Third in a series of articles celebrating the tenth anniversary of Craig Valley Chapter, NSDAR
Jonathan Buck was born on January 12, 1755, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He married Zuriah Covalt, and they had twelve children. He served in the Revolutionary War as a private, and a scout in Enslow’s Raiders under Captain George Enslow – also known as the Bedford County Frontier Rangers. They fought several skirmishes against Native Americans in the area who as a group were Loyalists.
At the end of the war, Jonathan moved his large family to Watauga, North Carolina, which in 1796 became Carter County, Tennessee. There he was one of the first ministers to serve at the Sinking Creek Baptist Church near present day Elizabethton, Tennessee. The church is known as the oldest church of any faith in the state of Tennessee still in existence at its original location.
Jonathan had been given a land grant following his service in the war. This land was in White County, Tennessee, which later became Putnam County. There he built a home on Buck Mountain. His son Isaac established Buck College in Cookeville which was very active for many years. Isaac is the ancestor of Rick Boucher, who represented Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 2011. Another son, Ephraim, is the ancestor of sisters Lois Groseclose and Ann Rumfelt, charter members of Craig Valley Chapter in New Castle, Virginia. Jonathan Buck’s many descendants went on to become teachers, publishers and successful farmers.
Jonathan Buck died on March 19, 1831, and is buried on Buck Mountain in Cookeville, Tennessee. In 1989 the Old Walton Road Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a marker on his gravestone in commemoration of his service.
William Obadiah Gragg, Jr. of Irish descent was born on April 15, 1758, in Augusta County, Virginia, and died at the age of 89 in what became Avery County, North Carolina. His peers in that community called him “Revolutionary Bill” in reference to his experiences during the Revolutionary War.
When British General John Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga, New York, on Oct 17, 1777, at least two thousand British and German soldier-prisoners were marched from New York to land near present-day Charlottesville, Virginia. That prisoner-of-war camp became known as Albemarle Barracks, and there Revolutionary Bill served as a prison guard during the summer of 1778.
He later served three months as a substitute soldier and was in two skirmishes near Portsmouth. In September of 1781 he joined a company commanded by Captain Robert Sharpes which marched to Yorktown and was with the forces of Gen. George Washington when British Gen. Cornwallis surrendered. He helped to escort prisoners north to Noland’s Ferry on the Potomac where he was discharged for the final time in Dec. 1781.
He first married Elizabeth Pulliam and later Nancy Coffey, having a total of ten children. He received several land grants in Burke County, North Carolina, and is buried near Montezuma in the mountains of northwest North Carolina.
Craig Valley charter member and treasurer Margaret Franklin Peters descends from Revolutionary Bill’s fifth son, James Gragg.
-Submitted by Diane Givens