Honoring those who served in the War of 1812

Last week I talked about attending the webinar The War of 1812 – America’s “Forgotten” War, presented by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG, and about Tubal Brock, my Virginia ancestor who served as a drummer.  Today, June 18, is the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of War, issued by Congress and signed by President James Madison.  In honor of our ancestors who fought, and in remembrance of how the war affected the lives of nearly all Americans, I wanted to write about another ancestor who served:  William Dykes, Jr.

William was born about 1788, the youngest of eight children.  He was probably born in what is now Hawkins County, Tennessee.  He married Jennie Jane Moore (AKA Gallemore) in January 1810 and by April 1814 they had three children.  Later that year William Dykes was drafted into service in the War of 1812.

The information that we have about William’s service comes from three documents:  1) a bounty land warrant, 2) his application in 1855 to receive an additional bounty land warrant and 3) his widow’s Declaration for a Pension.

The land warrant, 16 Jun 1856, states “80 acres issued in favor of William Dikes, Private, Captain Hale’s Company, Tennessee Militia War 1812.”  It describes the land in Crawford County, Missouri and then further states that it “has been assigned to Hamilton Lenox.”  Note the date of this warrant.

On 26 Apr 1855, William Dykes had made application for additional bounty land:  “received a Land warrant No. [blank] for eighty acres which he has since legally transferred and cannot return he makes this application for the purpose of obtaining the additional bounty lands to which he may be entitled to under the act of Congress…”  In this application, William tells a little about his service in the War:  he was “a private in the company commanded by Capt. Joseph Hail in the regiment of Tennessee Militia commanded by Col. Samuel Bayless” and that he was drafted in Greene County, Tennessee.

The Declaration of a widow for a Pension has much more information.  On 29 Aug 1871, William’s widow appeared before the Clerk of the Phelps County Court, J. S. French [yes, this is the Schuyler French who escaped from Springfield, Missouri, during the Civil War – see my blog post, 11 Jun 2012].  This is from the transcript:

Mrs. Jinney, alias Jane Dykes, aged eighty years past…declares that she is the widow of William Dykes, who served the full period of sixty days in the military service of the United States in the War of 1812, and who was the identical William Dykes who was drafted in Captain Joseph Hale’s Company, 4th Reg’t Tennessee Militia, Brigade of Gen’l Coulter, Division of Gen’l William Carroll – in Greene County State of Tennessee, and was mustered into the service of the United States at Knoxville, Knox County State of Tennessee on or about the 13th day of November AD 1814 for the term of Six months, and was honorably discharged at Knoxville aforesaid, on or about the 19th day of May AD 1815; that her said husband marched from Knoxville aforesaid through the Creek Indian nation into the Mississippi territory, now the State of Alabama, and as she has reasons to believe, to Mobile, and was in service when peace was proclaimed between the United States and Great Britain, after which he marched  back to Knoxville, Tenn. and was discharged…for which service her said husband…received two 80 acre Land Warrants under acts of 28th Sept 1850 and March 3, 1855…”

“Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812,” on the Tennessee Secretary of State website, corroborates Jennie’s account:  The 4th Regiment of East Tennessee Militia under Colonel Samuel Bayless was made up of men from several counties, including Greene, and one of the Captains was Joseph Hale.  The dates that this regiment served were Nov 1814 – May 1815.  They were part of the division under the command of Major General William Carroll.  They defended the lower section of the Mississippi Territory, especially Mobile, from possible Indian incursions and British invasions.

Thanks to these records we know a bit about William Dykes’ service in the War of 1812.  The story had been embellished in family lore, as is often the case.  In this version, William walked all the way home from New Orleans in time for the arrival of his baby son and named him Andrew Jackson Dykes.  The problem is that Andrew Jackson Dykes wasn’t born until January of 1817!

So once again there was certainly a grain of truth in the family version.  William Dykes served in the War of 1812 in the South, he most probably walked, with his Regiment back to Knoxville, and then home to Greene County, Tennessee.   He and his wife then had many more children, including Andrew Jackson Dykes, named after a hero in the War of 1812.  –And today we remember that William Dykes also played an important part in the history of our country.


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