CAPTAIN ROBERT YANCEY OF VIRGINIA
Military records of the Revolutionary War era record one Robert Yancey of Virginia playing an active role in the militia of Virginia during the period. He first entered the military in 1776 and by 1779 had been commissioned to the office of Captain. He became an original member in the Society of the Cincinnati. This patriotic society was established in 1778 by various officers of the Continental Line. It's first president was General George Washington. Membership in this society was passed on from original member to oldest son and so on down to present generations. Various persons have also gained membership in the such patriotic organizations as the D.A.R. and S.A.R. by claiming descent from this Captain Robert Yancey. The identity of this Robert Yancey, however, has been a point confusion and uncertainty for many researchers over the years and various researchers at different times have confused this Robert with at least four distinct and different Robert Yanceys found living in early America. I have written this report to clear up as much as possible the confusion surrounding this subject and once and for all establish the true identity of Captain Robert Yancey.
I will first list below the personal information that can be extracted from the military files of Captain Robert Yancey and can be used in ascertaining his true identity. Military records provide the following information concerning Captain Robert Yancey.
1) He was from the County of Culpeper in Virginia being born about the year 1750.
2) He first entered the service in 1776. He served as cornet, quartermaster, and lieutenant in the Continental Dragoons. In 1779 he was commissioned as Captain. In May of 1781 he was taken prisoner by the British and remained so until the end of the war.
3) He had a nephew name Philemon Yancey Jr., son of Philemon Yancey Sr., who also served during the war.
4) He was an original member of the Society of Cincinnati.
5) He moved to Kentucky at an early date and in 1818 was living in Woodford County where he applied for his Revolutionary War Pension.
6) He lived as a widower for some time before his death and lived for a period with a widowed daughter and her children.
7) He died 17 November, 1824 in Franklin County, Kentucky.
8) He had a son named Robert Yancey Jr. residing in Franklin County Kentucky at the time of his death who became the administrator of his estate.
Four different and distinct Robert Yanceys' have, at different times and by different people, been asserted to be the same Captain Robert Yancey who served in the militia during the Revolutionary War. Information concerning these four different Robert Yanceys follows and includes personal data and information concerning their families. This has been included in an attempt to compare this information with what is known from the military files of Captain Yancey and thus ascertain which, if any of the four candidates is the true Captain Robert Yancey..
The four Robert Yanceys are as follows:
1) Col. Robert Leighton Yancey - son of Capt. Charles & Mary (Crawford) Yancey of Louisa County
2) Robert Yancey - the son of Jeremiah and Margaret (Mullins) Yancey of Albemarle County
3) Robert Yancey - the son of Richard and Mary (Bolling??) Yancey of Mecklenburg County.
4) Robert Yancey - the son of Lewis Davis and Winifred (Kavanaugh) Yancey of Culpeper County.
COL. ROBERT LEIGHTON YANCEY
PARENTS: Captain Charles & Mary (Crawford) Yancey of
Louisa County, Virginia
BN: 28 FEB 1770 in Louisa County, Virginia
DD: 28 APR 1808 in Louisa County, Virginia
NOTES: Various family traditions as well as Rosa Faulkner's book LYNCHBURG AND ITS NEIGHBORS imply that ROBERT LEIGHTON YANCEY was the one in the family of Revolutionary War fame and that he was closely related to one Joel Yancey of Louisa and later Bedford Counties in Virginia (some reports give them as father and son). Research indicates that Robert Leighton was born in 1770 and thus would have been too young to have served during the Revolutionary War (although it does seem that he served in the Militia shortly after the war). He never married and died without leaving any descendants. He did mention Joel Yancey in his will but refers to him as "his friend" and thus was not a member of Robert's close personal family. There are strong traditions in various branches of the family that this Robert Leighton Yancey was closely associated with General George Washington. A search has been made of the records of the period and it now seems doubtful that such an association existed. Robert Leighton Yancey was born in 1770 and would only have been of age five or six at the onset of the Revolutionary War.
