Godfrey Isaacs Sr.


Godfrey Isaacs was born sometime between 1738 and 1748 in Virginia.  He was the son of Samuel Isaacs whose will was probated in 1760 in Frederick County, Virginia.  What little is known about Godfrey Isaacs has been pieced together with the help of a few records in which he is mentioned.  We know he had a wife named Sarah, and that he was the father of Samuel Isaacs (born about 1773 in North Carolina),  who married Nancy Baldridge, and Godfrey Isaacs (born about 1775 in North Carolina), who married Elizabeth Howard.  We know the family moved from Northa Carolina to Virginia.   Samuel and Godfrey subsequently moved from Virginia to Kentucky in the early 1800's.  Godfrey Sr. was most likely also the father of Fielding Ashby Isaacs who stayed in Virginia.  The 1767 lease transcribed below between Godfrey Isaacs Sr. and David Ashby provides more information.  This record and Fielding Isaacs' middle name has lead to the speculation that Godfrey Isaacs' wife Sarah was an Ashby, although no definitive proof has been found.  


Godfrey's father Samuel Isaacs, Jr. (b.? - d. ca.1760) and grandfather Samuel Isaacs, (b.? - d. ca. 1750) appeared in the earliest tax, court and land records of Frederick County, VA. Frederick County was formed from Orange County in 1743. An earlier record, 1737, of Samuel Isaacs (Sr.?)  appeared in the Orange County, Virginia Court Book 1, p. 237.

Both Samuel (Sr.?) and Samuel, Jr. appeared on Col. James Woods' 1744 Fee Book for  Frederick County, VA. Samuel (Sr.?) was assessed (taxed) 51 pounds of tobacco and Samuel, Jr. was assessed 120 pounds. Elisha Isaacs was assessed 126 pounds. This was most likely Samuel, Jr.'s brother Elisha/Elijah.

The very first trial in Frederick County (February 1744) was a case against someone named Dooues for assault and battery on one Samuel Isaacs. Samuel Isaacs also served on jury duty of the new court (April 1744).

Samuel Isaacs purchased a 200 acre surveyed tract from a Mr. Guilder ca. 1740/1742. Samuel Isaacs Sr.'s will was dated 4 December 1749 and proven 8 May 1750. Samuel Isaacs Jr. had land surveyed by George William Fairfax and George Washington on 22 October 1750. He received a Fairfax grant (patent) for a total of 415 acres on 8 August 1752. This was the land Samuel Jr. willed to his sons Elisha/Elijah and Godfrey.



Godfrey Isaacs and David Ashby - lease agreement 1767


Thanks to Jonathan Noyalas of Frackville, Pennsylvania for acquiring a photocopy of the following land record at Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, and thanks to Barry Isaacs for transcribing it.


The parcel of land described below is immediately southwest of Berryville, Clark County, Virginia.

