family history, Freeman

William Freeman

Today’s post is dedicated to my 6th great grandfather, William Freeman.


William Freeman was born in Bertie County, North Carolina on 26 October 1759. He was the youngest son of William Freeman (b. 1716-1802) and Sarah Williams. He had five older siblings: Josias b. 1738; Kitty Catherine b. 1740; Polly Mary b. 1745; Penelope b. 1747; and Tyre McIntyre b. 1749.

At this time, I know very little about William’s early life. However, there are quite a few records for his time during the war.

At the outbreak of the war, William enlisted in the North Carolina Militia from Bertie County. He served at various times throughout 1776, 1778, and 1781, as it was common for soldiers to enlist for a few months as needed before returning to their farms.

He served as a Private in Francis Child’s Company in 1778 for 9 months. Additionally, he served in Colonel Abraham Shepherd’s Regiment, 10th Regiment of North Carolina. This regiment did not see any action and was disbanded 1 June 1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. William returned to service in 1781 under the command of General Nathanael Greene, where he took part at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse against Cornwallis, a turning point in the American Revolution.


William also claimed to have served as a scout for George Washington, but I have yet to find any proof of this. William did however live near The Great Dismal Swamp, a region that Washington showed great interest in, so perhaps it is true. The search for verification continues.

In September of 1778, William married Prisilla Hunt. They had three children: Micajah b. 1779; Penelope b. 1781; and Jesse b. 1785. Shortly after Jesse’s birth, Prisilla passed away.

In 1786, Freeman married Mary Bryan and moved to Burke County, North Carolina. With Mary, he had nine more children: Reddick b. 1794; John b. 1795; Larry b. 1798; Lemuel b. 1801; Elizabeth and James b. 1803; Nancy b. 1805; Frances b. 1809; and Rachel b. 1813. The family moved further west and in September of 1832, William applied for a war pension in Maury County, Tennessee.

In 1834, at 75, William Freeman, Mary and 5 of their 10 living children: John, Lemuel, Nancy, Grandson Wiliam (son of Reddick), moved to Greene County, Missouri. William settled on 160 acres where Cherry and Glenstone streets meet today in Springfield, Missouri.

William Freeman died on 27 January 1838 and was buried on his farm. In 1912, his remains were moved to Springfield National Cemetery. It is presumed that his wife and other family members are still buried on the site of the family farm in unmarked graves.

The following was taken from William’s record on Sheriff Walter E. Freeman, a descendant of William Freeman was encouraged by the RACHEL DONELSON CHAPTER of DAR to locate his grave. He enlisted the help of William’s grandson, Lemuel B. Austin, then 76, who walked directly to a large elm tree at the southwest corner of Glenstone and Cherry. “Right here,” he stated, “but dig cross ways for I might be off a little.” The walnut casket was located and the remains were moved to the National Cemetery on June 22, 1912. His grave is just north of the monument dedicated to the soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War.

William Freeman

For more information regarding the Revolutionary War and battles mentioned above:

The Great Dismal Swamp


 Bertie County Regiment of Militia

Captain Francis Child

Roster of the 10th Regiment-Col. Abraham Shepard

10th North Carolina Regiment

Guilford Courthouse

Writing this post made me reminiscent of the days I would crawl into my grandpa’s lap (a retired history teacher) and listen as he told me of Revolutionary War battles and heroes. To know that we had a patriot who walked among those places and heroes makes me proud. And it has my fingers itching to tell another story.

8 thoughts on “William Freeman”

  1. I too descend from William Freeman, through his son Jessee. My line is fairly easy to follow from Jesses will and Jesses son Reuben s will . Have you seen Micajahs letters . They have a lot of info.

    1. Hi there! I stumbled upon Micajah’s letters while researching the Freeman line and was absolutely fascinated by them. The lengths he would have traveled to see family, the description of his father’s cancer, and his opinion of Missouri made me chuckle. The pure strength they had as pioneers in the early days of our country makes me so proud to call myself an American. It’s so wonderful to meet a fellow descendant!

  2. I also descend from William Freeman he is my 8th Great Grandfather. My great grandfather was Claude Weaver Freeman. So you and I are also related. I’m am just digging into my genealogy as I have been on a hunt since my dad was adopted and on his birth cert it showed Roy Freeman Claude’s son. So my search has led me to our Great Grandfather 🙂 What an amazing story William had I would love to hear more stories 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment, cousin! I apologize it took me so long to respond. I’m slowly returning to my blogging habits after being away so long. That’s fantastic that you were able to trace your line! The Freemans are a family that absolutely fascinates me. I plan to share more stories in the future. 🙂

  3. I too am descended from William Freeman through Micajah. I spoke to a distant Freeman cousin last year and he told me there were two William Freemans born a year apart. They were cousins. One was married to Pricilla Hunt and one to Mary Bryan. Now I’m more confused than ever. I’m curious as to where you found William’s siblings and father.

    1. Oh, how interesting! I haven’t heard of a second William Freeman, but I’ll do a little more research into that possibility. I found much of my research in the genealogical compilation: John Freeman of Norfolk County, Virginia, as well as letters that Micajah Freeman wrote to relatives in regards to his visit to his father’s in Missouri. However, my information may be incorrect. Thanks for sharing! I’ll share any new information I may find!

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