"Let me see generation times, will we hear children singing rhymes? Sweet memories gone by..."

03 May 2015

Virginia Oath of Allegiance

Oh I wish I were on yonder hill
It's there I'd sit and cry my fill
'Til every tear would turn a mill
My Johnny has gone for a soldier  
--  "Johnny's Gone For A Soldier" (Traditional) 

Last year my first two supplemental Patriots were officially verified by the Daughters of the American RevolutionHenry Mays and Thomas Hollandsworth.  Henry was born circa 1716, putting him in his sixties at the time of the Revolutionary War.  Thomas, born circa 1745, married Henry's daughter Susannah sometime prior to 1771.

In May of 1777, 238 years ago this month, the Virginia General Assembly passed an act requiring all free men over the age of sixteen to take an Oath of Allegiance, stating, "Allegiance and protection are reciprocal, and those who will not bear the former are not entitled to the benefits of the latter."  Both Henry and Thomas appear on the list of men from Henry County who swore the oath that year.

The text of the oath, outlined by the General Assembly, was:
"I do swear that I renounce and refuse all allegiance to George the Third King of Great Britain his heirs and successors and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia as a free and independent state and that I will not at any time do or cause to be done any matter or thing that will be prejudicial or injurious to the freedom and independence thereof as declared by Congress, and also that I will discover and make known to some one justice of the peace for the said state all treasons or traitorous conspiracies which I now or hereafter shall know to be formed against this or any of the United States of America."
In addition to taking the oath, Thomas also served as a Private in Captain John Cunningham's Company.  In March of 1781, the militia marched south to North Carolina, where they fought in the Battle of Guilford Court House.  At the time, Thomas was leaving behind his wife Susannah and at least three children, including my 4th-great-grandmother Phoebe, who was then about four years old.

The battle was a victory for the British, but a costly one, losing a quarter of their troops.

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