Both men, named Benjamin HEAD, were referred to as "captain" in surviving documents.Both participated in the American Revolution but in rather different ways.One was stationed locally, and the other served away from home for about six years.They were probably second cousins.One was from Orange Co., VA.The other was from the neighboring county of Spotsylvania.
CAPT. BENJAMIN HEAD OF ORANGE CO., VA
He was an older man with several children, the eldest of whom was of majority age.His wife was Martha, and he was referred to as "son-in-law" in the 1773/1774 will of Robert SHARMAN of Bromfield Parish, Culpeper Co., VA.(The latter surname probably derives from the SHEARMAN family found in early Lancaster Co., VA as well as Old Rappahannock County.)
On 28 May 1778 the county court appointed him as a captain of the Orange County Militia for one year.(This annual position was then assigned to someone else.)
Benjamin HEAD's subsequent participation in the war effort was to deliver provisions (impressed from the public in the county) to the patriot armies camped nearby.In 1781 the county gave him $36,000 to purchase a wagon & horses to perform this service, and his two older sons, James and William, were part of the team of cattle drovers.
CAPT. BENJAMIN HEAD OF SPOTSYLVANIA CO., VA
He was a younger man who became newly-married.He was a son of Alexander Spence HEAD & wife Sarah.While visiting King William Co., VA, he met and married a woman who has been referenced in records as either Maria or Mary.(Her maiden name is thought to be RICE.As noted in the Spotsylvania Co., VA Grantee Index/Deed Book R:473, Maria was deeded on 20 Sept 1808 "slaves & p.p. (personal property?)" by William RICE of King William Co., VA.This suggests that Benjamin & Maria's son, William R. HEAD, may have been named for him.)
Benjamin HEAD, whose home was situated near the River Ta, had a rather impressive military record during the War for Independence.Initially, he enlisted in the Spotsylvania Co. Militia in 1776.During that year, the Continental Congress was in dire need of additional troops and authorized some militias and Virginia regiments into 'Continental Service'.As a result of being absorbed into the regular army, Benjamin became eligible for receiving bounty land.
Various affidavits as to his service show that Benjamin fought in many battles, first with the infantry, then later with the cavalry.He was at the Battle of White Plains (NY 28 Oct 1776), the "Crossing of the Delaware"/the Battle of Trenton (PA/NJ 25-26 Dec 1776) and the Battle of Princeton (NJ 3 Jan 1777).Then later he joined the 1st Regiment Continental Light Dragoons (aka "Bland's Horse") which was formed in Williamsburg,VA with men from the eastern & northern parts of the state.Colonel Theodore BLAND was their commander, and Benjamin must have held him in high regard as one of his sons was named Theodore Bland HEAD.
As a dragoon (cavalryman), Benjamin fought at the Battle of Brandywine (DE 11 Sept 1777) and the Battle of Germantown (PA 4 Oct 1777).He was also at the Battle of Monmouth (NJ 28 June 1778).At one point, an affidavit says that he was stationed at Albemarle Barracks (Albemarle Co., VA) where the British POWs, which included the Hessian mercenaries captured at Saratoga, NY, were located.
Another affidavit says he delivered dispatches from General Nathaniel GREENE in Philadelphia, PA to General Benjamin LINCOLN in Charleston, SC.This was probably around the time that the 1st Regiment Continental Light Dragoons was re-assigned to the Southern Department.
On 6 May 1780 (which was 6 days before the Fall of Charleston), Benjamin HEAD was captured in SC at Lenud's Ferry (named for Henry LE NUD, descendant of a French Huguenot family and where a small militia post was situated).Preparations were under way to cross the (Santee) river, and, before doing so, the horses were unbridled and being fed.Suddenly, the 'alarm pistol' sounded.Out of nowhere appeared the horses of Lt. Col. Banastre TARLETON and his British Legion.It was every man for himself --- saber fights, attempts to mount unbridled horses, even leaping into the river to escape to the other side.Unfortunately, the Patriots did not win this battle.
