Captain Robert Sevier



    Believed to be of French descent, Valentine Sevier "The Immigrant" was born in London, England approximately 1702.  He is believed to have  migrated  to American with his brother, William, landing in Baltimore, Maryland.  Ultimately became a large landholder, merchant, miller, and innkeeper in Augusta and Frederick Counties in Virginia.  The family home and travelers' inn was called Toll House Farm.

    Prior to 1745, Valentine married Joanna Goad.  Their children were:

    1.  General John Sevier, b. Sept. 23, 1745 in Augusta (now Rockingham) County, Virginia; served as first governor of the "Lost State of Franklin," and the State of Tennessee.  He died Sept. 24, 1815, Fort Decatur, Alabama;  married 1761 Sarah Hawkins; August 14, 1780, Catherine Sherrill.

    2.  Colonel Valentine Sevier, b. 1747; died February 23, 1800, Clarksville, Tennessee;  married 1767 Naomi Douglass.

    3.  CAPTAIN ROBERT SEVIER, b. 1749; married Kesiah/Keziah Robertson; died of mortal wounds received at the Battle of King's Mountain, October 16, 1780.

    4.  Mary "Polly" Sevier, married Capt. Robert Rutherford.  She is believed to have remained in Virginia when the family migrated to Tennessee.

    5.  Catherine, married William Matlock about 1784;  she died September 6, 1824 in Tennessee.

    6.  Abraham, born February 14, 1760 in Virginia;  married Mary Little;  died June 18, 1841 in Overton (now Clay) County, Tennessee.

    7.  Joseph, b. 1764;  married Elizabeth Cawood (there is question about this being the right Joseph); he died June 18, 1826 in Overton County, Tennessee.

Early Washington County, Tennessee

ROBERT SEVIER appears on Captain Evan Shelby's company list of June 11, 1773, so it is known that Robert Sevier followed his brother, Valentine, to the new frontier, and preceded John Sevier.  Valentine Sevier, II, was one of the first white men to settle on the Holston.

Robert was one of the signers of the petition of the Watauga settlers in 1776.  By October 1778 he was captain of a company in Washington County, North Carolina.  At that time he owned 200 acres of land in Washington County, on the north fork or Cherokee Creek adjoining James Rhea and William Thornton.

He married Kesiah/Keziah Robertson before 1778.  She was born around 1753, the daughter of Colonel Charles Robertson "Black Charles," and Susannah.   It has been widely believed that his wife was  Susannah Cunningham, daughter of Christopher Cunningham of Washington County (his will is posted on the Washington County TNGenWeb).  The primary research of Tom Robertson and other Robertson genealogists has convinced me that she was Susannah Nichols.  Visit Tom's Robertson Genealogy site and look for the research on the two Charles Robertsons who lived in Tennesee at the same time, and married two ladies named Susannah. .  The research points to generations of confusion and "homogenized" genealogies of General Charles Robertson who died in Davidson County, Tennessee in 1805-06, and Col. Charles Cunningham who died in 1798 in Washington County, Tennessee.  

In August 1779, he also paid for one lot in the newly platted town of Jonesborough, to keep an "ordinary" (inn) at the courthouse .  Beside his name is the notation, "paid for but not drawn," meaning that he died before he could take possession.

The Revolutionary War

On March 19, 1780, Robert Sevier was among the captains who met and voted to sent 100 men to the aid of Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford and Colonel Charles McDowell.  He participated in the battles at Thicketty Fort and  Cedar Creek and Musgroves Mill in
South Carolina.

He had been in South Carolina for almost a year before raising his company for the King's Mountain expedition.

The following is from the Southern Historical Association Publication, September 1900, as exerpt in The Sevier Family History.  It was prepared by William Martin, son of Gen. Joseph Martin, in 1843, who stated:

        "I have conversed with many men who were on that campaign, but I rely mostly on Colonel Cleveland and Joseph Sevier, brother to the Governor, an intelligent man, and he was at the battle...They left Cowpens about sunset and traveled all night, expecting to surprise the enemy.  The road lay through a poor, sterile country - scarce any inhabitants.  Bob Sevier, a gallant fellow and brother to the Governor, commanded the advance.  A while before day - cocks crowing at the time and none were then arisen - he (Bob) saw a cabin a little from the road, rode up and called.  A woman came out.  He inquired for Ferguson- said he was going to join him.  She told him that Ferguson had a few days before crossed the river and moved up to the Red Church, 12 miles- [and] that her husband was with him.

