Peter G. Ledford was born in 1758 in Randolph County, North Carolina. Although there is no record to show whom his parents were, it is believed that his father was John Ledford who was in Augusta County, Virginia as early as 1738. This may not be correct as the records are fairly scarce, but it would seem to be the case as will be shown below. As it is, Peter grew up on Caraway Creek in what would become Randolph County.
The first mention of Peter in historical records is in 1779, when he appears on the tax list of Randolph County with 13 acres of land, two hogs and six head of cattle; taxed 460 Pounds Sterling. This land was adjacent to John Ledford. Having his own farm with animals leads me to believe that he was married by this time. The next reference I find for Peter is a land deed in 1789 in which John Ledford, Sr. sold to Peter 40 acres on Big Caraway Creek, which bordered on his other land on Little Caraway. This is circumstantial, but the reasoning behind why John is most likely Peter’s father.
Peter was married about 1779 in Randolph County, NC to Anne Tucker (or Martha Y. Thomas?). This date is unattested, based on the (1) the births of Peter's children, (2) Peter's age being 21 so unlikely he was married prior to this time, and (3) Peter's appearance in the tax records with land and livestock in 1779 indicating he was ready to start a family.
On 1 Mar 1781, Peter joined the Revolutionary effort as a trooper in the Company of Cavalry and served for six months as a private. Most of his service was spent in pursuit of a Tory colonel by the name of Thomas Fanning who terrorized the citizens of central North Carolina. He wasn’t caught while Peter was serving, but they did their best. For his service, Peter was given back pay of $66.30 and an allowance of $26.52 per year from 1833 on. From then life seems to have been relatively peaceful for Peter and his family.
In 1789 he purchased 40 acres adjoining his other thirteen acres on Caraway from John Ledford, Sr. He sold this land to Elizabeth Fouts in August 1792. The following year he applied for 320 acres in Burke County, NC, on the North Cove of North Fork of the Catawba River. This land is now in McDowell County.
In 1805 Peter was ordered by the Court to oversee the road from the forks of the Pleasant Gardens (on the Catawba River) to the Pigeon River. Generally only men of some importance were given this duty, so I’ve been told. Also, between 1805 and 1820 Peter appears often in the Juror lists of Burke County.
In 1813, Peter purchased 100 acres on Tom’s Creek between Marion and Pleasant Gardens, McDowell County, which he then sold 1823. That same year Peter is shown buying 56 acres on the Little Tennessee River in the newly opened land of Macon County. He and his wife stayed here for 15 years, until the removal of the Cherokees further west. Peter sold his land on the Tennessee River to James Bradley on 5 Aug 1837.
In 1838, an auction was held to sell the land that had previously been inhabited by the Cherokee. Peter purchased 76 acres in District 3, tract 187 for $39.52. This is the land on which both he and his wife later died. In studying the census records from 1790 through 1820, Peter and Anne had five sons and three or four daughters. Three of the daughters and one son are unknown.
Family tradition states that in the final years of his life Peter was living with his son Jason D. Ledford. He died 22 May 1848 in Cherokee County, NC and was buried in the Old Ledford Chapel Cemetery, which supposedly was on his land. When Lake Chatuge was built in the 1940’s, the cemetery would have been flooded so it was moved across the road to higher ground.
1758 - Peter was born some time in the year 1758, in Rowan County, North Carolina as he testified in his application for pension for Revolutionary War service in 1833. He goes on to state, "I have no record of my age, nor never had."
1779 - Peter is listed in the 1779 tax list of the newly formed county of Randolph, North Carolina with a small amount of land and some livestock. this land is later shown to be on Little Caraway Creek. Peter should have been married about this time.
1789 - Peter purchases 40 acres from John Ledford, Sr on Caraway Creek in Randolph County. The deed states that this land adjoined his other 13 acres crossing Little Caraway, placing Pater and John Ledford Sr. at the confluence of the Little Caraway with Caraway Creek.
1790 - Peter is enumerated in the census of Randolph County, North Carolina. His household consists of two male age 16 and over (1784 and before), two male age under 16 years (1784-1790) and three females.
1792 - Peter sells 40 acres to Elizabeth Fouts. I don't have a sale of the other 13 acres.
1793 - Peter applied for 320 acres in Burke County, NC, on the North Cove of North Fork of the Catawba River, now located in McDowell County.
