Historical data - Josiah Marcum


    On behalf of my Marcum ancestors, I welcome you to this celebration to honor and recognize my Revolutionary War Ancestor, Josiah Marcum. I am proud to claim Josiah Marcum through the John C. Marcum line, the “Miller” Mose Marcum line, the Clara Marcum Kirk line, and the “Jingo” Jake line. When I began this study of my family tree, I had no idea that I was related so many ways to Josiah Marcum. I now know that the legend of naming the various groups of people was because there were so many Marcums that the Lord told Adam to just “Mark” them and let them go” This is how we got the name of Marcum. This was just a hint of what the name would become. Because there are so many MARCUMS, there had to be a multitude of nicknames. Some of these nicknames are: the Bird-leg set, the Quillbacks, the Wiley set, Bullethead set, Bullwheel set, Chugerowl set, Jingo set, Fluty-Marcums, Witcher Set, the Kirk-Marcums, the Copley-Marcums, Miller Mose set, and others. To add a little more variety and color to these nicknames, within a set there were other nicknames: There was a “Shouting” Bill, Cotton Hill Bill, Bullet Head Bill, Jewelry Jake, Baltimore Jake, Jingo Jake, Doctor Johnny, Big John, John Drake, John Duck, Big Earl, Little Earl, Lee’s Earl, Spot Josh, Red Nose Josh, Big Dewey, Joe Witcher, Catalogue George, and many other nicknames that may not be complimentary. We are here to honor


From the writings of a local historian, musician, teacher and descendant of Josiah Marcum, the late Jessie Baker, we find a world of information concerning Josiah Marcum. The weathered gravestone which stands about a mile-and-a-half from the mouth of Jennie’s Creek as one turns at the bridge from U. S. Route 52 South East of Crum, WV, reads as follows:







    This solitary grave is located in a bottom near Jennie’s Creek surrounded by quiet hills. It is one of the few marked Revolutionary War Soldier’s graves in the Tug Valley.

The simple inscription on the rough gray stone tells little about this man who lived during the founding years of our nation.

    However, there is available from the past a most interesting document which tells much about Josiah Marcum, the frontier colonial soldier of the American Revolution.

    On Nov 2, 1832, nearly 175 years ago, when Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the new nation, Josiah Marcum, then a man 73 years old, appeared in person before the circuit court judge at Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky and applied for a soldier’s pension.

    His statements plus the supporting evidence of two witnesses supplement the meager scraps of information found on the gravestone.

    They also offer strong reminders of the stirring events and the treachery and intrigue which marked the beginnings of the United States of America.

    A review of American history supplies even more needed materials in the way of facts and dates to fill in the interesting account as related by this man who was born almost 250 years ago, when the American colonies were still under the rule of the British Crown.

    First, Josiah Marcum stated that he had been told by his parents that he was born May 2, 1759, in Chesterfield County, Va., along the James River although he had no written evidence to prove the date.

    He continued that when but a child of four or five years, he moved to Prince
Edward County. While Josiah was yet a boy, the family moved further westward to Bedford County where he grew to manhood and volunteered for service in the Virginia Militia as an “18 months” soldier.

    From Bedford, where he was enlisted, he was marched into North Carolina and was in Gates’ Defeat “only a short time” after he entered the service.

    He was a waggoner as well as a drummer and he explained that it was his duty to drive a baggage wagon filled with supplies to the vicinity of the battle.

    In his pension application, Josiah Marcum could not establish dates for any of these happenings. But he knew, and stated repeatedly for emphasis that he volunteered “in the spring immediately preceding the defeat of General Gates.”

    That one statement speaks volumes to the American who cares to turn back the pages of history to an account of the Revolution War years.

    “Gates Defeat” at Camden, S. C. on Aug. 17, 1780, has been likened to “the darkest hour before the dawn”, in the winning of the Revolution. Lord Cornwallis demolished the American Army under General Gates. The Americans lost over 2,000 men while the British losses amounted to 734.

    From his testimony, Josiah never forgot that retreat from Camden nor General Gates either.

    On Nov. 7, 1833, David Adkins, another Revolutionary War veteran, stated that he saw Josiah Marcum at Hillsbourgh in North Carolina in the American Army.”

