Conflict Period:
Revolutionary War 1
Militia 1
1763 1
Orange County, Virginia 1
13 Dec 1856 1
Pike County, Kentucky 1

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Full Name:
Moses Stepp 1
Also known as:
Moses Stapp 1
1763 1
Orange County, Virginia 1
13 Dec 1856 1
Pike County, Kentucky 1

Revolutionary War 1

Militia 1

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NC American Revolution Pension S 15655 - Statements

Pike County, Kentucky

Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements

Pension application of Moses Stepp (Stipp) S15655 fn46NC/SC

Transcribed by Will Graves

State of Kentucky, Pike County

On this 26th day of November 1833 personally appeared before the Justices of the Pike County Court Moses Stepp a resident of Kentucky in the County of Pike aged 76 years who being first duly sworn according to law – doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832. That he enlisted in the Army of the United States in the year 1778 under the following named officers and served as herein stated. He first enlisted in State troops of North Carolina in the year 1778 in the month of May under Captain Whitson and Lieutenant Morgan in Burke County and served a tour of eight months in Fort Kider His Colonel was Charles McDowell Captain Whitson and Captain White went to the head of Catawba River to extricate the women and children who were hemmed up by the Indians and as they returned with the women and children they had an engagement with the Indians in which Captain Whitson and Captain White were both wounded Captain Whitson recovered and Captain White died of his wounds in this applicant was left to guard the Fort whilst Whitson and White were gone after the women and children.

At the end of eight months he got a discharge which has since been lost but who it was signed by he cannot recollect and then he went home to the County of Burke State of North Carolina his former place of residence.

His Second term of Service was as a volunteer under Captain Joseph White and Colonel Joseph McDowell. We convened at Davidson's Fort at the head of Catawba River and were marched to the Tennessee River against the Cherokee Indians we killed 4 Indians and wounded another so that we supposed he died we got his blanket with a bullet hole in it and blood on it none of our company were killed or wounded and after being out about four weeks, he returned home to Burke County State of North Carolina. In his third tour of Service he enlisted under Lieutenant John Sumpter for a 10 months tour under General Thomas Sumpter [sic, Thomas Sumter] and he marched on and joined head quarters on the Congaree River at a place called Anchroms [sic, Ancrum's] fine house. His Captain was John McKiney. From thence we marched to a place called Brown's old field and continued there till the battle of Eutaw Springs commenced General Sumter left Lieutenant Sumter and 12 or 15 men to take care of the baggage among whom this applicant was one General Sumter and the balance went on to we remained with the baggage wagon until General Sumter's return from Eutaw which was in about two weeks as well as he can recollect General Sumter then sent out a proclamation offering pardon to such of the Americans as had joined the British Standard provided that he would return and leave the British Service.

General Sumter then sent Major William Buford with about 100 men among whom was this applicant Lieutenant Twitty and Lieutenant Roberson was also along and Captain Ross against the Tories. General Sumter's orders were to take no prisoners but to kill the Tories we marched on from Brown's old field to the Santee Swamps we killed about 24 Tories in the route and after being gone about five or six weeks we returned to Brown's old fields I was discharged in the following year by a lieutenant whose name he has forgotten at General Thomas Sumter's mill on the Santee which discharge has been lost, his memory is much shattered and he cannot recollect positively as to time. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or an annuity except the present and he declares that his name is not on the pension Roll of the agency of any State. Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

S/ Moses Stepp, X his mark

Questions by the Court

1st When and in what year were you born? Ans: I was Born in Orange County Virginia in the year 1763

2nd Have you any record of your age and if so where is it? Ans: I have not, and only know by tradition

3rd Where were you living when called into service: where have you lived since the Revolutionary War and where do you now live?

Ans:I was living in Burke County North Carolina I removed to South Carolina on Tugaloo River & from thence to Russell Virginia and from thence to this County and have lived here the last seven years in Pike County Kentucky

4th How were you called into service; were you drafted; did you volunteer or were you a substitute, and if in substitute, for whom?

Ans: Enlisted under Captain Thomas Whitson for eight months & then volunteered about four weeks under Captain Joseph White & Joseph McDowell Colonel and came home & then under John Sumter. I enlisted for ten months.

5th State the names of some of the regular officers who were with the troops when you served, such Continental and militia regiments as you can recollect and the general circumstances of your service.