        "But before he (Bob) left, however, she discovered the white paper on his hat. [Every man had placed a white paper on the front of his hat the night before by which to know each other in the dark in case they had a night fight.]  She told him he had betrayed her and became wrathy.  Whether Ferguson was apprised of the approach of this mountain host or not is not known, though, most likely, however, he did- as this was an intense Tory country , and from the strong position he finally took.

        "They pursued on and before they got to the Red Church, heard he had moved to Kings Mountain, seven or eight miles.  Rain came on between the church and the mountain near the battle...They met a smart woman whom Sevier knew, a Whig, said she had just come from the camp, had gone purposely to see, took some chickens to sell as a blind; had explored and all;  and gave such a description as helped them a great deal in forming the line of battle - and that her husband was lying out for safety.  It was now the middle of the afternoon.  They soon arrived...Sevier (Bob) brought on the fight with great gallantry, but the noble fellow fell directly."

        Near the end of the Battle of King's Mountain,  Robert Sevier received a buckshot wound in the kidney.  His brother, Joseph, assisted him to to a spring at the foot of the mountain, where the Tory surgeon, Dr. Johnson, attempted to extract the bullet but was unsuccessful.  Capt. Robert started home on horseback, accompanied by his nephew, James Sevier.  On the ninth day of the journey, Robert died and was buried at Bright's place on Yellow Mountain.

        The DAR erected a marker to the memory of Capt. Robert Sevier at the old Bright's cemetery, Buncombe County, North Carolina, near the Avery County line, on September 9, 1951.  It is located three or four miles east of Spruce Pine, N.C., about half a mile north of Eastoe River on a hillside along the foothills of Yellow Mountain.

The Sons of Capt. Robert Sevier

Robert Sevier and Kesiah Robertson Sevier had two sons:

1.  Major Charles Robertson Sevier, born 1778 in Virginia, according to the 1850 census of Madison Co, Tennessee;  died in 1855 near Milford, Ellis County,  Texas.  He married Elizabeth Witt of Greene County, Tennessee.

2.  VALENTINE SEVIER, b. July 8, 1780 in Washington County, Tennessee.  He married Nancy Dinwiddie, daughter of James Dinwiddie and Isabel Galbreath Dinwiddie, on January 3, 1804.  He married, second, Vinerah Cannon, on April 26, 1846.

It is possible that Kesiah Sevier remarried, to Major Jonathan Tipton, but Charles Robertson's will of 1798 refers to her as Kesiah Sevier.

It is clear that two men had great influence over the upbringing of Charles  and Valentine Sevier - General John Sevier and Colonel Charles Robertson.  Charles was apprenticed to a hatter in Greeneville around 1790, but didn't like the work and went to live with his uncle, Charles Robertson, Jr., on his Chucky River farm.  He and his partner, James Dodson, actually did manufacture hats later on.

Charles served in the War of 1812 as a major in Col. Thomas McCrory's Second Regiment, West Tennessee Militia.  He is listed in the Madison County, Tennessee Census for 1830.

Valentine Sevier lived with John Wilson for a time, later was apprenticed to David Deaderick in Greeneville, Tennessee,  working as a clerk in Deaderick's store.  They later became partners, and Valentine continued to run the business after Deaderick's death in 1824.  Valentine served as Greene County, Tennessee Court Clerk, 1802-1810, and as Circuit Court Clerk, from 1810 until his death in 1854.  The brick home in which most of his children were born is one of the oldest residences still standing in Greeneville, Tennessee. 

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Sources- Sevier Family History, by Cora Bales Sevier and Nancy S. Madden, 1961, Tom Robertson's The Robertson Genealogy Exchangeand other primary and secondary research.