Madison County Families

Kentucky Pioneers and Their Descendants

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

This site created by and maintained by Robert J. Parks, 11 Regents Park Lane, Frankfort, KY  40601-3845

© Robert J. Parks 2009-2013

The Perkins Brothers:  

Soldiers of the Revolution and Madison County Pioneers

By the winter 1780-1781, the American Revolution had been raging for more than four years, mostly in the Northern Colonies:  Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey.  The colonists fought bravely, but British General Clinton prevailed.  To the south, British General Cornwallis invaded the Carolinas in 1780 and marched toward Virginia, which had largely avoided armed conflict.  But that was about to change.  Small bands of British troops entered Virginia, moving about unimpeded, destroying crops, burning houses and stealing provisions.  

To check the British, Virginia authorities began organizing militias in the late 1770s.  Among those summoned were Anthony Perkins†, age about 21, and his younger brother Samuel, 17, sons of John Perkins of Louisa County, a sparsely settled wilderness about 45 miles northwest of Richmond.   

After enlisting, according to their pension applications†† 50 years later, the Perkins brothers were "marched from Louisa County to old Richmond, Williamsburg, Spotsylvania, Loudon, Culpepper, Bowling Green and to diverse other places in pursuit of the enemy."  They recalled hearing the British "frequently, but never came to an engagement."  This fruitless pursuit -- conducted in 1781 -- came to be known as the "Wild Goose Chase."†††

In their pension applications, the brothers recalled being summoned to duty three times, twice for six months and once for four months.  They also served a short time in the Infantry, a part of the regular Continental Army, but they couldn't remember any details.  They listed their various officers as Wayne, Muhlenberg and "Demarcus."  These respectively are Gen. Anthony Wayne, Gen. Peter Muhlenberg (put in charge of the Virginia militia by Gen. Washington in 1780) and Gen. de Marquis Lafayette.   The unschooled soldiers -- both Anthony and Samuel signed their pension applications with an "X" -- had interpreted "de Marquis" as Demarcus.  

During the course of his service, Anthony, on Christmas Day 1780 married Aggie Pulliam.  Daughter Elizabeth was born July 3, 1781, the first of their four children, all daughters.  Samuel married Susannah Pass in 1796 in Goochland Co., Va., and soon began a family of seven.  

The Move to Kentucky

While the early records are sparse•, the Perkins family migration from Virginia to Madison Co., Ky., may have begun as early as 1792, the year Kentucky gained statehood and while Madison County was still a sparsely settled frontier.  That’s also the year the county court recorded a deed from William Hoy, an early land speculator along Tates Creek, to William Perkins, most likely a brother of Anthony and Samuel who ranks between them in the birth order.  In 1795, Anthony sold his land in Louisa County.  

By 1800 Madison County records list five Perkins:  Michael, the oldest of the five, Michael Jr., Anthony, Jesse (son of Michael) and Richard (relationship undetermined).  Samuel arrived in Kentucky apparently after 1810.  His youngest daughter was born in Kentucky in 1811, and his family is listed in the 1820 US Census for Madison County.  

These brothers -- Michael, Anthony, William and Samuel -- permanently settled in the Baldwin section of Madison County.  The eldest, Michael, would have been about 45 years old when he moved to Kentucky along with six children, five of whom remained in the western part of Madison County.  One, Jesse, later migrated to Missouri.  Michael died in 1823, nearly 30 years after his arrival.

Anthony Prospers

Anthony prospered in Madison County, where he died in 1840 at age 82.  Since Nov. 12, 1832 he had been receiving an annual pension of $46.66 for his service in the Revolution.  Living nearby were three of his daughters, Elizabeth Perkins who married her first cousin Dabney (son of Michael Sr.), Lucy Newby, wife of Bryant, and Nancy Roach, wife of Bailey.  Sons in law, Bryant Newby and Bailey Roach, were executors of his will.*  He left the 15 acres where he had been living to his grandson, Harrison Perkins.  He instructed his executors to emancipate his two slaves, Jenny and Rachel, who apparently are noted in the 1830 and 1840 US Censuses for Madison County.  Anthony has no slaves listed in 1820.  The 1840 Census shows the age of his slaves as between 10 and 35.  He instructed the rest of his estate to be divided equally among his children.  

William Perkins, the first to make the move to Kentucky, had three or four children (Census and other records provide an incomplete record) and lived in Madison County until his death in 1829.  Only one child, Stephen Hunter Perkins, can be accounted for.  He raised a large family in Madison County before moving to Green County after 1850.

Samuel Perkins raised a large family in Madison County and like his brother received a Revolutionary soldier’s pension from 1832 until his death in 1839.  His widow later qualified for a widow’s pension.  

These four brothers became the patriarchs of the large Perkins clan that has inhabited western Madison County for more than 200 years.  Many of their descendants also moved west, settling in other parts of Kentucky, the Northwest Territory and Louisiana Purchase.  

†† Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900 in National Archives, Washington, D.C.  On line  through  


• In early records, the family name appears as Parkins, Perkins, Pirkins and Purkins.  

* Madison County, Kentucky.  Will Book G, p. 304.

Anthony Perkins is the fourth great grandfather of Robert J. Parks, the owner of this website and the author of this article.  Anthony’s daughter Lucy married Bryant Newby, whose descendants are the source of the name of the Newby community in western Madison County.

VIRGINIA MILITIA IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR, MCALLISTER'S DATA, by J. T. McAllister, HOT SPRINGS, VA.  McAllister Publishing Co., Hot Springs, Virginia, 1913.