Ans: I recollect Colonel McDowell, General Greene, General Sumter, Colonel Wade Hampton, Major William Buford, Captain John McKinzie, Lieutenant John Sumter and many others, he states that he enlisted as a common Soldier for eight months as a volunteer for weeks & enlisted 10 months under Captain Sumter against the British and Eutaw Battle and other tours against the Indians all in the year 1778, 1779 & 1780 and then he was discharged.

6th State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood and who can testify as to your character for veracity and their belief in your services as a soldier in the revolution.

Ans: Thomas Bevins, John Bevins, John Diskens, Richard Kuzer[?] & James Jackson.

7th Did you ever receive a discharge from the service, and if so, by whom was it given and what has become of it?

Ans: I did all except the four weeks tour Thomas Whitson gave me a discharge for the eight month & a Lieutenant for the 10 months whose name I do not recollect all of which is lost.

The Deposition of James Jackson taken before me the undersigned a Justice of the peace in and for the County of Pike and State of Kentucky in relation to the service of Moses Stepp an old Revolutionary Soldier doth on his oath make the following statement, That he is well acquainted with said Moses Stepp and has been before and since the Revolutionary War. That he enlisted and served about eight months. He turned out a volunteer and went out against the Cherokee Indians under Captain Joseph White. He was absent (as I understand from my neighbors & he lived quite close to me. On a 10 months tour having enlisted under Lieutenant Sumter and he was under the command of General Thomas Sumter.

S/ James Jackson, X his mark

State of Kentucky, Pike County

The Deposition of Joseph Ford taken before me the undersigned Justice of the peace in and for said County and State of Kentucky in relation to the Service of Moses Stepp and old revolutionary Soldier doth on his oath state that he has been acquainted with him and further States, that he was acquainted with him during his Service under Captain Thomas Whitson and that they served together eight months& he believes to the best of my knowledge he served under Captain Joseph White.

S/ Joseph Ford, X his mark

[Harrold Johnson, a clergyman, and John Bevins gave the standard supporting affidavit.]

[Applicant was living in Floyd County Kentucky in April 1855 when he applied for an increase in his pension

Last Will and Testament of Moses Stepp; Book 1 Page # 60

Martin County, Kentucky

Will: Stepp, Moses, 1876-Martin Co., KY Book 1 Pg# 60 Last Will & Testament of Moses Stepp

 In the Name of God I Moses Stepp of Martin County Kentucky being in a feeble state of health and having the Fear of God upon me and being in my proper mind and after taking due consideration of the Shortness of Life and the certainty of Death and being desirious of disposing of my Worldly effects by Will. I give and bequeath my sole to God who gave it and leave my body to be disposed of by my friends.  First I give and bequeath to Elias Stepp my son all the land I own on the Camp branch from Alfred Maynards line up the branch by his paying to my Grand Child Maranda Stepp daughter of Thomas Stepp deceased the Sum of Fifty Dollars in good property as her part of my estate.  Second I give and bequeath to my youngest son Moses Stepp Jr. all my land on the Camp branch from Three Willows near the crib just below where Moses Stepp now lives thence up the branch through the center of the bottom to Alfred Maynards line. Thence with his line a South course up the point to a large cliff. Thence up said point to he top of the ridge to the back line of Moses Stepp Survey thence with said Survey to top of the ridge off ? the begining corner. Thence a straight line to the begining.  Third I give and bequeath to Amanda Stepp my daughter the land in the following boundary begining at the three willows Moses Stepp Jr. corner thence a North course to Betts? Ann? Maynards line. Thence with said line to Alfred Maynards line and with his line to the branch thence down the branch with Moses Stepp Jr. line to the begining.  Fourth I give and bequeath to my three daughters Nancy Jane Stepp, Julina Stepp and Martha Stepp all the land I own on the south east side of the Camp branch for Moses Stepp Jr. line to the mouth of the Camp branch and thence up the creek to William Stones line and Betts Ann Wards land if she fails to live on it as specified in the deed from myself to her and to be by then equally divided between them if one or two of them was to die before the become of age the Land then to belong to the one or two of them.  Fifth I give and bequeath to my son John all the land I own on the North East Side of Rockcassel Creek.  Sixth I give and bequeath to my wife Jane Stepp all my personal property at my death except my two year old calf; I have already given to my daughters Mary Maynard, Betts An Ward and Joseph Stepp my son their Interest in my Estate which is already conveyed by deeds to them. In testimony where of I have thereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal in the presence of these witnesses this 28th day of August 1876.  

his Moses X Stepp mark

 Attest J.D.Kirk Wesley White State of Kentucky Martin County Sct. I J.R. Fairchild Clerk of the County Court for the County aforesaid do certify that on the 10 day of March 1879 was produced in open court and admitted to probate as appears to me of Record in my said office. Witness my hand this 9? day of April 1903 J.R. Fairchild, Clerk ? Martin R. Allen D.C.             

