The War of 1812, and the (not so little) Drummer Boy

Last night I attended my first GeneaWebinar (from the list on GeneaBloggers site):  The War of 1812 – America’s “Forgotten” War, presented by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG.  Peggy told us that most Americans are not that familiar with the War of 1812 – and, after hearing her detailed overview of just the major battles, I realized that she was right!   With the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of War next Monday, June 18, it was a very timely look at the world of our ancestors so soon after fighting the Revolutionary War.

In the question and answer session following, Peggy answered my question about an ancestor, one that I have wondered about for a long time.  I asked if drummers in the war were always boys, or if a 40 year old man could have been a drummer.  Peggy said that in her experience the drummers were always boys, and often boys who were not even as old as they claimed to be.  Of course, she said, my ancestor could be the exception – perhaps because he was unfit for battle.

The ancestor in question is Tubal Cain Brock, born in 1775 in Bedford County, Virginia (now Franklin County).  He had five children, according to a son’s biography, and one of them was my 3g grandmother, Martha.  Quite a bit is known about Martha and three brothers; the remaining child is something of a mystery.  It is said that he was the first child, named Tubal, and it was thought that he died young since no one seemed to mention him.  In some online trees I have actually seen his dates given as 1797-1796, so he was apparently a very special baby!

The only reference I have found that might be to young Tubal is the 1814 Regiment in Virginia naming Tubal Brock as the drummer.

  • Drummer, 12 days; Muster Roll Of Capt John Pinckard’s Company of Riflemen,         of the 110th Regiment, Virginia Militia, commanded by Lt Col. Robert Innes, in the Service of the U.S., from the 11th to the 23rd of Sept., in the year 1814

I have compared the list in the regiment to the 1810 Census in the area, and have found quite a few surnames, and some of the first names, the same; so they might be the men in the Census or they might be their sons.  And this is also my dilemma with Tubal.  Is it father or son?

I asked Peggy the length of service that was required for a pension, thinking that this might give me a path of investigation in determining which Tubal served.  She did not know specifically but said the publication Tracing Your War of 1812 Ancestors by Family Chronicle Magazine would be a good place to look.   Available at Barnes & Noble for $10, it sounds like a great resource, but it‘s not in my genealogy budget (that’s $0, remember).

I’ll have to try to find the answer somewhere else.

So my search for young Tubal Brock continues.  I now have some appreciation for the War of 1812, especially along the Eastern Seaboard.  I want to learn more, and include this in my narrative of the Brock’s lives – and of my other ancestors who fought in, and were affected by, this war.  I may be off to the library.  I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for more webinars to help flesh out my knowledge.

Oh, that reminds me:  this afternoon’s webinar is “Putting Flesh on the Bones” by Ron Arons – I’d better get ready!


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