The Battle of Lenud's Ferry and its aftermath was recorded in the extant (5-volume) Revolutionary Diary of Baylor HILL of King & Queen Co. VA who was present at the skirmish and captured.His diary states that about 30 prisoners (4 or 5 wounded) were taken.(The historic marker located in Berkeley Co. SC on US 17A north of Jamestown at the Santee River says TARLETON lost only 2 men, but, of the patriot forces, there were 2 officers & 36 men killed/wounded and 7 officers & 60 dragoons captured.)
Baylor HILL said that by Wed 10 May 1780 he and the other prisoners (Benjamin HEAD among them) had been brought to Charleston, SC where there were "between 150-200 ships and smaller vessels" in the harbor.First, they were placed on board the ship "The Swan" (joining about 100 POWs already there), then, after an hour's wait, they were transferred to the ship "The Union".These ships were moored in Stone Inlet (Stono River) about 3 miles from town..Later, the group was moved to Haddrell's Point.A flag of truce (for exchange of prisoners) arrived from Savannah, and some of the Virginia officers were exchanged for British officers captured at the Battle of Long Island (NY).Although Baylor was a captain, he was not included in this group.By the time that his diary entries end in 1781 about the capture, he is still a prisoner.Yet, this is the year when Benjamin HEAD is exchanged, returns to service and is present 17-19 Oct 1781 at Yorktown for the surrender of Cornwallis and the end of the war.
For his many years of military service, Benjamin HEAD received bounty land (warrant number 2691) in both the Military District of KY and the Virginia Military District of OH.The amount of land awarded to him was less than that granted to an officer.
Yet, many years later after Benjamin's death, his family made an application for additional bounty land stating that Benjamin had been commissioned a captain in 1780 --- that he was held in high esteem by Colonel BLAND, was brave, trustworthy, patriotic and well-liked by his men.However, the petition (registered on 31 Jan 1834) was rejected on 22 July 1834 because there was no proof of record that Benjamin was an officer of any grade.(His name was not found on "the Army Register as Captain, Rolls of Officers, Returns to, Reports of, or Boards of Officers".)
At the end of the war, Benjamin HEAD returned to live out the remainder of his life in Spotsylvania Co., VA where he died on 19 Aug 1808.His widow died three years later.
The known children of Benjamin & Maria were 1. Theodore Bland HEAD (probably died young)2. William R. HEAD (who married Sarah FORD, widow of Aaron QUISENBERRY d. by 1812)3. Sophia (who married John PULLIAM) and
Emanuel HEAD (who married, first, 10 Feb 1810, Fredericksburg, VA, Joyce M. JACKSON ,d/o John, and, second, (contract dt) 29 Nov 1830, Sarah P. BOWLES, d/o William & Elizabeth of Hanover Co., VA).
On 30 Nov 1816 all of the children (except Theodore Bland HEAD) sold a tract belonging to their deceased parents.It was described as being adjacent to Brem's Mill tract, River Ta, Bushes Road, and William ELLIS.On 1 May 1821 Emanuel HEAD & wife Joyce M. of Fredericksburg sold 101 acres in Berkeley Parish crossing the main road (corner of Carr LEA)...at "the corner of Benjamin HEAD decd" and "up said road called Bushes Road".In addition, there was a purchase of 207 acres by Carr W. SEAY in 1818 of land previously owned By Benjamin HEAD, deceased, upon which a 1/2-acre burial ground was located.
Generally speaking, the land would have been located in Berkeley Parish north of the Ta River which parallels CR 606 (Post Oak Rd.) and south of CR 608 (Robert E. Lee Rd.) where Jennings Pond (previously called Gladys Pond) & Glady Run, an offshoot of the Po River, is situated.Flanking this land would probably be CR 648 (Block House Rd.) and CR 649 (Seays Rd.).Apparently, this area is now called Livingston, VA.
