John Zinn

JOHN ZINN - Kentucky Ancestors, Winter 1990, Vol. 25, No. 3, Pg 153-156.

Kentucky Ancestors in Pioneer Days - The Taking of Ruddle's Station, 1780, by John Zinn. (Contributed by Dr. Roseann R. Hogan (4504 Arvice Ct., Lexington, KY 40503)

In this sworn declaration (recorded in Grant County, Kentucky, Order Book A, p. 453), John Zinn recounts the attack on Ruddle's Station, the arduous wilderness trek, and his ultimate imprisonment in Detroit with others taken in Kentucky. Transcribed here verbatum is Zinn's original pension application contained in his revolutionary War service file in the National Archives (Secretary of War papers Pen. 3 KY 96; pension W-6379; Bounty Land Warrant, B.L.Wt. 34520-160-55). The clerk's spellings have been retained, except for his misspelling of "Riddle," which has been corrected to "Ruddle" throughout the transcription. Punctuation necessary for clarity has been added to the text.

Born June 21, 1763, in Berks County, Pennsylvania, John Zinn came to Kentucky and married Elizabeth Kiser (1765-1844) in Pendleton County on August 10, 1795. He died in Grant County, kentucky, on April 17, 1847. In his will, John named his sons Joseph, William and Hiram Zinn (married Zerelda Conyers); his daughters Rebecca (married James Tayler) and Sarah (married William Hazelwood); his grandson, John P. Harrison (child of Mary Zinn, who predeceased her father); and his granddaughters Elizbeth Taylor and Harriett and Louisianna Hazelwood (will dated 21 June 1841; proved 10 May 1847; recorded 5 July 1847, Grant Co. Will Book C, pp. 53-54).

State of Kentucky

County of Grant

On this 12th day of may 1834, personally appeared in open court before the Justice of the County Court of Grant now sitting, John Zinn a resident of the county of Grant and State of Kentucky aged about seventy-one years, who being duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress, passed June 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated that is to say: He arrived in the month of January 1780 at a station called Ruddle's Station which is situated at or near the junction of Hin[k]ston and Stoner which forms what is called the south fork of Lickin[g] River, the place of the station being now in the county of Bourbon and state of Kentucky but then the district of Kentucky and State of Virginia. And was immediately enrolled as a minute man in the militia of the state of Virginia under the command of Captain Isaac Ruddle, L[i]eutenant Casper Casner and an ensign whose name is not now distinctly recollected but he thinks his name was David Patton.

He does not know to what regiment he belonged nor who was the field officer of the same as during his service there was not any field officer at the said station nor was there any other company there save the one to which he belonged but he has understood that Colonel Benjamin Logan was the Colonel of the Regiment but he can not say whether he ever understood this before his return from captivity.

Some time in the latter part of the month of February 1780 in consequence of a suspicion of being attacked by the Indians the aforesaid Captain Ruddle called on this declarant to enter upon military

duty and this declarant did immediately in a regular manner enter upon the same and served under the said Ruddle with the aforesaid L[i]eutenant and Ensign in the aforesaid Ruddle's Station (he at the time residing in said station) and continued so to served until, as well as this declarant now recollects, until the 24th day of June 1780 or near that time.

His service consisted in guarding the station and hunting for the support of the station. Says he guard[ed] his turns and hunted his turns. There was however some times during the aforesaid period that the guarding was very slack, rather a guarding in name than a guarding in fact. But this declarant considered himself as regularly in the service all of the aforesaid time and actually under orders of his officers.

On or about the day of 11th day of March 1780, as well as this declarant can now recollect, the Indians attacked the said station at or near day break and continued to operate against station until late in the night and succeeded in wounding one man only named Andrew Beard who was shot in the right side of the breast and the ball lodged inside the skin on the back and Captain Ruddle cut it out and he recovered. The Indians, although they did not succeed in killing any person in the station, did succeed in killing a number of cattle, sheep and a few dogs and carried off a number of horses.

On or about (as well as this declarant can now recollect) the 24th day of June 1780, Captain Byrd of the British Service accompanied by about 150 or 200 British regulars, [illegible] pieces of cannon and near about 500 Indians arrived and attacked the said Ruddle's Station Beginning the attack about sunrise and ending about three o'clock when the forces in the station surrendered. There was no one in the station either killed or wounded before the surrender but as this declarant was informed by others there was some 3 or 4 who was old and sick killed by the Indians afterward.

On the second day after the surrender aforesaid, the British and a part of the Indians marched for Martin's Station which they succeed in taking as this declarant afterwards learned from prisoners who said they were taken in said Martin's Station, and also from the British soldiers he learned the same fact. At the time that the British set out for Martin's Station, the prisoners taken at Ruddle's Station (say about fifty or sixty effective men bound to military duty and between one hundred and one hundred and fifty others consisting of old men, women and children) was apportioned out in small parties among the Indians who was to proceed in small parties to Detroit.

