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S KiE T C H E S 


Western North Carolina, 









O. L. HUNl^ER, 





"History maketh a young man to be old without either wiinkle? or gray 
hairs : privilegiug him with the experience of age, without either the infirmities 
or InconviDic-nce tliereo/." Fuller's ''Holy War^ 

Entered according to Act of CongresF, ty 
m the office of Librarian o' Coneress, Washlnston, D. C, A. D. 187T, 

















History Las been defined, " Philosophy teaching by ex- 
ample." There is no branch of literature in a republic 
like ours, that can be cultivated with more advantage to- 
the general reader than history. From the infinite va- 
riety of aspects in which it presents the dealings of Provi- 
dence in the afliairs of nations, and from the immense 
number of characters and incidents which it brings into 
view, it becomes a source of continuous interest and en- 

The American Revolution is undoubtedly the most 
interesting event in the pages of modern history. Changes 
equally great and convulsions equally violent have often 
taken place in the Old World ; and the records of former 
times inform us of many instances of oppression,which,urged 
beyond endurance, called forth the spirit of successful resist- 
ance. But in the study of the event before us — the story 
of the Revolution — we behold feeble colonies, almost with- 
out an army — without a navy — without an established 
government — without a good supply of the munitions of 
war, firmly and unitedly asserting their rights, and, in 
their defence, stepping forth to meet in hostile array, the 
veteran troops of a proud and powerful nation. We be- 
hold too, these colonies, amidst want, poverty and mis- 
fortunes, animated with the spirit of liberty and fortified 
by the rectitude of their cause, sustaining for nearly eight 


years, the weight of a cruel conflict upon their own soil. 
At length we behold them victorious ; their enemies sul- 
lenly retiring from their shores, and these feeble colonies 
enrolled on the page of history as a free, sovereign and 
independent nation. 

The American struggle for freedom, and its final 
achievement, was an act in the great drama of the 
world's history of such vast magnitude, and fraught with 
such momentous consequences upon the destinies of civil- 
ization throucfhout the world, that we can scarcelv ever 
tire in contemplating the instrumentalities by which, 
under Divine guidance, it was eftected. It has taught 
mankind that oppression and misrule, under an}' govern- 
ment, tends to -weaken and ultimately destroy the power 
of the oppressor ; and that a people united in the cause of 
freedom and their inalienable rights, are invincible by 
those who w'ould enslave them. 

1^0 State in our Union can present a greater display of 
exalted patriotism, enduring constancy and persistent 
braver}' than Xorth Carolina. And yet, how many of 
our own people do we find who know but little of the 
early history of the State, her stern opjiosition to tyranny 
under every form, and her illustrious Revolutionary 

On the shores of Xorth Carolina the first settlenient of 
English colonists was made ; within her borders the most 
formidable opposition to British authority, anterior to the 
Eevolution, was organized ; by her people Xhe first declara- 
iion of independence wa's proclaimed, and some of the 


most brilliant achievements took place upon her own 


For several years, at intervals, the author has devoted 
.a portion of his time and attention to the collection of 
historical facts relating principally to Western North 
Carolina, and bordering territory of South Carolina, to 
whom, as a sister State, and having a community of inter- 
ests, North Carolina frequently afforded relief in her hour 
of greatest need. 

Such materials, procured at this late day— upon the ar- 
rival of our National Centennial year, are often imperfect 
and fragmentary in character — merely scattered facts and 
incidents gathered here and there from the traditional 
recollections of our oldest inhabitants, or from the musty 
records of our State and county otiices ; and yet, it is be- 
lieved such facts, when truthfully transmitted to us, are 
worthy of preservation and rescue from the gulf of obli- 
vion, which unfortunately conceals from our view much 
valuable information. 

Being the son of a Revolutionary patriot, and accus- 
tomed in his boyhood to listen with enraptured delight to 
the narration of thrilling battle-scenes, daring adventures, 
narrow escapes and feats of personal prowess during the 
Revolution, all tending to make indelible impressions 
upon the tablet of memory, the author feels a willingness 
to "contribute his mite" to the store of accumulated ma- 
terials relating to North Carolina, now waiting to be 
moulded into finished, hostoric shape by some one of her 
gifted sons. ' 

Several of the sketches herein presented are original, 


and have never before been published. Others, somewhat 
condensed, have been taken from Wheeler's " Historical 
Sketches," when falling within the scope of this work. 
To the venerable author of that compilation, the author 
also acknowledges his indebtedness for valuable informa- 
tion furnished from time to time from the " Pension 
Bureau" at Washington City, relating to the military 
services of several of our Revolutionary patriots. 

The author and compiler of these sketches only aspires 
to the position of a historian in a limited sense. It can- 
hot be denied that the history of our good old State, 
modest in her pretensions, but filled with grand, patriotic 
associations, has never been fully written. Acting under 
this belief, he feels tempted to say, like Ruth following 
the reapers in the time of Boaz, he has "gleaned in the 
field until even," and having found a few "handfuls" of 
neglected grain, and beaten them out, here presents his 
^'ephah of barley" — plain, substantial food it is true, but 
yet may be made useful mentally to the present genera- 
tion, as it was physically of old, to the inhabitants of 

In conclusion, the author cherishes the hope that other 
eons, and daughters too, of iSTorth Carolina— some of them 
forming with himself, connecting links of the j^^ast with the 
jyresent — will also become gleaners in the same field of re- 
search, abounding yet with scattered grains of neglected 
and unwritten history worthy of preservation. 

If the author's efibrts in this direction shall impart ad- 
ditional information, and assist in elucidating "liberty's 
story" in the Old North State, his highest aspirations will 
be gratified, and his agreeable labors amply rewarded. 



Original Settlements in North Carolina akd Char- 
acter OF THE PEOPLE, 1 


Mecklenburg County, 19 

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, 24 

A brief account of the Mecklenburg Centennial, 31 

The Grand Procession, 33 

Exercises at the Fair Grounds, 34 

James Belk — A Veteran Invited Guest, 38 

Signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, 39 

Origin of the Alexander Families of Mecklenburg County,.... 59 

Jack Family, Gl 

Captain Charles Polk's "Muster Roll," 89 

President James li. Polk, 92 

General William Davidson, , 95 

General George Graham, 98 

William Richardson Davie, 99 

Battle of the Hanging Rock, 106 

General Michael McLeary, 112 

Major Thomas Alexander, ." 113 

Captain William Alexander, 115 

Elijah Alexander, IIG 

Captain Charles Alexander, 117 

Joseph Kerr—" The Cripple Spy," 120 

Robert Kerr, 122 

Henry Hunter, 123 

James Orr, 125 

Skirmish at Charlotte; or, First attack of the " Hornets,".... 126 

Surprise at Mclntire's ; or, the " Hornets " at work, 136 

Judge Samuel Lowrie, l-il 


The Ladies of the Revolutionary Period, 142 

Mrs. Eleanor Wilson, 146 

Queen's Museum, • •••,• 152 


€abarrus County, 157 

The "Black Boys" of Cabarrus, 158 

Dr. Charles Harris, ■ 162 

Captain Thomas Caldwell, 164 


HowAN County, 16G 

Route of the British Army through Mecklenburg and Rowan 

Counties, 172 

General Griffith Rutherford, 170 

Locke Family, 178 

Hon. Archibald Henderson, 179 

Richard Pearson, 180 

Mrs Elizabeth Steele, 183 


Irkdell County, 186 

Col. Alexander Osborn 186 

Captain William i~harpe, 187 

Major AVilliam Gill, Captain Andrew Carson, and others, 189 

•Captain Alexander Davidson, 194 

Captain James Houston, 194 

Captain James Houston's Muster Roll, 190 

Rev. James Hall, 196 

Hon. Hugh Lavvson White, 202 


Lincoln County, 205 

Battle of Ramseur's Mill, 206 

Route of the British Army through Lincoln County, 218 

Gen. Joseph Graham, 225 


Brevard Famil}^..... 232 

■Col, James Johnston, 238 

-Genealogy of Uol. James Johnston, 247 

Jacob Forney, Sr., 251 

Gen. Peter Forney, 258 

Major Abram Forney, 264 

Remarks, 269 

■Genealogy of the Forney Family, 270 


«Gaston County, 278 

Rev. Humphrey Hunter, 278 

Dr. William McLean, 285 

Major William Chronicle, 289 

Captain Samuel Martin, 291 

Captain Samuel Caldwell, 294 

Captain John Mattocks, 295 

William Rankin, 297 

General Jonn Moore ; 299 

Elisha Withers 300 


Oleaveland County, 301 

Battle of King's Mountaui, 301 

Colonel William Campbell, 312 

Colonel Isaac Shelby, 314 

Colonel" .James D. Williams, 321 

Colonel Williarr; Graham, 322 

Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Hambright, 324 


Burke County, 328 

Battle of the Cowpens, 329 

General Daniel Morgan, 335 

General Charles McDowell and Brothers, 337 



Wilkes County, 342 

Colonel Benjamin Cleaveland, 342 

Colonel John Sevier, 344 

General William Lenoir, 346 


Miscellaneous, 3G() 

Lord Cornwallis, 8&0 

Calonel Tarleton, 351 

Cherokee Indians, 352 

Conclusion, 357 



October 12, 


July 4, 









May 16, 


August 25, 


May 20 



June 17, 




December 9, 


February 17, 
August 27, 


December 12 


December 26 


Aug. & Sept. 


January 3, 

September 11, 


October 4, 


October 7, 


June 28, 


March 3, 


June 2", 


May 1', 


June 2 ', 


August 7, 


August U>, 


October 7, 


January 17, 

March 15, 




October 19, 


January 2i), 


September 3, 



Columbus discovered America. 

Amaclas and Barlow approach the coast of North Carolina. 

Charter of Charles II, William Drummond, first Governor 
of North Carolina. 

John Culpeper's Kebellion. 

Carolina divided into North and South Carolina. 

First Church erected in North Carolina. 

First Newspaper published in the United States. 

Carey's Kebeliion. 

Charter of Charles II, surrendered. 

stamp Act passed. 

Battle of Alamance. 

Popular Assembly at Newbern. 

Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. 

General Washington commander-in-chief. 

Battle of Bunker's Hill. 

Josiah Martin. Koyal Governor, retreated. 

Battle of Great Bridge, near Norfolk, Va. 
" of Moore's Creek, N. C. 
" of Long Island. 

Constitution of North Carolina formed at Halifax. 

Battle of Trenton. 

General Kutherford subdues the Cherokees. 

Battle of Princeton. 
" of Brandyw ne. 
" of Germantown. 
" of Saratoga. 
'• of Monmouth 

Ashe dt feated at Brier Creek. 

Battle of Stono, near Charleston. 

Surrt'nder of Charleston. 
jBattle of Eamsour's Mill. 
j " of the Hanging Kock. 
j Gates defeated at Camden. 
■ Battle of King's Mountain. 
I '■ of the (!owpens. 

" of aulUVirrt Court House. — 
I " ofEutaw. 
I " ofYorktown. 
|Trf aty of peace at Versailles, 
tlngiand recognize-s the Inddpendence of the United State?, 

Constitution of the United States formed. 



North Carolina, in the days of her colonial existence. 
was the asylum and the refuge of the poor and the op- 
pressed of all nations. In her borders the emigrant, the 
fugitive, and the exile found a home and safe retreat. 
Whatever may have been the impelling cause of their 
emigration — whether political servitude, religious perse- 
cution, or poverty of means, with the hope of improving 
their condition, the descendants of these enterprising, 
suffering, yet prospered people, have just reason to bless 
the kind Providence that guided their fathers, in their 
wanderings, to such a place of comparative rest. 

On the sandy banks of North Carolina the flag of Eng- 
land w^as first displayed in the United States. Roanoke 
Island, between Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, aflbrded 
the landing place to the first expedition sent out undei' 
the auspices of Sir Walter Raleigh, in 15S4. "The fra- 
grance, as they drew near the land, says Amadas in hi.^ 
report, was as if they had been in the midst of sonic deli- 
cate garden, abounding in all manner of odoriferou* 
dowers." Such, no doubt, it seemed to them during the 
iirst summer of their residence in 1584; and, notwith- 
standing the disastrous termination of that, and several 
succeeding expeditions, the sanae maritime section ol 
North Carolina has presented its peculiar features of at- 
tractiveness to many generations which have since arisen 
there, and passed away. In the same report, we have 
the first notice of the celebrated Scuppernong grape, 
yielding its most abundant crops under the saline atmos- 


pheric influence, and semi-tropical climate of eastern 

From the glowing description of the country, in its 
primitive abundance, transmitted to Elizabeth and her 
('ourt, they gave it the name Virginia, being discovered 
in the reign of a cirgin Queen. But having failed in this 
and several other attempts of a similar kind, Sir Walter 
Raleigh surrendered his patent, and nothing more was 
done in colonizing Virginia duringtheremainder of that 

In 1607, the lirst permanent settlement was made by 
the English at Jamestown, Va., under the charter of the 
London or Southern Company. This charter contained 
none of the elements of popular liberty, not one elective 
franchise, nor one of the rights of self-government; but 
religion was especially enjoined to be established accord- 
ing to the rites and doctrine of the Church of England. 
The infant colony suffered greatly for several years from 
threatened famine, dissensions, and fear of the Indians^ 
1)ut througli the energy and firmness of- Capt John Smith, 
was enabled to maintain its ground, and in time, show 
evident signs of prosperity. The jealousy of arbitrary 
power, and impatience of liberty among the new settlers, 
induced Lord Delaware, (iovernor of A'irginia in 1G19, to 
reinstate lliem in the full possession of the rights of Eng- 
lishmen ; and he accordingly convoked a Provincial 
Assembly, i\\(i first ever held in America. The delibera- 
tions and laws of this infant Legislature were transmitted 
to England for approval, and so wise and judicious were 
these, that the company under whose auspicies they 
were acting, soon after confirmed and ratified the ground- 
work of wlmt gr.'idiinlh' I'iponed into the American rrprc- 
■sculoticc »ijt;iciii. Ihe guarantee of political rights led to 
a rapid colonization. Men were now willing to regard 
Virginia as their home. " They fell to building houses 
and planting corn.'' Women were induced to leave the 


parent couiitiy to become the wives of adventurous 
planters ; and during the space of three j^ears thirty-five 
hundred persons of both sexes, found their wa}-- to Vir- 
ginia. By various modifications of their charter, the 
colonists, in a few years, obtained nearly all the civil 
rights and privileges Avhich they could claim as British 
subjects ; but the church of England was " coeval with 
the settlement of Jamestown, and seems to have been 
considered from the beginning as the established re- 
ligion." At what time settlements were first perma- 
nently made within the present limits of North Car- 
olina, has not been clearly ascertained. In 1G22, the 
Secretary of the colony of Virginia traveled over- 
land to Chowan River, and described, in glowing 
terms, the fertility of the soil, the salubrity of 
the climate, and the kindness of the natives. In 1643, a 
company obtained permission of the Virginia Legisla- 
ture to prosecute discoveries on the great river South of 
the Appomatox of which they had heard, under a 
monopoly of the profits for fourteen years, but with what 
jneasure of success has not been recorded. These early 
exploring parties to the South, bringing back favorable 
reports of the fertile lauds of the Chowan and the Roa- 
noke could not fail to excite in the colony of Jamestown 
a spirit of emigration, many of whose members were 
already sutfering under the baneful effects of intolerant 
legislation. In 1643, during the administration of Sir 
William was specially "ordered that no min- 
ister should preach or teach, publicly or privately, except 
in conformity to the constitutions of the church of Eng- 
land, and non-cXDnformists were banished from the 
'•olony.""'^ If is natural to suppose that individuals as 
well as families, who were fond of a roaming life, or who 
disliked the religious persecution to which they were 
subjected, would descend the banks of these streams until 

•f BaiKTofl. I., r- '■^'f*- 


they found on the soil of Carolina suitable locations for 
peaceable settlements. 

In 1653, Roger Green led a company across the wilder- 
ness from Nansemond, in Virginia, to the Chowan River, 
and settled near Edenton. There they prospered, and 
others, influenced by similar motives, soon afterward fol- 
lowed. In 1662, George Durant purchased of the 
Veopim Indians the neck of land, on the North-side of 
Albemarle Sound, which still bears his name. It was 
settled by persons driven off from Virginia through reli- 
gious persecutions. In 1663, King Charles II, granted 
to the Earl of Clarendon and seven other associates, the 
whole of the region from the thirty-sixth degree of north 
latitude to the river San Matheo, (now the St. John's) in 
Florida; and extending westwardly, like all of that 
monarch's charters, to the Pacific Ocean. . 

At the date of this charter, (1663,) Sir William Berke- 
ley, Governor of Virginia, visited the infant settlement 
on the Chowan, and being pleased with its evident signs 
■of prosperity, and increasing importance, appointed Wil- 
liam Drumraond the first Govcrnoi' of the Colon}' of Carolina. 
Drnmmond was a Scotch Presbyterian, and, inheriting 
the national characteristics of that people, was prudent, 
cautious, and deejjly impressed with the love of liberty. 
-Sucb were the pioneer settlements, and such was the first 
Governor of North Carolina. The beautiful lake in the 
centre of the Dismal Swamp, noted for its healthy water, 
and abundantly laid in by sea-going vessels, perpetuates 
'Iiis name. 

In 1665, it being discovered that the " County of Albe- 
marle/' as the settlement on the Chowan was called, was 
iiot in the limits of the Carolina charter, but in Virginia, 
King Charles, on petition, granted an enlargement of 
that instrument so as to make it extend from twenty- 
jiine degrees to thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes, 
3\orth latitude. These charters were liberal in the con- 


cession of civil rights, and the proprietors were permitted 
to exercise toleration towards non-conformists, if it should 
be deemed expedient. Great encouragement was held 
forth to immigrants from abroad, and settlemenis steadily 
increased. They were allowed to form a representative 
government, with certain limitations; and thus a degree 
of popular freedom was conceded, which it setms, was 
not intended to be permanent, but it could never be 
recalled; and had an important influence in producing 
the results which we now enjoy. As the people were 
chiefly refugees from religious oppression, tliey had no 
claims on government, nor did they wish to draw its 
attention. They regarded the Indians as the true lords 
of the soil ; treated with them in that capacity ; purchased 
their lands, and obtained their grants. At the death of 
Governor Drummond in 16G7, the colony of Carolina 
contained about four thousand inhabitants. 

The first assembly that made laws for Carolina con- 
vened in the Fall of 1669. "Here," says Bancroft, "was a 
colony of men scattered among forests, hermits with 
wives and children resting on the bosom of nature, in 
perfect harmony witli the wilderness of their gentle clime. 
The planters oi' Albemarle were men led to tlio choice of 
their residence from a hatred of restraint. Are there 
any who doubt man''s capacity for self-c'iovernment? Let 
them stud}^ the histoty of Nortli Carolina. Its inhabi- 
tants were restless and turbulent in their imperfect sub- 
mission to a government imposed from abroad ; the ad- 
ministration of the colony was firm, humane, and tran- 
quil when they were left to take care of themselves. Any 
government but one of their own institution was oppres- 
sive. North ( arolina was settled by the freest of the free. 
The settlers were gentle in their tempers, of serene minds, 
enemies to violence and bloodshed. Not all the succes- 
sive revolutions had kindled vindictive passions; free- 
dom, entire freedom was enjoyed without anxiety as 


withoutguarantees. The chanties of life were scattered at 
their feet like the flowers of their meadows."* No freer 
country was ever organized by man. Freedom of con- 
science, exemption from taxation, except by their own 
consent; gratuities in land to every emigrant, and other 
wholesome regulations claimed the prompt legislative 
action of the infant colony." "These simple lavrs suited 
a simple people, wlio were as free as the air of their 
mountains; and Avhen oppressed, were as rough as the 
billows of the ocean." t 

Tn 1707, a company of Huguenots, as the French Pro- 
testants were called, settled on the Trent. In 1709, the 
Lords Proprietors granted to Baron de Graffenreidt ten 
thousand acres of land on the Neuseand Cape Fear rivers 
for colonizing purposes. In a short time afterwar-, a 
great number of Palatines Germams) and fifteen hun- 
dred Swiss followed the Baron, and settled at the conflu- 
ence of the Trent and the Neuse. The town wa? called 
New Berne, after Berne, in Switzerland, the birth-place 
of Graffenreidt. This was the first important introduc- 
tion into Eastprn Carolina of a most excellent class of 
liberty-loving people, who>e descendants wherever their 
lots were cast, in our country, gave illustrious proof of 
their valor and }>atriotisin during the Revolutionary 

Tn 1729, the Lords Proprietors (except Lord Granville) 
surrendered the government of the province, with all the 
franchises under the chatter of Charles II, and their pro- 
perty in the soil, to the crown for a valuable considera- 
tion. The j)Opulation at that time did not exceed ten 
thousand inhabitants. George Burrington, Governor of 
the province under the Lords Proprietors, wns re-appoint- 
ed to the same office by the King. In February, 1731, 
he thus officially wi'ites to the Duke of New Castle, "'^he 
inhabitants of North Carolina are not industrious, but 

* ■Rnnp.rnff Vol. TT. 11 T;« + Wli 


subtle and crafty to admiration ; always behaved in- 
solently to their Governors; some of them the}' have 
imprisoned ; drove others out of tlie country ; and at 
other times have set up a governor of their own choice, 
supported by men under arms. These people are neither 
to be cajoled nor outwitted. Whenever any governor 
attempts to effect anything by these means, he will lose 
his labor, and show his ignorance." Lord Granvihe's 
part of the colony of North Carolina (one-eighth) was not 
laid off to him, adjoining Virginia, until 1743. At that 
date, a strong tide of emigration was taking place from 
the Chowan and Roanoke, the pioneer attractive points^ 
of the colony, as well as from abroad, to the great inte- 
rior, and Western territory, now becoming dotted with 
numerous habitations. The Tuscarora Indians, the ter- 
rible scourge of Eastern Carolina, having been subdued, 
and entered into a treaty of peace and friendship in 
1718, no serious obstacle interposed to prevent a Western 
extension of settlements. Already adventurous individ- 
uals, and even families of hardy pioneers had extended 
their migrations to the Ea-tern base of the " Bhie 
Flidge," and selected locations on the head-waters of the 
Yadkin and Catawba river.=. In 1734, Gabriel .Johnston 
was appointed Governor of North Carolina. He was a 
.^potchman by birtli, a man of letters and of liberal 
views. He was by' profession a physician, and held the 
appointment of Professor of Oriental Languages in the 
University of Saint Andrews. Llis addresses to the Leg- 
islature show that he fully appreciated the lamentable 
condition of the colony through the imprudence and 
vicious conduct of his predecessor (Burrington) and his 
earnest desire to promote the v/elfare of the people. 
Under his prudent administration, the province increased 
in population, wealth and happiness. At the time of its 
purchase by the crown, its population did not exceed 
thirteen thousand; it was now upwards of forty five 


In 1754, Arthur Dobbs was appointed Governor by the 
crown. His administration of ten years presented a con- 
tinued contest between himself and the Legislature on 
matters frivolous and unimportant. His high-toned temper 
for ro3''al prerogatives was sternly met by the indomita- 
ble resistance of the colonists. The people were also 
much oppressed by Lord Granville's agents,oneof whom 
(Corbin) was seized and brought to Enfield, where be 
was compelled to give bond and security, produce hi^ 
books, and disgorge his illegal fees. But notwithstand- 
ing these internal commotions and unjust exactions^, 
always met by the active resistance of the people, the 
colony continued to increase in power, and spread abroad 
its arms of native inherent protection. During the entire- 
administrations of Governors Johnston and Dobbs, com- 
mencing in 1734 and ending in 1765, a strong tide of 
emigration was setting into North Carolina from two 
opposite directions. While one current from Pennsyl- 
vania passed down through Virginia, forming settlement* 
in its course, another current met it from the South, and 
spread itself over the inviting lands and expansive do- 
main of the Carolinas and Georgia. Near the close o* 
Governor Johnston's administration (1750) numerou?« 
settlements had been made on the beautiful plateau of 
country between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers. At 
this time, the Cherokee Indians, the most powerful of 
the Western tribes, still claimed the territory, as rightful 
■'lords of the soil," and were committing numerous depre- 
dations and occasional murders. In 1756, Fort Dobbs. 
about twenty miles West of Salisbury, was built for the- 
protection of the small neighborhood of farmers and 
graziers around it. Even the thriving colony of "Albe- 
marle County " on the seaboard now felt its growing im- 
portance- was beginning to call for "more room," and 
seek new possessions in the interior, thus unconscioush- 
fulfilling the truth of the poet's prediction, "Westward 
the course of empire takes its way." 


On the 3(1 of April, 1765, William Tryon qualified as 
"(Jommander in-chief, and Captain-General of the Pro- 
vince of North Carolina. The administration of Gover- 
nor Tryon embraces an important period in the history 
of the State. He was a soldier by profession, and being- 
trained to arms, looked upon the sword as the true scep- 
ter of government. "He knew when to flatter, and when 
to threaten. He knew when 'discretion was the better 
part of valor,' and when to use such force and cruelty 
as achieved for him from the Cherokee Indians, the 
bloody title of the 'Great Wolf of North Carolina.' He 
could use courtesy tawards the Assembly when he desired 
large appropriations for his magnificent palace; and 
knew how to bring to bear the blandishments of the female 
society of his family, and all the appliances of generous 
hospitalit^^"* Governor Tryon first met the Assembly 
in the town of Wilmington on the od of May 1765. "In 
his address, he opposed all religious intolerance, and, 
although he recommended provision for the clergy out 
of the public treasury, yet he advised the members of 
the Church of England of the folly of attempting to es- 
tablish it b}'- legal enactment. Under such recommen- 
dations, a law was passed legalizing the marriages 
(which before were denounced as illegal) performed by 
Presbyterian ministers, and authorizing them and other 
dissenting clergym'en to perform that rite."t 

On the 22nd of March, 1765, the Stamp Act was 
passed. This act produced great excitement throughout 
the whole country, and no where was it more violently- 
denounced than in North Carolina. The Legislature 
was then in session, and so intense and wide-spread was 
the opposition to this odious measure, that Governor 
Tryon, apprehending the passage of denunciatory reso- 
lutions, prorogued that body after a session of fifteen 

* Wheeler's Sketches, I., p. 49. t Wheeler's Sketcheg, I., p. 50. 


days. The speaker of tlio House, John Ashe, informed 
Governor Tr3'on that this law " would be resisted to 
blood and death. 

Early in the year 1706, the sloop-of-war, Diligence, ar- 
rived in the Cape Fear River, having on board stamp 
paper for the use of the province. The first appearance 
and approach of the vessel had been closely watched, and 
when it anchored before the town of Brunswick, on the 
Cape Fear, Col. John Ashe, of the county of New Han- 
over, and Col. Hugh Waddell, of the county of Bruns- 
wick, marched at the head of the brave sons of these 
counties to Brunswick, and notified the capta.n of their 
determination to resist the landing of the stamps. They 
seized one of the boats of the sloop, hoisted it on a cart, 
fixed a mast in her, mounted a flag, and marched in tri- 
umph to Wilmington. The inhabitants all joined in the 
procession, and at night the town was illuminated. On 
the next day, Col. Ashe, at the head of a great concourse 
of people, proceeded to the Governor's house and demand- 
ed of liim to desist from all attempts to execute the Stamp 
Act, and to produce to them James Houston, a member 
of the Council, who had been appointed Stamp Master 
for the Province. The Governor at first refused to com- 
ply with a demand so sternly made. But the haughty 
representative of kingly power had to yield before the 
power of an incensed people, who began to make prepa- 
rations to set fire to his house. The Governor then re- 
luctantly produced Houston, who was seized by the 
people, carried to the market-house, and there compelled 
to take a solemn oath never to perform the duties of his 
office. After this he was released and conducted by a 
delighted crowd, to the Governor's Palace. The people 
gave three cheers and quietly dispersed. Here we have 
recorded an act far more daring in its performance than 
that of the famous Tea Party of Boston, which has been 
celebrated by ever}^ writer of our national history, and 
"Pealed and chimed on every tongue of fame.'' 


It is an act of tlie sons of the " Old North State," not 
committed on the crew of a vessel, so disguised as to 
escape identit}^ but oii royalty itself, occupying a palace, 
and in open day, by rnen of well known person and rep- 

Another event of great historic importance occurred 
during the administration of Governor Tr^^on. On the 
16th of May, 1771, the battle of Alamance was fought. It 
is here deemed unnecessary to enter into a detail of the 
circumstances leading to this unfortunate conflict. 
Suffice it to say the Regulators, as they were called, suf- 
fered greatly by heavy exactions, by way of taxes, from 
the Governor to the lowest subordinate officer. The}' 
rose to arms — were beaten, but theirs was the first blood 
shed for freedom in the American colonies Many true 
patriots, who did not comprehend the magnitude of their 
grievances, fought against them. But the principles of 
right and justice for which they contended could never 
die. In less than four years, all the Colonies were found 
battling for the same principles, and borne along in the 
rushing tide of revolution ! The men on the seaboard of 
Carolina, with Cols. Ashe and Waddell at their liead, 
had nobly opposed the Stamp Act in 17G5, and prevented 
its execution ; and in their patriotic movements the 
people of Orange sustained them, and called them the 
" Sons of Liberty.'' Col. Ashe, in 17GC, had led the excited 
populace in Wilmington, against the wishes and even 
the hospitality of the governor. The assembled patriots 
had thrown the Governor's roasted ox, provided for a 
barbecue feast, untastod, into the river. Now, these [la- 
triotic leaders are found marching with this very Gov- 
ernor to subdue the disciples of liberty in the west. The 
eastern men looked for evils from across the waters, and 
were prepared to resist opj^ression on their shores before 
it should reach the soil of their State. The western men 
were seeking redress for grievances that oppressed them 


at home, under the misrule of the officers of the provineev 
evils scarcely known in the eastern counties, and misun- 
dersto«d when reported there. Had Ashe, and Wad dell, 
and Caswell understood all the circlimstances of the case, 
they would have acted like Thomas Person, of Granville, 
and favored the distressed, even though they might havt 
felt under obligations to maintain the peace of the 
province, and due subordination to the laws. Hermair 
Husbands, the head of the Regulators, has been de- 
nounced by a late writer, as a " turbulent and seditious 
character." If such he was, then John Ashe and Hugh. 
Waddeil, for opposing the stamp law, were equally tur- 
bulent and seditious. Time, that unerring test of prin- 
ciples and truth, has proved that the spirit of liberty 
which animated the Regulators, was the true spirit wdiich 
.subsequently led to our freedom from foreign oppression. 
On the 24th of May, Tryon, after committing acts of 
revenge, cruelty and barbarity succeeding the Alamanet 
battle, returned to his palace at Newbern,and on theSOtl) 
took shipping for New York, over which State he had 
been appointed Governor. Josiah Martin was appointed 
by the crown, Tryon's successor as Governor ofNortli' 
Carolina. He met the Legislature, for the first time, in 
the town of Newbern, in November, 1771. Had he lived 
in less troublesome times, his administration might have 
been peaceful and prosperous. Governor Martin had the 
misfortune to difier very soon with the lower House of 
the Assembly ; and during the whole of his administta 
tion, these difficulties continued and grew in magnitude, 
helping, at last, to accelerate the downfall of the royal 
government. In this Assembly we find the names of a 
host of distinguished patriots, as John Ashe, Cornelius 
Harnett, " the Samuel Adams of North Carolina," 
Samuel Johnson,. Willie Jones, Joseph Hew^s, Abnei- 
Na^h John Harvey, Thomas I'erson, Griffith Rutherford,. 
Abraham Alexander, Thomns Polk, and many ©there-. 


r kowli'ig that, at that early date, the Whig party had the 
''omplete control of the popular House of the Assembly. 
i.R accordance with the recommendation of Governor 
Martin, the veil of oblivion was drawn over the past un- 
Jiappy troubles, and all the animosities and distinctions 
which they created. The year 1772 passed by without a 
meeting of the Assembly ; and the only political event 
of any great importance, which occurred in the Province, 
was the election of members to the popular House. Such 
was the triumph of the Whig party, that in many of the 
counties there was no opposition to the election of the 
old Iciiders, nor could the Governor be said to have a 
party sufticiently powerful to effect an election before the 
people, or the passage of a bill before the Assembly. The 
Assembl3% however, in consequence of two dissolutions 
by the Governor, did not convene in Newbern until the 
■25th of January, 1773, and the popular House illustrated 
its political character b}* the election of John Harvey to 
the office of Speaker. To this new Assembly many of leading members of the House in 1771, were returned. 
Thomas Polk and Abraham Alexander were not members ; 
the former having been employed in the service of the 
■(jiovernor, as surveyor, in running the dividing line be- 
tween North and South Carolina, and the latter not hav- 
"ng solicited the suffrages of the people. The county of 
Mecklenburg wa^ in the Assembly, represented by Mav- 
lin Pheifer and John Davidson. 

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Harvey, 
'aid before that body resolutions of the House of Burgess 
^;f Virginia (1773) of the 12th of March last; also, letters 
:Tom the Speakers of the lower houses of several other 
provinces, requesting that a committee be appointed to 
-iiquire into the encroachments of England upon the 
rights and liberties of America. The House passed a 
resolution that "such example was worthy of imitation, 
iiy which means communication and concert would be 


established among the colonies ; and that'they will at all 
times be ready to exert their efforts to preserve and de- 
fend their rights." John Harvey, (Speaker) Robert 
Howe, Cornelius Harnet, William Hooper, Richard Cas- 
well, Edward Vail, John Ashe, Joseph Hewes and Sam- 
uel Johnston were this committee. This is the first 
record of a legislative character which led to the Revolu- 

During the summer of 1774 the people in all parts of 
the province manifested their approbation of the pro- 
posed plan of calling a Congress or Assembly, to consult 
upon common grievances ; and in nearly all the counties 
and principal towns meetings were held, and delegates 
appointed to meet in the town of Newbern on tiie 25th 
of August, 1774. 

On the loth of August, Governor Martin issued a proc- 
lamation complaining that meetings of the people had 
been held without legal authority, and that resolutions 
had been passed derogatory to the authorit}^ of the King 
and Parliament. He advised the people to forbear at- 
tending any such meetings, and ordered the King's ofii- 
cers to. oppose them to the utmost of their power. But 
the delegates of the people attended on the day appointed 
without any obstruction from the "king's officers." The 
proclamation of Governor Martin availed nothing. ( Vo.r 
d praetera nil.) Excited at this state of affairs, Governor 
Martin consulted his council on the steps most proper 
to be taken in the emergency. They advised him that 
"nothing further could be done." This first Assembly, 
or Provincial Congress, independent of ro3'^al authorit}-, in 
Newbern, on the 2.5th of August, 1774, is an important 
epoch in our history. It was the first act uf liiat grcn; 
drama of revolutionizing events which finally achieved 
our independence. 

After the adjournment of this Provincial Congres^^. 
Governor Martin visited New York, ostensiblv for tlu 


''benefit of his health," and, perhaps, for the benefit of his 
government. The tumults of the people at Newbern, that 
raged around him, and which threatened to overthrow 
his power, were, by his own confession, "be3'ond his con- 
trol"; but he hoped the influence of Governor Tyron* 
who still governed New York, might assist him in restor- 
ing peace and authority in North Carolina. Vain, delu- 
sive hope, as the sequel proved ! 

The year 1775 is full of important events, only a few 
of which can be adverted to in this brief sketch. In Feb- 
ruary, 1775, John Harvey issued a notice to the people to 
elect delegates to represent them in a second Provincial 
Congress at Newbern on the ord of April, being the same- 
time and place of the meeting of the Colonial Assem- 
bly. This roused tlie indignation of Governor Mar- 
tin, and caused him to issue, on the 1st of March, 1775, 
his proclamation denouncing the popular Convention. 

In his speech to the Assembl}^ Governor Martin ex- 
pressed "his concern at this extraordinary state of affairs. 
He reminded the members of their oath of allegiance, 
and denounced the meeting of delegatee chosen by the 
people, as illegal, and one that he should resist by every 
means in his power." In the dignified reply of the 
House, the Governor Avas informed that the right of the 
people to assemble, and petition the throne for a redress 
of their grievances was undoubted, and that this right 
included that of appointing delegatss for such purpose. 
The House passed resolutions approving of the proceed- 
ings of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia (4th of 
Sept. 1774) and declared their determination to use their 
influence in carrying out the views of that body. Where- 
upon,, tlie (^lOvoDior, by advice of his council, dissolved 
the Assembly, by proclamation, after a session of four 

Thus ceased forever all legislative action and inter- 
course under the Royal government. Indeed, from the 


organization of the first Provincial Congress or Conven- 
tion, in Newbern (Aug. 25th, 1774) composed of delegates 
"fresh fr»m the people " the pioneers in our glorious 
revolution, until Governor Martin's expulsion, North 
Carolina was enjo3^iug and exercising an almost un- 
limited control of separate governraental independence. After 
the dissolution of the Assembly on the 8th of Apiil, 
1775, Governor Martin lingered only a few days, first 
taking refuge in Fort Jonston, and afterwards, on board 
of the ship of war, the Cruiser, anchored in the Cape 
Fear River. Only one more frothy proclamation ''Sth of 
Aug., 1775,) appeared from Governor Martin, against the 
patriotic leaders of North Carolina, issued this time, not 
from "the palace," at Newbern, but from a cruism^' source 
and out-look, and on a river, whose very name typified 
the real origin of his departure, and present retirement. 
These glimpses of the colonial history of North Caro- 
lina, necessary to a proper understanding of the follow- 
ing sketches, Avill serve to illustrate, in a limited degree, 
the character of her people, and their unyielding opposi- 
tion to all unjust exactions, and encroachment of arbi- 
trary power. While these sterring transactions were 
transpiring in eastern Carolina, the people of Mecklen- 
burg county moved, in their sovereign capacity, the ques- 
tion of independence, and took a much bolder, and more 
<]ecided stand than the Colonial or Continental Congress 
had as yet assumed. This earl}^ action of that patriotic 
county, effected after mature deliberation, is one of the 
ever -memorable transactions of the State of North Caro- 
lina, worthy of being cherished and honored by every 
lever of patriotism to the end of time. The public mind 
liad been much excited at the attempts of Governor Mar- 
tin to prevent the meeting of the Provincial Congress at 
Newbern, and his arbitrary conduct in dissolving the 
Assembly, when only in session four days, leaving them 
unprotected by courts of law, and without the preseat 


opportunity of iiiiishing many important matters ofjeg- 
islation. In this state of affairs, the people began to 
think that, since the proper, lawful authorities failed to 
i:>erforra their legitimate duty, it was time to provide 
safe-guards for themselves, and to throw off all allegiance 
to powers tliat cease to protect their liberties, or their 

A late author has truly said, ''Men will not be fully 
able to understand North Carolina until they have 
opened the treasures of history, and become familiar with 
the doings of her sons, previous to the revolution ; during 
that painful struggle; and the succeeding years of pros- 
])erity. Then will North Carolina be respected as she is 

* Poote's Skotclips of North Carolina, p. S-'i. 

8 K E T O H li S 


Western North Carolina. 



Mecklenburg county was formed in 17G2 from Ansoii 
count}*, and named in honor of the native place of the 
new Queen, Princess Charlotte, of Mecklenburg, one of 
the smaller German States. 

This county has a- peculiar historical interest. It is the 
birth-place of liberty on American soil. No portion of 
the State presents a more glowing page of unflinching- 
patriotic valor than Mecklenburg, always taking an 
active part in every political movement, at home or 
abroad, leading to independence. 

The temper and character of the people yvere early 
ihown. In 1766, George A. Selwyn, having obtained, by 
some means, large grants of lands from the British Crown, 
proc-eeded to have them surveyed, through his agent, 
Henry E. McCullock, and located. On some of these 
grants, the first settlers had made considerable improve- 
ments by their own stalwart arms, and persevering in- 
dustr}'. For this reason, and not putting much faith in 
the validity of Stlvvyn's claims, they seized John Frohock, 
the surveyor, and compelled him to desist from his work, 
or fare worse. Here was manifested the carl}- buzzing of 
ihe " Hornets' Nest," which, in less than ten years, was 
destined to strng royalty it^^c^f in these .\mcrican colonics. 


Tlie little village of Charlotte, tlic seat of justice for 
Mecklenburg county, was in 1775, the theater of one of 
the most memorable events in the political annals of the 
United States. Situated on the beautiful and fertile 
<.;hampaign, between the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers, and 
on the general route of the Southern travel, and among 
the earliest settlements in the Carolinas and Georgia, it 
^oon became the centre of an enterprising and prosperous 
population. The fertility of the soil, the healthfulnessof 
the climate, and abundance of cheap and unappropriated 
lands, were powerful inducements in drawing a large 
influx of emigrants from the Northern colonics, and from 
the Old World. These natural features of middle and 
western Carolina, in particular, were strongly attractive, 
and pointed out, under well-directed energy, the sure 
road to prospective wealth and prosperitj'. 

The face of the country was then overspread with wild 
'' pea vines," and luxuriant herbage; the water courses^ 
bristled with cane brakes; and the forest abounded with' 
a rich variety and abundance of food-producing game. 
The original coriveyancc for the tract of land, upon which i 
the city of Charlotte now stands, contained 360 acres, 
and was made on the 15th day of January, 1767, by 
Henry E. McCullock, agent for George A. Selwyn, to 
"Abraham Alexander, Thomas Polk, and John Froh»ck. 
as Trustees and Directors, of the town of Charlotte, and 
their successor.1." The consideration was "ninety pounds, 
lawful money." The conveyance was witnessed by 
Matthew McLure and Joseph Sample. 

A few M'ords of explanation, as to one of the Trustees. 
,may bo here appropriate. The Frohock family resided 
::n liowan county, and, before the revolution, exerted a 
<;onsiderable influence, holding places of profit and trust. 
William Frohock was Captain of a military company, 
and at one time, (1771) Deputy Sheriff under Gen- 
eral Ivutherford. Thomas Frohock was Clerk of the 
.superior Court, in liowan, and Senator to the State Leg- 


islature from the town of Salisbury, in 1785 aiul 17SC 
John Frohock, named in the conveyance, \va?, for several 
years, Clerk of the ■County Court, an active Surveyor, 
and resided, during much of his time in Mecklenburg, 
employed in the duties of his profession. 

Soon after the town of Charlotte was laid out. a log 
building was erected at the intersection of Trade and 
Tryon streets, and in the centre of the space now known 
as "Independence Square." This building was placed 
upon substantial brick [)illars, ten or twelve feet high, 
Avith a stairway on the outside, leading to the court room* 
The lower part, in conformity with primitive economy 
and convenience, was used as a Market House ; and the 
upper part as a Court House, and frequently for church, 
and other public meetings Although the original build- 
ing has long since passed away, 3'et it has historic associa- 
tions connected with its colonial and revolutionary exis- 
tence, which can n.ever cease to comtnand ihe admiraiion 
of every true patriot. 

Tn May, 1775, its walls resounded whh iho ioiics of earn- 
{fit debate^ it 'dependence, procJaimed from the court 
liouse stejis. lit September, 1780, its walls rebounded 
u'ith the tones of iJic nutykct, by the same i)eopIe, who 
"know their rights, and knouing, dared Uiaintain." 

At this ]')eriod, theie w;ks no j) press in the 
upper country of ('arolina, and as no reguhir post tra- 
versed this region, 1 newspaper was seldom seen among 
the people. Important inibrnnilio:, . .- iransmilied 
from one colony to another by ex [)rc.:;.s messengers on 
h.orse-back, as wa>; done by Captain Jack in bearing the 
Mecklenburg DechiraLion to riiiladelphia. The people 
were accustomed to assembie at, staled [;laces to listen to 
the reading of printed hand-bills from abroad, or to obtain 
verbal intelligence of parsing events. 

Charlotte early became the ct-ntral point in I\lecklen~ 
burg county for these assemblages, and there the leading 
juen otten met at Queen's Museuu) or Co.dege, to discuss 


the exciting topics of the day. These meetings were at 
first irregular, and without system. It was finally agreed 
that Thomas Polk, Colonel of the militia, long a surveyor 
in the prpvince, frequently a member of the Colonial 
Assembly, and a man of great excellence of character 
should be authorized to call a convention of the Repre- 
sentatives of the people whenever circumstances seemed 
to require it. It was also agreed that such Representa- 
tives shculd consist of two delegates from each Captain'.^ 
Compan}', chosen by the people of the several militia dis- 
tricts, and that their decisions, when thus legally con- 
vened, should be binding upon the whole county. 

When it became known that Governor Martin had 
attempted, by his proclamation, issued on the 1st of March, 
1775, to pievent the Assembling of a Provincial Congres£- 
at Newbern, on the 3d of April following ; and when il- 
was recollected that, by his arbitrary authority, he had 
dissolved the last Provincial Assembh', after a session of 
only four davs, and before any important business had 
been transacted, the public excitement became intense. 
and the people were clamorous for some decisive action, 
and a redress of their grievances. A large majority of 
the people were willing to incur the dangers incident to 
revolution, for the sake of themselves, their posterity, and 
the sacred cause of liberty. 

In this Staio of tin- public mind. Col. Polk issued his 
E(-tico to the committee-men, two from each Captain's 
district, as previously agree^ upon, to assemble in T'har- 
lotte on the 19th of May, 1775, to consult for the common 
good, and inaugurate such measures as would conduce to 
that desirable end. The notice of the appointed meeting 
spread rapidly through the county, and all classes of citi- 
zens, intuitively, as it were, partook of the general 
enthusiasm, and felt the importance of the approaching 
convention. On the appointed day, an immense con- 
course of people, consisting of gray haired sires, and 
vigorous youths from all parts of the county, assembled 


in the town of Charlotte, then containing about twenty - 
five houses, all anxious to know the result of that ever- 
memorable occasion. After assembling in tlie court 
house, Abraham Alexander,, a venerable citizen and mag- 
istrate of the county, and former miember of the I^egisla- 
ture^ was made chairman ; and John McKnitt Alexander, 
assisted by Dr. Ephraim Brevard, Secretaries, all men of 
business habits, and of great popularity. A full, free and 
animated discussion upon the exciting topics of the day 
then ensued, in which Dr. Ephraim Brevard, a finished 
scholar ; Col. William Kennon, an eminent lawyer of 
Salisbury, and Rev. Hezekiah J. Balch, a distinguished 
Presbyterian preacher, were the chief speakers. During 
the session of the convention, an express messenger 
arrived, bearing the news of the wanton and cruel shed- 
ding of blood at Lexington on the 19th of April, just one 
month preceeding. This intelligence served to increase 
the general patrotic ardor, and the assembly, as with one 
voice, cried out, "Let us be independent. Let us declare 
our independence, and defend it with our lives and for- 
tunes." The speakers said, his Majesty's proclamation 
iiad declared them out of the protection of the British 
Crown, and they ought, therefore, to declare themselves 
out of his protection, and be independent of his govern- 
ment. A committee consisting of Dr. Brevard, Col. Kennon , 
and the Rev. Mr. ,3alch, was then appointed to prepare 
resolutions suitable to the occasion. Tlie excitement of 
the people continued to increase, and the deliberations 
of the convention, including che framing of by- laws, and 
regulations by which it should be governed, as a stand- 
ing committee, were not completed until after midnight, 
showing the great interest which every one felt, and that 
;l solemn crisis had arrived which demanded firm and 
united action for the common defence. Upon the return 
of the committee, the chairman proceeded to submit the 
resolutions of independence to the vote of the convention. 
All was silence and stillness around {intentirjve ova tcnehant ) 


The question was then put, " Are you all agreed." The 
response was one universal "aye," not one dissenting 
voice in that immense assemblage. It was then agreed 
that the pi'oceedings should be read to the whole multi- 
tude. Accordingly at noon, on the 20tb of May, 1775, 
Colonel TJiomas Polk ascended the steps of the old court 
hou?e, and read, in clear and distinct tones, the following 
patriotic resolutions, constituting, 


^'Resolved, 1. That whoever directly or indirectly 
abetted, or in any way, form or manner, countenanced 
the unchartered and dangerous invasion of our rights, as 
claimed by Great Britain, is an enemy to this country, 
to Americn, and to the inherent, and inalienable rights 
of man. 

liCfiohrd, 2. That we, the citizens of Afecklenburg 
county, do hereby disoolve the political bands which have 
coilnocted vis to the mother country, and hereby absolve 
otirsolvcs from all allegiance to the British ('rown 
and abjure all political connection, contract, or asso- 
ciation with that nation, who have wantonly trampled 
on our j'igiits and liberties, and inhumanly shed the 
blood of American patriots at Lexington. 

liesolred, •> That we do hereby declare ourselves a free 
and independent people; are, and of right ought to be 
a sovereign, and self-governing association, under the 
control of no power, other than that of our God, and the 
general government of the congress ; to the maintenance 
of which independence, we solemnly pledge to each other 
our mutual cooperation, our lives, our fortunes, and our 
most sacred honor. 

Resolved, 4. That, as we acknowledge the existence and 
I'ontiol of no law, or legal ofHcer, civil or militaiy, within 
this county, we do hereby ordain and adopt, as a rule of 
life, all, each, and every one of our former laws ; wherein, 


nevertheless, the crown of Great Britain never can be 
considered as holding riglits, privileges, immunities, ov 
authority therein. 

