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Capt. James Tait's 1814 Warren TN Militia Company
(including annotations)

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The Creek Indian Wars of 1814 were classified by the U. S. Government as a `sub-war' of the War of 1812. Several militia companies were organized from the area of Warren County, Tennessee and it's adjacent counties, including that of Capt. James Tait. Not only did Capt. Tait's muster and pay rolls survive, but so did his personal pay voucher which specifed dates, actual miles travelled and locations. The militia records of 1814 are particularly valuable to researchers because so many of these men were under 20 years of age -- too young to have appeared on the 1812 Warren County tax lists, and often gone by 1820.

Capt. Tait's Company was part of the 3rd Regiment of Tennessee Militia, which was active from January 1814 - May 1814, its approximately 600 men primarily from the counties of Overton, Smith, Wilson, Franklin, Warren, Bedford, and Lincoln Counties. Other captains were John Biler(Byler), John Dawson, William Douglass, William Evans, Solomon George, William Hodges, John Holshouser, Alexander Provine, Richard Sharp, George W. Still, Moses Thompson, Allen Wilkinson and David Williams. The regiment was part of a brigade led by General Thomas Johnson (the other regiment of Johnson's brigade was led by Colonel R. C. Napier). Although General Andrew Jackson's report of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (27 March 1814) mentions that Copeland's regiment was held in reserve during this engagement, part of the regiment saw action based on the fact that muster rolls show casualties from this battle in the companies of Captains Moses Thompson and Allen Wilkinson. Their line of march took them from Fayetteville (where they were mustered into service), through Fort Deposit, Fort Strother, and finally to Fort Williams. (Tennessee State Library and Archives, Regimental Histories of TN Units during the War of 1812).

Capt. TAIT's expense vouchers refer to each of these forts, and in Tennessee, A Short History, historian-author Robert E. Corlew writes, "After establishing a supply base called Fort Deposit at the 'bend' of the Tennessee River, Jackson cut a road to the Coosa River. There he built Fort Strother, only thirteen miles from the Creek town of Tallushatchee, which he soon destroyed with a force led by General John Coffee. Jackson marched to the relief of the friendly Creek town of Talladega which was besieged by the Red Sticks. A quick end to the war was prevented, however, when a portion of Cocke's army attacked a Creek faction that was attempting to sue for peace. "Jackson also had trouble because of the disposition of his troops. Mutiny was caused first by the lack of supplies and later by disputes regarding terms of service. Although he dealt vigorously with the mutineers, on one occasion putting a gun across the back of a horse and promising to shoot the first soldier who took another step toward home, Jackson finally had to release his troops and wait for another army to be recruitied. When that was acomplished, he was able to crush the Creeks at the battle of Tohopeka,* or Horseshoe Bend, on March 27, 1814. In this bloody engagement not only Jackson but other Tennesseans, inlcuding William Carroll, John Williams, and Sam Houston, achieved reputations that were to pave their roads to political success." (Researcher Will Melton)

*Possibly the Tahopehsa mentioned in Tait's voucher.

See also
TNGenWeb Special Project Tennesseans of the War of 1812
TSLA's Brief History of Tennessee in the War of 1812

Transcribed by C. Hammett, 1996. Source location: NA, Washington, D. C.. RG NO 94, Stack Area 9W3, Row 17, Compartment 20, Shelf Bottom, Box 239, No. NNRI/M; described under record identification as 1 Brown NA Box, Copelands W. Tenn Militia Muster Rolls. Note: Additional transcripts of militia rolls for Warren and its surrounding companies will be posted in the near future.

Warren County Militiamen in the Creek Indian Wars of 1814.
Capt. James Tait's Company
Col. Stephen Copeland's 3rd West Tennesse Regiment
General Thomas Johnson Brigade


Voucher: The United States to James Tait, Capt.
For transporting 1100 lbs. his private baggage as a Captain in the Regiment of West Tennessee Militia, commanded by Col. Stephen Copeland composing part of Genl. Thos. Johnson's brigade; ordered into service of the United States, on an expedition against the hostile Creek Indians from the 28th Jan. to the 13th day of May 1814 viz.

