Lt. Albrittain Drake was born in 1755 on Tumbling Run Creek near what is now Castalia, NC in present-day Nash County. His parents were James Drake, Sr (1726-1791) and Sophia Valentine (1735-1766). Albrittain Drake married Ruth Collins (1765-1847).  They moved to Robeson County after the war in 1787 and to Muhlenburg County, Kentucky in 1807. Descendants of his siblings still live in Nash County today.

Excerpts from the Revolutionary War Pension of Albrittain Drake W8676 

[NOTE: transcription includes original punctuation and spelling. Transcriber notes are in brackets. My notes are in brackets italics. Excerpts are preceded and concluded by ellipses.]

…1st Where & in what year were you born?
I was born in Edgecombe County North Carolina in the year 1760. [NOTE: In the an area of Edgecombe that became Nash County in 1777]
2nd Have you any record of your age and if so where is it?
I have none nor never had I have kept my age by that of my wife as she was born & raised near my father’s & there is only five years difference in our ages.
3rd Where were you living when called into service where have you lived since the Revolutionary war & where do you now live?
I was living in Nash County North Carolina when I entered the service I then removed to Robertson County North Carolina and from there I removed to Muhlenberg County Kentucky where I now reside
4th how were you called into service were you drafted were you volunteer, or were you a substitute
I was always a volunteer?
5th State the names of the regular officers or some of them who were with the troops where you served such Continental and militia regiments as you can recollect.
The length of time is such that I can’t recollect any other officers than those already named except General Davy & Captain Hogg…


…Shortly after I returned home say April 1778 the Governor of North Carolina called out the light horse troops of Nash County to guard him to Fayetteville the then seat of government. The Captain was Avent myself Lieutenant. The Governor ordered Maj. Griffen (who commanded our troops then) to march to the red field ford in order to surprise the Tories commanded by Colonel Fanning & who was doing much mischief at that time but failing in our enterprise we were placed under the command of Colonel Maybin [Mebane?] by General Griffen who marched us all through the Country in search of Fanning. We went to Hillsboro & from there to a mountain which we surrounded & took one of Fanning’s men & hung him the name of the mountain not recollected. We were then marched home the last of July or first of August 1778. The company to which I was attached being the light horse of the County we were not discharged, but were kept up as Rangers being a volunteer Company in the service of the State. I was in no general engagement — Had a skirmish with Captain Beard & his Tories. This deponent and his Father were taken prisoners but were shortly released by the Company of Captain Trouten and Captain Beard was taken prisoner & hung. He is not certain as to the length of time that this service continued but he will say that he was not discharged until sometime in the fall of the year 1782 and was not at liberty to engage in any civil pursuit during the time. He removed from Nash County in North Carolina to Robertson County [sic, Robeson County] in the same State in the year 1787….

[fn p. 25]
Nash County: Mr. Albrittain Drake one of the Light horse for said County is hereby Discharged of a Tower of Duty Given under my hand the 13 December 1880
S/ Thomas Hunter, Capt.

[fn p. 28]
To Brittan Drake

to Execute

      Nash County: you are hereby to impress two good horses two saddles and bridles and two good guns all the swords and cause them to be delivered to one of the Commanding Officers at Nash Court house on Thursday 30th instant. Given under my hand and seal August 26, 1781
S/ Thos. Hunter, JP
S/ Hardy Griffin, JP

[fn p. 53]

State of Kentucky Logan County
I Grigsly Rush a citizen of Logan County in the State of Kentucky being called on do hereby certify that I have for a number of years been well acquainted with old Mr. Albrittain Drake of Muhlenberg County in the State aforesaid and old Captain Nathan Corn of Simpson County and state aforesaid. And a camp meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Church held at Kennerly’s Cappel [sic, Chapel?] in the said County of Logan some twelve or fifteen years past the precise time not now recollected the above named old Gentlemen were there attending said meeting. Drake during the interval sang a song. Sworn when he was done singing inquired of the bystanders for his name and being informed that he was Albritton Drake walked off with him some thirty steps from where I was standing and sat down on a log together. And after setting some time together and conversing embraced each other and seemed to [indecipherable word] freely since that time frequently in conversation both with Horn and Drake separately and a part. They have both stated to me that after taking their seat on the log that Horn asked Drake if he knew him he answered no. Horn then asked him if he knew who was trumpeter and fifer of the horse company of some certain Regiment in the revolutionary war (the Regiment I do not now recollect). Drake answered that he was one and Nathan Horn the other but surely this was not Nathan Horn. Horn replied yes the same Nathan Horn after which they embraced each other as above stated I have also heard them state other circumstance at different times. During their said service in the horse company the went once to try to catch an outlier the morning being wet in charging a fence Horn got thrown on a log pile which had been set on fire and gone out and having on a white hunting shirt got very much smutted when they got to the house the man’s wife abused Horn very much and made many grave remarks about his hunting shirt about which said Drake frequently plagued & laughed at him during their Service aforesaid in the Army these all the most remarkable circumstances which I now recollect to have heard them state in regard to their revolutionary Struggles. I believe them both to be reparable man on whose statement with the utmost confidence may be reposed.
Given under my hand this 17th day of June 1834
S/ Grigsby Rush

