The Revolutionary War Period|
Chapter 6, Page 51
The Overstreet line enters
the Hall family with the
marriage of John Overstreet's
daughters to Hezekiah Hall's sons.
*signature from Hezekiah Hall's will (1800), John Overstreet witnesses the document
….."No d----d traitor can march in a parade with me
1760 - 1848
Teen-Ager in the Revolution
The time: somewhere in the early 1840's. The place: Athens, Illinois. The event: a Fourth of July Barbeque. The speaker: John Overstreet - an honored patriot who had been in Washington's Army.
The account of the incident reads as follows: "At a barbeque at Athens, Illinois John Overstreet found a Tory in the ranks, and during the parade, dragged him out of line and administered a sound thrashing to him, remarking, " No d----d traitor can march in a parade with me."
If this story is true, John Overstreet was then an old man - by the time's standards - but rugged and full of fight as ever. Chances are good that he did recognize a local resident, who he had known back in Virginia during Revolutionary times. Those were days of passion and memories remained vivid.
Our teen-ager of the Revolution was born 16 Jan 1760. This would make him sixteen years of age in 1776. An old account says that he enlisted at the age of 15. Since he had not reached his sixteenth birthdate at the time of enlistment, this is true.
A typical account of his life written by an admiring descendant say: "he enlisted in the Continental Army at the age of 15 years and served his country for a period of six years, having taken part in the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth and served under 'Mad' Anthony Wayne at Stony Point. His service ended at Yorktown."
Another record indicates that he participated in the capture of Trenton. There is no doubt that 'he endured the great hardships at Valley Forge!'
On 16 June 1818 John Overstreet appeared before the Court of Common Pleas, Lawrence County, State of Ohio for the purpose of obtaining the benefits of a law of the United States entitled "An Act to provide for certain persons ingaged in the Land and Naval Services of the United States in the Revolutionary War."
On several occasions the writer has used all or portions of this paper in speaking before various SAR groups in Springfield and Decatur, Illinois.
Here is what John declared under oath: "That he entered the service of the United States as a private soldier sometime in September A.D. 1775, for one year service as an enlisted Soldier in Captain William Campbells company, in the first Virginia Regiment then commanded by Col. Lewis and Lt. Col. Christy, and, that he continued until the 22nd day of September A.D. 1776, at which time he was discharged at Williamsburg in Virginia, as will appeare by his discharge herewith presented -
"That on or about the first of January 1777 he again enlisted as a private soldier for the term of three years in Captain George Lamberts Company, Col. William Davis, regiment, fourteenth Virginia regiment and believes then known by the name of the 'first and fourteenth Virginia Regiment,' and that he continued to discharge his duty, faithfully as a private soldier up to the first day of January, 1780, at which time he was honorably discharged at Philadelphia, he being then detached from said Regiment under his other Captain Nathan Reed, his former Captain (George Lambert) having been previously cashiered for unofficerlike conduct - That his discharge was signed by the said Captain Nathan Reed, and Colonel Webb - and the said John Overstreet further saith, that during the time of service he was in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, + the Regiment being then and there commanded by said Col. Lewis and the said Lambert his captain. That he was at the 'storming of the fort at Stony Point under General Wayne, the company being there commanded by said Lambert. The he was also in the battle of Monmouth, where the same Col. Davis commanded the Regiment and the same Lambert commanded the company. That after receiving his discharge (which discharge he has lost) he volunteered to serve at the Siege of York, at which Siege he remained before enemies lines until the Surrender of Cornwallis. And the said John Overstreet further saith that from his age, and reduced circumstance he absolutely needs the assistance of his country for his support."
In looking over John Overstreet's original application it can be seen that he did indeed have a formidable military record. He was not at Trenton as that battle was fought on Christmas Day, 1776. He was at Valley Forge for that terrible winter.
The Continental Line of which Virginia furnished fifteen regiments during the Revolution was the nearest that the colonists had as regular troops. Virginia, alone of the other colonies furnishing Continental soldiers demanded three-year enlistments. They were the main and central body of Washington's army - the most trusted troops, commanded by those officers Washington considered most experienced in the field and were directly under his leadership.
