Notes for William Cline: William Cline (1746 - 1853), Revolutionary War Soldier and Frontiersman
William Cline's name appears on Bedford County property tax lists prior to 1790, but not in the 1796. The reason seems to be that on January 18, 1793, "William Klin of Belfast Township, Bedford County," resold his father 50 acres "on the waters of Lincken Creek" originally granted to and purchased from Matthias Dishong on March 8, 1790, and adjoined land owned by Conrad Cline and Philip Longstreth.
Sims' Index to West Virginia Land Grants Indicates a grant of 101 acres in Hardy County, Virginia, later West Virginia, ws made in 1796 to William Cline. Cline moved there about 1798 or 1799. If the cnsuses are correct, some of his older children were born in Virginia, so he may also have lived there before 1790.
Most of what is now known about William Cline comes from sworn depositions he made while seeking a Revolutionary War soldier's pension. The depositions are part of the National Archives & Records Service (NARS), file R2050. Although Cline was denied a pension, thre is little reason to doubt that he served in a Maryland Militia Unit. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) long ago concluded that Cline was a Revolutionary War soldier. Many descendents have been DAR and Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) members.
Cline's depositions were taken in the Gallia County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas on October 17,1851, and Jay County, Indiana Circuit court on September 25,1852. Some facts appear in only one deposition and there are minor discrepancies in the data in two statements. However, the level of detail and consistency between the two statements are astonishing for a man more than 105 years of a ge when the journeyed from Jay County, Indiana to Gallipolis, Ohio, to make one deposition and 106 years old when he went to Portland, Indiana, for the second. Cline's appearance in Gallia County was noted in the Gallipolis Journal of October 23, 1851. The newspaper said that "the little old veteran" had an "emaciated form and sunken eyes," an indication that Cline by then no longer was in good health.
In his depositions, Cline said he "...was born in the State of New Jersey, and according to the tradition of my parents about the year 1746." Asked bout a birth record, Cline said "I have none; neither did I ever see one. When I grew up, my parents told me when I was born and I have since continued the same reckoning and according to their account was born about the year 1746..."
These statements raise questions about Cline's year of birth. The generally accepted date of January 23,1747 is based on the inscription on his tombstone in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, located on the Randolph County side of the Jay-Randolph County line a mile west of the Indiana - Ohio line. It shows that he died on August 23, 1853, at 106 years,, seven months of age. Using this data NSDAR published Clines's date of birth as January 23 1747. However, the tombstone seems to be wrong, which means NSDAR'S publisheddata is probably wrong also.
Not only did Cline himself say that he was born "about the year 1746." but notes made by his daughter, Lydia Ann Cline Simmons, last held by her great-granddaughter, Mrs. Dorothy F. McLaughlin Banning of Anderson, Indiana, indicate he "was born June 23, 1746 in New Jersey and died in Jay County, Indiana on the 23 day of August 1853... (emphaisis added)." Henry Wright Newman's Maryland Revolutionary Records also gives Cline's year of birth as 1746 and the biography of Francis M. Ross, a grandson, published in Iowa in 1896, says that the Cline "died at the advanced age of 107 years (emphasis added)."
Cline obviously knew when he was born. Mrs. Simmons also knew and must have been fully aware of the data inscribed on her father's tombstone, since she lived near Pleasant Hill Cemetery. For her to write down something else makes no sense unless she wanted to note correct data. Cline's own statements, his daughter's clear notes and the data in Newman's book are more compelling evidence than that inscribed on his tombstone. Therefore, Cline probably was born on June 23, 1746 and probably was 107 years, two months of age when he died on August 23, 1853.
Cline was living at Taneytown (later Hagerstown) in Frederick County when he enlisted. His depositions conflict on the date of enlistment, one saying "on or about the year 1777," the other "the spring of 1780." Both could be correct. When he enlisted, Cline said "it was expected all the disposable force(s) in Maryland would be immediately ordered into active service, as it was expected the enemy would ascend the Chesapeake or Delaware with their whole army." He served under Captain Keys and , after Keys' death, under Captain Peeples. Cline said that:
He has no recollection that said company was... part of the military organization, like other state troops, but ws organized and kept up for the express purpose of guarding and protecting the inhabitants from marauding parties sent from Philadelphis while the British had possession of that city. When news was ... sent... that the 'Cowboys' as they were called... were out, Captain Peeples' company was immediately ordered out to intercept them in driving away the stock of the inhabitants; the range requiring the action of said company was principally confined to the counties of Baltimore, Harford and Ann Arundel in Marylnad and Adams, York, Lancaster and Chester Counties in Pennsylvania."
