Benjamin Herndon

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Benjamin Herndon

Also Known As: "Benjamine"
Birthdate: (70)
Birthplace: Drysdale Parish, Caroline County, Virginia
Death: December 30, 1819 (70)
Whitmore, Newberry County, South Carolina, USA
Place of Burial: Newberry, South Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Herndon and Mary Gordon, widow Herndon
Husband of Sarah Herndon and Patience Glen Herndon
Father of Benjamin Herndon, II; Rebecca Ellis Herndon; Zachariah Pines Herndon; Mary Boswell Lewis; Joseph Herndon and 10 others
Brother of Stephen Herndon; Philadelphia Fox; Joseph Herndon; Sarah Gordon and Mary Ann Herndon
Half brother of Pvt. Chapman Gordon

Managed by: Katherine Thomas
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Herndon

A Patriot of the American Revolution for NORTH CAROLINA with the rank of MAJOR. DAR Ancestor #: A054139.


Benjamin Herndon was one of six children born to Joseph and Mary (nee Boswell) Herndon, in Drysdale Parish, Caroline County, Virginia, near Fredericksburg. In 1757, when Benjamin was 8 years old, his father died and, according to court records of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, Charles Gordon was appointed guardian of the deceased Joseph Herndon's children, which included: Joseph, Stephen, Philadelphia, Benjamin, Mary Ann and Sarah. Later, Benjamin's mother married Charles Gordon. The family then lived in Berkley Parish, Spotsylvania County, Virginia, on land left to Benjamin Herndon by his father's will. This land was later purchased from Benjamin by his step-father, Charles Gordon.

On February 23, 1769 Benjamin Herndon took as his bride, Sarah Pines who was then 17 years old, Benjamin being 20 years of age. No record has been found as to where Sarah Pines was born or who her parents were. There were Pines families in King William, Orange, and Culpeper Counties, Virginia at this time and earlier, so it is probable that Sarah Pines is descended from one of these families, but no connection has been made yet.

The first few years after their marriage, Benjamin and Sarah lived in Culpeper County, Virginia. They were listed as residents of that county, when in 1773 they deeded 507 acres of land in Spotsylvania County, Virginia to Charles Gordon. Here also, their first three children were born: Mary Boswell, Joseph and Stephen.

About 1775, Benjamin and his family moved to North Carolina and settled in Wilkes County, Morgan District. They resided here, on a plantation called "Horseshoe", for about 15 years. This plantation was on the Yadkin River, near the present town of Ronda and was almost directly across the river from "Roundabout", the plantation of Col. Benjamin Cleveland.

Benjamin Herndon was a member of the Wilkes County Militia, under the command of Col. Benjamin Cleveland, during the Revolutionary War, fighting on freedom's side. He held the ranks of Captain, Major and finally Lieutenant Colonel. In the Battle of Kings Mountain, Lt. Col. Herndon commanded a company of 60 men and fought so bravely that he was awarded a pair of silver spurs for his action. At one time he was captured by "Bloody Bill" Cunningham and was about to be executed when he was rescued by a group of his own men. It is said that Lt. Col. Herndon was held in the highest esteem by the men he commanded and more than once he spoke in behalf of an accused man and saved him from lashings or worse. He was twice a member of the North Carolina state senate, seated November 20, 1786 and also twice a member of the House of Commons, seated April 23, 1783. He was also one of the first Justices of Wilkes County, and Entry Taker of that county.

He received a number of land grants for his Revolutionary service. Some of these grants were in North Carolina, some in Tennessee, and some in South Carolina. The grants in North Carolina were all in Wilkes County and were for 250, 300 and 320 acres. In 1788 in Middle District, Tennessee he received a 4,000 acre grant, and in 1793, 840 acres in Davidson County, Tennessee. In South Carolina he received a grant of 1,000 acres in Ninety-Six District, Newberry County.

By 1790 the Herndon family was quite large and they were preparing for the marriage of the oldest child, Mary Boswell Herndon to James Martin Lewis of Surry County, N.C. There were at "Horseshoe" at this time, nine children. The three who had been born in Virginia and six more who had been born at "Horseshoe"; these were: Frances, Elizabeth, Benjamin Jr., Sarah Pines, Barbara Asbury and Nancy Coke. At the time of the 1790 census in North Carolina, Benjamin Herndon owned 22 slaves.