'Almost to be considered Washington's personal troops were the First Regiment of Virginia Continental Infantry, the regiment of Delaware Continental Infantry, the 3rd Regiment of Virginia Continental Infantry, and the First Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment.'
As for the youth of John Overstreet. A study was made of the average age of the soldiers in the army Washington led in 1776 and the figure was 19 years. Like all statistics it tells only part of the story. To get an average of 19 years, there had to be hundreds who were no more than fourteen, fifteen and sixteen!
Needless to say, John Overstreet got his pension. It began on June 9, 1819 and was dated back to June 6, 1818. His annual allowance was $96.00 and during his lifetime he collected about $3,000. He was 58 years old when it was granted and he lived to be 88. His wife never received one as she passed away twelve years before his own death.
Eight dollars in cash every month was really quite a sum during the period he received it. Most farmers never had that much cash income; nor did many of those dwelling in the villages and cities, as a consequence, in later years, he was never a farm owner or had a regular occupation living in a village or on a farm with his son, Dabney.
In addition to the pension, he received a land grant in Kentucky from Virginia for 100 acres of land (29 Apr 1785; Warrant # 3890) and possibly another such grant from the Federal government to land in Ohio. In both cases, he like many other veterans, sold the land. A private soldier's grant was always 100 acres. John probably never saw his Kentucky land and the Ohio grant may have been a factor in the family's leaving Virginia for Ohio.
John had land. According to the Will of Thomas Overstreet, his father, made in 1791 and proved in 1792, John was living on a 200 acre tract of land that was to be his inheritance. However, this Bedford county land may never have come into his possession as it was tied to the life of his mother, Agness, with the provision that it was hers if she never re-married. Since there were ten children in the family and other complicating factors, the provision in the Will may have become meaningless.
What else do we know about John Overstreet? Surprisingly quite a lot ---
Not to long after his war experiences John became a married man. On November 3, 1785 he married Nancy Dabney of Bedford county. The consent to the marriage was given by her father, Cornelius Dabney, and the Surety was her brother, George. John was 25 years of age and Nancy 29. They were older that most couples of their time at marriage. It was Nancy's second marriage!
About this marriage there had been confusion. Questions were raised, who her first husband? Did they have children, etc.
Nancy Dabney was first married to Thomas Lane. In 1783 with the consent of her father and with James Hunt as Security, William Johnson performed the ceremony. That was all that was known.
Just by chance the author discovered some information about Lane. Lane was a Quaker converted to the Baptist faith. He had lived in New York, Virginia and North Carolina. Later, he was in Wayne county, Kentucky and there is trace of him in Hancock county, Illinois in the early 1800s. He was likely an iternant Baptist preacher and his Illinois association was with the Elderville Baptist church in Wythe Township. (He was possibly at Marion, Ill., at an earlier date.) There were Virginia migrants in the area and he was near his own life's end during the Illinois years.
It is not known if he deserted Nancy or they separated by mutual agreement. The author is inclined to believe that he deserted Nancy and may have been the father of the child known as John Overstreet, Jr. (see chapter on him).++
Nancy may have refused to go West with Lane, or, as was common on the frontier, a pro-longed absence of the male with no communications, an assumption was made that he was dead by natural or other causes. Lane may have returned to discover Nancy re-married or heard of it through other migrants and decided not to return. A similar incident befell Nancy's son, John Jr.
(This scenario for Nancy's first marriage is disputed by a Lane descendant who forms a theory of a co-incidental occurrence of perhaps two Cornelius Dabney's and of two Nancy Dabney's and of two Thomas Lane's all in Bedford county, Virginia at the time!
