Biographical Sketch of Micajah Mayfield (1748-1838)
By Phil Norfleet
Micajah Mayfield is perhaps my favorite Mayfield character from history. To me, he is a quintessential American frontiersman! He was not well educated nor did he ever become materially wealthy, yet he and his family successfully cut their own path through the wilderness of southwestern Virginia, northern Kentucky and southern Indiana. Micajah appears to have been both brave and generous, typical of the better sort of men who helped tame America's western frontier.
Birth and Early Life
Micajah Mayfield, the eldest son of James Mayfield (d. 1780), was born in the year 1748, probably in Albemarle County, Virginia. In 1761, Amherst County was formed out of Albemarle and James Mayfield's family residence fell within the bounds of this new county. In the late 1770's, James Mayfield and his family appear to have removed to the New River region of southwest Virginia, settling on Bluestone Creek a tributary of New River. In 1776, this area had became part of the newly formed Montgomery County. On 01 October 1777, Micajah Mayfield and a certain Thomas Mayfield (a brother?) swore the required oath of Allegiance to the State of Virginia in the presence of Colonel James Robertson. A Montgomery County militia list, dated 28 April 1778, includes the name of "Cagy Mayfield." In January 1779, Micajah enlists in the First Virginia Regiment.
Revolutionary War Service
Micajah Mayfield applied for a Revolutionary War pension in Knox County, Indiana on 7 January 1828. His claim was allowed on 01 February 1831 with commencement of pension made retroactive to 01 January 1828. Micajah received a pension of $96 per year for his service in the Revolution as a private.
Based on his sworn deposition, the key milestones of Micajah's military service are as follows:
January 1779 - Enlisted as a soldier in First Virginia Regiment.
Spring 1779 - Moved under the command of Colonel John Montgomery to what then was called the Illinois Country.
Summer 1780 - Removed to Fort Jefferson on the Mississippi, where he remained until 08 June 1781.
June 1781 - Under the command of Captain George, he ascended the Ohio River to Louisville. He remained in Louisville ( under the command of Major Walls) until his discharge in 1783.
March 1783 - Discharged from service sometime in the month of March 1783.
Documented Military Service
The official pay records of the Illinois Regiment make several references to a Micajah Mayfield, serving as a Private, in the regiment during the 1779-1783 time period. An analysis of these records indicates that there probably was another Mayfield, also named Micajah, who served in the Illinois Regiment in 1780-1782. However, the records that pertain to the subject of this sketch, may be reasonably well determined by comparing Micajah's pension deposition information with the dates and officers cited in the pay records. The following table summarizes the extant pay records, of the Illinois Regiment, relative to the service of all persons named Micajah Mayfield:
In my opinion, enlistment tours numbered 1 and 3 above are those associated with the subject of this sketch. Further support for this conclusion comes from Micajah Mayfield himself. In a sworn statement dated 9 September 1837 supporting his application for additional Virginia Revolutionary War bounty land, Micajah indicates that he first enlisted at New River VA in 1779, in the 1st VA Regiment under Captain Jesse Evans. Also, Micajah Mayfield was given warrant number 3333, dated 19 July 1784, from the State of Virginia for 100 acres of Revolutionary War bounty land for three years of service in the VA State Line. Pertinent records from Micajah's Revolutionary War Pension Application are available at this hyperlink:
The Other Micajah Mayfield (d. 1798)
I do not know the identity of the person or persons associated with enlistment tours 2 and 4. The only other Micajah Mayfield, of whom I am aware, was the one who settled on Cherokee Creek in Washington County, North Carolina in about 1780. One interesting note re this Micajah Mayfield (d. 1798) of Cherokee Creek: he was drafted to go with John Sevier's Washington County Militia on the King's Mountain Campaign; however, he opted to hire a substitute, a certain James Ownby. [See Ownby's Rev War Pension File #W3712]
Micajah Mayfield in Jefferson and Shelby Counties KY
Jefferson County was one of the first three counties of Kentucky (then part of Virginia), having been established on 30 June 1780 along with Fayette and Lincoln Counties. After 1780 many other counties were carved out of the original Jefferson County boundaries. One of these counties was Shelby, which was established from the eastern part of Jefferson in 1792, the same year that Kentucky was admitted into the Union as the Nation’s fifteenth State. It should be noted that many records pertaining to the families of both Micajah and Elijah Mayfield are found in Shelby County. In fact, a complete genealogical picture of Micajah and Elijah Mayfield requires close review of the records of both Jefferson and Shelby Counties.
