This information is contributed by Janie Elms Matthews
ELMS, Charles A Veteran of the Revolution Born 1757 or 1758 - Died 6 January 1836 The following obituary appeared in the "Raleigh Register" on Feb. 2, 1836 (microfilm RRw #13, State Archives): In Mecklenburg county, 6th inst. Mr. Charles Elms, sen., a soldier of the Revolution during the whole struggle for Independence, and participated in many of the important engagements, as several honorable scars will testify--in the 78th year of his age. In one long sentence, the Raleigh Register summed up the military service and the loss of an eye during the Revolution by Charles Elms who is listed as Charles Elloms, Elumms, Ellums, or Elms in various records. However, it takes many sentences to provide the background for the assertions in Charles' obituary. The most dramatic record of his "honorable scars" comes from a granddaughter. Just like stories of the War Between the States that are passed down through the families today, the Revolution had its share of stories of bravery and hardships that made history come alive. On June 3, 1914, Mrs. Margaret Elms Britton was accepted for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution under the service of her grandfather, Charles Elms. Her application [#109359] provides an account of her grandfather’s injury during the Battle of Eutaw Springs. She writes: "Charles Elms fought in under Greene at the Battle of Eutaw South Carolina September 8, 1781 - Greene’s army was opposed by Stewarts. At that battle my Grandfather was shot in the eye and left as dead upon the Battlefield. While lying there, surrounded by dying and dead comrades an English soldier gave him a shake saying, ‘we got this one,' but true to that bravery so characteristic of our patriot of that distressing time, young Elms did not make much of his personal misfortune and replied, ‘it’s no great get.' " This remark is the closest we get to knowing the man whose descendants share the same droll sense of humor. The earliest record of Charles is from a military roll of Cap. Clement Hall's Company in the 2nd NC Battalion, commanded by Col. John Patton. Charles Ellumms appears on the roll taken in White Plains on 9 Sept 1778. It states that he enlisted on 28 Oct 1776 for a period of 2 1/2 years. (Card #37450017; microfilm at Rowan County Library, Salisbury, NC and also recorded in North Carolina State and Colonial Records, Vol. 13, p507.) He again enlisted in April 1781 for a period of 12 months in Captain Rhodes 10th Regiment. ( NC State and Colonial Records, Vol. 16, p1053.) This second term might have been spent as a substitute for another man. On July 3, 1781, William Beasley was issued a certificate in Oxford, North Carolina for having produced a substitute named Charles Ellums to serve in the military in his place. (NC Genealogical Society Historical Journal, p154, August 1982.) Charles began a series of applications for bounty land and a pension. In 1802, an affidavit was filed in Rowan County stating the following facts: ‘I do hereby certify that Charles Ellums served as a soldier in the continental line in this state, during part of the last war, that he served under the command of Capt. Jacob Turner, to whose company I was Lieutenant, that Cap.t TURNER was killed & the said Charles Ellums was wounded with loss of his eye whilst in the service of the United States. Given from under my hand this 19th Mar 1802.’ (Unsigned) On Reverse: Affidavits Mar Term 1802. It was signed by six men. (Rowan County CRX -Miscellaneous Records-Pension Records, 1802 - File #, Box 68-NC Archives). Several other sources refer to Charles' loss of an eye during the war. In an 1820 letter to Dr. Hendersen entreating him to buy Charles' certificate for 228 acres of bounty land as soon as it was issued, Calvin Jones mentions that Charles lost an eye in the war. [Military File #137 of Charles Elloms in NC Archives.) In 1873, John Rosser of Memphis, Tennessee wrote to Lyman Draper about his childhood in Mecklenburg County. He remembered Charles Elms as a pensioner living in Pineville who had lost an eye in the battle of Eutaw Springs (Draper's MS Thomas Sumter Papers, 13 VV 7-8, York County Genealogical Historical Quarterly, Summer 1989, p12.) Charles must have become very frustrated at having to repeatedly prove his claim to land and a pension. In his 1835 will, this frustration is apparent with the words that " I do confirm the following to be my last will and testament filing a plea in the recollection of the many struggles and difficulties I with my companions in arms during our revolutionary war, waded through and [illegible] when we bled freely to procure a government of laws. I now beg of those of my fellow citizens who may survive me and may have an agency in the execution of the law to lend me their aid to support my rights and privileges which I humbly conceive the laws are intended to secure to us and to our prosperity." (Mecklenburg County, NC Wills from NC Archives) CHARLES' LIFE AFTER THE REVOLUTION On August 17, 1785, Charles and Miles Bobbit signed a 500 pound bond for Charles' marriage to Rebecah Withers, daughter of Reubin and Celia Zills Weathers in Warren County, NC. In the 1790s, Charles and Rebecah followed her family to Mecklenburg County, NC where they remained until their deaths in 1834 and 1836. Both are buried in Ft. Mill, South Carolina at Flint Hill Baptist Church which was chartered in 1792 by a group of people who had once lived in Warren County, NC. Charles' tombstone reads: "A Soldier and Patriot of the Revolution of 1776 who departed this life 6th January 1836."