Lester Morris, Pvt. NC, Revolutionary War, POW at Battle of New Orleans
by Susan Moore Teller, firstname.lastname@example.org
LESTER MORRIS was born 5 Jul 1759, lived in Brunswick County, Virginia at the time of his enlistment, having fought at the battles of Savannah and Charleston, and been wounded and captured at the latter. He applied 5 Jun 1818 in Giles County, Tennessee for his pension, which was started on 21 Jun 1819, but dropped on 1 May 1820, and not restored until 7 Jun 1832.
The Federal Archives hold his military record from his application for a pension in 1818, while living in Giles County, Tennessee. A descendant writing to inquire about his record while serving in the Revolutionary War received this letter from the government:
Reference is made to the letter of July 18 1932, requesting information on a Revolutionary War pensioner, Lester A. Morris from Mrs. Raymond Rosson, Jonesboro, Tennessee.
Lester Morris was born July 5, 1759. While a resident of Brunswick County, Virginia, he enlisted March 1, 1779, served as a private in Captain BenjaminTalliaferro’s, Captain Richard Parkers and Samuel Hopkins lst Virginia Regiment, was in the battle of Savannah, Georgia, October 9, 1779, in which engagement he was wounded by a ball passing through his thigh, was taken prisoner on May 12, 1780 in the siege of Charleston, was confined on the ships “King George” and “Fidelity” until exchanged, and was discharged August 2, 1781 at Williamsburg, Virginia.
He was allowed pension on his application executed June 5, 1818, while a resident of Giles County, Tennessee. In 1826, the soldier referred to his wife, Francis, aged sixty-five years, his daughter Lucy, aged eighteen years, and his daughter, Martha, who was a widow with three children, Sally, Rebecca and Susan. The name of Martha’s husband was not stated.
The above record is that of the only Lester Morris found on the Revolutionary records of this office.
Very truly yours,
A.D. Miller, Assistant to the Administrator
British use of Prison Ships during the American Revolutionary War
Main article: Prisoners of war in the American Revolutionary War
Interior of the British prison ship Jersey
During the American War of Independence, more Colonist Americans died as prisoners of war on British prison ships through intentional neglect than died in every battle of the war combined. During the war, 11,500 men and women died due to overcrowding, contaminated water, starvation, and disease on prison ships anchored in the East River; the bodies of those who died were hastily buried along the shore. This is now commemorated by the "Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument" in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn in New York City. Christopher Vail, of Southold, who was aboard one such British ship the HMS Jersey in 1781, later wrote:
'When a man died he was carried up on the forecastle and laid there until the next morning at 8 o'clock when they were all lowered down the ship sides by a rope round them in the same manner as tho' they were beasts. There was 8 died of a day while I was there. They were carried on shore in heaps and hove out the boat on the wharf, then taken across a hand barrow, carried to the edge of the bank, where a hole was dug 1 or 2 feet deep and all hove in together.'
In 1778, Robert Sheffield of Stonington, Connecticut, escaped from one of the prison ships, and told his story in the Connecticut Gazette, printed July 10, 1778. He was one of 350 prisoners held in a compartment below the decks.
"The heat was so intense that (the hot sun shining all day on deck) they were all naked, which also served well to get rid of vermin, but the sick were eaten up alive. Their sickly countenances, and ghastly looks were truly horrible; some swearing and blaspheming; others crying, praying, and wringing their hands; and stalking about like ghosts; others delirious, raving and storming,--all panting for breath; some dead, and corrupting. The air was so foul that at times a lamp could not be kept burning, by reason of which the bodies were not missed until they had been dead ten days."
In 1826, living with him were a wife Francis, aged 65, a daughter, Lucy, aged 18, and a widowed daughter, Martha, with her three children, Sally, Rebecca, and Susan (her married name not given). From about the year 1840 he made his home with his son-in-law, Thomas A. Westmoreland. (Rev War file S2003 and 1835 Rolls). He was on the rolls as Giles County, a Private, Virginia Line, with an annual allowance of $96.00, but only $168.00 Amount Rec'd to date due to having been dropped in between.
from another source:
Lester Morris was a private under Capt. Benjamin F. Taliaferro, Col. Richard Parker; engaged in the battles of Savannah and Charleston; he was wounded, captured at Charleston, 1780, exchanged, and honorably discharged, 1781
LESTER MORRIS was born 5 Jul 1759, lived in Brunswick County, Virginia at the time of his enlistment, having fought at the battles of Savannah and Charleston, and been wounded and captured at the latter. He applied 5 Jun 1818 in Giles County, Tennessee for his pension, which was started on 21 Jun 1819, but dropped on 1 May 1820, and not restored until 7 Jun 1832. In 1826, living with him were a wife Francis, aged 65, a daughter, Lucy, aged 18, and a widowed daughter, Martha, with her three children, Sally, Rebecca, and Susan (her married name not given). From about the year 1840 he made his home with his son-in-law, Thomas A. Westmoreland. (Rev War file S2003 and 1835 Rolls). He was on the rolls as Giles County, a Private, Virginia Line, with an annual allowance of $96.00, but only $168.00 Amount Rec'd to date due to having been dropped in between.
Source: Giles County, TN History Giles County, Tennessee
GILES COUNTY History of Franklin, Giles, Lincoln and Moore Counties, Tennessee, Goodspeed Publishing Company, Nashville, 1886, pp. 749-766, scanned by Mrs. Sarah Smith (See also Index to Goodspeeds of Giles, including Biographical Appendix, pp. 846-876):
Many of the early settlers brought with them cotton seed, and though at first on small patches of that useful article were grown from a production for home consumption only, it soon grew into one of the largest crops produced in the county, forming one of the chief exports, and as such continues at the present. Cotton-gins were soon established and to-day the county is dotted over with them.
One of the first cotton-gins built in the county was that of Lester Morris, and was erected in 1810 near Rehobeth Church. The power at first was furnished by hand, but later on the gin was enlarged and converted into horse-power. The first water-power gin was built in 1811 or 1812 on Lynn Creek, by John Laird. Soon afterward John Henderson built a water-power gin on a branch about a mile south of Cornersville, now in Marshall County, and Maj. Hurlston built a water-power gin on Dry Creek. The cemetery where Lester Morris is buried is shown below.
......Quite a number of the Giles County pioneers served in the Revolutionary war, and for their services as soldiers of the line received grants from the State of North Carolina for the lands in this county, upon which they afterward settled. While no companies went from Giles County into the war of 1812 a large number of her citizens joined companies that went out from neighboring counties, among whom were Lester Morris, George Everly, Charles Buford, James Patteson, Sol. E. R. Rose, Wm. Kirley, Maj. Hurlston, Wm. McDonald, Wm. Kyle, Col. Cleveland, John Clark, Nelson Patteson, John Phillips, Thomas Smith, Dr. Gilbert, D. Taylor, Charles C. Abernathy, Win. K. Gordon, and many others whose names could not be secured. Dr. Taylor served on Gen. Jackson's medical staff.
There are many descendants of this man living today. Some of them are listed below: