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Vincent Ranch, Hamilton, Montana, 1914

Colonel John Pyle, M.D.

April 8, 1723 - January 1, 1804

Colonel in the British Army during the Revolutionary War

My 5th Great-Grandfather on Flossie's side of the family

By Bob Vincent

Colonel John Pyle, M.D. was born on April 8, 1723. His father, Dr. Samuel Pyle was 23 and his mother, Sarah, was 21. He married Sarah Baldwin in 1744 in New Castle, Delaware. They had 13 children in 30 years. John was Commissioned a Colonel in the British Army and died on January 1, 1804, in Chatham, North Carolina, having lived a long life of 80 years.


Colonel Pyle, a medical doctor, became a member of the Regulators organized to combat the lawlessness of that time and place. He remained true to the Crown in the Revolutionary War. Dr. Pyle did not consider himself a Tory but a Loyalist who was trying to preserve law and order against those whom he thought were trying to destroy it.

Commissioned a Colonel in the British Army, he was authorized to raise arms and grant commissions. In his only battle, on the night of February 21, 1781, he and his command of 265 cavalrymen engaged in a battle with the superior forces of Lt. Col. Henry “Lighthorse” Lee at the Battle of Haw River. He was ambushed and about 90 of his men killed. He lost an eye and several fingers from his left hand. He was abandoned for dead but revived and crawled to a small lake where he concealed himself in the water with nothing but his nose protruding until the following night when he made his way home.

He and his son, Captain John Pyle, finally surrendered in September 1781 and were later restored to respectability following the end of the War. The descendants of Colonel Pyle migrated to Kentucky, then to Illinois and finally to Missouri.


Source: "With A Ribbon In Her Hair" the biography of Flossie Jewel Pyle - Vincent written by her daughter, Marge Coombs in 1982

John Pyle later became an unwitting hero of the American Revolution. While serving as an adjutant for Cornwallis, he demanded a promotion from the British Army for the loss of his hand and eye. Denied the promotion, he decided to get even. He met George Washington and switched sides. Pyle gave British battle positions to George Washington, thus leading the Continental Army to victory over Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. Before the war was over, King George had offered 5000 pounds for his capture.

Records show that Colonel John Pyle and his son, Captain John Pyle who were both medical doctors, surrendered themselves in 1781 to Capt. William O'Neal of Washington's army. From then on they devoted their medical skills to the sick and injured of the patriot army.

April 3, 2021

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