PARENTS: Jeremiah and Margaret (Mullins) Yancey of Albemarle
BORN: about 1764 in Albemarle County, Virginia
DIED: March 1824 in Howard County, Missouri
WIFE: PHOEBE ROZELLE, married 1795 in Albemarle County, Virginia
1) LEIGHTON S. YANCEY
BN: 1798 in Virginia
DD: 1888 in Howard County, MO
WIFE: JENNIE SCOTT, married 1818 in Madison County, Kentucky
2) JEREMIAH ROBERT YANCEY
BN: 1804 in Virginia
DD: 1872 in Lawrence County, Missouri
WIFE: MARY W. THOMPSON, married 1835 in Polk County, Missouri
3) ANN G. YANCEY
BN: about 1806 in Virginia
DD: about 1857 in Greene County, Missouri
4) ELIZABETH P. YANCEY
BN: about 1808 in Virginia
DD: 1859 in Greene County, Missouri
5) CHARLES SQUIRE YANCEY
BN: 1809 in Virginia
DD: 1857 in Greene County, Missouri
WIFE: MARY F. BEDFORD, married 1842 in Boone County, Missouri
NOTES: There is no evidence of this Robert Yancey ever being in either Culpeper County nor in the counties of Franklin or Woodford in Kentucky. This Robert Yancey was born about 1764, fourteen years after Captain Robert was to have been born. This Robert's wife Phoebe outlived him for some years. With this information in mind it is evident that this is not Captain Robert Yancey of the Revolutionary War.
PARENTS: Richard and Mary (Bolling??) Yancey of Louisa and
later Mecklenburg County, Virginia
BN: about 1744 in Louisa County, Virginia
DD: 1818 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
WIFE: PHILADELPHIA JONES married 1765-1768 in Virginia
1) RICHARD YANCEY
BN: about 1770 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
DD: 1861 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
WIFE: MARY WALTON married in 1797 in Virginia
2) ANN YANCEY
BN: 23 OCT 1773 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
DD: 13 JUN 1859 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
HUSBAND: Peter OVERBY married in 1795 in Richmond Co., VA
3) JOHN YANCEY
BN: about 1775 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
DD: 1840 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
WIFE: MARY HAMBLIN married in 1799 in Mecklenburg County, VA
4) MARY YANCEY
BN: 1775 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
HUSBAND: ROBERT WILLIAMSON married 1793 in Mecklenburg Co., VA
5) ROBERT YANCEY
BN: about 1777 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
DD: 1853 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
MD: AGNES WILKINSON married in 1796 in Mecklenburg Co., VA
6) PHILADELPHIA YANCEY
BN: about 1781 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
HUSBAND: JOHN TILLOTSON married in 1801 in Mecklenburg Co., VA
7) HEZEKIAH YANCEY
BN: 12 FEB 1782 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
DD: 1860 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
WIFE: SALLY WORSHAM married 1808 in Mecklenburg Co., VA
8) ELIZABETH YANCEY
BN: about 1783 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
HUSBAND: JOHN GRIFFIN married 1794 in Mecklenburg Co., VA
9) SUSANNAH YANCEY
BN: about 1785 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
HUSBAND: JOHN WILLIAMSON married 1802 in Mecklenburg Co., VA
10) MILLY YANCEY
BN: about 1787 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
HUSBAND: Mr. GRIFFIN
11) LUCY YANCEY
BN: about 1789 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia
HUSBAND: STARK DANIEL married 1818 in Mecklenburg Co., VA
NOTE: There exists no evidence of this Robert Yancey ever being in either Culpeper County, Virginia nor in the state of Kentucky. This Robert Yancey died and was buried (a marker still exists) in Mecklenburg County. It is evident that this was not Captain Yancey as Captain Yancey died in 1824 in Kentucky.
PARENTS: Lewis Davis & Winifred (Kavanaugh) Yancey of
Culpeper County Virginia.
