James & Jane (Bluford) Spence of Augusta County VA
James Spence spent the winter of 1778 at Valley Forge, so his descendants are eligible for membership in the society of Valley Forge Patriots.
James was born about 1748 and died after 1793. He married Jane Bluford, who was born about 1751 and died ca. 1795. James and Jane had 3 known children, William, Bluford Thorpe, and James Spence. There were probably other children possibly Moses Spence and Issac Spence of Georgia..
Known children of James & Jane Spence:
1. William Spence ca. 1772-1825 married Mary "Polly" Anderson 5-26-1792 at Old Stone Church in Augusta Co. VA. ( near present day Buffalo Gap, VA) . They were the parents of 5 known children: Jane (1793), William (1796) James (1797) Margaret (1801) and Mary (1803). These 5 children lived in Tazewell County VA in 1850.
2. Bluford Thorpe Spence ca. 1774-1808 married Charity Smith and moved to the state of Georgia. They were the parents of 6 sons: Joseph (?), Bluford Thorpe (1801), Green (?), Littleton (1800), Leaston (1802), and James M. (1806).
3. James Spence ca. 1776 married Jane Palmer in Augusta Co. VA. He was named in the Last Will & Testament of William Palmer, which was proved in 1797 in Augusta County VA. We presently have no farther information on James Spence, as it appears his wife Jane Palmer died young. He may have left the Augusta area.( New evidence is emerging that suggests James Jr. removed to Tennessee and resided in Blount or Rhea county.)
Moses and Isaac Spence of Georgia:
Moses and Isaac Spence are also possible sons ( or relatives) of James & Jane Bluford Spence. The name similarities passed down through the generations is too strong not to be considered. Not only was the name BLUFORD handed down for several generations, the name GREEN ( who was Mary Green, wife of Thomas Spence) was also passed down several generations.
Bluford Thorpe Spence and his wife Charity Smith Spence are said to have had 6 sons, and they lived in Burke County, Georgia, which is where Isaac Spence resided also for a time. Due to the conflicting evidence for date of birth for Isaac, we are unsure of his exact birth.
Moses Spence, according to DAR files was born in Virginia in 1764 and resided in Georgia, where he has many living descendants.
Following is the narrative written by James F. Carver, concerning the
Revolutionary War activity of James Spence ( 1748-1793), husband of
Jane Bluford Spence.
PVT. JAMES SPENCE
James Spence, at the age of 29, was drafted into the military
during the Revolutionary War from Augusta County Virginia. James
entered the Infantry on 28 Aug 1777, as a Private, for a term of
three years or for the duration of the War. James was assigned to the
15th Virginia Regiment then under the command of Lt. Col. James
Innes in the Company of Captain Edwin Hull. ( James was promised
$ 6 2/3 pounds per month as payment for his services.) Lt. Col.
Innes commanded James' unit only between Aug-Dec of 1777, then the
command fell onto Maj. Gustavus B. Wallace. James' military unit
would march from Virginia to Pennsylvania arriving at General George
Washington's Winter Encampment at Valley Forge, PA by Feb.1778. Pvt.
James Spence would stand guard duty during the harsh winter weather
months of Feb-Mar 1778. By April of 1778 while the winter weather
was slowly changing, the harsh conditions had already taken it's toll
on James.James was sick during the entire month of April. James
would slightly recover during May when he returned to duty, but by
June of 1778 James' illness got the best of him. In June of 1778
James' unit fell under the command of Lt. Col. John Cropper and his
company was still under the command of Maj. Gustavus Wallace. The
military unit was then known as the 11th and 15th Virginia Regiment.
Higher command fell under Gen. Woodford's Brigade of the 2nd Battalion.)
There in June 1778 with good weather upon them, James' unit would
march out of Valley Forge, PA northward towards New York, but left
Pvt. James Spence behind. James was admitted into a hospital at
Yellow Springs, PA, locatedj ust a short distance northwest of
Valley Forge. (It was late May of 1778 when the 11th Regiment
(1776-1778) and the 15th Regiment of Virginia were incorporated and
designated (known as) the 11th and 15th Virginia Regiment until Sept.
of 1778.) In July of 1778 the 11th and 15th Virginia Regiment arrived
at Whites Plain, New York. James was still sick but recovering
at the Yellow Springs, PA, hospital. James would finally rejoin his
unit there at Whites Plain, NY,in August of 1778 where his company,
commanded by Maj. Wallace fell under the command of Col. Morgan.
James briefly joined the Artillery unit while there at Whites Plain
NY. ( Probably so James could rest up more. )
Capt. Samuel Booker took command of James' company in Sept. 1778
when the 11th and 15th marched to battle in Newark, New Jersey.
James was back in the Infantry again at this time. The results of
this NJ battle were many dead and again sickness spread throughout
the military unit. James' unit would march back into New York where
James laid over at Fishkill, NY, once again seriously ill. The
entire unit of the 11th and 15th VA Regiment now under the higher
command of Col. Abraham Buford laid at rest at Pompton (?), NY. The
entire unit was listed as being " on fatigue". (Meaning the unit was
too tired and too sick to engage in war activity. )
James, while under the high command of Col. Abraham Buford,
would be given a leave of absence (furlough) at Camp Middlebrook
( NY location ? ) to return to Virginia. This furlough would be
between Dec. 1778 and March 1779. James would faithfully return to
duty at Camp Middlebrook in April of 1779 and fell ill once again.
(It would be romantic to say that James was granted his absence to
return home to see and care for his loved ones, but I suspect that
James was simply too ill to fight and hindered the unit's operations.
This is obvious when he returned to duty still suffering from
Now under the high command of Major Webb, Capt. Samuel Booker's
Company,James included, would be stationed at Camp Smiths Clove there
in New York. Between May-June 1779 ( James sick entire month of May)
Col. William Russell would replace Maj. Webb and in July of 1779 the
11th and 15th VA. Regiment moved around southeast NY and ended up in
Haverstraw, NY in Oct. 1779. During the period Pvt. James Spence
was in New York, it was viewed as the "seige of New York" when
American soldiers were seriously attacking the British strongholds.
The 11th and 15th VA. Regiment would more or less stand down
between Nov- Dec 1779 near Camp Middletown, NY, probably due to
winter weather. While no discharge papers were issued nor any
records located so far, it appears that Pvt. James Spence was
released/discharged at Camp Middletown, NY. James would return to
Augusta County, VA.
While it would be nice to report that Pvt. James Spence was a
hero of the Revolutionary War little is known about his actual
combat experiences. James spent a total of 2 years and 4 months of
military service time. During his tour of duty James spent 7 months
of it off duty due to illness and 4 months off duty on personal leave.
James Spence returned home to Augusta County, Virginia, to his
family at the age of 31. Fourteen years later at the age of 45,
James Spence would pass away. I have little doubt that the illness
James suffered during the Revolutionary War played a serious role
in his early death.
Descendants from James Spence and his wife Jane Bluford can be
traced throughout SW Virginia and even into Georgia.END NARRATIVE
The above narrative was written Nov. 1998 by:
James F. Carver
610 Gay St. box 214
Portsmouth, OH 45662-0214 e-mail: email@example.com
James encourages questions and comments . Please contact Jim if
you have or need additional information.