Henry Williams’ Role in the NC Militia During the Revolutionary War

Last year I wrote a postabout my ancestor Henry Williams, asking the question, Was he really a Revolutionary War Soldier? like William S. Powell indicated in his book When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1977 (Durham, NC: Moore Publishing Company, 1977).

Although Powell did not provide sources in his book, he did note that he donated all research materials to the Gunn Memorial Library in Yanceyville, NC. I called the Library and they said they did not have any of Powell’s papers, but that they were probably located at UNC’s Wilson Library. The Finding Aid for Powell’s papers that are housed at the Wilson Library does mention papers relating to Caswell County History, but offers no specifics.

In the meantime, I happened to come upon the “Compiled service records of soldiers who served in the American Army during the Revolutionary war” – a set of microfilm put out by NARA that was scanned and digitized and put online for free public access on the Internet Archives website and can be downloaded for free here.

Henry Williams Service Card Front Page

Henry Williams Receipt Roll

Henry Williams Company Pay Roll

I downloaded 3 pages total.
The first page was the front of Henry Williams’ service card.
It had the following information on it:
Henry Williams
Collier’s Regiment
North Carolina Militia
(Revolutionary War)
Private | Private
Card Numbers:’
1. 37119798
2. 450594
Number of personal papers herein: 0

Page 2:

W | Collier’s Regiment | N.C. Militia
Henry Williams
Appears on a Receipt Roll
under the following heading:
“Rec’d of Captin John Johnston specia tickets in
pay for the under Named for serving one Tour of
Duty under his Comand on the 16th of Decem.
1780 Discharged”
(Revolutionary War)
Roll Dated
July the 29th 1783
Number of Record: 1
W P Riply, Copyist

Page 3:

W | Collier’s Regiment | N.C. Militia
Henry Williams
PW , Capt. John Johnstone’s Co. in Col.
John Collier’s Reg’t of No. Carolina
Militia, commanded by John Butler, Brigadier General.
(Revolutionary War)
Appears on
Company Pay Roll
of the organization named above,
dated: Dec 22, 1780
What time paid from Sept 8, 17__
What time paid to Dec 22, 17__
Number of Days 106
Pay per day in dollars 1
Subsistence per month 20
Total amount in dollars 176
Shannon Copyist

And then another researcher I’ve been working with found the following on footnote.com – a scan of the Pay Receipt that included Henry Williams, a Private, no. 16 down on the left hand side.

Pay Roll for Capt John Johnstone’s Company

Pay Roll for Capt John Johnstone’s Company in John Collin’s Regiment of No. Carolina Militia Commanded by John Butler Brigadier General December 22, 1780.
No: 16
Name: Henry Williams
Rank: Pvt
What Time Paid from: 8 Sept
What Time Paid to: 22 Dec
Number of Days: 106
Pay per day in Dollars: 1
Subsistence per month: 20
Total amount in dollars: 176


The existence of these documents is a good indication that our Henry Williams was a participant in the Revolutionary War, however, Powell’s book said he was a “Colonel” and these documents mention only a “Private” Henry Williams, so there is unfortunately some discrepancy.

I guess the hunt for Powell’s original source materials will continue. The Powell collection that is housed at the Wilson Library is huge. According to the finding aid, materials on Caswell County are in folders 121 and 16. I plan to peruse these folders in the new few weeks.


2 Responses

  1. what a great use of the compiled records! did you see my blog post about them becoming available at IA – http://is.gd/cBaZS — an excellent resource indeed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: