Avery Mustain: Revolutionary War

While none of us would envy Avery’s military service, the researcher who posted the following notes about Avery’s experience failed to mention the significance of the
Siege of Yorktown. We have to wonder if Avery was aware of George Washington’s presence or the greatness of this event after many battle campaigns over several years.

Surrender of Lord Cornwalis at the Seige of Yorktown

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at the Seige of Yorktown. Public domain image courtsey of Wikipedia.

The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown, or Surrender of Yorktown, the latter taking place on October 19, 1781, was a decisive victory by a combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis. The culmination of the Yorktown campaign, it proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War in North America, as the surrender by Cornwallis of his army prompted the British government to negotiate an end to the conflict.

Avery (born Feb 26, 1756 to Thomas and Mary Haley Mustain) served in the Revolutionary War and was allowed pension on his application executed Aug. 22, 1832. STATE OF VIRGINIA – COUNTY OF PITTSYLVANIA (National Archives File 7488 Rev. War). Avery had lost his discharge papers from Nov. 1781 and did not file for pension benefits until age 76. He forfeited all claim to back payments.      

On the 22nd day of August 1832, personally appeared in open Court before David H. Clar, Wm. S. Pannill, Coleman D. Bennet and John A. Clark the Court of Pittsylvania now sitting, Avery Mustain a resident of Camden Parish in the County of Pittsylvania and State of Virginia aged 76 years to make the following declaration in Order to obtain the benefit of Congress passed June 7, 1832.  That he was born Feb. 26, 1756 near where he now lives, about 1st of June 1776 he volunteered under Thomas Dillard Capt., Jesse Heard,  Lieut., Robert Dolt Ensign and marched to Guyn’s Island, Virginia near the mouth of the Peanketank River and assisted in driving off Lord Dunmore, the then governor of Virginia. 

On the side of the River where he was stationed, there was no officer with a higher grade than Captain.  While there an express arrived and he marched with his company to the Tennessee River in the state of Tennessee against the Cherokee nation of Indians, in this expedition Heard was Capt., Dalton was Lieut. and Turley Choice Ensign.  After arrived at New London, VA they were attached to the command of Col. Charles Lewis of Albemarle, VA.  He forgets this Major.  Capt. Martin (afterwards General Martin of Henry Co., VA) commanded a company in the expedition and after arriving on the Holston River, Co.  McChristian, being the oldest officer, was first in command. 

After arriving in the Indian Territory (the enemy having deserted their homes) they burnt up their houses and corn and eat their potatoes; all of their company returned home.  No discharges were given and all returned with their Captain before Christmas 1776.    

About the first of May 1780, he was drafted to go to the South with Isaac Clement, Capt.  He marched to Peter Perkins on Dan River, VA where he met several companies, by Hillsboro, NC where they met with many more troops and the following officers, Gen. Stevens who was the Commander, Col.’s Richardson and Faulkner and Maj. Henry Conway, thence he marched towards Camden South, SC with Gens Gates, de Kalb and Smallwood and the next day was in the battle in which the Americans were defeated. He then returned home about the last of Aug. 1780 and received no discharge.

In Feb. 1781 he volunteered under Gabriel Shelton Capt., James Maid Lieut. and Vincent Shelton Ensign.  Capt. Shelton left his company, and he was then commanded by Capt. Thomas Smith; crossed the Dan River at Boyd’s Ferry, crossed Ham River in NC, and after marching to and fro for awhile, returned home after being absent 4 or 5 weeks and was not in the Battle of Guilford.  In Aug 1781 he was drafted to go to the seige of Yorktown, VA. 

William Dix Capt., David Hunt Lieut. Clem. McDaniel Ensign, after arriving at Yorktown Capt. Dix was succeeded by Capt. Charles Williams. He assisted in raising breast works and batteries After the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, he was detailed and marched to Noland’s Ferry on the Potomac River with the prisoners and at Leesburg he received a discharge about the last of Nov. 1781 which he has lost. 

