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John Pinckley

1760 - 1830?


     John Pinckley, Sr., born in 1760 in Ireland, was too young to enlist in the army at the outbreak of the war of Revolution in 1775, but went into service as a hired soldier for the first year in place of a man who did not want to do actual fighting. At the end of that year, when he had reached 16, he enlisted under his own name and fought till the end of the revolution. After the end of the war, Pinckley pushed on into Kentucky. In 1819, finding South Central Kentucky becoming too thickly populated, he moved on into the wilderness country of Carroll County in West Tennessee where he lived until his death in 1829. A daughter, Jane, having ill health in that flat wilderness country on the edge of the Mississippi, had come back to Southern Kentucky. In 1838 she and James (Big Jim) Crawford (1808-1888) were married. They had 11 children, only two of whom lived to maturity. One of these, Samuel Scott Crawfort ( 1848-1917) became the father of Bertie Oscas Crawford (1868-1957). John Pinckley told his children of the origin of a huge saber cut across the lift side of his head from a point over the left eye to the crown. During the Revolutionary War, he had been captured by a band of eight Tories. His captors stopped at a cabin in the clearing, where they found only a woman present. They ordered the woman to prepare a meal. In the meantime, the Tories had placed Pinckley on a stool in the center of the room, his hands tied behind him. The saber cut had pealed his skin off his skull to a certain extent and that part of his scalp had dropped over his left ear. The women went to the spring in front of the cabin for water. When she returned, she left the gate to the front year open. The meat supply had been hung from the rafters in the one- room cabin and after the woman sharpened her butcher knife on a crock, she mounted a stool and cut down some of the meat for the meal she was preparing. In doing so, she dropped the hunk of meat to the floor behind the captive. As she stopped to pick up this meat, she clipped the throng which held his wrists. He felt his hands loosen. However, he did not make a move toward freedom until seven of the Tories sat down to eat. Then, catching the sentinel off guard, he sprang to his feet, ran over the guard, and dashed through the open gate into the woods. The Tories, mounting their horses, gave pursuit. Pinckley took to a stream to conceal his tracts and found an uprooted tree in the edge of the water behind which he could dive and come up underneath into a little concealed pocket of air. He remained there until his pursuers gave u p the chase. Several times he had heard the horses jump over the tree which lay along the bank. It was three days before Pinckley found his old command,  during which time his scalp had received no medical treatment. Then it was bound up and he continued in active service without further loss of time. He never knew what happened to the woman patriot who helped in his escape. In later years, after he had become slick bald, he would amuse children during a rain by standing under the eave of the house and letting the water from the roof pour into this deep scar and run off in a little stream.

Author Unknown



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