This Indenture made the second Day of September in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred & Sixty Seven Between Godfrey Isaacs of the County of Frederick & Colony of  Virginia of the one part & David Ashby of the same Place of the other part. Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of Five shillings Current money of Virginia the Said Godfrey Isaacs in hand paid by the Said David Ashby at or before the Sealing & Delivery of these presents the Receipt whereof he doth hereby Acknowledge he the Said Godfrey Isaacs hath hereby Demised & to farm Let & by these presents doth Grant Demise & to farm Let unto the Said David Ashby a certain Tract or Parcel of Land Lying on the north [west] side of the main Road. Leading from Bucks Marsh to Ashbys Gap [U.S. Highway 340] in Frederick County [Clark County], which Said Land was willed to the Said Godfrey Isaacs by his father Samuel Isaacs [Will filed for Probate 11 March 1760] being part of a Tract of Land. Taken up Pattented [sic] & Possessed by the Said Samuel Isaacs in his Life Time & bounded as Follows. V.z  Beginning at a Small Locust & Hicory [sic] on the So. Side of the Road on Elijah Isaacs Land [older brother of Godfrey Isaacs]. & in the Line of the original Survey Extending thence No. 57. Degrees. West 170 Poles to two Locusts & a Hicory mentioned in the Original Pattent from thence So. 31. West 1206 Poles to five Red oaks in Carters Line also mentioned in Samuel Isaacs Pattent only one of the Red oaks is now Dead & going to Decay. from thence So. 56. Est. [sic] 154 Poles with Carters Line to a Red oak Sapling standing on the north side of the Road. thence No. 25. East 174 poles with the main Road to a Hicory & Locust Bush. Close on the Side of the Road -- thence No. 53. East 33 Poles still with the main Road. to a White oak Sapling on the So. Side of the Road. thence No. 36. East 115 Poles Still along the main Road to the Beginning. Containing One Hundred & Ninety Two Acres more or less. And all Houses. Buildings. ways. waters. water. courses Preofils [?, not Peopils] commodities -- Hereditaments [?] & Appurtenances whatsoever to the Said Premises hereby Granted or any Part thereof  belonging. or in any wise appertaining. of in and to the Said Premises. And all Deeds Evidences & Writings. Touching the same. To have and to hold the Said Tract or Parcel of Land and all & Singular Other the Premises hereby Granted & Demised & every Part & Pacel thereof with their & every of their Appurtanences unto the Said David Ashby his Executors & Administrators for and Divining & unto the full end of Term of one whole year. from hence next ensuing fully to be compleat [sic] and ended. Yeilding & paying therefore the Rent of one Ear of [next line(s) not photocopied] Term if the same shall be Lawfully Demanded To the Intended Purpose. that by Virtue of these presents of the Statute for Transferring uses into Possession, he the Said David Ashby. may be in the more full & actual Possession of the Premises & thereby be better enabled. to [?] accept & take a Grant. & Release of the Revision & Inheritance thereof to him & his Heirs. In Witness whereof the Said Godfrey Isaacs hath hereunto Set his hand & Seal. the Day year first above Written Sealed & Delivered in the Presence of Godfrey Isaacs (Ls) 

John Lindsey. James Lindsey. Henry Wells

 Stephen Louthard and. Abigail Wells

At a Court Continued & Held for Frederick County November 4th 1767. This Indenture was Proved by the Oaths of Three Witnesses thereto & Ordered to be Recorded [?]a Keith [?] Clerk 

This Indenture made this third Day of September in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred & Sixty Seven Between between [sic] Godfrey Isaacs of the County of Frederick & Colony of Virginia of the one part & David Ashby of the Same Place of the Other part. Witnesseth that for and in Consideration of the Sum of One Hundred Pounds Current money of Virginia to the Said Godfrey Isaacs in hand Paid by the Said David Ashby. at or before the Sealing & Delivery of these Presents. the Receipt whereof he doth hereby Acknowledge & thereof doth Release acquit & Discharge the Said David Ashby his Heirs Executors. & Administrators by these presents. he the Said Godfrey Isaacs Hath Granted. Bargained. Sold. aleined Released. & Confirmed & by these presents Do He Grant. Bargain. Sell. alein. Release & Confirm unto the Said David Ashby (in... [?] Actual Possession now being by Virtue of a Bargain & Sale to him thereof made by the Said Godfrey Isaacs. for one whole year by Indenture bearing Date the Date next. before the Day of the Date of these presents & by force of the Statute. for Transfering uses into Possession & his Heirs Executors assigns a certain Tract or parcel of Land lying on the north Side of the main Road [remainder not photocopied] 

We know Godfrey Isaacs Sr. served in the Revolutionary War because he was mentioned in a declaration given by Matthew Sparks.  There are records of the service of  Godfrey's older brother Col. Elijah Isaacs (who was captured at the battle of Camden, SC in August 1780), as well as records of the service of Elijah's son Samuel Isaacs who received a pension in Tennessee in the 1800's.  But the only known record of Godfrey's service is found in the Matthew Sparks declaration. Godfrey Sr. is believed to have died in Wilkes Co., North Carolina before the state census of 1787.


