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Agnes Laird, Her Widow’s Pension

Laird-Nat-30Nathaniel Laird, 1755–1832, my 5th great-grandfather, was also my Laird immigrant ancestor. I’m not sure if he came from Scotland or Ireland, but I hope to nail that down soon.

He was 20 when the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, just the right age to sign up to fight in the Revolution. He was a private in the 4th Regiment, Infantry, of the Pennsylvania Line in the Continental Army.

In 1781 he married Agnes Scott in Rowan County, North Carolina where they established a home after the war. In 1789 Iredell County was formed out of the western part of Rowan County and that is where Nathaniel and his family were counted in the 1790 US Census. His five children were all born in North Carolina, the youngest in 1802. Sometime after 1802 and before 1820 the family moved to middle Tennessee and settled in the Maury/Bedford County area.

It was confusing to find him in two different counties at different times on different records. I thought there must be another Nathaniel Laird until I looked at the historical county maps and then found this land record.

On June 21, 1828, Nathaniel Laird received a grant of 75 acres, at the rate of one cent per acre, signed by Sam Houston, governor of Tennessee. (Yes, the same Sam Houston that turned up in Texas.) It was paid into the office of “entry-taker of Maury & Bedford countys;…” Maury and Bedford county lie side-by-side with Maury to the east and Bedford to the west. The land description says: “lying in said county, on the waters of flat creek and bounded as follows to wit, beginning in Maury county, …”

Later records list Nathaniel in Bedford County. Seems the county line moved west, putting all 75 acres in that county. If I can find a more specific description of the location—…north 40 poles to a cedar the NW corner… 40 poles to a dogwood, then south 40 poles to a hickory in a field… while colorful, isn’t enough—I’ll match it to the county maps and see if that’s the case.

Nathaniel died Feb. 27, 1832 and subsequently his wife, Agnes (Scott) Laird applied for a Revolutionary War Widows Pension to continue the pension previously received by her husband. He’d been getting $8 per month since August 1826. Her application was accepted and she received $40 per year starting Dec. 1843, I don’t know if she got “back pay” from when her husband died eleven years earlier or not. But, I came across a simple note that reads:

Agnes Laird
Tennessee

Suspended
let 16 dec 39

Act of 7 July 1838

Evidently there was a LOT of fraud going on in the Revolutionary War Pension system so a couple of times Congress had to revise the program to get rid of the dead beats who shouldn’t be getting a pension. Pensioners reapplied and were accepted or rejected under the new requirements.

Agnes Laird’s application includes her husband’s original statement of his military service dated Dec. 12, 1825; dozen of letters, reports and witness statements documenting his service; statements indicating she was his wife and had not remarried since his death. As soon as I translate more of the colonial penmanship (everything from elaborate calligraphy to  scrawled cursive, many pages splattered and smeared with ink) we’ll get a glimpse of his life as a patriot soldier.

And as to Agnes Scott.  I wonder if she’s part of my grandmother’s Scott line which dead ends with John Scott born in 1800 in Buncombe County, NC. Agnes was born in Rowan County in 1761. Chronologically she could be an aunt, or maybe a cousin to my  4x great-grandfather, John Scott. I hope it’s a mystery I’ll solve.

Jan

Me > my Mom > Grandma Lela Scott Rose (1911, Pottawatome County, OK) > Avery Albert Scott (1887, Lauderdale County, AL) > Judia Isabell Lard Scott (1867, Lauderdale County, AL) > Jim Lard (1830, Hardin County, TN) > James Lard (1789, Rowan County, NC) > Nathaniel Laird (1755, Scotland or Ireland)

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Scott

 

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A Lard is a Lord

Did you know that the name Lard probably came about from a mispronunciation and then misspelling of the name Laird, which is Scottish for the title, lord.

My great great grandmother was a Lard. Judi—maybe Judith—Isabell Lard. Some family notes called her Bell. She was born just after the Civil War, 1867 to be exact, in Waterloo, Lauderdale County, Alabama.