This declarant and one other prisoner (soldier was given in charge of three Indians who tied us and proceed down the south fork of Licking River to the mouth of Raven Creek (by land) where we took bark canoes and descended the River to its mouth and crossed the Ohio River and landed about where Cincinnati, Ohio, now stands. Then we passed over by land to Detroit where we arrived near the first. Although we were tied when we first set out, we were tied only about five or six days. The balance of the way, we were guarded without being tied. After this, declarant had arrived at Detroit. The other which had been taken at Ruddle's Station continued to come in detached parties for several weeks. (This declarant does not think that all ever arrived.)

When the British Captain (Bird) [Byrd] and his company altogether with some Indians arrived with the prisoners which they had taken at Martin's Station (say about near the same number which had been taken at Ruddle's station) when all was kept guarded in a ring of a picketed fort for a considerable time (time not recollected) when something like half was sent off to work for their support but was watched in such a manner as totally to put it out of their power, situated as we were, to make our escape. And if there was any who would not work for their support, it was understood that they would be still confined but all who was left did work for their support so far as this declarant was informed.

We were scattered about among the inhabitants, just in proportion as they could make our labour profitable to themselves. Thus those of us who was left remained until about Mat 1781 when there was a considerable number of those who were left last fall taken on board of the shiping and was, or was intended to be, conveyed to Quebeck.

The balance still remaining as before, still working for their support at Detroit and neighborhood, but so arranged among the inhabitants as to make it impossible for them to leave and return home so that this declarant and those who remained was kept as prisoners of war until the close of the Revolutionary war and until the news of peace reached Detroit which this declarant now thinks was some time in the year 1783. The period of the year not now recollected but when the news of peace did reach Detroit in an official manner, this declarant as well as all of the other prisoners that remained were informed that they were at liberty to return home or remain at their pleasure and many did return so soon as they could obtain the means and some remained.

This declarant and seventeen others after having obtained the means and provided themselves in such a manner as they thought they could with safety encounter the wilderness did on the 28th day of June 1784 set out for the United States (the names of all of the seventeen not now recollected) and traveled to the head waters of the Alegany [Allegheny] and then down that stream until it could be naviaged with canoes when we made bark canoes and then descended in the canoes to Pittsburgh where we separated and went in different directions.

This declarant and four others descended the Ohio River to a place then called Lime Stone, now Maysville, and then went by land to Lexington, State of Kentucky, where we arrived on the 14th day of August 1784. The four who accompanied him was Richard Rue, Benj. Cottingkon, Ransom Tinsley and Thomas McGuire.

.... [Text deleted here is concerned with calculations by Zinn of the time which he served.] This declarant will say.... That in all he was in the said service two years and eight months leaving out the year 1783....It will be perceived that the declarant cannot give all of the dates but this cannot be expected as many years have passed since and this declarant, not knowing that it would ever be of any advantage to him, did not chargehis memory with any of the events except such as was of such importance to him as to make a lasting impression on his mind. He has no record evidence of his service having received no discharge from his officers nor does he know of any person now living by whom he can prove all or any of his service except Michael Leonard and Elizabeth Franks neither of whom can I with any convenience have at court nor do I know whether (from their age and circumstances) they will be able to recollect the service circumstantially but I will procure their depositions at a future day.

He has no record of his age nor has he any other data by which he can ascertain his age except that his uncle John Link told him in February 1780 that he was over the age of sixteen. Therefore, he must have been born in the year 1763, but the time of the year was not ever known to this declarant which is the reason that he says that he is about seventy-one years.

He was born in the County of Berks and State of Pennsylvania and lived in said county and state with his father until he was about twelve years old when his uncle John Links took him to the county of Augusta, State of Virginia, and he has not seen his father since about September 1779 when he moved with his said uncle to Ruddle's Station then in the District of Kentucky, now in Bourbon County, Kentucky, where he resided in the month of January 1780 and where he entered the service and was taken prisoner as before stated and detained. And he arrived at Lexington, Kentucky, from his captivity as before stated on the 14th day of August 1784, where he remained until May 1785 when he removed to what is now Bourbon County, Kentucky, where he remained until the month of May or April 1789 when he removed to what was then Pendleton County, now Grant County, and State of Kentucky, where he now ever since resided and does now reside say forty five years.

His services was in the militia of Virginia. He never served with any other troops than the company to which he belonged and consequently as he was taken a prisoner and remained until the war was over. He never knew any of the regular officers or continental troops. For the reputation in his neighborhood of his having been a revolutionary soldier here refers to the certificates which follows this declaration of James How and James Winnans of the County of Grant, there being in my neighborhood no clergyman whose attendance he can procure. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension Role of the agency of any State or Territory whatever. Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid,

John Zinn