Jack Dawson

Jack Dawson

Jack Dawson is a retiree from Wisconsin who winters at his lake home in Trigg County to escape the frigid cold of his home state.  His schedule only allows him to take part in events in the late Autumn and early Spring, but he is a supremely faithful chapter member when he is here in Kentucky, and he has become a much-valued addition to the Col. Stephen Trigg Chapter.

Awards Received:

  • New Member of the Year (2015)
  • Colonel’s Muster Award (2015)

His Patriot Ancestor: James Taffe
8th Virginia Regiment – Continental Line / Morgan’s Corps of Riflemen – Continental Line

James Taffe was born December 4, 1755, in Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia). On April 10, 1776, he enlisted for two years into the service of the United States in Hampshire County in the State of Virginia. His initial enlistment was in the Company of Capt. Abel Westfall in the 8th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line. While assigned to the 8th Virginia he was involved in engagements near New Brunswick and a place now lost to antiquity known as, “Rising Sun.”

In June 1777 he transferred into the Rifle Corps of Col. Daniel Morgan. This Provisional Rifle Corps was a light infantry force of 500 riflemen chosen from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia regiments of the Continental Army. While on assignment with this elite Rifle Corps, he fought in the Battle of Saratoga / Bemis Heights on October 7, 1777. His unit was instrumental in the defeat of the British and Canadians under Gen. John Burgoyne. He also fought in the Battle of Edge Hill, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia) on December 7, 1777. In his pension record he stated that he was in other skirmishes that were too numerous so mention.

James Taffe completed his two-year enlistment commitment on April 10, 1778. He was discharged by Van “Indian” Swearingen, a captain in the 8th Virginia Regiment, near Paoli, Pennsylvania. He apparently returned to Hampshire County, Virginia, where he appeared on the Continental Census in 1782.

According to Virginia marriage records, a James Taff married a woman named Susannah Richardson in Harrison County, Virginia (now West Virginia), on May 30, 1787. His first wife died early in the marriage, and the next public record for Taffe is in Bourbon County, Kentucky, where he married Elizabeth Reed Ratcliffe on January 20, 1794. By 1810 the James Taffe family had moved northward into Clark County, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville.

While living in Clark County he appeared in court on November 10, 1818, to make application for a pension for his service in the Revolutionary War. He stated in his pension testimony that his profession was that of being a powder maker, but that he was disabled from work, and was responsible for a household of four people. To demonstrate his poverty, he listed his personal property as follows: “2 horses, one two year old colt, 5 Cows, 5 calves, two 3-year-old steers, four two-year old do, two one year old do, one sow and 6 pigs, one Barrow, one 3 gallon kittle, one do do, one oven & lid, one frying pan, one old gun barrel, one small table, 500 feet cherry plank.” He received a pension of eight dollars per month commencing on November 10, 1819, for his two years of service in the Virginia Continental Line.

In 1830 he appears in the U.S. Census in Marion County, Indiana, in the area of Indianapolis. His final pension payment shows that he died there on June 13, 1842. His place of burial is unknown. According to family tradition, his wife, Elizabeth, died in 1839 in an unknown location.

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