Men Present at Fort Randolph, Point Pleasant
When Chief Cornstalk Was Murdered on 10 Nov 1777

I began compiling this list to see if I could uncover additional evidence that a man by the name of Garrett Berry was present at Fort Randolph on 10 Nov 1777 when Chief Cornstalk was killed. If Berry was present, I wanted to know what unit he served in and from where. In particular, I hoped to discover whether he was the same Garrett Berry who paid taxes in Rockingham County, Virginia between 1782 and 1787, and/or who lived in Madison County, Kentucky in 1789 and later.

Garrett Berry is mentioned by name in the Revolutionary War pension application of William Dula as as one of three men present at Fort Randolph who took part in the murder of Cornstalk and several other Indians on 10 Nov 1777. So far, Dula's account is the only evidence I have found for Garrett Berry's presence at Fort Randolph. Dula mentioned the names of two other men in addition to Berry: Macon [sic] McCown and Daniel Goldsby. I have so far been able to confirm the presence of only one of these three - Malcolm McCown, who seems to be the man referred to by Dula as Macon McCown.

Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia caused charges to be brought against four men in connection with the killing of Cornstalk. They were Captain James Hall (captain of a militia company from Botetourt County, later Rockbridge), Malcolm McCown, Hugh Galbraith and William Rowan. These four accused men were tried in the Court of Botetourt County in the spring of 1778 and acquitted for lack of witnesses testifying against them.

I have so far found no evidence that charges were brought against any other men in this case - in particular, none against Garrett Berry. I have as yet found no evidence of service by any man named Garrett Berry in any Virginia militia unit other than the statement made by Dula in his pension application.

If Berry did serve, perhaps he did not live long enough to apply for a pension himself. Although several acts providing pensions under special circumstances had been passed previously, many Revolutionary War veterans remained ineligible until a more liberal law was passed in 1832. A minimum of six months service in the Continental Line, State troops, volunteers or militia was required to claim a pension under the 1832 Act. Many men still found it difficult to prove the required six months of service. Few had certificates of discharge and had to rely instead on locating witnesses to prove their service.

In the absence of a pension application, it is often difficult to verify Revolutionary War service in a militia unit on the Virginia frontier. Service in local militia units was often for a brief period of a few months duration at a time. It is believed that many Virginia militia lists have not survived.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

The town of Point Pleasant is located at the mouth of the Kanawha River, where it empties into the Ohio River, today in Mason County, West Virginia. In the fall of 1777, Fort Randolph was located at Point Pleasant, which was situated at the border of the counties of Greenbrier (formed in 1777 from Botetourt County, effective 1778) and Montgomery (formed in 1776 from from Fincastle County, effective 1777), the Kanawha River being the apparent boundary between the two counties at that time.

Captain Matthew Arbuckle was in command at Fort Randolph in 1777. He had raised a company of militia in Botetourt County by authority of an ordinance passed by the Convention at Williamsburg on 17 July 1775. The company was to include 100 privates and a handful of other personnel including officers, drummers, etc. In reality, the company at times had fewer than half that number of privates during their time at Fort Randolph. Arbuckle was appointed captain for one year by the Committee of Botetourt County in September 1775, with his commission later extended two additional years.

In October 1776, Arbuckle's militia company was incorporated into the 12th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line by Act of the Assembly of Virginia. They were the fifth company of the 12th regiment, which was designated the 8th Regiment in September 1778. Soldiers from Arbuckle's company who later filed applications for Revolutionary War pensions referred to themselves variously as militia men, regulars or members of the Continental army.

Arbuckle's company built Fort Randolph and remained stationed there until their terms of service expired. They were joined at the fort in October 1777 by another company, also raised in Botetourt, under Captain William McKee, who was second in command at the fort, under Arbuckle. Both men's companies served under the stipulation that their service be at Point Pleasant, although some men might later have had service in other units after their term of service in Arbuckle's company expired in October 1778.

