Thursday, January 21, 2010

Revolutionary War Veteran, Lieutenant William HAM

Revolutionary War Veteran, Lieutenant William HAM

of Elizabeth City County, Virginia

In 1780, British General Cornwallis had the Americans on the run. But soon, the American forces were to deliver some surprising defeats to Cornwallis. If you have read the Revolutionary Pension papers for Drury HAM, you will find him at about this time marching along the New River on his way to Cowpens. American Generals Morgan and Greene were converging upon the forces of Cornwallis.

The British General Cornwallis chases American Generals Morgan and Greene to Cowpens (SC), Guilford Courthouse (NC), and finally ends up in Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. The Americans had mustered some serious blows to the British forces at Cowpens and Guilford. Unknown to Cornwallis, General Washington had travelled by ship toward Yorktown. Cornwallis woke up in Yorktown one morning to find George Washington at his doorstep. Cornwallis was about to be defeated.

I'd like to share a couple of pages of research from Geneva. Included here are Revolutionary DAR Application papers for Revolutionary War veteran, William HAM. This William HAM was a Lieutentant in the Navy, and fought during the Siege at Yorktown. Evelyn Calvert Barron, a descendant, had filed this application in 1940.

Geneva had sent this to me while we were doing research for the book. She thought it might help with what I was finding in the Elizabeth City Parish Vestry Books and Elizabeth City Will books. Unfortunately, I received this in about May of 2003, shortly before the book was due to be sent to the publisher. No time to dig deeper. I did have time to put some resemblance of a summary of the DAR pages into the book.

(In the book, I do not try to explain the document. What I tried to do is keep the book small. However, I do try to point out what is in the document, and indicate where you might find the document by citing our sources. The original DAR application has additional sources.)

The DAR application was filed by Evelyn Calvert Barron in 1940, Evelyn age 45 at the time. ("A Short History of the HAM Surname..." vol. #2, pages 120, 135)

[ click on image to enlarge ]

Evelyn was born in 1895 in Elizabeth City County to Frederick Barron (b. 1859) and wife Mary Sue HAM (b. 1869, m. 1891). Mary Sue HAM was the daughter of Col. Joseph Huchison HAM (b. 1838) and wife Anna GAMBAL. Joseph Huchison HAM was the son of William HAM, Jr. (b. 1805).

And this is where you have to examine the document carefully, as it can be confusing to follow:

Lieutenant William HAM, Sr. was born in 1762 and married Susan COOPER in 1799.

William HAM, Jr (b. 1805) appears to have married Louisa HUCHISON in 1826.

This William HAM was involved in the Revolutionary War during the siege of Yorktown (near the end of the war). Because of the defeat of Cornwallis, Yorktown marked the point when the United States begun to be recognized as an independent nation. Lieutenant William HAM held duties on board the ship Nicholson, mainly shipping supplies on the James River during the siege of Yorktown. He was a favorite Lieutenant to Commander James Barron.

William was born March 16, 1762 and died in 1825 in Elizabeth City County, VA. It would appear that he was about 19 years old during the siege at Yorktown.
You may want to note that this is a DAR Application, and not a Pension Application. No Revolutionary Pension Application was ever filed for this William HAM. He died in 1825, and Congress didn't pass the Pension law until about 1838. William HAM had passed away by the time Pension Applications became available.

This Revolutionary War DAR Application can be very confusing to read. When you write down what is listed on page 2, and then compare to what is written on page 3, the line of descent is not immediately clear. That is, if taken separately, each page could cause a lot of confusion.

For example:

Page 2 has Rev War Veteran Lieut. William HAM, Sr. b. 1762 d. 1825 married Susan COOPER, and wife Susan dies in 1840. It also lists his first wife (at the top of the page 3) as "Mary."

Page 3 has son William HAM, Jr. b. 1805 who married Louisa HUTCHINSON. (Louisa HUTCHINSON was born in 1803 on page 2....)

Page 3 has Lieutenant William HAM, Sr. m
arried 1) Mary ____ and 2) in 1799 Susan COOPER in Elizabeth City County, VA. Further down page 3 lists the "Children of the Revolutionary Ancestor."

The children of William Sr. then married:

Benjamin HAM b. 1788 married Susan JENNINGS

William HAM, Jr. b. 1803 married Louisa HUTCHINSON

These children are born 1788 to 1816.