Shortly after 1790 the Herndon family left Wilkes County, N.C. and travelled to the banks of the Enoree River in South Carolina to their 1,000 acres in Ninety-Six District, Newberry County. There Benjamin Herndon built "Mollihon", the home pictured in the front of this book. This home was built with slave labor and is still standing (1957) and being lived in by tenant farmers. It is owned by Marvin Abrams of Whitmire, S.C., a member of the state senate of South Carolina.

The two-story house was built of cypress and oak, peg construction, of course. It had a cellar of stone with a stairway from inside the house. The walls of this cellar are almost completely caved in now and the stairway is boarded shut. The chimneys were constructed of brick made at the site by the slaves. These, too, had crumbled from the weight of the years but have been repaired and rebuilt. However, some of the handmade brick of the original chimneys are still in place. The house has 4 rooms on both floors, 3 across the front and one in back, with ceilings about 16 feet high. A not too wide, straight staircase rises from the center room to the second floor and an easily accessible stairway goes to the garret. Each room, with the exception of the center front room on both floors, has a fireplace. The old kitchen was, of course, separated from the main house but was connected to it by a covered walkway. Neither of these are to be seen today, nor are any of the other out buildings, slave quarters, etc.

Here, in these rooms, on these paths, beneath these trees strode the Colonel and his lady, their children and their friends. Here many times, visited the Methodist Bishop, Francis Asbury, who wrote in his Journal on Nov. 14, 1809 that he "lodged with Colonel Herndon. O how kind!". Here also, on Colonel Herndon's land was the first church, the first school and the first grist mill in the area (8).

Here were born two more Herndon children: Rebecca Ellis and Zachariah Pines.

This then was "Mollihon".

In September 1798 Benjamin Herndon's wife, Sarah (nee Pines) Herndon died. She was laid to rest in the peaceful family burial ground, a short distance from the house. Her tombstone still stands (1957) and the barely visible inscription reads:

SARAH HERNDON 1st Consort of Col. B. Herndon She died Sept. 1798 In the 46th year of her age A wife and a mother She was diligent in the discharge of her duties imposed by these relations The child of affliction She bowed with submission to the rod And closed a well spent life confident of reaping it's reward

After the death of Sarah Pines Herndon, Benjamin Herndon needed a woman's hand with his small motherless children, and someone to share his remaining years. In 1799 he married Mrs. Patience (nee Terry) Glenn, a widow. She bore him 4 children: Washington Boswell, Marinda Patsy Harriet, John Newton and Lucy Boswell.

Benjamin Herndon died at his beloved "Mollihon", December 30, 1819 at the age of 70 years and 20 days. He was laid to rest in the family burial ground beside his first wife, shortly to be joined by his second wife in 1823 and in 1829 his youngest daughter, Lucy Boswell Herndon. Their weather-beaten tombstones are still to be seen (1957) at "Mollihon".

Source: The Herndon and Connor Families, Kith and Kin, available on Family Tree Maker Genealogy Library)

1771-1774 Spotsylvania County, Virginia Deed Book H; {William Armstrong Crozier}:

Septr. 16, 1773. Benjamin Herndon of Culpeper Co. and Sarah, his wife, to Charles Gordon of Spts. Co. 200 curr. 507 a. in Spts. Co., devised the sd. Benjamin by the last will and testament of his father Joseph Herndon, Decd. John Sanders, Peter Stubblefield, Joseph Gale.

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Benjamin Herndon's Timeline

December 10, 1749
Drysdale Parish, Caroline County, Virginia
Age 19
Wilkes, NC, USA
Age 19
Newberry, SC, USA
Age 19
Newberry, SC, USA
Age 20
December 6, 1771
Age 21
Culpeper, VA, USA
September 19, 1773
Age 23
Culpeper, VA, USA
December 2, 1776
Age 26
Wilkes, NC, USA
Age 29