Moses Stapp/Stepp (1763 - 1856) of Martin County, Kentucky by HP Scalf

Martin County, Kentucky

Moses Stapp/Stepp (1763 - 1856) of Martin County, Kentucky

"The Stepp/Stapp Families of America", pg. 207, by Henry Preston Scalf, 1976



Moses Stepp, Orange County, Virginia native, and resident of Pike County, Kentucky when he died, was soldier, Indian fighter, hunter, explorer and backwoods settler of five states. He became a legend long before he succumbed to great age, so old his descendants said that when he died he had attained the age of 120 years. If his headstone dates are true on his grave beside the road on the Pigeon Roost Fork of Wolf Creek in the present Martin County, Kentucky, he was the oldest man to ever live in Kentucky.

He joined the revolutionary forces when he was a mere youth, fought Indians and Tories, helping to hang many of the latter. He was a hunter of renown who approached famous marksmen and hunters who earned pages in history but Stepp imprinted himself upon no history and left only legends and the meager data of official records. Between his tours of service in the revolutionary armies he probed the unexplored niches of the Appalachians in the five states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. He was on the Tugaloo in South Carolina when it was Indian country, in the heart of the Blue Ridge when all his surroundings were implacable and pristine, in southwestern Virginia when the deer and bear roamed the hills that overlooked his cabin on Grassy Creek. He left Virginia because settlers built cabins within a few miles of him and wandered into the headwaters of the Licking River in Kentucky. For a few years he thought that he would settle down on the Meadows of Licking but here too settlers came and soon the game was gone. Like Boone who left the more settled communities of Central Kentucky and sought refuge in the Kanawha Valley Stepp turned east in his search for room and game. He found what he wanted in Wolf Creek valley, a tributary of the Tug River that now separates Kentucky and West Virginia. In his old age he continued to hunt and many a lonely safari took him deep into the mountains of Southern West Virginia, then Virginia.

He was blonde, red-headed and tall. His physique was such that men never forgot the expansive and hairy chest, the bulging biceps or the big hands and great feet to match. Living as he did in a period when men of strength and aggressiveness were won to display their prowess in rude combat Stepp had few challengers. It is said that he roundly thrashed two or three, sometimes as many as four challengers who came to vote on Election Day but remained to drink and fight. He was of such strength that he could double back the arm of an opponent and dislocate a shoulder with a swift thrust. Men learned to give him a circumspect glance and back away.

It was his torn disfigured ears that lent fierceness to his physiognomy. The Cherokee had captured him while he was on a lonely hunt in Northwestern South Carolina, tied him to a tree by inserting deer thongs through his ears and prepared to torture him. Before the ordeal began he suddenly wrenched loose and escaped. For the remainder of his life those torn appendages made him a marked man for legends and folk stories. When they buried him on the Pigeon Roost Fork of Wolf Creek, mothers held their children up so they could gaze and were enjoined at the time to remember the man in the coffin. They remembered, many of them for four score years.

He lived to be old, so old that no one could correctly calculate his age for there were no written records. The folk will have their say. They said he was the oldest man who ever lived in Kentucky and when he was interred they inscribed on a rude stone, "born 1735, died 1855." The last date is certainly not correct for War Department records note he died in 1856 but if the stone dates of birth and death had been true he would have been 120 years old at death.

He became a legendary figure long before he died, he remains a legend today, 116 years after his demise. Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia Stepps, all his descendants, talk of him as if he lived but yesterday.

PART II of this book is the story of Moses Stepp and his descendants. The researchers and author trust it will earn an affectionate niche in the hearts of the thousands who claim Moses Stepp as ancestor.

Moses Stepp: Fighting Frontiersman by Evenlynn Cassady

Martin County, Kentucky

Moses Stepp: Fighting Frontiersman

by Evelynn Cassady .html

This writer is a product of the Roy Rogers and Gene Autry era. I spent my Saturdays watching cowboy heroes in white hats blaze trails across the silver screen, bringing law and order to a lawless frontier. It gave me cause to associate the frontier as being somewhere "out west," beyond the Mississippi River.

