Fifth in a series of articles celebrating the tenth anniversary of Craig Valley Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
Much of our information about the experiences of Revolutionary War Soldiers comes from their pension applications. While these sources may contain personal details and first-hand accounts, they often lack exact dates, place names and military data.
Pension Acts in the 1830s provided funds for widows who could prove their husband’s war service. An example was Theodocia Lee Maiden Hall who, at the age of 90, appeared in Rockingham County Court to document the service of her first husband, Private James Maiden.
Maiden served in the Tenth Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army and was with the troops of General George Washington during the 1777-1778 winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Known most of her life as “Docia,” James’ widow testified “ that she was married to James Maiden, who was a Soldier in the War of the revolution, and that he Enlisted into the Army in the year of ___ in the County of Rockingham and State of Virginia, under the Command of Captain David Laird, that she believes that the term for which he Enlisted was for during the War, that he continued in the Army for three years or more, when he was wounded, and he received his discharge….. that her husband, the aforesaid James Maiden, has been dead forty-seven or forty-eight years the day and year not recollected; that she was afterwards married to Bazil Hall, who died on the __ day of August in the year of __ and that she still remains a widow….. “
Records show that depositions from her nephews Jonathan and Zachariah Lee and a neighbor named Frances Meadows were gathered, resulting in annual payments to Docia of $76.66, beginning in early 1845. Docia Hall passed away sometime in 1847 and was buried in a cemetery begun by her son William and located in what is now Shenandoah National Park.
James and Docia had six children before his death in 1796. The youngest was John Maiden who married Suzanna Landis and moved to Catawba Creek in Botetourt County, where he was a cooper and innkeeper on the Sweet Springs Turnpike. In 1843, this family moved 150-miles south and settled in Washington County, Virginia. One of their descendants was Ernest David Clark, father of Craig Valley regent Diane Givens.
The study of Docia’s long life points to another Revolutionary War soldier whose pension application was rejected. Theodocia’s younger brother, Zachariah Lee, who testified successfully on her behalf, did not have sufficient facts to claim his own pension.
In the early 1800s, he had moved to a section of Botetourt County which later became Craig County. He applied for a pension at the age of 69 at the courthouse in Fincastle, where he reported names of some commanding officers, marches into southern Virginia, and that he was once wounded in the leg by a musket ball. The application states that because Zachariah was illiterate and unacquainted with the area’s geography, he could not give specific details. DAR records state he was a Private from Albemarle County who served in the Rockingham County Militia.
Both James Maiden and Zachariah Lee left many descendants who settled the Shenandoah Valley, fought in the War Between the States and helped to build America into a great nation.
For information, please visit www.dar.org or call Craig Valley members Diane Givens at 540-580-3745 or Margaret Hines, 540-864-8447.
– Submitted by Craig Valley NSDAR