From Fort deposit [?] to Fort Strother 53
From thence to Fort Williames 59
From thence to Tahopehsa [Tohopeka?] & back to Ft. Williams 105
From Ft. Williams on ti---m March
by way of Caharvlea [?] to Fort Deposit [?] 157
From thence Fayetteville the primary
place of rendevoius 57
Miles ------ miles is 431

Less $ 4.24
/s/ James Tait $30.24

I do swear that the witin account is just and true, and that I performed the different marches, agreeable to the distance herein charged; and that on no part of the said several routes and distances was I allowed any public transportation whatever, for my private baggage allowed me as a Captain owing to a deficiency of the public means of tansportation [sic] in said regiment or brigade, and that I have never received any money or other compensation from the United States in lieu thereof, or any part thereof herein charged, to the best of my knowledge and belief.
James Tate Capt.
State of Tennessee
Warren Caunty [sic]
Sworn to and subscribed before me
this 9th day Jan 1817
John Cunningham
Justis of the peace


I certify that James Tait [sic] who filed this Claim served a Captain in the Regiment under my command which Regiment composed a part of Genl. Thomas Johnstons Brigad of West Tennessee Militia in the service of the United States that he performed the different marches as herein charged or stated.
Signed Stephen Copeland - Col


Recd. May 22nd 1818 of Howell Tatum agent for the department of War, Thirty dollars and Twenty four cents in full for this acct.
Signed James Tait
Test H L A [?] Gamble


Copeland's 3rd W. Tenn Militia
Martin Johnson
Capt. James Tate's Company,
Col. Stephen Copeland's Regiment
West Tennessee Militia Infantry
(War of 1812)
Appears on Company Muster Roll
for Jan 28 to May 10, 1814
Roll dated July 5, 1814
Date of appointment or Jan 28, 1814
To what time engaged, May 10, 1814
Present or absent, present
Note: Each non-commissioned officer and private
travelled 120 miles marching to and from Fayetteville,
where mustered in and discharged,
to residence in McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee


Muster Roll of a company of M Infantry under the command of Captain James Tait in the Service of the United States Commanded by Colonel Stephen Copeland from 28th Jany 1814 to 10th May 1814

No. Names Rank
1 James Tait Captain
1 James Withirall " [Withrow?]
1 Samuel Dale "
1 Martin Johnson Sergt.
2 Hiram Lucky "
3 Levi Fearris "
1 Robert O Reare Corporal
2 Thomas Ray "
3 Jesse Roberts "
1 David Adcock Private
2 Peter Adams
3 Nicholas Alley
4 John Brown
5 Absolom Brown
6 Wm. Bashears
7 John Bashears
8 David Benton
9 John B. Campbell
10 William Crosly
11 George Cooper
12 Jas Craig
13 Leonard Craig
14 Samuel Crawford
15 James Canady
16 John Cooper
17 James Crosley
18 Jonathan Eves [?]
19 John Edwards on command as waggoner
20 John Eddy
21 Peter Ethridge
22 John Ethridge
23 Michael Felps
24 Nathan Farriss Sick absent
25 Davison Farriss
26 Charles Gresham
27 Elias George
28 George Griggs
29 Ennis Hews
30 John Lockhart
31 William Mathews
32 Cooper Melton
33 John Martin discharged 24th Feby 1814
34 Martin Phillips
35 George Pain died 26th April 1814 [George Pain, Sr., rec'd pay]
36 Watson Riggs
37 Joseph Ray
38 Jacob Ray
39 John Read
40 Nathan Smith
41 Aron Sanders
42 David Thompson
43 Hardin Williams
44 John Webb
45 John J. Williams
46 Thomas Wood
47 William Carter 

Annotations and Biographies

The following biographies are from Capt. James Tait's 1814 Warren County, Tennessee Militia Company. If you know anything about any of the men in this company, we would very much appreciate hearing from you.

