Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yet Another Revolutionary Patriot - William Miller Bledsoe

Last time I covered the Weavers and Samuel Weaver as a Revolutionary Patriot.  His daughter-in-law, Francis Powell Bledsoe Weaver was the grand-daughter of a Patriot - WILLIAM MILLER BLEDSOE (DAR ancestor number A011230).  Frances Powell Bledsoe, daughter of Joseph C Bledsoe & Margaret Pearson Powell, was born on 13 Aug 1803 in Kentucky.

Joseph C Bledsoe - Joseph was the son of William Miller Bledsoe (son of Joseph Bledsoe and Elizabeth Miller) and Elizabeth Craig.  He was born September 29, 1782 in Spotsylvania Co. Virginia and died 1829 in Clay County Kentucky.  He married Margaret Pearson Powell on 7 May 1807 in Garrard Co. Kentucky.  Margaret was born 1787 in Virginia and died after the 1860 census Missouri.

War of 1812 Military Service
Private in Captain Thomas Laughlin's Company Kentucky Mtd. Volunteer Militia and Private in Taul's 7th Reg. KMVM.

Frances Powell BLEDSOE b: 13 AUG 1803
Elizabeth G. BLEDSOE b: OCT 1809
Thomas BLEDSOE b: JUN 1815
William H. BLEDSOE b: JUL 1816
Amanda F. BLEDSOE b: SEP 1818
Patience Owsley BLEDSOE b: 9 MAR 1819
Ann West BLEDSOE b: 1820
Robert Powell BLEDSOE b: 1822
Amelia BLEDSOE b: 1825
Margaret Jane BLEDSOE b: JUL 1826

William Miller Bledsoe - (son of Joseph Bledsoe and Elizabeth Miller) was born 13 Apr 1761 in Spotsylvania, Virginia, and died 18 May 1811 in Garrard, Kentucky.

    On 1 May 1781 He married Elizabeth Craig in Spotsylvania Co. Virginia.  Elizabeth was born 1763 and died 18 Jan 1786 during birth of her second child.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Rev Lewis Craig and Elizabeth Sanders and the granddaughter of Toliver Craig and Mary Hawkins.

    In 1782, William Miller Bledsoe served for three months as a Private in the company of Captain Andrew Kirkhead, Lincoln County Militia during which time he participated in an expedition against the Shawnees. 

    Bledsoe was a Separist Baptist minister, of the persuasion Hell Redemption which held all men are eventually saved even those who went to Hell. Apparently at a revival he was preaching at -someone gave him two eggs upon which was inscribed "The day of God's Horrible Judgment Is Near".  It was reported that many believed and came forward and were saved that day. One of his followers wrote he then became a Universialist, then a diest and died a racer of horses.

     He married (2nd) Patience Owsley on 27 Dec 1786 in Lincoln, Kentucky, daughter of Thomas Owsley III and Mary Middleton. 

    After 1797 his profession is listed as a lawyer and in 1799 he was a Garrard County delegate to the convention to frame the 2nd Kentucky Constitution.  He was a state senator 1805-1810.  When he died in 1811 he was a candidate for Lt. Governor.

    William's family bible only named his son Joseph and his will only named his wife and eldest son Joseph and son Moses.  But he did state he was the legal father of 18 children and he wished no pains be spared to accomplish his greatest wish a liberal education for his children.

    More On:
    listed on 1800 Garrard County, KY Tax List
    Life of William Bledsoe and Patience Owsley
    Land Records Lincoln County, Virginia
    Land Records Lincoln County, Kentucky
    Will of William
    Virginia, Prominent Families, Vol. 1-4
    sources Banks McLaurin

Patience and William Bledsoe
by Banks McLaurin and Milancie H Adams

William Miller Bledsoe was born 13 April 1761 Spotsylvania Co Virginia and died 18 May 1811.  His parents were William Bledsoe and Elizabeth (Betsey) Miller. He is interned in Lancaster, Garrard Co., Kentucky next to his mother.  He was married first to Elizabeth Craig 1 May 1781 in Spotsylvania Co.  Elizabeth Craig, daughter of Rev. Lewis Craig and Elizabeth Sanders, was born 1763 and died 18 January 1786 at birth of second child.  He was married secondly to Patience Owsley 27 December 1786 in Lincoln Co. Kentucky.  