BORN: mid 1700's in Culpeper County, Virginia
DIED: early 1800's in Kentucky
WIFE: Elizabeth HOLLOWAY
CHILDREN: (Not necessarily in order of birth)
1) GEORGE YANCEY
BN: in Virginia
DD: 1813 in Kentucky
2) KATHERINE YANCEY
HUSBAND: JOHN SNYDER
3) MARTHA E. YANCEY
HUSBAND: AUGUSTA CAMPBELL, married 1827 in Woodford Co., KY
4) MILDRED YANCEY
DD: at age 16 in Kentucky
5) NANCY YANCEY
HUSBAND: JOHN SETTLE married 1812 in Franklin County, KY
6) MARY WALKER YANCEY
BN: about 1795 in Culpeper County, Virginia
HUSBAND: SIMEON TWYMAN married 1822 in Woodford County, KY
7) ROBERT HENRY YANCEY
BN: about 1795 in Culpeper County, Virginia
WIFE: MILDRED ANDERSON married in 1821 in Franklin County, KY
8) CHARLES LEWIS YANCEY
BN: about 1808 in Kentucky
DD: 1848 in Kentucky
WIFE: JANE HANCOCK married in 1830 in Franklin County, KY
NOTES: This Robert Yancey was born in Culpeper County in the mid 1700's. Evidence indicates that he traveled to Kentucky at an early date and that his children were born there. Many of them resided in Woodford, Franklin, and Owen Counties in Kentucky. It is known that his wife died many years before he did and it is also known that he had a son named Robert Yancey Jr. Most researchers at present who have done any sort of extensive research on the Yancey family of Culpeper feel certain that this is Captain Robert Yancey of Revolutionary War fame.
In view of the facts that have been extracted from the military records of Captain Robert Yancey and compared to those facts related to the four Robert Yanceys discussed - it would seem, almost without question, that Captain Robert Yancey was the son of Lewis Davis and Winifred (Kavanaugh) Yancey. Lewis Davis Yancey's son Robert was the only one of the four that ever lived in Culpeper County and could have been born about 1750. Lewis Davis Yancey, in fact, in his will dated 1778 alludes to his son's patriotic service using the phrase "but in case he should die in the service of his country". In accordance with the military records, Lewis Davis Yancey did, indeed, have a grandson named Philemon Yancey (nephew of Robert) who served in the Virginia Militia at the time of the War. None of the other Roberts' in question had brothers or nephews by name of Philip or Philemon. Good evidence is also found among church records of Culpeper County Virginia.
Baptismal records of Culpeper County published in the Virginia Genealogist refer to one Captain Robert Yancey and two of his children Robert H. and Mary Buckner/Walker who were baptized in 1795 (possibly twins??). Evidence indicates that this same Robert H. Yancey married Mildred Anderson in Franklin County Kentucky in 1821 and later he is to be found on the 1850 census of Owen County Kentucky. Other evidence is found in various biographies written of Simeon T. Yancey - a grandson of Capt. Robert Yancey of Culpeper who became a state senator in Indiana. The biographies refer to his grandfather's service during the Revolutionary War and refer to various members of the family.
Concerning the wife of Captain Yancey, documentation proving her identity has yet to be found. Family tradition and records assert that her name was Elizabeth Holloway and it would seem that she may have been the daughter of one George Holloway and wife Elizabeth Cammack of Spotsylvania and Caroline County Virginia. This would account for the fact that Robert's (first?) son was named George. It would seem that Robert's wife Elizabeth did indeed die long before he did although no date has yet been established.
There are also many stories of Captain Robert being closely associated with General George Washington. An extensive search of records was made to uncover the validity of this and it would seem that Captain Robert was distantly associated with General Washington. Captain Robert was for example, an original member of the Society of Cincinnati of which George Washington served as first president. But to believe that there was some close relationship between the two seems un-reasonable to assume based on the records searched. A search was made of the extant collections of Washington's journals, letter, and papers and mention of Robert Yancey was made in one single instance and was only in reference to a military advancement.
