Appalachia Profiles of Mountain People

Revolutionary War Soldier – John Henry Stonecypher, Jr.

Photo by Old Glory Prints
(Photo by Old Glory Prints)

John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. Revolutionary War Soldier by Ethelene Dyer Jones

On July 16, 1994, descendants and admirers of John Henry Stonecypher, Jr., Revolutionary war soldier, gathered for a service of dedication at the Stonecypher Family Cemetery in Eastanollee, GA, Stephens County. An historical marker was dedicated and a patriotic program conducted. Stonecypher’s service as a Revolutionary soldier was recounted. A great, great grandson of Stonecypher and Sons of American Revolution member, John Paul Souther (late) of Gainesville arranged the program and led the effort to place a fence around the graves, secure the memorial marker, and plan and implement the impressive program.

As strains of patriotic music came from an impromptu brass band assembled by 7th and 8th generation great grandchildren of the patriot, and accolades were given, we were glad to be there. We knew we were participating in history and honoring a worthy individual who had put freedom above personal safety, liberty above personal comfort. We heard these words from John Henry Stonecypher himself, quoted from his pension application of September 3, 1832: “I received no pay other than the liberties of my country.” It was a glorious afternoon beside his grave and near the house he built for his family, still standing in splendor near the family cemetery.

John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. was born in Culpepper County, Virginia in 1756, the son of German immigrant Johann Heinricus Steinseiffer who came to America in 1753, and the grandson of Johannes Steinseiffer who came to America in 1749. John Henry, Jr. lived in Virginia until his family moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1763.

John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. enlisted in the United States Army in June, 1776 as a private in the North Carolina Militia under Colonel Cleveland and Captain Shepherd. He entered the service at the Wilkes County Court House and was made a guard over some prisoners-of-war at Salisbury under Captain Gordon Shepherd. This was a three months tour of duty.

He returned to Wilkes County Court House and was reassigned to a battalion at the Crew River where they sought to stop the Tories led by a Captain Roberts. At King’s Creek they also warded off Tories. That ended his second three-month’s enlistment.

He rejoined the service in June, 1780 at Wilkes County Court House under the leadership of Captain Rutledge in the regiment commanded by Colonels Loches and Isaacs. Commander-in-Chief was General Gates. He also served under General Rutherford. That term of service was three months.

His fourth term of duty in the North Carolina Militia began at Salisbury. The regiment marched to Charlotte Court House and then to Camden, South Carolina where he again fought under the command of General Gates. The militia (Overmountain Men) army was defeated. Stonecypher escaped and returned home to Wilkes County.

After a few days of rest, he went again to Wilkes County Court House and signed for the North Carolina Militia under Colonel Cleveland with whom he continued in service and fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain in October, 1780.

He was then placed under the command of General Davidson and engaged in the Battle of Okimish at Beattie’s Ford on the Catawba River. There they were trying to prevent the British under General Cornwallis from crossing the river. General Davidson was killed in the battle. The militia was defeated and retreated to the Widow Torrance’s house and lands.  There they were attacked the next morning in her Lane and again defeated. He went home for a brief furlough.

Stonecypher returned to Wilkes Court House, again joining with Colonel Cleveland. He remained with Cleveland until the latter was assigned to the Lejis Catuce. Stonecypher was then placed under the command of Colonel Hearne with whom he continued to serve until the Battle of Guilford (Court House) in March, 1781. At Guilford he was placed among the riflemen under Colonel Campbell. He was wounded in that battle. He returned home for his wound to heal.

In October 1781 he reentered service under the command of Captain Keys, Colonel Hearne and General U. Lowell. They marched to Pleasant Gardens on the Catawba River. From thence they engaged against the Indians who were siding with the British in Cherokee territory. The militia engaged in burning Indian villages at Wautauga, Cowee and Sugar Creek. He served until December, 1781. He was honorably discharged at Wilkes County Court House by Colonel Cleveland. Altogether, John Henry Stonecypher served three years as a private soldier in the Revolutionary War.

