AllenMatthews
Edward Riley
An American Revolutionary Soldier

 


On September 23, 1833, Edward Riley appeared before Judge of Probates, Thomas Hughes, Rankin County, Mississippi, and made the following statement:

That he entered the service of the United States as a Volunteer in the year 1778 under the immediate command of General Williamson, who commanded at that time the Troops of the State of South Carolina.   He was attached to Colonel McCrary's command and served under Captain Grear.   He continued service during the war and was discharged at Eutaw Springs, South Carolina.

His first tour of service was against the Cherokee Indians, and "after drubbing them into submission and obedience," was ordered to the seige of Augusta, Georgia, but in consequence of reinforcements from the enemy under the command of General Provost, the seige was raised.  The Americans were completely routed.

Edward Riley followed the fortunes of General Greene in the famous Battle of Eutaw Springs as a Draggoon under the command of Captian Dillard.   In previous to the Battle, he was distached in advance of the Army as a spy in company of others, and falling in with a detachement of the Enemy, was dangerously wounded by a ball in the neck.  The loss of two fingers from a sword and many other flesh wounds of less injury.

The statement is part of a document testifying to his eligibility for a war pension passed by an act of Congress on June 7, 1832.
 
 James Liptrap has added the following from his research:

He was a wanderer, and would disappear for periods of time to live among the Indians, or other adventures. 

Edward Ryley (note different spelling) was granted 100 acre of land 2 Feb 1768 on Duncan's Creek in South Carolina (near the boundary of current Laurens and Newberry Counties) This supports his birth in 1747, as he would have been 21 years old then.  300 acres were surveyed for Edward Ryly in Berkeley County 3 Nov 1772, but were granted to John McQueen 8 Feb 1773 when Edward did not file the paperwork to take possession. 

Edward and Elizabeth lived in Georgia from soon after 1800 until moving to Perry County, Mississippi, before 1823.  Edward was living in Rankin County, Mississippi, in September 1833, when he gave his deposition concerning his service in the Revolutionary War.  The story goes that after the judge accepted his claim, he was asked for documentation.  He replied that if his word wasn't good enough for them, they could keep their pension.  Edward's grandson Arthur Matthews remembered standing in his lap and putting his finger in the hole in the back of Edward's neck to feel the minie ball still there.

Elizabeth lived with their son Edward Miles Riley in New Hebron, Lawrence County, until her death in 1853, and is buried in the family cemetery on the old home place 3 miles north of New Hebron.  Edward was listed in the State Census of 1845 in Rankin County, living alone, and no further record of him has been found.  His two grandsons John Shows Riley and James Columbus Riley, moved to Tyler County, Texas, in 1855.  Edward apparently went with them, but stayed with his son William John Riley, who had moved there before 1846.  As best we can determine, Edward died there in 1855, at the age of 108, thrown from a horse.