Elijah Isaacs

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Elijah Isaacs (173?-1799) was an early farmer, statesman, and militia officer in Wilkes County, North Carolina during the American Revolution.


Elijah Isaacs was likely born near Berryville, Virginia where in 1771 he sold the farm inherited from his father Samuel Isaacs, Jr. By September 1775 he was in Surry County, North Carolina, and a member of the local Committee of Safety with Benjamin Cleveland and Joseph Winston.[1]

In 1777 he built Fort Defiance on the Yadkin River in Caldwell County, North Carolina. William Lenoir later built a home on the site of Fort Defiance.[2] Isaacs was a representative for Wilkes County in the 1778, 1779, and 1780 sessions of the North Carolina General Assembly. In the 1782 and 1783 sessions he was the senator for Wilkes County. In May 1778, he introduced a bill in the House of Commons to form Wilkes County.[3]

Lieutenant–Colonel Elijah Isaacs was Colonel Benjamin Cleveland’s second in command of the Wilkes County militia during the American Revolution. In August 1780, Isaacs led a regiment under Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford, commander of the militia of western North Carolina. Two days before the Battle of Camden (South Carolina) Isaacs’ regiment was detached from Major General Horatio Gates' army to reinforce Colonel Thomas Sumter. Elijah Isaacs was captured when Lieutenant–Colonel Banastre Tarleton defeated Sumter’s forces at the Battle of Fishing Creek on August 18, 1780.[4]

Lt–Col. Isaacs and Gen. Rutherford, who was captured at the Battle of Camden, were held at St. Augustine, Florida until exchanged in July 1781. From October 1781 through February 1782 Isaacs led a militia regiment fighting against Colonel David Fanning's Tories in Chatham County, North Carolina and Randolph County, North Carolina.[5]

After the American Revolution ended Elijah Isaacs bought land in Georgia and may have lived there briefly. By 1790 he was living in Anderson County, South Carolina where he is believed to have died in 1799.[6][7]