Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Just a Kid: John Dougan in the American Revolutionary War

D.A.R. plaque at John Dougan's gravesite, Wayne County, Indiana
John Dougan (1763-1842), our 6th great-uncle, brother of Thomas Dougan (1746-1795) and our 5th great-grandfather James Dougan (1754-1837), was the 3rd Dougan to serve in the Revolutionary War in North Carolina. When he applied for a pension in October 1833 he was 70 years old and living in Wayne County, Indiana. I'm posting his full statement because his life and service shouldn't be forgotten. From John's court testimony we're able to pin down the year the Dougans moved from Pennsylvania down to North Carolina - "I was born in Lancaster County State of Pennsylvania January 9th, 1763; I was but six months old when my parents left Pennsylvania and moved to North Carolina." John was fifteen- going on sixteen years-old when he enlisted. I imagine his oldest brother and commander Thomas promised their mother he'd take care of the boy.

“I entered the service…in the year 1778, the day and month I do not
recollect, in Randolph County, North Carolina, as a volunteer private, in a
volunteer company of horse militia commanded by Captain THOMAS DOUGAN, and
served in said company to the best of my recollection, one year, during which
time we were stationed at Bell’s Mill in said county of Randolph, as a public
store of provisions, said BELL then being a Commissary to furnish provisions
for the Army of the Revolution. During said service, I found my own horse,
saddle, and bridle and guns.”

Randolph County, North Carolina
“Our company was raised for the purpose of guarding said public store, and
suppressing the Tories and disaffected, with whom that county was then largely
infected. During the year service aforesaid, we were employed in guarding said
public store, and in detached companies guarding provision wagons conveying
provisions to said store and in collecting beeves and other provisions . . . and in traversing the country looking out for Tories and protecting the country from their incursions.”

Ruin of Bell's Mill
“At the end of the said year of service, said Captain [Thomas] DOUGAN was advanced to
the rank of Major and WILLIAM GRAY, the ensign of said company was advanced to
the rank of Captain of said company and took the command thereof. . . .  I continued in said
company under Captain GRAY, Lieutenant NEWLAND and Ensign CLARK, and served as
a private until the termination of the war, during which time we were stationed
at Bell’s Mill, when not engaged in active service, until the latter part of 1782, to the best of my recollection. After that time until the close of the war, we were stationed when not engaged in active service, at the home of Colonel EDWARD SHARP, in County of Randolph, during all of which time I found my own horse, saddle and bridle, and arms.

“The first active service during said latter period of my service was a short
time after Captain GRAY took the command of said company. We were ordered out
under the command of Colonel JOHN COLLIER [John married Collier's daughter Martha (1764-1854) in 1784. The Colliers had come from Pennsylvania with the Dougans.] and Lieutenant ANDREW BALFOUR of County of Randolph, with a number of volunteers, in all about sixty men. We marched about twenty-five miles towards the east end of said named county to oppose a company of Tories under the command of one Colonel FANNEN [FANNING], a Tory Colonel who was embodying a Tory force in the county adjoining below ours. The second night after leaving our station, we encamped at the house of one JOHN NEEDHAM. During the night, we were attacked by Colonel FANNING and his Tory force. After a short conflict, we repulsed them with two of their men killed and four or five wounded. The next morning we pursued Colonel FANNING and two days after the conflict, we came upon one Captain MICHAEL ROBBINS, a Tory captain with ten or twelve Tories under his command. We dispersed them with three of their men killed. We then returned to our station at Bell’s Mill.”

[I posted Colonel Fanning's Wiki site in my last blog. His North Carolina History site is HERE]
“The next active service we were engaged in was three or four months
after the last named expedition, we were ordered out in the fall, I think in
September [the year I cannot recollect], against the Highland Scotch of North
Carolina, who were embodying a Tory force sixty or seventy miles from our
station in the highlands of said state. We were joined by one Colonel SAUNDERS
of Wake County, North Carolina, with a body of over one hundred men. Said
Colonel SAUNDERS took the command of the whole, and marched us into the
highlands and across Cape Fear River. We stole a march on the Tories by
marching all night one night, and took fourteen prisoners. Our company was
ordered to guard and did guard the prisoners to Hillsborough in Orange County,
North Carolina, the District jail. We lodged the prisoners in jail and returned
to our station.”

[After the Battle of Culloden in April 1746, many highlanders emigrated to Canada and America, especially North Carolina. They had fought the English for so long, I was surprised to learn most remained loyal to the Crown. Their activities in North Carolina during the Revolution are HERE]
“Another piece of service we rendered occurred a few weeks previous to the last
named expedition in defending the public store at our station. The store was
attacked by one Captain EDWARD FRANKLIN (a Tory captain commissioned by Lord
CORNWALLIS) and his company about fifteen in number. We repulsed them and the
next day we pursued them, overtook them, and killed FRANKLIN (the captain) and
one of his men, and dispersed the company.”

“The next active service that I now recollected that we were engaged in, I
think occurred in March 1782 (the spring after Lord CORNWALLIS surrendered).
Captain FANNING and his company consisting of forty or fifty Tories came into
our county and ravaged the country and killed Lieutenant Colonel BALFOUR and
Captain JOHN BRYAN in their own houses and burned my mother’s house and barn [Mary Kerr Dougan (1726-1824), our widowed 6th great-grandmother], Colonel COLLIER’s and Esquire MILLIGAN’s houses. We pursued them and overtook them and put them to flight, but the day being wet, our guns missed fire, so that we only wounded two men.” [Fanning surrendered soon after and in April married Sarah Carr. They moved to Florida, but eventually settled in Canada.]

“The next piece of active service and the last service I did during the
war occurred as follows: Colonel ELROD, Captain MICHAEL ROBBINS and Captain
SAMUEL STILL, Tory officers, were passing through said county of Randolph. They
killed one young man and wounded another. We pursued them several days and our
company separated into two parties. One part of the company overtook them, and
killed Colonel ELROD and Captain STILL. The part of the company I was in was
not present when they were killed. We marched over one hundred miles over the
Blue Ridge, from thence we returned to the station at Colonel SHARP’s, and
shortly afterwards were disbanded.”

“I cannot now state positively whether I received a discharge from my
captain. But I do recollect that vouchers for my services were placed in the
hands of my older brother, THOMAS DOUGAN, who took them to Hillsborough, North
Carolina and purchased land for me with them. To the best of my recollection,
the rate of pay that I received was twelve dollars per month for my services…

Wayne County, Indiana, where John Settled
John married Martha Collier in 1784. They continued to live in North Carolina until they moved to Tennessee. According to his sworn testimony in court, he moved up from Tennessee to Indiana in 1816, settling in Wayne County, which makes him the earliest Dougan in Indiana. Perhaps it was he who lured the others northward. John died January 25, 1842 and in 1846 his widow Martha (aged 83) applied for a widow's pension.  John and Martha had eight daughters and two sons (who were given names so familiar in this large family - Margaret, Mary, Susannah, Rebecca, Ellen, Martha, Sarah, Jane, Thomas and John.
Dougan tombstone, Earlham Cemetery, Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana

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