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state—sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid –Avery Mustain.  W. Griffith Dickenson Sen. and William Dove Sen. swore the declaration to be true.

These notes on Avery’s war service and pension application were entered into OneGreatFamily.com Profile Number:  I-OGFN 569143776. The notes entered typically do not include online reference links or the researcher’s names.

However, here are some online references to Avery’s war service:

Roster of Revolutionary War soldiers from Pittsylvania Co., in alphabetical order:




Saludy Mustain Shelton: Daughter of Thomas & Mary

The following is from the History of Gallia, OH by W. Grody (A collection of family histories from Gallia County in 1980). Research on Saludy Mustain Shelton was posted at this link.

Claborn Shelton was the son of John Shelton, d. 1804 in Pittsylvania Co., VA.
Claborn married Saludy (Leudy) Mustain, daughter of Thomas & Mary Haley Mustain of Pittsylvania Co., VA on May 16, 1785.

Claborn served in the Indian Wars under General Wayne and was much impressed with the farming possibilities of the Wabash County. The government, unable to pay its soldiers in cash, offered land instead. So Claborn in 1811 headed for that county.

Thomas Mustain Children

Symmes Creek photo from Wikipedia, permission from Tim Kiser.

They loaded the bedding in a wagon and Saludy drove a cow hitched to the wagon. All but William, the youngest who rode with his mother, walked and carried packs. They followed buffalo and Indian trails and had traveled many miles when they came to what was to become Greenfield Township, Gallia Co., OH.

Saludy became too ill to go on. Chimney Rock on Symmes Creek furnished shelter. The Creek was full of fish and the woods full of game. In the Spring of 1812 Saludy died at the age of 40 (b in 1772). She is buried in a private cemetery on the opposite hillside.

Claborn built a cabin and stayed on until the children were grown.

  • Jesse married Peggy Blake in 1817.
  • Thomas married Polly Carter in 1825.
  • Claborn with Jesse and Thomas headed for the Wabash

    • Thomas received a land patent in Adams Township, Madison Co, Indiana
    • Jesse moved on into Shelby Co, IL.
    • Claborn died in Indiana in 1848.

Many of Claborn’s descendents remain in Gallia Co., OH.

Please note: while the history from Mr. Grody’s book lists names as “Saluda” and “Claiborn,” I find references to “Saludy” and “Claborn.” This is one reference. I’ve added tags with dual spelling for both names to this article to assist anyone who might be searching for ancestors.


Thomas Mustain Will 1791

Thomas Mustain Will

Thomas Mustain will was written on November 6, 1791 and entered into court on November 21, 1791. This photo for illustrative purposes only.

On November 6, 1791, Thomas Mustain, “being weak in body,” wrote his will:

  • To my beloved wife Mary Mustain, a sufficient maintenance suitable to her circumstance, as long as she remains a widow;

  • To my son Jesse, 200 acres to be taken off the upper end of the tract that I now live on: Beginning at the upper N corner and running down the N line  onto the S line, making his complement;

  • The balance of the tract of land I live on to be sold to the highest bidder giving 18 months credit;

  • To daughters, Rebecca and Molly, twenty shillings each;

  • To daughters Mary Ann and Sally, ten pounds each;

  • To son Avery Mustain and daughters Anna Buckner, Milly Keesee, Tabetha Bruce, Winney Lewis, and Saludy Shelton one equal part of the money from the sale of the land;

  • To Thomas Mustain, son of Jesse Mustain and his wife Jenny, has promised to live with me and my wife during our lives for which I give and bequeath unto the said Thomas Mustain a tract of land on both sides of Mayes Creek, 170 acres, and 1/3 of my moveable property;

  • The balance of my moveable property to be divided among my last six named children.

  • I appoint son, Jesse Mustain, and Joel Shelton executors.