1800 - In the 1800 census, Peter is living in Burke County, North Carolina age of 26 and under 45 years (1755-1774) with his wife of the same age, one daughter and two sons of age ten and under 16 years (1784-1790; one son is Eli), and one daughter and two sons age under ten years (1790-1800; sons are Peter Jr and Levi).
1810 - Peter is still living in Burke County, North Carolina in the 1810 census age over 45 years (1765 or before) along with his wife of the same age. Also in the household are one daughter and one son age of 16 and under 26 years (1784-1794), two sons age of ten and under 16 years (1794-1800; Peter Jr and Levi), and one son age of under ten years (1800-1810; Jason D.).
1813 - Peter purchased 100 acres on Toms Creek in present McDowell County. Toms Creek flows into the Catawba River between Marion and Pleasant Gardens.
1820 - The 1820 census has Peter living in Burke County, North Carolina age over 45 years (1775 or before) with his wife of the same age and one son age of 16 and under 26 years (1794-1804; Jason D.) and one daughter? age of ten and under 16 (1804-1810).
1823 - Peter sells land on Toms Creek and buys 56 acres near the Little Tennessee River in what will become Macon County, North Carolina in 1828.
1830 - Peter is now in Macon County, North Carolina, age of 70 and under 80 years (1750-1760) with his wife, age of 60 and under 70 (1760-1770). No children in the household.
1833 - Peter files for pension for service in the American Revolution in Jun 1833, Macon County, North Carolina. He was awarded $66.30 back pay and $26.52 per year after that in semi-annual payments. They did not mail payments to veterans at that time. The veteran had to travel to the nearest office and appear in person, or have an agent appear on his behalf. The nearest office, I believe, was in Asheville.
1836 - Peter purchased an unknown tract in the 1836 sale of Cherokee lands.
1837 - Having purchased land in the yet unopened county of Cherokee, Peter sold his Macon lands to James Bradley. James' daughter Elizabeth was married to Peter's son Jason.
1838 - Peter purchases 76 more acres at the Cherokee Land Sale in September 1838. There were other entries under his name (or that of his son) which were let go soon after winning the bid.
1840 - Peter has settled into his new land in the new county of Cherokee, North Carolina and appears on the census this year age of 80 and under 90 years (1750-1760) with his wife of the same age. Note that Peter's wife is still alive in this and the previous census indicating that she had not passed away in 1824. In this census, the exact ages of pensioners were given; Peter was 86 years old (1754).
1844 - Peter's wife NY dies in Cherokee County, North Carolina on 24 Jun 1844. She was buried in the Old Ledford Chapel Cemetery.
1847 - Peter collected his Revolutionary War pension for the last time in the 4th quarter of 1847..
1848 - Peter dies in Cherokee County, North Carolina 22 May 1848 and was buried next to his wife in the Old Ledford Chapel Cemetery. Both he and his wife were later relocated to the Relocated Ledford Chapel Cemetery, across the street from the old one, in 1941.
Children of Peter G. Ledford
Generally, in more recent years, there have been a few Ledfords who have been attached to Peter G. Ledford the Revolutionary soldier. It should be pointed out that to date there are no documents from Peter’s time to indicate with certainty whom his children actually were. What we have to go on is older clues from people who lived in his era.
In the 1860’s, Peter Ledford, Jr. attempted to collect more money from Peter Sr.’s pension, to no avail. In his letters to the War Department he states that he is the son of Peter Ledford (Senior).
In historical records, Jason D. is usually living quite close to Peter Senior, it is known that he went to Tennessee with Peter Junior, and family tradition claims that Peter lived with Jason in his last years. On top of that, Jason’s daughter Matilda Crumley, in the 1920’s, also attempted to draw on Peter’s pension, as “Peter’s only surviving grandchild”, and in the late 1930’s, when the TVA was preparing to move Peter’s grave they needed an heir to sign off, John E. Ledford, son of Merritt Daniel, son of Jason D., was that heir. All circumstantial, really, but then Jason was buried next to Peter in the cemetery (original and relocated)
In the 1890’s, descendants of Eli and Levi Ledford, brothers, applied for Cherokee Pensions on the claim that Levi’s wife, Jerusha Pittman, was part Cherokee. Eli’s family gets involved because their children intermarried. In these applications, they claim that both Eli and Levi were the sons of Peter Ledford and Annie Tucker. The oldest applicant was Elbert Burton Ledford, born in 1828, son of Levi, who would have been old enough to have personally known his grandmother, who died in 1844 when Elbert was 16 years old.