Since the uit in which Cline served " was raised and kept in readiness to march at a moment's warning, they were called minutmen," Cline said. He fought in no battles but his unit "...had many severe skimishes before the stolen property (taken by British troops) could be regained, and ...men on both sides" were casualties. Cline served full-time. Responding to a judge's questins as to whether he was "during that time engaged in any civil pursuit, or any other employment," he said:
I was not, nor was I permitted to quit the barracks, except by furlough, during said service but perfomed duty with as much rigidity as the soldier in regular service.
In 1778, after General Howe's army evacuated Philadelphia, Cline's unit ws "still kept up, as the enemy had occasional small craft lying in the chesapeake Bay, from which parties were frequently sent to steal..provisions...and on such occasions detachments from said compay were wordered out to scour the country..." After General Cornwallis, Commander-In-Chief, of the British armies, concentrated his fornces in North Carolina in 1780, Cline drove a wagonload of "baggage and equippage" there. "Marched back to his company...in Maryland...he continued under Captain Peeples' command, and was never absent from duty, except on furlough" and served "until...our independence had been acknowledged and peace concluded." He remembered "seeing General George Washington a number of times while in service." Cline was "honorably discharged at Taneytown, Maryland ...and received a certificate of Captain Peeples of such discharge."
In his Gallia County, Ohio deposition, Cline said that " after the Revolutionary War, I resided in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and at no other place; then I removed to Gallia County, Ohio, where I resided until the year 1847, when I removed with my family and located at Jay County, Indiana, where I reside at present (emphasis added)." In the Jay County court, Cline said that "after being discharged, I removed to and located in Bedford County, Pennsylvania; from thence I removed to Hardy County in Virginia; after continuing there some years, I removed to Gallia County in the state of Ohio, where I lived for over 40 years; from thence, I removed to Jay County, Indiana where I now live." Thus, Cline mentined Hardy County in only one deposition and did not mention Harrison or Wood Counties, Virginia (later West Virginia) where he also lived, in either deposition.
Cline first was listed as a Hardy County (Virginia) property owner in 1798. His daughter, Margaret Cline Cunningham, ws born there on December 11, 1800. (Her obituary erroneously gave he place of birth as "Hardin County, Pennsylvania." There is no such county.
Hardy County records show that William and Susannah Cline sold 170 acres on the south fork of Lunies Creek to Adam Harness Jr for $300 on September 5, 1804. However, Cline held a 102 acre tract of land on the south branch of the Potomac River in Hardy County until selling it to Daniel Bolen on September 7, 1814. This apparently was the acreage granted him in 1796. The deed for the 1814 sale shows Cline as a resident of Wood County, Virginia. (The fact that Abraham Cline and his wife, Katherine, sold 85 acres "between Walker's Ridge and New Creek Mountain" in Hardy County to Andrew Borer on December 12, 1804, suggests that William and Abraham Cline were moving together. William Cline probably was Abraham's older brother.)
Hardy County deeds, Harrison County land entry records and Wood County deeds prove that William Cline lived several years in western Virginia after leaving Hardy County. After living in Harrison County, he seems to have moved to the part of Wood County which in 1843 became Ritchie County. At the outset of the Civil War, Hardy, Harrison, Wood and Ritchie counties became part of West Virginia.
The 1810 Harrison County, Virginia census includes a household headed by William Cline. The oldest male, born prior to 1765, almost certainly was William Cline, born in 1746. Also, enumerated in 1810 in Harrison County was an Abram Cline, born between 1766 and 1784, and a much younger George (possibly George William) Cline.
On October 6,1810, Cline entered 47 acres of land on the south fork of the Hughes River in Harrison County. On August 29,1811, Cline entered 50 more acres of Harrison County land. On October 7, 1812, he entered three tracts totaling 347 acres, including 150 acres "below the farm whereon the said Cline now lives." On September 13, 1814, he entered another 50 acres "below the place where Daniel Wigner erected a mil dam... to include the improvments made by John Wigner." (Joseph and John Wigner were sons of Daniel Sr. They probably were selling out before moving with their parents and other family members to Gallia County, Ohio.) Except for the 150 care and 50 acre tracts, Cline withdrew all the entries on September 14 and October 7, 1814. He entered another 150 acres in the same area on October 7, 1814. The two 150 acre tracts were surveyed on September 3, 1816, and recorded in the Harrison County survey record.
In 1817, Cline received grants for two 100 acre tracts, one on Goose Creek and the other on State Road Creek in Wood County, later Ritchie County. (Abraham Cline received a grant in the same vicinity in 1815.) William Cline sold these tracts to William Douglass on November 20, 1837, nearly two decades after he moved to Gallia County, Ohio. Recorded in Wood County, the deeds to these transactions provide absolute proof that Cline owned land in what became Ritchie County, West Virginia. The deeds also show "William Cline and his wife Jane of Gallia County, Ohio" as grantors, thus reflecting the death about 1823 of Cline's first wife, Susannah Lance, and his Marriage to Jane Woten in 1827.