Was John, Jr. a child of Thomas Lane? If so, he was always known as John Overstreet. For the purpose of our family history it makes no difference. What matters is that John Overstreet Sr., did marry Nancy Dabney and in so doing, he remained in character - a man who might help a lady out of a bad situation. The Overstreet - Dabney marriage produced four children: John, Jane, Nancy and Dabney. Of great importance to the Grandfathers story is the fact that Jane and Nancy Overstreet married the brothers, Abner and Elisha, sons of Hezekiah Hall. It is from these marriages that the Hall - Overstreet family line descends.
The union of the Overstreets into the Hall family added a new blood line - the Scotch-Irish. Actually, they were English who had lived in Ireland and Scotland, but in the American folklore the expression Scotch-Irish developed (with some historical logic) and the name applied to settlers in Western Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas.
These Englishmen - possibly of earlier German extraction - had been forcibly moved by the English to the three northern counties of Ireland in the development of Protestant Ireland and quickly learned from the Irish how to make and defend stills. When they fell out with the British government (over liquor taxes), great numbers of them migrated to American, settling in western Pennsylvania and other Appalachian areas. Some came by route from Scotland.
The Scotch-Irish frontiersmen would hardly be called a low level people. In fact, they were Washington's favorite troops - such as the First Regiment of Foot of the Continental Army. Quite frankly, the hated the English government!
The Overstreets were intense in their participation in the American Revolution, as exemplified by our Ancestor, John. We find them fighting alongside the Halls in the Indian Wars. They were numbers of them in Bedford county and it is presumed they were related. The name is prominent today in Bedford county.
There is a large list of Overstreets and Dabneys that participated in the Revolution. Nancy had two brothers and John one brother that were soldiers. In addition, John's father as well as Nancy's furnished food and supplies to the forces. These participants will be discussed in the chapter: The Halls-Overstreets and Their Kin in the Revolution.
Descendants of the Hall-Overstreet line looking for distinguished ancestors may well find it in the Dabney family. The clue for this statement comes from the Revolutionary War pension application made by George Dabney, Nancy's brother, in 1833. He indicated that until 1772 the family had lived in Hanover county. He also pointed out a relationship of the group to the Shrewsbury family. These facts added to a series of land transactions leading to their ownership of Bedford county land, indicates that they may be considered a FFV - a First Family of Virginia.
With a reasonable degree of certainty it can be established that Nancy's father, Cornelius, c. 1740-1792, was a direct descendant of a Cornelius Dabney, 1630-1694, who was in Virginia in 1649. He came an immigrant from England, learned the Indian tongues and was known as 'the Interpreter.' In 1664 he obtained a great deal of land in York county. In time, members of the family moved westward in Virginia until they reached Bedford county.
Nancy's father was of the fourth generation in Virginia and had in his background distinguished forebeareres, who had fought in the Indians Wars and other of his generation that were prominent in the American Revolution. The Dabney family story is a complicated one, but is star-studded in Virginia history. This history extends down through the years through the Civil War into the present day, where in Virginia the name is still very important. The family inter-locks with many other families prominent in the state's history. It is a family story that is complicated by the attempt to link it with a historic past in England and with the formation of the famous Manakin-Hugenot colony in early Virginia.
Rather than to recount it here, the reader is invited to consult the file on the family in the Illinois State Historical Library containing the author's notes, and to read the section on the Dabney name at the end of this chapter.
Life After the War
The immediate post-war years of John Overstreet were spent in Bedford county. He lived on 200 acres of land that were to be his after the death of his father. His family arrived over the period 1785 - 1795, two boys and two girls, not large by the standards of the time. +*+ John along with his brother Thomas, witnessed the Will of their father 17 December 1791 and 25 February the next year, Thomas Overstreet (Sr.) was dead.
From the Will we learn his mother's name was Agness and that there was another brother, William. There were three sisters, all married at the time of the Will: Ann Hail, Mary Witt and Elizabeth Keath. John and Thomas (Jr.) were Executors of the estate. The widow had to relinquish two-thirds of the property should she re-marry. This provision may have actually left little to her family.
