Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dr. John Pyle, a Fighting Quaker, Tory and Turncoat, father of my Uncle John Pyle Jr., Tory and Turncoat

Family Tree Maker
1. COL. DR. JOHN2 PYLE (DR. SAMUEL1) was born April 08, 1723 in KENNETT, CHESTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, and died January 01, 1804 in CAIN CREEK, CHATHAM COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA. He married SARAH BALDWIN June 1744 in PENNSYLVANIA, daughter of JOHN BALDWIN and HANNAH JOHNSON. She died 1788 in CAIN CREEK, CHATHAM COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA.

Notes for COL
. DR. JOHN PYLE:
      COL. PYLE'S MOST NOTABLE MILITARY ENGAGEMENT OCCURRED ON THE NIGHT OF FEB. 21, 1781, WHEN IN COMMAND OF ABOUT 265 CAVALRYMEN HE ENGAGED A SUPERIOR FORCE UNDER THE COMMAND OF LT. COL. HENRY "LIGHTHORSE HARRY" LEE AT THE BATTLE OF HAW RIVER. COL. PYLE WAS DECEIVED INTO BELIEVING THAT HE HAD MET UP WITH FRIENDLY TROOPS INSTEAD OF ENEMY FORCES AND IN THE RESULTING GUNFIRE 90 OF HIS MEN WERE KILLED. IN THE HAND TO HAND SWORD PLAY IN THE MOON LIT BATTLE THE COLONEL LOST FIRST THREE FINGERS ON HIS LEFT HAND AND THEN AN EYE TO A SABER SLASH ACROSS HIS FACE. HE WAS KNOCKED FROM HIS HORSE WHEN SHOT AT POINTBLANK RANGE AND LEFT FOR DEAD IN THE ICEY RIVER'S WATERS. HE REVIVED AND CRAWLED TO A SMALL POND AND CONCEALED HIMSELF IN THE WATER AND REEDS WITH NOTHING PROTRUDING BUT HIS NOSE UNTIL THE FOLLOWING NIGHT WHEN HE MADE HIS WAY HOME.

      THE BRITISH HISTORIAN STEDMAN HAS WRITTEN MUCH OF THIS ENGAGEMENT, "A FOUL MASSACRE". THE STORY OF THIS BATTLE WAS ALSO RELATED BY GENERAL CORNWALLIS IN A LETTER DATED MARCH 17, 1781, AND BY SIR BANASTRE TARLETON IN HIS HISTORY PUBLISHED IN ENGLAND IN 1787. THE BEST DESCRIPTION IS TO BE FOUND IN THE PICTORIAL FIELD BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION BY BENSON J. LOSSING.

     IN THE COLONIAL RECORDS OF NORTH CAROLINA IS A COPY OF A LETTER FROM CAPT. WILLIAM O'NEAL WHICH RELATES THAT DR. JOHN PYLE, HIS SON, AND JOHN LINDLEY, PYLE'S SON IN LAW SURRENDERED TO HIM IN THE LATTER DAYS OF SEPTEMBER, 1781. THEY WERE ARRESTED, AS ALL LOYALISTS WERE ,TO AWAIT TRIAL FOR TREASON. BOTH PYLES AS DOCTORS WERE ASSIGNED MEDICAL DUTIES WITH THE COLONEL BEING PUT IN CHARGE OF THE WOUNDED, BOTH COLONIAL AND BRITISH. THEY WERE BOTH GIVEN UNCONDITIONAL PARDONS FOR THEIR FAITHFUL WORK IN THE LATTER DAYS OF THE CONFLICT, AND THERE IS NO RECORD OF THEIR PROPERTY HAVING BEEN CONFISCATED. . . .
More About COL
. DR. JOHN PYLE:
Education: MEDICAL EDUCATION IN LONDON, ENGLAND
MILITARY SERV: 1775, APPOINTED BY THE KING, COLONEL IN THE BRITISH ARMY, A TORY-LOYALIST
Occupation: COUNTRY DOCTOR-FARMER-BUSINESSMAN
POLITICAL SER: MEMBER OF "THE REGULATORS", A VIGILANTI COURT & JUSTICE SYSTEM
RELIGIOUS: QUAKER



This week's shock in my playing with ORNERY PEOPLE is that the younger turncoat Pyle was the husband of Sarah Brashear, the sister of my GGGG Grandmother Elizabeth Brashear Henderson, the wife of the Patriot Ezekiel Henderson. Uncle John moved to Kentucky to hide his shame. One of the applicants for the 1832 pensions says he saw him a few years earlier, in the 1820s, in Illinois. He probably meant Kentucky, NW Kentucky. The applicant mentions that John had only one eye. Some accounts say that his father lost most of his left hand and lost one eye at "Lee's hacking frolic"; if that is true, about the eye, maybe father and son lost an eye each. The 1832 applicant seems to have been truthful.


The whole story is fascinating because of the discrepancies in accounts. Maybe Robert E. Lee's father, Light Horse Harry, was clever enough to turn accidental encounter and mis-identification into slaughter of Tories, maybe he was dimwitted and blundered into an advantage even he could not fail to seize. Did he really hack off most of the hand of Dr Pyle which he had been holding? 

These are Kennett Square Pyles--Kennett Square, which we often drove to from Landenberg, PA. That means Howard and Ernie are probably cousins of Uncle John.

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