Micajah Mayfield and his family lived in Kentucky from the early 1780's until about the year 1821. The family of Micajah Mayfield and those of his brothers, Elijah and James appear to have lived in the "Chenowith's Run" and “Long Run” (branches of Floyd’s Fork) region of eastern Jefferson County, near the border of Jefferson with Shelby County. The pertinent Jefferson and Shelby County poll and land tax records indicate that, after 1795, these Mayfields were frequently located and taxed within the bounds of Shelby County.
While living in Jefferson County, Micajah Mayfield became a charter member of the Chenowith's Run Baptist Church. The following is a quotation from Volume I of A History of Kentucky Baptists from 1769 to 1885 (published 1885) by J. H. Spencer, pages 254-255:
"Chenowith's Run was the second church organized within the present limits of Jefferson County. It was located about twelve miles southeast from Louisville. It was constituted by Joshua Morris and Joshua Carman, June 16, 1792, of the following persons: David Wise, Sukey White, Micajah Mayfield, John Sharp, Catherine Sharp, William Tyler, Sarah Tyler, Robert Donaldson, Masse Donaldson, Elisha Freeman, Edward Brant, Leah McCown, Elizabeth Sharp, Elizabeth Stuart, Sarah Curry, John Mundle, Jane Mundle, Punis Applegate, Rodham Seaton, and Jack, a Negro.
"All except the last named, who had a letter of dismission from Cedar Creek in Nelson County, had been dismissed from Brashears Creek, for the purpose of going into this constitution. The church united with Salem Association the same year it was constituted, and, on the constitution of Long Run Association, in 1803, became a member of that fraternity. The growth of the church was so slow that, in 1812, it contained but 37 members. ... "
This church was constituted on 16 June 1792. Other charter members included John Sharp, Catherine Sharp, Elizabeth Sharp and Sarah Curry. [See A History of the Kentucky Baptists from 1769-1885 (published 1885), by J. H. Spenser, Volume I, pages 254-255.] After the death of his first wife, John Sharp would marry Eleanor Mayfield, daughter of James Mayfield, in July 1799. Other marriages between members of the Mayfield family and the Sharps and Currys would occur in subsequent years in both Jefferson and Shelby Counties KY.
Abstracts of some of the more pertinent early records involving the Mayfields in Jefferson County KY, including nine entries for Micajah Mayfield, are presented below:
04 June 1783: Micajah Mayfield makes a sworn statement to the Magistrates of the Jefferson County Court as follows:
"Whereas certain malicious persons have propagated a report. of my having said that Robert Floyd, and the rest of the family, were of the Mustic Breed, or mixed Mulatto blood, I do hereby solemnly swear that I never reported any such thing, respecting the said family, and the report is altogether false and groundless."
[See Jefferson County Court Minute Book A.]
19 July 1784: Micajah Mayfield receives the rights for 100 acres of bounty land from the State of Virginia for his Revolutionary War service. Micajah probably sold his rights to this land as the tax records for Jefferson County in the late 1780s and early 1790s do not indicate that he was a land owner.
04 October 1785: Micajah Mayfield is a witness in the lawsuit of Harrod versus Sturgus. [See Jefferson County Court Minute Book 1.]
05 October 1785: Micajah Mayfield produces sundry receipts for provisions furnished the Troops at Fort Nelson from James Finn Purchasing Company. [See Jefferson Court Minute Book 1.]