Matthew Sparks Revolutionary War Record


Larry Robinson of Columbia South Carolina was kind enough to copy the Revolutionary War record of Matthew Sparks at the National Archives, and Barry Isaacs was kind enough to transcribe it.  Barry transcribed the record exactly as written, with punctuation and capitalization (or the lack thereof) as found in the original.  There were no paragraph breaks except for the final sentence, but I have taken the liberty of adding a couple. 

Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.
State of Tennessee
Carroll County

On the 14th day of September A.D. 1832. personally appeared in open court, before the worshipful Henry Wright, Wilson Lightfoot & Saml Ingram Justices of the Court of pleas and quarter sessions now sitting Matthew Sparks a resident of said county, and State, aged about seventy four years, who being first duly sworn, according to Law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of an act of Congress passed June 7, 1832, states that he was born, in Rowan County near Salisbury in the State of North Carolina, on the 20th day of January A.D. 1759. and there lived with his father until he was between fourteen and sixteen years old, when he removed, With the other members of the family to New River in Wilkes County in the State aforesaid, and there this declarant resided until three of four years after the close of the Revolutionary War, at which time this declarant removed to Wilkes County in the State of Georgia, after residing in this latter place about two years, this declarant removed to the frontier part of the State last mentioned in what as well as this declarant now recollects was then Franklin County, here this declarant with his father and other settlers erected a fort which was then and probably still is called Sparks Fort. In this  neighborhood this declarant's father was killed by the Indians. after residing at this place two or three years this declarant removed to Granville District in the State of South Carolina, where he resided seven or eight years, when he removed to Jackson county in the State of Georgia, here this declarant resided 6. or 7. years, when he removed to Livingston County in the State of Kentucky about the year 1807. or 1808. where he resided about two years, from thence again removed into the Territory of Illinois, and the County of St. Clair about the year 1810. He here settled on Silver Creek within 8, or 10 miles of the town Belleville and remained 5. years. He then removed down on a creek called Muddy, in said Territory, where he resided 2. years; About the year 1817. declarant states, he again removed over into Arkansas Territory,  where he settled on White River and remained about 2. years; from thence he went to Arkansas River about 40, or 50 miles above Little Rock, the aforesaid Territory, where he lived 2. years; Then removed from there to the Saline on the waters of Ouachita within 25 miles of Little Rock, where he again settled, and resided until the 2nd day of August, Last, when he removed into this County.

This declarant states that he entered the service of the United States and served as herein stated. When the declarant was 17. or 18. years old, as well as he can recollect in the year "1776' or "77. he joined a company raised by drafting. commanded by Captain John Beverly, and served a tour of 3. months. We marched from Wilkes County, North Carolina where the company was raised and ranged through the lower and sandy part of North Carolina in search of the Tories, to intimidate and keep them down in that part of the State. On this tour, we found no parties of Tories embodied, but we took several individuals, I remember particularly that we took a Tory Captain by the name of  Jackson [by trade?] blacksmith whom we hung; our company took two others, names not recollected and sent them to Head Quarters of the corps. The Company of which I was a member were mounted Rangers. The corps to which I belonged consisted of several companies of Rangers, and two or, three of foot and was commanded by Col [Elijah/Elisha] Isaacks. given name not recollected of North Carolina I do not remember any Major or Adjutant, nor the name of any other Captains except Captain Isbel who commanded as well as I recollect a company of the foot men. At the end of our term of service we were marched back to our county by our Officers, and there dismissed to go to our respective homes, without receiving any written discharge. 


In the fall of a certain year I do not recollect what year, Nor do I remember how long after my return from my first tour, but not more than on [sic] or two years, I was again drafted into the service, in a company commanded by Captain Samuel Johnson, and Elisha Reynolds Lieutenant, this corps consisted exclusively of three or four companies of footmen, and was commanded by Major [Francis] Hargrove of Wilkes County North Carolina, Godfrey Isaacks was one of the Captains. We were drafted for 3. months, and were marched through pretty much the same country as on my first tour, and for the same purpose. I remember that it was a particular object of the expedition to go into a part of North Carolina where the Scotch very much abounded We came to a part of the country where the main American Army, commanded, by I do not recollect whom [Horatio Gates], had recently passed [summer 1780?], and found ourselves in great want of the means of subsistence; after being marched about through the sandy parts of North Carolina, two months without meeting with any parties of Tories or having any engagement we were marched back to our own County having learned there was more occasion for us there than where we had been. not long after we marched home we were dismissed by our Officers without receiving any formal discharge. 


