Part of the joys of road trips are the unexpected finds a traveler can make. This is the story of just
such a find. We have vacationed in Rabun County, Georgia on several occasions and have found
a wonderful short-term rental property we stay at whenever possible. It is not large but has a
larger fenced yard that our dogs love. The views are tremendous and the house has everything
we need for a few days away from home.
On the drive to the house, we have noticed a road sign for Pinson Cemetery. The area is always overgrown and it looks difficult to find. There is no road or easy access point. With this in mind, we have never tried to stop. This past year I decided I had to investigate. My wife dropped me off and parked up the road at a community church while I headed into the brush.
I am glad I made that short hike. Here I found the headstone for Joseph Pinson. According to the headstone, Pinson was born January 30, 1754 and passed away on May 26, 1838. The stone states he was a sergeant in the North Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War.
Revolutionary War headstones are not too common in Florida so this was an exciting discovery.
The reverse of the headstone provides some genealogical information. “Erected in memory of Joseph Pinson. Born at Pinson’s Mill on the Haw River in Old Orange County. N.C. Son of Rev. Aaron and Elizabeth Pinson who died in Laurens County, S.C. Husband of Margery Pinson who died in Walker County, GA.
The marker appears to have been installed by the Sons of the American Revolution, possibly in 2011.
According to a pension application filed on July 7, 1834 with the Judges of the Inferior or
County Court of Rabun, Pinson stated that he had served five tours of duty during the
Revolutionary War. Before getting too excited it should be noted that no reference is made to his having served as a sergeant and the total amount of his service time was only eight months and seven days.
Joseph Pinson volunteered for service July 15, 1776 and served under Colonel Isaac Shelby and
Captain Jacob Womack. During this tour, the only combat Pinson saw was with “a company of the Indians, who had been engaged in massacring the defenseless inhabitants of the Nolichucky River and the frontiers, this Battle was fought on the waters of the River they there killed one Indian the others fled.” Pinson was discharged at Womack’s Fort on the Holston River on October
Pinson’s second tour began on March 19, 1777 under Captain Joseph Wilson and Colonel John Carter. His role was to help protect the “Frontiers of North Carolina against Indians and Tories. When he was discharged on July 23, 1777, he had seen no battle action.
His third tour was for only eight days but did produce some excitement. Serving under Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, he went on an expedition on the New River where they took one prisoner.
This prisoner was delivered to a Colonel Campbell who had the man executed by hanging.
During Pinson’s fourth tour of duty, he again served under Colonel Cleveland. This time he was
on guard duty, keeping watch over British and Tories captured during the Battle of Kings
Pinson’s fifth and final tour of duty was an uneventful four days served under Captain Benjamin
Joseph Pinson provided an impressive list of character references in his appeal. These included
Senator H. T. Moseley, Representative William Kelby, and Colonel Sam Beck.
Included in the pension application are later, additional family notices including notice that
Pinson’s widow, Margery, had filed for a widows pension on July 20, 1847. Here it was attested
that she and Joseph had married on September 15, 1775 and that Joseph had passed away on
May 26, 1838.
Further genealogical information included in the file is an 1853 affidavit from Jane Carter stating
she is the daughter of Joseph and Margery Pinson. She continues, stating her parents were
married in Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1773. Margery passed away on August 25, 1852
and that there are four living children from the Pinson marriage: Elizabeth, Mary, Milla, and
Reference is made to the appearance in Cass County, Georgia of a Moses Pinson who claimed to
be the younger brother of Joseph.
Joseph Pinson was successful in his pension application. Beginning on March 4, 1831 Pinson
was awarded a yearly pension of $27.44, or roughly $2.30 per month. His widow Margery
received the same amount following her 1847 application.
If you would like to visit the Pinson Cemetery, my first suggestion is to dress appropriately; long
pants and closed toed shoes are necessary. I visited during early winter but I would suggest
insect repellant if you are visiting during the warmer months. From Highway 441 heading north
in Clayton turn left on to John Beck Dockins Road. Travel about a mile and a half and turn left
on Wolffork Road. Follow Wollfolk for just over a mile and you will see the sign on the left
You will need to find a place to safely park and the side of the road is not that place.
Return to the church you have just passed and walk back to the sign. Here you will have to make
your way into an overgrown area. Try to keep going straight as you enter the brush. When I
visited there was a bit of a clearing and the headstone was obvious.
Remember, take only photos and leave only footprints.