Signed by Thomas Mustain (with his X).  Witnessed by Frances Irby, Nathaniel Farris, and Griffith Dickinson.  Vincent Shelton and Charles Lewis, Jr. gave security for the executors.  This will was entered into court on November 21, 1791.

Unfortunately, it was not long before Jesse died.  Family lore says he fell from his horse while intoxicated.  On June 1, 1795, Polly Mustain, widow of Jesse, mortgaged her dower of 66 2/3 acres to Samuel and David Pannill for thirty pounds. On August 21, 1797, Jesse’s son Thomas was made legal guardian to Jesse’s minor children.  Also in 1797, the whole plantation, including Polly’s dower, was sold to Benjamin Gosney and passed out of the Mustain family.

In 1817, Gosney sold the property to Richard Whitehead for $2,840.  When Whitehead bought roughly the other half of the Mustain tract in 1811, he had, in effect, the land to which Thomas Mustain was given patent by George II.  Around 1836, Richard Whitehead made structural changes to the house:  moving the south and north doors (front and back) on the 2nd floor, as well as adding a wall to make a center hallway corresponding to the new placement of doors.  Richard and his wife, Pency, were buried together near the house, but in 1934 they were removed to Chatham, VA

The details above are from a description of the property when it was for sale in 2002.

Here is the entry for Thomas Mustain will 1791 posted on ancestry.com. Each basic point is essentially the same, but language and spellings are different.

Last Will and Testament of THOMAS MUSTAIN weak in body.

Deed Book 9, pg. 119-120, written 6 November 1791, probated 16 July 1792

To my beloved wife Mary MUSTAIN, a sufficient maintenance suitable to her surcomstance, free and undesturbed during her life or widowhood.

To my son Jesse, 200 acres to be taken off the upper end of the tract where I now live.

The rest of this tract to be sold.

To daughter, Rebeckah and Molly, twenty shillings each from the sale of the above land.

To daughters Mary Ann and Sally, ten pounds each.

To son Avery MUSTAIN and daughters Anna BUCKNER, Milley KEESE, Tabeth BRUCE, Winney LEWIS and Siludey SHELTON one equal part of the money from the sale of the land.

To Thomas MUSTAIN, son of Jesse MUSTAIN and his wife Jenney, has promised to live with me and my wife during our lives for which I give and bequeath unto the said Thomas MUSTAIN a tract of land on both sides of Nixes(?) Creek, 170 acres.

The balance of my moveable property to be divided among my last six named children.

Appoint son Jesse MUSTAIN and Joel SHELTON executors.


Witnesses: Francis (X) IVY, Nathaniel FARIS, Griffith DICKINSON Vincent SHELTON and Charles LEWIS, Jr. security for executors


Thomas Mustain: First Records and Land Grant in VA

  • Name: Thomas Mustain
  • Birth: Est 1720 in Halifax, Lunenberg Co. Virginia
  • Death: 21 NOV 1791 in Pittsylvania Co. Virginia

The first record of Thomas Mustain is in 1748 on the list of Tithables. Thomas received his first land grant on Feb. 5, 1753 from King George II of England, signed by Robert Dinwiddle. It consisted of 400 acres in Luneburg co., on Poplar Branch of Mill Creek. Source: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=guystan&id=I6060

The blog header photo and following text are from the current county site at: http://pittgov.org/

The largest county in Virginia, Pittsylvania County consists of 982.89 square miles. Situated in the south-central Piedmont plateau region, the land is rolling to hilly with elevations averaging from 400 to 800 feet above sea level. The highest point in the county is Smith Mountain, which is 2,043 feet high.

The county borders North Carolina and is adjacent to the City of Danville. Chatham, the county seat, is 140 miles from Richmond, 68 miles from Roanoke, 50 miles from Lynchburg, and 96 miles from Raleigh, North Carolina.

The county was formed in 1767 from Halifax County and assumed its present boundaries in 1777. It was named for William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham, a British Statesman who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768.