Joseph Williams

This information is contributed by Dorothy White

WILLIAMS, Joseph Jr, Private/Ensign/Lieutenant, N.C. Malitia

Soldier was born Dec. 20, 1760 to Joseph Sr. and Mary Hicks Williams. On 
16 Jan 1833 in Telfair County, Ga., personally appeared Joseph Williams, 
now 73 years old, and under oath says that he was in school until 1779 when 
his brother Aaron came and got him to join his militia company, that he 
en­tered military service in Duplin County in March 1779, that he was promoted 
to the rank of ensign at the last of March 1781, that his company was 
commanded by Aaron Williams his brother of Duplin County, that he was 
attached to the regiment under Col. James Kenan and Major Gillespie (a man 
who died after the War in Washington DC as a member of Congress), that 
most of his fighting was in the Pee Dee River section against the Tories who 
called themselves "true men", that his principal fight was one at the Big Bridge 
10 miles above Wil­mington, that his principal officers were Gens. Ashe, 
Lillington and Kenan, that the continental officers he remembers were Majors 
Dougherty and Rhoads, that his company was commanded at first by Capt. 
Owen Kenan under Majors Gil­lespie and Molton, that at one time they were 
stationed a few weeks at Major John Treadwell's in the fork of the Coharie 
Rivers (now in Sampson) where they received an express from Col. Thomas 
Bloodworth ordering them elsewhere, that his company and one under Tory 
officer Scarborough met at South River, that after fighting they had found the 
Tories too much for them, that they had agreed to capitulate and were to meet 
at a Widow DeVane's on Black River for terms, that they decided not to 
capitulate so hid themselves and waited in am­bush for the Tories to return, 
that when Scarborough's  

Company came they jumped them and captured all 11 without firing a gun, that 
they guarded the prisoners from Capt. Merritt's in now Sampson County to the 
Duplin Head­quarters Bull Pen (Gaol) from where they were to be marched on 
to Edenton, that 10 of the men decided to swear allegiance to the American 
Government ex­cept for Scarborough, that the converted Tories were placed in 
an American Company, that he (Joseph Williams) then went with Major Molton 
to the Neuse River and on as far as Newbern at the Trent River, then to 
Limestone Creek, then to Long Creek and there they had an engagement against  
McLeod's Corps of Tories, that his company was not engaged in this fight as they 
had been sent by Col. Caswell to a bridge one mile higher up the creek, that after 
persuing the Tories for some time they joined the forces under Gen. John Ashe.

That they were then sent to Newbern with 5 wagons to fetch the magazines (large 
ammunition supplies) to the Long (Big) Bridge 10 miles above Wil­mington, that 
soon after they arrived the enemy came on and routed them with some losses, that 
perhaps 7 men were killed and some wounded, that Gen. Kenan made a stand 50 
miles higher up the river, that after collecting their men they marched on and 
entrenched at Rockfish Bridge, that while there they sub­sisted on pork and bread 
and some days with nothing but cowpeas boiled in bog­pond water without salt, 
that these poor rations caused about 20 men to desert in one night, that the Tories 
came at them and they (Americans) were routed again with a loss of two men and 
one of the enemy shot dead, that as well as he can remember all this took place in 
March 1781, and that he received his discharge from Gen. Kenan in May 1781. 

That he knows of no one who can verify his claim except Stephen Bowen and John 
Goff, pensioners who served with him.

As witnesses of his veracity and character he referred the court to William Parker, 
Noah Paramour, John Williams, Edward Burke, Jeremiah Wells and Stephen Bowen. 
He stated that he was born  20 Dec 1759 in Duplin County and his birth is recorded 
in his father's church bible, that he lived in Duplin County until 1823, and that he then 
moved to Telfair County, Ga.

On 17 April 1835, before Lott Warren then sitting at Telfair County, Ga., Judge of 
Superior Court of the Southern Circuit, appeared John Goff of the County of Lowndes, 
Ga., who declared that in March 1779 he entered the service of the U.S. as a volunteer 
in a company commanded by Capt. Aaron Williams and attached to the Regiment 
commanded by Gen. James Kenan. Goff served as ser­geant and then as ensign. 
When promoted, Joseph Williams was then acting in the capacity of ensign of his 
company and was promoted later to 1st Lieutenant and served two more years.

On 7 Jan 1833, before Telfair County Clerk of Court Lucien Church, appeared Stephen 
Bowen who declared under oath that he was a regular soldier of the U.S. in the War, 
that he is now a pensioner and when in service was well ac­quainted with Joseph 
Williams, Ensign and 2nd Lieut. in Aaron William's Militia Company, that they saw 
and conversed  with each other in 1780 and 1781, and that after the resignation of Lt. 
Clifton Bowen (father of the depondent) the said Joseph Williams seceded to the rank 
of 1st Lieutenant. 

Joseph Williams was granted a pension 21 March 1834. It was for $318.33 per annum. 
However, it was called into question, the proofs found insufficient and it was discontinued 
4 March 1845. Thereupon, additional proofs were found and the pension was reinstated. 

On 20 Dec 1845, at age 86, he stated that he was the son of Joseph Williams Sr who 
was sheriff of Duplin County from 1754 to 1758 and that he was the 2nd son in his 
father's family who lived to be grown. The others were Aaron, (himself), David and Byrd 

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