Sunday.

However, shoes were worn in the winter when available. As my dad stated many times, shoes were saved as much as possible for the winter months when the snow was on the ground. This was in the early 1900s, so I'm it was a way of life prior to this time.

The apprentice might be up before daylight tending to the chores and often working until the last bit of light slipped into darkness with little food and little water, then back to the designated sleeping quarters at night to sleep in a haystack or whatever the building might hold for them to lay down on. Sleeping on bare floors was common. Winters can be very cold in Appalachia and was much colder during this period in time than they are now.

Not all apprentices suffered these cruelties but many did. In all fairness, I cannot say with certainty that this was the motive behind what happened to John Sr.'s sons. The fact that several families of the area held many acres of land and the records of Russell County relate that a number of poor people were apprenticed out, might suggest something more was happening. Though slavery was not as abundant in Appalachia as it was in many southern states, slavery did exist. However, free farm labor was preferred in comparison to the cost of slaves. This may, or may not have been the case in Russell County at this time.

One might also assume John knew about this and it may have been what prompted him to bring William home that day, or it may simply have been the fact that he loved his children and wanted them home as well as needing their help on the farm himself. The records do not hide the fact that John and Edy would have been considered poor dirt farmers of the time. The title, tenant farmer was most often the words of choice used in Appalachia.

With John himself being crippled, he could not physically work a farm well enough to feed such a large family. As a tenant farmer, John would have needed all the help his sons could give for as long as possible to maintain the crops. Part of being a tenant farmer meant that John shared what was produced on the farm with his landlord. This was payment for the rental of the farm. Whether John was crippled or not, he would have still needed help with this as most tenant farmers did.

This was a way of life during this time. Children worked along beside their parents on the farm as soon as they were big enough to hold a hoe or plow handle regardless of whether the man of the house was able-bodied or not. There were few lazy kids during this time. The age of a son made no difference at this time. If a son was tall enough to reach the plow handles, he was old enough to work. This equally applied to the young girls in the home. If they were big enough to reach the pots on the cook stove, they were old enough to cook.

Unfortunately, history records the deaths of many children who burned to death due to this, as well as the long dresses worn during this time. A fireplace was used for heating purposes as well as cooking and some young girls (as well as older women) were burned to death when the long skirt would catch fire from the fireplace.

It appears that John went to Floyd County, Kentucky when he left Wilkes County, North Carolina. John was in Wilkes County until around 1805 or 1806 after he was accused of stealing a hog, along with James Bougus. James immediately left the area but John remained. This might indicate that John was not guilty and James was. However, John did eventually leave and did not appear in court to satisfy this charge. For this reason, there are not enough records concerning this event to determine if John was not available to state his guilt or innocence or to explain the circumstances.

John might have been involved in this or it may have simply been a case of being in the wrong place at the right time. By today's standards, John was innocent until proven guilty and this of course, did not take place because John left. The fact that John did leave the area would cause one to wonder. His brother, William, (son of Lewis and Elizabeth) and father, Lewis, satisfied the charge. This could have been the last contact John had with his father and possibly due to this event.

The pension file of John Scalf Sr. reveals that he married Edeah (Edy) Carlile/Carlisle on February 15, 1787 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. This marriage record has not been found but this statement was made by Edy Carlisle in the pension file of John Sr. Edy was the daughter of Robert Carlile and Nancy. Nancy's maiden name is yet unknown. It is evident from the will of Robert Carlile that this was a second marriage for Nancy as Robert stated in his will I give to my wife's Daughter one feather bed and furniture.

I have not found the marriage record of Robert Carlile and his wife, Nancy, and therefore, it is difficult to determine if Nancy was actually the mother of Edy Carlisle and her siblings even though it is possible that she was. It appears that this Robert Carlile/Carlisle was the grandson of William Carlile (will of 1769) and his wife, Sarah (__) Bell Carlile.

The will of William Carlile (will of 1769) and another Robert Carlile (will of 1786) of Edgecombe County indicates that this Robert Carlile was the son of William and Sarah (__) Bell Carlile. William (will of 1769) only named two children in his will. The two children named were Robert and William Carlile. This Robert died and left his will in 1786, not to be confused with the Robert Carlile who was the father of Edy Carlisle Scalf. Edy's father Robert, died in 1815.

Our Robert Carlile (father of Edeah) made his will in 1808 and the will was probated in 1815 so these two Robert's are not the same person. If William and Sarah had daughters they were not mentioned in the will of William Carlile. (Will of William. Carlile 1769)

This older William died shortly after his will was made in 1769 for his will was probated in the May court of 1769 in Edgecombe County. His wife, Sarah, had previously been married to a Bell so her maiden name is also unknown. Sarah also made her will on July 13, 1772 and the will was probated in the January Court of 1776. Sarah names her children by both husbands in this will. The two Carlile children named were William and Robert Carlile. These children appear to be the same children named in her husband's will of 1769. The other boys named in Sarah's will were William, Richard, and Joseph Bell. Her daughters were named as Elizabeth Bradley and Sarah Baldwin.

It is interesting to note that another daughter is named in the will of Sarah Carlile as Milla Carlile and apparently this daughter was handicapped and possibly had to be cared for. This daughter was not mentioned in the will of Sarah's husband William in 1769 even though this daughter carried the name of Carlile. Sarah stated in her will the following sentence:

I lend to my Daughter Milla Carlile one feather Bed during her life & after her Death to the person that has the Trouble of her. (Will of Sarah Carlile, 1772)

This indicates that Milla (most likely Millie) may have been handicapped in some way. I doubt the will would have been worded this way if Milla were simply under age. I have no way of knowing the ages of William and Sarah without further research but it is doubtful they were young enough to have minor children when they made these wills. This is also a good indication that the two married daughters in the will of Sarah were her daughters by her first husband since they were not mentioned in William's will. According to this will, only two sons would have been the sons of William Carlile and they were Robert and William

It might appear unusual that William would not have made provisions for this daughter in this will, had she been his daughter, but the will states her surname as Carlile. By this we can conclude that William left this chore to his wife Sarah. It is evident that William would soon die by the dating of the will. In this case, it would be understandable for him not to include his handicapped daughter. His wife most likely would have been left this responsibility. These were different times than we live in today.

In studying the old wills of the colonial period, it appears that grudges were sometimes held against a spouse because of a handicapped child. The responsibility of the child was then left to the surviving spouse. At least, some of the earlier wills reflect this. We have no way of knowing what took place concerning this and we can only speculate. However, due to the information, it appears that this daughter was handicapped and was the daughter of William and Sarah Carlile until further research proves otherwise.

Daughters were not greatly considered at the making of one's will during this time, as it was believed that the daughter would be the responsibility of a future husband. Money was generally given or personal family items as part of her marriage dower. In the case of a handicapped daughter, the mother would be responsible for her maintenance when known that the mother would still be living at the death of the father and would be expected to provide for her at her death with the provisions left to the widow by her husband. This was a common practice but did not necessarily mean that everyone followed this practice. I'm sure, if Sarah had died before William, the will would have been worded differently concerning Milla.

In all probability, Milla was a daughter of William and Sarah and William had left her care to his wife, Sarah. The timing of this will and the death of William is certainly an indication that William knew he would soon die. Apparently, William was very ill at this time.

Robert Carlile, who died in 1786, did not mention a son Robert in his will and therefore, was not the father of Robert Carlile who married Nancy (parents of Edy Carlile/Carlisle). However, he did have a brother William who was most likely the father of our Robert Carlisle/Carlile. I find no will for this William at this point. Edy Carlile was most likely the granddaughter of William Carlile and Sarah (___) Bell Carlile by their son, William Carlile (wife unknown). For identification purposes, the Williams and Roberts will be listed as Robert (I), Robert (II), William (I), and William (II).

Robert Carlile (Robert I) who left his will in 1786 married Sarah Coleman February 5, 1763 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. (Marriages of Edgecombe Co. NC)

This marriage record can also be viewed at the following URL address.

According to the will of this Robert Carlile, the children of this union were; Susanna, Mary Ann, Sarah, Rhoda, Coleman, Simon and Edwin. There is no mention of a son, Robert, in this will. There appears to be confusion among the Carlile descendants as to the correct name of Edwin Carlile. Some suspect it was Edmund and some suspect it was Edward. However, it appears to be Edwin in my interpretation of this will.

According to the customs of the time, the old English rule was oldest son inherits all and was normally appointed Executor of the Estate and William (I) followed this rule in his will. His son Robert (I) inherited the plantation and was named Executor of the Estate indicating that he was the oldest son. His brother William (II) inherited half of the remainder of the estate.

Robert (I) (son of William and Sarah) did not follow this rule, however. He leaves his estate after the death or marriage of his wife to his two sons; Simon and Edwin, indicating that Simon was either the oldest or that Simon and Edwin were twins. The old wills generally named the children in the order of birth. This was not always the case, but for the most part, this was generally practiced.

Robert's son, Coleman, inherited 56 acres and a debt owed to his father, which indicates he was certainly the youngest son. I believe this Robert Carlile to have been the uncle of Edy Carlile and the brother of William II. (Will of Robert Carlile 1786) (Page 2 of Will)

Robert Carlile (II) (father of Edeah) made his will September 27, 1808 and the will was probated in the February Court of 1815. Will Book E. page 81. This Robert Carlile was the father of Edea (Edy) Carlile Scalf for in this will we find Edy listed as Edea Scalf.

(Will of Robert Carlile-1808) (Page 2)(Page 3)

In the Abstract of Wills of Edgecombe County, North Carolina by Williams - SCALF is spelled SEALF. However, this was a typical mistake in interpreting the early writings. Will Abstracts are transcribed copies of wills with the important information transcribed from the original will.

In the original copy of the will the (c) does appear to be (e) but this was most likely due to the old writing style that caused this error. The transcriber for the Abstracts interpreted this to be an (e). The quill pens caused many strokes that were not intended and the writing was different then than now. Also, note the tail on the (s) in the name Joseph Carlile. The (s) will always have the appearance of an (f). This is another example of the old writings.

In the will abstract, it also lists the name Polly Bellflower as a daughter of this Robert Carlile. In a copy of the original will obtained from the Raleigh, North Carolina Archives, I do not find the name, Polly Bellflower. However, there are a couple of white (blank) spaces in this certified copy that could obscure this name.

I have studied these spaces with a magnifying glass and in every position possible because writing can be seen through these spaces; however, I only find the name Edea Scalf listed in this space below her brother, John. The name, Polly Bellflower, may be somewhere in this space but if so, it is not distinguishable in this copy. (Will Abstract-Robert Carlile 1815)

Robert Carlile II (father of Edy) left all of his children five schillings each with the exception of Liddy. Liddy (probably Lydia) received five pounds because she was the youngest daughter and unmarried at this time. Joseph and Cary inherited the land and plantation and all residue that had not been given away after the death or marriage of his wife to be equally divided between them. This might suggest these two were twins. Even so, the son born first would generally have received the plantation. It may simply have been that Robert wanted his two oldest sons to share the majority of his possessions. The fact that Robert and Clark received only five shillings suggests they were the youngest sons.

Two of John and Edy's daughters carried the namesakes of two of Edy's. Three daughters, if there actually was a Polly Bellflower in this will. Maybe someone has a copy that does not have these blank spaces in it and the name does appear. John and Edy named a daughter Lydia, one Nancy and one was named Polly. John Sr. and Edy also named sons; Robert and John but John Jr. most likely carried his father's namesake.

The children named in this will were; Rebecca Jackson; Liddy Carlile; Nancy Riley; John Carlile; (possibly Polly Bellflower); Edea Scalf; Clark; Robert; Joseph, and Cary Carlile.

There is an abstract for the will of a Cary Carlile/Carlisle August 22, 1831 but no probate date is given. I do not have a copy of the original will for this and only have the abstract. According to this abstract, it appears that Cary did not marry, or if he did, his wife had died and he had no children for he left everything to his mother, Nancy, and then to his sister Martha Carlisle. The will also suggests this may not be the same Cary Carlile, brother of Edy because there was no Martha Carlile listed in Edy's father's will.

The alternative to this is either Nancy had another child after the death of Robert or Martha may have been Liddy Martha or vice-versa since this sister appears to have been unmarried at this time. This would not have been the Polly mentioned above for she was named as Polly Bellflower (Abstract of will-Cary Carlisle 1831)

During the 1990s, a close cousin, Mary Scalf Kilgore, mad. a trip to England with a friend who was a native of England. Mary brought a Tartan history of the Bruix/Bruce family back as a gift to me. I have been told that the Isobel mentioned in this Tartan was from Castle Carlisle along the border of Scotland and England; hence, the Carlisle/Bruce connection. I cannot say this is fact for I have no reference to this. I only have the name Isobel listed in the Tartan history and the statement of an avid researcher of European history.

What is known of the ancestry of the Carlile/Carlisle family is that the name is a very old English/Scottish name. The Carlisle/Carlile family is one of a select few families who are accepted into the Bruce Society due to their marital connections with the Bruix/Bruce family. Exactly where the marital connections began is unknown to me at this time. The following brief history is listed in part from the Tartan.