Lastly, it is surprising to see that both men called "Capt. Benjamin HEAD" had sons who were found in Morgan Co., GA.Generally, it's been known that one of the migratory paths from Elbert Co., GA that the Orange Co., VA line took was to Morgan Co., GA, but the Spotsylvania Co, VA line made an appearance there as well.
The following was found at the Spotsylvania Courthouse:
30 April 1823 (Spotsylvania Deed Book Z: 320)
William R. HEAD "of Morgan Co., GA" to Reuben GRADY of Spotsylvania Co., VA, "a piece of land", Spotsylvania Co., Pamunky or North Anna River, immediately in fork of said rivers...part of tract of late Francis FORD dec'd as his dwelling plantation and was allotted to said HEAD at division of FORD's lands by his intermarriage with daughter Sarah FORD...
wits:E. HEAD; Reuben W. RADFORD; Jno G. REES, Jr.; A. W. BROWN, JP, Clarke Co., GA
The witness "E. HEAD" was probably William's brother, Emanuel HEAD.One of the other witnesses, Reuben W. RADFORD, was a neighbor.The 1820 tax digest of Morgan Co., GA shows that William was taxed for 56 acres of Lot 260 (originally owned by William RADFORD).On 22 Aug 1822 William sold 77.1 acres, parts of Lot 244 (probably purchased from Obediah RADFORD who owned 172 1/2 acres on 24 Aug 1818) and the adjacent Lot 260, to John RADFORD.The two lots also bordered Lot 259 (Reuben RADFORD, William RADFORD).
At the GA State Archives website, there is an on-line collection of a 5 x 8 card file.The information recorded on it covers the period during which Benjamin & Maria's son, William R. HEAD, was present in Morgan Co., GA:
(5 x 8 card)
"HEAD, William R.
Lieut., Morgan co., June 29, 1819-Aug. 6, 1823
(M. R., 1808-1829, p.38)"
The 1820 Morgan Co, GA census for William R. HEAD shows only 2 boys under the age of 10 in the home.These would probably be Richard & Francis QUISENBERRY (Sarah FORD's sons by her first husband, Aaron).As noted in a chancery case filed in Louisa Co., VA (index #1844-001), William & Sarah had one child, a daughter.The 61 pages of the case may be viewed on-line at the VA State Archives website.
The content of the case shows that Francis FORD, decd, of Spotsylvania Co., VA had 3 daughters:Elizabeth (w/o William GRADY), Keziah FORD and Sarah FORD (who married, first, Aaron QUISENBERRY and, second, William R. HEAD).The wording implies that Sarah is deceased, and her share of an inheritance from the estate of her sister, Keziah (who died in1814), is to be distributed among Sarah's children.
The following was found on page 59 of the chancery case:
"The children of Mrs. HEAD are Richard & Francis QUISENBERRY , both living in Augusta county.She also had a daughter, Anne HEAD, who died since the testatrix, & whose half brothers, the two QUISENBERRYs, are her heirs --- her father having died before her.Your orator Thomas BRONAUGH has bought Richard QUISENBERRY's interest in the 48 acres of land; but this was before Anne HEAD died, so that Richard QUISENBERRY is still entitled to his one half of her ninth."
The discovery of this information raises a question as to who were the parents of Benjamin HEAD, born circa 1820 GA (h/o Mary COSBY) and Emanuel HEAD, born circa 1821 GA (h/o Mary JONES) who are found in Morgan Co. GA and appear to be brothers.Since William R. HEAD is supposed to have died before his daughter, Anne HEAD, does this mean that William's brother, Emanuel HEAD, might have been the father?It's perplexing because the presumptive brothers, Benjamin & Emanuel HEAD, are found in the county as adult married men who do not appear to have left the state of GA since the day that they were born.Yet, Emanuel HEAD (bro/o William) seems to have returned to VA for a second marriage in 1830.(Did he also return with Sarah HEAD's sons, the Quisenberry brothers, who were later living in Augusta Co., VA?)