It appears that John's brother, Thomas, had already been given a tract of land prior to the making of the Will. John was to receive the 200 acres on which he was then living. If this provision was carried out then John started his adult life with some property. +++
Life in Bedford county went on. On 23 May 1792, Nancy's father, Cornelius Dabney made his Will. Nancy along with her sister, Molly Turner, received five shillings! After all, she was a married woman and perhaps there was a dowry. In his will Cornelius called his farm a 'plantation' - an old Virginian custom. By the end of October the same year, Nancy's father was dead. Her mother's name was Mary.
During this period we can follow John through the taxpayers' list, the 1800 Tax list and the census of 1810. In no instance does he ever show ownership of slaves. In fact, the 1800 list shows that he didn't even own a horse!'
John performed the family duties after the death of his father as he was now head of the group. On January 7, 1793 he signed the marriage bond of his brother-in-law George Dabney. George was marrying Betsey Echols, daughter of Jacob and Betsey Echols, good Bedford county folks of Quaker extraction. John Ayres was the minister. The bond is an item of historical curiosity and is the Overstreet file material. It was for 50#. The statement of the Bond opens with this statement: 'The Clerk of Bedford will please issue the needful to marry George Dabney and Betsy Echol, and Oblige their humble servants.' (George had been Surety for John's marriage to Nancy
On August 25, 1791 John Overstreet was the Surety for the marriage bond of his sister-in-law Sarah (Sally) Dabney. She was married to Stephen Pratt by the Rev. James Mitchell. Later, in February 1801 he was the Surety for his sister Elisabeth in her marriage to John Richard Keath. The marriage was performed by the Rev. John Ayers (Methodist) who waited nearly a month to make his return to the county clerk. ++++
In the meantime his daughters Nancy and Jane grew up and were in a few years to be married to Elisha and Abner Hall. The Census of 1810 indicates that John was still in Bedford county along with a passel of Overstreets and a few Hall family members. That census revealed that the county ran about 5,000 whies and nearly 2,000 blacks.
In March 1811 John witnessed the Will of Hezekiah Hall. This was a neighborly, friendly act. At this date the first Hall-Overstreet marriages had yet to occur. In August, 1811 Elisha and Nancy married. Hezekiah was dead by July in that eventful year.
War of 1812
John Overstreet, the veteran of the Revolutionary was also a soldier in the War of 1812!
As told be Frank U. Patterson, a descendant, the story is as follows:
'When the War of 1812 broke out John Overstreet's son-in-law, Elisha Hall, was drafted for service, but on account of sickness was unfitted for duty. Mr. Overstreet said, "I'll take your place, son."*
From the official records it is learned that 'John Overstreet served from Cabell county, Virginia. He was a private in Capt. Wm. Parson's Company and Capt. Henry Tabb's Company, Fourth Regiment, Virginia Militia.
'He enlisted Sept. 7, 1814 and was discharged, February 1815.
In 1814 John Overstreet was 54 years old.
At Springfield, Illinois in the 'Mall of Honor' adjacent the restored Old Illinois State Capitol, Overstreet's name is on a tablet placed there by the Daughters of 1812. He is enlisted as a veteran from Sangamon County. This is because when he first came to Illinois, he was a resident of that county. **
The Hall and Overstreet families began moving out of Bedford county, Virginia shortly after the death of Hezekiah Hall in 1811. They first moved to the northwest, ending up in Lawrence county, Ohio. A few of them stayed on the Virginia side of the Ohio River in Cabell county. (During the Civil War Cabell county became a part of the state of West Virginia.) These former Bedford county families were in this area for about ten years before going on to Illinois. There appeared to be a mass movement of Virginians into the Northwest territories during this period of time.
Other than wanting to be with his family members, Overstreet probably had no good reason for leaving Virginia. It was in Ohio that he became of Revolutionary War pensioner, getting a pension in the first such Act that was for enlisted men (1818). There are some property records in which his name appears for the Ohio stay. The Ohio period in family history will be discussed at length in another section of this text.
John applied for his pension at Galliopolis, Ohio on June 16, 1818. He had no trouble getting it, his service record met all the requirements. Earlier in this chapter the reader noted John's account of his services in the Revolution.
