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A Heroine of 177 6. 




fccasion of the Unveiling of a Monument 
to Her Memory, at the Guilford Battle 
Ground, July 4th, 1902. 




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Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

University of Nortii Carolina at Chapel Hill 



Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

It has been truly said that a people is poor who have 
no days to celebrate and a people is rich whose history 
is full of heroic days. The history of North Carolina, 
g'lorious as it is, in its recital of heroic virtue and brave 
deeds, tells us of no day more lustrous than that we cel- 
ebrate today — "the supreme moment in the life of Corn- 
wallis and the crisis in the Revolution," when the fatal 
wound was given to royal authoritv from which it ling^er- 
ed and lingering died seven months thereafter at York- 
town. I rejoice and exult with you over the fact that to- 
day our annual pilgrimage to this historic spot hallow- 
ed scarcely more by the memories of the brave deeds of 
the dead heroes who made it famous than by the patriotic 
and unselfish efforts of the few who have been dutifully 
engaged in the pious work of preserving and perpetuat- 
ing its name and fame is under auspices most delightful 
and inspiring. 

Who on this bright, cloudless day, filled with God's 
own sunshine, can look without a sense of delight upon 
this magnificient Park, with its charming groves of state- 
ly oaks, its waving grain, its beautiful flowers, its lovely 
lake, its cool springs, its green meadows and its sacred 
acres of hill and vale.' Who on this anniversary of tbe 
birthday of our Republic in the presence of this multitude 
of God's own people, moved by patriotic impulse to keep 
it holy, can behold without a thrill of inspiration these 
splendid monuments and these beautiful memorial stones 
erected to tell us and those after us of self-sacrifice, noble 
deeds and heroic virtues.' Who that looks upon this 
sacred spot and recalls its deathless record, reclaim- 
ed as it is, beautified and decorated with these imposing 

memnrials, is not moved to uncover in presence of Judge 
Schenck and Maj. Morehead, who have led at untold sac- 
rifice in the great work here accomplished? This audi- 
ence needs not to be told of the great work of Judge 
Schenck, who first secured for the l^attle Ground Asso- 
ciation lodgement in the public attention of this State 
and successfully invoked the aid of our Stale Legislature. 
Nor does it need to be reminded of the strenuous efforts 
of Maj. Morehead throughout these years and that as the 
acting President of this Association for some years past 
has succeeded in securing for it a surer and more exalted 
place in the patriotic love of the people of this State. 

We may rejoice today over another fact and for anoth- 
er reason. Not only does this Company or Association 
occupy a higher and safer place in the affections of our 
own people and under the fostering and continuing care 
of state legislation than ever before, but through the 
vigilance and diligence of President Morehead and our 
representatives of all parties in Congress, the favoring 
eye and the fostering hand of the National Government 
have been attracted as never before. More prom- 
inently and favorably than ever before does our Company 
stand in the esteem of Congress and the people of all 
sections of this great country as is illustrated by the 
action of the present House of Representatives in voting 
two monuments to Generals Nash and Davidson because 
of what has been done here and because of the avowed 
declaration that they should be located here. This is as it 
should be, for does not its history and every memory 
attaching to it belong to our whole country.'' I am per- 
suaded that if Congress and the whole country could see 
with their own eyes what we behold today with ours, 
these nineteen monuments and the great work here ac- 
complished by individual effort in preserving and caring 
for this great battle field on which was fought the critical, 
the tuDiiii^ and the greatest battle of the Revolution — 
that battle which meant so much and was the means of 


securing so much not only for our forefathers but for all 
succeeding generations, no Congress would refuse or hes- 
itate in extending the fostering hand of the national Gov- 
ernment in aid of its permanent preservation. 

