m. bef 1750
m. 12 April 1781
Facts and Events
American Revolution Veteran
Leonard Fite was born on his fathers farm, 1 Feb 1760 in Greenwich Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, the eighth child of Johannes Vogt (angelicized Fite) and Catharine (Unknown). The family were members of the St. James Lutheran Church of which the following is quoted from the History of Sussex and Warren County, New Jersey by J. P Snell. "From the earliest records which have been preserved, we hear that originally there was a union between the German Reformed and Lutheran Churches, but the former becoming extinct by removals and possessors of the property, and afterwards formed a new organization under a special constitution. In its early history this church was affiliated with St. Michael's Lutheran Church of Philadelphia, and with it held the faith of the Reformation, as declared in the Augsburg Confession, for more than a hundred years. The only names which have come down through the history of the church to the present are those of Shipman, Feit, Ensley, and Melick. Tradition states that the first building for the purposes of worship, was constructed of logs and was about 30 x 40 feet in size. It was thatched with straw, which caused it to be generally known as the "Straw Church." The first regular pastor was Rev. Peter Muhlenberg, from 1769 to 1773, followed by Rev. Christian Streit, from 1773 to 1777' Mr Braas, 1777-1781; and Rev. John Frederick Ernst, 1781-1792."
Leonard's age is recorded in the church book of St. James Lutheran Church, better known as the "Old Greenwich Church" and "Old Straw Church." This church is still in use and is situated in Stewartsville, near Philipsburg, New Jersey.
Leonard Fite's Revolutionary War Service
Leonard enlisted in the New Jersey troops of the Revolutionary Army as a very young man and saw thirteen months total service as a private in Col. McKinney's command. He is listed as a Patriot with the Daughter's of the American Revolution, Ancestor No A040056.
Leonard Fite applied for his pension on the 7th of June 1832 while living in Smith County, Tennessee,. His name appears on the 1832 list as a resident of Smith County and in the 1840 Census as of DeKalb County. His pension file begins with a series of questions regarding his service in the Revolutionary War. He began by stating his service in a sworn statement in open court in the county of Smith, Tennessee before David Hogg, William C Garrison, and Solomon Delany. He volunteered his service under the command of Capt Hazlet in Sussex Co., New Jersey where he and his captain were both living. There they remain in service two months and marched from thence to Port Amboy where they built the Amboy store battery. At the expiration of two months time, he was dismissed by his officers and came back home to Sussex, New Jersey. He was then drafted under the command of James Anderson and marched with him to Port Amboy and after arriving there he was sent up the East River as one of the Centinels. During his service as a Centinel the British were staying on Struther's Island. Every evening they could hear them relieve their Centinels. While he remained in Amboy – after being relieved as a Sentinel, the British fired from the Island – a few rounds at them; and one thing he recollects – that "a cannon ball fell not fare distant from him and he went and picked up the ball; it was very hot and burned his hands". In this tour he was out two months and dismissed as above.
He was again drafted under Capt. Anderson and marched with him to South Amboy – where we remained two months. He states, "the only circumstances worthy of notice in this tour was one of the British ships giving chase to one of ours -- became misguided in her chase and ran headway clean up in a sandbar. Seeing they were in our reach(end of page 5), they new they would be defeated and in consequence of which they set fire to their own magazine and blew it up." He was then dismissed and came home.
He was then drafted under Capt. Joseph Mackey, marched with him to the many Cinques – against the many Indians who at that time were at the Delaware River. During this tour we made our headquarters at one Calo Rosequonces (not sure of spelling here), where we remained two months and were dismissed and came home. He was then drafted under a Capt. -- whose name he cannot recollect-- to go to Mammoth. They started and got within a half days journey of the place when the Battle came on. In this battle the Americans were successful -- after the battle, a greater many of our men killed, them ---- by drinking two freely at the Mammoth Springs. He was in this tour two months.
He was then drafted under the command of Major Robt Hooks and Colo McKinney to march against the Tories that were supposed to be at that time at a Little Lake called Greens Pond or Manancu Chunk (not sure of spelling here). In this tour nothing worthy of notice occurred. He was in this tour one month.
He was then ordered out to guard three prisoners whose names (were) William White, Capt. Mack and Matthew Lawry). He guarded them from Sussex County aforesaid to headquarters which was at that time held at Elizabeth Town. He was out on this tour one month.
He was then ordered on bond (?) of a Bonze and sent from Sussex County to Philadelphia with a Bonze head of guns and C&C(?). In this tour he was in service one month. He was in the general retreat of New Jersey and was at the cutting down of the Nanetine Bridge. He states he has no documentary evidence of his service and knows of no person now living whose testimony (end of page 6), he can procure who can testify to the same except John Fite whose certificate is annexed to this declaration.