Capt. James TATE, the son of Robert and Mary TATE of Russell County, VA, was born ca. 1779 in Russell Co. He emigrated to Warren County, TN ca. 1806 with five of his siblings. James TATE married first in VA ca 1798, Ruth DAVIDSON (c. 1784-aft. 1850), d/o James DAVIDSON (d testate 1826, Scott Co, VA), and they were the parents of thirteen children. Major TATE divorced Ruth, and married Elizabeth SMITH ca. 1826. Major TATE and Elizabeth SMITH were the parents of five children. Major TATE lived in the Hill's Creek area of Warren, later Grundy Co., TN. He accumulated a considerable amount of land in the valley, as well as on the Cumberland Plateau where he maintained a distillery. Warren County was a major producer of apple brandy during his lifetime. Major TATE, who served in the War of 1812 at the rank of Captain, later was promoted to Major, and was known as Major TATE from that time on. He served as a Justice of the Peace for Warren County and was prominent in business and public affairs. Major TATE died 19 April 1849 and is buried in Philadelphia Cemetery in Grundy Co., TN. Researcher: Sandra Tate Hereford, Email:

Ed. Note: James TATE appears on the 1812 Warren County, Tennessee Tax List Return of James COOPER. Ruth DAVIDSON Tate's sister, Elizabeth, m Simon STACY, s/o Simon & Judith TOLSON Stacy, three of whose children married children of Mason & Sarah COMBS, Sr.

Sgt. Martin JOHNSON, son of James and Elizabeth? _____ JOHNSON (Murrell), was born ca 1776-1780, probably in Southwest Virginia (possibly present-day Scott or Russell Cos, or East TN). According to family tradition, his father, James JOHNSON was killed during the Revolutionary War - either by Indians or Tories. After the death of their father, the widow JOHNSON married Rev. Thomas MURRELL, a noted early Tennessee Baptist Preacher who lived on Big Creek of the Holston River (Hawkins TN), and who treated her sons, William, b ca 1774-1778, and Martin, as if they were his own -- educating both, and caring for them into adulthood (See also the Oscar S. Johnson Story). Circa 1797, probably in Hawkins Co, Tennessee, Sgt. Martin JOHNSON married Sarah COMBS, born 1779 in either present-day Hawkins County, Tennessee or North Carolina (possibly Surry). They lived on Dodson's Creek of the Holston River until ca 1802 when they moved into middle Tennessee, settling at first on Indian Creek of the Caney Fork in then-Smith Co, TN (later Jackson, then White). Martin JOHNSON appeared on Benj. Lockhart's Returns of the 1812 Warren Co, Tennessee Tax List , by which time Martin and Sarah COMBS Johnson were the parents of eight children: Elizabeth, William M., James, Dorothy, Pleasant Miller, Matilda, John Clark, and Thomas Murrell JOHNSON. The following year, on 12 Jun 1813, a son, Martin JOHNSON, Jr., was born and only a few months thereafter, Martin accompanied Capt. TATE to Fort Deposit where they both protected local inhabitants and engaged in various skirmishes. By 1828, Martin and `Sally' COMBS Johnson had thirteen children -- having added Sarah, Richard, Nancy and Eliza during the intervening years. Both Martin and Sally were both dedicated Baptists, and listed on the 1828 Rocky River Baptist Creek Church list. By 1829, Sarah had died, and in June of that year, Martin JOHNSON wed Mary Ann "Polly" (WARREN?) Hawk, apparently the widow of Jacob HAWK who had died within the year himself. Circa 1832, Martin and Polly and their combined families left Warren Co, Tennessee permanently, to join their older children in then-Washington Co, Arkansas - now Richland Creek, Madison Co, AR, where Martin JOHNSON and most of his sons appear on the 1837 Madison Co, Arkansas Tax List. One son, Martin's eldest, William M. (and Mary LOGUE) Johnson, remained behind, standing as Warren County Sheriff for several years in the 1830s - up until his land became part of Van Buren Co, Tennessee in 1840. Martin JOHNSON, Sr., died in Madison Co, Arkansas ca 1851-2. William M., who was born 1800, Hawkins Co, Tennessee, did not join his siblings in Arkansas until after the Civil War. Closely affiliated families in Warren County, Tennessee, included COMBS, DRAKE, RAY, NEAL, LOGUE, FLEMMING, MITCHELL, RAY and PAYNE (See Also The JOHNSON Family).