Now, after some research about Moses Stepp's life adventures during the 1700s and 1800s, I realize that at that      time, the western frontier was right here [Martin County, Kentucky] in our own backyard. And it too was opened up by brave, sometimes reckless rebel frontiersmen in search of one thing: a place to call home, away from the overpopulated colonies along the eastern coast.

 Therefore, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and the Carolinas were part of the western frontier during Moses Stepp's early life. This frontier was inhabited by Indians who, for the same reason, fought to drive back these early settlers. Moses Stepp was one of those fighting frontiersmen, finally settling in Pike/Martin County of Kentucky.

According to research done by Henry P. Scalf, who, in 1976, published a book about the Stepps who settled in this area "The Stepp/Stapp Families of America", Moses Stepp was a huge man with very large hands and feet, a burly body and strawberry blond hair. He was a man whose physique demanded attention, and his fighting ability earned him a respectable reputation among his peers and his enemies. His size made it possible for him to defend himself against as many as four challengers at a time. Only strangers were foolish enough to challenge Moses single-handed.

Moses, a bit of a rebel since his youth, learned to hunt with skill and fight with success. As a young boy, he saw the
hardships and felt the pressure caused by the demands forced upon the settlers of this young country by the King of England, and like most teenagers he rebelled against it. However his father, James Stepp Sr., was a loyal subject to the King and disapproved of Moses' disloyalty to their "Mother Country." It is believed that they had a falling out over the situation. Whether it was his rebellious attitude, or fear for the rest of the family, Moses was either forced to leave or left home on his own at a very early age. His father left him out of his will.

There is some controversy concerning Moses' age at the time of his death--mainly created by himself. He is reported as being the oldest person to live in Kentucky if the marker at his grave site has the correct inscription on it. The inscription reads that Moses was born in 1735 and died in 1855. However, military records show that his death occurred in 1856.

The big question of accuracy is not his death, but when he was born. Moses, in his older days, gave his age and date of birth differently almost every time he filed it, stating that "only by tradition" was he able to give his age. For example, when he applied for a pension in 1833, Moses claimed that he was 76 years old, which would make his birth date 1757. In Pike County later that year, he applied again for a pension giving his birth date as 1763 and place of birth as Orange County, Virginia. That would have made him 92 when he died. In 1855, Moses applied for a pension for the third time in Floyd County, giving his age as 112. That would have made his birth year 1743. However, the Kentucky Pension Roll of 1835 had his age at 77, making his birth date 1758.

Adding to those accounts is the above mentioned marker at his grave site bearing the inscription, "MOSES STEPP 1735 - 1855." According to that, he would have been 120 years old at the time his death. (The above dates were recorded by Mr. Scalf and/or Mrs. Bessie Ward. Both have done extended research on the history of the Stepp family.)

If all the above dates are correct, then there must have been more than one Moses Stepp. That is a possibility. Therefore, the Moses Stepp that settled in Martin County, Kentucky is the one born in Orange County, Virginia during the year of 1762-63. This is based on family history, his siblings' names, relations and friends. Also, this date ties in with Moses' recorded adventures, tax records, marriage and children. That would have made him 93 - 94 years old at the time of his death.

Still, a very old man with a legendary past. (With all the danger and sorrow that he lived through, it probably seemed like 120 years to him.) At that time birth records were not accurately kept as early settlers moved from place to place and mid-wives usually attended the birth of children. Also, being a boy, then a man that traveled throughout the frontier and backwoods, fighting Indians and wars, Moses probably did not do much to celebrate his birthdays if he remembered them at all.

By Evelynn Cassady, Originally published in the Martin County, Kentucky, SUN, November, 1994. Reprinted by permission.


Historical Marker 922; Colorful Frontiersman, Moses Stepp

10 mi. S. of Lovely, Pigeon Roost Valley Rd. Kentucky

Historical Marker 922
Location: 10 mi. S. of Lovely, Pigeon Roost Valley Rd.
Description: Moses Stepp, Colorful frontiersman. An ancient headstone at grave shows he was born 1735, died 1855. Enlisted for three short periods in Revolution and fought Indians and Tories in west Carolinas and east Tennessee. Legend tells that he was captured by the Cherokees and tortured by nailing his ears to a tree. He tore loose and escaped. Came to this area, 1826, for rest of life.

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