Robert de Bruix came to England about 1066 and held land at Yorkshire. Robert de Bruix had son, Robert who later was granted Lordship of Annandale. Robert, the 4th Lord married Isobel, co-heiress of David, grandson of David I, Earl of Huntington and their son Robert Bruce, The Competitor, was grandfather of King Robert I (Bruce), 1274 - 1329. (Clan Tartan History)

It is from King Robert that Edwin O. Scalf, another Kentucky cousin (now deceased) believed Edy Carlisle descended and was able to prove the lineage to join the Bruce Society. From the appearance of the papers sent to me, Edwin was a member of the Bruce Society at his death. I have a copy of his membership card sent to me by another researcher in Oregon during my earlier research. Edwin stated on some of these papers that Edy was a distant relative to the Queen of England and a direct descendant of Robert de Bruix (Bruce). However, Edwin did not elaborate on how this connection was made.

Whether Edy was a direct descendant of King Robert or not, she was certainly not living a royal life. John and Edy's first child, Polly, was born March 27, 1788 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. The next child, was born April 29, 1789 in Edgecombe County. These birth dates were gleaned from Edy's statements in the pension file. These children were the only two children Edy gave information on. Previous writings suggest that Nancy was the second child born after Polly and John Jr. was then born in 1790.

The birth of the next child, John Jr., was estimated around 1790-1791. Between 1790 and 1798, John and Edy moved over to Surry County, North Carolina where they are found in the 1798 tax list and again on the 1800 census. Surry was formed in 1770 from Rowan County and lies in the northwestern part of the state where it borders the Virginia line.

Between 1800 and 1806, John was living in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Wilkes was created from Surry County in 1777 and lies in the northwestern part of the state on the Virginia line. John most likely had not moved far from the area in Surry where he previously lived in 1798 or he may not have moved at all and only the county line changed. John is found charged in Wilkes County with the theft of a light blue hog on January 1, 1805. An excerpt concerning this incident is presented from Chapter IV of Chronicles of the Scalf Family.

On January 1, 1805 according to a sworn statement by Peggy Love, resident of Wilkes County, North Carolina, John Scalf and James Bougus with force and arms stole one large, light-blue, castrated hog commonly called a barrow of twelve pence value. Peggy Love took the case to court and presented as her witnesses Benjamin Parks, Reuben Parks and Robert Martin. James Bougus fled the county, however, John remained for a while and was scheduled to stand trial for the alleged theft. William, John's brother, went on his bond for $40 to guarantee John's appearance in court; however, John also saw fit to leave Wilkes County. William stayed on, went to court and straightened things out.

Judgment was made against John and both he and William were summoned to court in 1806 to forfeit the original bond. In 1807 Lewis Scalf apparently picked up the bond. A horse, cow and another item or two were confiscated from John in 1805 after which he disappeared from the area. A notation on the judgment for William indicated that nothing of value was found of his. The case was continued against Lewis in an attempt to collect the rest of the 40 dollars and this went on until 1813-1814 when the court in Surry County where Lewis had gone back to live finally sought to, sell 50 acres, which Lewis had sold earlier to one Andrew Pruitt. It was about this time that John's sister, Sarah Scalf, was charged for the murder of her infant child and brought to court in Surry County. (Chapter IV Chronicles of the Scalf Family).

This is presented in place of the original document. Due to various moves in the past, some of my original documents have been misplaced. When these are found, they will be posted as well. This appears to be an accurate account of the records I have read concerning this event, however.

By this time, John and Edy's family had grown. Apparently, John went to Floyd County, Kentucky sometime around 1806. A John Scalf shows up in Floyd County, Kentucky on the 1810 census but the ages of the children do not match the assumed ages given of John's children in previous writings. This could be an error on the census however, or an error in the proper placement of the children of John and Edy previously.

Reviewing the 1810 Floyd County, Kentucky census, there is a John Scalf listed as head of house. This is a transcribed copy of the 1810 Floyd County, Kentucky census so please keep this in mind. The original document of a transcribed copy should always be checked for accuracy.

Floyd Co., KY 1810 Census

SCALF, John head of house         . Estimated Birth Dates

three males under 10 years of age          . (1800-1810)

One male between 26 and 45 years of age      . (1765-1784)

Three females under 10 years of age         . (1800-1810)

Two females between 16 and 26 years of age    . (1784-1794)

One female between 26 and 45 years of age.     . (1765-1784)

As can be seen above, there were three males and three females under the age of ten. John and Edy married in 1787, their first daughter was born in 1788, and another in 1789 according to the pension file of John Scalf Sr. These girls would have been 22 and 21 years of age respectively by 1810. Two females born 1784-1794 are most likely Nancy and Polly and this does correlate with what was stated by Edy in the pension papers.

John Jr. was allegedly born around 1790-1791 but there is no male near this age on this census. A son, William was born 1795 and died young; Brittan was born 1799; Dicy was born 1800; Lydia was born 1804 and another William born 1806, Berryman was born 1809 and Lee was born 1810 according to the previous writings.

Previous writings indicate there were four females and six males all born before or by 1810, which totals ten children. The above census shows five females and three males if the census is correct which totals eight children by 1810. If John and Edy had ten children by 1810, then two of them are missing on this census. One is probably John Jr. and the other, the first William that died. Since there are only eight children here, William had probably died by this time and John Jr. was working away from home.

We have no way of knowing just how young the first William may have been when he died and he had probably died before this census. If so, then there would have been four males and five females living by 1810. Information from the pension file indicates that Cecelia (aka Sela/Celia) was actually born much sooner than listed in the previous writings. She may possibly be one of the females listed here as being born 1800-1810. The listing in previous works was most likely her marriage date. Information from the pension file suggests she married around 1823. This census could account for Nancy, Polly, Dicy, Lydia and either Betsy or Cecilia as the female children born to John and Edy by 1810.

If John Jr. was the oldest son and born 1791 according to previous writings then he is not listed here on this census. He should have been around 19 years old at this time. He may have already married but even that is questionable for his wife, Patsy Counts, expressed in her deposition in 1845 that she had known the Scalf family for about twenty-five years so John and Patsy most likely married around 1820-1825. When the years are subtracted, this gives a marriage date of 1820 for John Jr. and Patsy Counts. Had John Jr. and Patsy married 1800-1810, he would have been in Russell County and listed on the tax records of 1810 and I do not find him there nor have I found him as head of house in Kentucky in 1810.

The only alternative that comes to mind concerning this is John Jr. was likely working on a nearby farm or possibly at the Salt Mines in Clay County and was not counted on this census. He was certainly old enough now to have left the nest and may have worked out somewhere to help the family. As will be noted later on the Russell County court records, John was employed as a laborer in Russell County. He was most likely on a nearby farm in Kentucky, and possibly enumerated in the home of a neighbor in 1810.

The accuracy of this census is questionable as well since it is a transcribed copy. I know of no other John Scalf that fits this age and none that would have been in Kentucky this early. The 1810 tax list of Russell County, Virginia does not show that a Scalf family was living there in 1810.

If this is John Sr., on this census, then John had fled North Carolina only to find more trouble for himself in Kentucky.

The Floyd County Court Minutes indicate that a John Scalf was detained in the Prestonsburg jail but the charges have not been located. This can be found in the Scalf Family History as well as Chronicles of the Scalf Family. I have also read this account in the records but as Henry and Elmer, I did not found a record of the charges. John apparently broke jail and took the leg irons with him. We most likely will never know the details of this or even if this was John Sr. or not. This record was not copied on my visit to Kentucky.

It is noted in the writings of Henry Scalf (Chronicles of the Scalf Family) that John was very outspoken and easily provoked about his enemies, the Tories. It is possible that this was the cause of John's trouble in Kentucky. It is stated in Chronicles of the Scalf Family that John had been in a fight with a man named Guinn and had cut him seriously. An excerpt from Chronicles of the Scalf Family relates the following:

It was while residing in Floyd County, Kentucky, that his propensity for trouble landed him in irons in the Prestonsburg jail. We have no record of the charge other than an oral tradition related by Hezekiah Scalf, a grandson, that he had a fight with one of the McGuires and cut him seriously with a knife. Whether it was the condition of the jail, which was admittedly bad, or the seriousness of the offense that required irons, we do not know. We are indebted to a few laconic court orders for all we know.

John was not to be held for very long in the Prestonsburg jail and by the November court term, John escaped and left Floyd County, Kentucky taking the irons with him and shedding them along the way. Most likely, John shed these irons not very far from the jail for the old Floyd County court order book records that Robert Haws was allowed $1.50 for breaking handcuffs and mending fetters. This indicates that they were found and the handcuffs were still locked together but the leg irons had been damaged in the removal.

No doubt, John Sr. and his family made their way across the Mountain from Floyd County, Kentucky into Virginia. It is interesting to note that Pike County Kentucky, home of the McCoy family from the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud was taken from a part of Floyd County, Kentucky in 1821. It is also interesting to note that Patsy Counts Scalf, daughter-in-law of John Scalf Sr., was probably a relative of some of the Counts family who lived in the area of Matewan, West Virginia, home of the Hatfield family of this feud. Kentucky and West Virginia border each other in the Tug Valley area.

John Sr. may have used the same route used by Daniel Boone during his trips from Russell County, Virginia to Kentucky many years before. History records the journeys from Russell County to the Big Sandy made by Daniel and various others. Clay County, Kentucky, where John returned later to work in the Salt Mines, had been formed in 1807 from parts of Floyd, Madison and Knox Counties.

Many trips across the Mountain from Virginia to Kentucky were made during the early days. This was an old Indian Path used by the Indian's during their winter hunts and used by the long-hunters before the first white man ever settled in the area. Bushwhackers were numerous along this route as well.

Confederate and Union deserters of the Civil War were also known to use this route during the war. This route has witnessed many different eras in time and the stories that could be told are far more numerous than we could possibly digest, if a mountain could speak.

The Struggle in Russell County, Virginia

It was a relatively short distance across the mountain to Russell County, Virginia where John Sr. and his family settled for an undetermined amount of time. It is indicated in the pension file that John may have lived in Kentucky at two separate times. However, some statements concerning this are unclear. A friend, James Burke, Esquire, from Clay County, Kentucky gave his deposition in Rogersville, Tennessee in support for the restoration of John's pension. James stated that he had become acquainted with John in Clay County, Kentucky and had known him for about twelve years. This places John in Clay County, Kentucky around 1825, which would have been after the move to Russell County, Virginia and after his children were apprenticed by the court of Russell County in 1820. (James Burke-1837 statement)

It appears that John might have left Russell County 1820 - 1828 and moved to Clay County, Kentucky and back again to Russell County. However, no record has confirmed this, other than the statement of James Burke. The records of Russell County, Virginia do not indicate that John Sr. was actually living in Russell County between 1820 and 1830. John may or may not have been a resident of Russell County at the time his son, John Jr., was charged with passing a counterfeit coin in 1828.

The records indicate that John might have been living in Russell County around 1834 for the Russell County Court Minutes reveal that John sold property in Russell County before moving to Hawkins County. Although this record does indicate that John was living in Russell County, it does not mean necessarily mean that he was. One of his sons might have been living on the land John owned while John was living somewhere else. This is doubtful but possible. John and Edy were generally found living near their oldest son, John Jr. and John Jr. was living in Russell County at this time. Unless John and Edy were living elsewhere with a married daughter, they most likely were living in Russell as well.

John Sr. first appears in Russell County, Virginia on the 1820 Russell County census. The date this census was enumerated is not known but the records of the Russell County Court Minutes reveal that John was in Russell County by August 3, 1820 and living as a tenant farmer on the land of the Gose family. No doubt, John had arrived in Russell sometime between 1810-1820 if he was the John Scalf detained in the Prestonsburg jail in Floyd County, Kentucky.

The statement of Patsy Counts Scalf in her deposition in Hawkins County also places John in Russell County between 1820 and 1825. Although John may have gone directly to Russell County from Floyd County, Kentucky, it is possible he went to the newly formed Scott County, Virginia area before moving on into Russell County.

Legend suggests that his son, Berryman, was born at Copper Creek Community, which is in Scott County, Virginia and this could very well be true. John and his family may have gone to Scott County first before moving on up to Russell County when they left Floyd County, Kentucky. However, this is only speculation.

The winding mountain roads can be traveled from Copper Creek in Scott County to Russell County in a short time and the fact that Berryman moved to Copper Creek shortly before his wife, Rebecca, died might indicate that Berryman possibly had been in this area previously. The family knows of no reason Berryman would have chosen to move to Copper Creek since there is no record or indication that he knew anyone or was related to anyone in this community.

A study of the Russell County records does reveal that Berryman knew a number of folks living in the Copper Creek Community that had previously been neighbors in Russell County. Berryman married the widow, Margaret Fields Gilliam, after the death of Rebecca. Margaret and her family were living in the Copper Creek Community when Rebecca died. The records relate that Margaret's father had been a neighbor in Russell County, Virginia as well as a few other folks in the Copper Creek Community in 1870.

One needs no particular reason for moving and it is likely that Berryman made this choice due to a good land prospect or the fact that his occupation may have been in demand in this area. We have no way of knowing the reasons for this move and much speculation can be conjectured concerning this. The records are limited in confirming anything definite concerning this aspect of his life.

Scott County would have been an ideal area for John Sr. to be near his children in Russell and his children in Hawkins County. If land deeds exist for John Sr. in Scott County, I have not found them. He was possibly living as a tenant farmer in Scott County as he had in Russell County. If so, there would be no land records or any other type of record unless there was a birth or death recorded and I find no evidence of any of these things in the Scott County records. The court minutes of Scott County also reveal no indications of John Sr. having been in the area but this is of little significance due to the fact that John was a tenant farmer and owned no land at this time. There were no laws requiring the documentation of a birth or death during this time either. We are very fortunate to find these types of records for these periods.