05 October 1785: Micajah Mayfield is a juror in the case of Tyler versus Conger. [See Jefferson County Court Minute Book 1.]
07 August 1787: Micajah Mayfield witnesses an indenture between Thomas McCarty and James Patten concerning 400 acres of land located on Chenowith's Run. [See Jefferson County KY Deed Book 1, page 340.]
10 June 1794: Hezekiah Ford and Betty, his wife, convey to Micajah Mayfield, for £60, the land is described as follows:
"... a certain tract or parcel of land situate and lying & being in the County of Jefferson on Chenowith's Run a branch of Floyd's Fork in the State of Kentucky containing One Hundred & Sixty Four & one-forth Acres a part of a Tract containing Two Thousand Surveyed & Patented for Richard Chenowith & Bounded as follows ... at the northeast corner of John Sharps Survey ..."
[See Jefferson County Deed Book 4, Pages 171-172.]
16 September 1794: Micajah Mayfield and Ann his wife convey to Daniel Hazel, for £25, a tract of land containing 50 acres, located on the waters of Chenowith's Run, part of a tract of 164 and 1/4 acres, in Jefferson County. [See Jefferson County Deed Book 4, Pages 170-171.]
07 June 1796: Micajah Mayfield and Ann his wife convey to Daniel Murphy, for £90, a tract of land containing 110 acres, part of a tract of 2000 acres surveyed and patented in the name of Richard Chenowith, in Jefferson County. [See Jefferson County Deed Book 4, Page 429.]
The above three transactions show that Micajah, over a two year time frame, made a tidy profit of £55 on an initial investment of £60! I have not been able to ascertain what happened to the other 4 and 1/4 acres of the original tract of 164 and 1/4 acres.
30 September 1805: William Croghan and Lucy his wife of Jefferson County KY convey a 340-acre tract of land in Warren County KY to John Mayfield of Barren County KY. Land is situated on the north side of the Big Barren River. Indenture was witnessed by George Mayfield, Nicholas Clarke and John Croghan. [See Jefferson County KY Deed Book 7, page 354]
October 1808: While residing in Shelby County KY, Micajah and two of his sons, Micajah, Jr. and Southerland Mayfield were sued in the Jefferson County Court of Chancery for land fraud by a certain Israel Mayfield. The alleged fraud was connected with the sale of 100 acres of land, located near Mayfield's Station in Williamson County TN and is the subject of a separate essay appended to this web site.
1821: The last time that Micajah Mayfield's name appears in the tax records of Kentucky is for the year 1821 - for the Jefferson County poll tax.
Micajah Mayfield in Indiana
In about 1821, Micajah removed to Sullivan County, Indiana. He joined his son James, who had removed to Sullivan during the prior year. There is no evidence that Ann, Micajah's wife accompanied him to Indiana. It is probable that she had already died back in Kentucky. In January 1828, while a resident of Sullivan, Micajah Mayfield submitted his application for a Federal Government Revolutionary War pension. His request for a Federal pension was granted on 1 February 1831, made retroactive to 1 January 1828. He received an annual allowance of $96.00 until his death in 1838. He purportedly died on 22 February 1838 and is buried in the cemetery adjacent to the United Methodist Church in Pleasantville, Sullivan County, Indiana. There is a marker in the cemetery (see below) stating: "Micajah Mayfield Virginia Pvt VA State Troops Revolutionary War 1748-1838."
Family of Micajah Mayfield
Land records from Jefferson County KY (see above) indicate that Micajah's wife was named Ann; unfortunately her maiden name is unknown. Based on an analysis of the tax lists, court records and land records of both Jefferson and Shelby Counties KY, I can at least tentatively identify seven children for Micajah and Ann Mayfield as follows:
* Married first (1809) to Leathy Young, daughter of Catesby Young; married second (1819) to Sarah Pickett, widow of John Pickett.