As to the fate of the children of Robert Yancey - his son George and daughter Mildred are to have died young without leaving descendants. Martha E. Yancey married Augusta Campbell (Some reports give his name as Robert) and they moved to Mississippi. Nancy Yancey married John Settle and traveled to Missouri. Katherine Yancey is to have married one John Snyder and it would seem that, in all probability, she was the widowed daughter who lived with Captain Robert Yancey in his old age - but nothing is known at present concerning her or her children's fate. Mary Walker/Buckner Yancey married Simeon Twyman and had many children who traveled west. Robert Henry Yancey married Mildred Anderson and they had various descendants in Owen County, Kentucky. Charles Lewis Yancey, thought to be the youngest child, married Jane Hancock in Franklin County, Kentucky. He died at a rather young age but left behind many descendants.
Further confusion concerning Capt. Robert Yancey has arisen from the fact that there were at least two other Robert Yanceys of early Culpeper County. The 1850 census of Culpeper County lists a Robert Yancey who was born about the year 1776 and a Robert Yancey Jr. who was born about 1805. The identity of these Roberts has yet to be proven, but it would seem that the older Robert was very possibly a son of Philemon Yancey Sr. and that the Robert Yancey Jr. was his son. Robert Yancey Jr. married a Miss Threlkeld of Culpeper and built what was known as the "THRELKELD HOUSE" of Culpeper which still stands today.
As to the possibility of any valid military involvement, during the Revolution, by those who have often been mistaken for Captain Robert yancey - it would seem that due to his age that Robert Leighton Yancey could not have served during the Revolutionary War - but did, indeed, serve in the Virginia Militia some time after the war. As to the other two Roberts - it might be hard to disprove any military involvement - but it does seem unlikely, and extant records searched give no evidence indicating that there may have been more than one CAPTAIN Robert Yancey.
Also Captain Robrt Yancey's involvement in the Society of Cincicnatti - Joseph Dennison reports the following:Dennis, in answer to your question about Robert Yancey's participation in the Society of Cincinatti - , I scanned my copy of The Proceedings, 1784-1824, of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia and could not find Captain Yancey’s name mentioned as attending any of the meetings during this period. This is perhaps understandable since the meetings were held in the State Capital of Richmond and normally those attending likely resided within close proximity to Richmond.
Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
Twyman - by William T Lockett
Holloway Family Information
Drinking, Gambling, Horse Racing
Pension Application also
Campbell & Gillespie Bible which mentions Robert's daughter (page 2)
The following sources record Robert Leighton Yancey as the son of Capt. Charles Yancey of Virginia and record him as dying with out descendants;
1) LAURUS CRAWFURDIANA. By Frank A. Vanderbilt. 1883.
2) THE HISTORY OF LOUISA COUNTY. By Malcom Harris. 1936
The following sources record Robert Yancey who married Philadelphia Jones as the son of Richard Yancey and Mary Bolling
1) JAMIESON AND O'CALLAGHAN ANCESTORS. By Jean Jamieson. 1978
2) Will records of Mecklenburg County, Virginia.
The following sources record Robert Yancey who married Phoebe Rozelle as being the son of Jeremiah Yancey and Margaret Mullins
1) ALBEMARLE COUNTY IN VIRGINIA. By Edgar Woods. 1901.
2) THE MAUPIN FAMILY WITH ALLIED BRANCHES. By Nellie Sherman. 1962.
The following sources record Robert Yancey who married Elizabeth Holloway as the son of Lewis Davis Yancey of Culpeper and show him as being the Captain Robert Yancey which military records refer to.
1) ANCESTORS AND DESCENDANTS OF WILLIAM LAYTON YANCEY AND HIS WIFE FRANCES LYNN LEWIS. By Rebecca Yancey. 1977.
2) DESCENDANTS OF LEWIS DAVIS YANCEY. By Barbara Vaughn. 1986.
3) TWYMAN By William T. Lockett. 1990.