This is also speculation presented only to enlighten those who are not familiar with this particular area and inform them of the possibilities of where John might have been. There are a number of possibilities concerning where John might have been when not in Russell County and they are not limited to the surrounding counties of Russell. Tennessee is nearby as well as Kentucky. John could have just as easily been in one of these neighboring states due to their locations.

The 1820 Russell County, Virginia census provides a closer estimation of the ages of the John Sr.'s family.

1820 Russell County, Virginia

Scalf, John 152-A


Estimated birth

5 males 1810 - 1815
2 males 10 - 16 1804 - 1810
1 male 16 - 18 1802 - 1804
2 males 18 - 26 1794 - 1802-(count only one male here)
1 male 45 - up 1775 - or before
2 females 16 - 26 1794 - 1804
1 female 45 - up 1775 - or before

One of the males age 18-26 is probably Brittan (spelled Britain on some records) and the other is John Jr. John Jr. is not found as head of house in 1820 in Russell County so he is probably the other male in the 18-26 age range. One male in the 16-18 age range is also included again in the age range of 18-26. This is how the 1820 census of at least this area was enumerated.

The 1820 census of Russell County (possibly others) is different than any other census. The person listed in the 16-18 year range was counted twice if old enough to be counted in the 18-26 age range as well. When reading this census, this should be remembered. If you have more children than was known to have existed in the family, this could be the reason.

The 1820 census is very valuable in estimating the age of those listed in this category. Due to this type of enumeration, we know that Brittan was seventeen or eighteen years old in 1820 because he is listed twice on this census if he was the son born after John Jr. and if Edy remembered his age correctly. This calculates a birth year for Brittan of 1803 instead of 1799 but allowing for the two or three years that Edy may have been off on the age, it is still possible he was born in 1799.

This census indicates that John Jr. was older than eighteen and John Jr. is believed to have been the first son born. Again, this suggests that John Jr. was born later than 1790 and according to this census, would have born around 1794 - 1802. If John Jr. was born after 1790, then he would not be the male in the home of Lewis Scalf on the 1790 census of North Carolina. If John Jr. was not the son in the home of his grandfather, Lewis Scalf, in 1790 as previously discussed, then this leaves us with the assumption that Lewis and Elizabeth had three sons by the time of the 1790 census.

The females of these same years (1820) could have been either one of the daughters of John, other than Nancy and Polly. It is specifically stated in the pension papers that they were the oldest children. The five males 5-10 could have been Lee, Ira, Jesse, Peter and Robert. The two males 10-16 were probably William (No.2) and Berryman. Of course, John Sr. would be the male 45 and up and Edy would be the female 45 and up.

This accounts for all of the children with the exception of Nancy and Polly, some of their sisters, and the first William who is said to have died young. It would be difficult to determine which of the girls had actually married at this time without other records. However, if the girls were not married, they were most likely living in the home of someone else on this census. These girls may have married by this time and were in their own homes. Since there is nothing to accurately confirm the order of birth or a marriage date for the girls, this is only speculation.

In 1810, John had three boys in the home. John Jr. could have possibly been working on a nearby farm. In 1820, John Sr. had nine boys and two girls in the home. Possibly, our Kentucky cousins will find information in their search to confirm that John Jr. was working nearby and inform us of this.   .

Deducting for William (No.1) who had died, Nancy, Polly, Dicy and possibly Betsy who may have married by 1820, there would be sixteen children total. According to the 1820 census, all of John and Edy's children were born by 1815. If one counts from the year 1787 to 1815, Edy probably had children every other year beginning with the two documented birth dates of 1788 and 1789.

At some point, Edy probably had children in three or possibly four consecutive years, either at the beginning of her family or at sometime during her childbearing years. This was most likely during the beginning of her family due to the timing of Nancy and Polly's births in March of 1788 and April of 1789. Due to their birth dates, it would have been possible for the next child to be born in 1790.

However, as stated before, one cannot rely on the census records to be accurate concerning ages. We can rest assured that all the children of this family were born before 1820 due to the record in this year concerning the removal of the minor children from the home, for these children were named in the court records of 1820.

In her statement, Edy states in one deposition that Polly was her oldest child and was born March 27, 1788. In another statement, Edy states that Nancy was born March 27, 1788 and Polly was born April 1789. Edy was getting on in years when these statements were made. This is discussed further on and the document will be posted for reference. According to the 1820 census of Russell County, Virginia, John would have been born later than 1790. This creates difficulty in pinpointing the exact birth year of John Jr.

Although I doubt that any of the youngest children were born much later than 1815, it is possible that the last child was born 1816 or 1817 and the ages were stated wrong in 1820. The 1820 census of Russell does not suggest that any females were born after 1804 but Betsy is listed in previous writings as being born 1816 and Cecilia in 1823. According to the statement of Thomas Lockard in Hawkins County, Cecilia was probably born earlier than 1823. However, it is difficult to determine when Betsy might have been born. In Patsy Scalf's deposition in Hawkins County, Betsy only had one child by 1845, which suggests she did not marry until 1840-1845 unless children had died.

The records of Russell County, Virginia begin to give us more insight into the life of the Scalf family. On August 3, 1820, the court of Russell County, Virginia records the following on page 258 of the August 1820 term:

August 3, 1820 page 258

Present John Hamon, Absent John Smyth gent.

On report of John Smyth an Overseer of the poor in the County of Russell it is ordered that William, Berry, Ira, Lea, Peter and Jesse & Robert children of John Scalf who is unable to support his said children and bring them up in honest causes be bound out to some fit persons as apprentices. (Court minutes of Russell County - August 3, 1820)

This is transcribed exactly as it was written with the limitations of the keyboard. The keyboard does not have the capability to reproduce the symbol used that represents (&). The (V) is substituted because it is closer to the letter used in the old writings.

This record is a very good indication of which boys were the youngest. These boys would have been minors at this time in order to be apprenticed. It is evident by this record that all the sons of John Sr. were born by 1820. This also confirms that John Jr., and Brittan were the two boys over, or near eighteen years of age in 1820 and most likely, Brittan was now eighteen years old. William (No.2) was under 18 years old at this time for he was apprenticed and would have been a minor. It is difficult to estimate just how much younger than Brittan, William may have been.

It is possible that the boys were listed in the order of their respective ages since the old documents have often revealed this to have been practiced during the early days. Robert was probably no more than three years old at this time and five years old at the most. In estimation, I would assume William to have been at least fourteen or sixteen years old at this time.

In the early writings of the Counts Family History there was a mixture of marriages among the Counts family members and the Longs, Goses, Smyths/Smiths and Hamons/Hammonds of Russell County, just to mention a few. This court order was probably the beginnings of the troubles between the relatives of Patsy Counts Scalf and the Scalf family.

Just two short months to the day, the court of Russell County enters another record.

October 3, 1820 page 274

At a Court called and held by the justices of Russell County at the Courthouse on Tuesday the 3rd day of October 1820 for the examination of John Scalf charged with a felony by taking from the possession of Stephen Gose his son William Scalf bound to the said Gose by one of the overseers of the poor as an apprentice.


Present, John Tate, James Browning, James Dickenson, Saml Aston and Nathan Hamilton, gentlemen justices . The prisoner being brought into court, and it appearing that the charge against him does not constitute a felony, it is considered by the court, that the said John Scalf be discharged from his imprisonment, and go thereof without further prosecution.               

                          . John Tate
(Russell County Court Minutes, Oct. 3, 1820, pg. 274)

William had spent a short time with the Stephen Gose family until John took him home when he met them on the road in Russell County. This suggests that John either did not realize he would be charged with this action, or he did not care. Whichever the case, John brought his son home and was probably ready to fight to accomplish this. It is possible that he did have an encounter with Gose or Smyth according to the way the next court record reads.

No records exist to suggest whether the other children were actually removed or to what family, but if they were, most likely they returned home as well, for John Sr. apparently had a strong argument at the Courthouse that day in Russell with John Smyth or there was trouble on the road when John took his son, William. There is little doubt that John probably threatened Smyth at the courthouse that day in Russell County for the Russell County records record the following:

October 3, 1820 page 278

For reasons appearing to the Court, on the complaint of John Smyth junior, it is ordered that John Scalf who is in Court be required to enter into recognizance for keeping the peace towards the said John Smith for the term of twelve months, himself in the sum of $50.00 with two securities in the sum of $25.00 each; whereupon the said John Scalf with David McClenahen and John Counts senr his securities here in Court, acknowledge themselves, indebted to Thomas (m)? Randolph esquire governor or chief magistrate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the said John Scalf in the sum of fifty dollars and the said David McClenahen and John Counts senr. In the sum of $25.00 each, of their respective lands and tenements goods and chattels to be levied, and to the said Governor and his successor for the use of the Commonwealth to be rendered; Yet, upon condition that if the said John Scalf shall keep the peace & be of good behavior towards all the Citizens of the Commonwealth and especially towards the said John Smith for the term of 12 mo. As aforesaid, then this recognizance is to be void. (Russell County Court Minutes, Oct. 3, 1820, pg. 278)

No doubt, this was a difficult task for John Sr. However, John managed to make good his promise to the court and eight years passed without incident for John. At least, none were recorded. It is during this time that I believe John Sr. made a trip back to Clay County, Kentucky to work in the Goose Creek Salt Mines. There is no way of knowing if John moved his family to Kentucky again or if John possibly went alone as this would have been between the census years.

John states in his pension file that he lived for six years in Russell County, Virginia in one document but in another he stated ten years. This was likely due to his age and memory loss. We have no way of knowing when these years began or when they ended. There are no records in Russell to suggest that John was living in Russell after this court action and the records do not reveal the exact time John arrived in Russell County. The year 1820 is the first recorded reference of the Scalf family in Russell County but it is likely they were either in Russell or some other county of Kentucky before this. If John fled the confinements of jail in Floyd County, Kentucky, he had to go somewhere else.

John may have stayed in Russell County from 1820 through 1826 trying to get the other children back if they had been removed. Possibly, he went to Clay County to work for the money to acquire help to get his children back, or the children may have never been removed. We have no way of knowing but the lack of records also suggest that these other children were never removed from the home.

One might assume if they had been, John would not have given by simply taking William and leaving the others. Although John may have kept the peace with John Smith for the year ordered, I doubt he would have been able to keep it after the bond had expired. John's personality is not reflected to me as one that would have simply given up on this matter. I also suspect he may have left Russell County in order to keep the peace between himself and Smyth. .

With the assumption that at least Nancy and Polly married by 1820, it would be logical to assume that John was in Russell County before 1820 because these girls do not appear to be in the home on the 1820 Russell census. A check of the area reveals that the Williams Family, the Trent family, and Collins family were in the Russell County area before 1820. The patriarch of the Williams family appears to have been Aldain Williams who is found on the tax lists of Russell County. Aldain was alternately listed in the tax records as both Williams and Williamson but was most likely Williams.

The Trent family appears in Russell County as early as 1792 with John Trent being the first found on the 1792 land tax list of Russell owning 200 acres. By 1797 an Alexander Trent is listed on the personal property tax list. It is unknown with any certainty which Alexander this may have been since there are a number of Alexander Trents. If this Alexander was the Revolutionary Soldier, he would have been around twenty-nine years older than Polly. Polly's husband was possibly the son of one of these men from the tax list. With the help of a Trent family descendant, the Revolutionary Alexander was ruled out as her husband due to the following information.

This is probably the Revolutionary Alexander who was born 29 March 1759 in Chesterfield County, VA. This Alexander married at least twice but his first wife is unknown. Alexander married Jane Burton sometime around 1792. They were married by a Baptist minister, Rev. Vincent Jones. Alexander and Jane moved to TN where he died in Hawkins Co, 17 May 1841. (Ref: Barbara Marsh, Trent descendant/researcher).

The pension file of John Sr. reveals that Polly's husband was living in 1845.

The Collins family was in Russell County as early as 1820 where a Sarah Collins is found as head of house and in the home is an elderly man, which was probably her father or father-in-law. Isaac Collens (Collins) was found as head of house on this census and a Martin Collens (Collins) is listed as head of house as well. Marten is listed as being 26-45 as well as his wife. No children are in the home.

Isaac is listed as being over 45 and his wife is over 26-45 years old. This age range could possibly fit the age of Nancy Scalf. There are four girls under 10 and a boy under 10. This would suggest that Isaac was born 1775 or before and Martin Collens (Collins) could have possibly been a son or a younger brother. These families might prove to be a good avenue of research for the descendants of Nancy and Betsy Scalf Collins. There are young children in the home of Sarah Collins on this census. No other Collins/Collins families are found in the Russell County census of 1820. (>

In 1830, a John and Isaac Collins show up as head of house. Isaac is most likely the Isaac Collens listed on the 1820 census due to his age. His wife is listed as 30-40 and Isaac is listed as 60-70. The age of his wife would fit near enough to the age of Nancy Scalf given the variance of the time they were usually off on their ages. Sally Collins is also listed as head of house. Sally is most likely the Sarah (head of house) from the 1820 census. (

By 1840, the heads of house are Burgess, Edward, Sarah and Amy Collins. (

Nancy might also have met her husband in Floyd County, Kentucky and remained there, not moving with the family to Russell. This could be said of either of the oldest girls that are not shown on the 1820 census, but it is likely that Dicy and Polly married in Russell County. Betsy may have married after leaving Russell for Hawkins County, Tennessee. The girls not listed on the 1820 census could also have been living in another home as housekeepers. This was common for the time as well.

