Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Revolutionary War Story: Upshaws, Gatewoods, Thorntons, and a Dozier

I had originally planned to highlight Colonel William Woodford, under whom my ancestor John Threadgill served, in an effort to begin a series on men who aren't relatives but are instead men mine and my husband's ancestors knew. I did not, however, anticipate that Colonel William Woodford would eventually be promoted to Brigadier General Woodford!

This one promotion in rank drastically increased the number of documents I had to sift through. (I mean, he was reporting directly to His Excellency George Washington, himself!) Needless to say, I am still sifting through them. I will finish sorting through all of it soon, but, until then, I thought I would share the post I made to my personal family's blog, Widespread Roots, for the Fourth of July.
With today being a day of respect and remembrance of our nation's beginnings, and also being a day most people enjoy with their families, I thought I would highlight an extended family's experience in the American Revolutionary War. 
I wrote about John Upshaw's experience in the Revolution in a previous post, and I mentioned how his father-in-law, Larkin Gatewood, was a Sergeant under Captain William Tucker, who was also John's Captain during his first draft. 
John Upshaw's daughter, and my sixth great-grandmother, Sarah Upshaw married Benjamin Thornton on 12 January 1796. Benjamin was the son of Dozier Thornton and Lucinda Elizabeth Hill.
This portrait of Dozier hangs in Van's Creek Baptist Church in Elbert County, GA
Portrait copy found on various websites and forums related to Dozier and Van's Creek.
Dozier Thornton also served in the American Revolutionary War. Even Dozier's father, Mark Thomas Thornton, is thought to have aided in the War. 
Dozier and Mark are no longer accepted Patriots in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Dozier's grave has been marked twice (once by the DAR and once by the SAR) as being in the North Carolina Militia during the Revolution, though I haven't found any proof of his actual service. But I refuse to give up hope of finding it! I still have a few leads to follow, but they will require actual trips to repositories that aren't yet available online.
Application for Military Headstone for Dozier Thornton, dated 8 November 1927
There seems to be some confusion about Dozier's service online with people thinking he fought in Captain Dunston Blackwell's Division and Major David Dobbs' Battalion. This misinformation comes from a land lottery in Georgia drawn in 1825 (and awarded in 1827) where Dozier is shown as receiving lottery entries. This land lottery was not related to the War in any way. Soldiers did, however, get two drawings in the lottery. That may have sparked some of the confusion. 
The fifth person in the family to have aided in the War was (possibly) Mark's father-in-law, Leonard Dozier(Leonard's relationship to Mark is often debated. While it is clear these two families are related, they may not be father/son-in-law.) Leonard is listed in Abercrombie and Slatten as furnishing beef for the War. 
Even despite Dozier and Mark's disputed service, this particular branch of the family tree leaves me feeling very grateful and very patriotic, especially on holidays like today. I hope everyone enjoys a safe and pleasant Fourth of July, and I hope everyone appreciates the actions of the men and women who attributed to the founding of this nation we call The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave.


  1. Dozier was my 6th great-grandfather. I have learned a lot from your blog and have really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for remembering my family so kindly.

    Matt Thornton,

    1. I am sorry I apparently overlooked this comment from over a year ago! I am so glad you found my blog and that you enjoyed the posts about Dozier and his family. I am still working on trying to clear his status as a DAR Patriot, but my teaching job has kept me too busy to take too much time for researching. This summer, I hope to make some larger strides towards resolving it, and I also plan on picking back up with this blog then too!

  2. Dozier was my 4th great-grandfather. He had a fascinating life. :)