Note: This brief story on John Felkins, Sr., was originally written by Mary Blanche Woods, born 1920, of Denver, Colorado. A copy was provided to me by Bessie (Felkins) Bliss in 1997). The images of John's pay and muster rolls were provided by Shirley Morrison. I adapted the material to web page format and provided other minor additions. S. Leon Felkins, December 17, 1997. Revised 6/10/2002.
John was in his teenage years during the American Revolutionary War. He served for three years as a private in the company commanded by Captain Payton, Heaths Virginia Regiment, under Colonel Marshal in the Virginia line. John Felkinsí file number for his pension is S-39517 Rev. (Please note it is through this file number that his descendents may join the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).
At the Battle of the Blueford, John was severely injured in nine different places on his body. He was unable to travel, and thinking he was near death, his company had to leave him on the battlefield. He managed to get to safety, and after recovering sufficient strength, John made his way home. He could find no officer to report to for return duty, but wrote some letters indicating where he was and asking for information.
The years passed and his children grew up and left home. By the time he was 71 years old, he was impoverished and his health was gone. He vas afflicted with a chest complaint and so crippled in one leg that he was unable to work for a salary. His wife was68 years old and infirm. They owned no real estate. In desperate need, John went to the Overton County Court, State of Tennessee on October 25, 1830 to declare his poverty and to ask for a pension on his service record. He presented an inventory of his worth to the court:
(Clothes and bedding exempt) One small mare about 15 years of age $30.00 One cow and two small heifers 15.00 One hog and six pigs 5.00 Tools and kettles 11.25 His total worth was $61.25
It was determined that John was entitled to full credit,on his oath, and was granted the pension. It was allotted at the rate of $8.00 a month, commencing June 7, 1831, with a retroactive payment in September, 1831 of $23.46. However, he could not seem to collect it. The old veteran was destitute. The cow and one calf died. John and his wife had to eat the pigs. Things went wrong financially in every way possible.
On April 4, 1837, a friend, Willis Hiedleston, made a sincere effort to help John Felkins and other elderly men to receive their pensions. He wrote in part:
"It does seem to me a hard case that these old men should be put to so much trouble to get these little pensions. The government attempted to do something for them, but in the way it is managed, it is of little profit to them where they are not able to go in person, and most of them are not ... and the fact is lawyers and attorneys, for fees and expense, have got most of the money and the old men have went without ... I have been twice to Nashville to get this man's (Felkins) money. I could not get a dollar. I paid my own expense which was about $20, and twenty-days time lost."
When this was written, John was 78 years old. It is not known if he ever received any compensation for his war service and nine bodily injuries. Two years later, he died on January 21, 1839, at the age of 80 years. Blessed are the poor!
Note: John's son was William Felkins who was born in 1788 in Virginia and died 1869 in Arkansas. He married Jane Williams on May 1, 1813, Pulaski Co., Kentucky. They were our forbears.
Siblings were John Felkins, Jr, born about 1780, Martin about 1784, (William 1788),Elizabeth about 1790, and Wilson about 1805. Three girls were born, names unknown.
The brothers, William and Wilson, kept close track of each others families throughout the years - even yet today.