It is likely that Dicy married in Russell County for she and her husband can be found on the 1830 census of Russell County. This census reveals a birth date for Dicy of around 1800-1810. Whether this is accurate or not is questionable. It would seem logical that these girls married someone from their neighborhood as most folks did during this time. I find no other Squire Williams in the area and this is the name given in the pension files of John Sr. as the husband of Dicy Scalf; therefore, I am assuming this is the same family in Russell County, Virginia. (

The Lockhard/Lockhart family is first found in Russell County in 1793 where a William Lockhart is listed on the 1793 tax list of Russell County, Virginia. William owned 306 acres of an original grant to William Fletcher. William remains on the tax lists until at least, 1796. On the 1830 census of this county, a John, William, James and Bird Lockheart appear as heads of house. In 1840, only James, John, and William are found. A Dicy Lockheart is also head of house on this census and was probably the widow of Bird Lockheart since Bird is missing from this census.

In all probability, the Scalf girls met and married their husbands in Russell County, Virginia with the exception of Lydia Scalf Painter. The Painter/Panter/Paynter family appears to have largely settled in and around the Greene/Washington County, Tennessee area but I have not researched this thoroughly enough to know which earlier route may have brought them to these areas. The New River Valley was a common route of the early pioneer families and many who are found in Washington County, Virginia can be found later in Washington County, Tennessee as well as the Russell County, Virginia area.

Quite possibly, they were in Washington County, Virginia before Russell County was established and later moved just over the state line to Washington County, Tennessee. Lydia may have met her husband while living with the Berryman Scalf family or while visiting them. The Painter history is quite interesting and will be discussed in another chapter. A search of the Floyd, Clay, Knox, and Perry County areas might prove valuable in determining whether Nancy and Betsy might have married in Kentucky or not.

In Russell County, Virginia, on March 4, 1828, a fight took place between Brittan Scalf and John Long. It is unknown what this fight was about but was most likely concerning the problems John Sr.'s family had been having. This is picked up in the second paragraph of the charges presented to the grand jury in 1828 and goes into the last paragraph of this page.

March 4, 1828 page 1- 2

They also presented John Long and Britain Scalf for an assault; and then the grand jury having nothing further to present, was discharged.

John Long & Britain Scalf who stand, presented by the Grand Jury for an assault committed on each other the said John Long in his proper person & the said Britain Scalf by Jeremiah Couch came into Court and by consent of the Court confessed judgments for a fine, each of one dollar each, and paid down in Court the said fines and the Clerks and Commonwealths attornies fees. (Russell County Court Minutes, March 4, 1828, pg. 1-2)

It is believed that Jeremiah Couch was the father of Talitha Couch, wife of Brittan Scalf. Jeremiah is listed in the 1820, 1830 and 1840 census records of Russell County. Jeremiah appears on the personal property tax List of Russell County in 1810. A William Couch appears in 1801 and 1802 and might possibly have been Jeremiah's father, as William is not listed in the 1810 tax list. (

Things seemed to settle down a bit for the Scalf family in Russell and on May 7, 1833 Brittan Scalf was appointed Surveyor of the road from the South bank of Clinch River to the Reeds Valley road. This record relates that this is probably where Brittan and Talitha lived. Men were appointed by the courts for the upkeep of the roads in their neighborhood.

Brittan bought and sold land according to the Russell County records. It has been stated that Brittan was building a business in Russell County before his death. His wife, Talitha Couch Scalf, would ultimately have to sell everything after the death of her husband and move to Kentucky where it is reported she lived near Brittan's relatives after his death.

The 1830 census of Russell County reveals that John Sr. was still in the area at this time. There are five boys and two girls in the home. John is now 60 70 years old and Edy is 50 60 respectively. The boys range in age from ten to 20 and the girls from 5 to 20. However, I do not believe these children were all children of John and Edy and may have been grandchildren. (

John Jr. and Patsy are living next door to John Sr. and have a son under five, a daughter under five and a daughter five to ten years old. John Jr. and Patsy had probably not been married more than nine or ten years at this time according to the age of the oldest child. This census suggests that the first child of John Jr. and Patsy was a girl. The son may have been born next and then another girl or vice-versa.

The birth years for these children are estimated at 1825 to 1830 for the boy and one of the girls and 1820 to 1825 for the other girl. This conflicts with previous writings. In previous writings it is stated there were four children born to John and Patsy before 1820 with Ann Scalf (first child) being born 1811 and John Scalf (second child) born 1814; Fielding Scalf born 1816; and William Scalf born 1819. I have been unable to find anything that suggests that John Jr. and Patsy were married before 1820 and Patsy contradicts this date in her statement in Hawkins County.

Although I seriously doubt the first three children belonged to John and Patsy, It is possible that William did. If John's family left Floyd County, Kentucky between 1810 and 1820 and came to Russell at that time, John and Patsy may have been married shortly before 1820 but I'm not sure they were married by 1810. Patsy states she had known the family for about twenty-five years and this statement was made in 1845. This calculates to the year John is found in the Russell County court records of 1820.

No doubt, Patsy could have been off by a few years but I doubt she was off as much as would be needed to calculate the births of the other three children beginning in the year 1811. I believe this William to have been the husband of Talitha Scalf (aka Tabitha) in Hawkins County, Tennessee in 1840. William's age could have been stated wrong on the 1840 census as well. He might have been the son in the home of John Jr. and Patsy in the 1830 census of Russell County listed less than 5 years old. If so, he was born after 1820-1825 and not in 1819 as other censuses suggest.

It would be logical to assume that the five boys on the census of 1830 were Lee, Ira, Peter, Robert and Jesse and this could be true. Berryman was likely not in the home on this census and was probably already in the Washington County, Tennessee area where he married Rebecca Page just one year later. By the enumeration of the 1840 census of Hawkins County, Tennessee, John and Edy have no children in the home.

The 1830 census of Russell County also suggests that the youngest boys had not been removed from the home as well, or if they had, John had gotten them back. Another interesting aspect of this is the fact that all the boys were born by 1820 according to the Russell County Court Minutes. The youngest child in the home in 1830 was born 1815-1820. This establishes the fact that all of the boys were born before 1820.

If the female age, 5-10 was actually a daughter of John and Edy, then she was not listed in the court records as having been removed from the home. This would certainly be strange if John and Edy were not able to care for their children. Why would only the boys be removed? Of course, a girl had no need to learn a trade but if the family was destitute the girl would have been removed to a family that could care for her as is related in other cases of the times. This fact also suggests that only the physical work the boys could provide was the reason for the removal and not merely to help the boys learn a trade. If this girl was an infant at this time, and was in fact, a daughter of John and Edy she was born before July of 1820 and in view of this fact, Cecilia was not born after 1820.

1830 Russell Co. VA census

Scalf, John     . Est'd birth

2 males   . 10 15   . 1815 - 1820

3 males   . 15 20   . 1810 - 1815

1 male    . 60 70   . 1760 - 1770

1 female   . 5 10   . 1815 - 1820

1 female  . 15 20   . 1810 - 1815

1 female  . 50 60   . 1770 1780

The records of Russell County, Virginia do not record any incidents for the Scalf family between the years of 1830 and 1834 other than the appointment of Brittan Scalf as surveyor of the road between the Clinch River and Reeds Valley in place of Jeremiah Couch who had previously been appointed.

May 7, 1833 page 17

Ordered that Brittain Scalf be appointed Surveyor of the roads from the South bank of Clinch River to the Reeds Valley road in the room of Jeremiah Couch, and that Henry Dickenson gent do furnish him with a list of Tithables.  (Russell County Road Surveys, May 7, 1833, pg.17)

It was around this time, 1832-1834 that John's sons, Robert, Peter, and Jesse left Russell County, Virginia for Clay County, Kentucky. An interesting twist to this story was learned from an elderly gentleman in Scott County, Virginia during the very early years of this research. At this time, I had never heard of these names and had no clue who this gentleman was talking about.

This gentleman knew a good deal of the history of the neighboring counties of Russell, Lee, Wise and Scott. We met at the courthouse in Gate City, Virginia one day while researching wills, deeds, marriages, etc. Being friendly and helpful, this gentleman asked if he could help me locate some records. In the course of conversation, the Scalf name was mentioned and he began to tell me of a legend that had been passed down through his family over the years.

What was recalled of the legend revealed that three Scalf brothers had been connected to some trouble in one of these counties and had fled the area. They were later found to be living in Kentucky but since there were no formal charges pressed, the authorities were not involved. He recalled that it had something to do with some folks in one of the local counties who owned a good deal of land and had been known to take advantage of some free labor through the courts.

The family of these boys had been fighting with these folks for a number of years. These three brothers had come upon some of these men in the hills in the midst of something illegal but the gentleman could not recall (if known) the details of what illegal act was. (Moonshine still?) Words passed between them and one man fired a shot in the direction of one of the Scalf boys barely missing him and threatened to kill the whole family.

The three boys managed to get the upper hand' on the situation and had given them a good beating, threatening these men to leave their family alone or things could get worse. The Scalf boys were able to get away from them. However, these men gathered some relatives and friends and planned to catch the Scalf boys when no one was around and as he quoted. watch them swing.

One of the friends of this group happened to be a friend of the Scalf boys and had overheard a plan taking form by these men and immediately warned the boys. The three boys had then taken off across the mountain into Kentucky. The gentleman did not know if there was any more trouble after this or not but he knew no other details of the story.

Whether this is an accurate account of the legend or whether the story changed over the passage of time, is unknown. Details often get turned around or confused with time and this is a legend. The only names mentioned were three Scalf boys. At this time, I had not heard of John Scalf Sr. or his children. I also did not know that my

ggg-grandfather, Berryman Scalf, was a son of John Sr. until much later. On this particular day, I was searching for information about a great aunt, and trying to track the family prior to her.

This man knew no first names or last names of the families involved other than the Scalf name. He did know that the last name was Scalf and the reason he could recall it so well was due to the name Scalp, which he thought, was SCALP. He suspected that one of his ancestors could have been one of the men that threatened them or possibly one that warned them (hoping it had been the latter) but he did not know which. He repeated the name as Scalp and I explained to him this was a common mistake in this area.

I wrote down the story but passed it off as something to look into later if needed. Later on, while reading the Scalf Family History and Chronicles of the Scalf Family, I realized this could have been none other than Peter, Robert and Jesse Scalf. The gentleman did state three Scalf brothers. At that time, I had no idea how valuable this information might be later.

I have not come in contact with this gentleman since that day and he may possibly be deceased by now, as he was quiet elderly at the time. Being new at family research, I failed to even ask the man's name. I will never forget his kindness in helping me lift the large, heavy books in the courthouse and explaining how to track backwards in the records. Many folks such as this gentleman have helped in my research.

Since that time, I have learned different accounts of many things that took place in the surrounding area of Russell County area that may have had some bearing on what was happening to the Scalf family as well as other families of the area during this period in our history. However, out of respect for descendants of all involved, I see no need to repeat these things for we are certainly not responsible for the actions of our ancestors.  .

By July of 1834, trouble was brewing for the Scalf family once again, for on July 12th John Jr. was charged with passing a counterfeit coin in payment to Richard B. Long of Russell County.

It was probably sometime in this year that Ira Scalf and Rosannah Gibson were married. Although it is not known where Ira and Rosannah married, it was most likely in Russell County and Rosannah was probably from one of the numerous Gibson families of Russell County, Virginia. The Gibson family is an old family of Russell County and numerous descendants still live in the area.

July 9, 1834 page 155-156

At a Court called and held by the Justices of Russell County at the Courthouse on Tuesday the 15th day of July 1834, for the examination of John Scalf jr., of Russell County for feloniously passing in payment to Richard B. Long in said county on the 8th day of July 1834 a certain false, forged and counterfeit piece of silver coin current within this Commonwealth of the denomination of 50 cents United States coin dated 1829 with intentions in so doing to defraud the said Richard B. Long, he the said John Scalf then and then knowing the said piece of coin to be false forged and counterfeited.


James Browning, John Jessee, Harvey Gray, John Sewell, and Cummings Gilmon gentl'm. Justices

The prisoner was brought to the bar and by his counsel, moved the Court to quash the warrant issued by the Justices for convening this court and to discharge the prisoner, which motions the court overruled; . Whereupon Sundry witnesses being sworn and examined as well for as against this prisoner, it is considered by the Court that the said John Scalf for the felony aforesaid ought to be tried in the Circuit Supreme Court of Law and Chancery of this county, and thereupon he is remanded to jail.

Richard B. Long and Robert Boyd of this county came into Court and acknowledged themselves indebted to Littleton W. Tazewell Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Sum of $100 each, of their respective lands and tenements goods and chattels to be levied and to the said Governor and his Successors for the use of the Commonwealth to be rendered Yet upon this condition, that if the said Richard B. Long and Robert Boyd shall severally make their personal appearance before the judges of the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery of Russell county at the Court House on the first day of the next term to give evidence in behalf of the Commonwealth against John Scalf jr. Charged with passing counterfeit coin and shall not depart thence without the leave of the said Circuit Court, then the recognizance is to be void.

