The King Brothers’ Revolutionary War Service


William, Valentine and John, 3rd Virginia Regiment


John Edwards King was a Private in in the Stafford Co. Militia, Third Virginia Regiment.  Later, during the War of 1812, he became a General, commanding the Third Brigade in the Battle of the Thames.  Unfortunately, his service in the Revolutionary War must be re-proven for applicants to the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (“DAR”).

Until began providing scanned images of military records, the only “original” source for information on the King Family was in the exhaustive and highly-regarded research, which was performed by Goode King Feldhauser (“GKF”), Regent of the St. Paul, MN chapter of the DAR in the early 1900s.[1] Unfortunately, much of her research is comprised of her personal knowledge, personal effects, documents and family histories, and those of her family members, all of which remained in their possession. Because the majority of her research was compiled after her death[2] in 1949, it is highly unlikely that any of the previous owners of said memories, personal effects and documents are still living and available.  Thus, the second portion of this project involves corroborating her research by collecting acceptable primary source documentation.

Several sources, including both the Kentucky Encyclopedia[3] and Joyce Stover[4], genealogy columnist for the Cumberland County News, reference GKF’s account of the King Brothers’ Revolutionary War service.  Mrs. Stover says, “John Edwards King fought in the Revolutionary War, along with his brothers Jack, William, Valentine, and Nimrod. He was a private in the Stafford Co. Militia, Third VA Regiment.”  Dr. Stafford’s compilation of GKF also mentions the brothers fighting together in the Third Virginia Regiment, but he mistakes brother William, Jr. for their father, William Sr, who died at age 63 in 1778.  All three works also mention that the brothers were discharged in 1776 at Valley Forge, but this is either a transcription error or an omission of their later service.

At this time I don’t know enough about the battles, locations and companies to verify whether they fought in the same battles at the same time, but I do believe that the evidence below[5] corroborates a significant portion of GKF’s research, specifically that all three brothers served in the 3rd Virginia Regiment during the same time period. Additionally, I can prove that all three remained in the war far beyond February 1776.

  1. A typewritten letter to GKF from the Adjutant General dated January 8, 1915, in regards to her request for information about the Revolutionary Service of the Valentine King. The letter’s typescript is extremely faint, as if the typewriter were running out of ink.  It would be very easy to mis-transcribe those dates.  The letter states:

“…Valentine King served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Capt. G.B. Wallace’s Company, 3d Virginia Regiment, commanded by Col. Thomas Marshall.  He is shown to have enlisted February 26, 1776, to serve two years, and to have been discharged in February (exact date not shown) 1778.  Nothing further relative to this man has been found of record.”


  1. Valentine and John were on muster rolls and pay rolls as soldiers in Captain William Washington’s Company of the 3V from at least April 1777 until July 1777. In August 1777, their service records changed to

“Pvt – Captain Gustavus Brown Wallace’s Company, 3V, commanded by Col. Thomas Marshall – This company was designated at various times as Captain Gustavus Brown Wallace’s and Captain John Francis Mercer’s Company.”

In fact, between August and October 1777, the rolls list the company as GB Wallace’s; in November-December 1777, and January-February 1778, the company is listed as Mercer’s.


  1. A Muster Roll dated August 1777 states that John enlisted 23 Feb 1776 for 2 years. Various other months’ muster rolls give the enlistment date as 26 Feb 1776; because the letter to GFK from the AJ stated 26 Feb, that’s the date that I trust.
  2. John appears on a pay roll “of a detachment of the 3rd Virg Reg for the Additional Months pay allowed by Congress, Feb 16th, 1778, dated Yorktown, Feb 18 1778.
  3. John was temporarily promoted to Sergeant from 1 Dec 1777 until 1 Feb 1778. In mid-February 1778, his pay for 2 months of service is on a pay roll  “of Capt. John F. Mercer’s Company of the 3V of Foot commanded by Lieut. Col. William Heth, for those men whose time had expired.”
  4. Later, in November 1779, John appears on a pay roll as a private in Capt. Valentine Peyton’s Company, 3d Virginia Regiment. This service record is on a card for the 3d and 4h Regiments (as opposed to previous cards, which were simply for 3d Rgt).
  5. William King’s military records comprise 60 cards in the book for the 3d and 4h Regiments. While William King’s service is not in question at this time, the cards do state that he was a Private in Capt. Valentine Peyton’s Company commanded by Lieut. Col. William Heth in February 1779,


– Adrienne Tomkins,

11 August 2014


[1] Lincoln, Natalie Sumner and Margaret Roberts Hodges, eds. Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine Volume 53. January-December 1919. Philadelphia, PA: The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1919.

[2] Stafford, comp., George Mason Graham, and Goode King Feldhauser. The King family. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971.

[3] Kleber, John E.. The Kentucky encyclopedia. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 1992.

[4] Stover, Joyce. “Roots and Branches.” Cumberland County News (Burkesville), April 3, 2002

[5] Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, compiled 1894 – ca. 1912, documenting the period 1775 – 1784,