Evan Thomas, my 4th great grandfather, was born on Feb. 22, 1757 in Frederick County, Virginia and died on March 15, 1840 in Commiskey, Jennings County, Indiana. During that time he lived a very interesting and full life. He married three times (Hannah Nixon on Dec 10, 1778 in Virginia; Sarah Booth on Jan 29 1789 in Harrison County, Virginia and Mary Everton, a widow, on Dec 25 1810 in Henry County, Kentucky). A newspaper account of his death states he had 14 children, 82 grandchildren and 37 great grandchildren. He actually had 15 children (5 by Hannah and 10 by Sarah) but one did not live to adulthood.
In 1796 he left Virginia, moved to Kentucky and in 1810 he moved to Jennings County, Indiana where he remained until his death. In the 1830 US Census he is listed on the same page as the father of his son-in-law Isaac Hall (married to Rhoda Thomas) and my 2nd great grand uncle Abraham Walton (brother to my 2nd great grandfather Isaiah Walton). And as a matter of fact, Isaac and Rhoda’s daughter Eliza Jane married my 2nd great grandfather Isaiah.
In 1831 Evan was granted title to a parcel of land of just over 78 acres in Jennings County with the deed bearing the name of Andrew Jackson, President.
Just these facts would make it obvious that he had an interesting life but there is much more. Like so many others of his time he served in the Revolutionary War as a private from Virginia. Evan joined in Virginia in July 1775 as a private in Captain Phillip Lee’s company, Colonel Gresham’s Virginia Regiment. He marched north and served until early February 1776 when he enlisted in Captain Charles West’s company, Colonel Weedon’s Virginia Regiment. During the two years he served in this regiment he fought in the battles of Harlem Heights on 14 Sep, 1776, White Plains on 28 Oct, 1776, Piscataway on 10 May, 1777, Brandywine on 11 Sep, 1777, Germantown on 4 Oct, 1777 and various other skirmishes. At that time he belonged to General Woodford’s Brigade and Major General Stevens’ Division. Interestingly, after the battle at Germantown he, along with the other 11,000+ men of the Continental Army under General George Washington, proceeded to spend the famed winter of 1777/78 at Valley Forge. He was discharged at Valley Forge in Feb 1778 by General Woodford.
His application also states that in 1781 he again served in the Continental Army, this time as a substitute for John McGraw. There is no indication of how long he served the second time or of the names of his officers. However, it’s possible that he served to especially protect Virginia. Early in 1781 British General Cornwallis with 7500 troops began a campaign to conquer Virginia. Cornwallis was unsuccessful and in October of 1781 he and his 9000 troops surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia which was the telling defeat that began the slow end to the war.
This information was obtained from sworn testimony before a court in Jennings County.
Ancestry.com. U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.