He married in Wilkes County, NC to Nancy Ann Curtis, daughter of Joshua Curtis, a lieutenant in the Revolutionary Army. Stonecypher was granted 20,000 acres of land in Rabun and Franklin Counties in Georgia in payment for his service in the Revolutionary War.  He and Nancy moved first to Hart County, Georgia in 1784. In 1786 they moved again to what was then Franklin County, Georgia and located on Eastanollee Creek where he built a dam and a water-operated grist mill. In 1790 he built a stately two-story house, hiring the services of an architect to plan and erect the dwelling.

He and Nancy had nine children:

Benjamin, b. 1787, Franklin County, GA, married Elizabeth Collins.

Susannah, b. 1790, Franklin County, GA, married William Nix.

James Thomas, b. 1793, Franklin County, GA, married Martha Ruth Camp.

Fannie, b. 1797, Franklin County, GA, married _______ Cannon.

Mary, b. 1799.  Never married.

Nancy, b. Nov. 11, 1800, d. March, 1854.  Never married.

Lucy, b. ca 1801, married Anderson Moseley.

Amy, b. 1803.  Married Cooper B. Fuller.

Phoebe, b. April 16, 1807, d. May 10, 1865. Married Daniel Moseley who operated the old Stonecypher Mill.

John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. died at age 96 on December 15, 1850 from injuries sustained in a fall from the mill house steps. Nancy Curtis Stonecypher, who was born about 1760, died July 12, 1852 (?). Both are buried in the Stonecypher Family Cemetery near the house he built at Eastanollee, GA.

Our lineage back to John Henry Stonecypher is through various family lines. Personally for me it is through my mother, Azie Collins Dyer, daughter of Francis Jasper and Georgianne Hunter Collins, Francis Jasper’s father, Frank (or Francis) Collins who married Rutha Nix; Rutha’s parents, William and Susannah Stonecypher Nix. Susannah’s father was the Revolutionary War soldier John Henry Stonecypher, Jr.

In the Souther and Dyer lines, John Paul Souther who arranged the stone placement and memorial service for John Henry Stonecypher, Jr.  in 1994, was the son of Jeptha Freeman Souther and Mintie Dyer Souther. Jeptha’s father was Jesse Souther, Jr. and his mother was Malinda Nix, daughter of William and Susannah Stonecypher Nix. And Susannah’s parents were Pvt. John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. and Nancy Curtis Stonecypher. There are other ties in family lines.  James “Jimmy” Nix, son of William and Susannah Stonecypher Nix, married Elizabeth “Betsy” Collins, daughter of Thompson and Celia Self Collins. Jasper “Grancer” Nix, a son of James and Betsy, married Harriet Caroline “Tina” Duckworth—thus bringing the Duckworths and another  family into the lineage. John Washington Nix, a son of “Grancer” and “Tina” married Cathryn Clarenda Dyer, a daughter of Henderson Andrew Dyer and Adeline Sullivan Dyer. Henderson Dyer’s parents were Micajah Clark Dyer and Morena Owenby Dyer. Clark Dyer invented “The Apparatus for Navigating the Air” and received a patent for it in 1874. Micajah Clark Dyer was the son of Sarah Elizabeth (Sally) Dyer, the first-born of Bluford Elisha, Jr. and Elizabeth Clark Dyer, first Dyer settlers in the Choestoe Valley of Union County, Georgia.

We salute our ancestor, John Henry Stonecypher, Jr., soldier for freedom in the American Revolution. His descendants are many. His legacy shines as a beacon to liberty.

[Sketch written by descendant Ethelene Dyer Jones, compiled from Stonecypher Family History by Watson B. Dyer and others and additional family information (Collins, Nix, and online) sources. Keith Jones shortened this sketch and presented it at the Dyer-Souther Heritage Association Reunion on July 18, 2009 when the program theme was “Honoring our Revolutionary War Patriots.”]

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This sketch, written by Ethelene, is as well researched as the others I’ve shared with you-but one line-makes it my favorite. The quote that came directly from the mouth of John Henry Stonecyper Jr. – “I received no pay other than the liberties of my country.”