Then there is Ellender Ledford who married Thomas Knight. Thomas was the son of Jonathan Knight, and when Peter moved to Burke County in 1792 and purchased his land, the deed showed a map of the property that also happened to show that both Thomas and Jonathan owned adjoining properties. This isn’t conclusive, but the best we have to go on.
Using the above statements by children and grandchildren and the census records for Peter Ledford Sr between 1790 and 1820, one can put together a fairly reasonable picture of Peter's family:
Daughter born before 1790, not at home in 1800; Ellender Ledford if she is actually a child of Peter.
Son born 1784-1790, left home between 1800-1810; Eli Ledford.
Son born 1784-1790, left home between 1810-1820; unknown (Absolom fits).
Daughter born 1784-1790, left home between 1800-1810; unknown.
Daughter born 1790-1794, left home between 1810-1820; unknown.
Son born 1794-1800, left home between 1810-1820; Levi Ledford.
Son born 1794-1800, left home between 1810-1820; Peter Ledford, Jr.
Son born 1800-1804, still at home in 1820; Jason D. Ledford who wasn't married until 1824.
Female born 1810-1820, not in 1810 census, but in 1820 as 10-16 years, so if Peter's daughter, born 1810. Unlikely that Anne was still having children at age 50, so this girl is more likely to be a grandchild of Peter.
↑ 3.03.13.23.3 Randolph County Clerk of Superior Court; Clerk of Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions; Register of Deeds; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, 3A.421-423 stacks.
↑ There is conflict over the actual name of Peter's wife. Anne is attested in sworn applications, but Martha has been established based on unsourced genealogical work. Both names actually represent the same person.
↑ 5.05.15.25.3 Burke County Clerk of Superior Court; Clerk of Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions; Register of Deeds - Misc. Deeds; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, C.R.014.401.2 stacks.
↑ Burke County Clerk of Superior Court; Clerk of Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions; Register of Deeds - Roads; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, C.R.014.925.1 - C.R.014.925.5 stacks.
↑ Burke County Clerk of Superior Court; Clerk of Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions; Register of Deeds - Minute Docket; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, C.R.014.301.1 - C.R.014.301.13.
↑ 8.08.1 Records of sales of former Cherokee lands in Macon County, N.C., made by Samuel Finley Patterson and Charles L. Hinton, state commissioners. Cherokee Lands Salesbooks, 1838; University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Southern Historical Collection; Collection Number: 01966-z; Vol. 1 p 18 can be viewed here.
↑ Presumed, unless he was living with his son Jason as family tradition states.
↑ Original stone marking Peter's grave made at the time of his death.
↑ National Archives and Records Administration; Population Schedules of the First Census of the United States, 1790; Microcopy 637, Roll 7 - North Carolina, Vol. 1, Randolph; Page 313. Can be viewed online here.
↑ National Archives and Records Administration; Population Schedules of the Second Census of the United States, 1800; Microcopy 32, Roll 29 - North Carolina, Vol. 1, Burke; Page 766. Can be viewed online here.
↑ National Archives and Records Administration; Population Schedules of the Third Census of the United States, 1810; Microcopy 252, Roll 39 - North Carolina, Vol. 2, Burke; Page 335. Can be viewed online here.
↑ National Archives and Records Administration; Population Schedules of the Fourth Census of the United States, 1820; Microcopy 33, Roll 83 - North Carolina, Vol. 4, Burke; Page 15. Can be viewed online here.
↑ National Archives and Records Administration; Population Schedules of the Fifth Census of the United States, 1830; Microcopy 19, Roll 123 - North Carolina, Vol. 6, Macon; Page 25. Can be viewed online here.
↑ Documents Printed By Order of the General Assembly of North Carolina for the Year 1844; Report of the Public Treasurer on the State of the Finances of the State of North Carolina; Statement D, monies paid into the hands of Jacob Siler, Agent for Cherokee lands, sales of 1836 starting on page 26. Peter mentioned on page 28.
↑ National Archives and Records Administration; Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States, 1840; Microcopy 704, Roll 357 - North Carolina, Vol. 2, Cherokee; Page 237. Can be viewed online here.
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Peter by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Peter: