Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
War Patriot John Little Ingram
John Little Ingram, Union County, Georgia early settler, the subject of last week’s column, with his twenty-one children reared to adulthood, was a son of Revolutionary War patriot John Little Ingram of South Carolina.
The records on the father of John Little Ingram born about 1755 in South Carolina are hard to determine. Since John seems a common given name for Ingrams, we note several John Ingrams who immigrated from England to Virginia. The first among these came in November, 1643 and claimed 300 acres in Elizabeth City. Another John Ingram settled in Virginia in 1652, the third in 1656, and the fourth in 1662. A Joseph Ingram immigrated in 1652. Two Richard Ingrams settled in Virginia, one in 1642, another in 1653. Toby Ingram arrived in Virginia in 1653. An indentured servant, who had to work seven years before he received his freedom, was William Ingram transported from Kent, England to Virginia on the ship “Forward Gally” in December, 1731.
On March 1, 1790, President George Washington signed into law the Census Act and ordered a compilation by heads of households of citizens in the thirteen states of the Union. There were 104 families of Ingrams (also spelled Ingraham) enumerated that year in eleven of the thirteen states, with none listed in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. North Carolina had the largest concentration with 32 Ingram (Ingraham) families, South Carolina had thirteen and Virginia had thirteen.
A year after his order to enumerate the colonists in the first US Census, President George Washington made a trip to South Carolina. His diary entry of May 26, 1791 stated that he “lodged at James Ingram’s fourteen miles farther” from Camden, SC. Further entries in President Washington’s diary show that “Mr. Porter and Mr. Ingraham” “dined and spent the night at Mt. Vernon (January 16, 1787). Between that date and July 21, 1788, the said “Ingraham and Porter” again were guests of Washington on these dates in 1788: January 20, February 3, 13, 15, 28 and July 21. They seem to have enjoyed the president’s Mt. Vernon hospitality and, on February 15, a fox hunt with a distinguished guest, the Marquis de Choppedelaine of France. Whether this James Ingram of South Carolina, friend of George Washington, was a brother or other close relative of John Little Ingram, research has not proved.
Later, on March 4, 1795, Washington again spent the night in the home of James Ingram near Camden, SC on the Wateree River. James may have been a son of William Ingram who settled on land at the Wateree River in 1752.
That William Ingram migrated from Wales to Virginia. He asked for and received a land grant in South Carolina. The land is described thus: “Persuant to a precept to me by George Hunter, Esq., bearing date 7 April 1752, I have measured and laid out a tract of land containing 300 acres, being in Craven County, north side of the Wateree River butting and adjoining land laid out to William Harrison and part of vacant land and to the N. E. and S. E. of vacant land, and hath such shape and marks as the above plat. Certified to me this 23 day of April 1752. (Signed William Ingram).
That William Ingram had three known sons named John, James and Arthur. It seems reasonable (though not proven) that John Little Ingram of Union County, SC could have been the John Little Ingram, Revolutionary War soldier, and the James Ingram the friend who had received President George Washington into his home on the Wateree and who was also entertained by the president at Mt. Vernon. However, Watson Benjamin Dyer in his research on the Ingrams stated that “John Ingram was evidently the son of Benjamin Ingram of Lancaster County, SC, because there were boys named Benjamin on down in the family” (p. 390, Dyer Family History). Since we have not seen a definitive record of the parentage of John Little Ingram, born about 1755 in South Carolina, we can only surmise who his father was, but this writer tends to lean toward William Ingram as the father.
Wedding bells rang for Rutha White and John Ingram in 1778. They were married at Fair Forest Baptist Church in Union County, SC, with the Rev. James Crowder, Rutha’s pastor, performing the ceremony. Married only two years after America’s Declaration of Independence in 1776, John Little Ingram, Sr. was caught up, as were his neighbors, in the spirit of patriotism sweeping the colonies. He enlisted as a private in Captain John Putnam’s Company of South Carolina militia, Colonel Brandon’s Regiment. His service number was R-5483.
Years later, when Rutha White Ingram applied for a pension for her husband’s Revolutionary War service, she recorded that he was in the Siege of Charleston, and the Battles of King’s Mountain and Cowpens. The Charleston Siege confrontation with British and Loyalist forces ended in great disappointment. Fought from March 29 through May 12, 1780, Patriot Major General Lincoln surrendered Charleston. It was occupied by British forces until the British evacuated Charleston On December 14, 1782.
Ingram fought at the Battle of King’s Mountain, SC, on October 7, 1780. Frontier militia from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia converged and surrounded Patrick Ferguson’s forces, defeating them. King’s Mountain was a turning point in the Revolution, a decisive victory for the American Patriots.
Three months later, on January 17, 1781, John Ingram was with the militia forces under the notable Patriot Brigadier General Daniel Morgan as they attacked General Banastre Tarleton’s forces of British Regulars at the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina. Historians have recognized that battle as one of the most important of the American Revolution. It was customary for militia members to sign on for three month terms and fight in battles near their homes. Those frontier soldiers bravely defended America, turning the tide of war and leading to the surrender of British General Cornwallis on October 19, 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia.
After the war, John and Rutha Ingram moved from their home at Padgett’s Creek, Union County, SC, to a land grant received for his Revolutionary War service in what was then Franklin County, Georgia. The area where they settled became Hall County in 1819, in the vicinity of what is now Lula, Georgia. There the patriot John Ingram died September 16, 1828. Even though his widow, Rutha White Ingram, made petitions for pension, she did not receive any payment for her husband’s Revolutionary War service. Rutha White Ingram died at the home of her son, Tillman Ingram, in Cherokee County, Georgia near Ball Ground (date unknown), but she was alive at age 89 in 1847, still applying for a widow’s pension. The pension quest did not rest with Rutha’s death. John Little Ingram, son and executor, of Union County, Georgia, made petition for himself and Tillman Ingram and Elizabeth Riley Ingram, three living children of the patriot, on October 26, 1852. Like their mother Rutha’s petition, this one was also denied.
Many descendants of John Ingram have established a direct line to this patriot and received admission into the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution. Even though Rutha White Ingram did not receive monetary remuneration in the years of her widowhood, subsequent intrinsic benefits to their heirs in past, present and future generations are testimony to the significant contributions this couple made to America’s freedom.c2005 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published June 9, 2005 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator,
freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA
Updated November 29, 2008