Since pensions were to be granted only in case of need, Overstreet had to make an affidavit to that fact. This was done on the ninth day of August, 1820 at the Lawrence county Ohio courthouse.
In this 1820 declaration he re-proved his service record and then swore that he had not received any other grants or assistance for his services from the United State government. (There were prevalent land frauds, etc., at this time especially in the Ohio Revolutionary War lands.) No mention was made of the Virginia land warrant nor of one in Ohio; perhaps it was not necessary.
The 1820 affadavit gives us an intimate glimpse into his personal affairs.
After stating that he was a citizen of the U.S. in 1818 and that he was not involved in any deals, he states, 'nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereunto annexed and by me subscribed ---
| 1 Cow & Calf taken in Execution||$12.00|
|2 Sow & 2 shoats||11.00|
|2 Pots|| 3.00|
|4 or 5 old plates 1 dish, 4 or 5 knives & forks|| 1.50|
|1 Hoe $0.50 One felling axe $1.50||2.00|
|1 Hand Axe $1.00 1 drawing knife $0.50|| 1.50|
|1 Auger 1 Groze (?)||1.00|
"And I am indebted above one hundred dollars and have not the means to pay these debts."
(Sig). John Overstreet
The affadavit continues: (by added codicil)
"And I the said John Overstreet do furthermore solemnly swear, that my occupation is that of a common laborer, that I have a wife above sixty years of age (actually 64) to support and have no other person in my family, and that from the infirmities of age (he lived another 28 years) and injuries sustained by my sufferings while a soldier I do but little to provide myself and wife with a support from day to day."
(Sig.) John Overstreet
According to this confession, John Overstreet was anything but a successful business man and as will be discussed later there is considerable evidence to support this fact. However, it should be remembered that he had raised a family of four and had made it to 1820. In order to get the pension and hold it, he had to prove need, which he is doing quite well.
Authors note: During the Revolutionary War, military records were poorly kept, if at all. In order to obtain a pension, the seeker had to obtain witnesses to his service and produce on his own, acceptable records. John Overstreet because of his association with the Continental forces had no trouble. Later, when militiamen were granted pensions the situation was hectic.
He was no worse off than thousands of his age in frontier America. This was not a cash society, but one of barter and trade. Barter in things grown or made and in labor and perhaps the labor of a sixty year old man wasn't worth much. It is also to be kept in mind that he and Nancy were never without shelter as in the cabins of their children where is spite of a family there would always be room for two more. This is the way they had lived in Virginia and the pattern was to continue as they followed the opening frontiers.
In the year 1819, John's son John (Rev. John Overstreet) had made an exploratory pilgrimage to the Illinois country. He was perhaps among the first three men to pass near what is now the site of Athens, Illinois in what was to become in 1821, Sangamon county, Illinois. (later Menard county ).
There can be no doubt that he was enthused about the prospects for fame, fortune and a better life in the newly-opened Sanga - ma (Sangamo) country and that he got this information back to his brothers-in-law, Abner and Elisha Hall in the Ohio country as well as to his brother Dabney, then living in Cabell county Virginia.
By 1822 Abner and Jane Overstreet Hall, along with another brother, James Hall, were in what was to become a permanent Hall home the Athens area. Elisha and Nancy Overstreet Hall, with their brood came along later in about 1827. Dabney with his family joined the family group. Again Old John and Nancy Dabney Hall followed their family --- it was to be their last stop - Illinois!
John had to make sure his pension came along with him. In June, 1827 at the court in Sangamon county, Illinois (Springfield) John Overstreet asked that his pension be transferred to Illinois and "that his reason for removing to the State of Illinois is that he is getting old and infirm and wishes to settle himself among his children who had previously immigrated to the said State of Illinois." Very good reasons, indeed!
The pension was transferred to Illinois July 18, 1827.
The census records of 1830 not only show the Halls and the Overstreets now living in Sangamon county, Illinois but a special supplement to the census shows John Overstreet as a Revolutionary War veteran living there.