Reifolved, 5. That it is also further decreed that all, 
each, and every military ofiicer in this county is hereby 
retained in his former command and authoiity, he act- 
ing conformably to these regulations. And that {^.x^ivy 
member present of this delegation shall henceforth be n 
civil otficer, viz: a justice of the peace, in the character 
of a committeeman, to issue process, hear and determine 
all matters of controversy, according to said adopted 
laws; and to preserve peace, union and harmony in said 
county ; and to use every exertion to spread tlie loA'e of 
country, and fire of freedom throughout America, until 
a more general and organized govemment be established 
in this province." 

After the reading of these resolutions, a voice from the 
crowd calle i out for "three cheers," and soon the welkin 
rang v^ith corresponding shouts of applause. The reso- 
lutioi.s were read again and again during the day to 
ditrertiit parties, denirous ()f retaining in their mf UiOriev-- 
sentiments of patriotism so congenial to their feelings. 

A copy of the proeecflings of the conventii.'n was tneii 
drawn oflf, and sent'by express to the members of con- 
gress from North Carolina, at that time in session at 
Philadeljdiia. Captain James .Jack, a wortliy and intel- 
ligent citizen of Charlotte, was (.-hosen as the bearer; 
.and in a few days afterward, set out cii horseback in the 
performance of his patriotic mission. Of his journeyings, 
and jJf^Tiions adveitiures througli a couiitry, much oi it in- 
fested with Tories, we know but-little. liavin.o faithfully 
performed the duties of his important trust, by deliver- 
ing the resolutions into the hands of the North Carolina 
[)clegation at Philadelphia (Caswell, Hooper and Hews,) 
he returned to his home in Charlotte. He reported that 
our own Delegation, and several members of Congress, 

:26 SKKTCHEa of western north CAROLINA. 

manifested their entire approbation of the earnest zeal 
:and patriotism of the Mecklenburg citizens, but deemed 
it premature to lay their resolutions before their body- 
as they still entertained some hopes of reconciliation with 
•the mother country. 

■ A copy of the foregoing resolutions m&m also transmit- 
ted to the Provincial Congress, at Hillsboro, and laid 
before that body on the 25th of August, 1775, but for tht 
same prudential reasons as just stated, they declined 
taking any immediate action. 

It has been deemed proper to present this summarized 
statement of the circumstances leading to the Mecklen- 
burg Convention of the 19th and 20th of May, 1775, as i\ 
source of reference for those who have no other history of 
the transaction before them. For a more extended ac- 
count of its proceedings, the reader is referred to the 
pamphlet published by State authority in 1831, and to 
the exhaustive treatise of the late Ex-Governor Graham 
on the authenticity of the Meclenburg resolutions, 
notices of the principal actors and witnesses on that ever- 
memorable occasion. 

Since the publication of Governor Graham's pamphlet 
shortly before the Centennial Celebration in Charlotte 
another (;oj>y of the Mecklenburg resoUuioiis of the 20th 
■t>f May, 1775, has been found in the possession of a grand- 
son of Adam Brevard, now residing in Indiana. This 
co[)y has all the ©utward appearances of age, has been 
sacredly kept in the family, and is in a good state of pre- 
servation. Adam Brevard was a younger brother of 
Dr. Ephraim Brevard, the reputed author of these reso- 
lutions, frequently perlormed his brother's writing 
■during the active discharge of his professional duties, 
and was himself, a man of cultivated intellect, and chris- 
tian integrity. He kept a copy of these patriotic resolu- 
tions, mainly with the view of preserving a memento of 
his brother's hand writing, and vigor of composition — 
not supposing for a moment, their authenticity would 


«ver be called into question. This venerable patriot. 
In a manuscript account of a celebration in Iredell 
county on the 4th of July, 1S24, in discoursing on a 
variety of revolutionary matters, fays among other things- 
he was in Salisbury in Juno 1775, attending to his pro 
■fessional duties as a lawyer, and that during the sessions 
i&f the Genera) Court in that place, the bearer of the 
Mecklenburg Declaration arrived on his way to Phila- 
delphia. When the object of his mission became known, 
and the Mecklenburg resolutions of independence were 
read in open court, at the request of Col. Kennon, sev- 
^Tid Tories who were present said they were treasonable, 
and that the framers of them were "rushing headlong 
into an abyss where Congress had not dared to pass. Their 
intemperance, however, was suddenly arrested by a gen- 
tleman from the same county, who had entered with all 
his powers into the impending contest and offered to rest 
the propriety and justness of the proceedings,both of Meck- 
lenburg and the Delegate, upon a decission by the arm of 
flesh with any one inclinable to abide the result. Matters, 
w^hicli threatened a conflict of arms were soon hushed 
up by this direct argument ad hominem, the Delegate 
retired to rest for the night, and, on the next morning, 
resumed his journey to Philadelphia." 

Be also states, in the same manuscript, that in tne 
autumn of the year 1776, he was one of the number who 
composed the College of Queen's Museum, and lived with 
his brother, Dr. Ephraim Brevard, and tliat in ransack- 
ing a number of his brother's papers thrown aside at; 
useless, he came across the fragments of. a Declaration of 
[ndependence by the people of Mecklenburg. Upon 
inquiry, his brother informed him they were the rudi- 
ments out of which a short time before, he had framed 
the instrument despatched to Congress. 'The same au- 
thority states that he was in Philadelphia in the latter 
part of the year 1778, and until May of the year 1779. 
During that time, William Sharp. Esq., of Rowan county, 


arrived in Pliiladelpliia, as a Delefiate to Cons^ress from 
^orth Carolina. Amidst a variety of topics introduced 
for discussion was that of the Mecklenburg Declaration 
of Independence. Hon. John Peun, of North Carolina, 
said in presence of several members of Congress, that h< 
was " highly pleased with the bold and distinguished 
spirit with which so enlightened a county- of the State 
he had the honor to represent had exhibited to the world : 
and, lurthermore, that the bearer of the mstrument to 
Congress had conducted himself very judiciously on the 
occasion by previous!}' opening his business to the Dele- 
gales of his own State, who a-sured him that the other 
States w'ould soon act in ihe same ])atriotic manner as 
Mecklenburg had done. 

This important and additional testimony, here slight- 
ly condenced, but facts not changed, is extracted from 
a communication in the Southern Home, by Dr. J. M. 
Davidson, of Florida, a gentleman of great moral wortli 
and chi'istian integrity, and grand.'on of Adam Brevard, 
a brother or Dr. E{>hruim ]>revard, the reputed author 
of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. 

A brief extract from Cxovernor Mariii/sdi.^pateh to the 
British Secretarv of State, dated SOtli of June, 1775. as 
fiAind in \Vheeler'.=? " Hi.storical Sketches," will now be 
given, which cannot be viewed in any other light than 
that, of disinterested evidence. The Governor proceeds 
by saying, "the situation ]n which I find niyself a: 
}icsent is indeed, my Lord, most despicable and morti- 
fying. * * * * J ijyp^ alas! ingloriously, only to 
df])lore The resolve.'^ of the Committee of 

^.ecklenburg, v.hich your Lerdship will find in the en- 
closed newspa[)er, surpass all the horrid and treasonable 
publications that the inflamatory spirits of the conti- 
nent have yet produced ; and your Lordship may de- 
pend, its authors and abettors will not escape, when 
my hands are sufficiently strergthened to attempt the 
recovery of tlic lost authority of the Government. A copy 


of these resolves was sent oil". 1 am informed, by ex- 
])ress, to the Congress at Philadelphia, as soon as they 
were passed in the committee." 

The reader will mark, in particular, tlic clcsing sen- 
tence of this extract, as confirmatory of what actually 
took jVlace on the 20th of May. 1775. Captain James 
•lack, then of Charlotte, a worthy and patriotic citizen, 
did set out a few days after the Convention adjourned, 
on horse back, as the " express" to Congress at Philadel- 
phia, and faithfully executed the object of his mission. 
(For further particulars, sec sketch of the Jack Family.) 

The resolutions passed by the county committtee of 
safety on the olst of May following, and which some 
have erroneously confounded with those of the 20th of 
Mav, were a necessary consequence, embracir.g simply 
■' rules and regulations" for the internal government of 
the ceunty, and hence needed no " express" to Congress. 

The preceding testimony, conjoined with that of Gen 
Joseph Craham, Rev. Humphrey Hunter, Captain James 
.lack, the bearer of the Mecklenburg Declaration to 
Congress, Rev. Francis Cummins, Mayor John David- 
son, Isaac Alexander and others, previously referied to in 
the Sta*.e pamphlet of 1831, and the exhaustive "Memoir'' 
of the late Ex-Governor Graham — all men of exalted 
worth and christian integrity, ought to be " sufficient to 
satisfy incredulity itself," as to the genuineness of the 
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and of its pro- 
mulgation to the world on the 20t]i of May, 1775. And 
vet, in the face of this strong phalanx of unimpeachable 
testimony, there are a few who have attempted to rob 
North Carolina of this brightest gem in the crown of her 
early political history, and tarnish, by base and insidious 
cavilsthe fair name and reputation of a band of Revo- 
lutionary patriots, whose memories and heroic deeds the 
present generation and posterity will ever delight to 

Mecklenburg sent as a Delegate to the first Provincial 


Congress direct from the people, which met at Newbfcni 
on the 25th of August, 1774, Benjamin Patton. 

To the meeting at Ilillsboro', on the 21st of August, 
1775, Thomas Polk, John Thifer, Waightstill Avery. 
John McKnitt Alexander, James Houston, and Samue! 

To the meeting at Halifax on the 4th of April, 1776^ 
John Phifer, Robert Irwin and John McKnitt Alaxan- 

To the meeting at Halifax, on the ] 2th of November, 
1770 (which formed the first State Constitution) John 
Phifer, Robert Irwin, Waighstill Avery, Ilezekiah Alex- 
ander and Zaccheus Wilson. 

All of these Delegates were unwavering patriots, am! 
nearly all were signers of the Mecklenburg Declaratioi> 
«f Independence. Not only were the patriotic sons of 
Mecklenburg county active and vigilant in those trying 
times, but no portion of our State was naore constantly 
the theater of stirring events during the drama ©f 
the American Revolution. " Its inhabitants," says 
Tarleton in his campaigns, "were more hostile to England 
than any others in America." 


The Mecklenburg Doclaration of Independence, pro- 
claimed to the world on the 20th of May, 1775, was cele- 
brated in Charlotte on the 20th of May, 1875, with all 
the honors and ceremonies befitting such an important 
♦occasion. A vast assemblage of at It ast 25,000 poisons 
were present to enjoy the "welcome" extended to all, and 
participate in the festivities ofthis gala daj^ of North Caro- 
lina. For three days preceding the grand holiday^ 
(17th, 18th and 19th) visitors were continually pouring 
into the city. Enthusiastic excitement and necessary 
preparations were everywhere visible. Flags and stream- 
ers greeted the eye in every direction. Many private 
residences were handsomely decorated. One of the moat 
exalted ideas was a Centennial pole, 115 feet high, erected 
by Capt. Thos. Allen, in the centre of Independence 
Square, from the top of which floated to the breeze a large 
Hag, capped with a huge hornd's nest from Stokes county^ 
To preserve the Gentcnnml feature as far as possible of the 
Conventionof the 19th of May, 1775, called out by Col.. 
Thos. Polk, accordingly, on the 19th of May ,1875, a proces- 
sion was formed,and the military companies formed into a 
hollow sqare around the Cencennial pole, the bands, iii 
the meantime, rendering sweet music, and the artillery 
firing minute guns. The Mayor, Col. William Johnston, 
then addressed the multitude, extending to them a cor- 
dial welcome in behalf of the citizens and authorities ©f 
<Jh.u-iut'ie ; aCU'i" •Abich ('ovrnio;' Drou-'loii w.q^ infyo- 
duced, and spoke substantially as follows : He said the 
principles of liberty enunciated by the fathers of the 
revolution, one hundred ytars ago, upon the spot he then 
occupied would live throughout all time. Here, as free 


American citizens, they had proclaimed the principle.^ 
which Xortli Carolina liad ever since upheld, and ol 
which this glorious flag, which M'aves protection to 
American citizens on land and sea was the star-gemmed 
type. Under this old flag we have a duty to perform in 
peace as well as in war. We have the principles of the 
fathers of the ^Mecklenburg Declaration to maintain. All 
should remember the sacrifices which gave us the right 
to that standard of our country ; and we should not for- 
get our duty to North Carolina, and her daughter, Ten- 
)iessee, to the sister State of South Carolina, and to the 
whole country. Alluding to the growth of the United 
States in one hundred years, the Governor said that at 
The date of the Mecklenburg declaration of Independence, 
there were not more than six post-offices in North 
Carolina; now there are nine hundred post-offices ; then 
here was no steam traveling ; now there are twelve hun- 
vlred miles of rail-way in this State alone. He hoped the 
• •ountry would go on to prosper in the fulness of civil 
liberty until there was no opposition to the principles we 
cherish. In the name of North Carolina he welcomed 
-.lU her sons to this festival, and the sons of all other sister 

May 20th, 1875 — Centennial morning! Of the large 
rmmber of illustrious patriots who participated in the 
exercises of the Mecklenburg Convention of the same 
'late, 1775, not one was present to animate us with their 
<,.'0"ansel, or speak of the glorious deeds of the Revolution- 
ary period — all having succumbed to the irrevocable fiat 
of nature, and passed to " that bourne whence no traveler 
returns." Their example, their precepts, and sacrifices 
iQ the cause of freedom, constitute their rich and instruc- 
tive heritage to us. A cloudless sky, a balmy atmos- 
))here, and a glow of patriotic feeling beaming on every 
<:oiuntenance, all conspired to add impressiveness to the 
>cene, and awaken hallowed remembrances of the past. 
Agreeably to the published [programme, the day was 


''"i>lierecl in by the ringing of Ijells, and a Hiilutc of one 
Jiimdred guns by the Raleigh and Richmond artillery. 
From six o'clock in the morning until several hours aftei'- 
ivard, the whistles of locomotives every few minutes told 
-♦>1" the arrival of trains, packed with visitors, tiremeii, 
jiulitary and bands of music. The various committees 
Tverc kept busy in directing tlie movements and assigning 
»|narters for the organized bodies ; while landlords and 
keepers of boarding-houses showed an accommodating 
-spirit, and received visitors until their utmost capacity for 
rooTjtJL Wits more than exhausted — full to overilowing. And. 
nlthoTigh €ome difficulty was ol)served in procuring bed 
room, yet an abundance of provisions was e^'erywhere 
«*xliibited for the comfort and well-being of the " inner 


General -Joseph E. Johnston, Chief ^Marshal, having been 
|>rcvejited from attending on account of severe sickness, 
<)ei;icml W. R. Cox, of Raleigh, was selected to till his 
phiee. General Bradley T. Johnston, of Richmond, Avas 
placed ill cliju'gc of the Military Department, and John C. 
Ojirman of the Fire Department. The sohliers Averc 
nearly all dressed in gray suits, and the firemen in red 
and bhick, except the Wilmington company, Avhich nlso 
appeared in gray. ^ While the Chief Marshal and liis 
;L'5sistants were endeavoring to bring order out of the 
iSBiiiense mass of humanity in the streets, six splendid 
tmnds from Richmond, Xewbern, Raleigh, Wilmington, 
Fi^vetteville and Salem, besides the Cadet band of the 
Ciirolina jMilitary Institute, were exerting their sonorous 
t')ji*rgies to move the listening million by ''concord of 
iftweet sounds," and therel\v ]»rcvent them from ever bc- 
4!i>niing subjects "fit for treason, stratagems and spoils." 

At Jjalf-past ten o'clock the grand pageant was fully 
vli^-^pbyed. As far as the e}e could reach the brilliant 
] m>:'Jession filled the streets, pi-esenting a glittering, undu- 


luting line of infantry, artillery, firemen, laddermen, axo- 
nien, zouaves, cadets, grangers, masons, templars, high- 
landers, citizens, &c., with gleaming arms, rustling flagj>v 
soul-stirring ]nusic, and other manifestations of patriotic; 
enthusiasm. Xearh^ ever\' window, piazza and house-to]*- 
was crowded with feminine loveliness, to cheer with their 
smiles and lend their graceful approbation to the momnr/ 
exhibitions of the occasion. On the side-walks " miles of" 
spectators" were seen submitting to the stifling effects of 
clouds of dust, with the laudable desire " to see and be- 
seen." AVhile immense flags were floating to the breeze- 
across the principal streets, countless numbers of miniatiirc- 
ones, in red, white and blue, fluttered from windows anri 
porches. A large number of military and flre companies 
followed by delegations of the ^lasonic Order, Good Tem- 
] liars. Odd Fellows, Caledonian Clubs, Grangers, invited. 
ii:uests, visitors, &c., all joined in the grand })rocessioii toi 
the fair grounds. 


Arriving at the Fair Grounds, the immense concours*.- 
of people gathered around the large stand, which hadboeis 
erected amidst a cluni}) of trees, for the ladies and in\ii:v(l 
guests. The stand was beautifully decorated with ever- 
greens, festoons, flags, hornets' nests, and other emhlc- 
matic devices. The ladies of the city had Ijcen diligently 
weaving these evergreen and floral adoniments for several 
days preceding the Centennial. A precious boucpiet luul 
wreath, sent by Mrs. L. If. Walker, from the grounds «>t" 
AVashington's toml) at Mt. X'ernon, added a venerated 
sanctity to the whole. 

At 11 o'clock. Rev. Dr. A. ^V. :\iiller, of the First Pn.-s- 
bytei'ian Church, opened the exercises with an eloquent 
prayer. The '"Old Xorth State"' was then rendered \n 
stirring tones l)y the Citizens' l^)and. 

Kx-(io\'. (irahani then called the assemblvto order. ai-i<i 


said there ^^a^ cause to eongratiiliite the vast as.seiublage 
of patriotic citizens convened on this centennial occasion, 
for the bright, auspicious weather that prevailed, and for 
the general health and prosperity of the country. lie felt 
highly gratified Avith the patriotic demonstration, and re- 
joiced to see in our midst so many prominent citizens 
from sister States. The Governor of North Carolina, and 
several of the Judges of her Co arts AA'cre present. The 
(lovernor of the tar-off State of Indiana, (Mr. Hendricks,) 
was here, representing one of the great Western States 
which sprung from old A'irginia. There was a represen- 
tative present (Mr. Bright) from Tennessee, the dauo-htcr 
of North Carolina. Tlie Governor (]^Ir. Chamberlain) of 
South Carolina ; the ex-Governor (Mr. Walker) of A^ir- 
ginia, and a large delegation from both of these States 
were all present to participate in the centennial festivities. 
In the name of North Carolina, he bade all a hearty 
welcome. JLi58606 

After the conclusion of ex-Go v. Graham's remarks 
Maj. Seaton Gales, of Raleigh, was introduced to the audi- 
ence, who, previous to the reading of the Mecklenburg 
Resolves, delivered a short address expressing his entire 
confidence in their authenticity. 

The orator of the day, Judge John Kerr, of the fifth 
•Tudicial District, was then introduced amidst loud ai»- 
])lause. He spoke ''for half an hour in stirring, eloquent 
language, worthy of his high reputation as an imjn-essivc 

Hon. John 3.1. Bright, of Tennessee, was next intro- 
duced. He delivered an address of great power, abound- 
ing with many interesting historical facts relating to the 
early history of North Carolina, and the character of her 
people. As these speeches will l)e published, it is deemed 
unnecessary to present a syno[tsis of their contents. 

The speeches being concluded, the invited guests, fire- 
men, military, &c., marched into Floral Hall, and were 
entert.iined with toasts, short addresses and music, whih.- 


the ci-iiviugs of hiingei' wore ra[)i(lly dispelled by the 
isumptuoiis food, and rich viands set before them. 

On Thursday night, a stand having been erected around 
the Centennial Pole in Independence Square, a number of 
►short and stirring addresses were made by ex-Gov. Hen- 
dricks, of Indiana ; ex-Go V. ^Valker, of Virginia; Go\. 
Chamberlain, of South Carolina ; Gov. Brogden, of Xorth 
Carolina ; ex-Gov. Vance, Gen. AV. R. Cox, Gen. T. L. 
Olingman, Judge Davidson and Col. II. M. Polk, the lat- 
ter two of Tennessee. 

Gov. Hendricks, at the commencement of his address, 
i^poke substantially as follows : "This is one of the greatest 
celebrations that has ever taken place in this country. 
Here your fathers, and mine, one hundred years ago, de- 
clared themselves free of the British crown. I need not 
refer to the events since. In intelligence, wealth and 
[lower, we are ahead of the ^vorld. Right here I must 
tell you that the fame of the ^^lecklenburg Declaration 
l>elongs not to the peo[ile of Meckleidjurg alone, nor to the 
State of North Carolina, but its fame belongs to Indiana 
as well — in fact, to all the States of the Union. I claim 
a common })artici[)ation in the gloiw of this great event. 
They were not only patriots, these Mecklenburgers of 
1775, but they were also Avise statesmen. One has but to 
carefully read this Declaration to discern the truth of 
this statement. The resolutions looked to a delegation 
of powers in the Continental ('ongress for their protection 
against enemies abroad, and all general pur})Oses of na- 
tionality, but they assert most une(j[uivocally the right of 
local self-government, and all the reserved powers not 
lilainly granted to the geuei-al government. These old 
[latriots showed their wisdom by i)roviding against an 
interim of anarchy for want of lawful othcers to })rotect 
life and property ; so they resolved that each military and 
oivil officer under the Proviiu-ial gc)vernment should re- 
tain all their authority, l ask the people of Xorth Caro- 
lina to join with us in the National celebration, to take 


pliU'e in ritiladelpliia in 1876. Shall I see North Carolina 
represented there ? (Cries of yes! yes I) Wliat a lesson it 
will be to the whole conntry ! The troubles of the war 
can be yet settled hy a system of good government." 
Other speakers indulged in similiar patriotic sentiments. 

After the speaking was over on Centennial night, the 
Mayor (Colonel Johnston) ascended the stand, and con- 
gratulated the large audience upon the excellent order 
and good feeling which had prevailed from the beginning 
t(^ the end of the exercises. He thanked those present for 
their attendance and participation in the honors and fes- 
tivities of the occasion. 

Then commenced the pyroteclmical display which had 
l)een witnessed to some extent during the intervals of the 
addresses. The "rocket's red glare,'' without the "-bumbs 
bursting in air," gave proof o>?, that niglit our people were 
,there. The streets, and the houses in the vicinity were 
never before so handsomely illuminated, and a brilliant 
and appropriate closing scene of "the day we celebrate" 
conspicuously displayed on a broad waving banner. Hun- 
dreds of the descendants of the patriots of ^Mecklenburg, 
and surrounding country', were present, as well as a goodly 
immber of descendants of kindred spirits from the Cape 
Fear region, whose ancestors proved themselves "rebels" 
by stamping mule)' foot the stomp paper intended for the use 
of the Colony — an act 'worthy of all Roman, or Grecian 
fame." The celelDration of the 20th of May, 1S75, was a 
grand success — such a celebration as has never before oc- 
curred in the history of Xorth Carolina, and will never 
.".gain be witnessed by the present generation. May the 
Centennial of the 20th of May, 1975, be still more suc- 
cessful, pass off with the same degree of order and good 
feeling, and be attended with all the blessings of enlight- 
ened civil and religious lil)erty 1 



Among the honored invited guests of the Mocklenl)\n-g 
'Centennial, on the 20th of May, ' 1775; was James Belk, of 
Union connty (formerly a part of~^[ecklenburg\ now n|i- 
wards of one hnndred and ten years old I As recorded in 
a famil}' Bible, printed in Edinburg in 1720, he was born 
on the 4th of Febrnar}', 1765. lie still resides on the 
same tract of land upon which he was l^orn and raised, his 
father being one of the original settlers of the country. 
lie is a man of tine intelligence ; acted for many years as 
one of the magistrates of iNrecklenbnrg county, and is still 
well preserved in mind and body. He recollects the death 
•of his father, who was mortally wounded in the Revolu- 
tionary war, near the Korth Carolina line, and knows that 
his mother, fearing the mournful result, visited the place 
of conflict, and found him, severely wounded, in the woods 
near the road-side. She assisted him to their home, but 
soon afterward had him transferred to the residence of 
his grandfather for better attention, where he died. 

lie remembers distinctly the great meeting in Charlotte 
(then upwards often years old) on the 20th of May, 177". 
^^•hen a Declaration of Independence Avas read l)y Colonel 
Polk, and heard his father speak of it, in presence of the 
famil}', after his return from Charlotte. His mother 
seemed to be greatlj' disturbed, supposing it would bring 
on vrar. Although then but a youth of tender years, the 
sr-evc ixud the dcdarntion made an indellible impression u])<>n 
his memory. Tie says his recollection of events of tliitt 
period, and a few years subsequently, is more vivid and 
distinct than those which transpired tbirty years ago. 

He has l)een twice married, having ten children l)y the 
first, and twelve In' the last wife. He was accompanied 
to the centennial meeting by one of his youngei' sons, a 
\iii\ forti/-one years of age. His oldest child, a daughter, is 
still living, aged cighfy-eiglit years ! He named one of his 
sons Julius Alexander, an intimate friend and junioi- 


j^eliooliiiatc. As he and Alexander grew up, they fn-- 
quently heard the two meetings of the 20th and olst of 
Maj, 1775, spoken of as being separate and distinct. 

Having ah'eady attained a longevity seldom allotted to 
frail humanitj', may continued health, prosperity, and, 
ahove all, the consolations of the Gospel, attend him in 
Ills remaining daj's upon earth ! 

r. S. — Thus the author wrote soon after the centennial 
celebration in Charlotte, on the 20th of Ma}', 1873, hut 
before these sketches go to the press, he is informed of the 
jleatli of this veteran and worthy citizen ; passing away 
i-ahnl}' and peacefully, at his home in Union county, X. L\ 
on the 9th of ]May, 1<S76, at the extreme old age of om 
JnijidreJ and eleven years three monf/is and fire da_i/f< ! 


Abraham Alexander, the Chairman of the Mecklenl)in'g 
Convention of the 19th and 20th of May, 1775, was born 
iu 1718, and was an active and influeutial niagistrate f)f 
the county before and after the Eevolution, being gene- 
rally the honored chairman of the Inferior Court. IK' 
was ii member of the popular branch of the As.sembly in 
1774-'75, with Thomas Polk as an associate ; also one of 
the iifteen trustees of Queen's Museum, which institution, 
m 1777, was transformed into " Liberty Ilall Academy." 

After the involuntary retreat of Josiah Martin, the royal 
iTOvernor, in June, 1775, from the State, its government 
was vested in — -1. A Provincial Council for the whole 
province. 2. A District Committee of Safety for eacli 
^?.'Ounty, of not less than twenty-one persons, to be elected 
lumually by the people of each county. The mcnd)ers of 
the, Provincial Council for the Salisbury district were 
Samuel Spencer and AVaightstill Avery. The mend)ersof 
^he District Committee of Safety were John Brevarl, 
GriiRth Rutherford, llezekiah Alexander, James Auld, 
-Bt^.ijamin Patton, John Crawford, William Hill, John 


Hamilton, Robert Evvart, Charles Galloway, WilKaKif 
]^ent, iMaxwell Chambers. The county committee^ eleete<l 
annuall}^ by the people in each county, executetl s^ieL 
orders as they received from the Provincial Council, timl 
made such rules and regulations as the internal conditioit 
of each county demanded. They met once in three montli.-^ 
;it the Court-house of their respective counties, to consult 
on public measures, to correspond with other coniniittees. 
to disseminate important information, and thus perform-e?] ^ 
the duties and requirements of courts. The comity com- 
mittees exercised these important functions until justic-x:v 
of the peace were appointed hy the Legislature and duly 
commissioned by the Governor. 

It was this committee vsdiich met in Charlotte on tin- 
olst of ^lay, 1775, and passed a series of rules and regiiht- 
tions for the internal government of the county — a nece^ 
sary sequel, as previously stated, of the more important 
meeting of the 20tli of May preceding. This statement i^- 
strongly corroborated by a communication published last 
summer in the " Charlotte Observer," by D. A- Caldwell... 
Ksq., one of jNIecklenburg's most aged, intelligent and 
Avorthy citizens. The portion of the communication xamn 
licrtinent to our subject reads thus: "I was born and 
raised in the house of my maternal grandfather, jMajor 
John Davidson, who was one of the signers of the jNIc^k- 
Icnburg Declaration. I have often heard him speak of 
the 20th of JMay, 1775, as the day on -which it was sig-ned, 
and the 31st of the same month as the time of an ad.- 
journed meeting. The " 20th of May" was a household 
\\-ord in the fami]3\ Moreover, I Avas present (and aiu 
now the only surviving witness of the transaction) wlica* 
lie gave a certilicate of the above dates to Dr. Joseplc. 
ATcIvnitt Alexander, whose father, John McKnitt Al»?x- 
ander, was also a signer, and the principal secretary of tlir 
meeting. This certificate Avas called forth by the cele- 
brated attempt of Thomas JeiFerson to throAv discredit ins 
the Avhole affair. A certificate to the same effect wa:- 


given on that occasion by Samuel Wilson, a brother-in-law 
(jf Major Davidson, and a man of undoubted integrity, 
Mr. "Wilson, although not a signer, was present at the 
signing on the 20th of May. I often heard my grand' 
father allude to the date in later years, when he lived with 
his daughter, ISIrs. William Lee Davidson, whose husband 
Avas the son of General Davidson, who fell at Cowan's 

Under the administration of Abraham Alexander as 
Chairman of the Committee of Safety, the laws passed by 
that body of vigilant observers of the common good were 
strictly enforced ; and each citizen, when he left the 
county, was required to carry with him a certificate of his 
political standing^ officially signed by the chairman. 

Abraham Alexander was a most worthy, exemplary and 
influential member of society ; was, for many years, a 
Ruling Elder of the Presbyterian Church, and lies buried 
in the graveyard of Sugar Creek Church. On his grave- 
stone is this brief record : 

"Abraham Alexander, 

''Died on the 22nd of April, 178G, 

" Aged 68 years. 

'• ' Let me die the deatli of the righteous, antl let inj- last end be like his.' " 

Adam Alexander was chiefly known by his military 
services He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of a bat- 
talion of minute men, with Thomas Polk as Colonel, and 
( 'harles ^M'Lean as Major, by the Provincial Council held 
at Johnston Court-house, on the 18th of December, 1775 '■> 
and Colonel of Mecklenburg county, with John Phifer as 
Lieutenant Colonel, and John Davidson and George A. 
Alexander as Majors, by the Provincial Congress, held at 
Halifax on the 4th of April, 1776. 

He was a brave and energetic oflicer ; and his name will 
be found in nearly every expedition which marched from 
Mecklenburg county to oppose the enemies of his country. 
He was for many years, before and after the war, an acting 


Justice of the Peace, and tradition speaks of him as bear- 
ing an excellent character. He died in 1798, aged seventy 
years, a*nd is buried in the old graveyard of Rock Spring, 
seven miles east of Charlotte. Many of his descendants 
Fie buried in the graveyard at Philadelphia Church, two 
miles from Rock Spring, at which latter place the con- 
gregation worshipped before the Revolution, mingling 
with their pious devotion many touching and prayerful 
ai)pcals for the final deliverance of tlieir country from the 
storms of the approaching conflict of arms in a righteous 

HezcliUih Alexander was more of a statesman than a 
soldier. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1728. He was 
appointed a member of the Committee of Safety for the 
^Salisbury district by the Provincial Congress which met 
at Ilillsboro on the 21st of August, 1775, with General 
(IritHth Rutherford, John Brevard, Benjamin Patton and 
others — a position of nmch responsibility and power. He 
was appointed by the Provincial Congress, in April, 1770. 
with William Sharpe, of Rowan county, on the Council 
of Safety. He was elected a member of the Provincial 
Congress from ]\recklenbur£: countv, which met at Halifax 
on November 12th, 1776, and framed the first Constitu- 
tion of the State, with AYaightstill Avery, Robert Irwin, 
John Phifer, and Zaccheus Wilson, as colleagues. At the 
Provincial Congress, Avhich met at Halifax on the 4th of 
April, 1776, he was appointed Paymaster of the Fourth 
Regiment of Xorth Carolina Continentals — Thomas Polk. 
Colonel, James Thackston, Lieut. Colonel, and "William 
Davidson, Major. He was the treasurer of " Liberty Hall 
Academy" (formerly " Queen's Museum") during its exist- 
ence. He died on the 16tli of July, 1801, and lies buried 
in the graveyard of Sugar Creek Church, of which he had 
long been an active and worthy member. The inscri})tioii 
on his tombstone reads thus : 

"In memory of Hezekiah Alexander, 

"Who departed this life July 16th, 1801, 

" Aged 73 years." 


John McKnitt Alexander, of Scotch-Irish ancestors, was 
born in Pennsylvania, near the ^Maryland line, in 1738. 
He served as an apprentice to the trade of tailor, and 
when his apprenticeship expired, at the age of twenty-one, 
lie emigrated to ^ortli Carolina, joining his kinsmen and 
countrj'men in seeking an abode in the beautifnl cham- 
paign between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers — the land 
of the deer and the butfalo ; of " wild ]»ea-vines" and canc- 
])rakes, and of peaceful prosperity. In 1759 he married 
dane Bain, of the same race, from Pennsylvania, and set- 
tled in Hopewell congregation. Prospered in his business, 
he soon became wealthy and an extensive landholder, and 
rising in the estimation of his fellow-citizens, Avas pro- 
moted to the magistracy and the Eldership of the Presby- 
terian Church. He was a member ot the Provincial 
Assembly in 1772, and one ot the Delegates to the 
Convention which met at Hillsboro,on the 21st of August, 

He was also a member of the Provincial C-ongress, 
which met at Halifax on the 4th of April, 177(5, Avith 
John Phifer and Robert Irwin as colleagues. In 1777, he 
was elected the iirst Senator from Mecklenburg county, 
under the new Constitution. He Avas an active partici- 
pator in the CoiiA^ention of the 19th and 20th of May, 
1775, and preserA^ed for a long time, the records, as being 
its principal .secretary, and the proper custodian of its pa- 
pers. He gaA'c copies of its important and eA^er-memorabU' 
proceedings to Gen. William P. Davie, Dr. Hugh AVil- 
liamson, then professing to Avrite a history of Xorth Caro- 
lina, and others. Unfortunately, the original Avas de- 
stroyed in 1800, Avhen the house of Mr. Alexander aa as 
l)urned, but Gen. DaA'ie's copy has been preserved. He 
^vas one of the Trustees of the ' College of Queen's Muse- 
um," the name of AAdiich Avas afterAvard changed to "Lib- 
erty Hall.'' He Avas for many years, a ruling Elder of 
the Presbyterian Church, and I)}' his Avalk and conversa- 
tion, its tirm supporter. 


By the east wall of the grave-yard at Hopewell Church, 
is a row of marhle slahs, all hearing the name of Alexan- 
der. On one of them, is this short inscription : 
" .John McKnitt Alexander, 
" Who departed this life July 10th, 1817, 
" Aged 84."' 

It is a singular fact, that the signers of the Mecklen- 
burg Declaration were all, with perhaps one or two excep- 
tions, members of the Presbyterian Church. One of them. 
Rev. Hezekiah J. Balch, was a Presbyterian preacher, 
and nine others Elders of that Church, which may hv 
truly stjded, at and before the Revolution, the "nursing 
mother of freemen." 

Waightsfill Avery was an eminent lawyer, born in the 
town of Groton, Connecticut, in 1747, and graduated at 
Princeton College in 1766. There were eight brothers of 
this family, and all true patriots ; some of them were 
ma&sacred at Fort Griswold, and some perished at Wyom- 
ing Valley. Some of the descendants still reside at Gro- 
ton, Conn., and others at Oswego, and Seneca Lake, N. Y. 
Tie studied law on the eastern shore of Maryland, with 
Littleton Dennis. In 1769, he emigrated to Xorth Caro- 
lina, obtained license to practice in 1770, and settled in 
Charlotte. B}^ his assiduity and ability, he soon acquired 
numerous friends. He was an ardent advocate of lil)erty, 
but not of licentiousness. 

In 1778, he married near Newbern, Mrs. Leah Frank, 
daughter of William Probart, a wealthy merchant of 
Snow Hill, Md., who died on a visit to London He was 
a member of the Provincial Congress which met at Hills- 
boro on the 21st of August, 1775. In 1770, he was a 
dele2:ate to the Provincial Cono;ress which met at Ilalitax 
to form a State Constitution, with Hezekiah Alexandei', 
Robert Irwin, John Phifer and Zaccheus Wilson {>s col- 
leagues. He was appointed to sign proclamation bills by 
this body. On the 20th of July, 1777, with William 
Sharpe, Joseph Winston and Robert Lanier, as associates, 


lie made the treaty of tlie Loiio; Island of the Ilolstoii 
^vitll the Cherokee Indians. This treaty, made -without 
an oath, is one that has never been violated. In 1777, he 
was elected the first Attoriley General of ISTorth Carolina. 

In 17S0, while Lord Cornwall is was encamped in Char- 
lotte, some of the British soldiery, on account of his well- 
known advocacy of independence, set fire to his law office, 
and destroyed it, with all his books and papers. In 1781, 
he moved to Burke county, which he represented in the 
Commons in 1783-'84-'85 and '93; and in the Senate in 
1796. He was held in high esteem by all who knew him, 
and died at an advanced age, in 1821. At the time of liis 
death he was the "Patriarch of the Xorth Carolina Bar ;"" 
an exemplary Christian, a i)urc patriot, and of sterling in- 
tegrity. He left a son, the late Oolonel Isaac T. Avery, 
who re[)resented Burke county in the Commons in 1809 
and 1810, and three daughters, one of whom married 
AVilliam W. Lenoir ; another, Thomas Lenoir, and the re- 
maining one, Mr. Poor, of Henderson county. 

Hcv. Hezekiah J. Balch was born at Deer Creek, Harford 
county, Md., in 1748. He was said to be the brother of 
Col. James Balch, of Maryland^ and the uncle of the late 
distinguished Kev. Stephen B. Balch, D. D., of Georgetown, 
i). C. He graduated at Princeton in 1766, when not quite 
eighteen years old, in the class with Waightstill Avery. 
Luther Martin, of Maryland, Oliver Ellsworth, of Con- 
necticut, and others. He came to Xorth Carolina in 1769, 
as a missionary, being appointed for this work hy the 
Synod of Kew York and Philadelphia. Although ordained 
l)etore the war, he served four years as Captain of a com- 
pany in Maryland, under General Somerville. Soon after 
this service, he removed to ISTorth Carolina, and settled on 
"Irish Buffalo Creek," in Cabarrus county. He was the 
first Pastor of Rocky River and Poplar Tent Churches, 
where he continued to faithfully labor in the cause of his 
nivine blaster, until the time of his death. Al)undant in 
e\'erv good word and work, he took an acti\e })art in 


iiioulding the popular mind for the great struggle of the 
approaching Revolution. He combined in his character, 
great enthusiasm with unflinching iirmness He looked 
to the achievement of principles upon which a govern- 
ment of well-regulated law and liberty could be safely 
established, and Mdiich should be removed from its strong 
foundations no more forever. Hence, he was a prominent 
actor in the Convention at Charlotte on the 19th and 20tli 
of ]\Iay, 1775, which declared independence of the British 
crown. But in the inscrutable ways of Providence, ho 
did not live lonsi; enouo;h to see the warmest wish of his 
lieart gratified — the independence of his country, for 
which he was ready, if necessary, to yield up his life in 
its achievement. He died in the spring of 1776, in the 
midst of his usefulness, and his mortal remains repose in 
the old grave-yard of Poplar Tent Church. 

On the occasion of a railroad meeting at Poplar Tent 
Cliurch in 1847, attention was called to the fact that no 
monument of any kind marked the grave of this eminent 
divine and patriot; whereupon, a voluntary subscription 
\\^as immediately made, and the necessary funds promptly 
raised to build a suitable monument to his memory. 
Fortunately, Abijah Alexander, then ninety years of age, 
was still living, a worthy citizen, and long a member of 
Poplar Tent Church, who Avas present at the burial'of his 
l)eloved pastor, and avIio could point out the precise spot 
of sepulture, near the centre of the old graveyard. Tlui 
following is a copy of the inscription over his graA'c : 

''Beneath this marble are the mortal remains of tlic 
Ivcv. Hezikiah J. Balch, first pastor of Poplar Tent con- 
gregation, and one of the original members of Orange 
Presbytery. He was licensed a preacher of the everlast- 
ing gospel, of the Presbytery of Donegal in 176(3, and 
i-ested from his labors A. D. 1776 ; having been pastor of 
the united congregations of Poplar Tent and Pocky Rivei", 
al)out seven years. Pic was distinguished as one of tin; 
Committee of Three who prepared the Declaration of In 



(lependciiee, and his eloquence, the more eftectual from his 
acknowledged wisdom, })urity of motive and dignity of 
character, contributed much to the unanimous adoption 
of that instrument on the 20th of May, 1775." 

Dr. Ephraim B)-evarJ, tlie reputed author of the Meck- 
lenburg Declaration of Independence, proclaimed on tlic 
20th of May, 1775, was born in ]Maryland in 1744. Ih- 
came with his parents to North Carolina when al)out four 
years old. He was the son of John Brevard, one of the 
earliest st^ttlers of Iredell, then Rowan, county, and of 
Huguenot descent. At the conclusion of the Indian war 
in 1761, he and his cousin, Acllai Osborne, were sent to n 
grammar school in Frince Edward county, A^a. About ii 
year later, lie returned to North Carolina and attended 
a school of considerable notoriety in Iredell county, con- 
ducted successively by Joseph Alexander, (a nephew of 
John ]McKnitt Alexander) David Caldwell, then quite 
voung, and Joel Benedict, from the New Ensrland States 
Adlai Osborne, Ephraim Brevard and Thomas Heese (a 
brother of Da .'id Reese, one of the signers), graduated at 
l*rinceton College in 1708, and greatly contributed by 
talents and influence to the spread and maintenance of 
patriotic principles. Soon after graduation, Ephraim 
Brevard commenced the study of medicine under the cel- 
ebrated Dr. Alexander Ramsey, of South Carolina, a distin- 
guished patriot and historian of the Revolutionar>' wai-. 

In 1776, Dr. Brevard joined the expedition of Genenif 
Rutherford in his professional capacity, during the Che ri>- 
kee campaign. Soon after this service he settled in Char- 
lotte, where he married a daughter of Col. Thomas Polk, 
and rapidly rose to eminence in his profession. He had 
one child, Martha, Avho married IMr. Dickerson, the father 
of the late James P. Dickerson, a Lieutenant-Colonel in 
the South Carolina regiment in the Mexican war, and who 
died from a wound received in a battle near the City of 
Afexico. After the death of his beloved and youthful 
wife, Dr. Brevard again entere<l the Southern army, art 


-' surgeon's mate," or assistant surgeon, luidcr General 
Lincoln, in 1780, and was made a prisoner at the surren- 
der of Charleston. 

While engaged as one of the teachers in the Queen's 
Museum he raised a company, from the 3'oung men of that 
institution, to assist in putting down the Tories assem- 
bled on Cape Fear Eiver. Of this company he was made 
captain. They marched immediately in the direction of 
Cross Creek (Fayetteville), hut, on learning of the disper- 
sion of the Tories, they returned home. Inheriting from 
his family a devotion to liberty and independence, he 
early became distinguished for his patriotic ardor and 
decision of character. Pie was a line scholar, fluent 
writer, and drew up the resolutions of independence which 
the Convention of the 20tli of May, 1775, adopted, with 
\erv slight alteration, acting as one of the secretaries. 
J)uring his confinement in Charleston, as a prisoner of 
war, he suftered so much from impure air and ^m^^'hole- 
some diet that his health gave Avay, and he returned 
home only to die. He reached the house of his friend 
and fellow patriot, John JMcKnitt Alexander, in ]Mecklen- 
burg county, Avhere he soon after breathed his last. He 
lies buried in Cliark>tte, in the lot now owned Ity A. ]>. 
])avidson, Esq., near the grave of his beloved wife, who, 
a short time hefore, preceded him to the tomb. Upon 
this lot was located the (iueen''s Museum College, receiv- 
ing, in 1777, the more patriotic name of "Liberty Hall 
Academy." Within its walls were educated a Spartan 
l)and of young men, who afterward performed a nobk.' 
part in achieving the independence of their country. 

liichard Barry was horn in Pennsylvania, of Scotch- 
Irish descent, and joining the great southern emigration 
of that period, he settled in Mecklenhurg county, in the 
bounds of the Hopewell congregation, many years pre- 
vious to the devolution. In this vicinity he married 
A>in Price, and raised a numerous family. A. M. ]3arry, 
Fx]., will) now (1870) resides at the old homestead, is the 


-only surviving grandson. Mr^. A. A. Harry, Mrs. G. L. 
Sample and Mrs. Jane Alexander, are the onl}' surviving 
gnmd-daugliters. He acted for many years as one of tin- 
magistrates of the connty, and was a -worthy and useful 
luenibcr of society. He was a true patriot and soldier, 
and was present at the affair of Cowan's Ford, where 
General Davidson was killed, on the 1st of Fcbruar}-, 1781. 
After this short conflict he, David "Wilson and a fe\\- 
otliers, secured the body of General Davidson, conveyed 
it to the house of Samuel AYilson, Sen., where, after being 
|troperly dressed, it was moved by these devoted patriots 
to the graveyard of Hopewell Church, and there buried 
J>y {orch-ligJd. 

John Davidson was born in Penns3'lvania in 1736. lie 
|»erformed much civil and military service to secure the 
independence of his countr}'. He was appointed by the 
l^rovincial Congress, which met at Halifax on the 4th of 
Ai)ril, 1776, a field officer (Major) with Adam Alexandei- 
as Colonel, John Phifer as Lieutenant Colonel, and George 
A. Alexander as second Major. He was with General 
^Sumpter in August, 1780, at the battle of the Hanging 
IJock, and was a General in the State militia service. He 
was enterprising, and successful in business. AVith Alex- 
ander Brevard, and Jose})h (Traham, his sons-in-law, he 
■i'stablished Vesuvius Furnace and Tirza Forge iron works 
iu Lincoln county.' He married A^iolet, daughter of 
Sanuiel Wilson, Sr., and raised a large family. His 
daughter, Isabella, married Joseph Graham ; Rebecca 
married Alexander Brevard ; Violet married William 
r>ain Alexander, son of John McKnitt Alexander: Eliza- 
beth married William Lee Davidson, son of General 
Davidson, who fell at Cowan's Ford; Mary married Dr. 
William McLean; Sallie married Alexander Caldwell, sou 
of lie v. David Caldwell, of Guilford county ;' JSlargarct 
married ]Major James Harris. He had w4y' W<> sons. 
John (or "Jackev") and Robert ; John niarried Sallie ]>re- 


N'ard, (laughter of Adam ]3revard ; Robert married 
Margaret Osborne, daughter of Adhai Osborne, grand- 
father of the Late Judge James "W. Osborne, of Charlotte. 

Major Davidson's residence was a])0ut one mile east of 
Toole's Ford, on the Catawba river. A large Elm, of lilfi 
own planting, is now grooving in front of the old family 
mansion, with over-arching limbs, beneath whose beneii-- 
cent shade the old patriot could quietly sit in sunmier,. 
isiil) fcgmlne pafukc vlmi) whilst surrounded with some of 
liis children, grand-children, and other blessings to cheor- 
his earthly pilgrimage to the tomb. 

Robert Inrhi was a distinguished officer, and performed 
important military service during the Revolutionary War. 
In 1776, he and William Alexander each, commanded n 
regiment under (Tcneral Rutherford, in the expedition 
from ]\recklenburg, Rowan, Lincoln, and other counties, . 
to subdue the Cherokee Indians, who were conmiitting 
murders and mmiorous depredations upon tlie fronti<'v 

After the fall of C^harleston many of the unsubdued 
Whigs sought shelter in North Carolina. Earl^^ in July.. 
1780, General Sumter had taken refuge in Mecklenburii 
county, and having enlisted a considerable number oi 
brave and dashing recruits in that chivalric region, 
returned to South (Airolina prepared for new and 
daring exploits. Soon thereafter, accompanied by Colonels 
Xeal, Irwin, ITiir and Lac\', he made a vigorous assault 
against the post of Rock}^ ]\Iount, but failed in reducing 
it for the want of artillerj^ After this assault Genei^if 
Sumter crossed the Catawba, and marched with his for'.'C.- 
in the direction of Hanging Rock. In the engagement 
which took place there, and, in the main successful, th<' 
right Avas composed of General Davie's troops, and some 
volunteers under Major Bryan ; the centre consisted oi 
Colonel Irwin's ^lecklenburg ^lilitia, which made the 
tirst attack: and the left included Colonel Hill's South 


Carolina Regulars * In 1781 Colonel Irwin commanded 
a regiment mider General Rutherford, in the Wilmington 
campaign. He was a delegate to the Provincial Congress, 
which met at Halifax, on the 4th of April, 1776, with 
John McKnitt Alexander and John Phifer as colleagues. 
[le was again a delegate to the Provincial Congress which 
met at Halifax, on the 12th of Xovember, 1776, which. 
body formed our first Constitution. His last civil ser- 
\-ices were as Senator from Mecklenburg county, in 1797,- 
'98-'99 and 1800. For many years he Avas a worthy and 
influential Elder of the Presbyterian Church at Steele 
Creek. He died on the iSrd of December, 1800, aged 
sixty-two years. 

