Col. William Minor (1759–1820)

Very few records survive pertaining to Col. William Minor, the third son of John Minor, and Virginia Minor’s grandfather. He married Mildred T. Lewis, daughter of Capt. John Lewis, through whom the Minors are related to Meriwether Lewis of the Louisiana Purchase[1] on January 2, 1790.[2]  Together, they had three children: Warner Washington, Virginia’s father; Lucy; and Elizabeth.[3]

William Minor was a career military man, attaining the rank of Colonel, but his exact years and places of service are unclear. A man named William Minor is listed as serving in the Seventh Virginia Regiment, Continental Line, in the Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution,[4] but the commonness of this name coupled with the lack of additional identifying information makes it impossible to confirm it is the same man.

Similarly, he may have commanded a regiment during the War of 1812 for twenty-five days, under a Captain William Jackson of the Seventh Regiment of the Virginia Militia,[5] but that, too, is unclear. Another record shows a William Minor serving for two months and twenty-seven days in the same war sometime from September 3 to November 28, 1814, under Captain James Lefwich and Major J.T. Woodford.[6] A third record from the War of 1812 shows a Lieutenant William Minor serving for one month, sixteen days in Captain John C. Pryor’s Company in the Fourth Regiment, Fourth Division attached to the Twenty-First Regiment of the Virginia Militia sometime from April 24–July 15, 1813, and December 2, 1814, to February 22, 1815.[7] Virginia Minor’s grandfather could have been all, some, or none of these men.

Col. William Minor died in Hybla in Hanover County, Virginia, in 1820. Given his high military rank, William’s funeral would have included a procession from his home to his burial place led by a “caparisoned” or rider-less horse hooded and/or dressed in black, with William’s boots turned backward in the stirrups or a sword placed through them to symbolize the soldier would never ride again.[8] It may also have included the firing of guns or cannon and the playing of a funeral dirge and ended with a eulogy by someone who knew him well from his time in the military.[9]

[1] Koetting, 6.

[2] Sorley, 132. Some sources list January 26 as the date of their wedding.

[3] “The Minor Family,” Genealogies of Virginia Families,” 709; 31.

[4] “Virginians in the Revolution.”

[5] There is a record of a William Minor serving the Virginia Militia during that war, though no clarifying information is given to be certain it is the same William Minor. “Captain William Jackson’s Company—Seventh Regiment.”

[6] Virginia Militia in the War of 1812, Vol I, Pay Rolls, 185.

[7] Virginia Militia in the War of 1812, Vol I, Pay Rolls, 282.

[8] Banusiewicz, John.

[9] Thacher, James, 212–13.