Patience, daughter of Thomas Owsley III and Mary Middleton,  was born 11 January 1772 in Fairfax Co., Virginia and died during 1833 cholera epidemic in Garrard Co., Kentucky.  She was the 11th of 12 children and the 5th of 6 daughters. She was not quite 15 when she married William who was 11 years her senior.  HBO wrote of her childhood she was carefully reared in the strict, old-fashioned way by parents who were honored for their sterling integrity and good sense.

William M. Bledsoe must have left Virginia soon after his first marriage in 1781 with the Travelling Church.  He sold 260 acres in Spotsylvania Co. on 21 May 1782 to Wm.  McWilliams of Co for £100 (Deed Book K).

William is listed in the Revolutionary War Muster Rolls in National Archives. Shortly after the sale above he joined Captain Andrew Kirkhead’s Company of Lincoln Co. Militia and served as a Private for 3 months under Brig. Gen.  George Roberts Clark on an expedition against the Shawnee Indians, receiving 2 pounds, 5 shillings, 4 pence as of 14 Nov 1782.  (Payroll of Capt. Kirkhead’s Company, IPD, in VA State Library, Richmond VA.) About this time William Miller Bledsoe also became quite active in land matters acquiring extensive holdings in Kentucky.

In Forest Calico’s History of Garrard Co., Kentucky and Its Churches (1947),  we find this item:  Hilltop Church is about one mile west of Craig’s Traveling Church site on Gilbert’s Creek which Louis Craig abandoned in 1783 (this is Wm. Bledsoe’s father in law).  This Separate Baptist Church was constituted in 1783 by Joseph Bledsoe Sr., his son William Miller Bledsoe and son in law Thomas J. Chilton, Sr., whose son Thomas J. Jr. was also a preacher.  Callico also notes on page 117 that Wm. Miller Bledsoe was vet of Indian warfare in 1782, an early settler on Gilbert’s Creek, an lawyer, a state senator 1806-1810 and received a Virginia Land Grant on Gilbert’s Creek, 91 acres in 1798. 

Kentucky historian Templeton noted that Wm. Miller Bledsoe had the first brick kiln on Gilbert’s Creek, Garrard Co., Kentucky and that he helped organize the first Crab Orchard Church at Cedar Creek of which he was the first minister in 1786.  On 22 Dec 1798 he was made a trustee of Lancaster, KY.  He was a candidate for Lt. Governor of Kentucky when he died in 1811.

In Spencer’s Kentucky Baptists, p 55, it says that William M. Bledsoe was a delegate to the Association meeting 30 May 1789 along with his father Joseph which tried to form a union between the Regular and Separate Baptists.  This failed.  William was excluded from Separate Baptists for heresy Oct, 1794.

Spencer also tells this interesting story;  Rev. Boulware who was a preacher of prominence in the first quarter of the 19th century related that as a boy he attended a great revival held by Elder Wm. Miller Bledsoe, who received two eggs brought to him by someone during the revival, on which was the inscription “The day of God’s awful judgement is near.”  He professed to believe it and preached and exhorted, warned and invited people to come and be saved.  The meeting lasted for months and Boulware saw from 5 to 20 people at a time come up for prayer.  Rev. John S. Peck said that Bledsoe was a smart preacher rather than a pious one.  He notes that William later went off with the Universalists and many of his converts embraced that faith.  Then he became a deist and died a racer of horses.  Bledsoe became converted to a religious  position called Hell Redemption, which argued that all men were eventually saved, even if they went to Hell.

