Saturday, March 25, 2006

Revolutionary War Veteran Peter Shields

Left: British Redcoats of the Battlefield

Peter Shields was Phoebe (Conrad) Skinner's grandfather: her mother's father. See the entry "Orlando's Grandmother, Phoebe Conrad" and for more on Peter Shields' adventures see

We know Peter Shields was christened on Jan 26, 1756 in Lanchester, Durham, England. His parents had lived in Ireland, maybe they were Irish.

Peter came to America as a British soldier during the American Revolution and served under General Burgoyne. When Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga Peter and his fellow English and Hessian soldiers were marched to Cambridge, Massachusits and then to a POW camp in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Many of the Hessians deserted as they passed through the German communities in Pennsylvania. The English prisoners of war also wondered what they were fighting for, and chose to join the colonies and fight for freedom. Peter was one of those. He deserted the British and served in the Continental Army and witnessed the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Va. in 1781.

In return for his military service, Peter was granted 70 acres of land in Hardy County Va. April 2, 1783. He married Elizabeth Singleton in Hardy County about 1783 on North Mill Creek
and they lived there until about 1807 when they moved to Salt Lick in what is now Braxton County.

Left and right: the 1794 documentation of the survey for 70 acres of land in Hardy county that Peter Shields purchased. Double click on the images to enlarge them. Thanks to Dolores Derrico for these images.

All the Conrads and Skinners of Orlando, among many others, descend through Peter Shields.

Material in this entry has been taken fron the information provided by Howard Bee and Darryll Groves and Paul Frazier in their family trees published at and


  1. I am also a descendant of Peter Shields through Peter Shields Jr, his daughter Ellanor Shields, her daughter Virginia High, her son Benjamin Whittaker, my mother May Ada Whittaker. I am trying to prove the service of Peter Shields. I am searching all the soldier's documents for the British Regiments who were either with Burgoyne, or in the area of VA, or POWs in VA. I did not find his name in the records of the Convention Prisoners at Charlotteville (Burgoyne's Army). He does not appear in the Continental Army records either. However, there was a company of men from Hampshire County who were gathered under Captain George Bell, under Col. Joseph Neville (who originally owned the land that Peter got in Hampshire/later Hardy Co.), under General George Weedon, and ultimately under George Washington. This company of VA Militia was present at Yorktown and helped to keep Cornwallis from retreating or getting any supplies, which was instrumental in forcing him to surrender. NARA does not keep records of the VA Militia; and, there are very few records left of any of these men. However, I am well on the way to proving a very good circumstantial case for Peter having served in the VA Militia at Yorktown. I have a site to which I post all my family stories which has this story of Peter, as well as the story of his grandson, Peyton Baines Shields, who survived both Andersonville Prison and the Sultana Disaster:

    More Taming the Tree

    Anyone is welcome to visit this site, as well as the other three I have built that have links to them from the above site.

    Dee D'Errico

  2. Here is a link to the Peyton Baines Shields story of his survival of Andersonville and the Sultana Disaster.

    Dee D'Errico