by Karen J. Dunn
This is an account of the life of Richard Nugen, a member of Captain Henry Buford’s militia company in Bedford County, Virginia, in August 1777. The lives of the men in this unit are intertwined again and again for years to come.
You won’t find Richard Nugen’s name listed in Virginia Soldiers in the American Revolution or another list of soldiers in the Revolution. Records about privates in the war are few and far between. Records about those killed in the war are fewer yet.
In the case of Richard Nugen, the situation in Virginia became critical when Lord Cornwallis invaded Virginia in 1781. J. T. McAllister put it this way in his book Virginia Militia in The Revolution: “In 1781, practically all of the available militia of Virginia were summoned into service, taking part in the Battle of Guilford Court House, and serving with Lafayette and at the Siege of Yorktown”.
Col. Charles Lynch took three hundred Bedford militia to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina. Lord Cornwallis’ army met General Nathaniel Greene’s army on March 15, 1781. The bloody battle lasted for two and a half hours. Lord Cornwallis’ army chased General Greene’s army from the battlefield. Hundreds of British and American soldiers lay on the battlefield dead, dying or severely wounded.
On May 28, 1781, five widows gathered at the Bedford County Courthouse to initiate the process of settling their husband’s estates. The widows were of three captains killed in Col. Charles Lynch’s Company of riflemen. The husbands of Elizabeth Nugen and Anna Greer were most certainly killed in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse as well. Family and friends gathered to support these widows. Fellow militiamen of Richard Nugen, Sr., Thomas Pate and Samuel Shrewsberry would be appointed to appraise his estate.
In the case of Elizabeth Nugen, she would die before a year passed.
On May 27, 1782, the three youngest children of Richard and Elizabeth Nugen were bonded to Daniel Huddleston. Daniel Huddleston and wife Rachel cared about the orphans of their neighbors Richard and Elizabeth Nugen. Daniel Huddleston brought John Nugen, the youngest bonded child, to Kanawha County, Virginia, in 1790. Kanawha County was on the frontier at the time. The Indians still raided in the area. Daniel Huddleston and John Nugen served in the Rangers to protect the settlements in 1793. Richard Nugen, Jr. (older brother of John Nugen) and Rachael Nugen Huddleston (older sister of John Nugen) moved to Kanawha County too. Richard Nugen Jr. served in the Caperton Rangers in 1793. Richard Nugen, Jr. returned to Bedford County where he died approximately 1808 or 1809.
Richard Nugen, Jr’s children, David and Hannah Nugen came to Kanawha County, Virginia, after the death of their father about 1808 where their Aunt Rachel Nugen Huddleston and Uncle John Nugen lived at that time.
Numerous descendants of David Nugen live in Kanawha and Fayette Counties, West Virginia, today. Many Nugen descendants moved west with the expansion of the nation to the Pacific Ocean.
The events of the Revolutionary War changed the lives of Richard Nugen’s family.
Richard Nugen gave his life for our freedom. He deserves to be remembered and honored.
We need to guard our freedom for which he fought and died.