James Hawthorn
Rev. War Veteran-Caldwell Co., Ky.

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James Hawthorn
by Scott Giltner

A lot of the military exploits and battles of James Hawthorn are found in the Bobby Gilmer Moss book Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution.

Scott is still researching his life after the Rev War, but has included the highlights of what is known.


James Hawthorn originally enlisted as a private on 10 July 1775 in an independent ranger company under Capt. Ezekiel Polk and Col. Thomson.

1777 became a 1st Lieutenant
1778 - Captain
1778-1779 - Major, trainer of militia under Col. Thomas Neel (his future father-in-law), New Acquisition District
1780 - Lieutenant Colonel (battle at Kings Mountain)
1781 (17 Jan) - Wounded Battle of Cowpens
1781 (25 April) - Wounded Battle of Camden
He was born in County Armagh in Ireland and the family immigrated to North American when he was young.
There is a story that around the age of 12 he and his mother and sister were captured by indians. In the course of this his mother & sister were killed and after some time he was either released or escaped. I have found nothing to support this except for writings of his nephew recounting this story. So if it was made up (which I personally doubt) James himself would have been the originator of it.
His civilian occupation was a blacksmith. Some people state he was a bricklayer, but I have found nothing to indicate this. I have found firsthand accounts from his contemporaries specifically stating he was a blacksmith.

He married Mary Neel, daughter of Col. Thomas Neel and sister to Jane Neel Leeper. Jane is the wife of Robert Leeper. James & Mary had four children: Andrew, Thomas, James, & Elizabeth.

The earliest record I have for him in Livingston County (currently Caldwell), is a court record from August of 1800. In 1801, he filed a claim for 370 acres of land between Fredonia and the area where Centerville was located. Alot of his land is currently located within the farm of Don Boone's mother. Don Boone informs me that according to the old records there were two blacksmiths in Centreville. Based on his occupation we have surmised one of these blacksmiths was James.

He died during the winter of 1807-1808. The earliest record of his estate settlement is January of 1808, so he either died in Dec 1807 or Jan 1808. After his death his widow moved to Arkansas with their daughter's family. The sons also left the area. I believe some of them hung around in the Kentucky area for awhile, but then they all left for Arkansas also, but I will have to check my records on this.

James Hawthorn is buried in the Livingston Presbyterian Church Cemetery.