On other pages (p7) of the file, Leonard Fite answers questions regarding himself:
He was born on 1st day of February 1760, recorded in the church book in Greenwich Church near the Easton(?) in the county aforesaid (Sussex, NJ), where is recorded the age of several of my father's family. He left Sussex County immediately after the close of the war, moved to Northampton County, Pennsylvania where he lived about 5-6 years, when I moved to the state of North Carolina—Lincoln County where I remained about 9 years when I moved to this county I now live (ca 1796, Smith County, Tennessee) and have remained ever since. He further states he had a discharges from the officers with whom he served, but it has been lost or misplaced. The file contains several sworn statements in open court from many of the men whom he lived with in Smith County, TN.
Leonard Fite's Revolutionary service is mentioned in the History of Sussex and Warren Counties, NJ, by J. P. Snell.
After the War
At the close of the war, at the age of twenty-one, Leonard marries Margareth Cross, of Oxford, Sussex County, New Jersey, April 12, 1781; they left Sussex County and moved across the state line into Pennsylvania, where Leonard had a warrant for one hundred acres of land in Allen Township, Northampton County; they lived there six years. In 1785 Leonard's federal tax was on one hundred acres of land and some cattle; a year later he had an additional ten acres upon which he paid taxes. The tax collector spelled his name variously Feight and Fight (Pa. Archives, Vol. 19, 3d Series).
Leonard's move to NC and TN
After the birth of three sons, Leonard and his brother John moved their families to Lincoln County, North Carolina, where his pension application states he lived for about nine years. The family is listed on the 1790 U. S. Census for Lincoln County, North Carolina. The Federal Census of North Carolina for 1790 shows that Leonard lived in the Eleventh Cand had in his household, besides himself, four white males under the age of sixteen, and two white females, one of whom was his wife. Several more of his children were born there. In 1796 Leonard and his brother, John Fite, then moved their families on to Tennessee, and Leonard entered land near Nash's Lick (Nashville), but upon learning that some one else held an older title to the land, he gave up possession and moved to Smith County, Tennessee,. Leonard Fite is listed in the "First Families of Tennessee", having settled in Sumner County, Tennessee in 1796. He purchased 640 acres on Smith's Ford, 1 February, 1810 from George Smith of Sumner County, as recorded in Deed Book D, p 299. Leonard cleared the land and built the home in which his five youngest children were born, making a total of twelve; the youngest died in infancy. The remains of the house, still standing in 1890, bore testimony to the lavish scale on which the estate was run, even in the days when the Indians were still a menace to the settlers. In another deed, dated 12 June 1834, Aaron Rule, for the consideration of $5.00, deeded a lot to Joseph Fite, Leonard Fite, John M Bennett, Edward Robison, and William S Anderson, all of Wilson County, Tennessee. They were the Trustees in Trust for a Methodist Episcopal Church. The land lay in Wilson County on Pirtle's Creek within thirty yards of the Main Road, in a tract of land belonging to Panathan Turn er. This church became known as "Pirtle Creek Church".
His pension was granted on March 4, 1831. He receives $43.33 per annum. His pension file at this point is about 16 pages.
Leonard and Elizabeth are listed on the 1840 Census in Dekalb, County Tennessee. This census also lists him as a Solder of the Revolution.
Leonard Fite died on March 22, 1842 in DeKalb County, Tennessee, where his will was probated during the April Term, 1842,,,. Leonard is buried in Hillview Cemetery, Alexandria, DeKalb County, Tennessee Find-A-Grave. His grave marker reflects that he served in the New Jersey Militia during the Revolutionary War.
Peggy Fite's Pension Battle
Now comes Peggy Fite, his wife, who applied for her husband’s pension. She fills out her paper work, sends in the affidavits that she is an honorable, respectful woman and that she has not remarried. They grant her half of her husband’s pension at $26.66. Peggy doesn’t think that’s quite fair and that isn’t what the law allows. She hires herself a lawyer and the fight begins, page after page after page. There is an affidavit from their Greenwich church in Pennsylvania dated 1787 that states that Peggy and Leonard Fite were “Christians” written in both English and German, signed by the Parish Minister (p 24). There is a Bounty Land Claim (p 16). There are many, many pages of affidavits from family and friends of Peggy stating she is an honorable woman and deserves her husband’s full pension. There is another page from her son, Moses Fite, who states he is in possession of the family Bible and it states their birth dates, marriage date, Leonard’s death date, and that he is their son. (p 31.)
Peggy finally gets her $43.33 pension reinstated and lives to be 104 years old. She is still living on April 14, 1855 when she made application for the bounty land due on account of the service of her husband, Warrant No 26400 for one hundred sixty acres under the Act of March 3, 1855. At that time she was 94 years old.