But this patriotic Company is not waiting for outside 
help, badly as it needs it. We are here today to witness 
again further evidence of its self-sacrifice and labor of 
love. Yonder stand — hidden as yet from your view — two 
more monuments which we are met to dedicate and unveil 
to-day and which shall stand through coming time to tell 
you and yours and those who shall come after you of the 
virtues of a brave, good woman, and the story of a great 
man. The story of this great man, Nathaniel Macon, you 
have just heard from the eloquent gentleman (Mr. Pitt- 
man) who preceded me. It is for me to tell you some- 
thing of the brave woman in honor of whose memory we 
today unveil on this sacred spot the first monument ever 
erected on American soil to a Revolutionary heroine. 
In song and in story^"in thoughts that breathe and in 
words that burn" — have been toid again and again the sto- 
ry of the virtues, the brave deeds, the sacrifice, the suffer- 
ing and the heroism of the men who fought, bled and 
died in that terrible war for Indepe ndence, but the story 
of the privation, the suffering, the daring and the dying 
of tlic grand reserve army of that war is yet untold and 
unsung. The women by their lonely hearthstones sur- 
rounded by helpless children in the primeval forests, with- 
out mail or telegr aph or Railroad to bring them tidings 
of the absent loved ones — their griefs, their sorrow, their 
suspense, their anxiety, their agony — their death borne 
without a murmur. They died not in the exciting and 
exulting rush of battle. Theirs was the long, slow, 
wasting, lingering death — a thousand deaths. Some- 
times it was coldblooded murder; sometimes it was the 
cold, piercing cutting dagger of helpless grief and some- 
times they fell under the crushing burden of domestic 
care and trouble. Their battles were fought in the 

darkness and loneliness and silence of their homes. 
They heard not the martial music which thrilled 
heroes; they felt not the elbow touch which heroes 
feel in the mad rush of battle. There was never a shout 
or cheer to give them courage and strength. There 
were no medals awarded to them; no promotions were 
bestowed to stimulate them. Theirs was a lonel)- march 
to death, and yet how bravely and how patiently they 
fought to the end no tongue or pen can ever tell. These 
were heroines— and whilst in village, hamlet, town and 
city, from ocean to ocean, we have with stone and 
brass built memorials of every name, size and kind 
in honor of our heroes, the mothers, the wives and the 
daughters of that awful time who toiled and suffered and 
died for their country are unwept, unhonored and unsung. 
Not only did they suffer and fight and toil thus in their 
lonely and desolate homes, but these ministers of com- 
passion, these angels of pity, whenever possible, went to 
the battle fields to moisten the parched tongues, to bind 
the ghastly wounds, and to soothe the parting agonies 
alike of friend and foe, and to catch the last whispered 
messages of love from d}-ing lips. Not since Aaron stood 
between the living and the dead has there ever been a 
ministry so gracious, so patient, so self-sacrificing, so 
tender, so gentle and so faithful as was that of the hero- 
ines of the Revolution. 

Among the brave women who hastened to the field of the 
battle of Guilford Court House to minister to the wound- 
ed and the dying was Mrs. Kerenhappuch Turner, whose 
sons and grandsons were with Gen. Greene in this battle. 
Mrs Kerenhappuch Turner was the wife of James Turner 
one of theearly settlers of Maryland, possessed of his cour- 
agerous spirit as well as noted for her skill in nursing the 
sick, and her wisdom, tact and energy. She loved her 
children with the devotion of a true mother, but she loved 
her country also. Sending forth her sons to the defense 
of their country, she exacted from them the promise that 


she should be kept informed of their whereabouts and 
there needs that she might continue to minister to them. 
One of these sons received a fearful wound in the battle 
of Guilford Court House, but the brave mother came to 
him, riding on horseback all the way from her home in 
Mary, land and herself nursed him back into life and 
service. Placing him in a log cabin, near this spot 
whereon we now stand, upon the floor, beneath the bare 
rafters she bored holes in tubs which she suspended from 
these rafters above the ghastly wounds and keeping these 
tubs filled with cool water from the "Bloody Run" near 
by the constant dripping upon the wound allayed the 
fever, and she thus improvised a treatment as efficacious 
as the "ice pack" of modern science. 

One of her daughters, Elizabeth, married Joseph More- 
head, of North Carolina, of Scotch ancestry and her de- 
scendants have ever been noted for their love of country 
and public spirit. Another daughter, Mary, married 
Charles, the brother of Joseph Morehead, and left off- 
spring in the West. Of these Governor Charles S. More- 
head of Kentucky and his cousin. Governor James Tur- 
ner' Morehead of the same State, have been eminent 
statesmen, having served not only as Governor, but also 
in the Senate of the United States from that State. 

