John O’Rear, Orderly sergeant, Jessie O’Rear, sergeant and Daniel O’Rear, private as going men in Helen’s company of Virginia volunteers, in George Rodgers Clark’s command when he made his expedition against Virginia and Kentucky in 1778 well known to us all from school histories. They were sons of No. 3 John O’Rear of Prince William County, Virginia. All three received land grants in the Indian Territory in recognition of this service, although none of them actually homesteaded their grants. John and Daniel O’Rear both applied for pension under the Act of 1832 and received pensions. Both told of this service in their applications. Daniel O’Rear’s application, dated Dec. 31, 1846, sates in part: (No. s7376)
He remained at his father John O’Rear’s till the spring of the year 1778 and in April he went under Col Rogers Clark as a private in the secret expedition to Illinois in the west which service he did not set forth at large in his former declarations hoping that he should be able to furnish the testimony of two men, Robert Garret and John O’Rear who were with him in said service under Col. Clark and whose certificates he has procured and placed in the hands of James Foster of Prince William -- who says he deposited the same in the war office at Washington. That the said service of eight months and a few days in 1778 under Col. Clark in the West was performed under the command of Captain Leonard Helm who was raised in Price William County and who at the time resided in Kentucky was connected in some way with the Indians in the West, that said Helm came into his native County Prince William and made the call for volunteers and himself the said Daniel O’Rear, Joseph Anderson, Moses Kemper, Tillman Kemper, James Holmes, Robert Garrett, James Woods, James Garrett, Charles Jones, John O’Rear, Jesse O’Rear, Richard Luttrell, and Benjamin Kendale (privates) and Levy Todd was 1st, Henry Floyd was second Leiutenant of the company under Helm making fifteen who went from Prince William County and were his acquaintances and neighbors at the time of the said service. These men formed themselves into a company at the house of his father, John O’Rear of Prince William and marched under the direction of his brother John O’Rear till they reached the said Helm at the present courthouse in said county and then went on to Winchester his company marched on to Red Stone old fort on the Monogahelia River and remained there until the volunteers in that section had collected together and then marched on to the site of Wheeling where there was a fort erected and from Wheeling his company went on to the falls of the Ohio where headquarters was formed and all of the forces had collected together and from the falls of the Ohio his men went to the extensive wilderness to the town of Kansasia then called Illinois, a town of considerable size and residence of the governer named Rosebly a Frenchman in the British Service, that his forces reached the town in that summer season on one Saturday Night the moon shown very bright about midnight his men saw the Sentinel on watch or guard of said fort of Illinois leave his post and went in the fort and his men immediately made the attack and took the governer and fort without firing a single gun and governer was himself asleep in the fort, this was harvest time and he had given a feast and there was a great frollick in the fort that after taking said fort all the town surrendered to his forces that his men then marched on and took the fort of St. Vincennes in the same county on the Wabash River about 50 miles and thar the said governer of these parts and he thinks his name was Rosiblay was taken prisoner as before stated by his men and brought on here to Richmond in the state of Virginia and he understood was afterwards exchanged for General Lincoln who was defeated at Charlestown in South Carolina that after reducing the forts before mentioned together with several other villages the name of which he has entirely forgotten some time in July He thinks, his men started back for home taking with them the said governer and went to the said falls of Ohio and so to Virginia thence on by Stainton in the said state and thence to Richmond and delivered the governer and then went on and reached their home in Prince William County a few days before Christmas of 1778. That from a Cabaliation made by his brother John O’Rear that there were precisely one hundred and seventy seven men including officers in said service under Col. Clark and including Captain Montgomery’s men who he understood were mostly from Pittsylvania County in Virginia but served with his men in this tour. That of this tour of service he has always had a distinct recollection that it was a laborious undertaking and the men saw very hard service and were greatly exposed during the tour both to the enemy and to hardships.