Person:Daniel Riley (8)

Daniel Riley, of Washington County, VA
b.Abt 1739
  • F.  Riley (add)
m. Bef 1739
  1. Daniel Riley, of Washington County, VAAbt 1739 - 1837
  2. John Riley, of Botetourt County, VAAbt 1741 -
  3. Nathaniel Riley, of Washington County, VAAbt 1745 -
  4. Patrick RileyEst 1748 - Bef 1824
  • HDaniel Riley, of Washington County, VAAbt 1739 - 1837
  • WElizabeth UnknownBef 1767 - Bef 1807
m. Bef 1785
  1. Elizabeth RileyAbt 1785 -
  2. William RileyAbt 1790 -
  3. Andrew RileyAbt 1794 -
m. 18 Mar 1807
  1. Thomas Jacksn RileyAbt 1812 - 1885
  2. Jackson RileyAbt 1815 -
Facts and Events
Name Daniel Riley, of Washington County, VA
Gender Male
Birth? Abt 1739
Marriage Bef 1785 to Elizabeth Unknown
Marriage 18 Mar 1807 Russell County, Virginiato Susannah "Nancy" Roman
Death? 4 Mar 1837 Washington County, Virginia

Revolutionary War Pension Declaration

Daniel Riley, at the age of 94, made the following declaration before the Washington County Court, on March 25, 1833, in order to qualify for a pension under the provision of the Pension Act passed by Congress the previous year.
"That he enlisted in the army of the United States in the year 1776 in the month of March under Capt Thomas Bell at Staunton in Augusta County Virginia for three years or during the war. That he marched under Capt Bell to valley forge. There he was transferd to a company commanded by Capt Alexr Breckenridge in the Regt commanded by Colo Wm Russell. That he was in the battles of Brandawine & Germantown. and afterwards at the taking of Burgoine. Colo Russell and Colo Cabell commanding the Regt to which he belonged at the time of the engagements above alluded in the year 1777. He was then with his Regiment march to Middlebrook in New Jersey and remained there during that winter. And in state of New Jersey until 1779. In this year was at taking of Stoney point under the command of Genl Wayne, from thence was march to West point and after remaining there some time was march back to virginia, and in the winter of the same year was march to Charleston in South carolina, and was there when it was taken by the British, and made a prisoner and kept on board a guard ship until the taking of Cornwallis at yorktown Va was then exchanged and immediately afterward discharged at yorktown by Colo Russell. His discharge was sent to Richmond virginia where he obtained his land warrant."
Danl Rylie (by his mark)

Will Transcript

I Daniel Riley do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say.
1st I desire that all my perishable property or so much thereof as is necesfsary be sold after my decease and out of the proceeds thereof all my just debts and funeral expences be paid.
2ndly I give to my beloved wife Nancy Riley my mansion house and furniture and forty acres of land on which my house stands during her life and at her decease to descend to my Grand Daughter Nancy Pepin to be enjoyed by her heirs forever.
I also give to my wife Nancy Riley one hundred dollars out of my pension money if there is that amount on hand at my death.
And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my friend William Dunn executor of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all other or former Wills or testaments by me heretofore made one other clause in this will omitted where it ought to have been mamed I give to my son Thomas Riley what money may be remaining unpaid by him to me for one hundred acres of land I sold him over the river against where I live at five dollars per acre.
In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 22nd day of February 1835.
[signed] Daniel Riley [by his mark]
At a court held for Washington County the 27 day of March 1837. [Will Proven]
  1.   The Family of Daniel Riley of Washington County, Virginia, by Michael A. Ports.

