Thursday, July 4, 2013

William Cornelius- Revolutionary War Patriot

Infantry: Continental Army, 1779-1783, IV from the Library of Congress
Updated June 20, 2015
William Cornelius was born between 1750 and 1760. He was the son of Moses Cornelius and Anne Dodson Cornelius. He married Lettice Cargie June 5, 1774. They had eleven children: Anne (1776-1849) married Cornelius Cargill; Jesse (1778-1850) married Sarah Biggs; Elizabeth (1781-1842) married Calvin Waid; Moses (1784-1847) married Cynthia Bynum; Aaron (1786-1852) married Ellender Fortner; William (1789-1864) married Elizabeth Bethel; Champion (1792-1824) married Jane Bailey; my great-great-grandfather Beverly (1794-1880) married Nancy Euphemia Smith; Lettice (1797-1829) married Alexander Cooke; Tabitha (1800-1852) married Reuben Hays; and Abner (1802-1860) married Susan McPherson.

The book Genealogy of the Bynum Family: Bynum, Murphree, Cornelius, Allgood by Mary Lou Boazman Howard written in 1958 has William's parents as William C. Cornelius and Anne Phillips of North Carolina. No sources are given for this information in the book. New evidence, discovered in 2003, points to Moses Cornelius of Virginia as being William's father.

This research was conducted by Robert C. Johnston, President of the FourFamilies Reunion and published in the September 2003 issue of the Cornelius newsletter.
Here are some highlights of that research:

The Dodson (Dotson) Family of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County,
Virginia: A History and Genealogy of Their Descendants - Volume One has references to the family of Fortunatus Dodson and his wife Alice Goad, both of Richmond County, VA. Fortunatus and Alice had a daughter named Ann, whom the authors claim was married first to a Moses Cornelius and second to a George Phillips, and that she lived in Pittsylvania County. She had a son by Moses Cornelius and he fought in the Revolutionary War.

Robert C. Johnston went through the court records in  Pittsylvania County, VA and found the following:
September Court of 1773 Pittsylvania County Virginia (Deed Book 2,
Page 246)
ORDERED that the Church wardens of the Parish of Camden in this County do bind out Moses and Jepheth Cornelius Orphans of Moses Cornelius deceased in such manner as the law directs.

On September 1, 1780, Ann Cornelius of Pittsylvania County, VA was granted by the State of Virginia, 202 acres of land on both sides of Buck Branch on Frying Pan Creek in northern Pittsylvania County (Land Office Patents "E", 1775-1776, 1780-1781, page 786).

On January 30, 1790, the above mentioned 202 acres on Buck Branch of Frying
Pan Creek, was sold by Ann Cornelius and two of her sons WILLIAM CORNELIUS
and JEPTHA CORNELIUS. This deed was recorded in Pittsylvania County, Virginia Deed Book 8, pages 526-527.

Anna Phillips was living near William in 1800. She was living alone and over the age of 45. There is a record of an Ann Cornelius marrying George Phillips February 9, 1768 in Lunenburg, Virginia.

I should also point out that my DNA testing seems to bear this out. I have many DNA cousins from the Goad and Dodson lines.

William served in the Continental Line of Washington's Army during the Revolutionary War in Capt. Kingsbury's Artillery, under Colonel John Lamb. William enlisted in this North Carolina Artillery Company as a Matross on July 15, 1776.

Matross was a soldier of artillery, who ranked next below a gunner. The duty of a matross was to assist the gunners in loading, firing and sponging the guns. They were provided with firelocks, and marched with the store-wagons, acting as guards. In the American army a matross ranked as a private of artillery. --Wikipedia

He served in this artillery unit until he was wounded in June, 1778.

From DAR records:
Ancestor #: A026122
1754    PENNSYLVANIA (actually Pittsylvania County,Virginia)
7-27-1842     BLOUNT CO ALABAMA
Service Source: 
Service Description: 

William Cornelius was already living in the old 96th District of South Carolina (now Greenville County) on March 6, 1786 when he was granted 500 acres on Checheroc River "including the improvements wherein he now liveth" (SC State Grants Vol. 9, Page 157). In the 1790 Census for Greenville County, South Carolina, William was shown as having four sons and three daughters. In the 1800 Greenville County, South Carolina Census, William Cornelius is listed with three sons under the age of 10, two between 10 and 15 years of age, two daughters under 10 with William being over the age of 45 and Lettice being between 26 and 44 years old.

In 1818 William and his family moved to Blount County, Alabama. They settled south of Oneonta in the vicinity of Chepultepec. This Cornelius family is known as one of the "Four Families" that founded Blount County. Many descendants still live there today.

William died July 22, 1842 in Blount County, Alabama. Pictures of the family cemetery can be seen here:

The DAR marker:

Many thanks to +Robert Johnston and Eugene Cornelius who provided much of my information!

If you are connected to any of these families, I would love to hear from you.