Private David THOMPSON m 17 Aug 1785, Montgomery Co, VA, Nancy CODY, d/o William and Sinai STACY Cody, Sr. David THOMPSON is found on 1787 Montgomery Co, VA Tax Lists; 1789 Russell Co, VA tax lists (and later) and the 1812 Warren County, Tennessee tax return of James Cooper. Sinai STACY Cody's brother, Simon, had m Elizabeth DAVIDSON whose sister, Ruth, was the first wife of Capt. James TAIT. Her sister, Seth, had m William COMBS, Sr., and her brother, Benjamin, Ann COMBS. Both COMBS were children of Mason & Sarah COMBS, Sr. and the STACYS all children of Simon & Judith TOLSON Stacy (Pettit), Sr.

Sgt. Levi FEARRIS - Pension application of Margaret NUNLEY Farris, widow of Levi "Kelly" FARRIS:

25 May 1855: Bounty Land claim # 167582. "On this 25th day of May AD one thousand eight hunded and fifty five, personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace, within and for the County and State aforesaid, Margaret Ferris aged about Seventy years a resident of the County of McNairy in the State of Tennessee who being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is the widow of Levi Ferris or Farris who was a private in the company of Tennessee Militia commanded by Captain Tate in the war with Great Britian declared by the United States on the 18 day of June 1812 and that her said husband was drafted in the County of Warren in the State of Tennessee about the latter part of 1812 or early in A.D. 1813 for the term of three months and continued in actual service in said war for the term of three months or thereabouts and was honorably discharged at Fayetteville in the State of Tennessee about the spring of the year AD 1813 and that her said husband died in McNairy County in the State of Tennessee on or about the 1st day of September 1832. She further states that she was married to the said Levi Farris in Warren County Tennessee about the year AD 1815 by one Jonatha Farris, a Justice of the Peace and that her name before her said marriage was Margaret Nunley. That she did not receive a marriage certificate and does not know whether or not any public or private record of her said marriage exists and that she is now a widow and has remained a widow since the death of her said husband. She makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty land to which she maybe entitled under the act approved March 3rd, 1855 never having applied for nor received bounty land under this or any former act of congress. Margaret (her mark) Ferris"

The witnesses for the above statement were Henry R. Sharp and James Doan, residents of McNairy Co., TN
Additional information from Margaret dated 15 Jun 1857:
"Margaret Ferris, widow of Levi Ferris......declares that her said husband served under the name of Kelly Ferris in Captain Tates Company of Tennessee Militia in the War of 1812. That the name of Kelly Ferris was a nickname which he bore while in the said service. Margaret (her mark) Ferris"
Witnessed by James Doane and J. R. Sharp
Statement of Margaret Farris dated 10 Dec 1857: On this tenth day of December AD one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven personally appeared before me a Justice fo the Peace within and for the County and State aforesaid, Margaret Ferris aged Seventy two years a resident of McNairy County in the State of Tennessee, who being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is the widow of Levi Ferris (who was sometimes called Kelly Ferris or Farris) deceased, who was a private in the company commanded by Captain Tate in the Regiment of Tennessee Militia commanded by Colonel Copeland in the war with Great Britian declared by the United States on the 18th day of June, 1812. That her said husband was drafted in Warren County in the State of Tennessee during the latter part of the year 1812 or early in the year 1813 for the term of three months and continued in actual service in said war for the term of three months or thereabouts and was honorably discharged at Fayetteville in the State of Tennessee during the Spring of the year 1813 and that her said husband 's name may have been written on the rolls as Kelly Ferris or Farris and that he may have served under the name of Kelly Ferris, as he was frequently called by that name. She further states that she was married to the said Levi Ferris in Warren County in the State of Tennessee on or about the first day of February AD 1811 by one Johnathan Parris, a Justice of the Peace and that her name before her said marriage was Margaret Nunly and that there is no public or private record of her said marriage within her knowledge and that she cannot procure it. That her said husband died in McNairy County in the State of Tennessee on or about the first day of September AD 1829 and that she is still a widow. She makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty land to which she may be entitled.......and that this is intended as an additional declaration to that previously filed.Margaret (her mark) Ferris"
Witnessed by James Doane and H R Sharp residents of McNairy Co., TN
"The Commissioner of Pensions will please forward my warrant or any communication relative to the same to S. A. Barnes, Barnes Store, Tishomingo County, Mississippi, who as my Agent will receive the same and transmit it to me. Margaret (her mark) Ferris"
June 24, 1856
Note in files:
Margaret Ferris wid of Levi Ferris, Prin
"Levi Ferris or Farris' name is not on Rolls of Capt James Tate January to May 1814 or Richard Tate Sept 1814 to April 1815"
Treasury Department Third Auditor's Office July 15, 1857
"Levi Faris" served in Captain Jas. Tate's Company Tenn: Militia from the 28 Jany until the 19 May 1814.
Certificate of June 24 1856 is erroneous.

