Lord Dunmore’s War and John B. Cain

The Fielder clan, probably much like any other clan, has all kinds of legends and stories.  Most every eastern Kentucky family has the story of the indian marriage of some sort.  One of the stories that I have been looking to source for years is the story of the Revolutionary War veteran.  No one seemed to know who this person was but everyone was sure that there was a Revolutionary War soldier somewhere back there.

The other night while perusing my Ancestry.com records I decided to start looking at my ancestors of fighting age during the Rev War years.  It didn’t take long to find John B. Cain, my 5th Great Grandfather, and his pension records attached to Melinda Pennington’s public tree (requires Ancestry account).  In those pension records a certain William Lowther is referenced repeatedly as John’s Captain during the war.  What does any self respecting geek do when he wants to find something?  He usually writes a PERL script to grep the universe for it but I didn’t have time for that this time.  Instead I went to Google and found this:

PAYROLL LIST, LORD DUNMORE’S WAR, HARRISON COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA 1774

payroll list of Captain William Lowther, Harrison county, (West)  Virginia, Lord Dunmore’s War

Daniel Cain, 132 days service [on 1787 Harrison co. personal  property tax list (4)].
John Cain, 132 days service [1772 settled on West Fork of  Monongalia River (3)].

There is a slight problem with the above reference.  In 1774 there was no Harrison County in Virginia.  It wasn’t until 10 years later that southern Monongalia was partitioned out to make Harrison County.  This area is still in the same general area where Cain is purported to be living at the time of Dunmore’s war.

I do so LOVE the web!  On Google Books we have this:

History of the Battle of Point Pleasant – Chief event of Lord Dunmore’s War

In this book, there is no mention of a Captain William Lowther or anything even close.  On page 27, while discussing the organization of the left wing of Lord Dunmore’s Army, there is this small mention:

“Later still, eighty unorganized men came from Augusta county; and a like number from Culpeper; and Captain James Harrod brought out of the Kentucky wilderness the founders of Harrodsburg, the oldest town in the State.”

Eighty men would have been about company size and would have brought with it at least a putative leader.  I suspect Captain William Lowther may have been that leader or owing to the large casualties sustained by the Augusta Regiment and attached “others” under the command of Colonel Charles Lewis(pg 49) perhaps Captain William Lowther was placed in one of the now vacant positions.

In ‘Lord Dunmore’s little war of 1774‘ (Skidmore, W., & Kaminsky, D. (2002) Bowie, Md: Heritage Books) there is this little gem: [bold numbers in brackets are page numbers in original document]
=================================================================================
[Roll 84] Captain William Lowther [Harrison County.] He was paid 54 pnd 10 shillings for 132 days at 7 shillings 6d per diem.
Lieutenant John Powers
Sergeant Charles Washburn
Sergeant William Moore
[Drummer?] Samuel Beard

Privates:  Elijah Runner; Isaac Washburn; James Gregory; Thomas Hughes; Jesse Hughes; Elias Hughes;Edmund West; Charles West; Nathaniel Davison; Isaac Davison; Benjamin Copeland; Daniel Warner; Daniel Stout; Thomas Stout; Daniel Murphy; [99] Thomas Bartley; Conrad Richards; Arnold Richards; Paul Richards; Daniel Cain; John Murphy; Isaac Horner; Hezekiah Stout; George Bush; Adam Bush; Paulser Butcher; Sotha Hickman; William Gregory;Nathaniel Gregory; Samuel Cottril; John Cain; Mathew Nugent; Robert Lowther; Isaac Richards; Hezekiah Davison;Andrew Davison(Scout); Edward Tanner; Josiah Davison.
=================================================================================

John B. Cain had a brother, Daniel, who would also have been of soldier age.  I haven’t been able to find pension records or any other mention of brother Daniel as a RevWar or Colonial War soldier.

With what I have been able to find in this brief bit of research I would suggest that Captain Lowther’s men were rolled into one of the Companies in the Augusta County Regiment under the command of Colonel Charles Lewis.

Of the men gathered at Camp Union, near present day Lewisville Virginia, it was said (pg 29 of History of the Battle of Pleasant Point):

This army at Camp Union was the most remarkable body of men that had ever assembled on the American frontier.  Of the men comprising it, some had been with Washington at the surrender of Fort Necessity; some with Braddock at the fatal field of Monongahela; other with Forbes at the capture of Fort DuQuesne; and still others with Boquet in the Ohio Wilderness; and all, or nearly all, had been engaged all their lives in the Border wars.  Hence the men collected at Camp Union were no only schooled in both the English and Colonial military systems, but were familiar with the methods of Indian warfare as well.  Every man knew his duty and the importance of the undertaking in which he was engaged.  “It may be doubted if a braver or physically finer set of men will ever get together on this continent.”  (The last quote came from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Winning of the West,” Vol. I., p. 222.)

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