Memorial Day family tribute

“Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride” ~ America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)

Robert Sisson, my 7th generation grandfather, served in the Revolutionary War 1775-1782.

He enlisted in the American Army Oct. 1775 at age fifteen. This took place at the Richmond County Court House located in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Robert Sisson fought at the battles of Brandywine – Philadelphia, Mud Bank Fort, Monmouth Court House, Somerset, Stony Point and Charleston. His Revolutionary War service included the harsh winters encampments of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and Morristown, New Jersey — And have been verified by National Park Service records. He probably crossed the Delaware with General Washington.

He was commended by his commanding officer for ‘Extraordinary Valor’ during the first night raid, a surprise midnight assault, by American forces at the Battle of Fort Stony Point, New York. Robert Sisson was member of the ‘”the forlorn hope” which included 300-Virginians volunteers from the 2nd Virginia Regiment who first charged the gates of the British garrison armed with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets only.

While serving in the Virginia 2nd Regiment, Robert Sisson marched from New Jersey to South Carolina twice. He was captured at the battle of Charleston and spent 2-years on a British prison ship where only one of three prisoners survived the incarceration. Most colonial prisoners starved to death and were throw overboard.

He survived the British prisons, eventually married and became a farmer in Northern Virginia. He resided in Fairfax, Virginia until his death in 1825.

In 2002, the Virginia General Assembly honored Sgt. Robert Sisson service to Virginia during the Revolutionary War with a House of Delegates memoriam. Delegate Steve Landes patron that for the Virginia Sisson family. My 7th generation grandfather Robert Sisson is also listed as a Revolutionary War Patriot in the Library of Congress.

Robert Sisson’s handwritten petition to the VA General Assembly in 1795 requesting back pay during his internment by the British Army along with RW commanding officer letters and General Assembly journal page notations are treasured possessions. Check the web page for other details about the Sisson family history and events:

Before it was a day of parades, barbecues and baseball – Memorial Day was a day of reflection for all in honor of those who served, were hurt and who died defending the nation from its enemies. Today, I’m thinking about Robert’s legacy and other family members who have contributed to the cause of liberty and freedom.

Steven Eugene Sisson
Sons of the American Revolution, ID # 15892

Of Eugene Henry Jr, Eugene Henry Sr, Walter George, Eugene Townsend, John Augustine, Robert Townsend, Robert, William III, William II, William I, & Robert Sisson *, Lancaster County, Virginia (1630-1699) * DNA ancestral patriarch.

– Robert Sisson, Lancaster Clerk of Court 1667-1674
– William Sisson III, French & Indian War, Western Virginia, Scout 1754-1755
– Robert Sisson, Revolutionary War, 2nd VA Regiment, Alexander Parker Co., Sergeant 1775-1782
– Robert Townsend Sisson, War of 1812, Captain Coffer’s Co, VA Militia, Private 1813-1814
– John Augustine Sisson, Civil War, Potomac Army, Private Union Scout 1861-1865
– Eugene Townsend Sisson, Alexandria Board of Elections 1887-1889
– Eugene Henry Sisson, DC Police Force, Lt. Detective 1941-1973

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  1. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    There have been members of our branch of the Bacon clan living in Delaware for more than 300 years. Darned if we can find a record of any one of them fighting in any war before World War I. But it’s not as if they were Quakers or pacifists either. So, instead of saluting my ancestors this Memorial Day, I’ll salute the Sissons!

  2. Family tradition has some of my ancestors leaving the Winchester area and settling in what is now Pulaski County to avoid being conscripted by Governor Jefferson to fight for the American Revolution! They probably didn’t even speak English at that stage. But they were damned quick to put on the grey about “four score and seven years” later to march with Stonewall and Breckinridge! I can name ancestors in every other war (French and Indian, 1812 and later) and the male of the youngest generation is in Kirkuk as I write. Memorial Day has taken on a special meaning this year.

  3. Salt Lick Avatar
    Salt Lick

    Great post, Bluedog. I’m a Revolutionary War buff. Your ancestor must have been quite a fellow. Stony Point was stormed by men picked for “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s Light Corps. I wish we spent more time in Virginia studying Colonial and Revolutionary War times.

    Did you know there is a 2nd Virginia Reenacting regiment? Wait, I’ll go get the link:

    OK, here it is.


  4. Steven Avatar

    Thank you, Jim Bacon, sdh and salt lick!

    The Blue Dog’s fifth cousin, Wm. Page Johnson the Commissioner of Revenue for the City of Fairfax, also informed me about the 2nd VA Regiment a few years ago.

    Over the past decade, I have transcribed copies of Robert Sisson’s 2nd VA Regiment pay records (1776-1779), 1790 Land Bounty Warrant, 1795 Petition to the General Assembly, commanding officer letters & General Assembly journal pages, 1818 RW Pension Statement and an 1820 Minute Book reference to his Revolutionary War duty.

    And there is much more; I have a genealogy collection of over 500 Sisson court documents,including 100 wills and deeds. In addition, I have personally research over 1800 family members and also transcribed the entire 1850 US Census to document the Sisson families in America.