A History of Kentucky Baptists
By J. H. Spencer
WILLIAM BLEDSOE, the first pastor of Crab Orchard church, was the son of Joseph Bledsoe, the founder and first pastor of old Gilberts Creek church of Separate Baptists. He, with his father and brothers, was among the early settlers of what is now Garrard county. He was a brother of the distinguished judge Jesse Bledsoe, who served two terms in the United States Senate from Kentucky.
William Bledsoe was a native of Culpeper county, Virginia. He was probably raised up to the ministry, under the preaching of his father, in Gilberts Creek church, after he came to Kentucky. He was the most active laborer in that wonderful revival in Lincoln and Garrard counties, in 1789, and the years following. He was in the constitution of Cedar Creek church, at Crab Orchard, in 1791, and became the first pastor of this church. During the revival just referred to, in 1789, two hen's eggs were brought to Gilberts Creek meeting-house with this sentence written on them: "The day of God's awful judgment is near." It was pretended that this writing was on the eggs when they were found in the nest. "Elder W. Bledsoe," says Mr. Boulware, "read aloud. The people were alarmed. Elder Bledsoe professed to feel alarmed, preached, exhorted, warned, invited, etc., etc. This revival lasted several months. I have seen from five to twenty come up, or led up, to be prayed for at one time. There were about 400 added to the church."5 "He" [William Bledsoe], says John M. Peck, "was a smart, rather than a pious preacher." John Bailey, who was one of the laborers in this revival, subsequently became a Universalist. Bledsoe also apostatized to Universalism, and then became indifferent to a religious life and reckless in his conduct. "Elder W. Bledsoe," says Mr. Boulware, "and many of his converts embraced the doctrine of universal salvation, and soon after he became
[p. 232]
a deist, and died a practicing horse-racer. I continued an acquaintance with these converts for eight or nine years, and then knew not of one that had not, like the dog and sow, turned to their vomit and mire again.” Such were the fruits of this shameful fraud and hypocrisy, and the end of the man who practiced them. "God is not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth that shall he reap."

always hard to know what is what. certainly the last lines is the typical anti-Universalist messages. Certainly early Kentucky is known in the literature as a hot bed of dietism, and wickedness. Certainly horse racing was a widely popular event in the South - George Washington being one of those sorts.
William Miller Bledsoe (1761-1811) was indeed the son of Rev. Joseph Bledsoe. His father moved himself and his entire Baptist congregation (one source says) from Culpepper County to Kentucky. This apparently in the late 1770s or very early 1780s. William Miller Bledsoe's children and brothers were apparently very active in the Restoration or Campbelite Movement.
WMB had over 13 children. Lived and his buried in Lancaster Kentucky.

William Bledsoe was on the tax list of Lincoln Co. 1783, and 1791 through 1796.  He appears on the Orange Co., VA list 1790-1792, and Garrard Co. KY 1799-1811.   We also find him in the Garrard Co. Census for 1810. In addition in 1810 he listed on the Federal Population Schedule KY Federal Census Index for Gallatin, Garrard and Scott Counties.  In 1788 William Bledsoe was listed on the Fayette County KY Tax list.  In 1801 he was listed on tax rolls for Franklin County KY. These multiple listings were probably due to his large land holdings in several counties.  

William  must have become a lawyer about 1797 as he is not mentioned as a preacher after that date.  He was a delegate to the convention to frame the 2nd Kentucky constitution from Garrard County 17 August 1799 at Frankfurt.  He was the paymaster of the 26th Reg., Garrard Co., 18 April 1803. In 1806 William elected as a state representative from Garrard and Jessamine County to the Kentucky House. He also served in the Kentucky Senate as a Senator for Garrard County from 1808 to 1811. 

The family Bible of William Miller Bledsoe, Jr. which has come down in his family says that William departed this life on 18 May 1811 age 50 the father of 18 lawful children.  He lived a friend of liberty but died an enemy to bigots.  The Bible named only one of the 18 children, but the Bible of his brother and the Will of Patience Owsley Bledsoe Crow named several more, so that all together the names of 15 are known, 3 having apparently died young. 

More on William and Patience:
1800 Garrard County, KY Tax List

Children of William Miller Bledsoe and his first wife:
Joseph Bledsoe                       September 29,1782
Lewis Bledsoe                         January 10, 1786

Children of William Miller Bledsoe and his second wife Patience:
Moses Owsley Bledsoe  February 6, 1788
Rebecca Bledsoe           October 15, 1789
Polly Bledsoe         May 30, 1791
William Miller Bledsoe    May 13, 1792
Elizabeth Bledsoe     October 4, 1794
Willis Bledsoe         December 10, 1796
Berilla Bledsoe       December 17, 1798
Abram Bledsoe      January 8, 1801
Media Bledsoe      February 11, 1803
Vestine Bledsoe    March 10, 1805
Daniel Bledsoe      December 3, 1806
Charles Scott Bledsoe   March 1809
Margaret Bledsoe    July 4, 1811

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been to Lancaster and the cemetery has no record of William or his mother Elizabeth. Her death notice, published in a Lexington paper, says she was buried in Lexington.