A Revolutionary Ancestor

Lowder Callaway (1755 – 1834)

His Mark

Lowder Callaway is my 5th great grandfather on my father’s side, born in 1755 and died on July 7, 1834.  He had eight children. His oldest boys, Lowder and Nathan, left Delaware for Ohio between 1815 and 1820.  The other six remained in Sussex County. He had one more son, Stephen, and five daughters:  Polly, Betsy, Sally, Peggy (who married Thomas Thompson) and Ann (who married Obediah Clifton, my 4th great grandfather).

He lived in Broad Creek Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware and farmed in the Laurel-Seaford area. One document I discovered had him receiving correspondence in  Concord, Delaware.  Concord, just east of Seaford, Delaware, is an unincorporated area today.  In the 1868 Beers Atlas of Delaware, however, it was significant enough  to warrant its own map insert and business directory. There are several Callaways to be found on the 1868 Beers Map in the Laurel area.

The 1st Delaware Regiment

BlueHenChickenLowder Callaway was a private in the Revolutionary  war from August 1780 until after the end of the war in May 1783. He served first in Captain Peter Jaquett’s Company with Colonel David Hall’s 1st Delaware Regiment and then with Colonel Henry Neill’s 2nd Delaware Regiment (Militia). Joining the military in 1780, Lowder would have missed some of the more famous battles involving the 1st Delaware Regiment, such as the Battle at Cooch’s Bridge and the Battle of the Brandywine, although he likely would have been at the Siege of Yorktown, Virginia.

Although it has gone through numerous changes and reorganizations over the years, David Hall’s Regiment still exists today as the 198th Signal Battalion in the Delaware Army National Guard, also known as the First Delaware. There is a website devoted to the 1st Delaware Regiment, which is where I found the history of this regiment. Delaware’s State Bird, the Blue Hen,  as well as the “Blue Hen” nickname, originated with Captain Caldwell’s Company of the regiment.  The Blue Hen was used in cock fighting by Caldwell’s Company and became famous for its fighting ability. Like the bird, Caldwell’s troops were  know for their fighting prowess.

Revolutionary War Pension Records

Pension Letter

Most of what I know about Lowder comes from his Revolutionary War Service and Pension Records housed at the National Archives and available at Fold3, a website dedicated to providing access to US Military Records. Lowder applied for a pension under the Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818.  Prior to this, you needed to be an officer or to be designated as an invalid due to war injuries in order to receive a pension.  Starting March 1818, pensions became available to anyone who served in the Revolutionary War until it ended, or served for at least 9 months and was in “need of assistance”.  Basically, if you had served and could prove you were poor, you could receive a pension.

In his pension application of 1828, Lowder wrote that he had no property:

… except bed, bedding and a few chairs.  I have no particular occupation but work at such occupations as the kindness of charity of my neighbors affords whenever my health, which is very infirm, permits me to labour. My health does not enable me to work half my time, and at great risk and with much suffering when I do work. I have a wife living with me about sixty five years old and a grand child thirteen years old.  The health of my wife is very infirm, and the child too young to contribute to its own support.

He was awarded a pension of $8 per month (officers receive twice that amount), paid from November 25, 1828 until his death on July 7, 1834.

How am I related?

I came upon Lowder’s records quite by chance.  I was searching Fold 3 for revolutionary ware records for one of my Clifton ancestors when I found a reference to my 4th great grandfather Obediah Clifton (1783-1852). At Lowder’s death, he was owed $26.63 in back pension (about $720 dollars today), and his children applied to have the arrears paid to them.  The petition to received these funds identified each of the children, including “Ann [Callaway) who intermarried with Obed Clifton”.  From a death record for one of Obediah’s children, I knew his wife was named Ann.  Like Lowder, Obediah lived in Broad Creek Hundred his whole life and is the only Obediah Clifton found in the Sussex County census and tax records from 1810 until his death in 1852.  With this one record, I found the maiden name of my 4th great grandmother, the identify of my 5th great grandfather, and an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War!

Lowder's Children

2 thoughts on “A Revolutionary Ancestor”

  1. Would you happen to know the occupation of or any lucrative craft practiced by Obediah Clifton? I am searching for a man of this name who was a jewelry maker or metalsmith?

    1. Becky,

      I’m afraid you’re looking for a different Obediah Clifton. I’ve looked at his tax records from 1807 through 1852, and every indication is that he was just a farmer. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

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