                    .      . James Browning

Russell County Court Minutes, July 9, 1834, pg. 155-156) (pg 155)(pg. 156)

It appears that John Jr. was detained in the Russell County jail until September 16, 1834. The case was heard on the 17th for the record states that court was adjourned on the 16th until noon the next day.

September 16, 1834 page 295

John Scalf junr. last of the County of Russell, laborer who stands indicted for feloniously passing counterfeit coin, was brought to the bar in custody of the Keeper of the Jail of said County, was thereof arraigned and pleaded not guilty to this indictment, whereupon came a jury, to wit; Isaac Munsey, Charles C. Gibson, John Price, William Pippin, George Dickenson, Samuel Honaker, James Necessary, Henry Necessary, John Necessary, James Jessee, James Shoemaker and John B. Fickle, who being elected tried and sworn the truth of and upon the promise to speak, and having penalty heard the evidences even with the consent of the prisoner committed to the custody of the Sheriff of the County, who is directed to keep them together without communication with another person, and to cause them to appear here on tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock. Whereupon, an oath was administered to Robert Boyd deputy Sheriff of the County, to the following effect. __ shall well and truly, to the best of your ability, keep this jury, and neither speak to them yourself, nor suffer any person to speak to them touching any matter notation to this trial until they return into court tomorrow. And the said John Scalf jr. is remanded to jail.

Ordered that the Sheriff summon 24 persons qualified according to law, to attend the Court here on tomorrow, as jury men.

Ordered that the court be adjourned till tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.

            .              . B. Estill.
(Russell County Court Minutes, September 16, 1834, pg. 295)

September 17, 1834 page 297

John Scalf Jr. last of the County of Russell, laborer, who is indicted for feloniously passing counterfeit coin was again set to the bar, and the jury yesterday sworn for the (?) of the case were brought into court by the Sheriff and having fully heard the evidence upon their oath do say that the Defendant is not guilty as in pleading he hath alleged: whereupon proclamation being made as the manner is and nothing further appearing or being alleged against the said John Scalf, it is ordered that he be discharged from his imprisonment. (Russell County Court Minutes Sept. 17, 1834)

This was an expensive case for the Scalf family and John Sr. had no money to pay an attorney to represent his son. The attorney handling the case was also a prominent attorney and his fee would most likely have been high-dollar. This record states that John Jr. was a laborer, which indicates that John Jr. was working for someone else and probably had less than John Sr. to pay an attorney. However, the records suggest that John Sr. apparently borrowed money to pay the attorney fee to represent his son. By this time, John Sr. owned land in Russell County and possibly managed to do this by leaving Russell County to work in the Clay County Salt Mines after his first conflict with John Smyth, Jr. in 1820.

December 2, 1834 page 186

An indenture in Trust for land and personal property from John Scalf to Edward D. Kenan acknowledged in the clerks office. (Russell County Court Minutes, Dec. 2, 1834, pg. 186)

By July of 1835, another record was recorded in the court of Russell County concerning John Sr. However, John had sold out in December of the previous year to Edward Kenan. In July of this year, the records relate that John Blizzard, a constable, obtained an attachment against the estate of John Scalf Sr. for debt. John Blizzard was probably acting on the authority of the attorney who represented John Jr. in the counterfeit case. John had hired G. W. Hopkins to represent John Jr. in his counterfeit case.

July 7, 1835 page 250

John W. Blizzard having obtained an attachment against the estate of John Scalf senr who intended to remove his effects out of this county, for debt, and the constable having made return that he had attached of the property of the defendant, one cow & calf and bull, two pair of hames and one pair of drawing chains, about 8 or 9 bushels of corn, one old side saddle; this day came the plaintiff by his attorney, and the defendant being solemnly called came not. Whereupon came also, by his attorney, Ira Scalf, who claimed the cow and calf and corn aforesaid attached and filed his interpleader, to which the plaintiff replied and issued being joined came also a jury, to wit: William Sargant, John Garrett, John Belchor, Vincent Jessee, Joel Fields, Abraham Campbell, Elihu Kizer, Thomas Gibson jr., James C. Gibson, Charles H. Gilmon, John B. Fields and Henry Gillespie, who being sworn diligently to inquire into the right of said property, upon their oath do say, that the right thereto is in the said Ira Scalf. Therefore, it is considered by the Court, that the plaintiff pay to the said Ira Scalf his costs and it appearing that the defendant is indebted to the plaintiff $19 due by note, it is considered that the plaintiff recover against the defendant the said sum of $19 with interest thereon to be computed after the note of (?) per centum per amount from the 12th day of April 1835 till paid, and is costs in this behalf expended. And it is ordered that the Sheriff make sale of the residue of the said property, as the law directs, pay the proceeds thereof to the plaintiff, and return an account of such sale to the next Court. (Russell County Court Minutes, July 7, 1835, pg. 250)

From this record we can deduct that Mr. Blizzard thought the property he had found belonged to John Sr. Apparently, he did not know that John had sold out in December of the previous year. The above records show that John had sold his land and personal property to Edward Keen. The old Soldier had apparently had enough of Russell County. It had caused him nothing but debt and grief since his arrival. John apparently cared a great deal for his family as he put everything he had in jeopardy to help his son, John Jr., in the counterfeit case against him.

The year 1835 appears to have ended the trouble for John Sr. in Russell County for no further records of Russell suggest that John was still living there. Had he still been living there, no doubt there would have been further confrontations. It is interesting to note the names, which appear frequently concerning the charges brought against John and his family. No other names in the neighborhood of John Sr. seemed to appear in the charges. John Smyth was overseer of the poor and the first to bring charges against John Sr. in 1820. This seemed to create a domino effect from the year 1820 through 1835.

The exact relationship of Patsy Counts to these families is yet unknown. Elizabeth Bush, sister of Valentine Bush, married John Gose, a relative of Stephen Gose. Court proceedings also took place between this family and the Scalf family.

The families involved had marital connections to each other for many years. Further research into the relatives of Patsy Counts might reveal possible reasons for this feud. These records appear to support the statement made by Patsy Counts Scalf in Hawkins County concerning the reasons behind having John Scalf's pension revoked.


For whatever reason, Patsy's relatives in Russell County, Virginia were carrying a grudge that eventually led to the revocation of John Sr.'s pension. It appears that this grudge began when John brought his son, William, back home after John Smyth, Overseer of the Poor, had ordered the children removed from the home.

This animosity placed John Sr. and Edy in a desperate state of poverty in their old age. By 1835, John Sr. had wearied of the battle. John had lost everything that he did own due to debt concerning the court costs and lawyer fees. John decided to close this chapter in his life and move down to Hawkins County, Tennessee where he would apply for his military pension and start anew. No doubt, John had no idea the problems of Russell County, Virginia would continuously haunt him for the next eleven years of his life.

The Hawkins County Years

It is unknown exactly when John Sr. arrived in Hawkins County, Tennessee. Comparing the documents of the pension file to the last record in Russell County, suggests that this took place sometime between December of 1834 and December of 1836. John made application for a pension in July of 1837 in Hawkins County. No records have been found to confirm where John might have been between January of 1835 to December 1836.

A statement from William Byrd in Hawkins County, Tennessee reveals that John had been living in Hawkins County for at least one year prior to his pension application. Mr. Byrd states he had known John since his move to Hawkins County for about twelve months. This statement was made in December of 1837 and places John in Hawkins County in December of 1836. John is missing from the records of Russell County, Virginia and Hawkins County, Tennessee from January 1835 to December of 1836. He might have gone back to Clay County, Kentucky during this time. (Byrd-1837 - Page 1)(Page 2)

A document dated July 18, 1845, in the pension file of John Sr. states that John and some of his family members lived in Russell County, Virginia for about six years. After removing from Russell County, he moved to Kentucky and then to Hawkins County, Tennessee. This statement by John Sr. suggests that only John moved to Kentucky after six years in Russell County, Virginia. His children remained in Russell County. (John Sr-1845)

A statement in 1837 made by James Burke of Hawkins County, previously from Clay County, Kentucky states that he became acquainted with John in Clay County about twelve years prior to the date of his statement. This places John in Clay County, Kentucky in 1826. If Mr. Burke recalled the time correctly then this would suggest that John left Russell County, Virginia around 1826 and moved to Clay County, Kentucky. It is undetermined as to how long John may have stayed in Clay County. (Burke-1837)

Obviously, John came back to Russell County, Virginia by 1830, for he is found in the census of that year in Russell County. Possibly, John worked at the Goose Creek Salt Mines in Clay County until he had saved enough money to buy property in Russell County. John later sold property in Russell County in December of 1834. The copy of the original record involving this transaction will be posted.

He probably also paid some of the attorney fee in 1828 when he obtained representation for his son, John Jr. I assume by these records, that John probably moved back to Russell County sometime during the incident of the counterfeit coin that his son, John Jr. had been charged with. However, it is possible that John only returned for the court hearing.

John may have been living at the home of one of his daughter's between December of 1834 and December of 1836 in Hawkins or one of the nearby counties as well. The records suggest that several of his daughters may have been living in the Hawkins County area before 1840 and possibly the nearby counties of Grainger and Claiborne.

The facts are, the records show that John was in Russell County, Virginia as late as December of 1834 and in Hawkins County by December of 1836 where he applied for his military pension on July 7, 1837 in Hawkins County.

John Sr. applied for his military pension at the old courthouse in Rogersville (Hawkins County) Tennessee before John Mitchell, Esquire. John was admitted to the pension rolls on October 2, 1837. It was declared that he was entitled to $80.00 per anum (per year) and he was to be paid commencing on the 4th of March 1831 and payable semi-annually on the 4th of March and the 4th of September each year. (Admission 1837)

John was required to satisfactorily submit proof of his service in the Revolution for which John submitted a declaration. His declaration concerning his service gave accounts of the movements of the army during John's service until he was wounded. A typed copy of this can be seen in the Scalf Family History. However, a copy of the original will also be presented. (Declaration-1837, page 1)(Declaration-1837, page 2)(Declaration-1837, page 3)

By September 18, 1838 John's pension was revoked. He had received two installments before Mr. Hopkins (attorney) of Russell County had issued a letter to Mr. J. L. Edwards, Commissioner of Pensions accusing John of obtaining a fraudulent pension. It appears that this correspondence began before or near the time John received his first installment on his pension. This began a long series of statements and depositions from Hawkins County in support of restoration of the pension. This also began an even more destitute life for John and Edy than they had suffered previously.

No doubt, John and Edy thought life would be better for them in Hawkins County since John would now be eligible for a pension for his war service. Little did they know that the grudge held by old enemies in Russell County would return to haunt them in Hawkins County.

John proved his service so well during this process, it would be difficult not to believe he was a Revolutionary Soldier. Several outstanding and notable citizens tried to assist John in the restoration of this pension. Several submitted statements of having served with John and one witness presented his statement of having been with John when he was wounded and examined the wound himself. (Hall statement, page 1)(Hall statement, page 2)(Hall statement, page 3)

David Rogers, who had been a Captain and a Major in the Revolution had spent a night drilling John on military procedures and having satisfied himself that John had been a soldier signed made his statement in support of the pension. This was ignored by Mr. Edwards as if the statement was as false as he felt John's statement was. (Rogers statement, Page 1) (Rogers statement, page 2)(Rogers statement, page 3)

Considering the information, one would have to wonder just what was going on behind the scenes since John did not have to submit this type of proof in the beginning when he was admitted to the rolls. It was not until Andrew Johnson of Greenville, Tennessee (later the 17th President) intervened, that John's pension was restored. Eight or nine years would pass from the time the pension was revoked until it would be restored again. During this time, John and Edy would live on the charity of their children and neighbors.

In December of 1837 Brittan Scalf is found in the records of Russell County, Virginia recording the purchase of land from Thomas Tate. Brittan's wife's name is spelled Delitha on this record but descendants state that her name was Talitha.

A document found in the file of John Sr. states that John did receive his first pension payment on April 3, 1838 and again in September. The arrears allotted were in the amount of $600.00. (File-April 3, 1838)

On April 3 of 1838, Brittan was appointed surveyor of the road again in Russell County, Virginia.

April 3, 1838 page 501

Ordered that Brittan Scalf be appointed Surveyor of the road from the top of the hill west of Jefferson Jessee's to Richard Longs in the room of Richard B. Long, and that James Dickenson gent, do furnish him with a list of Tithables. (Russell County Court Minutes, April 3, 1838, pg. 501) (Brittan-April 3, 1838-pg-501)

In this same month and year, Abraham McClellan of Blountville, Tennessee (Sullivan County) a member of the House of Representatives was brought into the pension case by Mr. Mitchell of Hawkins County. Mr. Mitchell had sent Mr. McClellan a letter and asked him to find out about the case of John Scalf's pension.

Mr. Mitchell states that he had sent evidence of John's service to Mr. Edwards several times last fall but had not heard from him. This suggests that John began his appeal for a pension in the fall of 1837. Mr. McClellan then wrote to Mr. Edwards and asked him to please examine the papers and let him know how the case stood and if further proof of his service was needed. (McClellan to Edwards-April 4, 1838)

John was admitted to the pension rolls by March of 1838. In this year, John received two installments of his pension and life was undoubtedly better for him and Edy. However, in the coming fall John would be stricken from the pension rolls after his second installment was received.