Wilh'arii Kevnon was an earl}' and devoted friend of 
liberty. He was an eminent lawyer, resided in Salisbury, 
and had a large prj^ctice in the surrounding counties. He 
was one of the prominent advocates for ahsolufe indepcj'- 
ilencc at the Convention in Charlotte, on the 19th and 20tli 
of May, 1775. He, with Mr. Willis, a brother-in-law, 
Adlai Osborne, and Samuel Spencer (afterward Judge 
Spencer), took an active part in arresting two obnoxioiLs 
lawyers, John Dunn and Benjamin Booth Boote, preced- 
ing tlie Revolution, in giving utterance to language ini- 
mical to the cause of American independence. 

They were conveyed to Charlotte for trial, and being 
found guilty of conduct inimical to the American, 
they were transported to Camden, S. C, and finally to 
Charleston, beyond the reach of their injurious influence. 
Colonel Ivennon Avas a membfer of the first Congres.s. 
which met at Xewbern on the 25tli of August, 1774, in 
opposition to royalty, and "fresh from the people," witlt 
Moses Winslow and Samuel Youno; as colleaonies. He - 

* General Moultrie, in sneaking of thi.s eiig-acemeiil in his " JfeTnoirs of 
llie American Revolntioii," saya : "When General Sumter beg-an this attack 
he had not more than ten rounds of ball to a man ; but before the action was 
over, lie was amply .supplied with arms and jimmuiiition from the British 
and Tories that fell in the heKinninir." 


was also a delegate to the same place in April, 1775, with 
Grithth Rutherford and William Sharpe as colleagues ; 
tmd to the Provincial Congress at Ilillshoro, in August, 
1775, associated with William Sharpe, Samuel Young and 
James Smith. In 1776, ho was appointed commissary of 
the first regiment of State troops, lie was ever active and 
faithful in the discharge of his duties. Soon after the 
Ivcvolutionary war he moved to Georgia, where he died 
at a good old age. 

Benjamin Patton was one of the earliest settlers in the 
■eastern part of Mecklenburg county (now Cabarrus). \\v 
was a man of iron firmness and of indomitable courage. 
Descended from the blood of the Covenanters, he inherited 
their tenacity of purpose, sagacity of action and purity (>f 
I'haracter. lie was an early and devoted friend of liberty. 

lie waa a delegate to the Provincial Congress which met 
at Xewbern on the 25th of August, 1774. This was the 
first meeting of representatives direct from the people. 
The royal Governor, Josiah Martin, issued his proclama- 
tion against its assembling, as being without legal author- 
ity. It constitutes an illustrious epoch in our colonial 
iiistory, transpiring nearly two years Ijefore Congress 
vonid duretopas.v a national declaration Although it was 
not a battle, or confiict of arms, yet it was the first and 
leading act in a great drama, in which battles and ])lood 
were the durct and inevitable conseqaences. Had Governor 
Martin the power at that time, he would have seized q.\q.y\ 
member of this " rebellious ""■ body and tried them for 
treason. In this dilemna, he summoned his ever obsequi- 
ous Council for consultation, who, beconung alarmed at 
the "signs of the times," declared "nothing cotild be 

Tradition informs us that Mi'. l^attOM, not being able to 
j)rocure a horse, or any conveyance, walked all the ^^■ay 
from Charlotte to Newbern, about three hundred nules 
rather than not be present to vote with those determined 
on liherfi/ or dcnth. Although then advanced in J'ears, he 


shoAvod all the entliusiasm of yontli. At the Provincial 
C'Ongress which met at Ilillshoro on the 21st of Angust, 
1 775, he was appointed Major of the second Continental 
regiment, with Rohert Howe as Colonel, and Alexander 
Martin as Lientenant Colonel. Of his military record, in 
such high position, little is known, hut we find him acting 
as a memher of the Committee of Safety for Mecklenhurg 
coinity, Avitli very full powers, associated with John Paul 
Parringer and Martin Pliifer. They were a "terror unto evil 
doers." He was a man of considerable learnino;, of ardent 
temperament, and of Christian integrity. He died near 
Concord, in Cabarrus county, at a good old age, and is 
buried on the banks of Irish Buffalo C^i-eek. Ko monu- 
ment marks his o-nwe : 

"T '.ey oarvpfl not a line, tliey raised not ii stone. 
But left him alone In his glory." 

Joltii Fhifo- was born in C^abarrus county (when a [lart 
of Bladen) in 1745. He Avas the son of Martin Phifer, a 
native of Switzerland, and of Margaret Blackwelder. He 
raised a numerous family, who inherited the patriotic 
sj)irit of their ancestors. The original spelling of the name 
was Pfclfrr. He resided on "Hutch Buffalo" Creek, at the 
Red flill, known to this day as "Phifer's Hill." He was 
tlie father of General Paul Phifer, grandfather of General 
dohn iST. Pliifer of Mississipi, and great graudt^ithcr of 
(icneral Charles H. Phifer, a distinguished ofKcer in the 
battle of '•'Shiloh,'' in the late Avar between the States. At 
the Provincial Council, held at Johnston Court House in 
Decembei', 1775, he Avas appointed Lieutenant Colonel of 
the first battalion of "Minute Men," in the Salisbury Dis- 
trict ; General Griffith Rutherford, Colonel, and John 
Paisley, Major. He Avas a member of the Provincial 
( \^ngress which met at Hillsboro on the 21st of A ugust, 
1775, associated Avith Thomas Polk, A^^aightstill Avery, 
James Houston. Samuel Martin and John McKnitt Alex- 


ander ; and also of the Congress wliich met at Halifax on 
the 4th of April, 1776, with Robert Irwin and John Mc- 
Ivnitt Alexander. 

By this latter body, he was appointed Lieutenant Col- 
onel of the regiment commanded by Colonel Adam Alex- 
ander. He was also a member of the Provincial Congress 
which met at Halifax in ]^ovember, 1776, Avhich formed 
our first Constitution, associated with Hezekiah Alexan- 
der, Waightstill Avery, Eobert Irwin and Zaccheus AVil- 
son, as colleagues. He married Catharine Barringer. 
which latter name was originally spelled Behrlngci-. 

It was on the plantation of John Phifer, three mile-; 
west of Concord, that the gallant band of "Black Boys,"" 
headed by Cai)tain 'Black Bill Alexander" of Sugar 
Creek, aided by the Whites and others from the neighbor 
ing congregation of Eocky River, effected their memoi-- 
able achievement in 1771, of destroying the king's powder. 
\\'hich "was on its way from Charleston to Ilillsboro. to l>c 
4ise(l by a tyrannical Governor. The reader should bear in 
mind this blackening of faces, to prevent detection, was in 
the spring of 1771, v>dien the patriotic sentiment of this 
country had not ripened into that state of almost entire 
unanimity which characterized it, and the State generally, 
four years later. John Phifer filled an envly grave, and 
lies buried at the "Red Hill," on the Salisbury road, where 
a decaying headstone, scarcely legible, marks the last 
resting-place of this true j.atriot. 

Thomas Polk is a name of historic distinction in Xorth 
Carolina, as well as in our nation. He was the early, con- 
stant, and en<luring friend of liberty, and the unfaltering 
opponent of arbitrary pOAver and oppression. He was a 
member of the Colonial Assembly in 1771 and 1775, as- 
sociated with Abraham Alexander from Mecklenburg. 
In 1775, he was aitpointed Colonel of the second battalion 
of "Minute Men," with Adam Alexander as (yolonel, and 
•Charles McLean as Major. 

A.- Colonel of the Mecklenburg; militia, he issued orders 


to the Captains of the several beats^ or districts, to send 
two delegates each to the Convention in Charlotte on the 
19tli of May, 1775. This act alone, proceeding from 
patriotic motives, entitles him to our gratitude. In ae- 
(.'ordance with orders, and the anticipated discussion of 
political measures affecting the welfare of the country, a 
vast concourse of delegates, and of the citizens generally, 
from all parts of the country, as well as from the adjoin- 
ing counties of Anson, Rowan and Try on (afterward Lin- 
coln) assembled on the appointed day — such a gathering 
as had never before met in Charlotte, preceding, or dur- 
ing the Revolution. It was not a small assemblage, like 
that of the 31st of the same month, composed entirely of 
the Committee of Safety, met for the par[iose of passing 
such rules and regulations as the internal government o\' 
the county demanded. 

At the Provincial Cono-ress which met at Halifax on 
the 4th of April, 1776, he was appointed Colonel of the 
fourth regiment of Continental troops, with James Thack- 
son as Lieutenant-Colonel, and William Davidson as Ma- 
jor. The last named officer wan afterward appointed a 
Brigadier General, and was killed while disputing the 
passage of Cornwallis at Cowan's Ford, on the 1st of Feb- 
ruarj', 1781. After the death of General Davidson, he 
was appointed Brigadier General in his stead. When 
General Greene took command of the Southern army in 
Cliarlotte on the -3rd of December, 1780, the commissary 
department was left vacant by the resignation of Colonel 
Polk. At the earnest solicitation of General (jrccne, 
(•olonel Davie was induced to accept the position, an un- 
gracious and troublesome office at any time, but then at- 
tended with peculiar difficulties, as the country had been 
lately devastated and stripped of its usual resources by a 
large invading army. 

Colonel Thomas Polk married Susan Spratt, and left 
several children. He died in 1703, full of years and full 


of honors, and his mortal remains repose in the graveyard 
of the Presbyterian Chnrcli in Charlotte. 

William Polk, son of Colonel Thomas Polk, was born in 
1759, and was present at the Mecklenburg Convention of 
the 19th and 20th of May, 1775. He commenced his mil- 
itary career with his father in the expedition against the 
Scovillite Tories, in upper Sonth Carolina, in the autumn 
of 1775. Tie was with General Xash when he fell at 
Germantown ; with General Davidson, at Cowan's Ford : 
Avitli General Greene, at Guilford Court House ; and with 
the same officer at Eutaw Springs. In the last named 
battle he was severely wounded, the eifects of which he 
carried with him to his grave. When the war closed, he 
held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He settled in Char- 
lotte, his place of nativity, and represented Mecklenburg 
county in the Commons in 1787-'90, and '91. Soon there- 
after he removed to Raleigh, where he spent the remain- 
der of his life. He was the last surviving field officer of 
the North Carolina line. lie died on the 14th of January, 
1835, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. He was the 
father of Bishop Leonidas Polk, a brave and meritorious 
officer, killed in the late civil war, while holding the poni- 
tion of Major General ; of the late Thomas G. Polk, of 
Tennessee, and of Mrs. Rayner, wife of the Hon. Kenneth 
Ivaj^ner, ot Washington City. 

Ezekicl Polk, one of the older brothers of Colonel 
Thomas Polk, was the first clerk of the county court of 
Lincoln, after its separation from Mecklenburg in 17<J8 ; 
a Magistrate of Mecklenburg county at a later period; 
and was a man of considerable wealth and influence, own- 
ing much of the valuable lands around " Morrow's Turn- 
out," now the flourishing village of "Pineville." Pie was 
the grandfather of James K. Polk, President of the 
United States in 1845, some of whose noblest traits of 
character were illustrated in refusing to serve a second term j. 
and in ])eing never absent from his 2^ost of duty. Well 
would it be for the best interests of our Republic if other 


occupants of the "White House" would imitate his noble 

Zaecheus Wilson, was one of three brothers who moved 
from Pennsylvania and settled in Mecklenburg county 
about 1760. At the time of the Mecklenburg Convention 
on the 19th and 20th of JVIay, 1775, he signed that instru- 
ment, pledging himself and his extensive family connec- 
tions to its support and maintenance. He was said to be 
a man of liberal education, and very popular in the county 
in which he resided. He was a member of the Convention 
which met at Halifax on the 12th of ]Srovember, 1776, t(> 
form a State Constitution, associated with Waightstill 
Avery, John I^hifer, Robert Irwin and Hezekiah Alexan- 

The Wilsons were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and were 
arrayed by early education, civil and religious, against 
tyranny in any form. The eldest brother, Robert Wilson, 
who lived for many years in Steele Creek congregation, 
was the father of eleven sons, seven of whom Avere at one 
time (all who w^ere old enough) in the Revolutionary 
army. Shortly after the Revolution, Zaecheus Wilson 
moved to Sumner county, Tennessee, and there died at an 
advanced age. 

Ezra Alexander was a son of Abraham Alexander, the 
President of the Mecklenburg Convention of the 20th of 
May, 1775. He and William Alexander each commanded 
a. company in Coloffel William Davidson's battalion, under 
(xeneral Rutherford, against the Tories assembled at Ram- 
sour's Mill, near the present town of Lincolnton. He was- 
also engaged in other military expeditions during the war, 
whenever the defence of the country demanded his ser- 

Charles Alexander and John Foard, two of the signers, 
served as privates in Captain Charles Polk's company of 
" Light Horse" in 1776, in the Wilmington campaign^ 
and in other service during the war. John Foard Avas, 
for many years, one of the magistrates of Mecklenburg 
county, and both have descendants living among us. 


David Reese was a son of ^Villiam Eeese, a worthy 
citizen of Western Rowan (now Iredell county), who died 
in April, 1808, aged rdnety-inne years, and brother of the 
Rev. Thomas Reese, whose ministerial labors were chiefly 
performed in Pendleton District, S. C, where he ended 
his days, and is buried in tlie Stone Church graveyard. 

James Harris was from Eastern Mecklenburg (no^\■ 
Cabarrus county), a neighborhood universalh* holding 
Whig principles. lie was the Major in Colonel Robert 
Irwin's regiment at the battle of the Hanging Rock, and 
elsewhere performed important services during the Avar. 
Xext to the Alexanders the hame Harris was most pre- 
valent in Mecklenburg county preceding the Revolution, 
and both still have immeroas worthy descendants among 
us to perpetuate the fair name and fame of their distin- 
guished ancestors. 

Mattheui McLuir, one of the signers, Avas an early and 
<levoted friend of liberty. Some of his worthy descend- 
ants are still living among us. Other descendants of the 
same patriotic family reside in Chester county, S. C. One 
of his daughters married George Houston, who, with a 
Spartan band of twelve or thirteen brave spirits, under 
Captain James Thompson, beat back a British foraging 
j)arty of over four hundred soldiers, at ]McIn tyre's Branch, 
on the Beattie's Ford road, seven miles north-west ()f 
Charlotte. His son, Hugh Houston, served throughout 
the Revolutionary war. The rifle used on that occasion 
by George Houston is still in possession of the family. 
His son, ]\I. M. Houston, Esq., of Hopewell congregation, 
is one of the fcAv grandsons now living of the original 
signers of the ]Vrecklenbnrg Declaration. 

WiUiam Grahaiii, an Irishman by birth, Avas one of the 
early advocates of lil)ert3' in Mecklenburg county. He 
was intelligent and highly respected by all Avho kncAv 
him. He lived on the plantation uoaa' OAvned by Mrs. 
Potts, about four miles south-east of Beattie's Ford, on 
tlie public road leading to Charlotte, AA'here he died at a 
ciood old age. 


It is hoped others will prosceute this braneh of his- 
torical research, here imperfectlj' sketched, supply omis- 
sions, and favor the public with the result of their 
investigations. In this Centennial year it i-s pleasant and 
[)rofital3le to revert to the deeds of noble daring and lofty 
patriotism of our forefathers, and strive to emulate their 
illustrious examples. 


The name, Alexander, is of frequent mention among the 
iiol)ility of Scotland. About the year 1735 John Alex- 
ander married Margaret Gleason, a ''bonnie lassi(/' of 
Glasgow, and shortly afterward emigrated to the town of 
Armagh, in Ireland. About 1740, wishing to improve 
more rapidlj" his worldly condition, he emigrated with 
his rising famil}-, two nephews, James and Hugh Alex- 
ander, and their sister, who was married to a ^Ir Tolk, 
to America, and settled in Nottingham, Chester county, 
I'a. These two nephews, and their brother-in-law, Polk, 
soon aftej'ward emigrated to Mecklenburg county, JSTorth 
( arolina, then holding forth flattering inducements for 
.settlement. These families, of Scotch-Irish descent, there 
prc)spered in their several callings, and early indjiljcd 
those princi})les of civil and religious libert}- which 
stam}ied- their impress on themseh'es and their descend- 
ants, and shone forth conspicuously preceding and during 
the American Kevolution. 

About the time of this emigration of the Alexanders t() 
Xorth Carolina, John Alexander moved to Carlisle, Cum- 
berland county, l^a. AV'hile he resided there his son James 
(James the first) married '' Kosa Reed," of that place. 
Soon after his marriage he left Carlisle, and settled on 
" S[»ring Run," having J )Urchased a tract of land which 
covered " Logan's Sjjrings," where the celebrated !Ming(> 
chief, Logan, then lived. After Logan's death he moved 
to the Springs, which valuable property is still owned by 
the Alexander heirs. 


John Alexander, partaking of the roving spirit of the 
age, left Carlisle, and finally settled in Berkeley county, 
Va., where he purchased a large farm, and spent the re- 
mainder of his days. His son James had twelve children, 
seven sons and five daughters. One of his daughters. 
Rachel, married Joseph Vance, of Virginia, the ancest(^r 
of ex-Governor Vance, of Ohio, and other descendants. 
He gave Vance a farm of three hundred acres as an in- 
ducement to settle near him. Vance accepted the gift, 
and soon afterward removed to the farm; hat Indian 
trouhles breaking out at that time, he sold his possession 
and returned to Virginia, selecting a location near Mar- 

James Alexander (James the second) had four sons and 
six daughters. The eldest son (James the third ) married 
his cousin Celia, youngest daughter of Robert Alexander, 
of whom was a descendant, Robert Alexander perhaps a 
son), a captain in the Revolution, who married Mar}' Jack, 
third daughter of Patrick Jack, of Charlotte, and settled 
in Lincoln county, where he died in 1813. 

James Porterfield Alexander (James the fourth), and 
son of James the third, married Annie Augusta Halsoy. 
grand-daughter of the Hon. .Jeremiah Morton, and resides, 
in this centennial year, on the St. Cloud plantation, Ra}>idan 
!Station, Culpeper county, Va. 

Hugh Alexander, son of James the first, married Martlui 
Edmundson, settled in Sherman's A'allej', Pa., and had a 
large family. He died at Independence Hall, rhiladel- 
phia, while sitting as a member to form a State Consti- 

Another prolific source of the Alexanders in America 
is traceable to the descendants of seven brothers, who fled 
from Scotland, on account of political troubles, to the 
north of Ireland, and passing through the Emerald Isle, 
sailed for America, and landed in Xew York in 1716. 
One of their descendants was AVilliam Alexander, born in 
Xew York in 172 >, a son of James Alexander, of Scotland. 


IFo l)ec-aine a distinguished officer in the Ecvohitionary 
war, known as '' Lord Stirling." lie married a danghtei' 
of Phihp Livingston (the second lord of the manor), a 
sister of Governor Livingston, of New Jersey. 

From these prolific sources (Scotch and Scotch-Irish) 
North Carolina, and other States of the Amencan Union, 
have received their original su})plies of Alexanders, em- 
hracing, in their expansion, many distinguished names. 

In the list of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declara- 
tion of the 20th of May, 1775, six hear the name of Alex- 
ander, and a host of others, officers and privates, honored 
the name in their heroic achievements during the Eevolu- 
tiuiiary war. Tavo of the distinguished teachers in Rowan 
county, preceding the Revolution, were James Alexander 
and Rol.iert Brevard. 

It is also worthy of mention that one of the tircnfi/->:l.r 
l)ersons who met in Charleston, in the fall of 17(:)G, after 
the repeal of the Stamp Act, under the leadership of that 
early patric^t, Ceneral Christopher Gadsden, rejoiced under 
the duplicated name ef Alexander Alcraru/e/: He had 
strayed off from the paternal roof in North Carolina, and 
was em[>loyed there in the honorable calling of school- 
master. Johnson, in his " Traditions and Reminiscences," 
thus speaks favorably^of his eminent worth: "Alexandei- 
Alexander was a school-master of high character and 
liO[>ularity. He was a native of Mecklenburg, North Car(<_ 
lina, and educated in the "Whig principles of that distin- 
guished district." 


At the commencement of the Revolutionary A\'ar, one 
<tf the worthy and patriotic citizens of the little town of 
Charlotte, in Mecklenburg county, N. C, "svas Patrick 
fFack. He was a native of Ireland, and emigrated to 
America, with several l)rothers, about 17^0. He married 
Lillis McAdoo, of the same race, who is represented to 


have been, hj all \vho knew her, as '' one of the best of 
"\\'omen," having an amiable disposition, frequently dis- 
pensing charities to the poor, and truly pious. Her 
Christian name, LiUis, in subsequent years, was softened 
into Lillie, by man}" of her descendants in adopting it. 
The descent of Patrick Jack is traceable to noble ances- 
tors, one of whom was a ministerial sufferer in the reign 
of Charles II, in 1661. In that year, that despotic mon- 
arch, who, accoi'ding to one of his own satirists, " Xevcr 
said a foolish thing, nor ever did a wise one," ejected from 
their benefices or livings, under Jeremy Taylor, thirteen 
ministers of the Presbytery of Lagan, in the northern part 
of Ireland, for their non-conformity to the Church of Eng- 
land. The Puritans of England were called to the same 
trial, in August, 1662, and m the following October, tlu' 
same scene of heroic suffering was exhibited in Scotland. 

Among the honored names of these thirteen ejected 
ministers, were Robert Wilson, ancestor of the Eev. 
Francis McKemie, who, twenty 3'ears later, was the first 
Presbyterian ]^»reacher that had ever visited the AVestcru 
Continent, and near relative of George McKemie, of the 
Waxhaw settlement, and a l)rothcr-in-law of Mrs. Eliza- 
beth Jackson, the mother of General Andrew Jackson: 
Kobert Craighead, ancestor of the Eev. Alexander Craig- 
head, the first settled pastor of Sugar Creek congregation, 
the early apostle of civil and religious liberty in ]Mccklen- 
burg county, and who ended his days there in 1766 : 
Thomas Drummond, a near relative of "William Drum- 
mond, the first royal Governor of Xorth Carolina : Adam 
White, ancestor of Hon. Hugh Lawson White, a native 
of Iredell county, and William Jack, ancestor of Patrick 
Jack, of Charlotte, Charles Jack, of Cliand)ersburg, Penn- 
sylvania, and others, whose descendants arc now fmmd in 
ten or twelve States of the American Union. 

In the list of tax-payers for Chambersburg, Pa , during 
the latter half of the last century, the "Chief Burgess,'"' or 
^fayor of that jilace, informs the author the name of Jack 


(especially John, James, Charles, and William) is of fre- 
(juent occnrrence ; but, at the present time, not one of the 
name is to be found there One of these, (James) i)roba- 
bl}' a nephew of Patrick and Charles Jack, served five 
years with distinction in the Revolutionary army, and 
others are traditionally spoken of as actively engaged in 
the same patriotic duty. Several of the elder members of 
tlie family are buried in the graveyard of Chand^ersburg, 
others in Williamsport, Md., and elsewhere in western 

Several years previous to the Revolution, there also 
came over from the north of Ireland to America, at least 
two brothers of the name of Jack, distant relatives ot" 
l*atrick and Charles Jack, and settled in western Pennsyl- 
\-ania. When the county town of Westmoreland (Ilan- 
nastown) was l)urned by the Indians in 1783, one of this 
family distinguished himself by saving the lives of tlu- 
women and children. After the burning of that [ilacc, 
the name of the town was changed to Greensburg, and a 
ncvv' location selected on land donated by William Jack, 
who had become quite Avealthy, and one of the Associate 
Judges of W'estmoreland county. He had live sons, four 
of whom died bachelors ; the elder married, but none of 
liis descendants are now (1876) living, except a grand-sou, 
(William Jack,) who resides near Greensburg, J*a. The 
only daughter of Judge William -Jack, married John Chi.<l^ 
who fled from Ireland soon after the rebellion in 1798. 

About 1760, animated with the hope of more rapidly 
improving his worldly condition, Patrick Jack joined the 
great tide of emigration to the Southern colonies, and 
shortly after his arrival in Xortli Carolina purchased a 
tract of land between Grant and Second Creeks, in the 
(/athey settlement (now Thyatira) in Rowan county. 
After remaining there for about two years, he sold his land 
and moved to the adjoining county of Mecklenburg, 
Here, by strict economy and industry, he was "blest in his 
basket and his store,"' and enal»led to make more enlarged 


}»ost>essioiis. This improvement in liis pecuniary condition 
and prosperity may be inferred from the fact that in 1775, 
and a few years subsequently, he and his eldest son, Capt. 
James Jack, who, about this time united in business "witli 
his father, became the owners of some of the finest lots, 
or rather blocks, in Charlotte. Among the valuable lots 
they are recorded as owning, may be briefly named : No. 
25, the present Irwin corner ; Tn^o. 26, the Parks lot ; No. 
27, the whole space, or double block, from the Irwin cor- 
ner to the Court House lot; No. 29, the space from the 
Parks lot to the corner embracing the Brown property ; 
and several lots on Trade street, opposite the First Presby- 
terian Church. On one of these last named lots (the old 
Elms property, on the corner next to the Court House) 
Patrick Jack and his son Capt. James Jack, resided when 
the delegates from the militia districts of the county assem- 
l)led, on the lf)th and 20th of May, 1775, and kejit a 
public house of entertainment. Here ]\\trick Jack, on 
suitable occasions, was accustomed to "crack" man\' an 
Irish joke, to the infinite delight of his numerous visitors : 
and by his ready wit, genial good humor and pleasantry, 
greatly contributed to the reputation of his house, and 
inculcated his own iiatriotic principles. The house soon 
Itecame the favorite place of resort for the students of the 
collegiate institute knowji as " Queen's ]Museum," and of 
other ardent spirits of the town and country, to discuss 
the political issues of that exciting period, all foreboding 
the approach of a mighty revolution. 

Patrick Jack had four sons, James, John, Samuel and 
liobert, and five daughters, Chai'ity, Jane, Mary, Mar- 
garet and Lillis, named in the order of their ages. Capt. 
James Jack, the eldest son, married Margaret Houston, 
on the 20tli of November, 176(3. The Houston family 
came South nearly at the same time with the Alexanders, 
Polks, Pattons, Caldwells, AVallaces, Wilsons, Clarkes. 
Rosses, Pattersons, Browns, and many others, and settled 
mostly in the eastern part of Mecklenburg county (no^^ 


Cabarras), and in neighborhoods convenient to the old 
■established Presbyterian churches of the countr}^, unch^i- 
whose guidance civil and religious freedom have evei' 
found ardent and unwavering defenders. The late Archi- 
])al(l Houston, who served Cabarrus county taithfully in 
several important positions, and died in 1843, was one of 
this worthy family, 

On the 2nd of October, 1768, Captain James .Jack, as 
stated in his own family register, moved to his own place, 
on the head of the Catawdja river, then recei/ino- a con- 
siderable emigration. He had live children : 1. Cynthia, 
born on the 20th of September, 17G7. 2. Patrick, born 
on the 27th of September, 1769. 3. William Houston, 
l>orn on the 6th of June, 1771. 4. Archibald, born on the 
20th of April, 1773 (died "young) ; and 5. James, born on 
the 20th of September, 1775. 

On the 4tli of August, 1772, Captain Jack left his moun- 
tain home and moved to the residence of his fathei-, 
Patrick Jack, in ]\.Iecklenburg countj^ On the 16th oi' 
February, 1773, he and his father moved from the coun- 
ti-y, where they had been tem})orarily sojourning, into 
■' Charlotte towm," prospered in business, and soon became 
nseful and influential citizens. 

On the 26tli of Sept., 1780, Lord Cornwallis, elated with 
his victory at Camden, entered Charlotte, with the coniident 
oxpectation of soon restoring North Carolina to the British 
Crown. Patrick Jack was then an old and intirm man 
Laving given up the chief control of his puldic house to 
liis son. Captain James Jack ; but neither ago nor intirmitx' 
rould enlist the sympathies of the British soldier3^ The 
})atriotic character of the house had become extensivelv 
know^n through Tory information, and its destruction was 
consequently a "foregone conclusion.'' The British sol- 
diei'S removed its aged owner from the feather bed upon 
whieh he was lying, emptied its contents into the street, 
iind then set the house on tire! The reason assigned for 
this incendiary act was, " all of old Jack's sons A\'ere in 


the rebel army," and he himself had been an active pro- 
moter of American independence. 

The loss to l*atrick Jack of his dwelling-house and 
much furniture, accumulated through many years oi* 
]>atient toil and industry, was a severe one. The excite- 
ment of the burning scene, consequent exposure, and great 
nervous shock to a system already debilitated with disease, 
a few months afterward brought to the gi'ave this veteran 
jiatriot. His aged partner survived him a few years. 
T)Otli were worthy and consistent members of the Pres- 
l)yterian Church, and their mortal remains now repese in 
the old graveyard in Charlotte. 

By the last will and testament of Patrick .Jack, made 
oH the 19th of ]\Iay, 1780, he devised the whole of his 
personal estate and the "• undivided benetit of his house 
and lots to his beloved wife during her life-time." After 
lier death they were directed to be sold, and the proceeds 
divided among his tive married daughters, viz.: Cliarity 
Dysart, Jane Barnctt, Mary Alexander, ^Margaret AVilsou 
and Lillie Nicholson. James Jack and Josepli ISicholsou 
were a})]>ointed executors. It is related of Dr. Thomas 
Henderson, a former venerable citizen of Charlotte, that, 
on his deathJ>ed, he requested to be buried by the side 
of Patrick Jack, '" one of the best men he had evei" known." 

At the Convention of I^elegates in Charlotte on the 
PJth and 20th of May, 1775, Capt. James Jack M-as one of 
the deeply interested spectators, and shared in the pa- 
triotic feelings of that ever memoi'able oei-asion. He was 
then about forty-three years of age — brave, energetic and. 
ready to engage in any duty having for its object the wel- 
fare and independence of his country. After the passage 
of the })atriotic resolutions, elsewhere given in this volumes 
constituting the ^lecklenburg Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, Cai)t. Jack, for his well-known energy, l)ra very and 
determination of character, was selected to be the l)eari'r- 
of them to Congress, then in session in Philadeliihia. 
Accordingly, as soon as tlie necessary })re})arations for 


traveling could be made, he set out from Charlotte ou 
that long, lonesome and perilous journey, on horseback. 
There were then nowhere in the American colonies, stages 
or hacks to facilitate and expedite the weary traveler. 
Express messengers were alone enqdoyed for the rapid 
transmission of all important intelligence. On the even- 
ing of the first day he reached Salisbury, forty miles from 
Charlotte, before the General Court, then in session, had 
adjourned. Upon his arrival, Colonel Kennon, an iniiuen- 
tial member of the Court, who knew the object of Captain. 
Jack's mission, procured from him the co})y of the Meck- 
lenburg ]-esolutions of independence he had in charge, and 
read them aloud in open court. All was silence, and all 
apparent approval {intentiqtie ora tenebant) as these earliest 
key-notes of freedom resounded through the hall of the 
old court house in Salisbury. There sat around, in sym- 
j >athizing composure, those sterling patriots, Moses AYins- 
low, Waightstill Avery, John Brevard, William Sharpe, 
(irithth Rutherford, jNIatthew Locke, Samuel Young, 
A dial Osborne, James r>randon, and many others, either 
members of the court, or of the count}- '• Committee of 
Safety." The only marked opposition proceeded from, 
two lawyers, Johji Dnnn and Benjamin Booth Boote, who 
[•rouounccd the resolutions treasonable., and said Captain 
Jack ought to be detained. These individuals had pre- 
N'iousl}^ expressed sentiments "inimical to the American 
cause." As soon as knowledge of their avowed sentiments; 
and ])roposed detention of Captain Jack reached Charlotte, 
the ])atriotic vigilance of ^the friends of liberty was 
actively aroused, and a party of ten or twelve arined 
horsemen promptly volunteered to proceed to Salisbury, 
arrest said Dunn and Boote, and bring them before thc^ 
Committee of Safety of Mecklenburg for trial. This was 
accordhigly done (George Graham, living near Charlotte, 
being one of the number), and both being found guilty of 
conduct inimical to the cause of American freedom, were 
trans[u:)rted, first to Camden, and afterward, to Charles- 


ton, .S. C. They never returned to Xortli Carolina, luit 
after the war, it is reported, settled in Florida, and died 
there, it is hoped not only repentant of their sins, as all 
should be, but with chastened notions of the reality and 
benefits of American independence. 

On the next morning, Captain Jack resumed his journey 
from Salisbury, occasionally passing through neighhor- 
lioods, in and beyond the limits of Xorth Carolina, infested 
with enraged Tories, but, intent on his appointed mission. 
lie faced all dangers, and finally reached Philadelphia m 

Upon his arrival he immediately obtained an interview 
with the Xorth Carolina delegates (Caswell, Hooper and 
Ilewes), and, aftera little conversation on the state of the 
<-oimtry, then agitating all minds, Ca[>tain Jack drew from 
his pocket the ^lecklenburg resolutions of the 20th of 
May, 1775, with the remark : "Here, gentlemen, is a i»a[!cr 
that I have heen instructed to deliver to you, Avitli the re- 
»piest that you should lay the same before Congress '" 

After the Xorth Carolina delegates had carefully read 
the Mecklenburg resolutions, and approved of their patri- 
otic sentiments so forcibly' expressed, they informed Cap- 
tain Jack they Avould keep the paper, and show it to 
scA'cral of their friends, remarking, at the same time, they 
<lid not think Congress was then prepared to act upon so 
important a measure as absolute indepoujencc. 

On the next day, Captain Jack had another interview 
with the Xorth Carolina delegates. They informed him 
that they had consulted with several members of Con- 
gress, (including Hancock, Jay and Jefferson,) and that 
all agreed, while they approved of the patriotic spirit of 
the Mecklenburg resolutions, it Avould be premature to 
lay them officially before the House, as they still enter- 
tained some hopes of reconciliation with England. It was 
<;learly perceived \)\ the Xorth Carolina delegates and 
■other members whom they consulted, that the citizens of 
Mecklenburo; countv were //' (tdroncc of the o-eneral senti- 


nieiit of Congress on the subject of independence ; the phan- 
tasy of "reconciliation" still held forth its seductive allure- 
ments in 1775, and even during a portion of 1776 ; and 
hence, no record was made, or vote taken on the i:)atriotic 
resolutions of Mecklenburg, and they became concealed 
from view in the blaze of the National Declaration burst- 
ing forth on the 4th of July, 1776, which only re-echoed 
and reathrmed the truth and potency of sentiments jiro- 
claimed in Charlotte on the 20th of May, 177 o. 

Captain Jack finding the darling object of his long and 
toilsome journey could not be then accomplished, and that 
Congress vras not prepared to vote on so bold a measure 
as absolute uulepem/mce, just before leaving Philadel[)hia 
for home, somewhat excited, addressed the North Caro- 
lina deleo'ates, and several otlier members of Cono-ress, in 
the following patriotic words : ^'■Gentlemen, you luai/ dc- 
hute here about 'reconeiU.utlon,^ and incriioriaUze your hluy, but,, 
liear it in. mind, Mecklenburg owes 7(0 allegiance to, and /> 
separated, from the crouii of Great Britain forever " 

On the breaking out of hostilities with the mother 
I'ountry, no portion of the Confederacy was more for^^'ar(] 
in fulfilling the pledge of " life, fortune and sacred honor," 
in the achievement of libert}', previously made, than Meek- 
lenhurg and several adjacent counties. Upon the fir>st calJ 
for troops, Captain Jack entered the service in commjiiid 
of a company, and acted in that capacity, Vv'ith distin- 
guished bravery, throught)nt the war. under Colonels Polk,. 
Alexander, and other officers. He uniformly declined 
j)romotion when tendered, there being a strong reciprocal 
attachment between himself and his connnand, which he 
highly appreciated, and did not wish to sunder. At the 
commencement of the war he was in ' easy" and rather 
affiuent circumstances— at its close, comparatively a poor 
man. Froinpted by patriotic feelings for the final pro.s- 
perity of his county, still struggling for indei)endence, ln> 
loaned to the Slate of Xorth Carolina, in her great pecun- 
iary need, $4,000, for which, unfortunatelp, he has never 


received a cent in return. As a partial compensation for 
Ills services the State paid him a land warrant, which he 
phiced in the hands of a Mr. Martin, a particular friend, 
to be laid at his discretion. ^Sfartin moved to Tennessee, 
and died there, but no account of the warrant could be 
afterward obtained, 

Soon after the war he sold his hoase and lots in Char- 
lotte, and moved with his family to Wilkes count}', Ga. 
Here he is represented, bv those who knew him, as beino- 
ii " model farmer," with barns well tilled, and surrounded 
with all the evidences of great industry, order and abun- 
dance. Here, too, he was blest in enjoying' for many years 
the ministerial instructions of the Rev. Francis Cunmiins. 
a distinguished Presbyterian clergyman, who. at the youth- 
ful age of eighteen, joined his 'command in Mecklenburg 
county, and had followed him to his new home in (Tcorgi;! 
— formerlj' a gallant soldier for his country's rights, but 
now transformed into a "soldier of the cross,"' on Christian 
duty in his Ileavenh' Master's service. 

The latter years of Captain Jack's life were spent undei- 
tlie care of his second son, William 11. Jack, kuig a suc- 
cessful and most worthy merchant of Augusta, Ga. In 
1813 or 1814, Captain Jack moved from AVilkes to Elbert 
county, of the same State. There being no Presbyterian 
church in reach, of which he had been for many years a 
devout and consistent member, he joined the Methodist 
church, with which his children had previously united. 
He was extremely fond of meeting with old friends, and 
of narrating incidents of the Eevolution in wliich he had 
actively participated, and for its success freely contributed 
of his substance. In the serenity of a good old age, pro- 
tracted beyond the usual boundaries of life, he cared but 
little for things of this world, and took great delight in 
reading his Bible, and deriving from its sacred pages those 
Christian consolations which alone can yield true comfort 
and happiness, and cheer the pathway of our earthly pil- 
grimage to the tomb. He met his approaching end with 



calm resignation, and died on the 18th of Decendjer, 1822, 
in the ninety-first year of his age. His wife, tlie partner 
-of his joys and his sorrows tlirough a long and eventfnl 
life, survived him about two years, and then passed aw^ay 
in peace. 

Cynthia .Jack, eldest child and only daughter of Capt. 
James Jack, married A. S. Cosby, and settled in Missis- 
sippi. After his death tlie -svidow and family settled in 
Louisiana, about 1814. Their descendants were : 1. Mar- 
garet. 2. Cynthia. 3. James ; and 4. Dr. Charles Cosby. 
Tatrick Jack, eldest son of Captain James Jack, Avas 
Colonel of the 8th Regiment IT. !r^. Infantry, in tlie war of 
1812, stationed at Savaimah. lie sustained an elevated 
]iosition in society, frequentl}' represented Elljert county 
in the State Senate, and died in 1820. His children were: 
1. Patrick. 2. William II.; and 3. James W. Jack. 
Patrick Jack, the eldest son, married Miss Spencer, and. 
in turn, had two daughters, Harriet and Margaret, and 
.-^ix sons: 1. James. ^2. William 11. 3. Patrick C. 4. 
Spencer 11. 5. Abncr; and G. Churchill Jack. Abncr 
<lied several years ago in Mississi[)pi — a })lanter by occu- 
pation, and a man of wealth. 

James Jack, eldest son of Col. Patrick Jack, married, 
1 n 1822, Ann Scott Gray, who died in 1838. In 1847, lie 
married Mary Jane Witherspoon. having by the first wife 
ten, and by the second, eleven children, of whom at pres- 
aiit (1876) twelve are living. In 1823, he moved to Jeff- 
erson county, Ala., and one year afterward to Hale county, 
in the same State, where he ended his days. During the 
fall of the last year (1875) the author received from him 
two interesting letters respecting the history of his ever- 
inemorable grandfather, Capt. James Jack, after his re- 
moval from Xorth Carolina to Georgia. But alas I the 
uncertainty of human life I Before the year closed this 
venerable, intelligent, and truly christian man was 
immbered with the dead 1 He was a successful farmer, 
the prudent counsellor of his neighborhood, good to the 


poor, dispensing his charities with a liberal hand, and was 
universally beloved by all who knew him. On the 27th 
of November he had a severe stroke of paralysis, from 
which he never recovered. On the 27th of December^ 
1875, like a sheaf, ripe in its season, he was cut down, and 
ii'athered to his fathers, quietly passing away in the seven- 
ty-sixth year of his age, with the fond hope of a blissful 
immortality beyond the grave. 

Churchill Jack, youngest son of Col. Patrick Jack, is a 
farmer in Arkansas, and the onh' one of this family now 
(1876) living. William II., Patrick C. and Spencer IL 
Jack, all young and adventurous spirits, emigrated from 
Alabama to Texas in 1831, and cast their lots with the 
little American colony which was then just beginning to 
establish itself. They were all three lawyers by profes- 
sion, and took an active interest ami part^in the difficul- 
ties with Mexico, which were sure to result in open 
hostilities and the independence of Texas. Spencer IP 
Jack died young and without issue. 

Patrick C. Jack played a prominent part in one of the 
earliest acts " rebellion " against the Mexican authorities. 
lie, Travis and Edward, at Anahuac, smarting under the 
tyranny of the Mexican General, Bradburn, then com- 
manding the post, denounced and rebelled against his 
usurpations and oppression. For this they Avere seized and 
imprisoned by Bradburn, and held as captive traitors, until 
released by a company of armed Texans, who demanded 
their ■immediate surrender or a fight. Bradburn, not having 
a particular fondness for leaden arguments, and well know- 
ing the message meant business, reluctantly yielded to the 
stern demand. But this chivalric rescue, as might be 
expected, was regarded by Mexico as treason, and war soon 
afterward followed. 

After the close of the Mexican war Patrick C. Jack 
j-eturned to his profession, which he pursued successfully. 
At the time of his death, in 1844, though still a young- 
]nan, he M'as one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of 


the Republic of Texas. His brother, William II. Jaek. 
also participated prominently in council, and in the field 
in the Revolution of Texas, and served as a private in the 
battle of San Jacinto, "vvhicli sealed the independence ot" 
the ''Lone Star" Republic. He achieved distinction iu 
his profession as a law3'er and advocate, and served rt^ 
l)eatedlj as Representative and Senator in the Congresi^ 
of the young Republic. Under President Burnet's ad- 
ministration he became Secretary of State. He, too, died 
in 1844, not having attained his fortieth year. He left it 
Avidow and three children, two of the latter being daugh- 
ters. His elder daughter is the wife of Hon. W. P. 
Ballinger, of the city of Galveston, lately appointed to tlu- 
liench of the Supreme Court of Texas, which position he 
declined. His second daughter (now deceased) married 
the Hon. Grey M, Bryan, of Galveston, who represented 
his district in Congress before the war, and was Speaker 
of the House of ReiDresentatives of Texas in 1875. 

Colonel Thomas M. Jack, only son of William II. Jack- 
and great-grandson of Captain James Jack, of Mecklen- 
burg memorj', is an eminent lawyer and advocate, also of 
Galveston (of the firm of Ballinger, Jack and Mott), t«> 
whom the author acknowledges his indebtedness foi- 
many particulars respecting the Texan members of the 
Jack family. 

William Houston Jack, second son of Captain James 
.lack, was one of the iirst settlers, and successful mer- 
chants of Augusta, Ga. After his withdrawal from the- 
mercantile business, he settled in Wilkes county, taking- 
care of his aged father and mother until their death. He 
married Frances Cummins, a daughter of the Rev. Francii? 
Cummins, one of the witnesses of the Mecklenburg Decla- 
ration of Independence. He was universally beloved by all 
who knew him, and sustained through life a character of 
unsullied integrity. He left one son, William Cummins- 
Jack, a teacher by profession, a tine classical scholar, and 
a gentleman of culture and great moral worth. He is now 


(1876) residing with his second son, William H. Jack, a 
distinguished lawyer (of the firm of "Jack and Pierson'") 
(»f Natchitoches, La. Ilis eldest son, Dr. Samuel Jack, is 
an eminent physician, of extensive practice, residi^ig in 
Columl)ia county, Arkansas. Two other sons are indus- 
trious farmers, and all are pursuing successfully their sev- 
eral vocations of life. For the patriotic services, civil and 
military, performed by difl:erent members of the Jack 
family, Texas, in her formation stage, honored one of her 
counties with their name. 

James W. Jack, third son of Captain James Jack, mai-- 
ried Annie Barnett, a dau^'hter of John Barnett and Ann 
Spratt. He was a farmer by profession, of unblemished 
<-liaracter, and extensive influence, residing and ending his 
<lays in Wilkes county, Ga. lie had the following chil- 
<lren: 1, Samuel T.; 2. .Jane; 3. James, (killed at tlu- 
massacre of the Alamo, under Col. Fannin) 4. Lillis ; 5. 
Patrick, and ii. Cynthia Jack. Samuel T. Jack married 
Martha Webster, of Mississippi ; Jane Jack married Dr. 
James Jarratt ; Lillis Jack married Osborne Edwards, 
Esq., and Patrick Jack married Emily Hanson, of Texas. 

John Jack, second son of Patrick Jack, of Charlotte, 
preceding and during the Revolutionary War, lived on 
McAlpine's Creek, in Mecklenburg county. He performed 
a soldier's duty during the war, and soon after its termi- 
nation, moved to AVilkes county, Ga. Of his further his- 
tory' and descendants, little is now known. 

Samuel Jack, third son of Patrick Jack, of Charlotte. 
Nvas also a soldier of the Revolution, and commanded an 
artillery company. He lived in the Sugar Creek neighbor- 
hood, and married, 1st. Miss Knight, of Mecklenburg 
county, by whom he had two children, ]. Eliza D. Jack, 
who married the Rev. Mr. Hodge, a Presbyterian minis- 
ter, and settled in Athens, Ga., and 2. James Jack, who 
died when a young man. A few years after her death, he 
married ]Margaret Stewart, of Philadelphia, Pa., by whom 
he had five children : 1. Samuel Stewart ; 2. John McCor- 


mick; 3. William D.; 4. Mary E., and 5. Amanda ^1. 
Jack. Samuel S. Jack married Elizabeth Meredith, of 
Walton comity, Ga., in 1831. JSTone of the other children 
ever married. He had five children : 1. William Howard; 
2. Amanda E.; 3. James Mortimer; 4. Joseph Henry, and 
5. Sarah M. Jack. Of these, William Howard Jack, in 
1860, married Mary Lunsdale, by whom he had five chil- 
dren. He was a printer and editor, and highly respected 
by all who knew him. He died in April, 1876, in Rome. 
Ga , aged forty-two years. His son, James Mortimer 
•lack, was killed in the late war, Amanda E. Jack, a 
worthy lad^', is now (1876) living in the country with her 
l)rother, Joseph Henry Jack 

Robert Jack, the fourth and youngest son of Patrick 
Jack, of Charlotte, remained in Chambersburg, Pa., where 
his father had resided many j^ears previous to his removal 
to Xorth Carolina. He had the following children: 1. 
James ; 2. John ; 3. Cynthia, and 4. Margaret Jack. John 
Jack was the onl}^ one of this famil}' who married. Ho 
wa.s born in Chambersburg, on the 20th of December, 
1763. At the age of sixteen, he went to Baltimore, en- 
gaged as a clerk in a mercantile house, and there acquired 
those correct business habits and educational training 
which qualitied him for future usefulness. jSTear theclosi- 
of the last century, when quite a young man, he settled in 
Romnej', Hampshire county, Va. He there became a 
successful merchant, and sustained, through a long and 
l)usy life, an unblemished reputation for honesty, integrity 
and general uprightness of character. He married Rebecca 
Singleton, an estimable lady who survived him a few 

In 1823, he was appointed Cashier of the Romney 
Branch of the Valley Bank of Virginia, which position 
he held until his death, with distinguished ability. The 
former intelligent Mayor of Romney, (A. P. White, Esq.,) 
in writing to the author, says : ''John Jack, when young, 
was of a gay and festive disposition. After he joined the 


church, he sobered clown to great cahiiness and evenness. 
He was always exceedingly neat in his person, courteous 
in his manners, and kind and charitable to the poor. He 
bore through life, the character of an earnest, honest, and 
upright man of business, was an Elder of the Presbyterian 
Church, and a good Christian." He died on the 28th of 
September, 1837, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. 
He had the following children: 1. Robert Y.; 2. Carlton 
T.; S. James R.; 4. John ; 5. Margaret ; 6. Juliette M.; 7. 
John G., and 8. Edward W. Jack. The last named son is 
now (1876) the only one of the family living. Robert Y. 
Jack settled in Winchester, A"a., and engaged in mer- 
chandising. In the war of 1812, he raised a company 
which M'as stationed at Crancy Island, and participated 
hi the battle at that place. 