    From his pension declaration, most of Daniel Riley's wartime exploits may be reconstructed. Commanded by Colonel William Russell, the 13th Virginia Regiment was assigned to Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg's Brigade, then at Morristown, New Jersey, along with the 1st, 5th, 6th, and 9th Virginia Regiments as well as the German Regiment. However, Alexander Breckenridge did not command a company in this regiment. The 13th Virginia Regiment, also known as the West Augusta Regiment, was organized on February 12, 1777 at Fort Pitt to consist of nine companies from Yohogania, Monongalia, and Ohio Counties, which comprised the former West Augusta District of Virginia. Can it be assumed that Daniel was transferred to the 13th Regiment because he was an experienced frontiersman from West Augusta? Alternatively, did he simply not recall the specifics of his enlistment so many years later?
    Muhlenberg's Brigade participated in the Battles of Brandywine on September 11, 1777 and Germantown on October 4, 1777. However, Daniel's regiment did not take part in the Saratoga Campaign, which culminated in the surrender of Major General John Burgoyne's British and German regulars. General Washington formed a provisional rifle corps on June 13, 1777 under Colonel Daniel Morgan of the 11th Virginia Regiment. The temporary corps served as light infantry and was the only Virginia unit that participated in the Saratoga Campaign. The men, primarily from Virginia and Pennsylvania Regiments, were selected for their marksmanship and woodcraft, lending credence to the assumption that Daniel Riley was a frontiersman from West Augusta. The provisional light infantry intimidated Burgoyne's Indians and drastically reduced his ability to procure accurate intelligence. Major General Horatio Gates inflicted two defeats on "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne and forced his surrender on October 17, 1777. Apparently, Daniel Riley was among reinforcements that were speeded to Gates immediately after the Battle of Germantown. Therefore, it is doubtful that Daniel participated in much more than the climax of the campaign against "Gentleman Johnny." Morgan's Battalion of Riflemen were considered only a temporary unit, thus Daniel may have been permanently assigned to the 11th Virginia Regiment, which was later redesignated the 7th and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Cabell.
    While he may well have been marched back to Middlebrook, New Jersey, Daniel did not winter there. Because General Washington had abandoned New Jersey temporarily to the British, no troops were left there over the winter of 1778. Virtually all of the Continental Army, with few exceptions, wintered with Washington at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania that year. There, enduring great hardship and depravation, the Army was reorganized and received extensive training under Baron von Steuben. Daniel's pension declaration does not mention any further events in 1778 or the first half of 1779. At midnight on July 16, 1779, four provisional light infantry regiments, consisting entirely of hand picked men under the command of Brigadier General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, achieved a complete success in a surprise attack on Stony Point, New York. With bayonets fixed on unloaded muskets, the direct frontal assault upon a well fortified position, was instrumental in proving that the Continentals could stand up to and defeat the British regulars. Again, the fact that Daniel Riley was hand picked to join "Mad Anthony's" sharpshooting light infantry lends credence to the assumption that he was a seasoned frontiersman. He was certainly a seasoned combat veteran. By the end of December 1779 Wayne's elite corps was disbanded. Because the focus of the war had shifted to the southern arena, General Washington dispatched reinforcements. The Virginia line under the command of Brigadier General William Woodford reached Charleston, South Carolina on April 6, 1780. Daniel Riley was likely a private in Captain Alexander Breckenridge's Company of the newly formed and designated 3rd Virginia Regiment commanded by Colonel Nathaniel Gist. The entire Charleston garrison surrendered on May 12, 1780 when Charleston fell. This defeat was the worst suffered by the Continental Army during the Revolution. Daniel Riley then was forced to endure the next 16 months on a prison ship, probably in Charleston harbor, until the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in October of 1781. The British prison ships were notoriously wretched, killing perhaps more Americans than British rifles. Estimates of total deaths on such ships throughout the War run from 7,000 to as many as 8,000.
    For his service during the Revolutionary War, the State of Virginia granted Bounty Land Warrant No. 2896 for 200 acres to Daniel Riley on April 6, 1784. It is interesting to note that the warrant was issued by Alexander Breckenridge, the Captain under whom he had served during the war. The warrant reads as follows:
    "This may certify that Daniel Rily a soldier in the Virginia Continental Line (Colo Grayson's Regiment) enlisted the first day of January 1777 for the term of three years. afterwards reenlisted in December 1779 for the war. and hath received his full pay in paper currency up to the thirty first day of November 1779."
    Given under my hand in Washington County this 17th day of October 1783.
    Alexr Breckenridge
    Capt Virga line
    The original warrant on file at the Virginia State Library was countersigned by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Clark. On the reverse side of the warrant:
    "For value received I do hereby assign & make over to James Raburn his heirs or assigns all my right & title to pay & land."
    as witness my hand
    Daniel X Ryley
    (by his mark)