NOTE: Transcribed by Will Graves 3/12/10 as part of the Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements and Rosters volunteer transcription efforts ( This resource is a treasure and has yielded so many valuable pieces of information and amazing stories…a huge thank you to those who take on this task for all of us to benefit from.

2 thoughts on “Albrittain Drake: Revolutionary War Pension Extract”

  1. Hi
    What is your source for Tumbling Run as location. I am sure the area is correct, but have never seen Tumbling Run used. Fathers home was on Swift Creek.

    1. Hi! Good question! You are correct that James Drake, Sr, father of Albrittain, and his descendants’ land was on Swift Creek. Sources are family lore backed up with deed records. I grew up on the story of men hiding in the chimney and Mrs. Nash getting Captain Beard’s soldiers drunk in the house my aunt and uncle live in near Tumbling Run Farms on Red Bud Road near Castalia. That house was known as the Betsy Drake house in the 1970s and was actually built to replace the original James Drake house where the fight took place and was later moved to its current location across the road, where it is today (Source: By Faith and Heritage Are We Joined: A Compilation of Nash County Historical Records. 1976. p.333). When I was little, my grandfather took me back on Tumbling Run Creek to see where one of the old Drake grist mills used to be.
      In the 1700s, Sandy Creek was called Swift Creek for a distance much further west than today, and Tumbling Run in the earliest deeds ran into Swift Creek. Drake’s Bridge is over Sandy Creek on Taylor’s Store Rd, but in 1790, it was called Swift Creek. James Drake’s land was north and south of Tumbling Run and Swift Creek (now Sandy Creek). In 1747, Benjamin and Sarah Bridger sold to John Phillip Shelley 100 acres “on the south side of Swift Creek adj. Tumbling Run and the creek.” In his last will and testament (August Court, 1749), John Phillip Shelley left his son Daniel Shelley “land on Swift Creek at the mouth of Tumbling Run…” In 1750, Benjamin Bridger sold 200 acres on the north side of Swift Creek to James Drake. In 1770, Daniel Shelley sold to “James Drake of Edgecombe County, NC, for £46 13s Virginia money a tract of 100 acres on the south bank of Swift Creek, it being part of a tract formerly patented by Benjamin Bridgers, conveyed from him to John Philip Shelley by deed bearing date Nov 11, 1747, and from John Philip Helley to said Daniel Shelley by his last will and testament. Wit:Thos. Mann, William Hill, Wm. Bridgers. DB D, p. 324.” This seems to have formed the core of the James Drake lands and over time he bought additional land from his neighbors. James Drake, Albrittain’s father, married Sophia Valentine in 1752 and Albrittain was born around 1760.
      Mapping out this and other land transactions shows James Drake and his neighbors, especially the ones he continues to buy land off of and then leave to his children in his will, following along Tumbling Run and where it meets Swift Creek during the Revolutionary War and early antebellum period. In 1779, Gov. Caswell granted to JAMES DRAKE “218 acres on the south side of Swift Creek, adjoining WILLIAM BRIDGERS, SION WEST, JOHN BASS, WILLIAM BATTLE, THOMAS MANN and his own
      line” – those tracts would mean that Drake’s new acreage was bounded on the west by Tumbling Run and the north by Swift Creek, which is where his existing property already was. He latter bought land from Bridgers and Battle along the creek and passed it down in his will. As late as 1831, a David Sill deeds to Ruffin Griffin a tract of “159 acres on Tumbling Run Creek, called Malichi Underwood’s place, adj. lands of John J. Drake Sr. and Hardy Weldon.”
      There is a really cool map in Rocky Mount’s Braswell Library Kornegay Room that was made by a man named Robert Screws in 2012. He mapped land parcel ownership of Nash County as of 1790. It has been of immense value to me to see these tracts laid out along the creeks when I am trying to trace the deeds forwards and backwards in time, especially since the names of landmarks have changed over time.

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