    The first time he saw him, a part of the army was being marched out to a place where one of the soldiers was to be whipped. Adkins and Marcum led the procession with fife and drum.

    Adkins further declared that he saw Josiah Marcum beating the drum in one of the companies stationed at Hillsborough just before the defeat of General Gates.

    Adkins as fifer, and Marcum with the drum were marched out with a portion of
the army together. But after they left Hillsborough, Adkins did not see him again “to his recollection.”

    Marcum stated that after the defeat of Gates he was marched back to Hillsborough where headquarters were located for a portion of the army.

    He spent the winter there and on scouting parties all the while continuing to drive the baggage wagon and to beat the drum.

    During this time he was in Campbell’s regiment under General Stephens who was in charge of the “18 months” men.

    Then, history tells that out of the defeat came victory. The American victory of King’s Mountain came in October, 1780. By December of the same year General Nathaniel Greene whose loyalty never was questioned, was sent to replace Gates who was retired permanently in disgrace.

    Then followed the Battle of Cowpens on Jan. 17, 1781 and the “Campaign of the Rivers” in which General Greene played hide-and-seek with the Red Coats along the headwaters of five flooded rivers up and down the Carolinas.

    By March 15, 1781, when Cornwallis attacked the Frontier Army at Guilford Courthouse, Greene held the line at Guilford after the British had chased the frontiersmen all the way across North Carolina.

    According to his pension declaration, Josiah Marcum held the line right along with Greene after driving the baggage wagon along the back hill country.

    By April of 1781, Cornwallis had moved north to Virginia and tried to Capture Governor Jefferson on the way. The last strategies of war were to bring about his historic surrender of Yorktown on Oct. 19, 1781.

    Josiah Marcum could not recall the date but he knew when the war was over.

    His 18 months of service was completed and he was discharged at Hillsborough Courthouse “in the fall of the year.”

    He well remembered that on his way home to Virginia, the fruit in the orchards was ripe and “many people refused to let the soldiers have any.”

    The remaining evidence in the pension declaration tells more of the happenings of later life in the life of Josiah Marcum.

    In Nov. 7, 1833, his son Stephen Marcum, then 48 years old, stated that he had seen the discharge which his father received when he left the Revolutionary War.

    It had been “almost 35 years ago” and he remembered well that the discharge stated that his father had served the enlistment of 18 months.

    Stephen, with another individual, examined the papers of his father looking for the bill of sale of a Negro woman and found the discharge: and “they had some conversation in relation to the Revolutionary War and the old man talked of other times and told many anecdotes of things which happened whilst he was a soldier.”

    Adding another very human touch to the record, Josiah Marcum stated that his discharged was signed by Captain Tate but “he had it washed up in his pockets about 20 or 25 years ago.”

    He repeated that he had no documentary evidence but gave the names of three other veterans -- Silas Wooten, Edward Burgess, and David Adkins -- who knew of his having been in the service.

    His last statement was that the regiment to which he had attached was commanded by Colonel Campbell.

    “Campbell’s Regiment” is well known in Virginia history. Robert Campbell was a famous Indian fighter before Governor Jefferson gave him a Colonel’s Commission and authorized the formation of additional units to be attached to the brigade of General William Campbell.

    Many of these men who served also surveyed lands in Western Virginia. Josiah Marcum was one of the few who settled in person and for many years had extensive land holdings on both sides of Tug River in both Lawrence County in Kentucky and Cabell (later Wayne) on the Virginia side.

    He reared a large family. His descendants in ever-increasing numbers take their places with all degrees of prominence, through all walks of life.

    From local sources we add these final notes.

    That Josiah Marcum passed from this life on March of 1846 a few weeks before his 87th birthday.

    That for many years he was such an expert blacksmith and gunsmith that he was known throughout the area as “The Vulcan of the Big Sandy Valley.” A review of Hardesty’s History of Wayne County mentions the Silver Creek Church and many of her early members. Among those mentioned are John and Clara (Marcum) Kirk, John C. and Clara Marcum, Moses Marcum, Jacob and Rhoda Marcum, and Rebecca Marcum Copley. Several of the descendants of Josiah Marcum are members of the Silver Creek Church and are very active in the youth program, the choir, the ministry. They are employed as teachers, bankers, coal miners, elected officials, musicians, attorneys, merchants, and doctors. In conclusion, thank you Josiah Marcum for such a proud heritage.