An 1830 Incident
In 1830 back in Bedford county, Virginia an incident involving John Overstreet took place. He likely never knew about it, but it can be passed on to the later generations.
In January, 1830 Abram (Abraham) Blankenship of Bedford county made application for a pension as a Revolutionary War Veteran. Like the rest of the applicants his records were not in too good an order. So he backed up his application by seeking support of others.
The application reads:
'Thomas Phelps *** of said county declares he heard John Overstreet say Abraham Blakenship was a good Revolutionary solder.'
John Overstreet never gained fame for his accumulation of worldly goods, but his word on other matters was certainly respected. Incidentally, Blankenship got his pension, as did his widow.
A Life Ends
In the October 8th issue of the Sangamo Journal for 1836 the following brief announcement appeared:
In Athens, Sangamon County, on Thursday last: Mrs. Overstreet, aged 80, wife of Mr. John Overstreet.
This item was found by the author in March, 1973 as he examined the files of the newspaper which began publication in November, 1831.
With this discovery, facts that had been bothersome to family researchers for many years were established. Where and when did Nancy Dabney Overstreet die? Many erroneous statements about her demise have existed in the records.
Another question settled was her exact age. It was known that she was older than John. That is all. The death notice places her birth in the year 1756 and established the fact that she was four years older than her husband.
There is no information as to her place of burial. Officially in 1836 Athens had no burial ground, but likely the area given to the city by her son-in-law, Abner Hall, in 1843 and known as the West Cemetery was the place.
At this point the writer will break the narrative to review the life of John Overstreet in the years 1818 to 1836 - that is from the time of his first receiving his pension to the death of his wife, Nancy, in 1836. It is reasonably evident that upon receipt of his government pension, Overstreet never made any serious effort at regular employment (he had no trade) nor to farm. His eight dollar a month income was adequate; along with some assistance from family members. He had indeed become a Virginia Gentleman!
An interesting sidelight to his early Illinois years was found in the old Iles General Store Ledger in the Illinois State Historical Library. Iles ran the store at Springfield.
There was a record of thirty-two transactions. Iles ran the store from 1828 to 1831. After 1831, Iles was no longer in business and John may have transferred his purchases to Athens, which by that time had its own stores. Iles was a smart operator and would extend credit to War Pensioners. Overstreet's account was paid up on the last record. We have a good inventory of things he purchased including fripperies for Nancy and the grandchildren. He used considerable amounts of whiskey which at that time sold for 25 cents per half gallon. He was a good 'jug man! ****
For John Overstreet a new phase of his life began with Nancy's death.
He no longer maintained a home. He spent his final years with his children, principally Dabney. In that household the pension money was a real help, Dabney had a large family, mostly girls.
He is recorded as living with Dabney in the 1840 census. Again, he is listed among the Revolutionary War pensioners residing in Illinois at that date.
At this point in his life, John Overstreet was living the life of an old soldier, a Revolutionary War veteran, an object of curiosity to those of younger generations around him. Here was a man who had been in Washington's Army, in many battles, at Valley Forge and at Yorktown.
John was not adverse to playing the role, telling of his experiences and embellishing them no doubt; such as, 'remembering about seeing the bloody foot prints in the snow at Vallegy Forge." (John was in good position to be a hero, Menard county (formed 1839) could only account for seven Revolution veterans in its boundaries --- most of them had been local militiamen back East.)
Family tradition has it that local militia units were reviewed before him and he was in great demand at Fourth of July celebrations.
There is considerable substance to the traditional tales about John Overstreet that survive. From the files of the Sangamo Journal we learn that on Saturday, March 14, 1840 there was a great rally at Springfield and a meeting of those who 'had served under Gen. Wm. H. Harrison, in the later war with Great Britain.' (The War of 1812).
It was a political rally boosting the Whig candidate for President.
The last paragraph of the lengthy account of the rally reads as follows:
'The interest of the meeting was greatly increased by the presence of Mr. John Overstreet, a soldier of the times of Washington.'