I believe that summed up the feelings of the patriots who fought for the birth of America. Some how they each realized what was at stake. They realized America was an opportunity that would never come again-an oppourtunity for them and their families to live in freedom.

Although I doubt they could have envisioned the life we live in 2014-I do believe they fought for something bigger than their immediate wants and desires-they fought for the greater good of the new country of America-and that means they fought for me.

Tipper

p.s. “The Apparatus for Navigating the Air” is a fascinating story in itself! Hopefully Ethelene will share it with us someday soon.

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Janet Stonecypher James
    September 21, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    My father was a Thomas Jefferson Stonecypher. Makes me wonder.

  • Reply
    Dianne
    October 6, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Thank you for a fascinating article. I knew at least one of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. It’s good to know so much more about it.
    Dianne Stonecipher

  • Reply
    Tom Stonecypher
    February 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Nice article – thanks for this!

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    July 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Ethelene & Tipper:
    Your post and responses by folks make the July 4th celebrations even more meaningful.
    With much devotion, Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    July 4, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Tipper. The civil war stories fascinate me although it is noted the bloodiest war in History.

  • Reply
    jane bolden
    July 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I’m so proud to a grgrgrgrgr granddaughter of John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. !!! Happy 4th of July, everyone!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Tipper,
    All these Patriots make me proud to be
    an American. Thank you Ethelene for
    sharing OUR men and women who became
    part of the stepping stones to Freedom.
    HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Ethelene mentions “Wautauga, Cowee and Sugar Creek”. I have been googling these names and find that all of them could have been located in present day Macon County, NC. Watauga, Cowee and Sugar Creek. Sugar Creek could have been Sugartown which is now Cullasagee(Cullasaja.) If John Henry Stonecypher had made his way south from there, he would have been near the Georgia state line. Franklin County was first formed in 1784 and part of it bordered North Carolina and included parts of South Carolina. Can we entertain the notion that John was in the area as part of his military service and liked it so well that when the war ended, he took his bride and returned.
    PS: When I was a much younger man I lived on Wiggins Creek in Swain County NC and drove to Lakemont in Rabun County to work every day. It ain’t all that far!

  • Reply
    Charlene
    July 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story about my gggggreat grandfather on the Fourth of July. It makes me very proud to be part of all these families. Happy 4th of July!

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    July 4, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I wish the Blind Pig family and readers a healthy and safe Independence Day. Keep in mind that there are young men and women in “Harms EWay” today fighting to uphold the freedoms that John Henry Stonecypher fought to establish.

  • Reply
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    July 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

    i had a grandpa that was in that war he was wounded, a neighbor found him took him in and cared for him until he was well, that is what my daddy told me,some 60 years ago.
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    FROM ARKANSAS

  • Reply
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    July 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

    i had a grandpa that was in that war he was wounded, a neighbor found him took him in and cared for him until he was well, that is what my daddy told me,some 60 years ago.
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    FROM ARKANSAS

  • Reply
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    July 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

    i had a grandpa that was in that war he was wounded, a neighbor found him took him in and cared for him until he was well, that is what my daddy told me,some 60 years ago.
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    FROM ARKANSAS

  • Reply
    Betty Louise Saxon-Hopkins
    July 4, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I so enjoyed this article. My mother was a Nix and our family tree goes back to the Stonecyphers and has a lot of the names listed but I don’t have a lot of the story. So glad to get more of the story. It makes me so proud and inspires me to be a better person. Thanks Ethelene and Tipper for sharing this! Betty Saxon Hopkins (aka Louise Saxon)

  • Reply
    TimMc
    July 4, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Fascinating stories.. We don’t realize the blessing we bestow.. On this day we celebrate our Independence and Freedom we are reminded, but should be Thankful each day, a lot of lives were and are still being lost so we can continue to enjoy these Blessings..

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 4, 2014 at 7:44 am

    On this glorious 4th of July, 2014, we are still reaping the benefits of stalwart patriots like those my ancestor, John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. fought for. His statement reechoes today with power and devotion: “I received no pay other than the liberties of my country.” May we recall afresh the price of our freedom and not take it for granted.

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