Robert Y. Jack died near Charlct-ton, Jefferson county, 
Ya., in 18S4, leaving an only child, Frances Rebecca, who 
married Thomas J. Manning, of the U. S. Isavy. They 
both died ] I'evicus to the late ( cn.federate war, leaving 
three sons : 1. Charles J.; 2. George Upshur, and 3. Frank 
Jack Manning. Each one of these brave youths joined 
the Confederate aimy, all under the oge of eighteen years. 
George Ujifchur was killed in the cavalry charge under 
(Jeneral Stewart at Brand^^ Station. Frank Jack was 
shot through the body, but recovered of his severe wound 
and continued in the aimy. They all three served under 
(Jeneral (Stonewall) Jackson, through his campaigns, and 
after his death, under General Eai'ly. 

John G. Jack settled in Louisville, Ivy., and died there, 
leaving three daughters and one son, Robert Bruce Jack. 

Edward AV. Jack, youngest son of John Jack, of Rom- 
ney, now lives near Salem, Roanoke county, Ya., in the 
(piiet fruition of all that pertains to an honorable haclicior's 
life. All the members ot this family have sustained ex- 
emplary characters, and now occupy fair and eminent 
positions in society. 

Charit}' Jack, eldest daughter of Patrick Jack, of Char- 


lotto, married Dr. Cornelius Dysart, a distingiiishod ]>liy- 
sic'ian and surgeon of the Revolutionary army. The Dysart 
fauiilj^, at that time, resided in Mecklenburg county. Dr. 
Dysart is said to have built the first house on the "Irwin 
corner," assisted hy his brother-iii-law, Captain Jack, wlio 
owned the lot until his removal to Georgia, shortly after 
the war. Dr. Dj^sart died comparatively young, leaving 
a widow and tAvo children, James and Robert Dysart, 
who settled in Georgia. Of their subsequent history little 
is known. Jane (or " .Jean,") Jack, second daughter of 
l^atrick Jack, married William Barnett, son of John Bar- 
nett and Ann Spratt, of Scotch-Irish descent. The name 
S[»ratt is generall}' spelled " Sprot," or " Sproat," in the 
old records. Thomas Spratt is said to have been the fii-yf 
person Avho crossed the Yadkin river, nnth wheels; and his 
daughter Ann the first child born in the beautiful cham- 
[)aign country between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers. 
lie first intended to settle on Rocky River (now in 
Cabarrus county), but Indian disturbances occurring there 
near the time of his arrival, induced him to select a home 
in the vicinity of the place which afterward became tin- 
" town of Charlotte." At his humble dwelling, one mile 
and a half south of Charlotte, was held the first Court of 
Mecklenburo; countv. Abraham Alexander, the Chair- 
man of the Mecklenburg Convention of the 20th of May, 
1775, and Colonel Thomas Polk, its " herald of freedom" 
on the same occasion, were then prominent and influen- 
tial memlicrs of this primitive body of count}' magistrates. 
Near the residence of Thomas Spratt is one of the oldest 
private burial grounds in the county, in which his mortal 
remains repose. Here are found the grave-stones of sevei'al 
members of the Spratt, Barnett and Jack families, who 
intermarried ; also those of the Binghams, McKnights. 
and a few others. On the head-stone of Mary Barnett, 
wife of William Barnett, it is recorded, she died on the 
4tli of October, 1764, aged forty-fiVe ^-ears. A hickory 
tree, ten or twelve inches in diameter, is now growing c>n 


this grave, casting around its beneficent shade. The primi- 
tive forest growth, once partially cut down, is here fast 
assuming its original swa^', and peacefully overshadow^ing 
the mortal remains of these early sleepers in this ancient 

The descendants of William Barnett and Jane Jack 
were: 1. Annie Barnett, married James Jack, third son 
of Captain James Jack, of Mecklenburg memory, whose 
genealogy has been previously given. 2. Samuel Barnett, 
married, 1st, Eliza Joyner ; descendants: 1. Jane Bar- 
nett, married A. S. Wingfield. 2. Sarah J. Barnett, mar- 
ried Alexander Pope, Sen. Bescendanta of Samuel 
I>arnett (second marriage) and Elizabeth Worsham were : 
1. Samuel Barnett (Washington, Ga.), married Elizabeth 
A.Stone. Descendants: 1. Annie Barnett, married Rev. 
William S. Bean. 2. Frank W. 8. Samuel (Davidson 
College.) 4. Osborne S. 5. Edward A. 6. Hattie A. : 
and 7. Susan Barnett, 

The descendants of John Jack and ^lary Barnett were : 
1. Ann Jack, married Moses AYilc}'. 2. Mary A. Jack, 
married John J. Barnett. 3. Dr. Thomas Jack. 4. John 
Jack. o. Samuel Jack, married Annie Leslie. 6. Susan 
Jack, married Alexander Bowie, formerly Chancellor of 

The descendants of Moses Wiley and Ann Jack were : 
]. Leroy jM. Wiley. 2. jNIary AV^iley, married Thomas 
J^axtcr. 3. Thomas Wiley. 4. Eliza Wiley, married Mr. 
('arnes. 5. Sarah Ann, married John K. Hays. G. Laird 
AViley ; and 7. Jack AViley. 

The descendants of Susan Barnett and George W. Smart 
^vere five children, of whom only two arrived at the A'cars 
of maturity, Albert W. and Thomas B. Smart. 

(ieorge W. Smart represented ]\Iecklenburg county in 

the House of Commons in 1805, and again in 1808. He 
died in May, 1810. Mrs. Smart survived her husband 
many years, and was (tne of the remarkable vmiien of her 
age. She was long known and liighl}' esteemed in Meek- 


leiiburg and surrouiidiug coimtiy for her general intelli- 
n-ence, ardent piety, and retentive memories of Revolu- 
tionary events. At tlie great gathering of delegates and 
people in Charlotte, on the 20th of May, 1775, she was 
present (then thirteen years old), and still retained a 
distinct recollection of some of the thrilling scenes of that 
memorable occasion, not the least of which was " the 
throwing up of hats," in the nniversal ontbm-st of ajt- 
plause, when the resolutions of independence were read 
by Colonel Thomas Polk, from the Court-house steps. 

She died on the 28th of N'ovember, 1851, aged 
ninety years, and is buried, with other members of the 
famil}', in a private cemetery on her own farm, nine miles 
from Charlotte, on the Camden road. It should be stated, 
the grandfather of L. M. AViley and others, (John Jack) 
was a cousin and not a bi'other, as some luive supposed, of 
C'apt. James Jack, of Charlotte. 

^ Onr prescribed limits forbid a more extended geneal- 
ogical, notice of the Barnett family and their collateral 
ronnections, many of whom performed a conspicuous part 
in the Kevolutionary War. Capt. William Barnett was 
a bold, energetic officer, and was frequently engaged, wit! i 
his brothers, and other ardent spirits of Mecklenburg, in 
that species of partisan warftire which struck terror into 
the Tory ranks, checked their atrocities, and gave 
<'i'lebrity to the dashing exploits of Col. Sumpter and his 
brave associates. 

Mary Jack, third daughter of I'atrick Jack, of Cliai- 
h)ttc, married Captain Robert Alexander, of Jjiucoln 
county, who emigrated from Pennsylvania to Xortli Cart)- 
liiia about 1760. He commanded a company during i\\v. 
Revolution, in the Cherokee expedition, under General 
liutherford ; acted for several years as Commissary, and 
jierformed other minor, but important trusts for the 
county. He was one of the early band of patriots who 
met at Newbern on the 25th of August, 1774, and again 
attended the Convention at Ilillsboro, on the 21st of An- 


^•iist, 1775. After the war, lie settled on liis furm, one 
mile northwest of Tuckasege Ford, on the Catawba River. 
His residence was long a general stopping-place for travel- 
'•, and painted red — hence, it was widely known as the 
"'Red Ilonse Place." 

lie was elected to the State Legislature consecutively 
from 1781 to 1787 ; and acted, for many years, as one of 
ti'jo magistrates of the county, showing the general i\c- 
*-e]»tance with which his services were held. He died in 
lSl-3, aged about seventy years, and is l)uried in Goshen 
jljraveyard, Gaston county, N. C. His descendants b}' the 
Krst wife^ Mary Jack, were : 1. Margaret, married Judgc^ 
■Samuel Lowrie ; 2. Lill is, married Capt. James Martin; 
o. Robert W., married Louisa Moore ; 4. Mary, married, 
1st. James J. Scott, and 2nd. General John Moore ; 5. 
Annio, married John Sumter, (nephew of Gen. Sumter.) 
His descendants by the second wife, Margaret Reily, were : 
1" Eliza 2. Evaline; 3. Amanda, married Dr. J. C. Rndi- 
A\\, of Lincolnton. 

Descendants of Judge Lowrie and Margaret AlexandcT 
W'ere : 1. ^lary, married Dr. David R. Dunlap, of Char- 
lotte ; 2. Eliza, died uimiarried ; 3. ]\largaret, do.; 4. Lillis. 
jjicarried B. Gates ; 5. Robert B., married Ann Sloan; 0. 
Samuel, married ]\Iary Johnson. 

Margaret Jack, fourth daughter of Patrick Jack, mar- 
ried Samuel Wilson, of Mecklenburg. (For liis des'cen- 
'^Innts, sec "Genealogy of Samuel Wilson, Sr.") 

Lillis Jack, the fitth and youngest daughter of Patrick 
-lack, married Joseph Nicholson, lie left the State, and 
IS reported as having a famih' of six children, but of their 
•subsefpient history little is known. 

Colonel Patrick Jack, a brave and meritorious officer 
Jinder the Colonial Government, and during the Revolu- 
i.jtonary war, was the son of Charles Jack, who lived on 
tho Conocochcague ri\'er, near Chambersburg, Pa., and probably the brother of Patrick Jack, of Charlotte, 
AT, C, whose fainily history has just been given. 


Colonel Jack lived an active and adventnrous life, and 
was born about 1730. Ho was much engaged, when a 
young man, in assisting to subdue the Indians in Pennsjl- 
x'ania, and commanded a company of Rangers, under Gen- 
I'rals Braddoi'k and Washington, in the Indian and 
French war of 1755. lie also eonnnanded a regiment, 
and participated actively in the Revolutionary War He 
\\'as in the Cherokee country many years anterior to the 

He was at the massacre of the garrison in Fort London, 
on the Teimessee River in 1760, and was one of three per- 
sons W'lio survived, his life having been saved through tin; 
influence of the Indian chief, Atfa-kulla-halla., the "Little 
Carpenter."' He had three children ; Mary, Jane, and 
John Fiuley Jack. John was educated at Hickinson Col- 
lege, Carlisle, Pa. He studied law, and emigrated to 
Ivnoxville, then the capital of Tennessee, where he soon 
acquired eminence, and a lucrative practice in his profes- 
sion. He afterward removed to Rutledge, in Grainger 
county. East Tennessee, where he associated himself in 
the same profession with his brother-in-law^, the late Gen- 
eral John Cocke, a son of (general William Cocke, one of 
the distinguished characters in the early history of Ten- 
nessee. He took a prominent part in the politics of the 
country, fllled the offices of Circuit Clerk, State's Attor- 
ney, served several times in both branches of tlie Legis- 
lature, and was flnalh' elected Circuit Jrulge, wdiich posi- 
tion he held for man}' years. When the intirmities of old 
age impeded his activity and usefulness, he retired from 
public life to his plantation near Bean's Station, East Ten- 
nessee, wdiere he ended his days. 

He was a profound law^yer, a Judge (^f great i»urity ot' 
• •liaracter, of remarkable discrimination and integrity of 
[>urpose, evinced through a long, useful, and honorable 
life. He was a hard student, possessed tine colloquial 
powers, and was a man of eminent learning and research. 

Judge John F. Jack married Elizabetli, next to. the 


youngest daiigliter of General AVilliani Coeke, previously 
mentioned, ^^■ho was a Captain in the Kevolutionary War, 
a companion of Daniel Boon from western Xortli Carolina 
across ti) ■ Alleghany mountains to the "wilderness of 
[vent'i •/" a prominent actor in the establishment of the 
■^'L^'iooivland Government," one of the tirst Senators to 
C^'iigress from the new State of Tennessee, and afterward, 
one of the Circuit Judges of that State. lie served in thf 
Legislatures of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and 
Mississippi. At the advanced age of sixty-five years, he 
volunteered in the war of 1812, and distinguished himself 
for his personal courage. lie died on the 8th of August. 
1828, in the eighty-seventh year of his age, universally 
lamented, and is buried in Columbus, Mississippi. 

It has d)een previously stated that Col. Patrick Jai-k. 
the father of Judge John F. Jack, led an active and ad- 
venturous life. One of these jidventures will be now 

In Dr. Ramsey's " Amuils of Tennessee," page 68, avh' 
have this record : " A grant, signed Arthur Dobbs, Go\- 
ernor of Xorth Carolina; William Beamer, Sen., Superin- 
tendent and Deputy Adjutant in and for the Cherokei^ 
Nation ; and William Beamer, Jun., Interpreter ; and tlu' 
" Little Carpenter," half king of the Cherokee Xation of 
the over-hill towns ; and ^latthew Toole, Interpreter, 
made to Captain Patrick Jack, of the province of Penn- 
sjdvania, is recorded in the Pegister's office of Knox county, 
Tennessee. It purports to have been made at a council 
held at Tennessee liiver, on the 1st of March, 1757. The 
consideration is four hundred dollars, and conveys to Ca]»t, 
Jack /?/?tvn miles square south of the Tennessee river. The 
grant itself, confirmatory of the purchase by Jack, is 
dated at a general couucil, met at the Catawba Piver, on 
the 7th of jMay, 1762, and is witnessed l)y Xathaniel 

Upon this si>eculative transaction it is proper to make 
a few ex}»lanatory remarks. AVxnit 17.36, East Tennessee 


•wfss begimiiiig to be settled by adventuroUvS iiulividuals, 
i»nneipally from westeni North Carolina, soiitli-wcstcni 
Virginia, and occasionally from more northern colonies. 
The Indians were still regarded as the rightful owners 
ixnd proper " lords of the soil." At the date of the coun- 
A-il held at the Tennessee River in 17-")7, only that portion 
of the country north of that stream had become sparsely 
settled, but soon thereafter purchases of land were some- 
times made directly from the Indian chiefs themselves, 
iis in the abovcinstance, and settlements of whites speedily 
fallowed. ]Matthew Toole, one of the parties named, had 
lived among the Cherokee Indians, and taken to " bed 
smd board," as a wife, one of the swarthy damsels of that 
tribe — hence his qnaliiication as interpreter. He lived on 
the eastern bank (^f the Catawba river, in Mecklenburg 
rount}', giving origin to the name of the ford which still 
Jiears his name. Nathaniel Alexander, the subscribing 
witness, was then an acting magistrate of the county, and 
it man of extensive influence. 

Colonel J'atrick ]ack, the father of .J uc'ge John F.Jack, 
died in Chambersburg, Pa., on the 25th of January, 1821, 
iiged ninety-one years. His daughter, Jane Stewart, died 
in 18.53, also aged ninety-one years. His daughter Mary 
(never married) died on the 20th of ]\iay. JS(')2, age<l 
eighty-flve years. 

The family of Judge John F. Jack consisted of eight 
children, of whom, at the present time (1876) only four are 
living, viz.: Martha Mariah (Mrs. Dr. Hhoton), of ]\lorris- 
tou'n, Fast Tennessee; William Pinkncy Jack, of TJussel- 
A-ille, Ala. ; John F. Jack, of West Point, Mississippi, both 
worthy and eminent lawyers in their respective locations : 
\md Sarah Anne (Mrs. Dr. Carriger), of Morristown,Temi. 
Few persons, in the eaj-ly history of Fast Tennes.sce, were 
beld in as great estimation, an.d filled with universal 
aci^eptance as many important positions of pul)lic trust as 
Judge John F. Jack. The county seat of justice of Camp- 
l.>oll couMty, Jacksboro, was named in his honoi-, and his 


(loscendaiits should hold in cherished rememhrance his 
]mrit_v of life and nnsnllied integrity of character. 


Samuel Wilson, Sr., Avas one of the earliest settlers of 
Mecklcnhurg county, and the patriarchal ancestor oi' 
numerous descendants, who performed important civil ancp 
military services in the Revolutionary war. lie emigrated' 
from Penns/lvania ahout 174"), and purchased a large- 
hody of valuable lands in the bounds of Hopewell church, 
in Mecklenburg county. lie was of Scotch-Irish descent, 
and inherited the peculiar traits of that liberty-loving ■■ 
])eople. He was married three times, and was the fothei ■ 
of thirteen children. His first wife was Mary WinsloAv., 
a sister of Moses Winslow, one of the early and leading ,■ 
[latriots of Rowan county, who died on the 1st of October, . 
1813, in the eighty-third year of his age, and is buried ir/ 
the graveyard of Center Church. 

Samuel Wilson, Sr., died on tlie 13th of March, 1778, , 
in the sixty-eighth year of his age. His children, by the 
first Avife, were : 1, j\h\ry ; 2, Yiolet ; 3, Samuel ; 4, John : 
."), Benjamin]Wilson. Mary, the eldest daughter, married 
Ezekiel Polk, the father of Samuel Polk, and grandfather ■ 
of James K. Polk, President of the United States in ISlo,, 
l^zekiel Polk Avas a man of Avcalth and influence inMcck- 
lenlMirg county preceding the RcA^olution, and OAvned a 
large body of the A'aluable lands in and around the present 
nourishing A'illage of Pineville. Samuel Polk inhei-itcd a 
])ortion of this land, lying in the " liorsc shoe bend "" of ' 
Little Sugar Creek, and immediately on the Camden road., 
over Avhich ConiAvallis marched Avith his army on his cele- 
brated A'isit (the first and the last) to the "Hornet's Xest" 
of America. 

2. A'iolet Wilson married Major John Davidson, one of. ' 
the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Indepeii-- 


3. Samuel Wilson, a soldier of the Revolution, married 
Hannah Knox, a daughter of Captain Patrick Knox. 

.killed at the battle of Ramsonr's Mill. He raised a large 
family, all of whom have passed away, falling mostly- as 
victims of consumption. His daughter Mary (or '•Polly'") 
married her cousin Benjamin Wilson, (son of David AVil- 
son) wiio was killed by Nixon Curry, because he was to aji- 
pear in court as a witness against him. 

4. 3Iajor David ^Mlson, an ardent patriot, and one of 
the heroes under Colonel Locke at Ramsoiir's Mill, married 

-Sallie McConnell, a sister of Mrs. General James White, 
the lather of the Hon. Hugh Lawson Ariiite. (See sketch 

■ of his life, under "Iredell Count}'.'') 

!Mrs. Adaline McCoy, of Lincolnton, is a daughter, and 
worth}' descendant of Moses W^inslovr Wilson, a son of 
Major David Wilson. John and Benjamin Wilson, thi' 
remaining sons of Samuel Wilson, Sr., l)y the first wife, 

-never married. 

After General Davidson was killed at Cowan's Ford,ou 
the morning of the 1st of February, 1781, ^lajor David 
"Wilson, and Richard Barry, Esq, both of whom partiei- 

, }iated in the skirmish at that place, secured the body of 
their beloved commander, and carried it to the residence 

' of Samuel Wilson, Sr., to receive the usual preparatory at- 
tentions for burial. Mrs. Davidson, who resided about 
ten miles distant, in the vicinity of Center Church, was 
immediately sent for ; she came as hastily as possible in 
the afternoon, under the charge of George Templeton, oin' 
of her neighbors, and received, on that solemn oeeasion, 
the heart-felt condolence and sympathy of numerous sor- 
roAving friends and relatives. In consequence of this 
.necessary delay, those true patriots and friends of the de- 

■ceascd (Wilson and Barry) moved with the body late in 
the evening of the same day, and conniiitted it to the 
silent tomb, by torchUghf^ in Hopewell grave-yard. 

7. Rebecca V/ilson, the youngest daughter by tlie iirst 
wife, married John Henderson. After the birth of two 


cliildroii, they set out from Mecklenburg, with the inten- 
tion of moving to Tennessee, accompanied by a brotlicr 
and sister of Henderson. On the way, while they were 
stopping for dinner, they were suddenlj'' attacked by In- 
dians. Henderson and his wife were killed. The brother 
and sister each seized a child and made their escape. The 
children were brought back to Mecklenburg county, and 
properly cared for by their relatives ; l^ut, after they grew 
up, and Indian outrages having subsided, they returned to 

The second wife of Samuel W'ilson, Sr., was a widow 
Potts. Having a feeble constitution, she lived but a shorr 
time, leavins; a dauo-hter, named Maro-aret, who married 
John Davidson, an uncle of the late William Davidson.. 
Esq., of Charlotte. After she was left a widow, she movtMl 
with her three children, Samuel Wilson, John (or " Jackey" ^ 
and Mary Davidson, to Alabama, where a large number 
of her descendants may be now found in Bibb and adjoin- 
ing counties of that State. 

The children of ]Shijor John Davidson and A-'iolet Wil- 
son were : 

1. Isabella Davidson married Gen. Joseph Graham, ot 
Lincoln comity, the father of the late Hon. William A.- 
Graham and others. 

2. Rebecca Davidson married Capt. Alexander Bre- 
vard, a brother of Dr. Ephraim Brevard, the reputed au- 
thor of the Mecklenburg Declaration of the 20th of May, 
1775, and one of the "seven brothers in the rebel army," 
at one time. 

3. Violet Davidson married William Bain Alexand«er,. 
a son of John Mclvnitt Alexander, one of the secretaries 
of the Mecklenburg Convention. 

4. Elizabeth Davidson married William Lee Davidson- 
a son of General Davidson, who fell at Cowan's Ford- 

5. ^lary Davidson married Dr. William McLean, a 
distinguished ])hysician during and after the Revolutiori. 


(» Sarah Davidson married Alexander Caldwell, a son 
of Dr. David Caldwell, an eminent Presbyterian minister 
of Guilford county. 

7. Margaret Davidson married Major James Harris, of 
Cabarrus county. 

8. Jolm ;or "Jackey") Davidson, married Sallie BrevartT, 
a daughter of Adam Brevard, a brother of Dr. Ephraim 

1). Robert Davidson married Margai'et Cs1)orne, a 
dauo-hter of Adlai Osborne, the grandfather of the late 
das. ^\^ Osborne, of Charlotte. 

10. Benjamin AVilson Davidson married Ivlizabeth 
Latta, a daughter of James Latta, Esq. 

The third wife of Sanmel Wilson, Sr., was Margaret 
Jack, a sister of Captain Jack, the bearer of the Meeklen- 
burg Declaration to Congress. By this marriage there 
Avere live children : 

1. iSaralt Wilson, married Ben McConnell, who had 
three children, Charity, Latta and Wilson MeConnell. 
Charity ]\rcConnell married Reese Davidson, a nephew of 
(ileneral Ephraim ])avidson. This family, and also that 
of Wilson McCoimell, moved to Tennessee. 

2. Charity Wilson, died at the age of sixteen years. 

3. Roheii WiJson, married Margaret Alexander, a daugh- 
ter of Major. Thomas Alexander, and grand-daughter of 
Xeil Morrison, one of the Mecklenburg signei's. He left 
five daughters, and one son, who lost his life in the Con- 
federate cause. 

A. Lillis Wilson, ifrecpiently written "Lillie,") married 
James Connor, who emigrated from Ireland when about 
twenty -one years of age ; volunteered his services at the 
eommencement of the Revolutionary War, and fought 
through the struggle to its close. He died in April, 1835, 
aged eighty-four years, and is buried in Baker's grave- 
yard. He left two ehihlren, Henry Workman and Mar- 
garet Jack Conner. H. Workman Conner was a worthy 
and influential citizen of ('harleston, S C, where he spent 


iibout fifty years of liis life, and died in Januaiy, 1861. 
Margaret J. Connor married J. Franklin Brevard, a son 
of Capt. Alexander Erevard, of Lincoln county. She was 
an estimable Christian lady, survived her husband many 
years, was beloved by all who knew her, and died with 
jjeacefnl resignation, on the 25th of October, 18GG, in the 
sixty-eighth year of her age. Her only child, Rebecca, 
married Robert I. ^IcDowell, Esq., of Mecklenburg 

'). WiUlaiii Jdck Wilson., youngest child of Samuel Wil- 
son, Sr., by the third wift\ married Rocinda Winslow^^ 
the youngest daughter of ]\Ioses "Winslow. The house in 
which this old patriot then rc-^idcd, has long since disap- 
peared. It stood on the public road, about three miles 
southwest of Center Church. A large Honey Locust tree 
now (1876) nearly points out its original location. 

William J. Wilson left four children: 1. Dovey A.. 
( .\[rs. Dougherty) ; 2. Robert : o. LaFayette, and 4. .Janu'< 
C, Wilson.^ 

The house in which Samuel Wilson, Sr., resided, and to 
which the body ot General Davidson was borne by David 
AMlson and Richard Barry, before sepulture, was a two- 
story frame building. Xo portion of it now remains, and 
the [»low runs smoothly over its site. Robert and William 
J. Wilson built on the old homestead property. These 
two brothers were closely united in filial affection during 
their lives, and now lie, side b}' side, in Hopewell grave- 

Mrs. AJargaret Jack Wilson, third wife of Samuel AVil- 
son, Sr., is described by all who knew her, as a woman of 
unconnnon energy, of an amiable disposition, charitable 
to the poor, and a truly humble Christian. She died at 
the age of fifty-eight years, was never sick during her 
life, until a few days before her death, and is buried in 
Baker's graveyard. Wlien drawling near to the close of 
her earthly existence, she was asked if she had a desire to 
live longer ; she replied, "ISTo ; she was like a ship long 
tossed at sea and about to land at a port of rest." 



111 tliis same spot of ground, (Baker's graveyard,) live 
miles iiortlieast of Bcattie's Foard, on the Catawba, con- 
secrated as the last resting-place of some of the earliest 
settlers of ^lecklenburg connty, repose the mortal remains 
of the Eev. John Thompson, one of the iirst Presbyterian 
missionaries in this section of the State, and who died in 
Septeniber, 1753. JSTo monumental slab or head-stone is 
[ilaccd at his grave. Tradition says he built a cabin (or 
study-house) in the northwestern angle of the graveyard, 
and was buried beneath its floor, being the first subject of 
interment. John 3>aker, who lived in the immediate 
vicinity, married his daughter, and dying a few years 
later, gave the [»ernianent name to the burial-ground. 
Here also repose the remains of Hugh Ziaicso)), the grand- 
father of the Hon. Hugh Lawson White, a native of 
Eredell eounty. The only tablet to the memory of this 
earl\- setler, is a rough slate rock, about one foot high and 
nine inches broad, on which are rudely chiseled the initial 
letters of his name, thus combined, IL. In subsequent 
\ears, after the erection of Hopewell Church, the most of 
the Wilson tamily and relatives were buried in the gravc- 
yard at that place. 


Among the interesting Revolutionary records of AEeek- 
lenburg countA% which have been preserved, is the "Muster 
Ivoir' of Captain Charles Polk's Company of " Light 
Horse," with the time of service and })ay of each member 
thereof, as follows : 

^' Dr. The Public of North Carolina, 
To Captain ('harles Polk, for services done by him and 

ids Compan}' of Light Horse, who entered the Pith of 

JMareh, 177G. 



Captain, Charles Polk. 
1st Lieut , William Ramsey. 
2ncl Lieut., John Lemmond. 
1 st Sergt. , John Montgomery 
2nd Sergt., AYilliam Gal- 

hraith (erased). 
Driinmier, Hugh Lindsay. 
John Smith. 

John Polk, Sen. (erased), 
dohn Wylie. 
John Findley. 
.John Galbraith. 
.Tames Hall, 
.rolm Stansill. 
\rilliam (illegible). 


\ Robert Galbraith. 

John JMcCandlis. 

JSTicholas Siler. 

Samuel Linton. 

Thomas Shelby. 

James Alexander. 

Robert Harris, Jun. 

John Foard. 

Jonathan Buckaloe. 

Charles Alexander, Sen. 

Henry I'owell. 

William Rea. 

Samuel Hughes. 

Charles Alexander, Jun. 

William Shields. 

Charles Polk, Jun. 

John Purser. 

William Lemmond, 'Clerk 
to the said company, and 
Shuro;eon to v^ same." '' 

John Miller. 
Humphrey Hunter. 
Henry Carter. 
James Maxwell. 
John Maxwell. 

Remarks. — The whole expense of Captain Polk's com- 
jiany in this campaign for sixtj'-live days, including the 
hire of three wagons at IGs. each per day, and two thousand 
and Hve rations, at 8d. each, amounted to £683 9s. 8d. 
The account was proven, according to law, before Colonel 
Adam Alexander, one of the magistrates of the county, 
and audited and countersigned by Ephraim Alexander, 
George Mitchell and James Jack, the bearer of the Meck- 
lenburg Declaration to Congress. The pay ot a Captain 
was then 10s. per day ; of a 1st and 2nd Lieutenant, 7s. 
each; of a first Sergeant, 6s. 6d. ; of a 2nd Sergeant, os. (jd.; 
of the Clerk and "Shurgeon," 6s. 6d. ; and of each ]»ri- 
vate, 5s. 

James Hall, one of the privates in this expedition, 
a fterward became a distinguished Presbyterian minister 
of the gospel, and was elected on two occasions by his 
own congregation, in pressing emergencies, to the caji- 
taincy of a company, and acted as chaplain of the forces 
with wliich lie was associated. The late Rev. John 
Robinson, of Poplar Tent Church, in Cabarrus county, in 


speaking of him, said, " when a boy at school in Charlotte 
(Qneen's Museum), I saw James Hall pass through the 
town, with his three-cornered hat, the captain of a com- 
pany and chaplain of the regiment." In Captain Polk's 
manuscript journal of his march, under Gen. Rutherford, 
through the mountains of North Carolina, then the un- 
conquered haunts of wild beasts and savage Indians, he 
says : " On September 15tli, 1776, Mr, Plall preached a 
sermon," prompted, as it appears, by the death of one of 
Captain Irwin's men on the day before. 

This was probably the first sermon ever heard in these 
secluded mountainous vallej^s, now busy with the hum of 
civilized life. (See sketch of his services under " Iredell 

Humphrey Hunter, first a private and afterward lieu- 
tenant in Captain Robert Mebane's company in this expe- 
dition, also became an eminent minister of the gospel, and 
presided at the semi-centennial celebration of the ISIecklen- 
burg Declaration of Independence, on the 20th of May, 
1825. (See sketch of his services uuder Gaston count3^) 

William Shields was the gallant soldier of General 
Sumter's command, who discov^ered a bag of gold in the 
camp of the ronted enemy after the battle of Hanging 
Rock. Not less generous than brave, steady on the march, 
and true on the field, he voluntaril}^ carried the gold to 
his commanding general, and requested him to use it in 
the purchase of clothing and shoes for his ragged and suf- 
fering fellow-soldiers. It is needless to say that this brave 
and meritorious ofiicer faithfully applied it according to 
the request of the honest and generous soldier. 

Thomas Shelby, a relative of Colonel Isaac Shelby, of 
King's Mountain fixme, James Alexander, Charles Polk, 
.Tun., Robert Harris, William Ramsey, John Foard (one 
of the Mecklenburg signers), John Lemmond, .lohn 
Montgomery, William Rea, and others on the list, will 
uAvaken in the minds of their descendants emotions of 
veneration for their patriotic ancestors, who, one hundred 


years ago — at the very dawn of the Revolution, and 
before a hesitating Congress, proclaimed our Xational de- 
claration, pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor 
in the cause of American freedom. 


James Knox Polk, son of Samuel Polk, and grandson 
of Ezekiel Polk, was born on the 2nd of Xovembcr, 179-") 
al)0ut eleven iniles south of Charlotte, on the Camden 
road, on a plantation which, at his father's removal to 
Tennessee in 1806, became the property of Xathan Orr, 
and finally that of the late James Ilennigan, Esq. The 
house in which James Iv. Polk was born, stood about two 
liundred yards south of the present crossing place of Little 
Siio-ar Creek, and al)Out one hundred vards to the rio-htof 
the pul)lic road in passing from Charlotte. The lingering 
signs of the old family mansion are still visible : and the 
plow, in this centennial year^ runs smoothly over its site. 
nresentino' a more vio-orous o-rowth of the o-reat Southern 
.staple, cotton, than the adjoining lands. The plantation 
was a part of the valuable lands owned by Ezekiel Polk 
in the " Providence "' settlement, and near the present 
nourishing village of " Pineville.'" The family mansion, 
around which "Jimmy Polk"" sported with his younger 
l)rothers and sisters, and wended their way in frolicsome 
mood to a neighl)oring school, was an humble building, 
made by joining two hewn log houses together, with a 
})assage between, in the conniion style of the first settlers. 
In 1851 Mr. Ilennigan, the last owner of the pro})erty. 
moved one half of the building, apparently the better poi"- 
tion; but Avith a badly decayed roof, to his barn-yard, and 
near his handsome residence on the rising ground south- 
east of its original location, and re-covered it, where it 
may be seen at the present time. 

Samuel Polk, the father of James K. l*olk, married 
Jane, a dauschter of James Knox, a soldier of the Revolu- 


tion, wlio lived at a pltiec about midwa}' between tb(} 
residences of the late Rev. Jolin Williamson and Benjamin 
Wilson Davidson, Esq., youngest son of Major John 
Davidson. He nad ten children, of whom James K. was 
the eldest, and who earlj^ displayed quick, intuitive powers. 
1 Je received the principal part of his education in North 
(■arolina, and graduated in 1818 at the State University, 
with the highest honors of his class. While at college, 
Ik^ laid the foundations of his future fame and usefulness. 
It is said he never missed a single recitation, or avoided 
a single duty during the whole course of his coUeghitc 
term. After graduating, he returned to Tennessee, his- 
father's adopted state, commenced the study of law in the 
office of the lion. Felix Grundy, and was admitted to the 
bar in 1820, In 1823, ho entered the stormy sea of poli- 
tics, in which he was destined to achieve a brilliant career. 
In 1825, he was elected to Congress, and in 1835, avus 
made Speaker of the House of Representatives, which 
honorable position he held for five sessions. After ser\'- 
ing fourteen years, with distinguished ability and impar- 
tiality, he declined a re-election. During tliis long^'and 
laborious service, he was never known to be absent, foi- a 
single day, from the House. In 1839, alter an animated 
contest, he was elected Governor of Tennessee. In May, 
1844, he was nominated as a candidate for the Presidency 
of the United States^ His majority in the Electoral Col- 
lege over Henry Clay for this high office was sixty-five, 
votes. The great labor he performed at a period of unex- 
ampled danger to the republic, and of difficulties A\it]i 
tbreign nations, operated seriously upon his debilitated 
system, and hastened his end. 

In May, 1844, in accepting the nomination, he declared 
in advance, that, if elected, he would only serve our frj-m. 
And in a letter addressed to the Convention, through Dr. 
J. G. M. Ramsc}', of Ivnoxville, he re-iterated his determi- 
nation, and voluntarily declined, when man}' of his friends 
deemed his name the onlv available means of success. His 


pvecarious and constantly declining state of health, forcibly 
admonished him of his early departure from the scenes of 
earth. lie calmly met his approaching end, and died at 
Xashvillc, on the 15th of June, 1849, in the forty-fourth 
year of his age. 

AVhen the mists of party and prejudice shall have sub- 
sided, and the dispassionate verdict of posterity be given, 
the services of James K. Polk will be acknowledged as 
unsurpassed in the annals of our nation ; and his noble and 
disinterested example of only serving one term, will be re- 
garded by all pure-minded occupants of the Presidential 
Chair, as Avorth}- of imitation. 

Mecklenburg county is proud of her son I 
In the old "Polk Graveyard," nine miles from Chai"- 
lotte, is the tombstone of Mrs. Maria Polk, a grand-aunt 
of President Polk, containing a lengthy eulogy, in poetry 
and prose, of this good woman. The first sentence, 
" Virtus lion excraptio a morte,''^^ is neatly executed on a semi- 
circle, extending over the prostrate figure of a departed 
female saint, sculptured with considerable skill on the 
soapstone slab, but now scarcely visible on account of the 
over-spreading moss and lichen. Immediately beneath 
the sainted Jigure is the expression, Formosa etsi mortua..-\ 
Prom the length}' eulogy, the following extracts are taken : 

"Here, unalarmed at death's hist stroki'. 
Lies in tliis tomb. Maria Polk ; 
A tender mother, virtuous \v\iv. 
Kcsigned in every sc>'ne of litV. 

To heavenly courts who did repair : 

^lay those slie 1 jved all meet her there." 
" Supported hy the hope of a, liappy death, and a glorious resar.'i'cMoM to 
eternal life, she borj a tedious and painful illness with a truly christian for- 
titude. The last ex-:rcise of her feeble mind was employe<l in singing' the 
;!.3rd of the second boo'i oi Dr. Watt's Hymns, in which, anticipating the 
blessed society above, she e.xchanjied the earthly for the heavenly melody." 

tShe died on the 20th of November, 1701, in the forty- 
fifth vear of her age. 

'•'Virtue sifl'ords no e.xeniiition from denth." f" Beautiful, althouirh 
dead. ' 



General William Davidson was the j'oungest son of 
George Davidson, and born in IT-IC). Ilis father moved 
from Lancaster county, in Pennsylvania, in 1750, to Nortli 
Carolina, and settled in the western part of Rowan county 
(now Iredell.) Here General Davidson received his earliest 
mental training, and subsequently his principal and final 
education at Queen's Museum College in Charlotte, where 
many of the patriots of ■Nlecklenljurg and surrounding 
counties were educated. 

At the Provincial Congress which met at Halifax, on 
on the 4th of April, 1776, four additional regiments to the 
two already in service, were ordered to be raised, over one 
of which (the 4th) Thomas Polk was appointed Colonel, 
dames Thackston Lieutenant Colonel, and William David- 
son ]\lajor. With this regiment, under General Francis 
Nash, he marched to join the army of the North, under 
General Washington, where he served until jN^ovember 
1779, when the North Carolina line was ordered south to 
reinforce General Lincoln, at Charleston. PrcAdous to 
this time he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant 
Colonel in the line. As the troops passed through North 
Carolina, Colonel Davidson obtained a furlough for a few 
days to visit his family, whom he had not seen for three 
years. This saved him from the fate which befell Gen. 
Lincoln and his army at Charleston ; for, when he ap- 
[)roached that city, lie found it so closely invested by the 
British Army that he was i)revented from joining his 
regiment. When Lincoln surrendered, Davidson returned 
to Mecklenburg, and rendered important services in sub- 
duing the Tories, who, encouraged by the success of the 
British arms, became numerous, daring and oppressive. 

A strong force of Tories having assembled at Coulson's 
]\Iill, General Davidson raised a troop of volunteers and 
marched against them. A fierce skirmish took place, in 
which he was severely wounded by a ball passing througl i 


his body near the kidneys. This Avound nearly proA'cd 
fatal, and detained him from the service about two niontlis. 
After his recovery, he again took the field, having been 
promoted for his bravery to the rank of Brigadier-General 
in the place of General Rutherford, made a prisoner at the 
battle of Camden. He was active, with Gx^neral Sumnoi- 
and Colonel Davie, in checking the advance of the British, 
and thronghont this darkest period of the Revolution 
gave ample evidence of his untiring zeal in the cause of 
his ccnintry. 

After the battle of the Cowpens, on the 17th of January, 
1781, in which General Morgan, with an inferior force, 
chastised the temerity and insolence of Tarleton, General 
Davidson was actively engaged in assembling the militin 
of his district to aid General Greene in impeding the ad- 
\'ance of the Britism army in pursuit of General jMorgan, 
encumbered with m(^re than five hundred prisoners, on 
his way to A^irginia. General Greene, accompanied l)y 
two or three attendants, left his camp near the Cheraws, 
rude rapidly through the country, and met General Moi- 
gan at Sherriirs Ford, on the eastern bank of the Catawh;i 
river, and directed his future movements. 

General Davidson had placed guards at Tuckasege, 
Toole's, Cowan's and Beattie's Fords. When Cornwallis 
approached the Catawba, on the evening of the 2StJi of 
January, he found it considerably swollen and impassable 
for his infantry. 

This Providential ol)stacle cau^^ed him to fall back live 
miles from the river to Jacob Forney's plantation, a thrif- 
ty farmer of that neighborhood, (lieneral Davidson had 
assembled a force of about three hundred and iifty men at 
Cowan's Ford. At half past two o'clock on the morning 
of the 1st of February, 1781, Cornwallis broke up his en- 
campment at Forney's and reached Cowan's Ford at day- 
break. It was a dark morning, accompanied with slight 
drizzling rain. The light infantry, under Colonel Hall, 
entered first, folloAved l>y the grenadiers and the battalions 


TL<e pieqiiot of the Americans cliallengecl the cnciDV ; iv- 
^rehang no re}.)!}', tlie guard fired at the advancing enemy. 
TiLirf immediateh' called into actiontliat portion of David- 
-•-on's forces placed near the river, ^vlio kept n[> a galling 
■lire from the hank. According to Htedman, the English 
Ijistorian, who accompanied Cornwall is, the Tory guide, 
l)ecoming alarmed at the tiring, when the J>ritish army 
reacdied the middle of the river, turned about and Itft 
fliem. This caused Colonel Hall to lead them directly 
:;H<'ross to au unex}»ectcd landing-[)lace. Cuh:)nel ilall A\as 
IvUled as lie ascended the bank ; the horse of Lord Corn- 
■wallis was shot in the I'iver, and fell dead as he reached 
ir)ie bank ; three })rivates w^ere killed and thirty-six 
'u-oimdeiL The diversion of the British army from the 
'i.)ro];n}r landing caused the Americans to tire angukirl}^ and 
,ju«t directly upon their enemy, and hence was less etiec- 
live in its results. General Davidson, who was about 
"hull a mile in the rear with the larger portion of his forces, 
uirrived at the scene of action just as the Americans were 
fleeing before the fire of the AN-ell-organi/A'd and gi'eatly 
■superior British forces. 

fn tittempting to rally tljc Americans, and \enturing 
■foo near the British army, he received a fatal shot in liis 
breast, and fell dead almost instantly from his horse.'. Tlie 
•^>ss of the Americans in in-i\ates was only two killed and 
nbout twenty wounded. 

The l^ritish int-antry waued the river in jilatcions, and 
reserved their tire until they ascended the eastern bank, 
iiuil thus eti'ected their passage. Cornwallis remained 
j>nly about three hours after the skiruiish, for the pur[u)se 
i'A' burying his dead, and then i)roceeded in the direction 
i-if Salisbury, tSoon after his departure l)a\'id Wilson and 
liichard Barrj', both of whom were in the skirmish, 
r>i'/:"ured the body of their beloved commander. c-on\eyed 
'it to the house of Samuel AVilson, Sen , and biuied it that 
o/ight by torch-light in the graveyard of Ilopewell Churdi. 

^i'hus fell in th-e prime of life, and at a moment ef great 

i'8 sKi-rrciiEs of we.stekn n h cabolina. 

nsofuhiess to his country, this noble and patriotic soldier. 
Right worthily is his name bestowed upon one of tljc 
most fertile counties of our State, and upon a seat »-.l' 
learning, located near the scene of his death, which w^ill 
]>erpetuate his fame as long as liberty has a votary throug-lf- 
out all succeeding time. 


( ieneral George GraJKini ^^'as born in PennsylN-ania ht 
1758, and came with his widowed mother and four othw-- 
to Xorth Carolina, when about six years ohL lie wa-? 
chiefly educated at " (Queen's ]SIuscum,"' in Charlotte, anrl 
was distinguished for his assiduity, manly behaviour aiatl 
kindliness of disposition. He was early devoted ta \h<- 
cause of liberty, and was ever its untiring defend<L'\-. . 
There was no duty too perilous, no service too dangorou-. 
tliat he was not ready to undertake lor the ^vclfare au4 
independence of his country. 

In 177-3, when it was re})orted in Charlotte that t\v<i 
Tory lawyers, Dunn and Boothe, had proposed the dett-ii- 
tion of Ca]>t. .Jack on his wa}' to Philadelphi;i, and hml 
])ronounced the pati-iotic resolutions with v.'hich he w;ii--: 
entrusted, as •• treasonable,"' George Graham was ovoe^ \.4' 
the gallant spirits who rode all night to Salisbury, seiz«.i3 
said oifending hnvyers, and brought theni them to Mc.-k- 
Icnburg for trial. Here, after being found guilty of eocf- 
duct ''inimical to the cause of American freedom," tlit^x" 
were transported to Camden, S. C, and afterward V* 
Charleston, and imprisoned. 

Such were tlie open manifestations of liberty and in<k*- 
])endence in dili'erent portions of Xortli Carolina in ll^r*'. 

When Cornwallis lay at Charlotte in 1780, Graham tc^'k 
an active part in attacking his foraging parties, uiaking: jt 
extremely difficult and hazardous for them to proeiHV 
their necessary sui»])lies. lie was one of the thirteen l^rave 
si)irits. under Ca]»t. James Thompson, wlio dared to attack a. 


1bi-aging]ia,rry of fourhuiidred British troops at Mcliitiro's 
IJrancli, seven miles nortliwest of Charlotte, on the Beattie's 
Ford road, compelling them to retreat, with a considerable 
loss of men and a small amonnt of forage, fearing, as they 
said, an ambnscadc was prepared for their capture. 

After the war, he was elected Major General of the 
Xorth Carolina militia. For many 3'ears, he was clerk of 
the court of Mecklenburg county, and fren[uontly a mem- 
ber of the State Legislature, lie was the people's tViend, 
not their iiatterer. and uniforndy enjoyed the contidence 
and high esteem of his fellow-citizens. He lived moi'e 
than half a century on liis farm, two miles from Chai'lotte. 
lie died on the 2l)th of March, 1826, in the sixty-eighth 
year of his age, and is buried in the grave-yard of the 
Presbyterian Church at C'liarlottc. 


( Jcneral William li Davie was born in Egremont, near 
Wliite Haven, in England, on the 20th of June, 17o(>. 
AVdien he was only five years of age, he emigrated, Avith 
his lather, ArchiV)ald Davie, to America, and was adopted 
by his maternal uncle. Rev. AV'illiam J-iiehardson, who re- 
sided on the Catawba ri\'er, in South Carolina. After due 
[•reparation at ^'(Jueen's Museum'' in Charlotte, he entered 
Princeton College, where, by his close apjilicatiou, he soon 
acquired the re[)Utation of an excellent student. But the 
din of arms disturbed his coUeo'iate studies, so ausrticiousl v 
conmienced, and he forthwith exchanged the gown for the 
sword. The studies of the College were closed, and Davie 
\olunteered his services in the army of the north in ITT'). 
The campaign being eu.ded, he returned to College, and 
graduated in the Fall of that year with the first honors of 
the Institution. 

lie returned to Xorth Carolina, and commenced the 
study of the law in Salisbury, but the struggle tor life' and 
lil)erty then going on, did not allow his chivalric s[)irit to 


}H'[K»so in quietude while hi.- count ry was in danger. Aetu- 
:iited hy urgent patriotic motives, he induced Williairi 
Harnett, of Mecklenburg county, to raise, with as little 
4.1elay as jiossible, a troop of horsemen. Over this com- 
pany. William I'arnett was elected Captain, and Daviu, 
Lieutenant. The commission of the latter is signed by 
<Tuvernor Caswell, and is dated the oth of April, ]77n. 
This company joined the southern army, and beeame at- 
tached to Pulaski's Legion. Davie's gallantry and activity 
were so conspicu(His, that he soon rose to the rank of 

At the battle of Stono, neai- Charleston, he experienced 
3iis first serious eonHict m arms, and was severely Avounded 
in the tliigh, which laid him up for some time in the hos- 
pital in that city. In this engagement. Major Davie also 
recei\ed a wound from a heavy cavalry charge of the 
enemy, which caused him to fall from liis horse. He still 
held the bridle, but was so severely wounded that, after 
repeated efforts, he could not remount. The enemy was 
uoAv close upon him. and in a moment more he would ha\e 
been made a prisoner. Just at this time, a private, whose 
liorse had been killed, and who was retreating, saw the 
imminent danger of his gallant officer, and returned at the 
risk of his life to save him. AVith great composure he 
raised Major L)avie on his horse, and safely led him from 
the blood}' Held. '"An action of courage worthy of Rome 
in her palmiest days." In the haste and confusion of the 
retreat, this In'ave soldier disappeared. ^lajor L^avie 
made frequent inquiries for his }>reserver, to evince his 
^•ratitude to him and his family, for his timely and heroii- 
aid ; but in vain. 

At the siege of Ninety-Six, when Davie Avas acting as 
Commissary-Cieueral of the Southern armj', on the morning 
ofthe attack, a soldier came to his tent, and made himself 
known as the man who had assisted him in mounting his 
horse at Stono. The soldier promised to call again, but, 
iilas ! he fell soon after in Inittle, Avhich deprived Major 


J)iivie of tlie pleasure ot" Ijostowing upon him substantial 
tokens of Lis lasting gratitude. 