The North Carolina branch of the family has given to 
this State the late Governor John M. Morehead, one of 
the greatest, if not the greatest Governor our State has 
yet produced, who was a great leader of the old Whig 
party, and the greatest internal improvement man the 
State has yet known, and his brother, Hon. James Turner 
Morehead, one of the greatest and most distinguished 
lawyers of his day in this State, and who at one time rep- 
resentedthis District in Congress where he could have 
remained indefinitely but for his positive refusal to remain 
in Congress. He preferred' his profession to which he 
was devoted. 

The late Gov. Morehead is survived by one son, Maj. 


J. Turner Morehead, now of New York City. The only 
surviving sons of the late Hon. James Turner Morehead 
are Col. James T. Morehead, one of the leading and most 
distinguished members of the Greensboro bar, who, like 
his father, is devoted to his profession, preferring it to 
political honors, and Maj. Joseph M. Morehead, who is 
now and has been for some years the acting President of 
the Guilford Battle Ground Company. It was the latter 
who conceived the idea of erecting the beautiful monu- 
ment which we dedicate and unveil to-day in honor of 
the memory of Kerenhappuch Turner. The conception 
of this idea was submitted by him to his patriotic kins- 
man, Maj. J. Turner Morehead of New York City, who 
like all members of this distinguished family, is noted 
for his public spirit, and who with enthusiasm as well as 
with purse and brain, joined President Morehead in the 
execution of the idea under the auspices of said Com- 
pany'. These two men are, therefore, entitled to the 
honor of erecting here the first monument ever built in 
America to a Revolutionary heroine — an honor of which 
they may well be proud and which entitles them to the 
gratitude of every man who loves his country. They 
have set an example worth}' of imitation, which it is to 
be hoped will stimulate others to like manifestation of 
patriotic and filial piety. 

We honor ourselves in honoring the brave and good 
woman of whom I speak today. Her long ride, her 
gentle touch, her tact, her skill and her heroic service 
saved the life of her son. It was an Ancient Roman 
touched perhaps by a transient gleam of Christian truth, 
who said when he turned aside from a career of Asiatic 
Conquest that he would rather save a human life than 
become master of all the dominions of Mithridates. 
This is but one life of which history and tradition tell us. 
How many were saved by the tender ministry of the 
brave women of that awful time will never be known. 
The history of the part enacted by them in that great 

struggle has never been written. I salute the Daughters 
of the American Revolution who honor us today with 
their presence, and bid them God-speed in their pious 
and patriotic work of rescuing from oblivion the history 
of those heroic days. They can render their sex and 
their country no greater service than that of rescuing 
from oblivion those records and traditions which tell 
us of the glorius deeds and God-like sacrifices of the 
brave women of those days. It is fit, Mr. President, 
that the Daughters of the Revolution should join with 
us in the tribute we pay today to one who glorified her 
sex in her homely toils and in her angelic ministry upon 
this battle-field where valor wrote in crimson letters 
"the purple testament of bleeding war." 

It is meet, too, that on this Sabbath of our Government 
this uncounted multitude should come and share with us 
the honor of dedicating to a brave woman this beautiful 
monument around which in the coming years youth and 
age shall gather and linger to read its story, and to study 
the annals emblazoned by the Christ-like services of the 
heroines of the Revolution. 

Then upon this holy ground whereon fell the tears of 
our mothers and the blood of our fathers in the starless 
night of their supremest effort, let us reverently uncover 
in the presence of this most fitting and beautiful memo- 
rial to the memory of a Revolutionary mother. 

" The bravest battle that was ever fought, 
Shall I tell you where or when ? 
On the maps of the world you will find it not, 
'Twas fought by the mothers of men. 

Nay, not with cannon or battle shot, 
With a sword or nobler pen ; 
Nay, not with eloquent word or thought 
From mouths of wonderful men. 

But deep in a walled up woman's heart, 
A woman that would not yield, 


But bravely, silent'y bore her part — 
Lo, there is that battlefield. 

No marshalling troops, no bivouac song, 
No banner to gleam and wave ; 
I5ut oh these battles they la^t so long, 
From bab\ hood to the grave. 

Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars. 
She fights in her walled up town : 
Fights on and on in the endless wars, 
Then silent, unseen, goes down. 

Oh ye with banners and battle shot, 
And soldiers to shout and praise. 
I tell you the kingliest victories fought 
Are fought in these silent ways. 

Oh, spotless woman in a world of shame 
With splendid and silent scorn, 
Go back to God as white as you came — 
The kingliest warrior born.