A note on Swallows/Bilbrey/Copeland in the War of 1812

Abraham Lincoln was a mere child in 1812. However, the story is told that he was once was asked if he remembered anything about the war with Great Britain. He is alleged to have said:
“I had been fishing one day and caught a little fish which I was taking home. I met a soldier on the road, and, having been always told at home that we must be kind to the soldiers, I gave him my fish.” (See Abraham Lincoln The Boy The Man by Lloyd Ostendorf).
My ancestry includes multiple men who served in the War of 1812. Now, I don’t think for a minute that the soldier young Lincoln showed kindness to- was one of them. But as a nod to them, I would like to tell a little about three of them-since I can’t give them a fish. The ancestors are: Benton Bilbrey, Jacob Swallows, and Stephen Copeland.  I salute you gentlemen!
My above named ancestors served under General Andrew Jackson as volunteers in the Creek Indian Wars (which were part of the War of 1812). Another historical notable by the name of David Crockett was serving under Jackson, as well. However, he had taken leave home at the time during my ancestor’s s duties. The Muster Roll obtained from the Tennessee State Library & Archives lists them as members of the 3rd Regiment of West Tennessee Militia, whose Colonel was Stephen Copeland. Their term of service ran from January 1814-May 1814. The men in the unit were mostly from Overton, Smith, Wilson, Franklin, Warren, Bedford, and Lincoln Counties.
The 3rd Regiment of West Tennessee Militia was made up of approximately 660 men. They were mustered into service at Camp Johnson near Huntsville, Alabama. From there, they marched to Fort Deposit, followed by Fort Strother, and finally to Fort Williams. David Williams was the Captain of the Company that Jacob swallows and Benton Bilbrey were assigned to. On March 27th 1814, they participated in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River against the Creek forces. The site of the battle is near Dadeville, Alabama. The America forces lost about 45 killed and 150 or so wounded.  Also present that day was a young officer named Sam Houston. He was wounded during the conflict. Stephen Copeland’s Regiment guarded supplies and took care of the wounded behind main positions in front of the Creek defense. The battle was a victory of Andrew Jackson.
After their term of service ended, Jacob Swallows and Benton Bilbrey settled in Overton County, Tennessee for the rest of their lives. Eventually, Benton Bilbrey’s daughter, Anne Bilbrey,  married Jacob W. Swallows. I am the grandson of Flora Swallows, great grandson of Jacob W. Swallows.
Your service is not forgotten!





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One Response to “A note on Swallows/Bilbrey/Copeland in the War of 1812”

  1. Glenda Bell says:

    Hi Bill,

    I’ve been following some of your post and have learned quite a bit. My mother actually met and talked to your grandfather Waymon Swallows in her childhood. Waymon was her great uncle and brother to her grandmother Dovie Eldridge Swallows.

    Always nice to meet a new cousin. Thank you for sharing our family history!

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