Monday, September 23, 2013

Military Monday: Capt. John Hillhouse, part 1

As I have been researching my husband's Hillhouse ancestors, I continue to come across references to his 4th Great Grandfather, Capt. John Hillhouse.  That is the way he was usually named, "Capt. John, a Revolutionary War patriot".  I wanted to learn more about his military service, plus this might prove to be a good chance to improve my skills in researching this time period.

My first step in learning more about Capt. John was to consult the DAR Genealogical Research System, a free online database provided by the Daughters of the American Revolution.   He was listed in their database as DAR Ancestor #A056215.  His birth date, 15 May 1744 in South Carolina, and his wife, Margaret Chambers, corresponded with information I had already found about Capt. John.  The names mention in subsequent membership applications were also of other relatives, Elijah Hillhouse (2nd Great Grandfather) and Samuel Hillhouse (3rd Great Grandfather), so I knew I had located Capt. John.  From the DAR information, I learned that Capt. John had served with Col. W. Bratton.

DAR Genealogy Research System, entry for John Hillhouse

Looking to learn more about Col. Bratton, I stumbled upon the website and found an interesting article about the Battle of Huck's Defeat where members of the New Acquisition District Militia soundly defeated British and Loyalist forces.  A link lead to the militia's list of members, and there was more information about John Hillhouse.  Here I learned that he served as a Captain in the New Acquisition District Militia from 1780-1782 and participated in the Battle of Fishing Creek on 18 Aug 1870.  The story of this battle made for interesting reading, and I saw Capt. John listed as one of the ten company commanders serving under Lt. Col. William Bratton and Maj. John Wallace.  This website by J. D. Lewis turned out to be a treasure trove of information for early history for both North and South Carolina., entry for John Hillhouse

Dr. Debbie Duay has a helpful website about Researching Your Patriot Ancestor, full of tips for gathering the appropriate information to support an application for DAR membership.  Even if you are not intending to pursue membership in the DAR, SAR, or other patriot ancestor organizations, she provides a number of research tips in her learning modules, especially in her listing of Sources for Revolutionary War Service.

Using Duay's links, I used the database, United States Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records, 1775-1783.  The John Hillhouse I found there was from New York and not our Capt John.  Searching just for "Hillhouse", I found two references to records for William Hillis, a variation of the family name, who was a member of the South Carolina Fifth Regiment.  Capt. John had a brother William who also served in the Revolutionary War so this is information I will use later when I focus on researching William.  I was not concerned that John was not listed in this database since FarmilySearch states that "most of the records of the American Army from the Revolutionary War era that were in the custody of the War Department were destroyed by fire in 1800 or in 1814. (1)

This week I'll be following more of Duay's links plus using some of the websites I have bookmarked in my "Military Records" folder.  It is interesting to be learning more about the Revolutionary War through the eyes of my husband's ancestor.  As a former school library media specialist, I must admit that I'm also really enjoying the process of exploring some new resources.

(1) "United States Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records, 1775-1783." Index. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013.

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