Joseph Yeaden, his mark from his 20 August 1832 United States military service pension application


Nationality: Irish
Born: Scarva, County Down, Ireland, 17 December 1756
Trade: unknown
Entertained: unknown (pre 1772)
Rank in 1777: Drummer
Company in 1777: Captain George Marlay's Company
Captured: unknown (prisoner of war)
Deserted: fall 1779
Rebel Regiment Service:
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Crockett's Western Battalion, 1779-1781
Died: Tennessee, 1 September 1842


Joseph Yadon was the son of Jacob (born 1730) and Elizabeth (née Proctor, 1737-1812) Yadon. He joined the 62nd Regiment of Foot and became the teenaged drummer of Captain George Marlay's sometime before 1772. With the augment of British infantry companies in August 1775, Drummer Yadon was joined by newly-appointed Drummer John Fraser. In 1776, Yadon sailed for the relief of Canada with the rest of the regiment, wintered in Canada 1776/1777, and served throughout most of the Northern Campaign of 1777.

Drummer Yadon served during the bloody 19 September 1777 Battle of Freeman's Farm. Tracking Yadon's whereabouts following that battle are difficult because he was listed in the rather ambiguous Return of the Prisoners of War in Town this day dated Albany, 18 October 1777 (Horatio Gates Papers). Unfortunately, the circumstances of his captivity are unknown: he may have been captured in the Battle of Bemis Heights (7 October), with His Majesty's General Hospital (9 October), with Lieutenant William Pendred Naylor's party (11 October), or while serving with one of the many small foraging or combat missions during that timeframe. Whatever the case, he was not listed as a deserter nor did he surrender with Lieutenant-General Burgoyne's army at Saratoga on 17 October 1777.

Although technically a prisoner of war, Drummer Yadon was nevertheless incorporated into the Convention Army; he, along with Drummer Fraser, was enumerated in a return of officers and men of the 62nd Regiment at Albemarle Barracks, Charlottesville, Virginia, dated 12 September 1779. By the end of 1779, however, Drummer Yadon escaped captivity...and joined the rebel service!

According to Yadon's 1832 United States military service pension deposition, his rebel service consisted of the following:


That he enlisted in the army of the united states in the year 1779 for the term of two years at Martinsburg, Berkley County, state of Virginia under Capt John Carny & marched to Albemarle Barracks & joined [Lieutenant] Colo Joseph Crockett's Regiment of the Virginia line & was appointed Drum Major to said regiment & served under the following named officers Col Joseph Crockett Major [George] Walls Capt [John] Carney Capt [Abraham] Tipton Capt [John] Chapman & Capt [William] Cherry from Albemarle Barracks he marched to the falls of Ohio that from Albemarle Barracks we marched the prisoners taken at Burgoynes defeat to Fridericktown Maryland from where we were ordered to Pittsburg where we joined General [George Rogers] Clark took boats & ascended the river Ohio to the falls that after we reached the falls Captains Tipton & Chapman were both killed by the Indeans in an ambush we [?] at the falls of Ohio untill December 1781 where I was honorably discharged.


No doubt Yadon's lengthy service as a drummer in the British Army rated highly amongst his new masters, making Yadon a fine candidate for the rank of drum major in Crockett's Battalion. The irony of his service in Crockett's Battalion, which consisted of guarding over his former comrades in the 62nd Regiment, could not have been lost on Drum Major Yadon. An 18 July 1781 missive written by Lieutenant Colonel Crockett to Major Walls ordered that he "issue thread to the Drum Major" of the Western Battalion, Joseph Yadon, "to make drum cords" (George Rogers Clark Papers, Virginia State Library and Archives).

After his honorable discharge, Yadon met Mary Pennybaker (1763-1838), and they were married on 12 January 1782. The family settled in Tennessee and eventually had twelve children. Both Joseph and his wife Mary are buried in Maynardville, Tennessee. Joseph Yadon's surname was sometimes spelled as "Yeaden," "Yeadon," or "Yourden" on company paylists and other military documents throughout his lifetime.