Robert Ivey in the Revolution

Several people, including my late aunt Virginia Redfearn, joined the DAR on the strength of Robert Ivey Jr.’s supposed service in the Revolution.  In doing so, they committed a cardinal sin of genealogy – assuming that two people with the same name were the same person.   There is no evidence for their claim, other than the coincidence that someone with the same name served in South Carolina.

Did Robert Ivey Jr. serve in the Revolution?

No.  We have the benefit of the family Bible (which my aunt did not) that tells us Robert Ivey was born in 1769.  Thus we know that he was only 12 years old when Cornwallis surrendered and barely 14 when the Treaty of Paris officially ended the war.1   He was only six when the claimed Robert Ivey was serving in South Carolina from 1775 through 1778.   It’s also important to note that he never applied for land in the Georgia land lotteries as a Revolutionary veteran, which he would have been entitled to do if he had served.

There were at least four, perhaps five, Robert Iveys alive at the time of the Revolution.   Four of them are mentioned elsewhere on this website.  They include our Robert Ivey’s own father, his older cousin Robert Ivey of Halifax County, North Carolina, the Robert Ivey of Southampton County, Virginia and the Robert Ivey known to have lived in Beaufort District, South Carolina in the 1780s.   The Robert Ivey who received grants in Georgia beginning in 1786 is apparently a fifth.

A search of North Carolina Revolutionary War records uncovered no service records for anyone named Robert Ivey.2   Nor do the North Carolina revolutionary accounts contain any payments of script or warrants to any soldier of that name.

The only Revolutionary service records for anyone named Robert Ivey are in South Carolina.  A Robert Ivey, apparently from Beaufort County, served in the 2nd Regiment of South Carolina Infantry from 8 July 1775 thorough 8 July 1778 (when our man was barely six years old).3   A Robert Ivy, perhaps the Robert Ivey of Lancaster District, served 31 days in 1782 as a lieutenant in Francis Marion’s militia (when our man was thirteen).4

Robert Ivey’s father qualifies as a Patriot

The D.A.R. will, however, accept Robert Ivey’s father as a patriot.

North Carolina’s revolutionary army accounts include mention a payment by the Committee of Safety in Dobbs County in 1776 to Robert Ivey “for hire of a man and horse”.5    This was clearly his father, who was then living in Dobbs.  Robert Ivey Sr. is mentioned in two other accounts, though neither is proof of service. 6

  1. We can debate when the war ended, but North Carolina’s recruitment of soldiers effectively ended by mid 1782 when the British withdrew their troops from the South following the House of Commons vote to end the war.  The war was over as far as North Carolina was concerned by early 1783.  North Carolina did not permit militia service, in theory at least, for youths under the age of 16, which Robert Ivey did not reach until 1785 more than a year after the formal end of the war. []
  2. State Records of North Carolina (mainly Vol. 17), Compiled Records of Soldiers,  Index to Revolutionary War Service Records,  Roster of Soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution, Pierce’s Register  and similar publications list no Robert Ivey from North Carolina. []
  3. Documentary History of the American Revolution, Gibbes, Volume 2, p97.  Also in the reference footnoted below. []
  4. Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution, Bobby Gilmer Moss []
  5. NC revolutionary Army Accounts, Book B, #5322.  The same payment is also mentioned in two other locations among the Accounts. []
  6. North Carolina Revolutionary Army Accounts, E-G: 6 and B:18.  These are records of the use of script certificates issued by the state during the war in lieu of money  Neither record indicates service.  Both apply to Robert Ivey’s father, not to the son. []