Lauderdale County is the county in the upper left hand corner of the state of Alabama.  That’s the northwest corner. The southern border is the Tennessee River. Waterloo was one of the original town sites established when the county was created in 1818, just a year after Alabama Territory was established. Waterloo, on the bank of the river, flooded and moved a few times through the years but the little town is still there. Pickwick Landing Dam was built upstream from Waterloo and the Tennessee Valley Authority intentionally flooded the area to create Pickwick Lake.

Waterloo also has the dubious honor of being the starting point for the Trail of Tears where the Cherokee, one of the Five Civilized Tribes were forcibly marched from their native lands in the southeast to newly laid out Indian territory, now the state of Oklahoma. The Indian Removal Act was signed in 1830 by President Andrew Jackson and Indian removal started in 1831. The Cherokee were the last to be removed, leaving their native Alabama homes in 1838.

Lauderdale County is kind of “home base” for my Scott family heritage, and July 28, 1885 Judi Lard married into the Scott family, when she wed William Charlie Scott. William Charlie is the grandson of John Scott who was the first Scott to settle there. Charlie and Judi Scott had the first of their eleven children there, including my great grandpa, Avery Albert Scott.

But back to the Lards. Judi was the daughter of James S. Lard II and his wife Nancy Qualls. He was known as Jim, and he was born across the state line in Hardin County, Tennessee. The word is he, along with a couple of brothers, came “from the north” to Alabama to escape their father who was a mean man.

That “mean man” was James Swan Lard Sr. who was born in Rowan County, North Carolina just after the American Revolution. Sometime before 1809 the Lards, like the Scotts, moved west into Tennessee and January 14, 1809 James Lard Sr. married Elizabeth “Betsy” Shons in Davidson County, Tennessee. James and Betsy had a son, Nathaniel Washington in Bedford County, Tennessee in 1816. Another son, Richard, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee in 1825 and ten years later in 1835, James Swan Jr. was born in Hardin County, Tennessee.

James Swan Lard Sr. was born in 1789, the son of Nathaniel Swan Laird. Nathaniel is the immigrant ancestor of this line and he was born in 1755 in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. These islands are north of the far north east shore of Scotland. They are separated from the mainland by about six miles of seaway. The history of the islands goes back to ancient times and they were under Norwegian rule in the 8th and 9th centuries. The Vikings used the islands as a base of operations for their pirate raids into the Scottish mainland and Norway.

Sometime after 1755 Nathaniel Swan Laird came to America. I don’t yet know if he came alone as a young adult, or came as part of a family group with siblings and parents. He was, however, a patriot during the Revolutionary War. I don’t know where he would have landed, but he ended up in North Carolina and that is where is was married in Rowan County. He married Agnes Scott January 17, 1781, Since my Scott historical research only extends to Buncombe County, North Carolina where John Scott was born in 1800 I have no idea if Agnes Scott might be a part of my primary Scott line.

Charlie and Judi Lard Scott came to Oklahoma about 1900-ish and the last of their children were born here in 1902 and 1904. The rest of the Lard family remained in the vicinity of Lauderdale County/Hardin County along the Alabama/Tennessee state line but I’m sure many descendants have spread out to other areas since then.

There’s more to the story of the Lard/Laird family in the Orkney Island and here in America, but this will do for now. I’m writing this because I recently met a 6th cousin along this line.  He descends from Richard Lard, born in 1825, older brother of James Swan Lard Jr. Their father, James Swan Lard Sr., is our 4th great-grandfather. I wonder if he’s heard anything about James Sr being “mean.”

I’d love to hear from anyone out there who knows more about this line, these people and these events. My new-found cousin tells me Richard, his 3x great-grandfather fought for the Union in Tennessee for six months at the beginning of the Civil War. Then he deserted and later fought for the Confederates. Those are the kinds of stories that bring history alive for me.

Let me know if you have anything to add.

Jan

Nathaniel Swan Laird > James Swan Lard Sr. > James S, Lard Jr. > Judi Isabell Lard (Scott) > Avery Albert Scott > Lela Mae Scott (Rose) > mom > me.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Scott

 

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