In addition to these two tours of service performed by me, I will state that Col. Benjamin Cleveland, who lived on the Yadkin, Wilkes County North Carolina, early in the Revolutionary War, by his personal influence formed an association or Company of mountain men, to go against Tories whenever called on; of this company I was a member, and performed under him many tours of duty of from one to three weeks at a time, amounting in all to  at least 3. months. We invariably went out as mounted gun men or rangers; We ranged principally on the mountains and New River. On these excursions I remember, we took two parties of Tories, one consisting of 15, the other of 10, or 12 men. They had been engaged in plundering neighborhoods. Some of these were hung, Shot others, and others that we took across the Virginia line, we delivered to the Virginians. On another occasion learning that a Party of Hessian Dragoons and tories to the number of 12, or 15. passing up New River, plundering and pillaging the country, we assembled, and overtook them at the house of our militia Captain (Paul Patrick,) whom they had under guard, and where they were regaling themselves on the best [?] the house afforded, we surprised them killed [2.?], wounded 2, whom we took prisoners, together with one other. One of the wounded prisoners, was a Hessian, and lived. His name was John Meidenner [?]. He joined our side, and was one of the men who served with me under Capt Beverly. 


This applicant knows of no person by whom he can prove his Service. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension, or annuity except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension rolls of the Agency of any State. 


Matthew Sparks 

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid
Edward Gwin Clerk


We Bailey Sparks, late a Justice of the peace residing in the County and State aforesaid, and William Brigance residing in the same, hereby Certify that we are well acquainted with Matthew Sparks who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration; that we believe him to be about Seventy four years of age; that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a Soldier of the Revolution; and that we concur in that opinion. 

Wm Brigance
Bailey Sparks
Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid
Edward Gwin Clerk


And the said Court Do hereby declare their opinion after the serios [?] legation of the matters, and after putting the interrogatories prescribed by the War Department, that the above named applicant was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states. And the Court further certifies, that it appears to them that Bailey Sparks and William Brigance, who have signed that the preceding certificate are residents of the county and State aforesaid and are credible persons, and that their statement is entitled to credit. 

Saml. Ingram Chairman SEAL of Carroll County court 

Henry Wright SEAL 

Wilson Lightfoot SEAL


Whereupon the Said court propounded the following interrogatories to the said Matthew Sparks on the occasion of his application for a pension as having been one of the Militia of North Carolina in the Revolutionary War.


Question 1. Where and in what year were you born?


I was born in Rowan County near Salisbury in the State of N-- Carolina on the 20th of January 1759.


Question 2. Have you any record of your age; and if so where is it?


I have [nothing?] with me. My son took the bible containing it when he moved from Illinois to Georgia


Question 3. Where were you living when called into service; where have you lived since the Revolutionary War, and where do you now live? 


I was living when called into Service in Wilkes County, North Carolina -- the balance the applicant answered again as in his declaration.


Question 4. How were you called into service; were you drafted, did you volunteer or were you a substitute?


Answered as in declaration


Question 5. State the names of some of the regular officers who were with the troops when you served; such continental and militia regiments you can recollect and the general circumstances of your service 


Answered as in declaration 


Question 6. Did you ever receive a discharge from the service; and if so, by whom was it given and what has become of it?


Answered as in declaration


Question 7. State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood, and who can testify as to your character for veracity and their belief of your service as a soldier of the revolution. 


I have but lately come to this country and therefore have but few acquaintances here. I can only mention my brother Baily [sic] Sparks & Mr. William Brigance who knows my general reputation as a soldier of the revolution &C [?, etc.]