    A historic roadside marker honoring Revolutionary War Soldier, Josiah Marcum (1759-1846), was unveiled and dedicated on Saturday, March 25, 2006 at the Silver Creek Baptist Church of Crum, WV. This ceremony was sponsored by the Wayne County Genealogical and Historical Society.

    The activities began at 2:00 pm with the posting of colors by the American Legion Post 89, and the VFW Post 6103 of Louisa, Ky. The pledge of allegiance was led by Louise Crum Good, descendant of Josiah Marcum. The National Anthem was led by Herbert Dawson, who also served as master of ceremonies for the program. The invocation was given by Carl Columbus Marcum who is a descendent of Josiah Marcum through three different lines.

    Doris Jude, President of the Wayne County Genealogical and Historical Society introduced officers: Vice President, James J. Goode, Secretary, Lois Goode, Treasurer, Howard Osburn, and Trustee, Herbert Dawson.

    Dr. Charles Sammons, President of the Wayne County Commission then introduced the dignitaries. Among those introduced were County Commissioner, Rick Wellman, Wayne County Family Lawmaster and Attorney, Stephen R. Lewis, and George Mayhew, representing Senator H. Truman Chafin. Other dignitaries introduced included Mary Ellen Reid, Past Regent of the Louisa Kentucky DAR and a State officer of the Kentucky Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution., Tom Galloway, President of the General Andrew Lewis Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution of Huntington, WV and the current State President of the WV Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

    The speaker for the dedication was Matt Stanley, Principal of Tolsia High School. Matt, who is a direct descendant through four of the children of Josiah Marcum, gave a very informative and patriotic presentation on the life of Josiah Marcum. Herbert Dawson, retired music teacher from Mingo and Wayne Counties, led the audience in the singing of “America the Beautiful.” The ceremony was concluded with the benediction being given by Carter Williamson, retired principal from Logan County, and a descendent of Josiah Marcum.

    The audience of more than 100 joined in a motorcade to Jennie’s Creek for the unveiling of the roadside marker by Carl Marcum, Doris Jude and Mary Ellen Reid. The Honor Guard then gave the military honors with a 21 gun salute and taps. The audience then returned to the Silver Creek Church for refreshments and fellowship under the assistance of Lelon “Huff”& Louise Williamson. A show of hands revealed that at least 75 percent of those present were Josiah Marcum descendants.

    The Wayne County Genealogical & Historical Society will attempt to erect Revolutionary War Soldier Markers for all Revolutionary War Soldiers buried in Wayne County. Funds for these markers come from private donations, with some matching funds provided. These markers are constructed with the approval of the West Virginia Department of Archives and are erected by the West Virginia Department of Highways. The Society is currently accepting donations for markers for Hezekiah Adkins, Adam Crum, Micajah Frazier and Samuel Hatton. The signs will be erected in the order in which funding is completed. Other Revolutionary Soldiers buried or believed to be buried in Wayne County include: Thomas Chandler, Asher Crockett, Jesse Cyrus, and Lazarus Damron. Anyone who has information of other Revolutionary Soldiers buried in Wayne County should notify the Wayne County Genealogical & Historical Society at their Web Site:

    The society meets the second Thursday of each month at the WCGHS Library in Wayne, WV at 7:00 pm. The genealogical library is open each Thursday from 12 noon until 5:00 pm.

    The Wayne County Genealogical & Historical Society wishes to express their thanks to the Silver Creek Baptist Church for the use of the facilities for this special occasion. Otis Dillon is the Pastor; James Ray Spaulding & Otis Lynn Dillon are assistant Pastors.

Pictures by Howard Osburn



Herb Dawson                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Matt Stanley
















                                   Unveiling of sign                                                                                                                                                                                                              Honor Guard
















                        Marcum Ladies                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Marcum Boys

                       Dr. Charles Sammons                                                                                                                                                                                                       Mary Ellen Reid