After his recoverv, ]Nraior Davie returned to Salisbury, 
and resumed the study of hiw. In 1780, he obtained liis- 
lieense to praetiee, and soon became distinguished in lii? 
])i-otession. But the camp rather than the Court-house., 
still demanded his services. In the winter of 1780, he 
obtained authority from the General Assemldy of Xorth 
Carolina to raise a troop of cavalry, and two companies of 
mounted infantry. But the authority only was 'granted . 
The State being too poor to provide the means, jMajor 
Davie, with a patriotism wortliy of perpetual remem- 
brance, disposed of the estate aCvC[ui red from his uncle, and 
thus raised funds to equip the troo})s. AVitli this forc(% 
he proceeded to the sonthwestern portion of the State and 
l>rotec'ted it from the predatory incursions of the British 
and Tories. Cfiarleston having surrendered on the 12th 
of May, 1780, and Tarleton's butchery of Colonel Jjuford's 
regiment, in tlie W'axhaws, on the 29th, induced General 
Rutherford to order out the militia in mass, to op})Osethe 
advance of the conipierors. On the 3rd of .June, nine 
hundred men assembled at Charlotte, read}' to defend 
their countr}'. The militia were reviewed by General 
Rutherford, and, after being addressed in strong, patriotic 
language b}' Dr. Whorter, President of the C'oUege iit 
Charlottee, were dismissed, with directions t(j hold them- 
selves in re;uliness at a moment's warning. 

Loi"d Kawdon having advanced with the British army 
to Waxhaw Creek, Creneral Rutherford issued, on tln- 
1 0th of June, his orders for the militia to rendezvous at 
McKee's plantation, eighteen miles north-east of Char- 
lotte. The orders were obeyed, and on the 12th eight 
hundred men were in arms on the ground. On the 14th 
the troops were organized. The cavalry, mider Major 
Davie, was formed into two troops under Captains Lem- 
monds and ^Jartin ; a battalion of three hundred light 
infantry was placed under (\>lonel William Davidson, a 


regular officer, and the remainder under the immediate 
command of General Rutherford. 

On the 15th of June General Eutherford marched within 
two miles of Charlotte. Ifere he learned that Lord Raw- 
don had retrograded from the Waxhaws to Camden. He 
then resolved to advance on the Tories, Avho, it was well 
known, had assembled in strong force at Ramsonr"s Mill, 
near the present town of Lincolnton. Ihiving issued 
orders on the lltli to Colonel Francis Locke, Captains 
Falls and Brandon, of Rowan, and to Major David Wilson, 
of Mecklenburg, and to other otHcers, to raise men and 
attack this body of Tories, he marched on the 18th eleven 
mllos, to Tuckasege Ford, on the Catawba River. He 
sent an express on the same day to Colonel J.oekc to meet 
him with his forces three miles north-west of tlic river, 
at Colonel Dickson's i)lantation. The exi'-ress, for some 
unknown reason. ne\'er reached Colonel Loeke. Tliis 
officer, failing to secure the co-operative aid (.^f Gcneiul 
Rutherford, marched from Mountain Creek kite on the 
evening of the 19th of June, and early on the morning of 
the 20th attacked and routed the Tories before the arrival 
of General Rutherford's forces. (For further i)articulars, 
see the " Battle of Ramsour's ]Mill,'" under the head ot 
Liiieohi County.) 

Alter the battle of Ramsour's ]siill, Cleneral Rutherford 
marclied against the Tories assembled under Colonel 
Bryan in the forks of Yadkin River, Avhile ALijor L)a\'ie 
was ordered to move with his mounted force and take 
[)osition near the South Carolina line, to protect this ex- 
j)Oscd frontier from the incursions of the British and the 
Tories. He accordingly took [)Osition c^n the iiorth side 
of Waxhaw Creek, where he was joined by 3dajor C/raw- 
ford, with a few South Carolina tn^ops and thirty-fiw 
Indian warriors of tlie CataAvha tribe, under tlieir chief, 
Xew River, and the jVrecklenburg militia under (olonel 
I la gins. 

On the 2()th of duly Major Davie surprised and ea[>tured 


ijt Flat Rock, a convoy of provisions, spirits and clothing, 
i>-uarded by some dragoons and volunteers, on their way 
ti* the post at Hanging Rock, about four and a half miles 
*l5stant. The capture was etfected without loss ; the 
spirits, provisions and wagons were destroyed, and tlu' 
prisoners, mounted on the captured horses and guarded by 
4ragoons under Captain AVilliam Polk, at dark eommeueed 
rheir retreat. On Beaver Creek, about midnight, thev 
jvere attacked by the enemy in ambuscade, coneealed 
"j^uker the fence in a field of standing corn. The rear 
guard had entered the lane when Captain Petit, the ofHccr 
It) advance, hailed the British in their place of coneeal- 
fjicut. A second challcugo was answered by a volley of 
jjiusketry Irom the enemy, which eommeueed on the riglii, 
iind passed l)y a running tire to the rear of the detach- 
snent. Major Davie rode rapidly forward and ordered 
(ho men to push through the lane; 1)ut, under sui'prisr, 
h\> troops turned l)ack, and upon the loaded arms of tlie 
*-{iemy. He v.'as thus compelled to re|»ass the andjuscade 
snider a heavy fire, and overtook his men retreatino- 1)\- 
the same road they had advanced. The detachment was 
finally rallied and halted upon a hill, but so discomtitc<l 
vti' tliis unexpected attack that no etfort could induce them 
to charge upon the enemy. 

A judicious retreat was the only course left to avoid a 
-similar disaster, which was etfected; and Major Davie, 
liaving passed the enemy's patrols, regained his e:>m[» 
'i'arly on the next day without further accident. In this 
:5ittack, the fire of the enemy fell chiefly upon tliose in the 
Kline, v,dKi were prisoners (confined two on a horse with 
t\ie guard). These Avere nearly all Killed, or severely 
-wounded. Of the Whigs, Lieutenant Klliott was killed. 
5ind Captain Petit, Avho had been sent in advance by Ma- 
jor Davie to examine the lane, the ford of the creek an<l 
tlse houses, and failing to do so, as carefull_y as was prop- 
v'r, }>aid the penalty of neglect of duty by being wounded 
jvitli two of his men. Major T)avie, who was noted for 


his vigilance, anticipated some attempt by the Briti^I;' 
and Tories to recover the prisoners, and had taken, as Itc- 
l)elieved, all necessary precautions to prevent a surprise or- 

^fajor Davie, in a manuscript account of thisaiiair, now 
on file in the archives of the Historical Society at Chapel 
Hill, leaves this judicious advice : " It furnishes a lessoit 
to ofhcers of partisan corps, that every officer of a detacli- 
ment may, at some time, have its safety and reputaticut 
committed to him, and that the slio-htest neo;lect of duty is 
generally severely' ])unished by an enemy/' 

Rocky Mount is on the west bank of the Wateree River- 
(as the Catawba is called after its junction with Wateree 
Creek), thirty miles from Camden, and was garrisoned by 
Colonel TurnbuU with one hundred and fifty ISTew York 
N'oluntecrs and some militia. Its defences consisted of 
t\vo 1 >g-houses, a loop-holed building and an ahattis^'' 

On the 30th of July, 1780, General Sumter and Colonel 
Neal, from South Carolina, and Colonel Irwin, with thrci" 
hundred Mecklenburg militia, joined Major Davie. A 
council was held, and it v\'as determined that simultaneoa- 
attacks should be made upon the British posts at Rocsy 
Mount and Hanging Rock. General Sumter was accorii- 
]»anied by (V)lonels Xeal, Irwi'.o and Lacy, and Captaiif 
AfcLure, and some of his kinsmen, the Gastons. Ilaving^- 
crossed the C^atawba at Blair's Ford, he arrived early oir. 
the next day, and uiade vigorous attacks against the fort, 
but failed in capturing it, mainly for the want of artillery. 
The attack elicited the praise of even the enemy. Early 
in the action, the gallant Colonel iSTeal was killed, with, 
five whites and one Catawba Indian, and many were no 
verely wounded. The British loss was ten killed, and th/ ■ 
same number wounded. General Sumter ordered a retreat, 
which was effected without further anuoyance or loss. 

T.irlet n's Southern Cami)aigns, p. !)i. 


!Majoi' Davie, -with about foi'ty iiiouuted riilenieii, and 
tlie same number of drao'oons, and some Mecklenbui'LC 
inilitia, mider Colonel Ilagins, approaebed Hanging Rock 
on tlie same day. Wliile be was reconnoitering tbe 
ground, previous to making tbe attack, be was informed 
tbat tbree companies of Bryan's Tory regiment, returning 
from a foraging expedition, were encamped at a farm- 
bouse near tbe post. 

Major Davie, witb bis brave associates, immediately 
fell upontbem witb vigor, both in front and rear, and all 
but a few of tbem were eitber killed or wounded. ]S^(> 
time could be spared to take prisoners, as tbe engagement 
at tbe farm-bouse was in full view of tbe Britisb post at 
I bulging Rock. Tbe fruits of tbis victory- were sixty 
valuable liorses, and one bundred muskets and rifles. Tbe 
wbole camp of tbe enemy instantly beat to arms, but tbis 
brilliant affair was ended, and Davie out of reacli before 
tbe enemy's forces were in motion, or tbeir consternation 
subsided from tbis daring and successful attack. Major 
Davie readied bis camp safely witbout tbe loss of a single 

General Sumter was tborougbly convinced tbat tbe 
ardent patriots of wbicb bis command consisted must be 
kept constantly employed, and tbat tbe minds of sucb 
men are greatly influenced by dasbing exploits. He, 
tberefore, resolved 4o unite witb Major Davie and otber 
officers, and make a vigorous attack against tbe post of 
Hanging Rock. Tbis post derives its name from a buge 
conglomerate 1)0wlder of granite, tw^enty-iive or tbirty 
feet in diameter, lying upon tbe eastern bank of Hanging 
J^ock Creek, witb a concavity sufliciently large to sbelter 
fifty men from tbe rain. Xear tbis natural curiosity Lord 
Rawdon, tben commanding tbe Britisb and Tories in tbat 
section, bad establisbed a post, garrisoned by Tarleton's 
Legion of infantry, a part of Brown's Corps of Soutb 
Carolina and Georgia Provincials, and Colonel Bryan's 


Xortli Carolina Loyalists, the whole Tinder the eonivnand 
of Major Garden. 


"Catawba's waters smiled again 

To see her Sumter's soul in arms ! 
And issuino^ from each glade and glen, 

K'?kindled liy war's fierce alarms. 
Thronffed hu'.ulreds throngii the solitude 

Of the wild forests, to the call 
01' liini whose sp r t, unsnbdnod, 

Fresh iinpnise gave to each, to all." 

(hi the ntli of Aiio-ust, 1780, the detachments of tlie 
]iatriots met again at Land's Ford, on the Catawha. 
iSLajor Davie had not lost a single man in his last dashing 
exploit. The Xorth Carolina militia, under Colonel Imvin 
and Major Davie, immhered about five hundred men,offi- 
ee'i's and privates ; and about three hund'red South Caro- 
linians under Colonels Sumter, Lacerand Hill. The chief 
command was conferred upon Colonel Sumter, as being 
Hie senior officer. Early in the morning. Colonel Sumter 
marched cautiously, and approached the British camp in 
three divisions, with the intention of falling upon the 
main body stationed at Cole's Old Field. The right v.'as 
com[)Osed of Major Davie's corps, and some volunteers, 
under Major Bryan : the center, of the Mecklenburg mili- 
tia, under Colonel Irwin; and the left, of South Carolina 
refugees, under Colonel Hill. General Sumter proposed 
that the detachments should approach in their divisions. 
inarch directly to the centre encampments, tlien dismount, 
and each division attack its camp. This plan Avas ap- 
])roved by all except ^Lijin- Davie, who insisted on leav- 
ing their liorses at their present position, and march to the 
attack on foot. lie urged, as an objection against the 
former plan, tlie confusion always conse(pient upon dis 
mounting under fire, and the certainty of loshig the efiect 
of a sudden and vi^'orous attack. Tie was, however, over- 


ruled, but the ?equel proved he was right in liis opinion. 
Through the error of his guides, Snniter came first upon 
Bryan's corps, on the M'estern bank of the creek, half a 
mile from the British cam}). Colonel Irwin's Mecklen- 
burg militia commenced the attack. The Tories soon 
yielded, and Hed toward the main body, many of them 
throwing away their arms Avithout discharging them. 
These the patriots secured ; and, pursuing this advantage, 
Sumter next fell upon Brown's cor[»s, which, bybein- 
concealed in a A\'ood, ]>oured iu a heavy tire upon thv 
Americans. The latter also quickly availed themseh-cs of 
the trees and bushes, and returned the British fire Avith 
(IcacMy effect. The American riflemen, taking deliberate 
aim. soon cut off all of Brown's othcers and many of his 
soldiers : and at length, after a fierce conflict, his cor])s 
yielded, and dispersed in confnsion. The arms and am- 
munition prot'ured from the enemy were of great service, 
un- when the action commenced. Sumter's men had not 
t\\"o rounds each. 

Xow A\'as the moment to strike for decisive victory ; it 
u as lost by the criminal indidgence of Sumter's men in 
[ilundering the portion of the British camp already secured, 
;!1h1 di'iuking too freely of the liquor found there. Sum- 
ter s ranks Ijei'ame disordered, and while endeavoring to 
liring order out of conl'iision, the enemy i-allied. Of his 
>ix hundred nicn (-nly aljout two hmnlred, with ]\hijor 
Huvie's cavalry, could be brought into immediate action. 
Colonel Sumter, however, wa.s not to be foiled. W^ith his 
sundl number of patriots he rushed forward, with a shout, 
to the attack. The enemy had formed a hollow square, 
witii tlie field [>ieces in front, and in this position recei\'ed 
tlie charge. The Americans attacked them on three 
sides, and for a while tlie coutest was severe At length, 
just as the British line was yielding, a reinforcement 
mider Captains Stewart and McDonald, of Tarleton's 
Legion, made their appearance, and their nnndjer being 
magniHed, Colouel Sumter deemed it prudent to retreat. 


All this was done about inid-day, but the enemy had been 
so severely handled that they did not attempt a pursuit. 
A small party appeared upon the Camden road, but were 
soon dispersed b}' Davie's cavalry. Could Sumter have 
brought all of his forces into action in this last attack, the 
rout of the British would have been coiuDlete. As it was. 

" He Vieat thoin i ack ! Tjeneatb the flaine 
Of VMlor quailing, or tlie shoc'-i ! 
He (•arve<^l, at last, a heron's name, 
I'poii the gkirioiis Hangiiiir Rock I" 

This engagement lasted al)out four hours, and was one 
of the best-fought battles between militia and British 
regulars during the war. Sumter's loss was twelve killed 
and forty one wounded. Among the killed were the 
bra\'e Colonel McLure (lately promoted to that rank), of 
South Carolina, and Captain Reid, of Xortli Carolina : 
( 'olonel Hill, Captain Craighead, Major Winn, Lieutenants 
Crawford and Fletcher, and Ensign ^TcLuie were wounded. 

(,V)lonel ]\IcLure, Ijeing mortally wounded, was conveyed 
under the charge of Davie's cavalry to Charlotte. ITc 
lingered until the ISth of August, on which day he died 
in Liberty ITall Academy. '' Cf the many brave men,"" 
said General Davie, " with wIkuu it was my fortune t(^ 
l)ecome acquainted in the army, he was one of the bravest : 
and when he fell we looked upon his loss as incalculable." 

The British loss was nmch greater than that of the 
Americans, bixtj'-two of Tartleton's Legion were kille<l 
and wounded. Bryan's regiment of Lovalists also suf- 
fered severely. 

Major Davie's corps sutfered much while tying theii- 
horses and forming into line under a heavy fire from the 
enemy, a measure which he had reprobated in the council 
\vhen deciding on the mode of attack. 

Having conveyed his wounded to a hospital in Chai- 
lotte, which his foresight had provided, ]\Iajor Davie' 
hastened to the general rendezvous at Rugely's Mill, under 


General Gates. On the IGtli of August, while on his way 
to unite his forces with those of General Gatef>, he met a 
soldier in great speed, about ten miles from Camden, ilv 
arrested him as a deserter, but soon learned from hiui 
that Gates was signally defeated by the British on thjit 

Major Davie then retraced his steps and took post at 
Charlotte. On the oth of September, he -was appointed 
by Governor Kash, Colonel Commandant of Cavalry, with 
instructions to raise a regiment. lie succeeded in raising 
only a part, and with two small companies, commanded 
by Major George Davidson, he took post at Providenc-e. 

Cn the 21st day of September, Colonel Davie attacketl 
a body of Toi'ies at the plantation of Captain AVahab (now- 
written Walkup), in the southwestern comer of Union 
count V (then a part of Mecklenburg), killed fifteen or t went \' 
of their men, wounded about forty, and retreated in good 
order without any loss. In this dashing exploit, Davie 
Ijrought otf ninetA'-six horses, one hundred and twent\- 
stands of arms, and reached his camp the same evening, 
arter riding sixty miles in less than twenty-four hours. 

Generals Sumner and Davidson, with their brio-ades vt' 
militia, reached his camp in Providence on the same even- 
ing. On the advance of the British army these officers re- 
treated by way ot Phifer's to Salisbury, ordering Colonel 
Davie, with about one hundred and fifty men, and some 
volunteers under Major Joseph Graham, to hover around 
the approaching enem}', annoy his foraging parties, and 
skirmish with his light troops. 

On the night of the 25th of September, Colonel Da^•ie 
entered the towai of Charlotte, determined to give the 
British army, which lay a few^ miles from that place, a 
hnraeis-llkc. reception. The brilliancy and patriotic spirit 
of that skirmish was appropriatelj' displayed on the very 
ground wdiich, in May, 1775, w^as the birth-place Ameri- 
can independence. (See "Skirmish at Charlotte.") 

On the next day, Colonel Davie joined the army at 


Sitlisburv, where the men ami officers to raise new r. emits 
had assembled. ( ienerals Davidson and Sumner continued 
tlieir retreat beyond the Yadkin River, while Colonel 
Pavie i-eturn^d to Charlotte, around which place the ac- 
tivity of his movements, dashing adventures, -and perfect 
knowledge of the country, rendered him extremely useful 
in checking the incursions of the enemy, repressing tlic 
Tories and encouraging the friends of liberty. 

Lord Cornwallis sorely felt the difficulties with which 
his position at Charlotte was surrounded, and, (jn hearing 
of the defeat and death of Colonel Ferguson, one of his 
favorite officers, he left that town late on the evening of 
the 14th of Octobei", in great precipitation, recrossed tne 
Catawba at l^and's Ford, and took position, for a few 
mouths, at AVinnsboro, S. C. 

The signal defeat of the British and Tories at King's 
Mountain — the conspicuous turning point of success in the 
American Revolution, and the retreat of Cornwallis, alter 
his previous l»oast of soon having IS'orth Carolina under 
roval subjection, greatly revived the hopes of tlie patriots 
throughout tlie entire South. 

(leneral Smallwood, of jNIaryland, who had accompanied 
(xeneral Gates to the South, had his headquarters at Provi- 
dence, and, in a short time, several thousand niilitia, under 
Cenerals Davidson, Sumner, and Jones, joined his camp. 
Colonel Davie, Avith three hundred mounted infantry, oc- 
cupied an advanced post at Land's Ford. 

When General Greene took command of the Southern 
Army in December, 1780, he and Colonel Davie met for 
the first time. The Connnissary Department having he- 
come vacant by tlie resignation of Colonel Thomas Polk, 
(General Greene prevailed upon Colonel Davie to accept 
tliis troublesome and important office. Although the 
duties of the office would prevent him from displaying 
that dashing patriotism so congenial to his chivalric spirit, 
vet he agreed to enter ujion its arduous and unthankful 


(,'oloiK'l Diivie accompanied (jcncral Greene in lii.s ra|ti<l 
ivtreat from the CataAvba to the Dan River. He was 
jtresent at the battle of Guilford, in March, 1781 ; at IIol)- 
kirk's Hill, in April; at the evacuation of Camden, in 
^fay; and at the siege of JSTinety-six, in June. 

The war, having ended, Colonel Davie retired to pri- 
\'ate life and his professional pursuits. lie took his lirst 
circuit in Februarj^ 1783, and near this time lie married 
Sarah, eldest daughter of ({eneral Allen Jones, of !N'orth- 
ampton couaty, and located himself at Ilalffax Court- 
house, where he soon rose to the highest eminence in his 

Colonel Davie was a member of the Convention which 
met at Philadelphia, in May, 1787, to form the Federal 
Constitution. The late Judge Murphy, in speaking of 
Colonel Davie, bears this honorable testimony to his 
abilities : " I was present in the House of Conniions, when 
Davie addressed that body (in 1780,) for a loan of money 
I'o erect the buildings of the LTniversity, and^although 
more than thirty j-ears have elapsed, I have the most 
vivid recollections of the greatness of liis manner and the 
power of his eloquence upon that occasion. In the House 
of Commons he had no rival, and on all questions Ijcfore 
that body his eloquence was irresistible."' 

In December, 1798, lie was elected Governor of the 
State. After fultilling other important jSTational and State 
trusts, and losing liis estimable wife in 1803, Colonel 
Davie, under the increasing infirmities of old age, sought 
retirement. In 1S05 he removed to Tivoli, his country 
seat, near Land's Ford, in South Carolina, where he died 
in 1820, in the sixty-fourth 3'ear of his age. He had six 
children : 1. Hyder Ali, who married Elizabeth Jones, of 
XoTthampton county, N. C. ; 2. Sarah Jones, who married 
AVilliam F. Desaussure, of Columbia, S. C. ; 0. Mary 
Havnes: 4. Martha; o. Rebecca: 0. Frederick William. 

lI'J. sketches of western north CAROLINA. 


General Michael ^leLeary was born in 1VG2. lie lirst 
entered the service as a private in Captain AVilliaiu Alex- 
ander's company, in the regiment commanded by Colonel 
Ivobert Irwin, William Ilagins, Lieutenant Colonel, and 
James Harris, Major. The regiment was encamped on 
Coddle Creek, near which time Colonel William David- 
son, a Continental officer, was a|ipointed to the command 
of a battalion. In a short time aiterward, his conniiand 
marched to Ramsour's ^lill, to disperse a large body of 
Tories, under Colonel John Moore, but failed to reach that 
}»laco before they had been subdued and routed by Colonel 
Locke and his brave associates. 

General McLeary Avas in the fight against a considera- 
ble body of Tories assembled at Coulson's Mill, at which 
place General ])avidson was severely wounded. 

After this service he again volunteered in Captain A\'il- 
jiam Alexander's company, Colonel Irwin's regiment, 
wafching the movements of the enemy. About two miles 
>south of Charlotte^ Lieutenant James Taggart captured 
two Avagons loaded with valuable supplies from Camden 
j'or the British army, then encamped near the former 
place. In this dashing exploit, two of the Lritish guard 
were killed, and the remainder made prisoners, who were 
afterward turned over to Colonel Davidson. At the same 
time, an express was cajfturcd from Lord Cornwallis to 
Colonel Turnbull, in command of the forces at Camden. 
Here, as elsewhere in the surrounding country, it Avill Ijo 
seen the vigilant 'diornets" of Mecklenburg were engaged 
in their accustomed work. 

Captain Alexander's command continued to hang on the 
enemy's rear for the purpose of making rapid captures and 
}»icking up stragglers, and followed them to the C)ld 
Nation Ford, on the Catawba. Colonel Davidson having 
been i)romoted in the meantime to the rank of Brigadier 
General, marched d(>Nvn and encamped near ^^ix Mile 


A'reek, wliere he was joined by Generals Morgan and 
'Sm&Tlwood, in November, 1780. iSTear this time General 
Morgan Avas ordered to move with a detachment to tlic 
aelief of the upper districts of South Carolina. lie set 
off immediately, and remained there until after the battle 
<»f the Cowpens, on the ITtli of January, 1781. 

<3eneral JNIcLeary again volunteered in Captain John 

JJrownfield's company', in General Davidson's brigade, 

vratching the movements of Lord Cornwallis in his pur- 

5suit of General Morgan, cncundjered with five hundred 

:^iiri60iiers on his way to a place of safety in Virginia. 

General Davidson, anticipating the movements of Corn- 
"ivallis, had placed guards at four or live crossing-places on 
the Catawba river, making his headquarters near the 
Tuckasege Ford, on the eastern bank of the river. On 
the 31st of January, he left his headquarters to inspect 
The. position of his guard at Cowan's Ford. Here the 
Jjritish army crossed at dawn of day, on the 1st of Feb- 
rnary, 1781. At the close of the f^kirmish which ensued. 
General Davidson was killed. General McLeary con- 
tJiiued m service until after the battle of Guilford, when 
Ik" returned home, and was soon afterward discharged. 
lit- was highly respected, represented his county several 
f Ames ii] the State Legislature, and died at a good old age. 


^Major Thomas Alexander, born in 1753, Avas one of the 
earliest and most unwavering patriots of Mecklenburg 
KVGmity. He first entered the service in 1775, as a private, 
in Captain John Springs' company, and marched to the 
head of the Catawba river, to assist in protecting the 
frontier settlements, then greatlj' suft'ering from the mui-- 
(vlerous and depredating incursions of the Cherokee In- 
^ira^uA. Li 1775 he also volunteered in Captain Ezekiel 
I*f35k"'g company, and marched against the Tories assembled 
^yr the post of Ninety, in South Carolina. 


Til 1776 he volunteered in Captain William Alexander's 
company, under Colonels Adam Alexander and Robert 
Trwin, General Rutherford commanding, and marched Uy 
the (Quaker Meadows, at the head of the Catawba, and. 
thence across the Blue Ridge to the Cherokee country. 
Having severely chastised the Indians and compelled them. 
to sue for peace, the expedition returned. 

In 1770, he A-olunteered under Captain AVilliam Polk.. 
and marched to South Carolina, to suhdue the Tories ow 
A\^ateree River. Soon after this service he was appointed 
eaptain of a company to guard the magazine in Charlotte^ 
which, on the approach of Cornwallis, in September, 1780,.. 
was removed to a place of safety on the evening before 
his Ijordship's arrival. 

After Cornwallis L ft Charlotte, Captain Alexander 
raised a company of mounted men to guard the Tucka- 
sege Ford. He occupied this position until it was known: 
Cornwallis had crossed the Catawba River, at Cowan's- 

After the death of Ceneral Davidson he placed himselt' 
under Colonel Lee, of the Continental line, Gen. Pickeii^- 
connnanding, and marched to Ilillsboro, near which plac*;-' 
they defeated Colonel Pyles, a Tor}' leader, on Haw River . 
After this service he volunteered under Colonel Davie.. 
and was with him at the battle of ITano-inH Rock. Aftci- 
Gates' defeat he was appointed Quarter-master, with 
orders to attend the hospital in Charlotte. 

Major Alexander married Jane, daughter of l!^eil Wov- 
rison, one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaratioi<:i 
of Independence, and died in 1844, at the age of ninety - 
two years. 

lu the " Charlotte Journal,*" of Januar}' 17th, lS45. ait 
obituary notice of this veteran patriot ^vas published, iui 
which it is stated, '' he was allied by blood to the two- 
most distinguished families of the period — the Polks and. 
Alexanders, and in his own person blended many of tht- 
(pialities peculiar to each. He was remarkable for th-K- 


liiii-liest oouriiojc and the 2:reate,st modesty ; for marked 
dignity of personal deportment, and a disposition the most 
I'heerful, and a heart overflowing witli kindness. He 
crowned all his virtues by a simple, nnrystentations and 
humble piety, and concluded a life, protracted to a period 
far beyond that allott(;d to mankind, without a blot, and 
without reproach, and with the respect, the aifection and 
\eneration of all who knew him." 


CJaptain William Alexander was born in Bucks county, 
Peimsylvania, in the year 1749. lie was long and well 
known in Mecklenburg county, X. C, among immeruus 
other persons bearing the same name, as " Capt. Black 
l)ill Alexander," from being the reputed leader of a small 
band of ardent patriots who, in 1771, blackened their fc-ceSy 
and destro^'ed the king's powder, on its way to Hillsboro, 
to obey the behests of a- cruel and tyrannical governor. 
(For further particulars, see sketcn of '^ Black Boys"' of 
('abarrus County.) 

He first entered the sci'vice of the United States a!4 
cjiptain of a company, in 1770, under Colonel Adam Alex- 
ander, and marched to the head of the Catawba Elver. 
The object of this expedition was to protect the valley of 
the Catawba from the incursions and depredations of the 
Cherokee Indians during the time the inhaljitants were 
gathering in their harvest. He again entered the service- 
:is captain, under Colonel Adam Alexander, (icneral 
llutherford connnanding, and marched to the head of the 
Catawba River, iind across the Blue Ridge Mountains, 
against the Cherokee Indians, who were completely routed 
and their towns destroyed, compelling them to sue for 
peace , 

In 17H0 he connn^nded a company under Col. Francis 
].iOcke, and marched from Charlotte for the relief of 
(.'harlestoii, but finding the city closely invesfed 1)\' rhe 


British army, the regiment fell back to Camden, and re- 
mained there until their three months' service had ex- 

lie a^'ain served a four months' tour as captain, under 
(lieneral Sumter, and was in the battles of Rocky Mount, 
ir-m'^-ing Rock, and in the skirn»ish at Wahab's (now 
written Walkup's.) 

He also served six weeks as captain under CV)loncl 
Thomas Polk, in the winter of 1775-'6, known as the 
"Snow Campaign," against the Tory leader, Cunningham, 
in South Carolina. 

He again served a three months' tour as captain in the 
Wilmington expedition. General Rutherford commanding, 
immediatel}' preceding the battle of Guilford, but was not 
ill that action, on account of an attack of small-pox. 

He again marched with General Rutherford's forces 
against the Tories assembled at Ramsour's Mill, in Lin- 
coln county, but the action having taken place shortly 
before their arrival, they assisted in taking care of the 
wounded and in burying the dead. 

He again entered the service as captain, for ten months, 
imder General Sumter, in Colonel Wade Hampton's regi- 
ment in South Carolina, and was the first captain who 
arrived with his men at the place of rendezvous. 

He was also in the fight at the Quarter House, ]\Ionk"s 
Corner, capture of Orangeburg, battle of Eutaw, and in 
mimerous other minor but important services tb his 

Captain William Alexander resided on the public road 
leading to Concord, six miles east of Charlotte, where he 
died on the 19th of December, 1836, aged about eighty- 
seven years. 


Elijah Alexander, son of William Alexander, black- 
smith, was born in ]\lecklenburg county, ]N". C, in 1760. 


Tn 1819, 'he moved to Maury county, Tenii., where he 
died at a good old age. In Marcli, 1780, Colonel Thomas 
Polk called out detachments from the nearest companies 
of militia to serve as a guard over the public powder 
}>laced in the magazine in Charlotte. ITe then volunteered 
for three months under Captain Thomas Alexander. 

After Cornwallis crossed the Catawba River at Cowan's 
Ford, on the 1st of February, 1781, at which place Gen- 
eral Davidson was killed, a call was made for more men 
to harass the progress of the British army. For this pur- 
pose, a rendezvous was made at the "Big Rock,'"' in 
Cabarrus county, under Colonel William Polk, Major 
James Harris and Captain Brownfield. At this time, the 
small-pox broke out in camp, from the effects of which 
Moses Alexander, a l)rother of Governor iS^athaniel Alex- 
ander, died. After the battle of Guilford, on the 15th of 
March, 1781, General Greene returned to South Carolina 
to recover full piissession of the State. He then joined 
his army under Captain James Jack (the bearer of the 
Mecklenburg Declaration to Congress in 177")). and in 
( 'olonel Tliomas Polk's regiment. The command marched 
from Charlotte, along the '' Lawyer's Road,"' to Matthew 
Stewart's, on Goose Creek, and thence towards ( amden> 
to fall in with General Greene's army. They halted at 
the noted " Flat Ro,;k," and eat beef butchered on that 
wide-spread natural table. The command then marched 
t() Rugcley's Mill, where it remained a week or moi-e. 
After this service he returned home and was honoral»ly 


Captain Charles Alexander was born in Mecklenburir 
county, X. C, January 4th, 1750. He tirst entered the 
service of the United States as a private in July, 1775, in 
the company of Captain A\''illiam Alexander, and Colonel 
Adam Alexander's regiment, General Rutherford com- 


maiiding, and niarclied across the Blue Ridge Mountains 
iigainst the Cherokee Indians. The expedition was coni- 
],)letely successful ; the Indians were routed, and their 
towns destroyed. 

lie n"ext served as a private for tw(y months, commenc- 
ing in January, 1776, known as the "Snow Campaign,'" in 
Captain William Alexander's company, and Colonel 
TlHunas Polk's regiment, and marched to Rayhurn's creek, 
where the Tories were dispersed. In one of the skirm- 
ishes, William Polk was wounded in the shoulder. 

In Octoljcr, 1770, he again served under the sanie Caji- 
tain, and in Colonel Caldwell's regiment, l>ut the com- 
mand of the I'egiment during this tour of duty, was imdcr 
Major Thomas Harris, who marche<l to ( anitlcn. S. C.. 
and remained there about three months. 

In 1776, he served in the cavalry com]»ar.y of Captain 
( harles J 'oik, who marched to Fort Johnson, near tlie 
mouth of Cape Fear river, C<^>lonel Tliomas Polk com- 
manding. He again served as a private in 1778, in the 
company of Captain William Gardner and I^ieutenant 
Stephen Alexander, General Rutherford commanding, who 
marched to Furyshurg, S. C, and there joined the regulai's 
imder General Lincoln, at a camp called the " I*lack 
Swamp."' In 17S0, shortly after Gates' defeat, he joined 
Captain \\ illiam Alexander's company, and Colonel 
'i liomas Folk's regimacnt, inuler General Davie, marched 
to the Waxhaws, and was in the engagement fought there 
asainst the Tories, 

He again served under Captain William Alexander, as 
one of the sjuard over wagons sent to Fayette^'ille to jiro- 
<'ure salt for the army. 

In September, 1781, he was elected Captain of a cavalry 
com}iany, under Major Thomas Harris, and marche<l 
au'ainst the Tories at Raft Swamp. 

Resides the tours herein speciiied, Captain Alxander 
[lerformed other im[)ortant services, of shorter duration, 
in scouriug the surrounding country, and protecting it 
.asrainst the troublescmie Tories. 


In 1S14, Captain Alexander moved to Giles, now Lin- 
>ctoln county, Temi., and in 1833, to Manry county, wliori; 
i)e died at an extreme old age. 

The Alexanders, who performed a soldier's duty in tla' 
Revoltntionary War, residing principally in Mecklenburg 
■I'ounty, were ver}' numerous, several of whom can here 
receive onh' a passing notice. 

JoJm Alexander, son of James Alexander, was in acti\c 
i^ervice for upwards of five years. He was the husband of 
Mrs. Susanna Alexander, long known and highly esteemed 
"m Mecklenburg county as the ministering angel, who Avas 
vminentl}' instrumental in saving the life of Captain 
Joseph Graham, after ho was cut down by the British 
cavalry, near Sugar Creek Church, and left by them, su])- 
posed to be dead. She fou.nd him by the road- side, con- 
■'ilncted him to her house, dressed his wmmds, made by ball 
-and sal)re, and tenderly cared for him during the night. 
On the next day, his symptoms ijecoming more tavorablc. 
she conveyed him to his mother's, about four miles distant, 
•■)ii ]ier oirn pony. lier husband died in 1805. In 1840, 
'\vhen eighty-six years of age, and in needy circumstances, 
she was granted a pension by the General Government, in 
3)elialf of her husband's military services, and lived to Ik; 
nearly one hundred years old, enjoying tlie kind regard 
iind veneration of all who knew^ her. 

Dnn Alex/nider, Ayho moved to Hardeman count}', Tcnn., 
-was born in Mecklenburg county, in March, 17o7. 

He first entered the service in 1778, for three months, 
in Captain William Alexander's company, (commoiily 
called "Black Bill Alexander,") and Colonel Irwin's regi- 

In 1780, he served under Captain Thomas Alexander to 
:assist in guarding the public magazine in Charlotte. 

In this same year he served in the expedition to Rani- 
-sour's Mill, under General liutherford, and afterward, 
sio-ainst Tories assembled in the forks of the Yadkin river: 
<'aptured several and conve_yed them to Salisbury jail. 


Soon afterward, he joined tlie command of Colonel Dav'ie.. 
and marched in the direction of Camden, S. C. Xear tfer- 
South Carolina line, they met Gates' retreating army. He 
represented Gates as " wearing a pafc Mae coat, iciif-^ 
f.jMulettes, velvet breeches, and riding a bay horse." , 

Colonel Davie's command returned, and encamped ten. 
miles north of the Court House. 

His last important service was in forming om^ of "tlie ■ 
[)arty dispatched by Colonel McCall to surprise a guard ot" 
eighteen British grenadiers, stationed at Hart's Milljneai^ 
Hillsboro. The movement was successful ; several wert- 
killed, six made prisoners, and one escaped in the creek. 

William Alexander, of Rowan county, entered the servicTC 
in 1776, and marched under General Rutherford's eortt- 
mand against the Cherokee Indians, and in that expedi- 
tion (Sept. Sth,) was wounded in the foot at the "Se\'-e» 
Mile Mountain." 

In 1781, he was elected the Captain of a company of 
si)ies, and was in the ten month's service under Colonel 
Wade Hampton and General Sumter, in South Caroliiiji^ 
acting efficiently in this capacity, until the close of tlu:-- 


Joseph Kerr was born in Chester county. Pa., Xo v. ovd, 
1750. At an early age moved with his parents to NortK 
Carolina, and settled in Mecklenburg county. He was-- <r. 
crlpplefrora infancy, but becoming indignant at the ravaigjes-- 
of the British and Tories, and actuated with a true-, j«- 
triotic spirit, he repaired to the camp of Gen. McDowell 
and ottered his services as a spy. In this capacity Gen„ 
McDowell accepted him, and immediately sent hini to^ 
Blackstock's Ford, on Tiger River, S. C.^ where- the- 
Rritish and Tories were encamped, about fifteeii' hmidrecl 
strong. After secreting his horse he proceeded as a pyoe- 
(■ripple, and hcygar-like, made a full examination of tlu- 


enemy's camp. Furnished with this information, he 
(liiietly Avithdrew, returned quickly as possible to General 
McDowell, and apprised him and Captain Steen of his 
discoveries. He was well mounted, and traveled day and 
night — a distance of ninety miles. General McDowell's 
forces, upon this intelligence, marched in great haste, at- 
tacked the enemy near Blackstock's Ford, and routed 
them. In this engagement four of Captain Steen's men 
were killed and seven wounded. He took no prisoners 
and gave no quarters. Kerr then returned to Mecklen- 
burg county,*and soon after joined Colonel Williams' com- 
mand as a spy. Captain Steen informed Colonel Williams 
that he might safely rely upon Kerr in this kind of ser- 
A'ice. They then marched to join the over-mountain boys, 
imder Sevier, Shelby and other officers. Upon the junc- 
tion of their forces, a council of war was immediately 
held, at which Kerr was present. They learned that Fer- 
guson was about twenty miles from them, at Peter Quinn's 
<ild place, six miles from King's Mountain. The result of 
the council of war was that he (Kerr) should go and re- 
connoiter Ferguson's camp. lie did so without delay, 
and found the British and Tories encamped — arms stacked, 
and about twelve hundred strong. 

As a poor, innocent cripple, they informed him they were 
ready and willing to give " protection" to all who would 
join them. He soon afterwards withdrew, mounted his 
fleet charger, and in a brief space of time reported to 
('Olonels Shelby, Sevier and other officers the enemy's 
strength and situation. Acting upon his report, these 
officers marched that nis-ht a distance of twentv-seven 
miles, and reached the mountain on the next day, about 
three o'clock. After a brief consultation as to the plan 
of the engagement, Ferguson was vigorously attacked on 
his boasted eminence of security, and, after a fierce con- 
flict of about one hour, was completely conquered. Fer- 
guson and two hnndred and twenty-five of his men were 
killed ; one hundred and eighty wounded, and upwards of 


:six hundred made prisoners. The loss of the Whigs was 
t^Yenty-eight killed and a great many wounded. Colonel 
Williams was severely wounded in the groin, from the 
oftec'ts of which he died a few hours after the hattle. In 
ii few daj^s after this -s'ictory, Kerr returned to Mecklen- 
burg county, to the house of his uncle, Joseph Kerr. The 
hrave Captain Steen was afterwards killed by the Tories. 
He was from Union count}', S. C, and not far from 
'"■ Thicketty Mountain,'' in the district known as Ninety- 

At the instance of Captain Barnett, in command of 
some refugees who returned with him to Mecklenburg, 
Kerr was sent to York county, S. -C, to gain information 
•of tiie enemy's force and position. His crippled condi- 
tion readily gained him access tt) the camp of Colonel 
Floyd and Major Hook — the latter in charge of the dra- 
goons. He was recognized by some of the Tories, an<l 
•came very near losing his life. He managed, however, to 
escape, and traveled all night in order to inform Captain 
f)arnett of the enemy's strength. Captain Barnett immc- 
iliately set out witli thirty-one men, and nniting with 
Captains Bratton and McLure, completely surprised and 
routed the enemy, killing ninety-seven, among the num- 
ber ]\Iajor Hook and Colonel Ferguson, of the Tory 
militia. This was Kerr's last service as a spy. After the 
war he moved to Tennessee, and died in White county, at 
■■ii good old age. 


Kol)ert Kerr, a soldier of the Revolution, was born in 
December, 1750, in Chester county, Pennsylvania, and 
-^•ame to North Carolina with his parents when only three 
years old. 

He lirst entered the service in 177G, in Captain John 
McKnitt Alexander's company, in the expedition. General 
Kutherford commanding, against the Cherokee Indians, 
^then severely molestinu' the frontier settlements. 


III 1778, l)e was drafted into Ca])tain Jolm I'rowiifield's 
company. Colonel Francis Locke's regiment, and marclicd 
by Avay of Camden, to the defence of Charleston. Aftei- 
his return, he served nnder the same officers in the battle 
of Bamsoiir's Mill, in Lincoln county. 

AVhen Cornwallis A\'as in Charlotte in 1780, he served 
under ( aptain James Thonijison, the gallant leader of the 
^^|!a]■tan band against the foi-aging party at Mclntire's 
faim, seven miles from Charlotte, on the l;eattie"s Ford 

In ])eeember, 1780, he joined the com.pany of Ca]>taiii 
John Sliarpe, at which time, (Jenei'al Davidson, with his 
accustomed vigilance and activity, announced that all who 
would then promptly volunteer for six weelcs, such ser\icc 
^hould stand for a three months tour. Cu this occasion, 
he Aolmiteercd, aiul served under Captain William llcury. 

After the death of Genend l)avidson at Cowtm's Ford, 
he was ])laced in Colonel Locke's regiment, General Pick- 
I'us cominanding, which forces Avere ordered to hai'ass and 
impede the march of Cornwallis to Guilford Court House. 
This was his last important military service. 


lleniy Hunter A\as born in the county of Derry, Ireiaud, 
on the 11th of August, 1751. About the time he became 
of age, he married Martha Sloan, and, after rcniaining n 
little upwards of one year longer in Ireland, he emigrated 
to America, and landed at Cliarleston, S. C\, after a long 
and boisterous voyage of thirteen weeks. After reaching 
tb.e shoi-es of the Kew World, tc» which his fond antici}ia- 
tions of superior civil arid religious privileges had aiiNi- 
ously turned. (;n surveying liis situation, grim pOA-erty 
stared liim in the face ; for, his stock of cash on hand was 
Just "one sihcr half dollar."' Yet, being raised to habits 
of industry, he did not despair, feeling assured that, ' wljcre 


there is a VJiU there is a loay'' to act- in earnest, and battle 
against the adverse fortunes of life. 

Findino; in Charleston a Avao;on from North Carolina* 
he made suitable arrangements with its owner, and ac- 
companiel it on its return to Mecklenburg county, 
whither his mother and four brothers had emigrated 
several years before, and settled in the neighborhood of 
Poplar Tent Church. Here, by stric" economy, and per* 
severing industry, he was prospered as a farmer ; blest in 
liis "basket and his store," and soon enabled to purchase 
a comfortable homestead for himself and his rising family. 

When the war of the Revolution broke out, being 
deeply imbued from cliil.lho3d with the principles of 
liberty, and the justness of the American cause, he did not 
liesitate to assist in the great struggle for freedom. 

He first entered the service of the United States as a 
N'olunteer in Captain William Alexander's company. Col- 
onel (leorge Alexander's regiment, and marched to sup- 
[)ress a large body of Tories assembled under Colonel Jolm 
Moore at Ramsour's Mill, near the }»resent town of Lin- 
colnton, but failed to reach that place before the battle 
had been fought and the Tories signally routed by Col- 
onel Locke and his brave associates. 

He next entered the service under C'aptain Thomas 
Alexander, and was ordered to Charlotte for the pur[)Ose 
of guarding the public magazine in that place. ( a})tain 
Alexander succeeded in having it removed t(^ a place of 
safety on the evening before the entrance of the British 
army into Charlotte on the 2Gth of September, ITSO. 

He a2:ain entered the service a short time afterward, in 
Captain William Alexander's comyany, and Colonel 
(reorge Alexander's regiment. The rendezvous of the 
regiment ^^'as about ft)ur miles south of Charlotte. After 
this service, on account of severe local injury, he was 
lionorably discharged by Colonel Alexander. 

Henry Hunter had twelve children, ten sons and two 
daughters. He was signally blest to see them all attain 


the age of maturity, and settle on comfortable homes 
around liim. His wife, ]\Iartha, the worthy partner of his 
joys and sorrows, and whose earthly pilgrimage was pro- 
tracted beyond the usual bonnds of life, died on the 3Uth 
of September, 1832, in the eightieth year of her age. 

He was long a consistent member and ruling Elder of 
the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Like a 
sheaf full}^ ripe in its season, he met his approaching end 
with peaceful resignation. On his tombstone, in a private 
cemetery, on the old homestead property, is the following' 
inseription : 

•• 111 ^[emory oi' 

n EX li Y 11 U XT E R , 

wilt) di'parted tliis life on on tin- 18th ui'Miiy, is 13, ia the cig-hty-sixtli year <j|' 
his age, leaving a posterity of elf-ven eliildi-en, and one luiiuiivd urand ohil- 
di-en, with thirty great-giMud chiidi-on to mouni his loss." 


James Orr was born in Peimsyhania in 17-30. He earlv 
espoused the cause of fi-eedom, and tirst entered the sei'- 
vice in a company of riflemen, commanded b}' Captain 
Robert Mebane ; marched to Cross Creek (now Fajette- 
ville), and thence to. Wilmington, to the assistance of 
U-enerals Ashe^ and Aloore. In 1776, he voluuteered under 
Captain Thomas Polk, in Colonel Charles' corps of cavalr)-, 
(General Rutherford commanding, and marched against a 
body of Tories assembled at Cross Creek, but thej" were 
dispersed before the expedition reached that place. 
Again, in 1776, he volunteered iinder Captain Mebane, 
and marc;hed from Charlotte to the Quaker ^leadows, at 
the head of the Catawba River, against the Cherokee 
Indians, committing murders and depredations on the 
fi'ontier settlejiients. In 1777 he served under Captain 
Elaljy, Colonel Hicks' regiment, in South Carolina. 


In 1780 he served under Captain William Alexandei', 
in Colonel William Davidson's battalion, General Rutlier- 
tbrd commanding, and marched against the Tories assem- 
hled at Ramsour's Mill, in Lincoln county ; but the battle 
bad been fought, and the Tories subdued and routed, 
before the expedition reached that place. This was his 
last im]»()rtant service. 

SKIRMISH AT charlotte; or, first attack of the 

After the battle of Camden, Cornwallis, believing that 
be Avould soon bring the rebels of Xorth Carolina into 
speedy submission to the British Crown, left the scene of 
his conrpiest witli as little delay as possible, and desig- 
nated Chai'lotte as the most suitable place for his head- 
([uarters. This town had been previously the rallying 
point, on many occasions, for the American forces, and 
from Avhich they marched by companies, l)attalions and 
regiments, to the front, whenever their services ^verc 

Cornwallis entered Charlotte on the 2Gth of September. 
1780. TTis approach to the town was from the south, on 
Trade street, and, after taking possession of the place, his 
army lay encamped eighteen days in tlie old iield, or 
commons, nearh' opposite the residence of the late M. L. 
Wriston, witli the exception of one regiment, whicli 
l)itched their tents about midway between Charlotte and 
Colonel Polk's mill (late Bissell's). The head-quarters of 
his Lordshij) ^vas in the second house in the rear of the 
])resent Springs building, with a front yard facing on 
Trade street. Many years after the war this building, in 
which Cornwallis slept unquietly {per noctem 'plurima rolvens). 
was moved round on Tryon street, and constitutes a part 
of the house now (1876) occupied by M\\ i^Taylor, gun- 
smith, but so cliaua-ed and remodeled that little of the 


tjrjginal structure can be identified to remind us of tli<-> 

The skirmish at Charlotte has been pronounced one of 
the most " brilliant aiiairs" of the Revolution ; and the 
correct account of it will be here given in General Davie's 
own words, taken from his auto-biographical sketches u% 
manuscript, and now on file in the archives of the His- 
torical Society of the State University at Chapjel Hill. 