In August of 1838, John Jr. and wife, Patsy are in court in Russell County. This time, the suit is dismissed. (I do not have the copy of this suit at this time, but hope to have this posted soon).

The record below does not appear to be related to the slander case as the plaintiff, Elizabeth Gose, asked that this case be dismissed. I have not found the beginning of this suit or what it concerns.

August 8, 1838 page 532

Elizabeth Gose plaintiff vs.
John Scalf and wife defendant> By order of the plaintiff, this suit is dismissed. (Gose vs. Scalf-Aug. 8, 1838, pg. 532)

Shortly after this, a letter dated September 16, 1838 from Lebanon (Russell County) Virginia, written by G. W. Hopkins to J. L. Edwards, Esq., Commissioner of Pensions, states that John's claim was fraudulent and that he had never reputed white hair or to have been a soldier of the Revolution and had never set up such pretense. The correspondence record of Mr. Edwards reveals that he had received this letter from Mr. G. W. Hopkins of Russell County, Virginia, who was an upcoming politician and may have been a member of the House of Representatives at this time. The records show Mr. Hopkins did become a representative at some point.

Mr. Hopkins suggested that the claim ought to be re-investigated and John stricken from the rolls. Mr. Hopkins had been the attorney representing the case of the counterfeit coin for John Jr. in Russell County, Virginia. (Hopkins to Edwards-1838)

Mr. Edwards then sent a letter to Mr. McClellan requesting information concerning John's credibility and character. On October 22,1838, after John had received his second installment on his pension, Abraham McClellan responded Mr. Edward's letter. In response to Mr. Edwards investigation of John Sr.'s character, Mr. McClellan answered that Mr. Scalf lived about seventy-five miles from him. A quote from the letter is excerpted here.

Mr. Scalf resides about 75 miles from me and I have not been able to learn much in relation to the facts which you wish to know. I have seen since the reception of your letter, a gentleman by the name of Kildair who is a neighbor of Scalf, he says that Thos. Pratt, the witness in the case is an old man whose word is intitled to some credit, but it is believed in the neighborhood that he is deceived about this man and that Scalf is not old enough to have been in the Revolution. The other witnesses are Sons in law of Mr. Scalf. So says my informant. (McClellan to Edwards-Oct. 22,1838)

By December of 1838, the Justice of the Peace in Hawkins County again sent further information to Mr. Edwards to establish the validity of John's claim. From these statements and the statement of a Mr. Klidaire to Abraham McClellan, we learn the relationship of several persons to John Sr.

From the letter of Abraham McClellan and the statement of Thomas Lockard in December of 1838, we learn the relationships of Squire Williams, Thomas Lockard and Alexander Trent to John Scalf Sr. There were neighbors of John Scalf who gave statements that were contrary to what Mr. Kildaire had stated to Abraham McClellan. In conjunction with this record and the statement of Thomas Lockard in 1838 it appears that Thomas Lockhard and Cecilia Scalf were married around 1834 or 1835.

If correct, the previous writings would place Cecilia's age around ten or eleven years old in 1834 according to the birth date listed for her. Contrary to popular belief, girls in Appalachia did not commonly marry at this age. This was especially true during this time. Females were required to have the consent of a parent or guardian when obtaining a marriage license if under the age of twenty-one.

A bondsman would be required to sign the bond to insure the credibility of the folks applying for the license. These bonds were set in very high amounts in some areas. One such area required a bond of $300. Most folks were not going to risk everything they owned in the event someone may have been dishonest in their statements.

It was not impossible for Cecilia to marry at a young age, but it would have been very unlikely that she married this young during this time. I am of the opinion that Cecilia was born before 1823. The marriages of young girls around the ages of twelve and thirteen began much later than this. Not to say there were not some that appeared to have married this young. Most likely, many of these (not all) were due to errors made in their age during the times.

There were at least three letters written to Mr. McClellan by Mr. Edwards between September 28, 1838 and December 27, 1838. It also appears from the record of correspondence kept by Mr. Edwards that this issue concerning John Sr. began sometime in April of 1838 shortly after John received his first installment in March of 1838 and the decision was reached by September or October of this year to discontinue the pension. Possibly Mr. Hopkins started his pursuit of having the pension revoked while John was submitting his information to be admitted to the rolls. If so, the correspondence for this is missing from the file. Conversations may have taken place in Washington among those involved and details not issued in letters. This may be why some of the letters are not included.

A record in December of 1838 consists of the statements of Thomas Lockard, Squire Williams, Alexander Trent, James Burke, and Captain William Byrd. These statements came after the pension was revoked in September. Many statements came from Hawkins County and lasted through a portion of 1846 with the last appeal being made by Andrew Johnson of Greenville, Tennessee. Physicians were called in to examine John's wounds and give an opinion as well. All of this was to no avail for the old soldier. Regardless of the evidence John Sr. produced, it was to fall on deaf ears to the Pension Commissioner.

In his deposition, Thomas Lockard stated that he had known John for about three years. This indicates that Thomas and Cecilia (Sela/Cela) Scalf Lockard (probably named after her aunt Ceely Ann Koziah/Keziah) had only been married a short time and most likely married 1834-1838. If correct, Cecelia could be the female listed in the home of Thomas Lockhard on the 1840 census and the older lady in the home was most likely his mother.

Thomas was listed as 2030 and a female in the home is listed as 1520. A son under five is also listed. There is one female age 510 and one aged 1015. It is not likely that the female 1015 would have been the daughter of Thomas and Cecilia if they did marry 1834-1838.. This female could have been from a previous marriage of Thomas or may have been a sister of Thomas.

An older female is in the home and listed as 4050. The female 1520 is likely Cecilia. According to this, it is possible she was the last child of John and Edy, and born around 1820 or shortly before. However, her age could have been misstated on this census as well if this is Cecilia, and she might have actually belonged in the 2030 age range. This is from a transcribed copy of the census. (Lockard, Dec- 1838)

Squire Williams stated that he had, had a most satisfactory acquaintance with John for fifteen years. This would indicate that Squire and Dicy might have married around 1823-1825. The 1830 census of Russell County, does lend some support to this. On this census they have two daughters listed between the ages of 5-10 years old with an estimated birth date of around 18251830. Unless they had children before this that had died, these were the oldest children. According to this, Dicy should have been on the 1820 census in the home of her father, John Sr. but she was not and the only other explanation for this that comes to mind is she was living with another family as a domestic servant in 1820. (Williams-Dec.1838)

Alexander Trent states that he had known John for better than eight years and lived nearby him the greater part of that time. Interestingly, Alexander also stated that he knew John in Clay County, Kentucky for part of this time. This might indicate that Alexander Trent who married Polly Scalf had lived in Clay County, Kentucky prior to moving to Hawkins County, Tennessee. However, I find no Trent families in Clay County, Kentucky. (Trent-Dec.1838)

I also find no Trent families in Floyd County, Kentucky in 1810 when John's family was living there. In light of this statement, Alexander had known John since 1830. He most likely had met and married Polly sometime between 1830-1838 either in Clay County or in Hawkins after the move in 1834-35. This also indicates that John made a trip back to Clay County, Kentucky and possibly when he left Russell County in 1834. If Alexander and Polly were married at that time, they may have gone with John to Clay County, or he with them.

Information from the 1850 Claiborne County, Tennessee census suggests that Alexander and Polly's fist child, Isaiah, was born 1831. This suggests that Alexander and Polly were married in or around 1830. John Sr. is on the 1830 census of Russell County, Virginia, but Polly was not in the home. This also suggests that John Sr. may have been in Clay County, Kentucky shortly before 1830 and returned to Russell County by the time of the census enumeration.

John possibly left Russell County around 1825-1830 and went to Clay County where Polly met and married Alexander. Since this is between censuses, we have no way of knowing unless a marriage record is found for Polly and Alexander. This couple later moved to Hawkins County, Tennessee. They possibly married in Russell County, moved to Clay County and John went there after he sold the land in Russell County in 1834. A number of speculations can be raised here. Without a marriage record or land deed, we have no way of confirming anything.

The facts are; Alexander Trent married Polly Scalf and moved to Hawkins, then Claiborne County, Tennessee. Their first child was born 1831 unless they had children that had died before this. Polly would have been in her late 30s or early 40s when she married Alexander. This also suggests Polly may have married prior to Alexander or was living in another home on the 1820 census of Russell County, Virginia. A search of the marriages of Floyd or Clay County might reveal a marriage record for Nancy, Polly and possibly even Betsy and Nancy.

It is very possible that Nancy met and married her husband in Kentucky and remained there when John Sr. left Floyd County. I have corresponded with the Collins researchers and no one at this point has a Nancy in their line for this period in the Russell County, Virginia area or the Hawkins, Grainger, Hancock, Union County, Tennessee areas. This leads me to believe that Nancy did not leave Kentucky and possibly Betsy as well, for no one is able to identify either of these girls from the East Tennessee area. I possibly have not spoken to the right person yet but at this point, the Collins researchers I have had contact with seem to know nothing about either of these women.

The correspondence record kept by Mr. Edwards of the Pension Commission reveals that correspondence concerning the validity of the pension began very early in the same year that John's pension was awarded. Time was not wasted in trying to stop this pension. No doubt, not knowing what would take place, Patsy had mentioned the pension application while visiting her relatives in Russell County, Virginia before John was admitted to the rolls.

This correspondence continued through December of 1838 and the correspondence record, reads as follows:

let. 23 Apr. 38 Hon. A. McClellan
to Hon. A. McClellan on October 30, 1838
to Hon. A. McClellan December 27, 183. (Correspondence Record)

As the son-in-laws of John Sr. were making their statements of support in Rogersville, Mr. Edwards was corresponding with Mr. McClellan in Blountville (Sullivan County) a neighboring county of Hawkins. 

The last letter to Mr. McClellan was dated April 20, 1840 so it is obvious that Mr. McClellan was involved in this case for a good deal of time. Mr. Mitchell, Justice of the Peace of Hawkins County had first appealed to Mr. McClellan in 1838 for his help in requesting a response from Washington concerning the papers Mr. Mitchell had sent to the Pension Commission to obtain the pension.

The year of 1838 closes with the statements from James Burke, Thomas Lockard, Squire Williams, Alexander Trent, and Captain William Byrd. These statements were made on Christmas Day in 1838.

In this year, Brittan is found charged with a debt of $39.00 and is ordered to pay the debt. This was probably related to the business that Brittan owned.

Wednesday, June 5th 1839 page 52

Andy F. Hendricks  . plaintiff
Brittan Scalf     . defendant

This day came the plaintiff by his attorney and the defendant not yet appearing, it is considered by the Court, that the judgment obtained in the Clerk's office be made final and that the plaintiff recover against the debt $39. 23 the debt in the declaration mentioned with interest thereon to be compensated after the act of (?. per annum from the 2d day of August 1837 till paid and his costs by him about his (sinc in their behalf expended)? . (Brittan-June5 1839-pg. 52)

The pension file records very little activity in the year 1839 for the Scalf family in both Russell and Hawkins County. A number of letters were sent to the Pension Commission in this year trying to establish John's credibility, only to be ignored. Most of this correspondence is repetitious and repeats the credibility of John's word and character. Very little information is gleaned from these documents; however, they do establish the feelings of the neighbors concerning the character of John Scalf. Sr. These documents have not been added to this writing due to the tremendous amount of time in scanning.

In 1839, Anthony Hall of Perry County, Kentucky came to the aid of his fellow comrade, John Sr. Mr. Hall stated that he knew that John had been a Revolutionary Soldier for he had became acquainted with him previous to the battle of Guilford and that he had seen John in this battle where John was shot in the leg. He also stated that it was not uncommon to see a boy of no more than 14 years of age fighting in the war. He states that John was older than General Jackson and about one year older than himself. Mr. Hall was on the pension rolls and was receiving $8 per annum.

(Anthony Hall-July, 1839)Page 2Page 3

Mr. Edwards responded that this was not satisfactory to restore the pension and sends a list of questions for John to answer. This appears to be another avoidance of the issue. This amounted to nothing more than to delay the restoration of the pension. Nevertheless, John answered the questions and Mr. Edwards appeared to take no further action in restoring the pension.

The year 1840 finds John Sr., John Jr., Ira Scalf, Alexander Trent, Alexander W. Trent, Alexander Trent, Sr., and Thomas Lockhart/Lockard all living in near proximity to each other in Hawkins County, Tennessee.

There were also Collins and Williams families in Hawkins at this time but it is unknown if they were the same as the families John's daughters had married.

William Bird/Byrd is also in the neighborhood. Mr. Byrd gave his statement in support of John's pension and might have been John's landlord at Byrd's Corner. John Sr. and Edy were now alone. Both their ages were listed in the 6070 age range once again. This is another indication of the loss of memory as John and Edy aged. Their ages at this time should have been 70 80. However, John Sr. is listed as being the same age as he was in 1830.