    A good friend once said my genealogical tenacity was next to none, other than a Jack Russell terrier, for digging up old bones. A nice compliment for the BDT columnist.

    ~ the blue dog

  5. Sorrel Avatar

    Virginia. What a country!

  6. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    Blue Dawg, funny (or sad) how one becomes becomes pre-disposed in the absence, and sometimes in face of countervaling evidence. I would have sworn you descended–probably without a lot of record keeping–at least in the particulars department–from counterfeiters, bootleggers, shirkers, plagerizers, horse thieves, accountants, pikers, forgers, deserters, card cheats, tax collectors, dentists, insurance salesmen, Amway dealers and Presbyterians! My apologies, sir! I raise my cup in salute–to you, and to a wonderful post.

  7. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Blue Dog: Good post. John Bowden (8 generations ago) was transported as a criminal from the Court at Kent Co, England in 1752 to Isle of Wight Co, VA. His brother was transported too. Family rumor is sheep thief but we don’t really know.

    Apparently there was no love lost for the Crown because all five sons served in the Revolution. One died in Philadelphia. Two, including my ancester (John II) were in the Virginia Regiments in the Continental Line. One brother made sargeant in the Line.

    Hooah. Now, they put it all on the line to win – losing meant losing everything – and endangering the whole family, even more than when the Yankees invaded.

  8. Steven Avatar

    Barnie, sorrel and JAB, thank you.

    The Virginia Sissons go back to the beginnings of our country. There was a Thomas Sisson who immigrated from England in 1621, and settled in Jamestowne, but I cannot accurately document him with the other Sisson immigrants during the 1600s with a paper trail. An interesting side note: my wife’s family patriarch, John Henry Monger, settled in Jamestowne in 1614.

    My earliest recorded Sisson patriarch immigrated from England in 1650, that would be my direct line starting with 11th generation grandfather Robert, and Amye Sisson. His brother Daniel and sister Mary Sisson Pope arrived two years earlier.

    Robert was the clerk of court in Lancaster County, VA, 1667-1674. Not much is known of Robert other than his time as clerk, and the land that he owned along the Potomac and dealt tobacco with the Carter family. He owned the Booth’s Plantation during this time.

    Mary Sisson Pope married Nathaniel Pope and is great, great grandmother to famous Civil War General John Pope. Nathaniel and Mary Pope resided in Westmoreland County.

    The first Sisson settler in the Northern Neck was brother Daniel Sisson who died in 1687, but left a rich, and documented history in his short life.

    Who was Daniel Sisson:
    – one of the 100 original settlers to sign the 1648 Northumberland Oath of Allegiance.
    – an Indian interpreter for Gen. John Augustine Washington and Isaac Allerton during Indian up rise and Bacon’s Rebellion.
    – a vestry member of Appomattox Church with Washington family.
    – an Attorney representing John A. Washington and Isaac Allerton’s Indian massacre and murder trial after Bacon’s Rebellion.
    – the Washington family attorney, and executor of John Augustine Washington’s will.
    – married to Jane Bulter.
    – had daughter, Francis Butler Sisson, who was adopted by Lawrence Washington after death of Daniel and Jane Sisson.
    – Lawrence Washington, the executor of Daniel Sisson’s will, purchased the Sisson estate on Pope’s creek, and the land was later renamed the Wakefield Plantation.

    I have all the deeds and wills and supporting documents. It’s a nice history.

    ~ the blue dog

  9. The blogger formally known as Not Phil or Steven... Avatar
    The blogger formally known as Not Phil or Steven…

    Good points made by all. And now the question:

    Since all of us have heritage going back all the way to the beginning of this experiment in representative democracy,…

    Now what?

    I have records back to 1610 on my Mother’s side.

    On my father’s side there was a direct ancestor who traveled with Meriwether Lewis. Probably held the horses for the important folk, but was recorded there all the same.

    Got others traced back to Scotland, others to Sweden, others to Ireland, to England and Germany…

    Now, how do we honor these ancestors who were so brave and so willing to give of themselves for the future?

    Our future.

    Can we do less? Can we at least do a bit of what these heroic people did?

    We cannot continue to argue about how much of mine I can keep, we must determine what we can do for the next generation, and on this Memorial Day, what we can do to repay those who were willing, and who did, give their all so that we may have a brighter future…


    One message I heard today from our veterans today is that we can never allow ourselves to forget…

    It is up to Phil to remind us of Stalin and Lenin, and it is up to me to remind us of Goebbels.

    And it is up to both of us to remind each other when perhaps we are going in the wrong direction with our thoughts and statements…

    Thank you Phil, Thank you Barnie, together perhaps we can argue and get angry and fuss with each other until we find the win/win solution that will be a benefit not only to us as individuals, but to us as a community.

    I sat at a high school today, a public high school, and listened to a very large group of our young people pay tribute to the people of my parent’s generation for what they’ve done for all of the rest of us. Those folks were truly the greatest generation…

    I pray to my God that I can be even somewhat worthy of calling myself their descendent…

  10. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Steve, What was the 1648 Northumberland Oath of Allegiance? (Forgive my ignorance.)

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