In a letter to General Edward Hand at Fort Pitt dated 6 Oct 1777, Arbuckle wrote that the garrison at Fort Randolph at that time consisted of his company, Captain McKee's company and a company of militia under Captain Henderson - a total of 130. They were shortly joined by several militia units ordered to the fort in preparation for an expedition against the Indians to be commenced under General Hand in the fall of 1777. General Hand arrived in mid-November, but without the additional troops necessary for such an expedition, which was therefore not attempted. It was while these additional units were present at Fort Randolph, but before the arrival of General Hand, that an incident occurred that culminated in the murder of Cornstalk and several other Indians who were being temporarily detained at the fort.

For additional information on this incident, see the following, beginning on p. 157: Frontier Defense on the Upper Ohio, 1777-1778 by Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg. See also General Hand's letter on p. 189 of the same book. This book is based on manuscripts in the Draper Collection.

I have compiled the following list of men who served at Point Pleasant from several different sources. One of the primary sources has been the original Revolutionary War pension applications (online at Footnote.com) of men who claimed they served at Point Pleasant during 1777.

I thought that by compiling this list, I might have a better picture of which militia units were present at Fort Randolph. Such a list would perhaps enable me make a more targeted search for information about the particular units present at Fort Randolph in November 1777, determine their catchment areas and uncover additional information about Garrett Berry.

Men at Fort Randolph on 10 Nov 1777

Name Date Enlisted Place Enlisted Details of Service More Details & Source
Captain Matthew Arbuckle
 
Botetourt Co. VA Capt. Matthew Arbuckle, regular infantry  
Israel Meadows
July 1776
Sweet Springs, VA Capt. Matthew Arbuckle's Virginia Company Israel Meadows (W. 8451); filed from Estill Co. KY 1818; moved to Madison Co. KY in early 1800; married Barbara Green - both were of Greenbrier Co. VA but were married in Botetourt; affidavit of Isabella Howard of Montgomery Co. Ky age 84 knew them before they were married - lived near each other at Burntsiders [Burnside's?] fort in Greenbrier Co. VA.
Peter Allumbaugh
Oct 1775 for one year
Greenbrier Co. VA Capt. Matthew Arbuckle, 12th Virginia Regt. "in the Continental" Peter Allumbaugh (S. 36401); filed from Madison Co. KY 1822; affadavits from Israel Meddows and Alexander Reid of Estill Co. KY and Margaret Clark of Clark Co. KY attest to his service.
Alexander Reid
Spring 1776 for 3 years
Greenbrier Co. VA Capt. Matthew Arbuckle, 12th Regt. Virginia line Alexander Reid (S. 36872); resident of Estill Co. KY but filed from Montgomery Co. KY 1819; in 1824, moved to Lawrence Co. Indiana to be near children. Phillip C. Hammon says he enlisted with Reid.
Phillip Hammon
Spring 1776 for 3 years
Greenbrier Co. VA Capt. Matthew Arbuckle, 12th Virginia Regt. Phillip Hammon (S. 30,452); filed from Montgomery Co. KY 1819; in 1824, moved to Jackson Co. Alabama early 1820s and died there 3 Aug 1832; widow died 28 Jan 1842 DeKalb Co AL; Owsley Co. KY, 1856 - son & administrator James Hammon says many of the children moved back to Kentucky.
Captain James Hall
 
Botetourt Co. (later Rockbridge Co.) VA Capt. James Hall, militia Acquitted for the murder of Cornstalk in Rockbridge Co. VA in 1778; his men are said to be the ones who killed Cornstalk after a member of their militia company, Ensign Gilmore (aka Gilmer), was killed outside the fort by Indians; said to be "of Rockbridge" in Proclamation of Virginia Governor Patrick Henry published in the Virginia Gazette 3 April 1778.
Adam Barnes
 
"of Greenbrier" Co. VA Capt. James Hall, militia? Said to be "of Greenbrier" in Proclamation of Virginia Governor Patrick Henry published in the Virginia Gazette 3 April 1778; could not find mention of a trial in Rockbridge County, where the others acccused were tried.
William Roane or Rowan
 
