BARBOURSVILLE PATRIOT RECOGNIZED BY ACT OF CONGRESS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
In the beginnings of our great republic, the capitol building in Washington, DC, housing the congress, was called the “people’s house.” Citizens could bring grievances with their government, no matter their station in life, for a hearing.
Such was the case of Private Henry Peyton, born January 19, 1760 in Culpepper, Virginia. As did many adventuresome youth of his day, Henry joined forces with country cousins, brothers, uncles and fathers, rebels all, to attend the front line and watch the defeat of King George and his superior forces. After the war, Henry Peyton and his family were some of the first settlers of Cabell County, West Virginia, responsible for many local descendants.
In the 1830s provision was made to grant pensions to all that gave evidence of service in the “Great American Revolution.” Henry submitted his statement of service and was given recognition and pension, as a veteran of the war.
All appeared well, until claims of fraudulent petitions were filed with the government office and investigations took place. Henry seems to have been a colorful character at the local tavern in Barboursville and perhaps a bit boisterous concerning his war exploits. Loud talk of one’s heroism was considered the rudest of manners. Stiff necked neighbors gave a bad report to the investigator and Henry’s submission as a Revolutionary War patriot was stamped fraudulent.
Henry, understanding the rights for which he had fought and for which many had died, began petitioning recognition and justice from the government. With the help of an affidavit from magistrate W McComas and other good citizens’ recommendations, the government was finally convinced of the injustice toward Private Henry Peyton and on February 16, 1839 HR 1150 was passed by the House of Representatives. A history of Henry and his letters may be found in the “Lambert Collection” housed in the old library building on the campus of Marshall University.
More recently Edna Barney, a genealogist of the Peyton family, has published the following:
“During his lifetime, Henry Peyton petitioned several times to restore his good name, and finally on 16 February 1839, an act of the U.S. Congress reinstated his pension and made it retroactive to 1831. To add further insult to the soldier’s memory, the death date of 1836, on his grave marker that was placed by a Revolutionary War lineage society, was wrong. Henry Peyton was alive in 1839 and still writing letters to Washington as late as 1842.”
Henry‘s resting place is Henry Peyton Cemetery in Barboursville, West Virginia.
Edna Barney continues:
“As of today, even though a number of descendants of three different children of Henry Peyton had joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) under his Revolutionary War Service, his line has been closed, as the statement of fraud has been ‘rediscovered’ in his pension record. Once again as genealogists, we see how difficult it is to correct errors of many years ago that were put in ‘official’ writings.
“It will now be necessary for a descendant of patriot Henry Peyton to join the DAR under his lineage and include a copy of HR Bill 1150 as proof of his service..…hopefully, someone will be able to once again reinstate the good “Patriot” name of Henry Lindsey Peyton of Amherst and Cabell Counties, Virginia.”The family and descendants of Private Henry Peyton are very pleased to announce that on October 3, 2009 the DAR reopened Henry’s line through application by Cynthia Alexandra Vance and her presentation of HR Bill 1150. Cynthia is the sixth great granddaughter of Henry Peyton. Cynthia is a 19-year-old college student in San Diego, California and now the newest member of the Cahuilla Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, in Palm Springs, California. Cynthia’s grandmother Louella Vance, great aunt Rheabel Vance and cousin Aimee Vance Cartwright all reside in Barboursville.
Cynthia’s first application to the DAR was by way of her fifth great grandfather Abner Vance. Unjustly hanged for murder in 1819, versions of Abner’s story may be found on the internet.
To become a member of the DAR, documentation of relationships has become critical. There are thousands of local and family histories which have been used for membership. These histories are no longer acceptable by the DAR without proper sources.
Cynthia Moody Parnell, accredited genealogist, and member of the Cahuilla Chapter of the DAR assisted Miss Vance in preparation of her application(s) and comments:
“To become a DAR member, any woman age 18 years old or older must prove lineal descent, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, from a patriot of the American Revolution. The patriot might have been a soldier, sailor, or civil servant. The DAR was incorporated in 1890 as a service organization to promote patriotism, historic preservation, and education. More than 860,000 women have joined DAR since its inception. In the almost 120 years since it began, DAR has become tougher on its admission standards in terms of what makes up valid proof of lineage. There is so much misinformation swirling around on the internet, and in family histories in general, that DAR is currently not only in the process of proving new connections, but also in correcting misinformation.”
Cynthia Vance’s lineage to her 6th great-grandfather, Henry Lindsey Peyton, was proven through a variety of source documents. Census records dating back to 1860 proved many parent-child relationships. Birth, marriage and death records provided dates and places of residence, as well as family connections. Records prior to 1850 were harder to come by, because census records pre-1850 only show heads-of –households, not the names of other family members. So, the use of West Virginia church and cemetery records helped to connect Peyton family members together.
Finally, if not already proven, DAR must have proof of a patriot’s service to the American cause. This can be found through the military records maintained by the National Archives. Pension and bounty records are also useful, as they often give the names of other family members, and show where patriots lived after the Revolutionary War. We used a Bill of Congress, written in 1839, that found Henry Peyton to still be alive, and deserving to receive a reinstated pension that same year.
Cynthia Vance, proud as ever of her American and West Virginian heritage wonders, “What did they do before the internet. I’ve learned so much about West Virginia and the fighting, wars, revolutions, feuds and massacres. It is a miracle that any of us are here today.”