This implies that the "Children of the Revolutionary Ancestor" Lt. William HAM, Sr. were four sons, Benjamin, William Jr., Jacob, and John. However, the date of birth for son Benjamin (b. 1788) only makes sense if William HAM, Jr. was also previously married (to Mary ___).

Very confusing read. Probably also very confusing to fill out.

The form for the DAR Application itself can be confusing. Whomever filled it out was trying to put in the dates for parents within the blank spots for children's dates. That is, putting the birth date of the parents in the blanks that should have been for the birth date of the children.

To further
complicate the matter, I have had Kentucky HAM lines contact me and claim descent from this William HAM. However, the more experienced genealogists clearly know a different line of descent. Folks are grabbing this William HAM and just placing him onto their family tree for some silly reason. The William HAM of Madison County, Kentucky appears to have fought in the Revolutionary War, but he died prior to the issue of Revolutionary War Pension applications. His war records have never been located.

I was hoping some descendants of this HAM line would come along to help clear this up, but thus far, none have been located. It would be great to have them test for Y-DNA.

The DAR Application lists some source records that I was not able to retrieve, as it cites the HAM Bible, Captain William HAM's Will, and Elizabeth City County Tax Lists. So, I haven't exactly cleared any confusion independently. If you check volume #2 (Virginia), you can see that I have a Benjamin HAM and a William HAM in Elizabeth City County as early as
1760 (see vol #2, pages 96, 97, & 98). At the time that Benjamin HAM files his will (1767), he had wife Mary, sons Joseph and William and daughters Mary and Anne (see Will Book 1763 - 1771 or see "A Short History of the HAM Surname," vol #2, page 109-110).

I would gather that the names Benjamin and William were carried in this line. From the 1760 Elizabeth City Vestry book entry, it is hard to tell if Benjamin or William would be the father of the Revolutionary War Veteran. The Parish Registry has not survived, but there is this mention in the Vestry book. It is at least known from the Will books that Benjamin HAM did have a son named William in 1767 (see vol #2, "A Short History of the HAM Surname," pages 109, 110).

In our book (vol 2, page 210), the children are listed out this way:

Lieutenant William HAM, Sr. b. Mar 16, 1762
and married

1) Mary ____
2) in 1799 Susan COOPER in Elizabeth City County, VA.

Lieutenant William HAM, Sr. died in May, 1825.
Wife Susan COOPER died in 1840.

William HAM, Jr. and wife Susan COOPER had sons:

1) Benjamin HAM b. Jun 18, 1788 (m. Susan JENNINGS)

2) William HAM, Jr. b. Jul, 29, 1805 (m. Oct 5, 1826 Louisa HUTCHINSON and he died May 28, 1886 in Boydton, VA.)

3) Jacob HAM b. Oct 1813

4) John HAM b. Dec 1816

When in fact, Benjamin should have been a son by wife Mary.

The William HAM, Jr. appears to have been married on Oct 5, 1826 Louisa HUTCHINSON (from page 2).
Wife Louisa HUTCHINSON was b. May 18, 1803 in Accomack Co., VA and d. Jan 7, 1879 in Boydton, VA.

And again, William HAM, Jr. and wife Louisa HUTCHINSON had son:

1) Col. Joseph Hutchinson HAM (from DAR application page 2)

Joseph starts the line of the DAR applicant by his daughter Mary Sue HAM.

Lieutenant William H
AM will spend his career in the Navy, and later there would be a Captain William HAM at the time of the War of 1812. (It's not yet clear to me if the Captain would be the son of Lt. William HAM.)

I will always be wondering when the confusion about this line will end. Nevertheless, an interesting line to follow. Thanks Geneva, I can't wait to see the Y-DNA for this line.

Further reading:

Biography - Captain James Barron
Inventory of the James Barron Papers 1776-1899
Daughters of the American Revolution
Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution
A Short History of the HAM Surname in Virginia & NC
The Library of Virginia for a digital image of William HAM's 1783 record as a seaman
Elizabeth City Parish Vestry Book, at the Library of Virginia
Elizabeth City County Wills, 1733-1799 by Joan Charles, Heritage Books, 1995.

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