"of Rockbridge" Co. VA Capt. James Hall, militia? Acquitted for the murder of Cornstalk in Rockbridge Co. VA in 1778; said to be "of Rockbridge" in Proclamation of Virginia Governor Patrick Henry published in the Virginia Gazette 3 April 1778.
Hugh Galbreath
 
"of Rockbridge" Co. VA Capt. James Hall, militia? Acquitted for the murder of Cornstalk in Rockbridge Co. VA in 1778; said to be "of Rockbridge" in Proclamation of Virginia Governor Patrick Henry published in the Virginia Gazette 3 April 1778.
Captain John Stuart
 
?
Capt. John Stuart, ? militia
 
Colonel George Skillern
 
?
commanding the Botetourt Co. VA militia
 
Colonel John Dickinson
 
?
commanding the Augusta Co. VA militia
 
William Dula
Fall 1776
Rockingham Co. VA claimed service under Capt. Hopkins William Dula (R. 3112); filed from Wilkes Co. NC.
Malcolm McCown
?
?
probably Capt. James Hall, militia
Acquitted for the murder of Cornstalk in Botetourt Co. in 1778; named in William Dula's pension application; said to be "of Augusta" in Proclamation of Virginia Governor Patrick Henry published in the Virginia Gazette 3 April 1778.
Garret Berry
?
?
?
Named in William Dula's pension application (R. 3112) as present and participating in the murder of Cornstalk.
Daniel Goldsby
?
?
?
Named in William Dula's pension application (R. 3112) as present and participating in the murder of Cornstalk.
Wallis Estill
May 1776
Greenbrier Co. VA Capt. Henderson's company Wallis Estill (S. 1759); filed from Franklin Co. TN 1832 - living on waters of Elk River; lived in Botetourt County in 1781; moved to Madison Co. KY 1794 and lived there until 1806, then to TN; mentions a sister Abba Woods in Franklin Co. TN; born 8 March 1758 in Augusta Co. VA.
Samuel Tanner
about May 1777
Rockbridge Co. VA Capt. Hall's company Samuel Tanner (R. 10389); Declaration 22 June 1833 Jackson Co VA before justice in County of Lewis, VA - Tanner a resident of Spring Creek, Jackson Co VA age 74; volunteered 1777 in Rockbridge Co. as a private in company of militia under Capt Hall, assembled about 10 May at Lexington in said county & marched toward Point Pleasant [many details of the march - GWB]; member of the same company as the man killed by the Indians [Gilmore - GWB] and present at the fort when Cornstalk was killed; born in Augusta Co. now Rockbridge Va on 15 May 1759; moved to Greenbrier Co where he lived until 1798 when he moved to Monongalia Co. Va and lived there until 1822 when he moved to Jackson Co then Mason Co. Va where he still lives.
George P. Smith
8 May 1777
Augusta Co. VA Capt. Tate's company George P. Smith (S. 18595); filed from Lewis Co Va 20 Sep 1833 - resident of Hacker's Creek age 76; rendezvoused at Staunton in Augusta Co. about 1 June and marched to Lewisburg, where joined regt under command of Col. Skillern and from there to Point Pleasant, arriving end of August [many details of the march - GWB]; present at the fort when Cornstalk was killed; born in Berkely Co. VA 4 July 1757 & resided in that part of Berkely that is now Jefferson until 1774 when moved to Augusta Co. VA, where called into service.

 
    militia unit under Captain MATTHEW ARBUCKLE from Botetourt Co. VA 
   militia unit under Captain JAMES HALL from Botetourt (later Rockbridge) Co. VA 
    MILITIA UNIT UNDER CAPTAIN ___ FROM _________ COUNTY 
    MILITIA UNIT UNDER CAPTAIN ___ FROM _________ COUNTY 
    MILITIA UNIT UNDER CAPTAIN ___ FROM _________ COUNTY