As John grew older his infirmities caught up with him. 'For many years he was an invalid, but his comrades held him in such esteem that he was carried, in a chair, to the Independence Day celebrations each year until his death.'
Among his descendants he became a legendary character and a number of stories persisted about him in the family circles. One, most commonly repeated, was that he was a large and powerful man and that he 'once met a bear in the woods and having no gun, just grabbed the bear and carried it home.' Such stories must be looked upon with some sceptism as they tend to magnify with the years. It is likely John told the story, re-living his Virginia days and not noting that the bear may have been a cub!
John Overstreet lived on and on. Death finally came to him on July 8, 1848, he was in his eighty-eight year. He had outlived many of his family, his wife, his son John and his sons-in-laws, Elisha and Abner Hall. Few, if any, of his war-time buddies were still left.
He was buried in the old West Cemetery at Athens, a burial ground given to the community by Abner Hall, just five years previously. *****
He was buried with military honors. According to the account published in a 1904 county history, 'at death he was the only soldier buried with military honors at Athens, Illinois.'
Nothing could have pleased him more. ******
Today, his grave is marked by the DAR of Menard county, Illinois, there is both a metal marker and a granite stone. A flag flies on it on Memorial Day and other patriotic holidays. Between observances at rare intervals a family member or a curious stranger makes a pilgrimage to the grave.
In addition to the 1812 marker on the 'Mall of Fame' at Springfield, Overstreet's name appears on a placque indicating that he was a Revolutionary War veteran from Sangamon county. His grave, however, is in Menard county, so his name is on the DAR marker, in the county court house at Petersburg, Illinois.
Overstreet died at his son's home in Sangamon county but is buried in Menard county. This situation has been a cause for confusion among various historians in recording facts of his life. Of all the Hall-Overstreet family members, there has been more written about his life than any other family member. Again - it is doubtful that any of this 'hub-bub' would be displeasing to the old veteran.
In 1848 the long trail was finished. From Virginia, through the marches and counter-marches of the Revolution, back to Virginia, then the War of 1812, to Ohio and finally to Illinois - a long eighty-eight years.
John Overstreet was a product of his time. Rough, un-educated, out-spoken, and a pioneer all his life. Far from a successful man in terms of conventional measurements, he has left a long-remembered heritage.
He was a man who couldn't handle money, who became a pensioner because he needed one and a man who may have 'had a problem with the bottle on occasion' - but, it was these kind of men that strengthened Washington in the darkest hours, when a new nation was emerging.
Soldiering through the formative years of his life, from age fifteen to twenty-two, wasn't the kind of education that fitted a man for conventional living. Two hundred years later is that such an important matter?
+ at the Battle of Brandywine the 10th Va. Regt. And the Penna. State Regt. Against overwhelming odds checked the British attack, protected the American units, saving Washington's Army.
++ Lane was father of a daughter born to another woman in 1785. His descendants were reputable people.
+*+ some reasearchers indicate two other children, Martha and ?essee. No evidence has been found support this information.
+++ The inventory and appraisel of the estate of Thomas Overstreet shows: (29 Feb 1792)
8 negroes, including a mother and child
a 'smooth' gun and one old Still!
++++ Ayers who lived a long life, although casual with his records was an important resident of colonial Bedford Co., Va.
* John's sons, John Jr., and Dabney also served in the War of 1812.
** Descendants of the Overstreets are eligible for patriotic societies based on the War of 1812.
*** Long-time neighbor of the Hall family in Virginia
**** When John couldn't make the trip to the store he sent his orders by family members, including those for his 'malaria preventor!'
***** In 1933 a descendant, Elna Cline, led in collecting a marker fund among his descendants living in Athens and vicinity. This was sponsored by the DAR and is so marked.
****** During the Bi-Centennial in 1976, veterans groups held observances over his grave, including firing squads. In May, 1981 the 150th anniversary of the Founding of the village of Athens, Ill., Memorial Day services include participation by the Ill. National Guard, firing of salutes, etc.