Tie says : "' Charlotte, situated on a rising ground, eon- 
tains about twenty houses, built on two streets, which, 
cross each other at right angles, at the intersection ot" 
which stands the court-house. The left of the town, asr- 
the enemy advanced, was an open common on the wood<„ 
\vhich reached up to the gardens of the village. Witl>. 
this small force, viz., one hundred and fifty cavalry and 
mounted infantry, and fourteen volunteers, under ^Major 
(iraham, Davie determined to give his Lordship a fore- 
taste of Avhat he might expect in ]!:Torth Carolina. For- 
this purpose he dismounted one company, and posted it 
under the court-house, where the men were covered breast 
high by a stone wall. Two other companies were ad- 
vanced about eighty yards, and posted behind sontc- 
liouses, and in gardens on each side of the street. While 
this disposition was making, the Legion (Tarleton's) was 
forming at the distance of three hundred yards, A\'ith a 
front to fill the street, and the light infantrj^ on their 
flanks. On sounding the charge, the cavalry advanced ai: 
i'uU gallop within sixty yards of the court-house, ^vher€^ 
they received the American fire, and retreated with gre^it 

As the infantry continued to advance, notwithstanding: 
the fire of our advanced companies, who were too few^ t«.s- 
keep them in check, it became necessary to withdrave 
them from the cross street, and form them in line witla 
ilie troops under the court-house. The flanks were stOl 
engaged with the infantiy, but the centre was directe«i 


to reserve their fire for the cavah-j, who rallied on their 
former groancl, and returned to the charge. 

They were again well received hy the militia, and gal- 
loped off in great confusion, in presence of the whole 
British army. As the British infantry were now begin- 
nino- to turn Colonel Davie's right flank, these companies 
were drawn oft" in good order, successively covering each 
other, and formed at the end of the street, about one hun- 
dred yards from the court-house, under a galling fire from 
the British light infantry, wlio had advanced under cover 
of the houses and gardens. The British cavalry again 
appeared, charging in column by the court-house, but 
njion receiving a lire, which had been reserved for them, 
thev ao'ain scampered oft". Lord Cornwallis, in hi& vexa- 
tion at the repeated miscarriage of his cavaliy, openly 
abused their cowardice. The Legion, reinforced by the 
infantry, pressed forward on our flanks, and the ground 
was no longer tenable by this handful of brave men. 

A retreat was then ordered on the Salisbury road, and 
the enemy followed, with great caution and respect, for 
some miles, when they ventured to charge the rear guards. 
The guards were of course put to flight, but, on receiving 
the Are of a single company, they i-etreated. 

Our loss consisted of Lieutenant Locke, and four privates 
killed, and Major Graham and Ave privates womided. 
The British stated their loss at twelve non-commissioned 
ofllcers and privates killed, and Major Hanger, Captains 
Campbell and jSIcBonald, and thirty privates wounded."" 

This action, although it subjects Colonel Davie to the 
charge of temerity, only to be excused by the event, and 
a zeal ■which we are always ready to applaud, furnishes a 
striking instance of the braver}- and importance of the 
American militia. Few instances can be shown where 
anv troojjs, who in one action, changed their position 
twice in good order, although pressed by superior force, 
and charo-ed three times bv cavalrv, thrice their own 


v<niimber, unsupported, in presence of an enemy's \vriole 
: armj', and finally retreating in perfect order. 

The graphic account of the skirmish at, and near Cliar- 
■lotte, from Colonel Davie's manuscript sketches, corrects 
a mistake into which several historians ha^■e unintention- 
aUy fallen in stating that Colonel Francis Locke was killed 
in the retreat near Sugar Creek Church, when, on the con- 
trary, it was one of his younger brothers, Lieutenant 
George Locke, a brave and meritorious ofhcer. This state- 
.^ment is confirmed by the notice of the family of "Hon. 
.^Matthew Locke," in Wheeler's "Historical Sketches," by 
-the sworn declaration of William Rankin, of Gaston 
-county, who received his discharge from Colonel Locke Salisbury, near the time of the battle of Guilford, in 
.March, 1781, and by the declaration of Michael McLcar}-, 
•of Mecklenburg, who served under Colonel Locke after 
Cornwallis crossed the Catawba in Feln-uary, 1781, as will 
be found published in this work. 

The reader may be curious to know the estimate the 
.British officers placed upon this affair — the hornets- like 
-reception his Lordship experienced on his entrance into 

Tarleton, in his "History of the Southern Campaign in 
1780, and 1781," page 159, says, "Earl Cornwallis moved 
• forward as soon as the Legion under Major Hanger joined 
liim. A party of militia fired at the advanced dragoons 
and light infantry as they entered the town, and a more 
ijonsiderable body appeared drawn up near the court- 
house. The conduct of the Americans created suspicion 
in the British ; an ambuscade was apprehended by the 
light troops, who moved forward, for some time, with 
great circumspection ; a charge of cavalry, under Major 
Hanger, dissipated this ill-grounded jealousy, and totally 
dispersed the militia. The pursuit lasted sometime, and 
.about thirty of the enemy were killed and taken. The 
■King's troops did not come out of this skirmish unhurt ; 
.Major Hanger, and Captains Campbell and McDonald 
9 ^ 


were wounded, and twelve non-commissioned offieers an^ 
men killed or wounded." 

Stedman, the English historian who accompanied Cora— 
wallis in his southern campaign, says in his " American 
War," Vol. II, p. 216, "Charlotte was taken possession of.,, 
after a slight resistance from the militia, towards the end 
of September. At this period, Major Hanger commandedj., 
Colonel Tarleton being ill. In the centre of Charlotte y, 
intersecting the two principal streets, stood a Iarg«- Buick: 
building, the upper part being the court-house, and the- 
under part, the market house. Behind the shambles,, a- 
few Americans on horse-back had placed themselves., The^ 
Legion was ordered to drive them off; but, upon recew- 
ing a fire from behind the stalls, this corps fell back,. LordI 
Cornwallis rode up in person, and made nse of these*, 
words: 'Legion, remember you have everything to lose-., 
but nothing to gain,' alluding, as was supposed, to the- 
former reputation of this corps. Webster's brigade moved?, 
on, and drove the Americans from behind the court-house :; 
the legion then pursued them, but the whole British army 
Avas actually kept at bay, for some minutes, by a fevr 
mounted Americans, not exceeding twenty in number."" 

Stedman, Avho is generally accurate and impartial in hi.-; 
narratives, is mistaken in calling the old court-house a. 
''brick building." It was, as previously stated, a wooden;. 
building, placed on brick pillars ten or twelve feet highy, 
and hence the mistake. Some allowance should also be^t 
made for Stedman's mistake, as, very near that time, the* 
fierce and buzzing attacks of the "Hornets" greatly ob- 
scured the accuracy of his vision. Upon the whole, ihv 
account we have of this skirmish, even under British-; 
coloring, and evasion of the ivhok truth, exemplifies tbe 
spirit and bravery of the "handful" of men who actually 
kept the whole British army in check for some time, anti 
then retreated in good order. 

Kendal, 'in his "Life of Jackson," chapter 4, in speal^- 
ing of the military school in which the " hero of ISTei*;' 


Orleans " was educated, says : " In the chieftains by which 
he was suiTOunded, the virtues of patriotism, disintered- 
ness, caution, enterprise and courage exhibited themselves 
in the highest perfection. As military leaders, Marion 
was particularly distinguished for enterprise, vigilance 
and courage ; Sumter was his equal in enterprise and 
courage, but had less circumspection ; Davie, who was? 
generally the leader of the Waxhaw settlers, appears to 
have united the virtues of the two. Perhaps in no instance, 
where the chief command was in him, did he fail to ac- 
complish the object he undertook. His intelligence was 
accurate ; his plans judicious, and kept profoundly secret 'y 
his movements rapid ; his blows sudden as the lightning, 
and his disappearance almost as quick. To pursue him 
was useless, and it was seldom or never attempted. He 
frequently dared, with a handful of men, to face an army ; 
and we have seen, by his encounter with the British van 
at Charlotte, that he knew how to strike terror into an 
enemy he was not strong enough to conquer." 

The situation of Cornwallis in Charlotte was far from 
being agreeable. The sentinels placed around his en- 
campment were frequently shot down, compelling him to 
have pits sunk, five or six "feet deep, for their protection. 
He possessed, it is true, a few timid friends and sup- 
porters in the adjacent country, but these could i.ot render 
him any material. aid. The panic which had overspread 
South Carolina, after the British successes in that State, 
had extended itself, though in a less degree, into North 
Carolina, and had driven many of the wealthier class to 
'•take protection," and thus save their property. But 
notwithstanding the terror of arms which preceded hit? 
arrival, Cornwallis soon became convinced that his situa- 
tion was surrounded with humiliatino; realities ^^■llich he 
could not easily remove. The reasons assigned by Tarle- 
ton are truthfully set forth, when he says, " Charlotte 
town afltbrded some conveniences, blended with great dis- 
advantages. The mills in its neighborhood were sup- 


posed of sufficient consequence to render it for the present 
£iu eligil)le position, and in future a necessarj' post, Avlien 
the enemy advanced. But tlie aptness of its intermediate 
situation l.)etwecn Camden and Salisbury^ and the quan- 
litj' of mills did not counterbahince these defects." And 
again I:.' ^ays, " It was evident, and had been frequently 
mentioned to the King's ofHcers, that the counties of 
I\Ieeklenl)urg and Rohan (Rowan) were more hostile to 
England than any others in America. The vigilance and 
animosity of these surrounding districts checked the exer- 
tions of the well-affected, and totally destroyed all com- 
munication between the King's troops and loyalists in 
other parts of the province. No British commander could 
obtaiii any information in that position which would 
facilitate his designs, or guide his future conduct." 

Xo higher encomium of the principles and patriotism of 
the people of ITorth Carolina could have been well given. 
It is the testimony of an eye-v^dtness, and he a cruel 
enemy, with the best means of information before him. 
Tarleton goes on to say, ''The town and its environs 
abounded with inveterate enemies. The plantations in 
the neighborhood were small and uncultivated ; the roads 
narrow and crossed in everj^ direction ; and the whole 
face of the coimtry covered with close and thick woods. 
In addition to these disadvjintages, no estimation could 
be made of the sentiments of half the inhabitants of 
K^orth Carolina whilst the royal army remained in Char- 

And, again, Tarleton informs us, ''The foraging parties 
were Qxery day harassed by the inhabitants, who did not 
remain at home to receive payment for the product of 
their jilantations, but generally fired from covert places 
to annoy the British detachments. Ineffectual attempts 
were made upon convoys coming from Camden, an.d the 
• intermediate post at Blair's Mill, but individuals with 
expresses were frequentlj' murdered. An attack was 
directed against the picket at Polk's IMill, two miles from 


the town. The Americans were gallantly received by 
Lieutenant Gu^-on, of the 23(1 Regiment ; and the fire of 
his party, from a loop-holed building adjoining the mill, 
repulsed the assailants. JSTotwithstanding the different 
checks and losses sustained by the militia of the district^ 
they continued their hostilities with unwearied persever- 
ance; and the British troops were so effectually blockaded 
in their present position, that very few, out of a great- 
many messengers, could reach Charlotte in the beginning 
of October, to give intelligence of Ferguson's situation. 

The repulse at Mclntyre's, elsewhere noticed in these- 
sketches, is a good illustration of wliat Tarl ton says in 
these quotations. Truly, the " Hornets'" were enraged 
about that time — more vigilant and out-flying than ever 
befoi-e ; but it should be borne in mind they were then 
fighting the invaders of their own soil, and in defeiroe t.>f 
the undisturbed enjoyments of " home, sweet home." 

Stedman describes, in niuch the same terms as Tarle- 
ton has done, the difficulties encountered by the l>ritish 
in procuring supplies for their army. He says : '•In Col. 
Polk's mill were found 28,000 lbs. of flour and a (juanrity 
of wheat. There w^ere several large cultivated farms in 
the neighborhood of ( harlotte. An abundance of rattle, 
few sheep ; the cattle mostly milch cows, or covvs with 
calf, which, at that season of the year, was the best lioef. 
Wlien the arniy was in Charlotte we Icilled, upon an 
average, one hundred head per da_y. The leanness of the 
cattle wull account for the number killi d each day. At 
this ])eri. d the royal army was supported b}' Lor<l Kaw- 
don's moAing with one half of the army one day, and 
Colonel Webster with the other half the next day, as a^ 
covering party to protect the foraging parties and cattle 

The English people had then, as now, the repuiation of 
being great beef-eaters ; nor should we blame them, as the 
florid complexion the Englishman generally wears is 
mainly o^ving to the free use of tliis non-febrile and healthy 


food, washed down witli a few potations of good old Lcni- 
■don ale. 

The surprise at Mclntyre's compelled the British to 
move with greater forces in their foraging expeditions. 
It is seldom, in the historic annals of an}' people, that we- 
find it required " one half" of a large army, in a sparsely 
settled country, to " pi'otect the foraging parties and cattle 
drivers." It indicated a spirit of determined resistance 
by the patriots of Mecklenburg and of tne State generally, 
which can onlj' he construed as a faithful maintenance of 
the principles of freedom proclaimed on the 20th of May, 

After the victor}^ of the AYliigs at King's Mountain, 
and the loss of Ferguson, one of his bravest oiiicers, and his 
entire command, Cornwallis concluded to leave the rel)cl- 
lious post he then 0(!cupied. 

William ^IcCaflerty, a resident Scotchman, and a man 
of considerable wealth, was emploj^ed as the guide to lead 
the British army hy the nearest road to AVinnsboro', S. ( '. 
Tradition says, that after so bewildering the army in the 
swamps that much of their baggage was lost, he contrived 
to escape, and left them to iind their way out, as best tiiey 
•could, by the returning light of day. As the British 
army progressed, passing through the Steele Creek neigh- 
borhood, they encamped about three days on Spratt's 
plantation, waiting to cross the swollen CataAvba, and for 
the collection of additional supplies. A guard was placed 
around the encampment, and one of the number assigned 
to a position between the Charlotte road and a neighbor- 
ing cane-brake. On the second or third dny the shar}i 
■crack of a rifle was heard up the Charlotte road, and a 
v-^mall detachment of the British army was immediately 
dispatched to investigate its meaning. When the de- 
tachment arrived at the position of the sentinel, he Avas 
found dead, at the foot of a black oak, against which it 
is su}tposed he was leaning at the time. Captain William 
Alexander (l;etter known as "Black Bill,") or.e of the 


-^-terrible Mecklenburg AV'higs," fired the fatal shot from 
the adjoining cane-brake. Many others of the Sugar 
Creek rebels were with Captain Alexander on this occa- 
•sion, but he alone ventured within killing distance. Long" 
before Tarleton and his dragoons could reach the scene of 
action, Alexander and his part}^ were entering the brushy 
woods of Steele Creek, on their way back to the Whig 
.-settlements of Upper Sugar Creek. The associates of 
Alexander were the Taylors, Barnetts, Walkers, Polks, 
::a,n(i other kindred spirits, who shot many of the sentries 
uiround the British encampment at Charlotte, and seriously 
annoyed or cut off the enemy's foraging parties. The last 
one of the Barnetts, belonging to this " terrible i)arty," 
■died in 1829, at a sood old ao;e, within two miles of Cook's 
nuills, on Big Sugar Creek. 

A singular incident, occurring at this period, is hei'e 
'deemed worthy of narration. A relative of the Spratts, 
named Elliott, was living on the plantation at the time 
the British army arrived there from Charlotte. Believing 
that they would capture him, if in their power, he broke 
..and ran for the cane-brake, about a half or three-quarters 
■-of a mile below the spot where the sentinel was shot. As 
rsoon as the alarm was given of his departure, Tarleton"s 
terrible dragoons pursued him, but he succeeded in making 
■;good his escape into the densest part of the cane-brake 

While he was listening to the terrible denunciations of 
Tarleton's dragoons on their arrival at the swampy and im- 
perious thicket, and what they would do if thej^ could only 
■^QQ a bush or a cane move, he felt perfectly safe as long as 
lie could remain motionless in his muddy retreat. But 
when his fears had somewhat subsided in his place of con- 
«eealment, still more alarming apprehensions of danger 
presented themselves, on his espying a venomous moccasin 
of the largest size, moving slowly along in the water and 
mud, and directing its course so near that, in all probabil- 
ity, it must strike him. He could not make the least de- 


fence against his ugly approaching visitor, for fear of 
exposing himself to the pistols of the British dragoons. 
All that he conld clo in this dreadful predicament was to- 
wave his hand in a gentle manner towards the snake, 
which caused it to stop its course and throw itself into a 
coil, preparatory for battle. Fortunatel}^ just at this- 
time, the British dragoons made their welcome departure, 
and Elliott moved out of the way of his serpentine-^ 

This was the first and last visit of Lord Cornwallis to 
"Charlotte town." He cam'e flushed with victory, and 
firmly anticipated similar success in ^orth Carolina. He 
departed laboring under vexation and sore disappoint- 
ment ; not without bestowing a characteristic name 
("Hornets' i^est") upon the patriotic sons of Mecklenburg- 
around which appellation cluster many thrilling historical 
and traditional associations, destined to enshrine their • 
memories in the hearts of their countrymen, throughout 
all coming time. 


After the British armj^ had been in Charlotte about a- 
week, and having, in the meantime, consumed the most of 
their forage and provisions. Lord Cornwallis M^as placed 
under the necessity of procuring a fresh supply. He had 
already experienced something of the 5fi?i_9'i?i_^ propensities- 
of the "hornets" with which he was surrounded, and the- 
fatalities of their attacks upon his sentries near his camp. 
In order to meet the emergency of his situation, he ordered 
out on the 3d day of October, 1780, a strong foraging 
party, under Major Doyle, consisting of four hundred and. 
fifty infantry, sixty cavalry, and about forty wagons, whO) 
jtroceeded up the road leading from Charlotte to Beattie's-^ 
Ford, on the Catawba river, intending to draw their snip- 
plies from the fertile plantations on Long Creek. 

Captain James Thompson,, and thirteen others who- 


lived in that neighborhood, anticipating the necessity the 
British would be under to forage, had early in the morn- 
ing assembled at Mitchell's, mill, (now Frazier's) three miles 
from Charlotte, at which farm the corn was pulled — at 
most other places it was standing in the field. Captain 
Thompson and his men were expert riflemen, and well 
acquainted with every place in the vicinity. At this place 
they lay concealed about an hour, when they heard the 
wagons and Doyle's party passing by them, and up the 
main road. As soon as the party had passed about half 
a mile, Captain Thompson and his brave followers started 
through the wood, and kept parallel with Do^de's party, 
and almost in sight, reconnoitering the movements of the 
enemy until they reached Mclntyre's ftirm, seven miles 
from Charlotte. A boy plowing by the road-side, upon 
seeing the British soldiers pass by him, quickly mounted 
his horse, dashed through the nearest by-paths, and barely 
had time to warn the intervening families of the approach 
of the "red coats.'' After the foraging party reached Mc- 
Intyre's, they left a part of their men and wagons to lay 
in supplies, while the other part passed on under Doyle 
with the expectation of proceeding two or three miles 
further For this reason, Doyle was not numbered with the 
slain in place of his second in command. 

Thompson's party, finding some were halted at this 
place, moved directly towards the thicket down the spring 
branch, about t^W) hundred _yarcls from the house. The 
point of a rocky ridge, covered with bushes, passed ob- 
liquely from the road to the spring, and within fifty yards 
of the house which sheltered them from the view or fire 
of the enemy. They formed into a line about ten feet 
apart, and advanced silently to their intended positions. 
The British were soon engaged in their work of plunder ; 
some were at the barn throwing down oats for the wagons, 
others were running after the chickens, ducks and pigs, 
while a third party were robbing the dwelling house, the 
inmates having previously fled out of danger. The sol- 


diery, assisted by the dogs in cliasiiig the poultry, had 
knocked over some bee-hives ranged along the garden 
fence. The enraged insects dashed after the men, and at 
once the scene became one of uproar, confusion and lively 
excitement. The officer in command, a portly, florid 
Englishman, laughed heartily at the gestures and outcries 
of the routed soldiers. The attention of the guard was 
drawn to this single point, while, at a distance in the 
fields, the wagons were seen slowly approaching with 
their cumbrous loads. 

The owner of the plantation had cautiously approached, 
under cover, within gun-shot of his house ; the rest of the 
party, his neighbors, with equal care, advanced sufficient- 
ly near for the sure action of their rifles. The distress and 
anger of the patriots were raised to the highest pitch when 
they saw the reckless merriment of their enemies, and 
the fruits of their industry thus suddenly withdrawn. 
Their feelings could noAv be no longer restrained while 
they were anxious to try the effects of their trusty rifles. 
" Boys," cried one of the sturdy farmers, " I can't stand 
this any longer — I'll take the captain — each one of you 
choose his man, and look out for yourselves," 

These words were scarcely uttered in a suppressed tone, 
when the sight of his unerring rifle was drawn upon the 
expanded breast of the portly Englishman, who suddenly 
fell prostrate from the doorposts between which he was 

In two instances, where two of the patriots were firing 
at the same man, and seeins; him fall, the second one had 
to quickly change from his sighted object and seek another. 
A sentinel placed near the spot to which they had ad- 
vanced, appeared to be alarmed, although he had not seen 
them, probably thinking of the fate of others in his situa- 
tion around the camp of Cornwallis in Charlotte. Nor 
were his fears unduly excited 

Captain Thompson, at the distance of seventy or seventy- 
five yards, killed him instantly, when his companions, 


with a precision of aim equally fatal, laid low on tlie earth 
his respective foe. To Captain Thompson is also ascrihed 
the honor of mortally wounding the commanding officer, 
when he was standino; near the barn door. He was con- 
veyed to Charlotte, with several others in similar condi- 
tion, in one of the foraging wagons, and died of the wound 
received, at the house of Samuel McCombs, two days 
after. When the smoke rose, after the first discharge of 
the rifles, the commander, nine men and two horses lay 
dead or wounded on the ground. The trumpets imme- 
diatel}" sounded a recall. But by the time the scattered 
dragoons had collected and formed, a straggling fire from 
a difierent direction, into which the patriots had extended, 
showed the unerring aim of each American marksman, 
and greatly increased the confusion of the surprise. Per- 
fectly acquainted with every foot of the grounds, the 
patriots constantly changed their position, giving in their 
fire as the}' loaded, so tliat it appeared to the British they 
were surrounded by a largo force. When that portion of 
Doyle's command who had proceeded forward to forage 
upon other fiirms heard the firing, thej' immediately re- 
turned to the assistance of his party atMcIntyre's branch. 
Every preparation for defence, attack and retreat Avas 
made by the Americans The alternate hilly and swampy 
grounds and thickets, with woods on both sides of the 
public road, baffled the efficient action of the British dra- 
goons. Some dismounted, wdiile others called out to "set 
on the hounds" against a foe scarcely visible, except from 
their deadly effects. The dogs, at first, seemed to take the 
track, and were followed by the soldiers. The foremost 
hound approached very near one of the patriots who had 
just discharged his rifle, and was in full retreat after his 
companions ; but as soon as the hound came near with 
open mouth, he was shot dead hy a pistol di-awn from the 
breast of the rifleman. The next hound stopped at the 
dead body, and, after smelling it, cave a whining howl, 
and the whole pack retreated from the contest. 


A considerable number of the dragoons were killed. 
The leading horses in the wagons were killed before they 
could ascend the hill, thus blocking up the road. Many 
of the soldiers in charge of the wagons cut loose some of the 
uninjured animals, and galloped after their retreating com- 
rades. The precise loss of the British is not knov/n. It 
is believed, however, from reliable tradition, that they had 
at least twenty killed and a few wounded. 

That a British detachment of four hundred and fifty 
infantry and sixty cavalry should be compelled to desist 
from a foraging expedition and return to Charlotte with 
only a small amount of provisions and a consideralle loss 
of their number by a haadful of patriots, Avell exemplifies 
the vigilance, pertinacity and courage of the "■ hornets" of 
Mecklenburg in endeavoring to protect their homes, and 
repel the invaders of tlieir soil. 

The country people, early advised of the advance of the 
foraging party, mounted their horses, rifle in hand, tVoni 
every direction ; and, occup3dng Avell protected positions 
along the main road, also faithfully endeavored to diminish 
the number of his Majesty's forces, and hastened the re- 
treat of the British into Charlotte, the survivors swearing 
after their arrival that "every bui^h along the road con- 
cealed a rebel." 

The names of this gallant band of patriots, of " Hornets' 
Nest" notoriety, were : 1. James Thompson, captain ; 2. 
Francis Bradley; 3. George Graham; 4. James Henry; 
5. Thomas Dickson; 6. .John Dickson ; 7. George Houston; 
8. Hugh Houston ; 0. Thomas McLure ; 10. John Bong; 
11. John Robinson; 12. George Shipley; 13. Edward 

Remarks. — Tradition says Francis Bradley ^^'as a large 
and very strong man, and a " terror" to the British as 
well as the Tories. The Britisli officers were extremely 
anxious to take him as a prisoner, for his activity in 
harassing their scouts and foraging parties, and more 
particularly for the fatal aim of his rifle in inching of 


tbcir sentries while their anny was euciimped at ('har- 
lotte. 'I he rifle he carried for six years during the Eevo- 
hition, and which did sucli telling execution, u-as the 
property of Major John Davidson (now in possession of 
one of his grandsons,) who, being a staff officer, could not 
make it perform, as it should, its death-dealing mission 
upon the enemies of his country. About three weeks 
after the gallant affair at Mclntyre's Branch, Bradlej'- was 
attacked, overpowered and killed by four lurking and 
base-hearted Tories (said not to be natives of the county). 
His mortal remains now repose in the graveyard at Hope- 
well Church, where also sleep many of his illustrious 
compatriots in arms. On his gravestone are sculptured 
two drawn and crossed swords, and beneath them the 
motto, Anna Libertatis The inscription reads thus : 

"In meiiK^ry ol' 


A friend of his country, and pvivatoly slaiu by the enemie of his country, 
Novemher 14th, 17S0, iaged 37 yetvis." 

The two Dicksons moved to Tennessee ; the two lloiis- 
tons and McLure moved to Kentucky ; Robinson settled 
on Crowder's Creek, Gaston county. 

Doyle, the British commander, before tlie close of the 
war was made a Colonel, and afterward a Brio-adier- 
General. In 1816 he was styled Sir John Doyle, and 
Governor of the 'Islands of Guernsey, Jersej', Alderney 
and Sark, on the coast of France. Surely, it could not 
have been for his gallant behavior at ]\lcliityre's he ac- 
quired such honor and promotion 1 


Judge Lowrie was born iu New Castle county, Del., on 
the 12th of May, 1756. His parents moved, when he was 
a child, to North Carolina, and settled in Rowan county. 
He was educated at Clio Academy (now in Ii-edell county) 


under tlie Rev. James" Hall, an eminent Presbyterian min- 
ister of the gospel, and Captain of a company during the 
Revolutionary War. He studied law in Camden, S. C, 
and, soon gaining eminence in liis profession, was elected 
to the House of Commons from Mecklenburg county in 
1804,-'5 and '6. In the last named year he was elected 
a Judge of the Superior Court, which position he held 
until his death on the 22d of December, 1818, in the sixty- 
third year of his age. 

In 1788, he married Margaret, eldest daughter of Cap- 
tain Robert Alexander, of Lincoln county. His wife died, 
leaving him with several children. In 1811, he again 
married, Mary, daughter of Marmaduke IS'orileet, of 
Bertie county, N". C. He was a man of tine talents, and 
dignified the responsible position he held. He resided in 
^Mecklenburg couaty, about three miles north from the 
Tuckasege Ford, on the Salisbury road, (now owned by 
Robert S. McGee, Esq.) 

His mortal remains, with those of his first wife and 
three infant children, and other relatives, repose in the 
graveyard of Goshen Church, Gaston county, N. C. 


It has been well said that " patriotic mothers nursed the 
infancy of the Republic." During the progress of British 
encroachment and arbitrary power, producing great colo- 
jiial discontent, every sagacious politician could discern 
in the distant future the portentous shadow of the ap- 
l)roaching conflict. In the domestic circle was then 
nurtured and imparted that love of civil liberty which 
afterwards kindled into a flame, and shed its genial and 
transforming light upon the world. The conversation of 
matrons in their homes, or among their neighbors, was of 
the people's wrongs and of the tyranny that oppressed 
them. Under such early training their sons, Avhen grown 
to manhood, deeply imbued with ])roper notions of their 


Just rights, stood up in the hour of trial prepared to de- 
fend them to the last. The counsels and the prayers of 
mothers mingled with their deliberations, and added 
sanctity to all their patriotic efforts for American inde- 
pendence. They animated the courage, confirmed the 
self-devotion, and shared in the sacrifices of those who, in 
the common defence, " pledged their lives, their fortunes 
and their sacred honor." 

Among the widowed mothers who early instilled into 
their rising generation a deep love of their country, and a 
manful determination to defend their firesides and their 
homes, might be named Mrs. Steele, Mrs. Flinn, Mrs. 
Sharpe, Mrs. Graham, Mrs. Hmiter, Mrs. Jackson and 
many others, as bright examples in Mecklenburg, Rowan 
and adjoining counties. In the hour of deepest gloom 
they frowned upon apathy in the common cause, mate- 
rially assisted by their benefactions, and urged on the 
desponding in the path of patriotic duty. 

General Moultrie, in his " Memoirs of the American Re- 
vohition," pays a handsome compliment to the ladies of 
that section of country in which his military services were 
performed. He says : " Before I conclude my memoirs I 
must make my last tribute of thanks to the patriotic fair of 
South Carolina and Georgia for their heroism and virtue 
in those dreadful and dangerous times whilst we were 
struggling for our. liberties. Their conduct deserves the 
highest applause, and a pillar ought to be raised to their 
memory. Their conduct was such as gave examples even 
to the men to stand firm ; and they despised those who 
were not enthusiasts in their country's cause. The hard- 
ships and difiiculties they experienced were too much for 
their delicate frames to bear ; yet they submitted to them 
with a heroism and virtue that has never been excelled by 
the ladies of any country ; and I can with safety say that 
their conduct durino; the war contributed much to the 
independence of America." 

Nor were the young ladies of that period less patriotic 


than their venerable mothers. Their kind sj^mpathies and 
vohintarj' contributions were exhibited on every occasion^ 
calling for prompt and beneficent action for the gallant 
soldier. ^Vith fair and willing hands they embroidered 
colors for military companies, and presented them with 
the animating charge, never to desert them. They formed 
themselves into associations throughout the colonies, re- 
nouncing the use of teas and other imported luxuries, 
and engaged to card, spin and weave their own clothing. 
And still further, to arouse a patriotic spirit in every 
hesitating or laggard bosom, we find in the " South Caro- 
lina and American General Gazette," of February 9th, 
177G, the following paragraph, illustrative of female pat- 
riotism under a manly and singular incentive : 

"The 3'oung ladies of the best families of Mecklenburg 
county, jSTorth Carolina, have entered into a voluntarj' as- 
sociation that they will not receive the addresses of any 
young gentlemen of that place, except the brave volunteers 
who served in the expedition to South Carolina, and 
assisted in subduing the Scovilite insurgents. The ladies 
being of opinion that such persons as stay loitering at 
home, when the important calls of their country demand 
their military services abroad, must certainh^ be destitute 
of that nobleness of sentiment, that brave, manl}'" spirit, 
which would qualify them to be the defenders and guard- 
ians of the fair sex. The ladies of the adjoining county 
of Rowan have desired the plan of a similar association to 
be drawn up and prepared for signature." 

Accordingly, at a meeting of the Committee of Safety, 
held in Salisbury, May .8th, 1770, we find the following 
entry in their minutes : "A letter from a number of young 
ladies in the county, directed to the chairman, requesting 
the approbation of the committee to a number of resolu- 
tions enclosed, enter|;d into, and signed by the same 3'oung 
ladies being read, 

Besolved, That this committee present their cordial 
thanks to the said young ladies for so spirited a perform- 


: aiice ; look upon these resolutious to be sensible and polite ; 
that they merit the honor, and are worth}' the imitation 
«of every young ladj^ in America." 

And who were the young ladies of Mecklenburg and 
Rowan counties then prepared to sign such an associa- 
tion, and willing to bestow their fair hands, and pledge 
their loving hearts only to those brave soldiers, \\'ho, on the 
calls of dnty^ fought the battles of their country ? Ima- 
-^nation cari-ies us back to that eventful jDeriod, and pic- 
tures to our admiring view, among others, the following 
daughters of Western Carolina, as actuated by such 
patriotic motives : 

Miss Elizabeth Alexander, daughter of Abraham Alex- 
:ander, Chairman of the Mecklenburg Convention of the 
' 20th of May, 1775, wdio married William Alexander, son 
of Hezekiah Alexander, one of the signers of the Meck- 
lenburg Declaration. 

Miss Mary Wilson, daughter of Samuel Wilson, Sen., 
vi'ho married Ezekiel Polk, grandfather of James K. Polk, 
one of our best Presidents, who consented to serve only for 
one term. 

Miss A'iolet Wilson, sister of the above, who married 
Major John Davidson, one of the signers of the Mecklen- 
burg Declaration. 

Miss Jane Morrison, daughter of Neill Morrison, one of 
the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration, who married 
Major Thomas Alexander. 

Miss Polk, daughter of Colonel Thomas Polk, who 
.married Dr. Ephraim Brevard, one of the secretaries and 
signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration. 

Miss Margaret Polk, sister of the above, who mar- 
ried Nathaniel Alexander, Representative to Congress 
from 1803 to 1805, and in the latter year, elected Governor 
of the State. 

Miss Jane Brevard, daughter of John Brevard, and 
sister of the " seven brothers in the rebel army," who mar- 
ried General Ephraim Davidson. 


Mis& Mary Brevard, sister of the above, who married' 
General William Davidson, killed at Cowan's Ford, oa. 
February 1st, 1781. 

Miss Charity Jack, sister of Captain James Jack, the- 
bearer of the Mecklenburg Declaration to Philadelphia^, 
who married Dr. Cornelius Dysart, a distinguished sur- 
geon of the Revolutionary army. 

Miss Lillis Wilson, daughter of Samuel Wilson, Sen.^. 
by the third wife (Margaret Jack), who married James i 
Connor, a native of Ireland, who came to America whem 
21 years old, volunteered in the army, and fought alB 
through the Revolutionary war. 

Miss Hannah Knox, daughter of Captain Patrick Knox,-, 
killed at the battle of Ramsour's Mill, who married:; 
Samuel AVilson, a soldier of the Revolution. 

These are the names of a few of the patriotic young; 
ladies, then on the theater of action, who would be willing 
to sign such an association, stimulate the "loitering young,; 
men" to a proper sense of their duty, and promote the- 
cause of freedom by all fair means. 


The wives and mothers of Mecklenburg county bore a, 
large share of the trials and dangers of the Revolutiono. 
Among these, and as a fair type of many others that might 
be mentioned, was Eleanor, wife of Robert Wilson, of 
Steele Creek — a woman of singular energy of mind, and, 
warmly devoted to the American cause. Her husband.., 
with three brothers and and other kinsmen, settled im 
Mecklenburg about 1760, having moved from the colony 
of Pennsylvania. These brothers were Scotch Presbj'te- 
rians, and arrayed by early religious education against 
tyranny in every form. At the Convention in Charlotte 
on the 20th of ^lay, 1775, Zaccheus Wilson, representing; 
all his kinsmen, signed that declaration, pledging himself, 
and his extensive connections, to its support and main- 


tenaiice. At this crisis of our history there were a consid- 
erable number of timid persons, who shook their heads, 
and characterized the actors in this opening scene of the 
bloody drama of the Revolution, as madmen, rebels and 
traitors. From the first to the last, Mrs. Wilson espoused 
the cause of liberty, and exulted in every patriotic success. 

Animated by her enthusiasm, her husband and sons en- 
tered warmly into the contest. At the surrender of 
Charleston, her sons, Robert and Joseph, were made 
prisoners, but having given their parols, were allowed to 
return home. But they had scarcely reached their home 
in Mecklenburg when the British general issued his proc- 
lamation declaring the country subdued, and requiring 
every able-bodied militiaman to join the royal standard. 
Refusing to fight against their country, and being no longer 
bound as they believed, by their parols, they immediate- 
ly repaired to the standard of General Sumter, and were 
with him in several battles. In the battle of the Ilano-inff 
Rock, Captain David Reid, one of their kinsmen, was 
mortally wounded, and being in great agony, called for 
water, when Robert Wilson brought him some in his hat. 
In the same action, Joseph, a little in advance, was 
assaulted by a Tory, a powerful man, whom he knew ; 
after a severe struggle, he killed him, and bore off his 
sword, now in possession of his son, David Wilson, of 
Maine county, Tennessee. 

The elder Robert Wilson and his son John, having col- 
lected a suppl}' of provisions and forage for General Sum- 
ter's corps, from the neighborhood of Steele Creek, were 
hastening to meet them at Fishing Creek, and reached 
that vicinity a short time after the surprise. While en- 
gaged in this employment, the two Wilsons and the sup- 
plies were captured. The prisoners were hurried to the 
I'ear, after having been brutally threatened with hanging 
on the nearest tree, and by a forced march reached Camden 
next day, where they were added to a crowd of honorable 


captives, such as Andrew Jackson, Colonel Isaacs, General 
Rutherford and others. 

In the meantime, Cornwallis, leaving Rawdon at Cam- 
den, marched with the larger portion of his army to "re- 
bellious" ( 'lunlotte, to forage upon its farms, and to punish 
its inhal)itants for their well-known resistance to royal 
authority. lie reached Charlotte on the 26th of Septem- 
ber, 178l), and during his stay of eighteen days, many 
scenes of rapine, house burnings and plunderings took 
place in and around that place. But the bold Whigs of 
Mecklenburg — the "hornets" of that section — although 
unable to keep the open field, were vigilant and at work, 
constantly popping the sentinels, and insolent dragoons of 
Tarleton, sent out as scouts and on foraging excursions 
Becoming uneasy by these bold attacks of the rebels, fre- 
quently driving his foraging parties within sight of his 
camp, Cornwallis, when he heard of the defeat of Fergu- 
son at King's Mountain, concentrated his army, and, on the 
14tli of October, commenced his retrograde march towards 
Winnsboro, S C. During this march, the British army 
halted for the night at Wilson's plantation, near Steele 
Creek. Cornwallis and Tarleton occupied the house of 
Mrs. Wilson, requiring her to prepare a meal for them as 
though they had been her friends. Cornwallis, in the 
meantime, finding out that her husband and one of her 
sons were his prisoners in the Camden jail, artfully at- 
tempted to enlist her in the King's cause. 

".iladara, said he, your husband and son, are my pris- 
oners ; the fortune of war may soon place others of your 
sons — perhaps all your kinsmen, in my power. Your sons 
are young, aspiring, and brave. In a good cause, fighting 
for a generous and powerful king, such as George III., 
they might hope for rank, honor and wealth. If you could 
but induce your husband and sons to leave the rebels, and 
take up arms for their lawful sovereign, I would almost 
pledge myself that they shall have rawk and consideration 
in the British army. If you, madam, will pledge your- 


self to induce them to do so, T will immediately order 
their discharge.*' 

To this artful appeal, Mrs. Wilson replied that "her hus- 
band and children were indeed dear to her, and that she 
was willing to do anything she thought right to promote 
their real and permanent welfare ; but, in this instance, 
they had embarked in the holy cause of liberty ; had 
fought and struggled for it during five years, never falter- 
ing for a moment, while others had fled from the contest, 
and yielded up their hopes at the first obstacle. I have," 
she continued, "seven sons who are now, or have been, 
bearing arms — indeed, my seventh son, Zaccheus, who is 
only fifteen years old, I yesterday assisted to get ready to 
go and join his brothers in Sumter's army. Now, sooner 
than see one of my family turn back from the glorious 
enterprise, I would take these boys (pointing to three or 
four small sons) and would myself enlist under Sumter's 
standard, and show my husband and sons how to fight, 
and, if necessary, to die for their country." 

'•Ah General," interrupted the cold-hearted Tarleton, "I 
think you've got into a hornet's nest ! IS'ever mind, 
when we get to Camden, I'll take good care that old Robin 
Wilson never comes back." 

On the next day's march, a, party of scouts captured 
Zaccheus, who w^as found on the flank of the British army 
with his gun, endeavoring to diminish the number of His 
Majesty's forces. He was immediately conducted to 
Cornwallis, who, finding out his name, took him along as 
a guide to the best ford on the Catawba. Arriving at 
the river, the head of the army entered at the point 
designated by the lad, but the soldiers soon found them- 
selves in deep water, and drawn b}" a rapid current down 
the stream. Cornwallis, believing that the bo}^ had pur- 
posely led him into deep water in order to embarras his 
march, drew his sword, and swore he would cut oft' his 
head for his treachery. Zaccheus replied that he had the 
power to do so, as he had no arms, and was his prisoner ^ 


*'but, sir," said this resolute boy, "don't you think it would 
be a cowardly act for you to strike an unarmed boy with 
your sword. If I had but the half of your weapon, it 
would not be so cowardly, but then you know, it would 
not be so safe." 

Cornwallis, struck by the boy's cool courage, calmed 
down, told him he was a fine fellow, and that he would 
not hurt a hair of his head. Having discovered that the 
ford was shallow enough by bearing up the stream, the 
British army crossed over it safely, and proceeded to 

On this march, Cornwallis dismissed Zaccheus, telling 
him to go home and take care of his mother, and to tell 
her to keep her boys at home. After he reached Winns- 
boro, he dispatched an order to Rawdon, at Camden, to 
send Robin Wilson and his son John, with several others, 
to Charleston, carefully guarded. Accordingly, about the 
20th of ]!^ovember, Wilson, his son, and ten others, set ofl" 
under the escort of an officer and fifteen or twenty men. 
Wilson formed several plans of making his escape, but 
owing to the presence of large parties of the enem}", the}' 
<30uld not be executed. At length, being near Fort Wat- 
son, they encamped before night, the prisoners being 
placed in the yard, and the guard in the house and in the 
portico. In a short time the arms of the guard were 
ordered to be stacked in the portico, a sentinel placed over 
them, and all others were soon busily engaged iu prepar- 
ing their evening meal. The prisoners, in the meantime, 
having bribed a soldier to buy some whiskey, as it was a 
rainy day, jpretended to drink freely of it themselves, and 
one of them seemingly more intoxicated than the rest, in- 
sisted upon treating the sentinel. Wilson followed him, 
as if to prevent him from treating the sentinel, it being a 
breach of military order. Watching a favorable oppor- 
tunity, he seized the sentinel's musket, and the drunken 
man suddenly becoming sober, seized the sentinel. At 
this signal, the prisoners — like vigilant hornets, rushed to 


the stacked arms in the portico, when the guard, taking 
the alarm, rushed out of the house. But it was too late ; 
^he prisoners secured the arms, drove the soldiers into the 
house at the point of the hayonet, and the whole guard 
surrendered at discretion. Unable to take off their pris- 
oners, Wilson made them all hold up their right hands 
and swear never again to bear arms against the "cause of 
liberty, and the Continental Congress," and then told 
them they might go to Charleston on parole ; but if he 
ever found "a single mother's son of them in arms again, 
he would hang him up to a tree like a dog." 

"Wilson had scarcely disposed of his prisoners before a 
party of British dragoons came in sight. As the only 
means of escape, they separated into several small com- 
panies, aud took to the woods. Some of them reached 
Marion's camp at Snow Island, and Wilson, with two or 
three others, arrived safely inMecklenburg, over two hun- 
dred miles distant, and through a country overrun with 
British troops. 

Mrs. Wilson was the mother of eleven sons. She and 
her husband lived to a good old age, "were worthy and 
consistent members of the Presbyterian Church, died near 
the same time, in 1810, and are buried in Steele Creek 

About 1792, all the sons moved to Tennessee, where at 
the present time, and in other portions of the West, their 
descendants may be counted by the hundreds. Robert 
Wilson, who was said to be the first man that crossed the 
Cumberland mountains with a wagon, married Jane, a 
dau2:hter of William and Ellen McDowell, of York coun- 
ty, S. C. Both Jane and her mother went to King's 
Mountain after the battle, and remained several days in 
ministering to the wants of the wounded soldiers. It was 
mainly on the account of Robert Wilson's distinguished 
bravery at King's Mountain that William McDowell gave 
him his daughter Jane in marriage — a worthy gift, and 
worthily bestowed on a gallant soldier. 

152 sketches of western north carolina, 

queen's museum. 

One of the most useful institutions of the Revokitionary ' 
period, and around which cluster many patriotic associa- 
tions, was the College in Charlotte, known as Queen's 
Museum. As the early fount of educational training in 
Mecklenburg, and the nursery of freemen, as well as of 
scholars, it should ever claim our warmest regard and 
veneration. A brief notice of its origin, progress and 
termination may be acceptable to the general reader. 

The counties of Mecklenburg, Rowan and other por- 
tions of the State, lying in the track of the southern tide 
of emigration from more northern colonies, were princi-- 
pally settled by the Scotch-Irish, who, inheriting an inde- 
pendence of character and free thought from their earliest 
training, soon became the controlling element of society, 
and directed its leading religious and political move- 
ments. They were not only the friends of a liberal edu- 
cation, but the early and unflinching advocates of civil 
and religious liberty. The " school-master w^as abroad in . 
the land," and as duly encouraged as in our own day. 
Wherever a preacher was established among them, to 
proclaim the gospel of salvation, there, with rare excep- 
tions, soon sprang up into lively existence a good school, 
both of a common and classical order. Prominently among 
these seminaries of learning may be named Sugar Creek, 
Poplar Tent, Center, Bethany, Thyatira, Rocky River, 
and Providence, all located in Mecklenburg and Rowan 
counties. Of all these, Sugar Creek was probably the 
oldest. The time of its commencement is not certainly 

After the death of the Rev. Alexander Craighead, in. 
1766, the first settled pastor of Sugar Creek, the Rev. 
Joseph Alexander (a nephew of John McKnitt Alexander)' 
became his successor for a short time, previous to his re- 
moval to Bullock's Creek, S. C, where he ended his days. 
Mr. Alexander was a fine scholar, having graduated at 


Princeton College, and through his influence, confirmed 
by that of the Alexanders and Polks, Waightstill Avery, 
Dr. Ephraim Brevard and others, residing in or near 
Charlotte, vigorous eiForts were made to elevate the Sugar 
Creek school to the rank and usefulness of a college ; nor 
were their efforts in vain. The Colonial Legislature 
which met at Newbern, in December, 1770, passed an Act 
entitled " An Act for founding, establishing and endowing 
of Queen's College, in the town of Charlotte." This 
charter, not suiting the intolerant notions of royalty, was 
set aside by the King and council ; afterward amended ; 
a second time granted by the Colonial Legislature, in 
1771, and a second time repealed by royal proclamation. 

" And," enquires a writer in the " University Magazine," 
of ISTorth Carolina, " why was this ?" An easy answer is 
found in the third section of the act for incorporating the 
school at iTewbern, and afterward engrafted upon the act 
incorporating tlie Edenton Academy (which were the only 
two schools incorporated before Queen's College), com- 
pared with the character of the leading men of jVIecklen- 
burg, and the fact that several of the Trustees of the new 
College were Presbyterian ministers. ISTo compliments to 
his queen could render Whigs in politics, and Presbyterians 
in religion, acceptable to George TIL 

A College, under such auspices, was too well calculated 
to insure the growth of the " numerous democracy.''' 

The section referred to in the charter of the ISTewbern 
school, is in these words : " Provided always, that no per- 
son shall be permitted to be master of said school, but 
who is of the Established Church of England, and who, 
at the recommendation of the trustees or directors, or a 
majority of them, shall be duly licensed by the Governor! 
or Commander-in-Chief for the time being." 

" The Presbyterians," says Lossing, " who were very 
numerous, resolved to have a seminary of their own, and 
applied for an unrestricted charter for a college. It was 
granted ; but notwithstanding it was called Queen's Col- 


lege, in compliment to the consort of the King, and was 
located in a town called by her name, and in a county of 
the same name as her birth-place, the charter was repealed 
in 1771 by royal decree. The triple compliment was of 
no avail."* 

But Queen's Museum, or College, flourished without a 
charter for several years, in spite of the iutolei-ance of the 
King and Council. Its hall became the general meeting- 
place of literary societies and political clubs preceding the 
Revolution. The King's fears that the College would 
prove to be a fountain of Republicanism, and calculated 
to ensure the growth of the "numerous Democracy," were 
happily, for the cause of freedom, realized in the charac- 
ters of its instructors and pupils. The debates, preceding 
the adoption of the Mecklenburg Declaration, were held 
in its hall, and every reader can judge of the patriotic 
sentiments which pervade that famous document. After 
the Revolution commenced, the Legislature of Korth 
Carolina granted a charter, in 1777, to this insritution, 
under the name of " Liberty Hall Academy." The fol- 
lowing persons were named as trustees, viz. : Isaac Alex- 
ander, M. D., president ; Thomas Polk, Abraham Alexan- 
der, Th®mas IS'eal, Waightstill Avery, Ephraim Brevard, 
John Simpson, John McKnitt Alexander, Adlai Osborn, 
and the Rev. Messrs. David Caldwell, James Edmonds, 
Thomas Reese, Samuel E. McCorkle, Thomas H. McCaule 
and James Hall. 