    The bounty warrant is a more reliable record of Daniel's military service than his own sworn pension application because the application was filed so long after the War. Colonel William Grayson's Additional Continental Regiment of Infantry was raised at large from Maryland and Virginia in 1777. The regiment fought in the Pennsylvania Campaign of 1777 and saw combat at both Brandywine and Germantown. Lieutenant Thomas Bell was promoted to the Captaincy of the regiment's 10th Company. Because the ranks were ravaged by smallpox, the regiment was merged into Gist's Additional Regiment in April 1779. That same month, Daniel's name appears upon the payroll of the company of the newly reformed regiment commanded by Captain Alexander Breckenridge. After the merger, Daniel was assigned to Major Nathaniel Mitchell's Company upon whose extant payrolls he appears each month from May through November of 1779. From the warrant, it is clear that Daniel was in Washington County soon after the Revolutionary War. Both William Russell and Alexander Breckenridge had settled in Washington County before the War. Had Daniel also settled there before the War and gone to Staunton to enlist? Or, had he simply followed his officers there after his discharge? Daniel then sold his Bounty Warrant to James Raburn. But, the records do not indicate that he stayed in Washington County. Perhaps he ventured further west into Kentucky or Tennessee for a few years. Perhaps he plied a trade in nearby Abingdon or Saltville. Or, perhaps he farmed on shares or by lease. No further record of him has been found until 1791, when Daniel Realy paid personal property taxes in Washington County on one horse. On November 25, 1795, Daniel Ryley, assignee of Levey Jones, assignee of Peter Harmon, and assignee of Aaron Lewis recorded his survey for 150 acres by Treasury Warrant No. 9795 and for 50 acres by Treasury Warrant No. 12954 for a tract on both sides of the north fork of the Holston River, lying above the mouth of Tumbling Creek on the south side of Little Mountain. Daniel avoided paying taxes on the 200 acres of land until 1801, even though he paid the taxes for one horse in 1796, 1797, 1798, and 1799.
    In 1802 Daniel Riley began to pay taxes on two tracts, one of 200 acres and one of 46 acres, and continued to do so through the year 1807. Yet, no record has been found of him acquiring the second 46 acre tract. On January 17, 1804, Daniel Rylie bound his son, William, to John Cubine to serve as an apprentice tailor for 5 years. Daniel Ryley and wife Elizabeth, on April 20, 1805, sold for $26 to William King their interest in the waters of Halfacre Creek running through the lands of Neil McNeil and Daniel Ryley. On April 3, 1807, Daniel Riley deeded to his son-in-law Joseph Pendleton and his son Andrew Riley for love and affection "all my lands whereon we now live, lying about 3 miles from Saltville on fork of Holston" containing 246 acres. Joseph Pendleton received all of the lands on the north side of the Holston River and Andrew Riley received all of the lands south of the river. His wife, Elizabeth, did not release her right of dower as required. The lands remained undivided as Andrew Riley and Joseph Pendleton together paid the property taxes for the entire 246 acres from 1809 through 1824. The tract was located on the North Fork of the Holston River adjacent to the lands of James Doland and Charles Sherman.
    On the 1824 tax roll, the notation "of Russell County" appears next to the names of Andrew Riley and Joseph Pendleton. On the 1825 tax roll, Andrew's name does not appear. The taxes were paid by Daniel Riley and Joseph Pendleton from 1825 through 1828 and thereafter by Daniel alone. The 1828 tax roll includes the notation that the 246 acre tract was part of Robert Preston's original tract of 300 acres. But at least 200 acres were part of Daniel's original 1795 survey. On October 11, 1833, Daniel Rylie and his wife, Elizabeth, sold to William Rylie for $150 the land where he lived containing 60 acres on the north fork of the Holston River. Curiously his wife, Elizabeth, did not sign the deed. And, on August 28, 1834, Daniel Ryley and William Ryley and his wife, Lydia, sold to James White for $1500 a 60 acre tract with a salt well on the south side of the north fork of the Holston River. Unfortunately, no records have been found which further identify Daniel's first wife, Elizabeth. Neither her age, her maiden name, nor the identity of her parents has been found. She apparently died sometime after April 20, 1805, when she signed the above deed, and sometime prior to March 18, 1807, when he remarried.
    The children of Daniel and Elizabeth Riley were:
    i. Elizabeth, born circa 1785. She was married to Joseph Pendleton in Washington County on November 26, 1801, by Rev. N. Reagan. That same year, Joseph Pendleton served as a private in the 70th Regiment of Virginia Militia from Washington County.
    ii. William, born circa 1790. He served as a private in the Washington County Militia in 1809 and 1812. William was enumerated in the 1830 Census of Washington County aged 30 to 40, with 1 male aged 15 to 20, 2 females aged 10 to 15 and 1 female aged 30 to 40. But, no further record of him has been found in Washington County.
    4. iii. Andrew, born circa 1794.
    Apparently, Daniel left Washington County soon after the death of his first wife, Elizabeth. It seems likely that he moved to Russell County, where he married Susanna Jackson on March 18, 1807, just two weeks before he deeded his lands in Washington County to his son and son-in-law. Daniel appears in Russell County on the 1810 personal property tax list with one poll, no slaves, and one horse. He returned to Washington County by 1820, where he was enumerated in the census with a wife, both over 45 years of age. But, where were their children? Was the responsibility of rearing two young sons just too daunting a task for the 81 year old veteran? If so, he may have apprenticed his sons to a younger man in order for them to learn a trade. Daniel and Susan may have been missed by the census taker or have resided in another household in 1830, as they were not separately enumerated in the census that year.
    The children of Daniel and Susannah Riley were:
    5. i. Thomas J., born circa 1812 in Russell County.
    6. ii. Jackson, born circa 1815 in Russell County.
    Undoubtedly Daniel Riley was an extraordinary man! He was 37 years old when he enlisted in the Virginia Line, yet served throughout the Revolution. The hardships of Valley Forge as well as the prison ship must have been especially difficult for a man of his age. But, his age at enlistment indicates that he may have had an entire family prior to the War. He was 46 years old when his eldest known daughter, Elizabeth, was born, 51 when his son William was born, and 55 when his son Andrew was born. After the death of his wife, he married again at the age of 68 years. Susannah was then 34 years old. Her age also hints at a previous marriage. Daniel was 73 years old when his son Thomas was born and 76 years old when his son Jackson was born. He must have been a hardy soul to have lived such a full and prolific life. Yet, so far as is known, he had no grandchildren named for him.