A very good example of the loss of memory concerning the children's ages is depicted in the statements of Edy Carlisle made in June of 1851 and again in October of the same year. Just four months after Edy stated that her oldest daughter was Polly Scalf, she states that her oldest daughter was Nancy Scalf; leaving us to wonder which child was actually the oldest child. Nancy's birth date is stated as March 22, 1788 and Polly, April 29, 1789. Edy states the death of her husband as March 10, 1848 in Greene County. In another document, Edy states that he died at the home of his son _______in Greene County, Tennessee. The name of the son was faded out but Berryman was the only son living in this particular area at this time. (Edy-Jun 7, 1851)(Edy-Oct 6, 1851))

I have found this to happen frequently on the census records, as one got older. Edy was around 80 years old when she made the above statements. I find it remarkable that Edy could remember the exact birth dates even though she did misstate the names. Most folks remembered the order of birth much easier than the actual dates. Had I given birth to sixteen children, traveled across the country and lived as Edy had, I doubt I would have remembered their names or birth dates at 40 years old, much less at 80.

The most accuracy I have found concerning near correct ages have been the first census records to list the family. The parents were more likely to remember the correct ages from the time they were born until at least the first census if the census was enumerated within a few years of the birth. However, memory loss became evident by the enumeration of the next census. As time went by, parents not only forgot their own ages, but the ages of their children as well.

This was a time when age was not important Survival was number one on the agenda. The remembrance of one's age was of little importance and probably due in part to the fact that records were not required as they now are.

1840 Hawkins County, TN census

Scalf, John Sr.    . Estimated birth dates

1 male    . 60 70   . 1770 - 1780
1 female  . 60 70   . 1770 - 1780

A number of Trent families were living in the area on this census. However, an Alexander O. Trent is living two houses away from William Scalf. The home of Thomas Trent is located between the two. In the process of elimination of which Alexander was the husband of Polly, correspondence with a Trent descendant relates the following.

Quote. Alexander O. Trent, about the same age as Alex/Polly Scalf, married a Mary Martin, whom I guess was sometimes called Polly, too. This Alexander was living in the same area and is later found in Hancock County, Tennessee listed around the same age as the husband of Polly. (Ref: Barbara Marsh)

The only indication that Polly's name was Mary is from the 1850 Claiborne County, Tennessee census where she is listed as Mary Trent. This would be the only documentation to this if this is the correct family on this census.

The name of William Scalf living in the neighborhood was transcribed as William SEALF on one copy of this census.

This does not appear to be the William Scalf, son of John Sr. and is most likely a grandson although it is debatable at this time as to which family this William belongs to. This William was 2030 years old according to this census and his wife is listed as 1520 years old. This calculates a birth date of 18101820 for William and 18201825 for his wife. 

Another female is listed as 1015 years old. It should be noted here as well that the name Tabitha listed on the transcribed census copies is listed as Talitha on the original microfilm of Claiborne County, Tennessee in 1850. (Could this possibly be one of the children of Brittan and Talitha not found by the descendants?) The descendants of Brittan and Talitha report that eight children can be documented for Brittan and Talitha. However, there seems to be no documentation that there were nine children or nineteen. (1850 Claiborne, Co. census)

The Claiborne County, Tennessee census of 1850 suggests that William and Talitha married around 1840, probably just prior to this census. The oldest child in the home in 1850 (Claiborne Co.) was Henry at nine years old. The female listed in the home in 1840 (Hawkins Co) could have been a sister to either William or Talitha but would have been too near the age of Talitha to be their child. Again, this applies only if Talitha's age was correct on this census.

Pages 236 and 237 of the 1840 Hawkins transcribed census is not transcribed at this date; therefore, some of these families will not be found at the above URL address. I have referred back to my transcribed copy of the original microfilm for the information on the above Scalf/Trent families. It is unknown which family this Talitha Scalf belonged to. Her maiden name appears to have been Scalf and certainly suggestive of a child of Brittan and Talitha.

It is interesting to note that sometime during the year of 1840, either John Sr. visited Abraham McClellan and requested his help, or Mr. McClellan responded to someone in a neighboring county and assisted him in pleading for the restoration of the pension. The following is quoted from the records housed in the Library of Congress.

Mr. McClellan presented a petition of John Scalf, of Hawkins County, State of Tennessee, a soldier of the Revolution, praying for a pension. (Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873, May 19, 1840, pg. 962-Library of Congress)

I find no follow up record at this date suggesting that any action was taken on this and the pension records of John Sr. suggest that if it was, it apparently did not succeed.

In 1840, only Lee and the Brittan Scalf family were found still living in Russell County. Lee Scalf is found only one time on the census records (1840 Russell Co.) that I have found and no further information has been found for this family. Some of the unplaced family members in the East Tennessee and West Virginia area may belong to the Lee Scalf family.

John had reached the point where he no longer could pay for the Seal required to authenticate the statements. Many of the neighbors appealed on John's behalf as well as his children, Polly Scalf Trent, John Jr. and his wife, Patsy Counts Scalf. When time permits, the original copies will be posted. Some of these depositions can be found in Chapter IV of the Scalf Family History.

These depositions proved worthless to the Pension Commission but have been invaluable to the descendants of John Scalf Sr. in our research. Had it not been for these depositions, we would know little of the Scalf history. 

It is interesting to note that in the year, 1843, John was apparently living with one of his children at Thorn Hill in Grainger County, Tennessee for sometime during this year John visited Mr. James K. McAnally, (title unknown) to appeal for help. Mr. McAnally appealed to Mr. William T. Senter to call on Mr. Edwards. No date for this record is found in the file but a document found in the file indicates that Mr. Senter questioned Mr. Edwards. A letter of response to someone who might have been Mr. Edwards or possibly Mr. Hopkins is found in the file. It appears to be addressed to the House of Representatives and Mr. Edwards was of the Pension Commission so most likely, this was sent to Mr. Hopkins who was now a Representative. This letter is dated January 6, 1844. This does not appear to have accomplished anything more than had been accomplished previously. (McAnally to Sutter)(Sutter to HR-Jan.6, 1844)

Back in Russell County in 1844, Brittan had been appointed as a guard of the prisoners at the jail in Russell County. The records relate that he was paid $2.76 for his guard duties.

Tuesday, October 8th 1844 page 406
The following accounts were presented in Court, and allowed; it appearing to the Court that former guards were necessary to the safe conveyance of the prisoners to the jail of Russell County, which is ordered to be certified to the Auditor of public accounts; Benjamin Haley, $2.76; Brittan Scalf $2. 76; Hezakiah Hamon $2.76 and William Hale $2.76. . (Brittan, Oct. 8, 1844-pg-406)

On July 8, 1845, in Russell County, Virginia, Brittan is found in the records for the last time. In the same month of 1845 only nine days later, his brother, John Jr., sister Polly and sister-in-law, Patsy Counts Scalf would give their depositions in Hawkins County in support of the pension restoration. It is believed that Brittan died sometime after this record was recorded. This record was for the sale of land from Britain and wife to Andrew Williams. Although I have not been able to confirm this, it is possible that Andrew Williams was a relative of Squire Williams, husband of Dicy Scalf. 

Tuesday, July 8th 1845 page 452
A list of Conveyances admitted to record by the Clerk of the Court since the last Term.

An Indenture of bargain and sale for land from Brittan Scalf & wife to Anderson Williams, acknowledged before two Justices. (Brittan-1845-pg. 452) 

Sometime after this transaction, it is reported that Brittan's tragic death was due to a falling tree while surveying the roads in Russell County, Virginia. Brittan was still living at the time of Patsy Counts Scalf's deposition in 1845 and it is unknown if he died this year or early in 1846. His brother, William II had already died by the time of Patsy's statement in July of 1845.

On July 17, 1845, Patsy Counts Scalf gave a deposition in Rogersville (Hawkins County) Tennessee that would reveal in detail the reasons behind the pension being revoked. Through this deposition we have learned the names of all of the children of John and Edy as well as the number of their children at this date.

There seems to be confusion about the number of children belonging to Brittan Scalf and Talitha Couch Scalf. It has been stated that they were the parents of 19 children by 1845. The original deposition by Patsy does state 19 children. However, Brittan and Talitha had nine living children on the census of 1840 in Russell County, Virginia. There is absolutely no way that this writer can determine that it would have been possible for Brittan and Talitha to have ten more children by the year 1845. It is stated in Chronicles of the Scalf Family that a grandson stated he knew only of nine children in this family. There are many assumptions that can be made as to how this number became 19 in the deposition.

My conclusion to this is, Patsy may have stated when giving her detailed information that Brittan had nine or ten children and the clerk heard nineteen. Brittan is not listed as head of house on the 1830 census of Russell County. Therefore, we can only assume that he was not married at this time. Neither is he listed on the 1820 census as head of house and was most likely the son between the age of 16-18 years old on this census.

If he married and was living in his father's home in 1830, then his age is stated wrong on this census for Brittan would have been around
28-29 years old on the 1830 census. There is no male of this age in the home at this time. Due to these factors, my only alternative is to conclude that Brittan and Talitha married 1820-1825 because the oldest child was born 1820-1825. If so, they were likely in the home of John Sr. in 1830 because they are not on this census as head of house. In view of the information, I am inclined to agree with the grandson of Brittan and Talitha that there were not nineteen children in this family. It certainly appears there was a mistake by someone in the deposition of Patsy Counts Scalf. (Patsy Scalf-July, 1845)(Page 2)(Page 3)

In August of 1845, just after the depositions in Hawkins County by his family, John made a trip to Greeneville, (Greene County) Tennessee where he obtained the services of one, B. McDaniels, Esquire to help him with the pension restoration. Most likely, his children were paying the fee required for these services.

John Sr. had obtained the services of almost every Justice of the Peace in office in Hawkins County since 1837. He now appealed to Mr. McDaniels, in Greene County. On August 13, 1845, Mr. McDaniels sent another letter to Mr. Edwards requesting information concerning the revocation of the pension. (McDaniels to Edwards-1845)

On August 20, 1845, Mr. Edwards returned a response to the letter stating that John was not entitled to a pension if the allegations be true. Note that he said if. I assume this to mean he did not know if they were true or not but simply because someone made the statement that it was true, it was justified. (Edwards to McDaniels 1845)

On September 2, 1845, Mr. McDaniels sent a letter to Mr. G. W. Hopkins requesting a listing of the whole matter. Mr. Hopkins answered this letter on September 13, 1845 from Abingdon, (Washington County, Virginia). (McDaniels to Hopkins-1845) (Hopkins to McDaniels)

The efforts of Mr. McDaniels proved useless, as had all the others in the past. Although it is not a matter of record, it was probably through the persuasion of Mr. McDaniels that John made one final attempt to have the pension and his honor restored. This attempt was made through Mr. Andrew Johnson, a member of the House of Representatives at this time.

The Final Journey

By the year 1846, John, weary of the battle, made the journey into Greeneville, Tennessee where he stated his case one last time to Andrew Johnson. Very old and destitute now, John was probably tired and wearied from the long battle with the Pension Commissioner. His son, Berryman, probably drove him in a wagon that day to the town of Greenville, Tennessee. The records indicate that John and Edy were living alternately with their children. Berryman lived approximately, 20-30 miles from Greeneville. This would have been a good day's journey from Berryman's home in a wagon.

It is unknown where John met with Mr. Johnson that day in Greeneville, but it was probably at the little tailor shop, which still stands in the town of Greeneville. Mr. Johnson was known to have spent the majority of his time at this location when he was in Greeneville. Mr. Johnson took pity on John's frail health and age and immediately sent a request to Mr. J. L. Edwards in Washington to ask him the same questions that had been asked for the past seven to eight years. One would surely get tired of answering these questions at some point but apparently Mr. Edwards did not.

A letter from Mr. Edwards on January 1, 1846 suggests that Mr. Johnson had left some papers at Mr. Edward's office and I am assuming this had taken place on one of Mr. Johnson's trips to Washington. These papers were in connection with the case of John Scalf Sr. What existed in these papers is unknown to me for they did not exist in the pension file of John Scalf Sr. Only a statement from Mr. Edwards stating they were being returned is listed. (Edwards to Johnson 1846)

A letter was sent to Mr. Edwards from Mr. Johnson on a date that is illegible, but the month and year is January 1846. This document states that Mr. Johnson knew the reputation of some of the men involved in this case and gave his recommendation concerning their characters. Mr. Johnson also stated that he had no solitary doubt upon the subject and that John had been too long deprived of his pension upon the vague surmise of some malicious persons in his neighborhood. He also stated that John was living upon the charity of his neighborhood and he solicited Mr. Edward's attention to the old man's case. (Johnson to Edwards-1846)

In March of 1846, Mr. Johnson sent another request to Mr. Edwards. This is not stated on the document but a copy of the jacket for this document states: to Mr. J. L. Edwards.

Mr. Johnson requested that a copy of the bounty land certificate for the alleged bounty land received by John be sent to him. For reasons unknown, it appears that Mr. Johnson determined from his investigation that John had not received this bounty land for Mr. Johnson took the matter one step farther and on June 12, 1846, he presented a motion to the committee in Washington. This motion reads as follows:

By Mr. Andrew Johnson: A petition of John Scalf, of Hawkins county, and State of Tennessee, praying for a grant, of two-hundred and ninety-seven acres of land on account of his services during the revolutionary war in the North Carolina continental line: which was referred to the Committee on Revolutionary Claims. (Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873--FRIDAY, June 12, 1846-Library of Congress, Pg. 948)

This action suggests to me that Mr. Johnson determined from his investigation that John had not received any bounty land and was therefore requesting what he felt was due John Sr.

No documents were found in the pension file of John Sr. to suggest anything relating to this action or that John had requested bounty land. It is possible that this correspondence was lost or was not included in the pension file.