The Academy received no funds or endowment from 
the State, and no further patronage than this charter. At 
the time the charter was obtained the institution was 
under the care of Dr. Isaac Y. Alexander, who continued 
to preside until some time in the year 1778. From a 
manuscript in the University of North Carolina, drawn up 

* Lossin^'s "Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution," vol. II , p. 393. 


by Adlai Osborne, one of the trustees, it appears, the first 
meeting of the board of trustees was held in Charlotte, on 
the 3rd day of January-, 1778. At this meeting Isaac 
Alexander, M. D., Ephraim Brevard, M. D., and the Rev. 
Thomas II. McCaule, were appointed a committee to frame 
a system of laws for the government of the Academy. 
They were also empowered to purchase the lots and im- 
provements belonging to Colonel Thomas Polk, for which 
they were to pay him £920. The salary of the president 
was fixed at £195, to be occasionally increased, according 
to the prices of provisions, then greatly fluctuating in 
consequence of the war. 

In the month of April, 1778, the system of laws, drawn 
up b}^ the committee, was adopted without any material 
alteration. The course of studies marked out was similar 
to that prescribed for the University of North Carolina, 
though more limited. Shortly before these transactions, 
overtures were made to the Rev. Alexander McWhorter, 
of New Jersey, so favorably known to the churches by 
his missionary visit in 1764 and 1765, with the Rev. 
Elihu Spencer ; and also by a more recent visit to the 
Southern country, to encourage the inhabitants in the 
cause of independence, soliciting him to succeed Dr. Alex- 
ander in the presidency of the Academy. 

Dr. McWhorter having declined accepting the presi- 
dency on account of the deranged state of his aflt'airs at 
that time, Mr. Robert Brownfield, a good scholar, and 
belonging to a patriotic family of Mecklenburg, agreed to 
assume the duties of the office for one year. During the 
next year, the invitation to Dr. McWhorter was renewed, 
and a committee consisting of the Rev. Samuel E. Mc- 
Corkle, and Dr. Ephraim Brevard was sent to New Jersey 
to wait upon him ; and in the event of his still declining, 
to consult Dr. Witherspoon and Professor Houston, of 
Princeton College (the latter, a distinguished son of old 
Mecklenburg,) respecting some other fit person to whom 
the presidency should be oft'ered. In compliance with 


this second invitation, Dr. McWhorter removed to Char- 
lotte and immediately entered upon the duties ot his office 
with flattering evidences of success. Many youths from 
Mecklenburg and adjoining counties, yet too young to en- 
gage in the battles of their country, and others of older 
years, whose services were not imperiously needed on the 
tented field, flocked to an institution where a useful and 
thorough education could be imparted. 

But, owing to the invasion of the Carolinas by Coru- 
wallis in the fall of 1780, the operations of the Acadeni}^ 
were suspended and not resumed during the remainder of 
the war. After a short service in the Presidency of the 
Academy, Dr. McWhorter, to the great regret of the pa- 
trons of learning in the South, returned to Xew Jersey. 

During the occupation of Charlotte by the British army 
under Lord Cornwallis, Liberty Hall Academy, which 
stood upon the lot now owned by A. B. Davidson, Esq., 
was used as a hospital, and greatly defaced and injured. 
The numerous graves in the rear of the Academy, visible 
upon the departure of the British army, after a stay of 
eighteen days, bore ample evidence of their great loss in 
this "rebellious county" — the "Hornet's I^est" of America. 

After the close of the war. Dr. Thomas Henderson, who 
had been educated at the Academy, and who frequently 
represented Mecklenburg in the Legislature near the 
beginning of the present century, set up a High School, 
and carried it on with great reputation for a number of 
years. Classical schools of a high order were numerous 
after the Revolutionary war, principally under the direc- 
tion of Presbj^terian clergymen. These early efforts in 
the cause of a sound and liberal education, constantly 
mingled with patriotic teachings, made a telling impress 
upon the Revolutionary period, and greatly assisted in 
achieving our independence. 




Cabarrus county was formed in 1792, from Mecklenburg 
county, and was named in honor of Stephen Cabarrus, a 
native of France, a man of active mind, liberal sentiments, 
and high standing in society. He entered public life in 
1784, and was frequently elected a member from Chowan 
county, and, on several occasions. Speaker of the House 
of Commons. 

Tlie Colonial and Revolutionary histoiy of Cabarrus is 
closely connected with that of Mecklenburg county. No 
portion of the State was more fixed and forward in the 
cause of liberty than this immediate section. In the Con- 
vention at Charlotte, on the 20th of May, 1775, this part 
of Mecklenburg was strongly represented, and her dele- 
gates joined heartily in pledging '"their lives, their for- 
tunes and most s'acred honor" to maintain and defend 
their liberty and independence. 

The proceedings of that celebrated Convention, its prin- 
cipal actors, and attendant circumstances, will be found 
properly noticed under the head of Mecklenburg County. 
But there is one bold transaction connected with the early 
history of Cabarrus, showing that the germs of libert}^ 
at and before the battle of Alamance, in 1771, were read}' 
to burst forth, at any moment, under the warmth of 
patriotic excitement, is here deemed worthy of conspicuous 



Previous to the battle of Alamance, on the 16th of May, 
1771, the first blood shed in the American Revolution, 
there were many discreet persons, the advocates of law 
and order, throughout the province, who sympathized 
with the justness of the principles which actuated the 
' Regulators," and their stern opposition to official cor- 
ruption and extortion, but did not approve of their hast}'' 
conduct and occasional violent proceedings. Accordingly, 
a short time preceding that unfortunate conflict, which 
only smothered for a time the embers of freedom, diffi- 
culties arose between Governor Try on and the Regulators, 
when that royal official, in order to coerce them into his 
measures of submission, procured from Charleston, S. C, 
three wagon loads of the munitions of war, consisting of 
powder, flints, blankets, &c. These articles were brought 
to Charlotte, but from some suspicions arising in the 
minds of the Whigs as to their true destination and use, 
wagons could not be hired in the neighl)orhood for their 
transportation. At length. Colonel Moses Alexander, a 
magistrate under the Colonial Government, succeeded in 
getting wagons by impressment, to convey the munitions 
to Ilillsboro, to obe}- the behests of a tyrannical governor. 
The vigilance of the jealous Whigs was ever on the look- 
out for the suppression of all such infringements upon the 
growing spirit of freedom, then quietly but surely plant- 
ing itself in the hearts of the people. 

The following individuals, viz. : James, William and 
John White, brothers, and William White, a cousin, all 
born and raised on Rocky River, and one mile from 
Rocky River Church, Robert Caruthers, Robert Davis, 
Benjamin Cockrane, James and Joshua Hadley, bound 
themselves by a most solemn oath not to divulge the 
secret object of their contemplated mission, and, in 
order more eftertually to prevent detection, blackened their 
faces preparatory to their intended work of destruction. 


They were joined and led in this and other expeditions 
by William Alexander, of Sugar Creek congregation, a 
brave soldier, and afterward known and distinguished 
from others bearing the same name as " Captain Black 
Bill Alexander," and whose sword now hangs in the 
Library Hall of Davidson College, presented in behalf of 
his descendants by the late worthy, intelligent and Chris- 
tian citizen, W. Shakespeare Harris, Esq. 

These determined spirits set out in the evening, while 
the father of the Whites was absent from home with two 
horses, each carrying a bag of grain. The White boys 
were on foot, and wishing to move rapidly with their com- 
rades, all mounted, in pursuit of the wagons loaded with 
the munitions of war, fortunately, for their feet, met their 
father returning home with his burdens, and immediately 
demanded the use of his horses. The old gentleman, not 
knowing who they were {as black as Satan himself) pleaded 
heartily for the horses until he could carry home his bags 
of meal ; but his petitions were in vain. The boys {his 
sons) ordered him to dismount, removed the bags from the 
horses, and placed them by the side of the road. They 
then immediately mounted the disburdened horses, joined 
their comrades, and in a short space of time came up with 
the wagons encamped on "Phifer's Hill," three miles west 
of the present town of Concord, on the road leading from 
Charlotte to Salisbury. They immediately unloaded the 
wagons, stove in the heads of the kegs, threw the powder 
into a pile, tore the blankets into strips, made a train of 
powder a considerable distance from the pile, and then 
Major James White fired a pistol into the train, which 
produced a tremendous explosion. A stave from the pile 
struck White on the forehead, and cut him severely. As 
soon as this bold exploit became known to Colonel Moses 
Alexander, he put his whole ingenuity to worktoiind out 
the perpetrators of so foul a deed against liis Majesty. 
The transaction remained a m^^stery for some time. Great 
threats were made, and, in order to induce some one to 


turn traitor, a pardou was offered to any one who would 
turn King's evidence against the rest. Ashmore and 
Hadley, being half brothers, and composed of the same 
rotten materials, set out unknown to each other, to avail 
themselves of the offered pardon, and aceidentl}^ met each 
other on the trCvshold of Moses Alexander's house. When 
they made known their business, Alexander remarked, 
"that, by virtue of the Governor's proclamation, they were 
pardoned, but they were the first that ought to be hanged.'" 
The rest of the "Black Boys" had to flee from their 
country. They fled to the State of Geogia, where they 
remained for some time. 

The Governor, finding he could not get them into his 
grasp, held out insinuations that if thej^ would return 
and confess their fault, they should be pardoned. In a 
short time, the boys returned from Georgia to their homes. 
As soon as it became known to Moses Alexander, he 
raised a guard, consisting of himself, his two brothers, 
John and Jake, and a few others, and surrounded the 
house of the old man White, the father of the boys. 
Caruthers, the son-in-law of White, happened to be at his 
(White's) house at the same time. To make the capture 
doubly sure, Alexander placed a guard at each door. One 
of the guard, wishing to favor the escape of Garnthers, 
struck up a quarrel with Moses Alexander at one door, 
while his brother, Daniel Alexander, whispered to Mrs. 
White, if there were any of them within, they might pass 
out and he Avould not notice it ; in the meantime, out goes 
Caruthers, and in a few jumps was in the river, which 
opportunely flowed near the besieged mansion. The alarm 
was immediately given, but pursuit Avas fruitless. 

At another time, the royalists heard of some of the boys 
being in a harvest field and set out to take them ; but 
alwaj'S having some one in their company to favor their 
escape, as they rode up in sight of the reapers, one of 
them, duly instructed, waved his hand, which the boys 
understood as a signal to make their departure. On that 


occasion they pursued Robert Dai-i:;^ so closely that it is 
said he jumped his horse thirty feet down a bank into the 
river, and dared them to follow him. 

And thus the "Black Boys" fled from covert to covert 
to save their necks from the blood-thirsty loyalists, who 
were constantly hunting them like wild beasts. They 
•would lie concealed for weeks at a time, and the neigh- 
bors would carry them food until they fairly wearied out 
iheir pursuers. The oath by which they bound them- 
selves was an imprecation of the strongest kind, and the 
greater part of the imprecation was literally fulfilled in 
the sad ends of Hadley and Ashmore. The latter fled 
from his country, but he lived a miserable life, and died 
:as wretchedly as he had lived. Hadley still remained in 
the country, and was known for many 3'earsto the people 
of Rocky River. He was very intemperate, and in his 
fits of intoxication was very harsh to his family in driving 
them from his house in the dead hours of the night. 
His neighbors, in order to chastise him for the abuse of 
his family, (among whom were some of the "Black Bovs"), 
dressed themselves in female attire, went to his house b}^ 
night, pulled him from his bed, drew his shirt over his 
head and gave him a severe whipping. The castigation, 
it is said, greatly improved the future treatment of his 
family, lie continued, however, through life, the same 
miserable wretch, and died without any friendly hand to 
■sustain him or eye to pity his deplorable end. 

Frequently, when the royalists ranged the country in 
pursuit of the "Black Boys," the Whigs would collect in 
bodies consisting of twenty-five or thirty men, ready to 
pounce upon the pursuers, if they had captured any of 
the boys. From the allurements held out to the Boys to 
give themselves up, they went, at one time, nearly to 
Hillsboro to beg the pardon of the Governor, (Tryon), but 
finding out it was his intention, if he could get them into 
his hands, to have hanged every one of them, they re- 


turned, and kept themselves concealed until patriotic sen- 
timent grew SO rapidly from that time (1771) to the' 
Mecklenburg Declaration, (•20th of May, 1775), that cou" 
cealment was no longer necessary. When the drama of 
the Revolution opened, these same "Black Boys" stoocl 
up manfully for the cause of American freedom ^ and 
nobly assisted in achieving, on many a hard-fought bat- 
tle-field, the independence of our country. 


Dr. Charles Harris was born in the eastern part of 
Mecklenburg county, (now Cabarrus), on the 23d of No^ 
veraber, 1762. He was distinguished as a patriot, a soldier^ 
and a physician. While pursuing his studies in Cliarlctte,- 
the invasion of the town by the British army, under Lord- 
Cornwallis, caused him to exchange the gown for the- 
sword. Accordingly, when a call was made for troops to* 
resist and hold in check the invaders of his country, he- 
joined the corps of cavalry under Col. William R. Davie> 
and was with that brave and chivalric officer in much of 
his daring career. 

After the war was ended he resumed his studies at 
Clio Academy, in Iredell county, (then a part of Rowan)., 
under the control of the Rev. James Hall. Soon after 
this classical preparation he commenced the study of" 
medicine under Dr. Isaac Alexander, at Camden, S. C.^. 
and graduated at Philadelphia. On his return home, he' 
settled in Salisbury, and practiced there for some length 
of time with encouraging success. He then removed tc 
Favoni, his family seat in Cabarrus county, where he* 
ended his days. 

Devoted to his profession he soon became unrivaled as^' 
a physician and surgeon. In a short time his reputation 
was widely extended over the surrounding country, ancB 
his skill and success justified this celebrity. He kept i^p 


for many years, a medical school, and instructed ninety- 
three young men in the healing art. In his day and gen- 
eration, good physicians and surgeons (especially the 
latter) were remarkably scarce — something like angels' 
visits, "few and far between." He was frequently called 
upon to perform surgical operations from fifty to one hun- 
dred miles from home. 

He possessed a cheerful temper, and suavity of manner 
which gained for him a ready admittance into the confi- 
dence and cordial friendship of all classes of society^ 
But, before he had reached his '' three-score years and 
ten," the infirmities of old age were rapidly stealing upon 
him. and admonishing him of his early departure from 
the scenes of earth. He died on the 21st of September^ 
1825, leaving several children. One of his sons, the late 
William Shakspeare Harris, Esq., widely known as a 
worthy and intelligent citizen, represented Cabarrus coun- 
ty in the House of Commons in 1836. Another son,. 
Charles J. Harris, Esq., resides at present about one mile 
from Poplar Tent Ciiurch, and is a gentleman of great 
moral worth and christian integrity. 

On the tombstone of Dr. Harris is the following inscrip- 
tion : "This monument is erected to perpetuate the 
memory of Charles Harris, M. D., born 2od of November^. 
1762; died 21st of September, 182', aged sixty-three- 
years. Dr. Harris was engaged in the practice of medi- 
cine and surgery for forty years; eminent in the former,. 
in the latter pre-eminent. He was a man of extensive 
reading, of an acute, inquisitive mind, friendly to all, and 
beloved by all. His heart entered deeply into the suffer- 
ings of his patients, mingling the medicine he adminis- 
tered with the feelings of a friend. He lived usefully, 
and died resignedly ; and we humbly trust, through the 
sovereign virtue of the all-healing medicine of the Great 
Physician, he was prepared to rest in this tomb, ' where 


the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at 
rest.' " 

Dr. ('harles Harris was one of five brotliers who emi- 
grate'! from Pennsylvania to Korth Carolina, viz : Rob- 
ert, James, Richard, Thomas, and Charles, the subject of 
this sketch Mis father married the widow Baker, a 
daughter of tlie Rev. .John Thompson, who is buried in 
Baker's Grave-yard, five Miles east of Beattie's Ford, in 
Iredell county. 


Capt. Thomas Caldwell, of Irish parentage, was born 
in the eastern part of Mecklenburg county, (now Cabar- 
rus), in 1753. He early espoused the cause of liberty, and 
entered the service in 1775, in Cai)t. John Springs' com- 
pany as a private, and marched to the protection of the 
frontier settlements fi'om the murderous and }>lundering 
incursions of the Cherokee Indians. 

He again joined the service in Cajit. Ezekiel Polk's 
company and marched against the Tories in South Car- 
olina, near the post of Ninety-Six. Jn 1770, he volun- 
teered under Captain William Alexander, Colonels Adam' 
Alexander and Robert Irwin, General Rutherford com- 
manding; marched to the Quaker Meadows, at the head 
of the Catawba River, and thence to the Cherokee coun- 
tr}^ beyond the mountains. After severely chastising the 
Indians, killing a few, and laying waste their country 
causing ^hem to sue for peace, the expedition returned. 

In l&W," he was appointed Captain by General Thomas 
Polk to assist in opposing the advance of Lord Cornwal- 

After Cornwallis left Charlotte, in October, 1780, he 
raised a company, placed himself under Colonel Wil- 
liams, of South Carolina, and fought under him and 
Colonel Lee, at Pyles' defeat, on Haw River. He also 


acted ioi' jonie tinu^ as (luartenuaster, at the Hospital, in 

In 17S1 he volunteered under Colonel Davie, and was 
with him at the hattle of Hanging Rock. 

This was Ctjptaiii Cald well's last important service. 

The distinguished physician, Dr. Charles Caldwell, also 
of Irish parentage, and nearly related to Ca}:tain Thomas 
Caldwell, was born in the immediate vit-inity of Poplar 
Tent Church, in Cabarrus county, on land now owned by 
Colonel 'J'homas H. Robinson, a worthy son of Dr. John 
Robinson, D.D., who so long and faithfully proclaimed 
the gospel of salvation to this congregation. No vestige 
of the family mansion now remains, but its site is easily 
recognized at the [)resent time by a large fig bush, grow- 
ing at or near where the chimney forineriy stood, as a 
lingei-ing memento of the past, and {)roducing annually 
its delicious fruit. 

Although this eminent physician, in his ardent jtursuit 
of material Philosophy, wandered for many years "-after 
strange gods," until much learning made him mad ; yet, 
it is pleasing to know, in his maturer age, and under 
calm reflection, the early gospel precepts so impressingly 
instilled into his youthful mind by his pious parents , 
yielded at length their happiest result-, and that he died 
at the Medical College of Louisville, in Kentucky, in 
1853, full of years and of honors, and in the faiJi of his 
fathers, many of whom sleep in the grave-yard of Poplar 
Tent Church. 



Rowan county was formed in 1753 from Anson county. 
In 1770 Surry, and in 1777 Burke counties were severall}- 
taken off, previous to which separations Anson county com- 
prehended most of the western portion of North Carohna 
and Tennessee. Like a venerable mother, Rowan beholds 
with parental complacency and delight her prosperous chil- 
dren comfortably settled around her. Salisbury, lier cap- 
ital, derives its name from a handsome town in England, 
situated on the hanks of the classic Avon, and near the 
noted Salisbury Plain, a dry, chalky surface, which accounts 
for the origin of its Saxon name, which means a dri/ town. 

Rowan was first settled by Protestants, about 1720-25, 
from Moravia, fleeing from the persecutions of Ferdinand, 
the Second, by the Scotch, after the unsuccessful attempts 
of Charles Edward (commonl}' called the "IVetender") to 
ascend the English throne, and by the Irish, after the re- 
bellion of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, who were 
offered their pardon on condition of their emigrating to 
America and in assisting to colonize the English posses- 
sions there. The staid prudence of the German, the keen 
sagacity of the Scotch, and fiery ardor of the Irish com- 
mingled on American soil, and were fit materials to form 
the elemental foundations of an industrious, progressive and 
independent nation. 

The early history of Rowan, and of her distinguished 
sons, aftbrds of itself ample materials to till an instructive 


^'■olume. Within hev borders resided such venerable pa- 
ftriots as Matthew Locke, Moses Winslow, Griffith Euther- 
ford, John Brevard, "VVilham Sharpe, Samuel Young, Wil- 
liam Kenijon, Adlai Osborne, Francis McCorkle, James 
Brandon, James McOay, and many- others, all true and 
-constant friends of liberty ; but alas ! how little of their em- 
inent services has been preserved. Even yet, it is believed, 
;Some one of her gifted sons might do much in collecting 
irom traditional sources, and from her musty records a rich 
tstore of historical facts, hitherto unwritten, illustrative of 
the fair name and fame of her Revolutionary career. 

In the struggles of the Regulators against the extortions 
of Governor Tryon and the crown officers, the spirit of the 
people of Rowan was plainly manifested. In March, 1770. 
Maurice Moore, one of the Colonial Judges, attended 
:Salisbury to hold the Superior Court. He reported to Gov- 
ernor Tryon at ISTewbern that " from the opposition of the 
-people to the taxes, no process of the law could be executed 
among them." 

Upon this information Governor Tryon repaired in per- 
son to Salisbury. In his original journal, procured from 
the archives of the State Paper office in London by the 
Honorable George Bancroft, late our envoy at that Court, 
we can see his actions, and admire the spirit of a Captain 
Knox, who refused to join him with his troops. Violent as 
■were the acts of the Regulators, the subsequent oppressive 
measures of the crown officers justified their conduct. The 
Clerk of Rowan county (Thomas Frohock) was allowed to 
ehar ge Jif teen dollars for a marriage license. The effect of 
this official extortion was such as to constrain some of the 
inhabitants on the head-waters of the Yadkin river to '^take 
a short cid^ as it was termed in uniting their conjugal ties 
for " better or for wordi," as man and wife. 

The indignation of the people of Rowan, Guilford, Or- 
ange, and. other counties, was aroused ao:ainst such official 
.misconduct. On the 7th of March, 1771, a public meeting 


Avas held in Salisbury, Avheu a large and influential com- 
mittee AA'as appointed, avIio, armed Avitli the authority of the^ 
people, met the clerk, sherifl', and other officers of the 
croAvn, and compelled them to disgorge their unlawful ex- 
tortions. By a AA'riting signed by these officers, they agreed 
to settle and pay back all moneys receiA^ed oA^er and aboA'^e 
their laAvful fees. 

This Avas indemnity for the past. The security for the 
future Avas, that Avhen any doubt should arise as to fees,, 
they should not be paid to the officers themseh^es, but ta- 
such other persons as Avere appointed by the people. 

MatthcAA^ Locke and Herman Husbands Avere among 
those selected to* receiA-e these lawful fees. An instance,, 
says Wheeler, of more determined resistance, or ol purer 
democracy, is not to be found in the annals of any peo- 

Most of the histories of the day have done the Regula- 
tors great injustice, and denounced this AA'hole body of men 
as composed of a factious and turbulent mob, Avho, Avithout' 
proper cause, disturbed the public tranquility. Nothing; 
could be more untrue or unjust. Their assemblages Avere- 
orderly, and some evidence of the temper and characters of 
the principal actors may be gathered from the fact that 
from these meetings, by a laAv of their own, they Angor- 
ously excluded all intoxicating drinks. But they had been- 
oppressed and exasperated by the impositions of corrupt 
officers until forbearance, Avith them, had ceased to be a 
a \nrtue. On their side Avas the spirit of liberty, animating 
the discordant multitude, but, unfortunately, Avithout trained 
leaders, or a sufficiency of arms, going forth to make its 
first essay at battle on American soil. Kedress of gricA'^an- 
ces Avas sought at first by the Regulators in a quiet way, 
by resorting to the courts of laA4 The officers AA^ere in- 
dicted and found guilty, but the punishment AA^as the mere 
nominal one of " a penny and costs." In short, all resorts 
to the trilnmals of justice ended in a perfect mockery, an J 


hastened the " War of the Reguhxtion " in jSTorth Caro- 

The public press of that day was used by the Kegulators 
in a peaceable way to set forth their grievances. Their 
productions, circulated in manuscript, or in print, display 
no proofs of high scholarship, or of polished writing, but 
there is a truthful earnestness in some of them, and cogency 
of reasoning more effective than the skill of the mere rhetori- 
cian. Sometimes they appeared in ballad form, and some- 
limes as simple narrative. The rough poet of the period 
(the American Revolution can boast of many) was Rednap 
Howell, who taught the very children to sing, in doggerel 
verse, the infamy of the proud officials who were trampling 
on their rights. A short selection from the many similar 
ones will be here presented for the amusement of the 
reader • 

"Says Froliock to Faiuiing-, to tell the plain truth, 
When I came to this country, I was but a youth ; 
My father sent for me ; I wasn't worth a cross, 
And then my first study was stealing a horse , 
I quickly got credit, and then ran away, 
And havn't paid for him to this very day. 
Says Fanning to Frohock, 'tis folly to lie, 
I rode an old mare that was blind of one eye ; 
Five shillings in money I had in my purse, 
My coat was all patched, but not much the worse ; 
But noiv we've got rich, and its very well known, 
That we'll do very well, if they'll let iis alone.'''' 

The truthful sentiment conveyed in the last Une will find 
many fit illustrations in our own times. 

The power of the Royal government was called into re- 
quisition to put down this '-Regulation" movement. The 
military spirit of Tryon resolved to appeal to the sword. 
On the 24th of April, 1771, he left Newbern at the head of 
three hundred men, a small train of artillery, and with a 
considerable number of his adherents. General Waddell 
was sent forward to Salisbury to raise troops, munitions of 
war having been previously ordered from Charleston, 


While he was in Salisbury waiting for the arrival of this 
■supply of warlike munitions, the " Black 'Bojs, " of what is 
now Cabarrus county, under the lead of " Black Bill Alex- 
ander," seized the convoy of wagons, and completely de- 
stroyed the " King's powder," well knowing it was intended 
to obey the behest of a tyrannical Governor. When Wad- 
dell advanced his troops from Salisbury to join Tryon, the 
bold sons of Rowan rose in arms and ordered him back. 
On the 10th of May, 1771, at Potts' Creek, he held a coun- 
cil of his officers, and they, believing " prudence to be the 
better part of valor," fell back, and recrossed the Yadkin. 
Waddell soon found that many of his own men sympathised 
with the cause of the Regulators. He promptly sent a 
message to Tryon, then encamped on Eno, informing him 
of his critical situation. Trj-on hastened on with his 
forces, crossed Haw river on the 13th of May, and, on the 
next evening, pitched his camp on the bank of the Ala- 
mance. On the IStli of May, 1771, the unfortunate bat- 
tle of Alamance was fought in which was shed the Jirst 
blood of the American Revolution. After that disastrous 
event, in which, for want of skilful leaders, and concert 
among their men, the Regulators v/ere subdued, the 
bloody " Wolf of North Carolina," as Tryon was called 
by the Cherokee Indians, advanced in all "the pomp and 
circumstance" of official station, and joined Waddell on 
the 4th of June, near Salisbury, about eight miles east 
of the Yadkin river. He then marched by a circuitous 
route to Hillsboro, where he had court held to try the 
Regulators, b}'' his pliant tool, Judge Howard. On the 
20th he left Hillsboro, and reached Newbern on the 24th ; 
And on the 30th left North Carolina for the colony of 
New York, over which he had just been appointed Gov- 
ernor. Thus was our State rid of one who had acted the 
part of an oppressive ruler and a blood-thirsty tyrant. 

The efforts of Tryon had been too successful in enlist- 
ing under his banners, before the designs of the British 


poveniment were open]}' discovered, many of the bravest 
and best officers of his day. ('aswell, Ashe, Waddell, 
Rutherford, and other distinguished persons who gave in 
their adhesion to Governor Tryon in 1771, only three 
years later, at the first Provincial Congress, directly from 
the people, held at Newbern on the 25th of August, 1774, 
■were found to be true patriots, when it became apparent 
the entire subjugation of the country was the object of 
the British crown. To the first assemblage of patriots, 
.adverse to the oppressions of the British government, 
held at Newbern in August, 1774, the delegates from 
Rowan were William Kennon, Moses AYinslow and Sam- 
uel Young. 

To the same place, in April, 1775, the delegates were 
Oriffith Rutherford, William Sharpe and William Ken- 

To llillsboro, on the 21st of August, 1775, the dele- 
gates were Matthew Locke,William Sharpe, Moses Win-S- ' 
low, William Kennon, Samuel Young and James Smith, 
This Provincial Congress appointed as Field Ofliceisand 
Minute Men, for Salisbury District, Thomas Wade, of 
Anson, Colonel ; Adlai Osborne, of Rowan, Lieutenant 
Colonel; Joseph ITarben, Major. 

To Halifax, on the 22d of April, 1776, Rowan sent 
Rutherford Griffith and Matthew Locke as delegates. 

At this assembly Griffith Rutherford was appointed 
Brigadier General of the Salisbury District ; Francis 
Locke, Colonel of Rowan ; Alexander Dobbins, Lieuten- 
ant Colonel ; James Brandon, 1st Major ; James Smith, 
2d Major. 

To the Congress at Halifax, November 12th, 177G, 
which formed the first Constitution, the delegates were 
Griffith Rutherford, Matthew Locke, William Sharpe, 
James Suiith and John Brevard. 

In 1775 the Royal government ceased in North Caro- 
lina bv the retreat of Governor Martin. 


The (/ivil Government, vested in : 1. A Provincial 
Council for the whole State, composed ot" two members 
from each Judicial District, and one for the State ai 
large, who was chairman anddc facto Governor. 2. Com- 
mittees of Safety for the towns; and 8. County Committees 
of Safety, a part of whose duty it was to arrest suspicions 
persons, and take especial care that the public interest 
suffered no detriment. 

The journal of the Committee of Safety for Rowan 
countv, from the 8th of August, 1774, to the 17th of May, 
1776, has been preserved, and throws much light on the 
patriotic transactions of that exciting period in our Rev- 
(j.u:ionary history. The journal in full may be seen in 
Wheeler's "Jlistorical Sketches."' 


After Cornwallis etiected his passage over the Cata\vba 
river, at Cowan's Ford, on the 1st of February, 1781, he 
only remained about three hours in attending to the burial 
of his dead. Tarleton was dispatched in advance to pursue 
the Whigs retreating in the direction of Torrence's Tavern. 
Early in the morning of the same day a simultaneous move- 
ment was made by Colonel Webster, with his own brigade, 
the artillery, and a small supporting detachment to Beat- 
tie's Ford, six miles above Cowan's Ford, where a small 
guard had been placed on the eastern bank. Colonel 
Webster, with a vieu^ of dispersing the guard, fired sev- 
eral shots (six pounders) across the river, which had its 
intended effect, and thus enabled him to pass over with- 
out meeting with serious opposition. This was a mere 
feint, intended to create the impression that the whole 
British army would cross there. 

The two British forces pressing forward with as little 
delay as possible, united at Torrence's, ten miles from 


Cowan's P^ord, whei'u a considei-able body of the Whig 
militia liad liastily assembled; but havino- no one to 
assume command, and greatly discouraged by the death 
of General Davidson on tlie approach of Tarleton's cav- 
alry, poured in one effective fire, killed seven of the Brit- 
ish horsemen, wounded others, and then dispersed in all 
directions with a small loss. Tliis skirmish, occurring 
soon after Tarleton's defeat at ilie CovvpSns, led him to 
boast of it in his journal as a brilliant victory ! 

Lord Cornwallis, in his general orders on the 2d of 
February, returns his " thanks to the Brigade of Guards 
for their cool and determined bravery in the passage of 
tiie Catawba, while rushing tlirough that long and diffi- 
cult ford under a galling fire." 

Another order, issued from his caiuj) on the evening of 
the preceding day, does credit to his head as well as his 
heart, and shows tiiat he was sometimes governed by tiie 
noble principles of moral rectitude. The order is in the 
following words : 

"Headquarteks, Cross Roads to SALisBuitY, (^ 

February 1st, 1781. j 

Lord Cornwallis is highl}' displeased that several 
houses were set on fire during the march this day — a dis- 
grace to the army. lie will punish, with the utmost 
severity, any person or persons who shall be found guilty 
of committing so diso:raceful an outrage. Llis Lordship 
requests the commanding officers of corps to find out the 
persons who set fire to the houses this day." 

It is presumable his Lordship never received the de- 
sired information. The order, no doubt, has reference to 
the burning of the houses of John Brevard, who had 
" seven sons at one time in the rebel army," and of Adam 
Torrence, a staunch Whig, where the skirmish liadtakf'n 

General Greene, having been app)rised of the battle of 
the Cowpens, and the result, on the same day when Corn- 


wallis commenced his pursuit of General Morgan, order-- 
ed General Stevens to march with his Virginia militia 
(whose term of service was almost expired) by way of 
(charlotte, x^. C, to take charge of Morgan's prisoners,. 
and conduct them to Charlottesville, in Virginia. 

General Greene being anxious to confer with Morgan,, 
personally,, left his camp on the Pee Dee, under the com- 
mand of General* linger and Colonel O. II. Williams,, 
and started with one aid, and two or three mounted mil- 
itia, for the Catawba. On the route, he was informed of 
Cornwallis' pursuit. General Morgan had previously 
cro.ssed the Catawba at the Island Ford. On the 31st of 
January, General Greene reached Sherrill's Ford, a few 
miles below the Island Ford, where he had an interview 
with Morgan, and directed his future movements. 

The British army reached Salisbury on that night, and 
on the ne.\t morning started in pursuit of Green and 
Morgan. These officers did not await the dawn, but 
crossed the Yadkin river at tiie Trading Ford, six mile.S' 
beyond Salisbury, while his Lordship was quietly slnm- 
bering, and dreaming, ])erhajis, of future conciuest and 
glory I W'iien ( ornwallis awoke on the morning of the 
third, lie lia>tene(l to strike a i'atal blow on the banks oi 
the Yadki\),but the Americans wereljeyond liis reach, and 
Providence ha ! ;igain [)laced an impassable barriei' of wa 
tei- bc'lween tliem. Co[mou.s rains in the mountains liarJ 
swollen the Yadkin to a mighty river. Tlie hoi'ses of 
Morgan had forded the stream at midnight, and the in- 
fantry passed over in boats at dawn. These vessels wei'c 
fastened on tiie eastern shore of the Yadkin, and Corn- 
wallis was obliged to wait for the waters to subside before 
he could attempt to cross. Again he had the Americans 
almost within his grasp. A corps of riflemen were yet on 
the Western side when O'Hara, with the vanguard of the 
British army, approached, but these escaped across the 
river, after a slight skirmish. Xothing was lost but a 


few wagons belonging to Whig families, who, with their 
effects, were fleeing wdth the American army. 

Lord Cornwallis, af*:er an ineffectual cannonade over 
the river, returned to Salisbury, and, on theTtli, marched 
up the western bank of the Yadkin, and crossed at the 
Shallow Ford, near the village of Iluntsville. 

Dr. Read, the surgeon of the American army, has left 
this record of the cannonading scene: "At a little dis- 
tance from the river was a small cabin, in which General 
Greene had taken up his quarters. At this building the- 
enemy directed their fire, and the balls rebounded from 
the rocks in the rear of it. But little of the roof was vis- 
ible to the enemy. The General was preparing his or- 
ders for the army, and his dispatches to the Congress.. 
In a short time the balls began to strike the roof, and 
clap-boards were flying in all directions. But the Gen- 
eral's pen never stopped, only when a new visitor ar- 
rived, or some officer for orders ; and then the answer was- 
given with calmness and precision, and Greene resumed 
his pen." 

It is related as a truthful tradition that, after the Brit- 
ish army reached Salisbury, Lord (Jornwallis, Tarleton,. 
and other royal officers, were hospitably entertained b_y 
Dr. Anthonv Newman, although he was a true Whig.- 
There, in presence of Tarleton, and other spectators. Dr.. 
Newman's two little sons were engaged in playing the 
game of the " battle of the Cowpens," with grains of corn r, 
red grains representing the British officers, and white- 
grains the Americans. 

Washington and Tarleton were particularly repre- 
sented, and as one pursued the other, as in a real battle^ 
the little fellows shouted, "Hurrah for Washington,. 
Tarleton runs ! Hurrah for Washington." Colonel Wil- 
liam A. Wasnington, it will be recollected, commanded 
the American cavalry. Tarleton looked on for a while,. 


but soon becoming irritated at ihe playful but truthful 
scene, he exclaimed: " See these cursed little rebels!" 

The pursuit of Morgan by Cornwallis was the most ex- 
citing and prolonged military chase of the American 
Revolution. Under various tangible interpositions of 
Providence, the retreat, as we have seen, proved finally 
successful, and Morgan's forces saved for the future ser- 
vice of his countr}'. 


Greneral Griffith Rutherford was an Irishman by birth, 
brave and patriotic, but uncultivated in mind and man- 
ners. He resided w^st of Salisbury, in the Locke settle- 
ment, and actively participated in the internal govern- 
ment of the county, associated with such early and 
distinguished patriots as Moses Winslow, Alexander Os- 
born, Samuel Young, John Brevard, James Brandon, 
William Sharpe, Francis McCorkle, and others. He 
represented Rowan county in the Provincial Congress 
which met at Halifax on the 4th of April, 1776, and 
during this session he received the appointment of Brig- 
adier General of the " Salisbury District." Near the close 
of the summer of 1776, he raised and commanded an 
army of two thousand four hundred men against the 
Cherokee Indians. After being reinforced by the Guil- 
ford Regiment, under Colonel James Martin, and by the 
Surry Regiment under Colonel Martin Armstrong, at 
Fort McGahey, General Rutherford crossed the " Blue 
Ridge," or Alleghany mountains, at SwannanoaGap, near 
the western base of which tfie beautiful Swannanoa river 
("nymph of beauty") takes its rise. After reaching the 
French Broad he passed down and over that stream at a 
crossing-place which to this day bears the name of the 
" War Ford." He then passed up the valley of " Homi-- 
ny Creek;" leaving Pisgah Mountain on the left, and 


crossed Pigeon River a little below the mouth of East 
Fork. Pie then passed through the mountains to Rich- 
land Creek, above the present town of Waynesville; as- 
cended the creek and crossed the Tuckaseegee River at 
an Indian town. Pursuing his course, he crossed the 
Cowee Mountain, where he had a small engagement with 
the enemy, in which one of his men was wounded. A.S 
the Indians carried off their dead and wounded, their 
los^ could not be ascertained. Thence he marched to the 
^ Middle Towns," on the Tennessee river, where, on the 
14th of September, he met General Williamson with 
troops from South Carolina on tlie same mission of sub- 
duing the Indians. 

In skirmishes at Valley Town, Ellajay, and near Frank- 
lin, General Rutherford lost three men, but he completely 
subdued the Indians. He then returned home b}^ the 
same route, since known as " Rutherford's Trace." The 
Rev. James Hall, of Iredell county, accompanied this ex- 
pedition as chaplain. 

The uniforms of the officers and men was a hunting- 
shirt of domestic, trimmed with cotton : their arms were 
rifles, and none kneiu better how to use them. Many of the 
hardy sons of the west there experienced their first essay 
in arms, and their bravery was nobly maintained after- 
wai'ds at King's Mountain, the Cowpens, and elsewhere 
in the South. 

General Rutherford commanded a brigade in the bat- 
tle of Camden, (16th of August, 1780), and was there 
made a prisoner. After he was exchanged he again took 
the held, and commanded the expedition which marched 
by way of Cross Creek (nowFayetteville) to A¥ilmington^ 
when that place, on his approach, was evacuated by the 
British, near the close of the war. 

He frecjuently represented Rowan county in the Senate 
during and subsequent to the war, showing the high ap- 
preciation in which his services were held by the people. 


Shortly after his last service in 1786, he joined the strong 
tide of emigration to Tennessee, where his well-earned 
faine and experience in governmentjd matters had [)i'e- 
<ieded him. The Knoxville Gazette of the 6th of Septem- 
ber, 1794, contains the following announcenxMit: 

"On Monday last 1ho Gcn.ernl Assembly of this terr.- 
tory commenced their session in this town. General 
Rutherford, long distinguished for his services in the 
Legislature of North Carolina, is appointed President cf 
the Legislative Council.'' 

General Rutherford died in Tennessee near the begin- 
ning of the present century, at a good old age, and it is 
to be regrette<l more has not been preserved of his life 
and services. 


Matthew Locke, one of the first settler.'? of Rowan county, 
and the patriarchal head of a lai-ge family, was born in 
1730. He was an early and devoted friend of liberty and 
tiie rights of the people. His stability o{ cliaracter and 
maturity of judgment caused him to be held in high 
esteem in all controversial matters among his fellow citi- 
zens. In 1771, during the "Regulation'' troubles, he 
was selected by the people, with Herman ILisbands, to 
receive the lawful fees of the sheriffs, an 1 other crown 
officers, whose exotbitant exactions and oppressive con- 
duct were then everywhere disturbing the peace and wel- 
fare of society. Tn 1775, he was a member of the Colonial 
Assembly, and in 1776 member of the Provincial Con- 
gress, which met on the 12th of November of that year, 
and formed the first Constitution. From 1793 to 1799 
he was a member of Congress, and was succeeded by the 
Hon. Archibald Henderson. He married a daughter of 
Richard Brandon, an early patriot of the same county. 
He died in 1801, aged seventy-one years. 


Matthew Locke had at one time four sons in the Revo- 
lutionary war. Francis Locke, his eldest son, was 
iippointed by the Provincial Congress which met at Hal- 
ifax on the 4th of April, 1776, Colonel of the 1st Kowan 
Regiment, with Alexander Dobbins as Lieutenant Colo- 
nel ; James Brandon, 1st Major, and James Smith, 2d 
Major. He was attached to General Lincoln's army 
tvhen General Ashe was defeat'sd at Brier Creek, and com- 
posed one of the members of the court-martial to incjuire 
into that unfortunate affair. Colonel Locke commanded 
the forces which attacked and signally defeated a large 
body of Tories assembled at Ramsour's Mill, under Col. 
John Moore. (For particulars, see " Lincoln county "). 
Another son, Lfeutenant George Locke, a brave young 
officer, was killed by the British in the skirmish near 
Charlotte, in September, 1780. 

Hon. Francis Locke, son of Francis- Locke, the "hero 
of Ramsour's Mill," was born on the 31st of October, 
1766. He was elected Judge of the Superior Court in 
1803, and resigned in 1814, at which time he was elected 
a Senator in Congress in 1814-'15. He never married, 
iind died in .January, 1823, in the forty-fourth year of his 
age. His mortal remains, with those of his father, Colo- 
nel Francis Locke, repose in the grave-yard of Tln-atira 
Oluirch, Rowan county, N. C. 

(Condensed from Wheeler's "Historical Sketches.'") 

Hon. Archibald Flenderson was born in Granville 
county, N. C. on the 7th of August, 1708; studied law 
with Judge AVilliams, his relative, and was pronounced 
by the late Judge Murphy, who knew him long and well, 
to be " the most perfect model of a lawyer that our bar 
has produced." * * * No man could look upon him 
without pronouncing him one of the great men of the 


age. The impress of greatness was upon bis countenance ? 
not that greatness which is the oifspring of any single- 
talent or moral quality, but a greatness which is made- 
up by blending the faculties of a fine intellect with exalted 
moral feelings. Although he was at all times accessible- 
and entirely free from austerity, he seemed to live an^ 
move in an atmosphere of dignity. lie exacted nothing: 
by his manner, yet all approached him with reverenet? 
and left him with respect. His vras the region of higb 
sentiment ; and here he occupied a standing that was- 
pre-eminent in JSTorth Carolina. lie contributed more 
than an}' man, since the time of General Davie and Al- 
fred Moore, to give character to the bar of the State.- Hif« 
career at the bar has become identified with the histo-ry 
of l^orth Carolina: and his life and his example fcrnisb 
themes for instruction to gentlemen of the b-ench and tc 
his brethren of the bar. May they study his life ancl 
profit by his example! 

He represented his district in Congress from 1799' to 
1803, and the town of Salisbury frequently in the State Leg- 
islature. He married Sarah, daughter of William Alexar> 
der, and sister of William Alexander and Nathaniel 
Alexander, afterward Governor of the State, He left two* 
cliiklren, the late Archibald Henderson,. Esq.,- of Salis- 
bury, and Mrs. Boyden, wife of the late Hon.- Nathanieli 

He died on the 21st of October, 1822, in th«fifty-fourtli 
year of his age. 

(Condensed from Wheeler's "Historical Sketches.'"): 

Richmond Pearson, late of Davie county when a part of 
Rowan, was born in Dinwiddle county, Va.y in 1770,an(3 
at the age of nineteen years came to IsTorth Carolina an-^ 
settled in the forks of the Yadkin river. 


When the war of the Revokition broke out he was a 
Lieutenant in Captain Bryan's company (afterward the 
■celebrated Colonel Bryan, of Tory memor}^). After the 
Declaration of Independence, at the first muster which 
.occurred, he requested some on whom he could rely to 
3oad their guns. When Captain Bryan came on the 
•ground he ordered all the men into ranks. Pearson re- 
fused, and tendered his commission to Bryan, whereupon 
lie ordered him under arrest. This was resisted, and he 
was told that the men had their guns loaded. They then 
.came to a parle}^ and it was agreed by the crowd, as mat- 
iters stood, that Bryan and Pearson, on afixed day,should 
settle this national affair by a fair j^s;! /7_^///', and which- 
<ever whipped, the company should belong to the side of 
the conqueror, whether Whig or Tor3^ At the appoint- 
ed time and place the parties met, and the Lieutenant 
proved to be the victor. From this time the Fork com- 
pany was for liberty, and Bryan's crowd, on Dutchman's 
creek, were Loyalists. The anecdote illustrates by what 
slight circumstances events of this period were affected. 
When Cornwallis came south, Pearson, with his com- 
pany, endeavored to harass his advance. He was present 
iit Cowan's Ford on the 1st of February, 1781, where 
General Davidson fell in attempting to resist the passage 
of the British. Captain Pearson was a successful mer- 
<,-iiant and an enterprising planter. LEe died in 1819, 
leaving three sons and one daughter: 1st, Jesse A.; 2d, 
Joseph; 3d, Richmond; and 4th, Elizabeth Pearson. 
Jesse A. Pearson was frequently a member of the Gene- 
ral Assembly from Rowan county. In 1814 he marched 
£is Colonel of a Regiment to the Creek ISTation, under Gen- 
eral Joseph Graham, and was afterward elected Major 
General of the State A'lilitia. He died in ISiS, without 

Hon. Joseph Pearson was a member of the General 
Assembly in the House of Commons from Rowan county 


in 1804 and 1805, and a meraler of Congress from 180&' 
to 1815. He died at Salisbury on the 27tli of October, 
1834. He was thrice married. By his first wife, Miss 
McLinn, he had no issue: by the second, Miss Ellen 
Brent, he had two daughters — one, the wife of Robert 
Walsh, Esqr, of Pliiladelphia — the other, the wife of 
Lieutenant Farley, of the U. S. Navy ; and by the third 
wife (Miss Worthington, of Georgetown), he left four 

Richmond Pearson married Aliss McLinn. He was 
never in public life, but was an active, enterprising man. 
He left the following children : 1st. Sarah, who married 
Isaac Croom, of Alabama ; 2d. Eliza, who married W. 
G, Bently, of Bladen county, N. C. ; 3d. Charles, who 
died without issue; 4th. Hon. Richmond M. Pearson was 
born in June, 1S05, educated at Statesville by John 
Mushat, and graduated at Chapel Hill in 1823. He- 
studied law under Judge Henderson, and was licensed in 
182G. He entered public life in 1S29 as a member to the 
State Legislature from Rowan count}', and continued as- 
such until 1832. Li 1836 he was elected one of the- 
Judges of the Superior Court, and in 1848 was transfer- 
red to the Supreme Court, which elevated position he 
now occupies ; oth. Giles N. Pearson married Miss Ellis,, 
and was a lawyer by profession. He died in 1847, leav- 
ing a wife and five children ; 6th. .John Stokes Pearson 
married Miss Beattie, of Bladen county. He died in 
1848, leaving four children. 

The reader ma}^ be curious to know something of the- 
fate of Colonel Samuel Bryan, who commanded the Tory 
regiment in the forks of the Yadkin, which was so- 
roughly handled and cut to pieces by Colonel Davie and 
his brave associates, at the battle of the hanging Rock. 

About the time Major Craig evacuated Wilmington in 
1781, Colonel Bryan, Lieutenant Colonel John Hampton 
and Captain Nicholas White, of the same regiment, re- 


turned to the forks of the Yadkin, were arrested and tried 
for high treason, under the act of 1777, entitled "An Act 
for declaring what Crimes and Practices against the State 
shall be Treason," &c. 

Judges Spencer and Williams presided. The prosecu- 
tion was ably conducted by the Attorney General, Alfred 
Moore, and the defence by Richard Henderson, John 
Penn, John Kinciien and William R. Davie, truly a fine 
array of legal talent. 

Public indignation was so greatly excited that Grover- 
nor J^iirke found it necessary, after the ti'ial, to protect 
the prisoners from ^Mulence by a military guai'ci. 

Colonel Davie's defence of Colonel Bryan, in the argu- 
ment n)ade to i he jury uj^on the occasion, was said to 
hii\e been a brilliunt exhibition of his forensic al>ility. 
For many years afterwards his services were rer|uiic<l iu 
all capi'al cases, and as a crimiiiiil lawyer he had no 
rival in the State. They were all con victed, had sentence 
of death [)assed ut)on them, were pai'doned, and ^ubse 
(jueiuly exchanged lor otficers of equal rank, who were" 
at the time confined within tiie Biitish lines. 