The Clines were among Ritchie County, Viriginia's earliest settlers. At Harrisville, West Virginia, on July 4, 1876, General Thomas Mealey Harris said that:
The first settlers (in what became Ritchie County) built log cabins along this road (the "State Road" built in the late 1700's from Clarksburg, Virginia to Marietta, Ohio)... to be used as inns for the accomadations of calvary. The first of these that was built within the present bounds of Ritchie County was built...by a man by the name of (John) Bunnell, at the site of the present village of Pennsboro...
Nearly contemporaneous with the settlement of Bunnell on this road, Jacob Husher settled ... first on Husher's Run, at the point at which said road struck that stream, and shortly afterward removed to the point at which it crossed Bond's Creek. The brothers Cline, Abraham and William, settled a little further west on what was in those days called "the Dry Ridge."
Essentially the same data was repeated in Hardesty's West Virginia atlas. In her History of Ritchie County, West Virginia, Miss Minnie K. Lowther later wrote that:
William Cline, early in the century, built the first house at Smithville, on the site... now marked by the hotel of M. A. Ayres.
The yar in which William Cline moved to Gallia County, Ohio is not known with certainty. His name appears on the Gallia County tax list in 1819. From the 1820's to the 1840's, he was a landowner in Perry and Green townships.
Cline's depositions say his discharge was lost in 1825 while he was "living on Dry Ridge in Gallia County, Ohio, and having lost my wife and (having) no one to keep my house, it was entered in my absence and a number of articles valuable to me were carried off, among which was my discharge." In response to a judge's question, Cline later said that his discharge was "burnt in a dwelling house, which I had the misfortune to have destroyed by fire,: suggesting that the theif burgalarized Cline's home and then set fire to it.
Thus, Susannah (Lance) Cline died before 1825. In a manuscript now held by Mrs. Banning, Lydia Simmons said her father, "after the death of his wife, and all his children were in homes of their own... made his home withhis youngest child, Margaret (Cline) Cunningham, or his children (lived) with him. Thus, they lived for four years." Since he remarried in late 1827, Susannah Cline may have died in 1823.
Cline told the Jay County, Indiana judge he had not talked with this new neighbors about his Revolutionary service due to hearing loss. His statements also indicate loss of memory due to age. However, until his last years, he enjoyed excellent health. Mrs. Simmons said he "was ...very spry...I don't believe he ever visited a physician or took a dose of medicine from one." His seven children by second wife Jane Woten, were born when he was between the age of 82 and 95. An illustrative trip Cline made at age 101 after settling his family in new cabins in Jay County, Indiana, by family tradition, he walked 20 miles through the wilderness to northern Jay Co., Indiana to visit relatives. After staying 3 days, he walked 20 miles back.
Cline bought from Gideon and Mary Harrison of Wayne Co., Indiana two 80 acre tracts on October 23, 1847. Deeds of both tracts, recorded on December 30 and 31st, 1847, are in Book "F", pp. 516-520. The two 80 acre tracts are in Madison Township, Jay Co., Indiana.
On August 23, 1853, Cline died at his Madison Township home. Written on September 25, 1852, the day he made his Jay Co., Indiana deposition, his will left $5 to each of his children by Susannah Lance and the rest of his estate to Jane Woten Cline and their children. Jacob Bosworth accepted appointment as executor but withdrew. His son, Alexander H. Cline, then settled the estate, paying $5 each to "Abraham Cline"; "two children...heirs-at-law of William Cline Jr....whose names are unknown"; "Ann (Anna Mariah) Wigner" (wife of Daniel Jr.) "Elizabeth Wagner" (widow of Jacob and by then wife of Joel Hutchens); Mary Ross (widow of Joseph Ross); Sarah Warnock (wife of Francis) and Margaret Cunningham (wife of Benjamin).
Cline's children by Susannah Lance who were not living in Jay Co., Indiana sent authoriazation in writing to Alexander H. Cline to accept the $5 or to pay it through a family member living there. Three of Cline's 11 children by his first marriage died in infancy. Of the other 8, only Conrad and William Jr. were deceased in 1858, Jay Co probate records show. Alexander Cline also executed transfers to switch ownership of his father's land to his children by Jane Woten.
More About William Cline: Burial: Unknown, Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Randolph Co, Indiana. Military service: Abt. 1777, Maryland Militia Unit -Revolutionary War. Residence 1: Abt. 1777, Taneytown (Hagerstown), Frederick Co. Residence 2: 1810, Harrison County, Virginia Census. Residence 3: Abt. 1819, Gallia County, Ohio. Residence 4: 1847, Madison Township, Jay Co. Indiana.
More About William Cline and Susannah Lance: Marriage: Abt. 1780
More About William Cline and Jane Woten: Marriage: November 01, 1827, Gallia Co., Ohio.