Whatever took place between Mr. Johnson and Mr. Edwards that was not included in the pension file, certainly proved to be effective for John for on January 28, 1846, it was ordered that John's pension be reinstated. A record of the date of correspondence is the only document that relates information concerning this.

Mr. Edwards had sent a letter to Mr. Johnson and one to Mr. Lyons at the Knoxville Agency with a copy of the pension certificate. Mr. Edwards also noted on this record of correspondence that the certificate Mr. Johnson had requested from the State of North Carolina concerning the bounty land was furnished to Mr. Johnson along with the date. This does confirm that Andrew Johnson received the information from the state of North Carolina concerning the bounty land certificate.

In response to Mr. Edwards, a letter from Mr. William Lyons of the Knoxville agency was sent to the pension office requesting to know whether to pay Mr. Scalf from March 4, 1838 or from the date of your last letter which would have been January of 1846. This document is faded on one side but reads clearly enough to understand what it consists of. (Wm Lyons to pension office-1846)

Notation is made on the correspondence record of a letter sent to the Knoxville agency on April 6, 1846. It is unknown what this letter may have concerned but may have been the confirmation of the pension restoration.

Notation is also made of a letter to Mr. Johnson on March 16, 1848. This may have been to inform him of the death of John Sr.; however, this is only speculation, as this letter does not exist in the file.

John had spent the last seven or eight years pleading with any Justice of the Peace that would hear his story and many did. The family had spent money they could not afford and some of the clerks had sent letters without charge out of pity for the old soldier.

In a matter of only twenty-seven days, the influence of one man proved to carry more weight than the influence of the man who had the pension revoked. For years, malice and vengeance had caused an old soldier to be deprived of his rights and his honor. The honor of being a soldier in the war that established the freedom of this country was mangled but not destroyed. John Sr. rose to meet the occasion as he had at the battle of Guilford. John Sr. had not rested until the record was set straight. When most would have given up in the face of these disappointments, John persistently continued the battle.

Although the pension was restored, it is unknown if John received any amount of back pay for the lost years. The records do not reflect that he did. John did receive $80.00 in the year of 1847. However, in the year 1848, as it had ten years prior, the pension abruptly stopped again as it had in 1838. The old soldier had given up the battle for good. Oddly enough, John had received his pension for the same amount of time as when it was first re-instated. John received the installments for one year when he was first admitted to the rolls. After the pension was restored, he received the installments for one year before he died.

On March 10, 1848 John Scalf Sr. closed his eyes in peace knowing that he had won the battle, as he had the first battle as a child in 1777. John was due a check in this month and he may have received this or he may not have. A note in the pension file reflects that he did not.

A note had been sent to the Knoxville Agency requesting to know when John was paid last. A note is dated March 9, 1848 from the Knoxville agency to the Pension Office stating that John had been paid to 4 September 1847 at $80.00 per anum. John Sr. would die the day after this letter was written. The first installment for the year of 1848, due in March was most likely not received. If it had been, it would have been returned. (Knoxville Agency-1847.

The battle was over for John; however, his wife Edy would have to face a few of the same trials with her widows pension as John had faced previously. Edy did not have the problems to the extent that John did but Edy was not physically able to go to the courthouse to make an oath in order to submit her proof of being the widow of John Scalf Sr. (McVey to Pension Commissioner)

This statement was sent to the Commissioner of Pensions. Edy was required to make her statement under oath and somehow Edy managed to do this. At this time, the Justice of the Peace stated that Edy was between 80 and 90 years old. Edy was unable to remember by now the date when she had married John. She stated she knew she had been married to John not before he entered the service but before 1800. (Statement of Edy Scalf)

Mr. James Cleek, who had been a neighbor and knew the couple in North Carolina made the statement that he knew they were married in Edgecombe County, North Carolina where he had lived and had known them at that time. (James Cleek-1851)

Most of the documents concerning Edy are documents that relate to her movements after the death of John. Each time Edy moved, the agency where she received her check would have to be changed.

By the enumeration of the 1850 census of Tennessee, John Jr., Ira, William and several of the families from the 1840 Hawkins County census . were living in Claiborne County, Tennessee. Claiborne had been formed in 1801 from parts of Grainger and Hawkins Counties. Grainger had been formed in 1796 from Hawkins and Knox Counties so it is evident that these families had moved from Hawkins to Claiborne and was not due to county boundary changes. (1850 Claiborne Co. census)

Edy was now living in the home of her son, John Jr. and his wife, Martha Patsy Counts Scalf. Ira and his family were living nearby. Ira had married Rosannah Gibson 1830-1834 and they most likely married in Russell County, Virginia. Several epidemics hit the area during the 1850s and Ira lost his wife, Rosannah, and daughter, Pacify, in this epidemic.

It is unknown if any of the other Scalf, Trent, Collins, Lockhard, Painter or Williams families lost family members during this epidemic. According to the death records of Russell County, Virginia, this epidemic wiped out complete families during this time and Russell appears to be one of the hardest hit areas. Many families lost two and three children on the same day along with a parent and sometimes both parents and all the children.

The records suggest that Edy lived with her son, John Jr. It is reported that she went to Clay County, Kentucky to live with Ira and his new wife, Nancy Killion McVay sometime after 1854. It is not known if Edy died while living with Ira or if she died at the home of one of her other sons.

The last record I have from the pension file concerning Edy is dated 1854. On February 19, 1854, it was requested by John Elliott that Edy's check be made payable at Louisville, as Edy had moved to Knox County, Kentucky. Edy would have been around 85 years old at this time. John would have been around 84 or 85 years old at his death if he was born in 1765 or 1766. Edy stated in her deposition that her husband was about four years older than her. This would calculate a birth date for Edy of 1768 or 1769. (Elliott-Feb. 19, 1854)

The Scalf Family History, by Elmer Scalf, states that Edy was living in Knox County, Kentucky in 1857 where she sold her bounty land of 160 acres. This can be found in the Chapter of John Scalf Sr. Revolutionary Soldier. Elmer states that she lived on until about 1860 and possibly in the home of her son, Peter Scalf who had moved to Knox County from Clay County, Kentucky. If this is correct, Edy would have been around 91 years old at her death.

This lady had suffered a tremendous amount in her 91 years but had stood by her husband and her family through all the trials and tribulations that afflicted them. She had witnessed this country in its infancy and then as an independent nation in her lifetime. She gave birth to sixteen children, losing two of them and her husband. She lived to know of numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This lady had survived during the toughest aspects of frontier life and lived to recall it.

John Sr. does indeed deserve the honor bestowed upon a Revolutionary Soldier, but the faithful woman at his side also deserves as much honor for her undying dedication to him and her family.

                                    . Conclusion

The counties of Washington, Greene, Hawkins and Sullivan join at a point on Chimney Top Mountain and are noted in the very early land deeds of survey in the records of Sullivan County, Tennessee. Chimney Top was once known as Craggy Point.

Very fond memories of Chimney Top are brought to mind when studying the old records of the Sullivan/Hawkins/Greene/Washington County areas. Many hours were spent on the top of this mountain as a child with my dad who often wondered back down memory lane and talked of the old folks while we sat on the Chimney Rocks on top of the mountain. These rocks present an unbelievable picturesque view of all these counties. Hours on end were spent almost every Saturday in the summertime on top of Chimney Top listening to stories of the old folks as my dad strolled down memory lane. No doubt, this is where the genealogy bug took the first bite.

Our Saturday trips to Chimney Top consisted of a stop at Dawson's Store on the Horton Highway that leads to Baileyton, Tennessee. Here, my brother Doug and I would buy soda pops, potato chips and candy while my dad would look around for sandwich meat and various things suitable for a picnic. We would then drive up to the Chimney Top Church where the cemetery is located and where we attended church on Sunday. My dad's family members were all buried here with the exception of his father.

Every Saturday, we would tour the cemetery where my dad would once again repeat the stories of the deaths of his two little sisters, his mother, and other family members. He would point out the graves to us as if he was afraid we would forget who these folks were and exactly where each grave was located. There were no markers for some of the graves and he had written their names on paper and covered them with plastic.

He would place these in the old funeral home markers that were left on the graves by the funeral home. No headstones had been placed for these folks, as money was scarce for the family at the time of their deaths. He was very persistent in keeping the dates and names available. The paper was changed often as the elements would destroy the writing and render them illegible. After his death, with the help of the funeral home and the skills of the husband of a cousin, my cousin and I placed concrete markers for these family members with the names and dates embedded. .

At this time, I didn't know why my dad told us, repeatedly, the same things every time we went to the cemetery but looking back, I'm certainly glad he did. 

After we toured the cemetery we would cross the hollow just over the hill and make our way down by an old home place known as the Holiday House and up the hill to the road that led to the climb to the mountain. Across the road we would climb the bank and go through the barbed-wire fence and up another steep hill to the top where it opened into a flat, grassy field. This area held the remains of some of the Scalf ancestors as well as other families of the area. My dad had been told that some of his ancestors were buried here but he did not know who they were.

At one time, fieldstones had been placed at the graves for markers but over the years, different families had owned land in the mountain and one family had run cattle here. The fieldstones used for grave markers were now scattered about the field and he could no longer remember exactly where they had been placed.

These family members had obviously lived before his father and grandfather because his grandfather's family was buried in the cemetery along with my grandmother, my aunts and uncles that had passed on. The family members of the previous generation were accounted for along with my grandparents in the Chimney Top Church Cemetery so these members would have been from at least, the generation of Berryman.

One day, while reading some old deeds of Berryman Scalf it suddenly occurred to me that the old foundation near the top of Chimney Top where my dad had pointed out as Berry's home place, had been the home of Berryman Scalf. This story had confused me as a child but now it was clear. This home was located in Greene County, Tennessee.

We always climbed the mountain on the Greene County side and the old cabin had stood just beneath the Chimney Rocks but located at a distance so as not to be exactly under them. Just across the mountain are the counties of Hawkins and Sullivan. Greene and Washington Counties are located on the side we had climbed. I knew this at that time, but as a child it meant little to me. My dad told us constantly that we could go from county to county in just a few steps but that made little sense to me at that age. I didn't even know what a county was! I thought it was exciting though because he made it sound that way.

Although I have no documentation for support, it is here that I believe John Scalf Sr. was visiting when he died on March 10, 1848 and it is here, either in this mountain, or in one of the graves at the base of the mountain, that John Sr. may also have been buried.

The pension file states that John died in Greene County while visiting his son. His son, John Jr. lived at Byrd's Corner during this time and Ira was living in Claiborne County as well. Sons, Jesse, Robert and Peter were living in Kentucky. Sons William and Brittan had died. Although Hawkins County was just across the top of the mountain from Berryman, Byrds Corner was a good distance from Chimney Top and would have probably required at least a day's travel.

The fact that no embalming methods took place in those days leads me to believe that John may not have been taken back to Byrd's Corner. John also was living alternately with his children, which suggests that John and Edy had no home of their own. In this case, there would have been no reason to return to Byrd's Corner for burial.

Funerals were often held in a short time before the body began to turn. This would have probably taken place within two days after John's death. Mountain custom in Appalachia and in other areas at that time as well was to hold a wake. The family would sit up all night with the deceased and in some cases, the deceased was buried the next day depending on whether it was hot or cold weather. John Sr. died in March. Although March would not be considered a cold month in this area, it would have been cool. Possibly cool enough to wait for the family members to reach Berryman's home in time for the burial.

If families lived away and were traveling a good distance, the body would lie in state for another night and then burial took place the following morning unless the weather was very hot. In this case, the deceased was often buried the day after the wake whether family arrived in time or not. A message was probably taken to John's children in Claiborne County as well as Kentucky but most often, letters were written to families residing in other states.

During this time, bodies were usually buried near the location of their death. The children in Kentucky probably knew nothing of the death of their father until later. It is possible however, that John's body was returned to Byrd's Corner, but unlikely. My conclusion to this is based on a study of the time-period and personal knowledge of the Appalachian area.

Births and deaths were not required to be recorded during this time. For this reason, there is no death record in the Greene, Hawkins, Sullivan or Washington County area for John Sr. and we do know that he died in Greene County by Edy's statement in the pension file.

Whether or not John Scalf Sr. is buried at Chimney Top Mountain or whether his remains rest at Byrd's Corner is something we can only speculate. However, this man left a remarkable story for his descendants. He left a story of pride, persistence and a never-ending persistence to restore his character and honesty.

Although poor, he appears to have been a man of honor. He did not give up the battle until the record was set straight. He had the courage at a very young age to fight for his country's freedom and through his pain and efforts we claim the freedom he fought to help establish.

One hundred and twenty-four years and twenty odd days later, another veteran of WWII, his great-great grandson, Ira Bernie Scalf (my dad) was laid to rest in the Chimney Top Baptist Church Cemetery. Beside my dad is his son, my brother, James Harvey Scalf (Viet Nam era) the ggg-grandson of John Scalf Sr. died 140 years after the death of John. Many other Scalf veterans have descended from this Revolutionary Soldier and some gave their lives for the freedom this man fought to help establish.

He was most likely crippled to the point he probably could not care for his family as well as others, but the records reflect that he indeed loved his family and his family loved him.

Regardless of how one might perceive the man, or what he may have done or not done, the records produce the evidence that John Scalf Sr. was a Revolutionary Soldier and for this he deserves as much honor and respect as any veteran that has laid down his life for his country.

Copyright (C) 2002 by Margaret Fleenor, All Rights Reserved.