General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Conrad Keck

Conrad Keck was born in Northampton County Pennsylvania in 1755. In 1777 at the age of 22, Keck joined the Captain Isaac Koren Company of Proctor’s PA artillery.
 His pension states he was at Brandywine, Germantown, and other battles. His company also fought at Monmouth Courthouse so there is a possibility he may have been there. At the battle of Brandywine PA which was fought on September 11, 1777, Proctor’s artillery was positioned behind the John Chad house on the right flank of General Anthony Wayne.  At 10Am, Proctors cannons started firing at the advancing Hessians under the command of General Wilhelm Knyphausen. The fighting continued until 5pm when Knyphausen overran Proctor’s position. Proctor was forced to leave his cannons behind at the battle of Brandywine during the retreat, a great loss for the Continental army.
   At the battle of Germantown PA which was fought on October 4, 1777, Keck along with Proctor’s artillery fired into the Chew House where most of the British Army had barricaded themselves in. The Continental army was winning the battle until General Stephens of the Continental army appeared at Germantown in a drunken stupor and ordered his men to fire blindly into the dense fog. Proctor’s artillery was forced to retreat when they started getting hit by the bullets being fired into the fog. General Stephens was court-martialed for this action.
  If Keck was at the battle of Monmouth fought on June 28, 1778, he participated in the fiercest Artillery duel of the revolutionary war. At 10 AM, the British started firing their cannons at the right flank of the continental army. Proctor’s cannons fired back. For two hours, both armies would bombard each other with over 1600 rounds of round shot and cannon balls from the 12 cannons each side had. The cannon balls plowed bloody lanes into the lines of both armies. At 12 pm. General Charles Lee ordered Anthony Wayne positioned in the center to feint a retreat so the right and left flanks of the Continental army could surround the British army.  Due to poor communications on the battlefield, the left and right flanks began to retreat also thinking an order of retreat had been given. Washington arrived on the field of battle at the right time to rally his forces and take command of the battle. By 12:30pm, Washington had moved his artillery behind the Perrine farm ridge. The British positioned their artillery in a hedge row in front of the continental army. For the next 6 hours, the fiercest fighting and artillery duel of the Revolutionary war began to take place. The Continentals won the Artillery battle when Greene brought up 4 more cannons making it a total of 16 cannons that the Continentals had firing at the British. At nightfall the British began their retreat when they were pounded again by the Continental Artillery and was forced to pull back. At 11pm, the British sneaked quietly off of the battlefield while the Continental army slept.
 After the war in 1780, Keck moved to Orange county NC where he met and married Maryann Moser. From this Union they had 14 children. Keck arrived in Claiborne county TN in 1800. By 1814, Keck had moved to Hunting creek located in Sharps chapel TN. In 1832, Keck applied for a pension for his revolutionary war service. On February 7, 1836, Keck died and was buried in Irwin cemetery located nearby.
 His wife Maryann stayed in Claiborne County where she died in 1851 and was buried next to her husband. During the Civil war, several Keck’s joined the Confederate army. In 1884, most of the Kecks lived in a community in Claiborne County called Kecks chapel where most still live today. Today most of Keck’s descendents live in the Claiborne, Campbell and Union County TN regions.

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