Transcription provided by researcher Mary South who adds that Levi was possibly a brother to Davison FARRIS of the same company (who possibly also m sister of Margaret NUNLEY).

Ed. Note: Levi "Kelly" FARRIS was on Capt. Tait's roster, of course (as Levi FEARRIS), but neither he nor Davison [Davidson?] FARRIS are on the 1812 Warren County, Tennessee Tax Lists. See, however, Champ, Nathan and James FARRESS on the 1812 Return of James COOPER (where also is found James TATE, whose first wife was Ruth DAVISON (DAVIDSON). See also Combs &c. Families of Russell Co, VA where Champ and James FARIS are found on Crabtree Creek of Big Moccasin of the Holston along with Cody, Combs, Davidson, Stacy, Thompson Families and more. Levi may have been the s/o Champ FARRIS (research in progress). Might Kelly have been his middle name? Might his mother have been nee KELLY?

Cooper MELTON and David BENTON are on Thomas Burgess' 1812 Warren County, Tennessee tax list, as are John MARTIN, Thomas WOODS [sic] and Peter ETHREDG [sic]. Researcher Will Melton adds that “Cooper MELTON and David BENTON resided in or near what later became DeKalb County, TN, but ultimately settled in what was then Humphreys County and which was later subdivided and renamed Benton County. That county was originally named for the statesman Thomas Hart BENTON. But when Thomas (no relation to David) opposed the nullification acts as a US senator, he outraged Southern supporters of slavery, and the county was "renamed" for David BENTON, by then a longtime magistrate and leader of Benton County. Cooper MELTON and three of his brothers (Thomas, Matthew, and Joseph) and two of his sisters (Mrs. Phebe M. BENTON and Mrs. Mary M. HART) were early settlers of Smith and Warren counties. For his service under Captain Tait, Cooper MELTON received a land grant in 1817 and with his brother Joseph moved to Humphreys County. An old family story says that the MELTONS "crossed the Tennessee River on a raft with a pair of oxen, some farming tools, and a scant amount of household furnishings." The part of Humphreys County west of the Tennessee was subdivided into Benton County in 1836. By that time, David BENTON had also moved to the area.”

James WITHERALL was likely James WITHROW, either Jr. or Sr., both of whom are also found on Benj. Lockhart's Returns of the Warren County, Tennessee Tax List.

Notes: No. 34. Martin Phillips was born 06 Sep 1793 in SC and died 12 Jan 1867 in DeKalb Co, TN. (His parents are unknown.) He married Sarah League 21 Sep 1815 in Warren Co, TN. Martin served as a Private in "Capt. Tate's" Company of Tennessee Militia from 28 Jan 1814 to 10 May 1814 (expiration of service). Sarah received a widow's pension for Martin's service starting in 1878. In the affidavit that Sarah included in her widow's pension application (dtd 03 Jun 1872), she stated that Martin was in the "Battle of 'Horse Shoe'" and that Martin's service was done in the "State of Allabaima." Martin states in a bounty land grant application that he had been "drafted" in Warren Co.
[Source: Pension File WC-11132, National Archives, Washington DC]

Martin was a magistrate and was present at the first meeting of the Cannon Co Court in 1836 and appears among the first magistrates of DeKalb Co who met to organize the county in 1838.
[History of Tennessee (by Goodspeed Pub) & Tennesee Cousins (by Ray).]

Martin and Sarah are believed to have had seven children: Mary, William R., Dabney Martin, Edmond, Samuel M., Joshua D., and an unknown daughter.
Submitted by Bruce Phillips

To Warren Co, TNGenWeb
To Tennesseans of the War of 1812

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