The long, arduous and eventful I'etreat of General 
Morgan through the Carolinas, after the battle of the 
Cowpens, and the- eager pursuit of Cornwallis to ovei'take 
him, encumbered with more than five hundred prisoners, 
on his way to a place of safety in A^irginia, affords many 
interesting incidents. General Greene having met Mor- 
gan on the eastern banks of the Catawba river, at Sher- 
rill's Ford, and directed his forward movements, pro- 
ceeded to Salisbury, a little in advance of his forcec. It 
liad been slightly raining during the day, and his wet 
garments, appearance of exhaustion and dejection of 
spirits at the loss of General Davidson at Cowan's Ford, 


as he dismounted at the door of the principal hotel in 
Salisbury, indicated too clearly that he was suffering un- 
der harassing anxiety of mind. Dr. Reed, who had 
charge of the sick and wounded prisoners, while he 
waited for the General's arrival, was engaged in writing 
the necessary paroles for such officers as could not go on. 
General Greene's a^ds having been dispatched to differ- 
ent parts of the retreuting army, he was alone when he 
rode up to the liotel. Dr. Reed, noticing his dispirited 
].)ok?, remarked that he appeared to be fatigued; to 
which the wearied officer replied: " Yes, fatigued, hun- 
gry, alone, and penniless!" General Greene had hardly 
taken his seat at the well-spread table, when Mrs. Steele, 
the landlady of the hotel, entered the room and carefully 
shut the door behind her. Approaching her distin- 
guished guest, she remindea him of the despondent 
words he had uttered in her hearing, implying, as she 
thought, a distrust of the devotion of his friends to the 
cause of freedom. She declared money he should have, 
and immediately drew from under her apron two small 
bags full of specie, [>robab]y the earnings of several years. 
'"Take these, General," said she, '"'you need them and I 
can do without them." This offering of a benevolent 
heart, accompanied with words of kindness and encour- 
agement. General Greene accepted with thankfulness. 
*'■ Never," says his biographer, " did relief come at a more 
propitious moment; nor would it be straining conjecture 
to suppose that he resumed his journe}'- with his spirits 
cheered and lightened by this touching proof of woman's 
devotion to the cause of her country." 

General Greene did not remain long in Salisbury; but 
before his departure from the liouse of Mrs. Steele, he left 
a memorial of his visit. Seeing a picture of George III. 
hanging against the wall, sent as a present to a connec- 
tion of Mrs. Steele from England, he took it down and 
wrote with chalk on the back, " George, hide thy face, 


.■and mourn," and replaced it with the face to the wall. 
The picture, with the writing unefFaced, is still in posses- 
sion of a grand daughter. Mrs. Steele was twice married ; 
>her first husband was a Gillespie, by whom she had a 
daughter, Margaret, who married the Rev. Samuel E. 
McCorkl'^, a distinguished Presbyterian minister ; and 
Richard Gillespie, who was a Captain in the Revolution, 
and died unmarried. By her second husband, William 
i?teele, she had only one child, the Hon. John Steele, who 
died in Salisbury on the 14th of August, 1815. He was 
a conspicuous actor in the councils of the State and Na- 
tion, and one whose services offer materials for an inter- 
<:>sting and instructive biography. 

Mrs. Steele died in Salisbury on the 22d of November, 
1790. She was distinguished not only for her strong at- 
tachment to the cause of freedom, but for the piety which 
shone forth brightly in her pilgrimage upon earth. 
Among her papers was found, after her death, a written 
dedication of herself to her Creator, and a prayer for sup- 
port in the practice of christian duty; with a letter, left 
US a legac}^ to her children, enjoining it upon them to 
make religion the great work of life. 



Iredell comit}^ was formed in 1788 from Rowau county, 
and named in honor of James Iredell, one of tlie Associate 
,Jn i^res of the Supreme Court of the United States. 

At the time of the war of the Eevolution the county of 
Rowan embraced all that beautiful and ao-ricultural region 
extending from the foot of tin,' Blue Ridge Mountains, 
eastwardly, to where the Yadkin river loses its name in the 
great l^cedee ; comprising a territory equal in extent to 
several of the States of the American Union, and present- 
ing a varied topography, unsurpassed for bold mountain 
scenery and lovely landscapes spreading over the charming- 
champaign country lying between the Yadkin and Catawba 
rivers. Within this territory are now organized many 
counties, with attractive features, one of wliich is the county 
of Iredell. 


Alexander Osborn was born in New Jersey in 1709, and 
emigrated to the western part of Rowan county (now 
Iredell) about 1755. He was a Colonel in tbe Colonial 
government, and as such marched with a regiment of 
Rowan troops to Ilillsljoro in 1768 to assist Governor Tryon 
in suppressing the " Regulation " movement. 

He married Agues McWhorter, a sister of Dr. Alexander 
McWhorter, president of (Jueen's Museum College in 


Charlotte. His residence (called Belmont) was one of the 
earliest worshiping places of the Presbyterians of Rowan 
county before the present " Center Church " was erected^ 
and became by compromise the central meeting-house of 
worship for a large extent of surrounding country. Colonel 
Osborn was a man of fine character and wielded a strong 
influence in his day and generation. 

In the grave yard of Center Church, on a double head- 
stone, are the following records : 

"Here lys the body of Col. Alexander Osborn, who de- 
ceased July y= 11th, 1776, aged 67 years;" and, separated 
by a dividing upright line, this record appears : 

" Here lys the body of Agnes Osborn, who deceased 
Jul}^ y' 9th, 1776." From these records it would appear 
that this worthy couple left the scenes of earth for a brighter 
world only two days apart, and not on the same day, as 
stated by some authorities. They left one son, Adlai 
Osborn, who graduated at Princeton College in 1768. He 
was Clerk of the Court for Rowan county under the Royal 
gavernment, and continued in that office until 1809. He 
was a man of fine literary attainments, the warm friend of 
education, and one of the first Trustees of the State Uni- 
versity. He died in 1815, leaving a large family, among 
whom were Spruce McCay Osborn, who graduated at 
Chapel Hill in 1806 ; studied medicine, entered the army as 
surgeon, and was killed at the massacre of Fort Minims in 
the war of 1812; and Edwin Jay Osborn, who was dis- 
tinguished as a lawyer of eloquence and learning, and was 
the father of the late Judge James W. Osborn, of Charlotte, 
one of Mecklenburg's most worth}-, gited and lamented 


Captain William Sharpe was born on the 13th of De- 
cember, 1742, and was the eldest son of Thomas Sharpe. of 


Cecil county, Maryland. At the age of twenty-one he 
came toKorth Carolina and settled in Mecklenburg county, 
■svhere he married a daughter of David Reese, one of the 
signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, 
He was a lawyer by profession and had a large practice. 
Soon after his marriage he moved to the western part of 
Rowan county (now Iredell) and took an active and decided 
stand for liberty. The Journal of the '' Committee of 
Safety " for Ilowau county, from 1774 to 1776, presents a 
noble record of his activity and influence. 

He was a member from Rowan county to the Provincial 
Congress which met at Newbern in April, 1775; and also 
of the Congress at Hillsboro, in August, 1775. In Novem- 
ber, 1776, he was a member of ,the Convention at Hahfax 
which formed our first State Constitution. He acted as 
aid to General Rutherford in his campaign against the 
Cherokee Indians in 1776. In 1777 he was appointed wdth 
Waightstill Avery, Joseph Winston and Ro])ert Laneer to 
form a treaty with the same tribe of Indians. 

In 1779 he w^as appointed a member of the Continental 
Congress at Philadelphia, and served until 1782. He died 
in July, 1818, in the 77th year of his age, leaving a widow 
and twelve children. Two of his sons, William and 
Thomas, were in the battle at Ramsour's Mill, — the former 
commanding a company with distinguished bravery, and, 
near the close of the action, shot down one of the Tory 
captains w'hich speedily terminated the fortunes of the day 
in favor of the American arms. 

His eldest daughter, Matilda,married William W. Erwin, 
-of Burke county, who, for more than forty years, w^as Clerk d 
of the Superior Court for that county, and in November, fj 
1789, w^as the delegate to the Convention at Fayette ville 
which ratified the Federal Constitution. Like a faithful 
vine she raised fifteen children who have held honorable 
positions in society. His second daughter, Ruth, married 
ol. Andrew Caldwell, of Iredell county, who was often a 


member ot tlie State Legislature. He was the father of 
the late Judge David F. Caldwell, the Hod. Joseph P. 
Caldwell, Dr. Elam Caldwell, of Lincolnton, and others. 


Many interesting events which transpired within the 
territory of " old Rowan " during the war of the Revolu- 
tion, have unfortunately been buried from our view by 
those who have passed awa3\ A few traditions still 
linger in the memory of the descendants of those wlio 
were actors in those scenes relating more particularly to- 
the north-eastern portion of Iredell, and of some of the 
families who resided there. And although such tradi- 
tions can onlv be now presented as detached and frasf- 
mentary items of history, yet they are worthy of being, 
preserved and placed on permanent record. 

The facts given in this sketch relate to that part of Ire- 
dell lying between Statesville, its county seat, and Yad- 
kinville, tlie county seat of Yadkin county, and mostly 
near to the dividing line of these two counties. 

The numerous creeks and small streams which water* 
this portion of Iredell, empty into three large streams of" 
about the same size, flowing through it, named Soutii 
Yadkin, Rocky Creek, and Ilunting Creek. These streams'' 
mingle their waters in a common channel before their 
confluence with the Great Yadkin, in the county of Da- 

In the year 1778, Thomas Young removed from Meck- 
lenburg, Virginia, to iSTorth Carolina, and settled on 
Hunting Creek, within three miles of the place where? 
the counties of Yadkin, Davie, and Iredell now form a 
common corner. He was then passed the age for mili- 
tary service, but had furnished three sons-in-law and two- 
sons to the army of General Washington, and a third 
son, at sixteen years of age, to the army at ISTorfolk, Va. 




One of his sons-in-law, Major William Gill, entered the 
service at the beginning of the war, and became con- 
nected with the staff of General Washington. He served 
in the capacity of aid to the Commander-in-chief through 
the war, and was with him at the surrender of Cornwal- 
lis, at Yorktown. From this point he returned to his 
famih', in Mecklenburg, Va., who had not heard from 
him in two years- 
Soon after the establishment of peace, Major Gill, with 
his family, and the other two sons-in-law of Mr, Young, 
viz : Major Daniel Wright and Dr. Thomas Moody, and 
his sons, William, Henry, and Thomas Young, removed 
to North Carolina and settled near him. Major Gill set- 
tled on Rocky Creek, near to the site of the present village 
of Olin, and, at his death, was interred in the family 
burying ground on the lands of his father-in-law. The 
record on his tombstone states that he died on the 4th of 
September, 1707, in the 47th year of his age. His com- 
mission is now ill possession of his descendants, in Iredell 

The part which Major Gill bore in the great struggle 
for independence, was once familiar in the traditions of 
his family, and must have been satisfactory to General 
Washington, from the fact that he continued with him 
to the end of the war, and bore with him into retirement 
the commission which made him one of the military 
family of the father of his country. 

A single incident will show the spirit w^ith VAhich Maj. 
Gill bore himself on the battle-tield. At the battle of 
Brandywine, while discharging his duty, he became sep- 
arated from his command, and, in the dense smoke of the 
conflict, rode into the ranks of the enemy. Upon dis- 
covering his situation, the only means of escape which 
presented itself, was to leap his horse over a high rail 
fence, which was being scattered by the artillery of the 
enemy. This feat he accomplished successfully, and 


tifterward received the eon,i;i'atulations of his General for 
the spirited adventure and escape. 

It has not been I'ecorded in histor}^ tliat the mortal 
remains of a member of the staff of General Washingtcni 
lepose on the banks of Hunting- Creek, in the county of 
Iredell, N. C. The tradition here given of the fact, can 
be yet fully attested by surviving members of the family 
of Major Gill, as well as by liis commission. 
y Captain Andrew CarsonA'as a younger son-in-law of 
Mr. Young, having married after the family removed to 
Nortii Carolina. He and his brother, Lindsay Carson, 
both joined the service in the southern army. And let 
it be recorded, in passing, that Lindsay Carson was the 
father of Christopher Houston Carson, now widely known 
as "Kit Carson," the great Indian scout, and that "Kit" 
was born on Hunting Creek, within half a mile of the 
residence of Mr. Thomas Young. 

Andrew Carson, like his nephew, "Kit," was of an ad- 
venturous disposition, and was the bearei' of disj)atches 
from the commanding officers in the up-country to those 
in South Carolina. This duty made him acquainted 
with the command of General Francis Marion, which 
suited his taste, and he connected himself with it. He 
was with the "Swamp Fox," so greatly dreaded by the 
British and the Tories, in many of his stealthy marches 
and daring surprises, the recital of which would send the 
blood careering through the veins of his juvenile listen- 
ers, half a century ago. The memory of them now 
awakens a dim recollection of the thrill and absorbing 
interest then experienced. 

Captain Carson was connected with the command of 
Baron DeKalb, at the battle of Camden, and was by 
the side of that noble oflicer when he was shot down 
while crossing a branch, and bore him out in his own 
arms. Captain Carson also sleeps in tJie same famil}' 
cemetery with Major Gill. 




With a family thus engaged in the defence of their 
country, it will be readily understood that their parental 
home was no ordinary rendezvous for sympathisers in its 
vicinity. When Mr. Young settled in an almost unbro- 
ken forest on the banks of Hunting Creek, he located 
and constructed liis im})rovements with the view of de- 
fence in cases of emergency. He built two substantial 
log houses, about forty feet apart, fronting each otheiv 
and closed the end openings with strong stockades. Port 
holes were provided to be used for observation, or other- 
wise, as occasion might demand. The buildings are y^t 
standing, in a good state of preservation. This was head- 
quarters for the Whigs for many miles around. It was 
the point ior receiving and distributing information, as 
well as for concerting measures for the aid of the cause of 
freedom, and for dej'ositing supplies for friends in the 
field. The Brush}'^ Mountains- were but a few njiles dis- 
tant, and were infested with Tories, who made pi'edatory 
incursions into this part of Iredell, carrying off stock, de- 
vastating farms, and ambuscading and shooting Whigs„ 
who were especially obnoxious to tlicm. 

Mr. Young's fortifications presented a rallying jioint 
for defence against such invasions, as Fort Dobbs did four 
miles noilh of Statesville. 

He was himself a member of an association of * iuht^' 
neighbors, who were engaged in manufacturing powdei- 
in a rude way for the use of their home departnjent- 
Against this association the Tories were extremely bittei\ 
and conspired to kill them. They succeeded in murder- 
ing seven of them, and detailed one of their li umber to» 
way-lay and shoot Mr. Young. The man assigned to 
this duty was named Aldrich, who concealed himself ii> 
the woods near the dwelling of his intended victim, and 
watched for an opportunity to perpetrate the murderous 
deed. The habitual circumspection of Mr. Young foiled 
him in his purpose until lie was discovered by a member 


of the family, and became so frightened as to induce him 
to abandon the effort. 

After peace had been proclaimed, Captain Andrew 
Caldwell, who resided on Rocky Creek, and was the father 
of Judge David F. and Hon. Joseph P. Caldwell, and 
other sons well known in the public offices of Iredell, 
was appointed the Commissioner to administer the oath 
of allegiance in that part of the county. Aldrich pre- 
-3ented himself among them, but the recollection of his 
;^veii murders, still fresh in the memory of all, so aroused 
the indignation of Captain Caldwell and Captain Andrew 
Carson, who was present, that instead of making him a 
loj^al citizen of the United States, they went to work and 
forthwith hung him on one of the joists of the barn, in 
which they were transacting their lawful business. 

In many places, Whigs who were past the age for ser- 
vice in the field, organized themselves into vigilance asso- 
ciations for the welfare of the country and their own pro- 
tection. The duties devolving upon them rendered them 
familiar with events as they really transpired, and often 
caused them to pass through thrilling and adventurous 
scenes. They learned to know and how to trust each 
other. Attachments thus formed by heads of families 
were strengthened, and more strongly united in ties of 
friendship after the restoration of peace. The descend- 
ants of these associated friends were educated to revere 
the memories of the fathers, and to cultivate the society 
iind friendship of their children. The traditions of the 
•*' dark days " vof the war were always topics of family and 
fireside conversation with the "old folks," and the}^ 
always found attentive listeners in their posterity, upon 
whose youthful minds impressions then made were as 
enduring as time. 



X Captain Alexander Davidson was one of the earliest 
settlers of the western part of Rowan county (now Iredel-l.)' 
lie took an active part in the Revolutionary struggle fm' 
independence. When Cornwallis was moving from Charles- 
ton tow^ard North Carolina, and General Gates was ordered! 
to meet him, Governor Caswell, of North Carolina,, ordered- 
a draft of men to sti'engthen Gates' arnjy. In response to> 
this order the people in that part of Iredell county border- 
ing on the Catawba river below tlie Island Ford, assembled 
at a central point, afterward known as Brown's Muster 
Ground, when a company was formed under the draft and! 
Alexander Davidson was elected its captain.. Sbom- after- 
ward Captain Davidson marched his company to Gates" 
I'endezvous, when that officer moved his arni}^ to the un- 
fortunate and sanguinary field of Camden, S. C 

In that disastrous engagement Captain Davidson's com- 
pany took an active part, and the greater portion of thenn 
was cut to pieces. Captain John Davidson, a grand son of 
Captain Alexander Davidson, now (1876) resides near 
Statesville, in Iredell county. lie well remembers that: 
the commission of his grand father, as captain ol this com- 
pany, and a diar}^ of his services during tlie war of the* 
Revolution, were in the possession of his father's- family' 
until 1851 when they were taken to Washington City by 
the late Hon, J. P. Caldwell and were not returned. 
7 Captain John Davidson is one of the most proinin-ent 
and public-spirited citizens of Iredell county, and implicit 
reliance may be placed in his statements. 


Captain James Houston was born in 1747, and was aw 
early and devoted friend of liberty. In the battle of 


Ramsour's Mill, near the present town of Lincolnton, he 
took an active part, and by his undaunted courage greatly 
contributed to tlie defeat of the Tories on that occasion. 
During the eugagement Captain Houston was severely 
wounded in the thigh, from the effects of which he never 
fully recovered. Seeing the man who inflicted the severe 
and painful wound he shot him in the back and killed 
him as he ran. When it was ascertained that Cornwallis 
had crossed the Catawba river at Cowan's Ford, and was 
approaching with his army, thefamily of Captain Houston 
conveyed him to the "big swamp" in the immediate 
vicniity, known as "Purgatory," and there concealed 
him until the British Ijad marched quite tljrough tlie 

When the British army passed the residence of Cap- 
tain Houston some of them entered the yard and house, 
and threatened Mrs. Houston with death if she did not 
quickly inform them where her husband was, and also 
where her gold and silver and China-ware were kept, 
using, at the same time, very course and vulgar language! 
Mrs. Houston, knowing something of "woman's rights '' 
in every civilized community, immediately asked the 
protection of ^iu officer, who, obeying the better impulses 
of human nature, ordered the men into line and marched 
til em off. 

Mrs. Houston -and "Aunt Dinah" had taken the 
timely precaution tohRle the China ware in the tan vats 
and the pewter-ioare in the mud immediatelv beneath the 
pole over which it was necessary to waU/in convey in o- 
provisions to Captain Houston in his place^'of conceal men tt 
The pole was put under the water and mud every time 
by aunt Dinah when she returned, so that no track or 
trace could be discovered of her pathway into the swamp. 

Captain James Houston was the father of the late Dr 
Joel B. Houston, of Catawba, and the ,grandlather of R 
B. B. Houston, Esq., who now wares the gold sleeve 


buttons of bis patriotic ancestor with his initials, J. H. 
engraved upon them. Dr. .J. II. G. Houston, of Ahx- 
bama, who married Mary Jasie Simonton, 's another 

The fo]h')wi!5g is 


Captain. James Houston ; Lieutenant, William David- 
son ; David Evins. David Byers, Eobert Byers, Nat.^ 
Ewing, Alexander Work, William Creswell, William 
Erwin, John Ilovis, John Thompson, John Beard, -John 
Boston, Robert Poston, Paul Cunningham, John M. Co'n- 
nell, Moses White, Angus McCauley, Robert Brevard, 
Adam Torrence, Sr., Adam Torrence, Jr., Charles Quig- 
ley, James Guliek, Benjamin Brevard, Thomas Temple- 
ton, John Caldwell, Joseph McCawn, James Young 
James Gray, Philip Logan (Irish), William Vint, Daniel 
Bryson, John Singleton. 

Many of these have descendants in Iredell at tlie pres- 
ent time, and they can refer with veneration to the names 
of their patriotic ancestors. 

Captain James Houston died on the 2d of August, 1819, 
in the 73d year of his age, and is buried in Center Church 


Rev. James Hall, a distinguished soldier of the Revo- 
lution — the Captain of a company and Chaplain of a 
Regiment at the same time — was born at Carlisle, Penn- 
sylvania, on the 22d of August, 1744. When he was 
about eight years old his parents, who were Scotch-Irish, 
removed to North Carolina and settled in the upper part 
of Rowan county, (now Iredell), in the bounds of the 


congregrriioii to winch ]iv afterward gave rhirtv-eight 
yeai\s of his ministerial life. 

Secluded iii the forests of Rowan, a:ul lemoved to a 
great extent from i\w follies of the great world, James 
Hall grew up under the watchful care of pious parents, 
receiving such e;irly instiuction as the country schools 
then afiorded. 

In his twenty-sixth year he commenced the study of 
tlie classics, and made rapid progress, as his mind was 
maiured aiid his application close and unremitting. 
When duly prepared he entered Princeton College, un- 
<ler the direction of President Witherspoon, one of the 
signers of the National Declaration of Independence. 
He graduaied in 1774, in his thirty-first year. Tho Theo- 
logical reading of Mr. Mall was pursued under the 
direction of Dr. Withers!)oon, that eminent ujinisterand 
patriol, whose views in religion and j)olitics were thor- 
oughly imhibed hy his student. In the spring of 177(> 
he was licensed hy the Presbytery of Orange to preach 
tiie Gospel of everly.sting Peace. During the exciting 
scenes of the Revolution, in which he had been licensed 
and ordained, Mr. Hall held the office of pastor over the 
three congi'cgations of Fourth Creek, Cuncurd and Beth- 
any, which extended from the South Yadkin river to the 
Catawba. After the Revolution he served these three 
congregations iinti! 171)0, when, wishing to devoie more 
time to, the cause of domestic missions, he was released 
from his connection with Fourth Creek and Concord 
His connection witJi Bethany continued until his death, 
in July, 1826. 

A full account of Mr. Hall's patriotic services during 
the Revolution would far transcend the prescribed limits 
of this sketch. The principles of civil and religious 
freedom which he received in his parental, as well as in 
his collegiate training, would not allow him to remain 
neuter or indifferent, when a cruel, invading foe was 



tranijiling on the just and dearest rights of his connti\y. 

Accordingly, in response to the warm, patriotic im- 
pulses of his nature, when General Rutherford called out 
an array of over two tliousand men from the surround- 
ing counties to subdue the Cherokee Indians, who were 
■committing numerous murders and depredations on the 
frontier settlements, Mr. Hall promptly volunteered his 
services, and was gladly accepted by the commanding 
officers as their Chaplain. 

In the brief, diary notes of Captain Charles Polk, (now 
before the author), who commanded a company in this 
expedition, he says: "On Thursday, the 12th of Septem- 
ber, we marched down the river three miles, to Cowee 
Town, and encamped. On this day there was a party of 
men sent down this river (JVuckessey) ten miles, to cut 
down the corn ; the Indians tired on them as they were 
cutting the corn and killed Hancock Polk, of (-olonel 
Beekman's Regiment." On Friday, the 13th, they re- 
mained encamped in. Cowee Town. On Saturday, the 
14th, " we marched to NuckesseN'Town, six miles higher 
up the river, and encamped. On Sunday, the 15th, one 
of Captain Irwin's men was buried in Nuckessey Town. 
On Monday, the ItUh, we marched five miles — this day 
with a detachment of twelve hundred men — for the A"al- 
ley Towns, and encamped on the waters of Tennessee 
river. Mr. Hall preached a sermon last Sunday; in time 
of sermon the express we sent to the South army returned 
home. On Tuesday, the 17th, we marched six miles, 
and arrived at a town called JVowcc, about 12 o'clock ; 
three guns were fired at Robert Harris, of Mecklenburg, 
by the Indians, said Harris being in the rear of the army. 
We marched one mile from Noivce and encamped on the 
side of a steep mountain, without any fire." 

These extracts show that Mr. Hall was then at his post 
of duty, and ready to deliver religious instruction to the 
American army. The sermon was directly prompted b^' 


the death of a fellow soldier. Wlio can tc^ll how nuiny 
Siearts were touched, and benefitted by the gosi)el truths 
■proclaimed by the youthful preacher on that solemn 
occasion? The counsels of Etern.ty can alone answer 
the question. 

[n 1779, when South Carolina was overrun by the 
British and Tories, Mr. Hall's spirit was stirred witljin 
him on receiving intelligence of the massacres and plun- 
derings experienced b}-- the inhabitants of the upper part 
of that State. Under this state of feeling he assembled '- 
tiis congregation and addressed them in strong, patriotic 
language on what he believed to be their present duty, 
He pictured to their view, in a most thrilling manner, the 
wrongs and sufferings of their afflicted countrymen. The 
•appeal to tlieir patriotism was not made in vain. With 
•as little delay as possible a company of cavalry, composed 
oi choice young men from his congregation, was 
promptly raised. On its organization, Mr. Hall was 
•unanimously chosen for their Captain ; all his excuses 
were overruled, and, in order to encoarage his country- 
men to act rather than to talk, he accepted the command. 
•*' Heart within, and God o'erhead." During this tour of 
service two of his men were taken priconers. As he 
€ould not recover them by force of arms, their case was 
made the subject of prayer, both in his private devotions 
.find in public with his company. In a few days after- 
ward the prisoners made their escape and rejoined their 
/ellow soldiers. 

They stated tliat, as tlieir captors lay encamped one 
•night on Broad River, in South Carolina, the sentinel 
placed at the door of the guard-house was observed to be 
-drows}'- ; they remaining quiet,'5he soon fell asleep. When 
the prisoners discovered he was truly reposing in " balmy 
sleep," they quietly stepped over him as he lay vv^ith his 
gun folded in his bosom, and quickly ran for the river. 
'The noise of their plunge into the water, aroused the 


attention of another more wakeful sentry ; the alarm was- 
given, and boats were manned for the pursuit, but the 
active swimmers reached the opposite bank in safety and 
thus effected their escape, to the great jo}-- of the praying. 
Captain and his faithful company. 

In the winter of 1781, when Lord Cornwallis was ap- 
proaching the Catawba river with his army, General 
Davidson, who was in command of the Whigs on the 
opposite or Mecklenburgsideof that stream, concentrated 
his forces, stationed at different points on the river, to 
resist him at Cowan's Ford. In order to strengthen him- 
self as much as possible, he sent couriers to the adjoining 
counties, calling on the Whigs to rally to his assistance. 
One of these couriers, sent to Fourth Creek Church, (now 
Statesville), in Iredell count}^ arrived on the teabbath, 
v/hile the pastor, the Rev. James Hall, was preaching. 
The urgency of his business did not permit him to delay 
in making known the nature of his mission, and, as the 
best course of doing so, he walked up to the pulpit and 
handed Davidson's call to the pastor, the Rev. James 
Ilall, whose patriotic record was well known. Mr. Hall 
glanced over the document, and understanding its pur- 
port, brought his discourse to a speedy clos*^, descended 
from the pulpit, and read it to his congregation. 

After reading it he made a patriotic appeal to his au- 
dience to respond to this call of their countr}'. Where- 
upon, a member of the congregation moved that they 
organize by calling Mr. Hall, the pastor, to preside, and 
proceed to take such action as the circumstances de- 
manded. The pastor accepted the position of President 
of the meeting, renewed his appeal to the patriotism of 
his people, and demonstrated his sincerity in calling for 
volunteers by placing his own name at the head of the 
list. His example was quickly followed by a sufficient 
number of his congregation to form a company. It was- 
then decided to adjourn, and meet again at the church 


at 10 o'clock next morning, mounted, with arras and sup- 
plied with ammunition, and five da^^s rations, at which 
time they would elect officers and proceed to the scene 
of conflict. 

Accordingly, on the following morning the pastor and 
the greater part of the male members of his congregation 
responded to roll call under the noble oaks, where then^ 
and now, stands Fourth Creek Presbyterian Church, in 
the corporate limits of the town of Statesville, the county 
seat of Iredell. 

The assemblage proceeded immediately to the election 
of officers, when the Rev. James Hall, their pastor, wa&// 
unanimously chosen Captain. 

In accordance with the choice of his beloved congre- 
gation, so cordially given, Mr. Hall instantly assumed 
command, put his men in rapid motion, and, in due 
time, reported to General Davidson and took his ])Ositiort 
in line, to resist the invaders of his country. 

This was the sort of patriotism that burned in the bo- 
soms of the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians between the Yad- 
kin and Catawba rivers ; which was enkindled by the 
pastors of the seven churches of Mecklenburg, and burst 
forth into a flame upon the classic site of Charlotte, on 
the 20th of May, 1775. 

When the war of the revolution had ended, Mr. Hall 
devoted himself, with undivided energies, to his beloved 
work, the gospel ministry. The effects of the long and 
harassing war upon the churches in Carolina were de- 
plorable ; the regular ordinances of the gospel had been 
broken up, and the preached word had become less val- 
ued. His efforts in promoting vital godliness met with 
the Divine approbation, were attended with His blessing,, 
and resulted in a revival of religion. 

One sphere of usefulness in which Mr: Hall excelled,, 
was the education of young men. JSTear the commence- 
ment of the war he conducted for a time a classical 


school, called Clio's Nursery, on Snow Creek, in Iredell 
county. This he superintended with care, and through 
its agency brought out many distinguished men that 
might not otherwise have obtained an education. 

This eminent minister of the gospel died on the 25tli 
of July, 1826, in the eighty-second year of his age, and is 
buried in the graveyard of Bethany Church, in Iredell 


Hugh Lawson White was born in Iredell county in 
1773, on the plantation now owned by Thomas Caldwell, 
Esq., about two miles west of Center Church, and five 
miles east of Beattie's Ford, on the Catawba river. The 
old family mansion has long since disappeared, and the 
plow now runs smoothly over its site. His grandfather, 
Moses White, emigrated to America from Ireland about 
1742, and married a daughter of Hugh Lawson, one of 
the. patriarchal settlers of the country. He had six sons, 
James, Moses, John, William, David and Andrew; many 
of whose descendants now reside in Iredell county. 
James White, the father of Hugh, was a soldier of the 
Revolution. About 1786 he moved to Knox county, 
East Tennessee, and was one of the original founders of 
the present flourishing city of Knoxville. When the 
Creek (Indian) war broke out he entered the army, was 
soon made a Brigadier General, and was distinguished 
for his bravery, energy and talents. 

Hugh L. White's education w^as conducted under the 
care of Rev. Samuel Carrick, Judge Roane, and Dr. Pat- 
terson, of Philadelphia. After completing his studies he 
returned home and commenced the practice of his pro- 
fession. By close attention to business he soon acquired 
eminence, numerous friends, and a handsome compe- 
tency. At the early age of twenty-eight he was elected 


one of the Judges of the Superior Court. In 1807 he re- 
ftigned his Judgshij) and retired to his farm. 

There appears, says a writer on biography, always to 
be a congei.iality between tlie pursuits of agriculture and 
all great and good minds. We do not pretend to analyze 
the rationale of this, or why it is that patriotism exists 
with more elevation and fervency in the retirement of a 
farm than in the bus}' mart of crowded cities. Tlie his- 
tory of man proves this fact, that the noblest instances of 
self-sacrificing patriotism which have adorned the drama 
of human life, have been presented by those who are de- 
voted to agricultural pursuits. It is the only pursuit 
that man followed in his state of primal innofence, and 
surviving his fall, allows the mind 

"To look tliroiigh nature, up to nature's God."' 

But his well-known abilities were too highly appreciated 
l)y his fellow-citizens to grant him a long retirement. 
.Soon after his resignation of the judicial robes lie was 
elected a Senator to the State Legislature. 

In. 1809, when Tennessee remodeled hei' judiciary de- 
partment, and created the Supreme Court, Judge White 
was unanimously chosen to preside ovei- this important 
tribunal of justice. He could not with propriety refuse to 
accept a position so cordially tendei-ed, and highly honora" 
ble in its character. For six years he presided over its de- 
liberations with such fidelity and strict integrity as to 
win universal esteem and unfading honors for his repu- 
tation. At the same time he was elected President of the 
State Bank. Under his able management its character 
acquired stability and public confidence. 

The State of Tennessee was then severely suffering 
from the hostile incursions and savage depredations of 
the Creek Indians. At the darkest period of the cam- 
paign, when General Jackson was in the midst of a wild 
territor}^ and surrounded, not only by cruel savages, but 
enduring famine, disaffection and complaints, -Judge 


White left the Supreme Court Bench, and with a siiit^h? 
companion, sought and found, after da3''s and nights of 
peril, the camp of tiie veter:in Jackson. He immediately 
volunteered their services, and they were gladly ac- 
cepted. While Judge White was absent on this cam- 
paign he lost several terms of liis court; and as tlie 
Judges were only pai<l for services actually rendered, the 
Legislature resolved that there should be no deduction in 
his annual salary as Judge. This continuance of salary, 
so gratefully ottered, he declined to receive. 

In 1822 he was aiipointed, with Governor Tazewell of 
Virginia, j-nd Governor King, of Alabama, a commis- 
sioner uudtr tlie convetdion with Spain, which position 
he accepted and lield until its term expired in 1821. 

In 1825; '^--enei'al Jackson having resigned his seat as 
a Senator in Congress, Judge White was unanimously 
elected to fill out his term. In 1827 he was unanimously 
elected for a full term ; and in 1832 was chosen President 
of the Senate. In 1830 he was voted for as President of 
the United States. 

He died, with the consciousness of a well spent life, at 
his adopted home in Tennessee, on the 10th of April,, 
1840, aged sixty-seven years. 



Liii'-olii county was Ibrnied in 1708, from Mecklen- 
burt; county, and named Tryon, in honor of William 
Tryon, at that time the Royal Governor, but his oppres- 
sive administration, terminating with cold-blooded mur- 
ders at the battle of Alamance in 1771, caused tlie Gen- 
eral Assembly in 1779 to blot out his odious name and 
divide the territory into Lincoln and Rutherford counties. 
These names were imposed during the Revolution when 
both of tiie honored heroes were lighting the battles of 
their country. 

Lincoln county, separated from Mecklenburg by the 
noble Catawba river, has a Revolutionary record of 
peculiar interest. In June, 1780, the battle of Ramsour's 
Mill was fought, which greatly enlivened the Whigs, and, 
in a corresponding degree, weakened the Tory influence 
throughout the surrounding country. Li January, 1781, 
Lord Cornwallis, with a large invading army, passed 
through the county and camped for three days on the 
Ramsour battte-ground. General OTlara, one of his 
chief officers, camped at llie '' Reep place," about two 
miles and a half west of Ramsour's Mill. Tarleton, with 
his cavalry, crossed the South Fork, in "Cobb's bottom," 
and passed over the ridge on which Lincolton now stands 
(before the place had a " local habitation and a name,") 
in approaching his lordship's headquarters. 


Althoiigli L'liicolii couiity contained many who wei'e 
misled through the artful influence of designing men, and 
fought on the wrong side, yet, within her Ijorders were 
found a gallant band of unflinching patriots, both of Ger- 
man and Scotch-Irish descent, who acted nobly throughout 
the struggle for independence, and " made their mark " 
victoriously at Ramsour's Mill, King's Mo'untain, the Cow- 
pens, and at other places in iSTorth and South Carolina. 

Lincoln county, as Tryon, sent to the first popular Con- 
vention, which met at Newbern, on the 25th of August, 
1774, Robert Alexander and David Jenkins. To Hills- 
boro, August 21st, 1775, John Walker, Robert Alexander, 
Joseph Hardin, William Graham, Frederick Ilanibright 
and William Alston. To Halifax, April 4th, 1776, Jamet-- 
Johnston and Charles ■ McLean, 'i'o the same place, Xo- 
vcniber 12th, 1776, (which l)ody formed the first State 
Constitution,) Josei)h Hardin, AVilliam Graham, Robert 
Abernathy, William Alston and Jolm Barber. -Several of 
these names will be noticed in the sul)sequent sketches. 


The unsuccessful attempt nuule by General .Lincoln to 
take Savannah, and the subsequent capture of the army 
under his eonimand at ( liarleston, induced Sii' llem\\' 
Clinton to regard the States of South Carolina and Georgia- 
as sulxlued and restored to the British Crown. The South, 
w^as then left, for a time, without any regular force to de- 
fend her territory. Soon after the surrender of Charleston., 
detachments of the British army occupied the principaS 
military posts of Georgia and South Carolina. Col. Brown 
re-occupied Augusta; Col. Balfoui- took pOvSsession of 
Ninety-Six, on the Wateree, and Lord Cornwallis pressed 
forward to Camden. Sir Henry Clinton then embarked, 
with tlic main army for iS!"ew Yoi"k, leaving four thousand 
troops for the further subjugation of the South. After his 


departure the chief command devolved on Lord Corn walls, 
who immediatelj'- repaired to Charleston to establish com- 
i mercial regulations and organize the civil administration 
ot the State, leaving Lord Kawdon in ccrmmand at Camden.. 
North Carolina had not yet been invaded, and the hopes of 
the patriots in the South now seemed mainly to rest on this^ 
earliest pioneer State in the cause of liberty. 

Charleston surrendered on the 12th of May, 1780. On. 
the 29th of the same month Tarleton defeated Col. Buford 
in the Waxhaw settlement, upwards of thirty miles south 
of Charlotte, on his way to the relief of Charleston. Just^ 
before the surrender, a well organized force from Mecklen- 
burg, Rowan and Lincoln counties, left Charlotte with the- 
same object in view, but arrived too late, as Charleston was' 
then completely invested by the British army. And yet 
this force, after its return, proved of great service in pro- 
tecting the intervening country, and prevented tlie inva- 
sion of Noi'th Carolina until a few weeks after the battle of 

At this critical period General Rutherford ordered out- 
the whole militia, and by the 3d of June about nine hun- 
dred men assembled near Charlotte. On the next day 
the militia were addressed by the Rev. Alexander Mc- 
Whorter, the patriotic President of '' Liberty Hall Acad- 
emy," (formerly Queen's Museum"), afier which General) 
Rutherford dismissed them, with orders to hold them- 
selves in readiness for another call. Major, afterward 
General, Davie having recovered from his wounds re- 
ceived at Stono, near Charleston, again took the fjeld^, 
and part of his cavalry were ordered to reconnoiter be- 
tween Charlotte and Camden. Having heard that Lorci 
Rawdon had retired with his army to Hanging Rocky 
General Rutherford moved from his rendezvous to Rea's- 
plantation, eighteen miles north-east of Charlotte, to- 
Mallard Creek. On the 14th of June the troops under 
his command were properly organized. The cavalry^ 


sixty-five in number under Major Davie, were equipped 
as dragoons, and formed into two companies under Cap- 
tains Lemraonds and Martin. A battalion of three hun- 
dred light infantry were placed under the command of 
General William Davidson, a regular officer, who could 
not join his Regiment in Charleston after that place was 
invested. About five hundred men remained under the 
immediate command of General Rutherford. On the 
evening of the 14tli of June he received intelligence that 
the Tories, under Col. John Aloore, had embodied them- 
selves in strong force at Ramsour's Mill, near the present 
town of Lincolnton. He immediately issued orders to 
Colonel Francis Locke, of Rov/an ; Major David "Wilson, 
of Mecklenburg ; also to Captains Falls, Knox, Brandon, 
and other officers, to raise men to disperse the Tories, 
deeming it unwise to weaken his own force until the ob- 
ject of Lord Ravvdon, still encamped at Waxhaws, should 
become better known. 

On the 15th General Rutherford advanced to a posi- 
tion two miles south of Charlotte. On the 17th he was 
informed Lord Rawdon had retired towards Camden. 
Oa the 18th he broke up his camp south of Charlotte, 
and marched twelve miles to Tuckaseege Ford, on the 
Catawba river. On the evening of that day he dispatched 
an express to Col. Locke, advising him of his movements, 
and ordering him to unite with him (Rutherford) at Col. 
Dickson's plantation, three miles northwest of Tucka- 
seegee Ford, on the evening of the 19th or on the morn- 
ing of the 20th of June. The express miscarried, in some 
unaccountable way, and never reached Colonel Locke. 

When General Rutherford crossed the river on the 
evening of the 19th, it was believed he would march in 
the night, and attack the Tories next morning; but still 
supposing his express had reached Colonel Locke, he 
waited for the arrival of that officer at his present en- 
campment in Lincoln county, where he was joined by 


<Jol. Graham's regiment. At ten o'clock at night of the 
19th, Col. James Johnston, a brave officer, and well ac- 
quainted with the intervening country, arrived at Gen. 
Rutherford's camp. He had been dispatched by Colonel 
Locke from Mountain Creek, sixteen miles from Ramsour's 
Mill, to inform Gen. Rutherford of his intention of attack- 
ing the Tories next morning at sunrise, and requested his 
co-operation. Gen. Rutherford, still expecting his express 
would certainly reach Col. Locke soon after Col. Johnston 
left his encampment on Mountain Creek, made no movo- 
oient until early next morning. 

In pursuance of the orders given to Col. Locke and 
other officers from headquarters at Mallard Creek, on the 
14th of June, they quickly collected as many men as they 
€ould, and on the 18th Major Wilson, with sixty-five men, 
-crossed the Catawba at Toole's Ford and joined Major 
McDowell, from Burke, with twenty-five horsemen. 
They passed up the river at a right angle with the position 
of the Tories, for the purpose of meeting other Whig- 
forces. At McEwen's Ford, being joined by Captain Falls 
with forty men, they continued their march up the east 
side of Mountain Creek, and on Monday, the 19th, they 
united with Col. Locke, Captain Brandon and other officers, 
with two hundred and seventy men. The whole force now 
nmounted to nearly four hundred men. They encamped 
■on Mountain Creek at a place called the glades. The 
officers met in council and unanimously agreed it would 
be unsafe to remain long in their present position, and, not- 
withstanding tlie disparity of the opposing forces, it was 
determined that they should march during the night and 
attack the Tories in tlieir camp at an early hour next morn- 
ing. It was said that the Tories being ignorant of their 
inferior force, and being suddenly attacked would be easily 
routed. At this time, Col. Johnston, as previouslj^ stated, 
was dispatched from Mountain Creek to apprise General 
Rutherford of their determination. Late in the evening 


they commenced their march from Momitaiii Creek, antl 
passing down the south side of the mountain they halted at 
the west end of it in the night when they again consulted 
on the plan of attack. It ^Yas determined that the com- 
panies under Captains Falls, McDowell and Brandon should 
act on horsehack and march in front. No other arrange- 
ment was made, and it was left to the othcers tO' l>e gov- 
erned by circumstances after they reached the enemy. 
They accordingly resumed their march and by day light 
arrived within a mile of the Tories, assembled in strong: 
force, about two hundred and fifty yards east of Ramsour'K> 
Mill, and half a mile north of the present town of Lincoln- 
ton. The Tories occupied an excellent pasition on th^ 
summit of the ridge, which has a gentle slope, and was- 
then covered with a scattered growth of tree^. Th« fbolt 
of the bill on the south and east was bounded by a glade„ 
and its western base by Ramsour's mill pond. The positio'is 
was so well chosen that nothing but the most determin'ecl 
bravery enabled the Whigs, with a greatly inferior force- 
to drive the Tories from it, and claim the victo-ry of one oi* 
the most severely contested battles of the Revolution. 

The forces ol Colonel Locke approached' tbe battle grountl 
from the east, a part of his command, at leasts having takeias 
" refreshments" at Dellinger's Taven, which stood near the- 
present residence of B. S. .Johnson, Esq., of Lincolnton^ 
The companies of Captains Falls, McDowell and Brandoni 
were mounted, and the other troops under Col,. Locke were' 
arranged in the road, two deep, behind them. Lender this- 
or2;anization they marched to the battle-field. The mounted 
companies led the attack. AVhen they came within sigh it 
of the picket, stationed in the road a considerable distance* 
from the encampment, they perceived that their approacb 
had not been anticipated. The picket fired and fied tc« 
their camp. The cavalry pursued, and turnirsg to the rightr 
out of the road, they rode up within thirty steps of ^he liue" 
iind fired at the Tories. This bold movement O'f the cavalrj' 


threw them into confusion, but seeing only a few men 
assaiUng them they quickly recovered from their panic and 
poured in such a destructive fire upon the horsemen as to 
compel them to retreat. Soon the infantry hurried up to 
their assistance, the cavah-y rahied, and the fight became 
general on both sides. It was in this first attack of the 
cavalry that the brave Captain Gilbraith Falls was mortally 
wounded in the breast, rode about one hundred and fifty 
yards east of the battle ground, and fell dead from his 
horse. The Tories, seeing the efiect of their fire, came, a 
short distance down the hill, and thus brought themselves 
in fair view of the Whig infantry. Here the action was 
renewed and the contest fiercely maintained for a consid- 
erable length of time. In about an liour the Tories began 
to fall back to their original position on the ridge, and a 
little beyond its summit, to shield a part of their bodies 
from the destructive and unceasing fire of the Whigs^ 
From this strong and elevated position the Tories, during 
the action, were enabled at one time to drive the Whigs 
nearl}' back to the glade. 

At this moment Captain Hardin led a small force of 
Whigc into the field, and, under cover of the fence, kept 
up a galling fire on the right flank of the Tories. This 
movement gave their lines the proper extension, and the 
contest being well maintained in the center, the Tories 
began to letreat up the ridge. Before they reached its 
summit they found a part of their former position in pos- 
session of the Whigs. In this quarter the action became 
close, and the opposing parties in two instances mixed 
together, and having no bayonets they struck at each 
other with the butts of their guns. In this strange con- 
test several of ihe Tories were made prisoners, and others, 
divesting themselves of their mark of distinction, (a twig 
of green pine-top stuck in their hats), intermixed with 
the Whigs, and all being in their common dress, escaped 
without beino; detected. 


The Tories finding the left of their position in posses- 
.'sion of the Whigs, and their center closely pressed, re- 
treat?d down the ridge toward the pond, still exposed to 
the incessant fire of the Whig forces. The Whigs pur- 
sued their advantages until they got entire possession of 
the ridge, when they discovered, to their astonishment, 
that the Tories had collected in strong force on the other 
«ide of the creek, beyond the mill. They expected the 
fight would be renewed, and attempted to form a line, 
but only eighty-six men could be paraded. Some were 
scattered during the action, others were attending to their 
wounded friends, and, after repeated efforts, not more 
than one hundred and ten men could be collected. 

In this situation of affairs, it was resolved by Colonel 
Locke and other officers, that Major David Wilson of 
Mecklenburg, and Captain William Alexander of Rowan, 
should hasten to General Rutherford, and urge him to 
press forward to their assistance. General Rutherford 
had marched early in the morning from Colonel Dick- 
son's plantation, and about six or seven miles from Ram- 
sour's, was met by Wilson and Alexander. 

Major Davie's cavalry was started off at full gallop, and 
Colonel Davidson's battalion of infantry were ordered to 
hasten on with all possible speed. After progressing 
about two miles they were met by others from the battle, 
who informed them the Tories had retreated. The march 
was continued, and the troops arrived at the battle- 
ground two hours after the action had closed. The dead 
and most of the wounded were still lying where they 

In this action the Tories fought and maintained their 
ground for a considerable length of time with persistent 
bravery. Very near the present brick structure on the 
battle-ground, containing within its walls the mortal re- 
mains of six gallant Whig captains, the severes*. fighting 
took place. They here sealed with their life's blood their 


devotion to their country's strugglp for independence. 

In addition to those from their own neighborhoods, the 
Tories were reinforced two days before the battle by two 
hundred well-armed men from Lower Creek, in Burke 
county, under Captains Whiston and Murray. Colonel 
John Moore, son of Moses Moore, who resided six or 
seven miles west of Lin^olnton, took an active part in 
arousing and increasing the Tory element throughout 
the county. He had joined the enemy the preceding 
winter in South Carolina, and having recently returned, 
dressed in a tattered suit of British uniform and with a 
sword dangling at his side, announced himself as Lieu- 
tenant Colonel in the regiment of North Carolina loyal- 
alists, commanded by CoionelJohn Hamilton, of Halifax. 
Soon thereafter, i^icliolas Welch, of the same vicinity, 
who had been in the British service for eighteen months, 
and bore a Major's commission in the same regiment, also 
returned, in a splendid uniform, and with a purse of 
gold, which was ostensibly displayed to his admiring as- 
sociates, accompanied with ai-tful speeches in aid of the 
cause he had embraced. Under these leaders there was 
collected in a few weeks a force of thirteen hundred men, 
who encamped on theelevated position east of Ramsour's 
Mill, previously described. 

The Tories, believing that they were completely beaten, 
formed a stnUageni to secure their retreat. About the 
time that Wilson and Alexander were dispatched to Gen- 
eral Rutherford, they sent a flag under the pretense cf pro- 
posing a suspension of hostilities for the purpose of bury- 
ing the dead, and taking ere of tlie wounded. To pre- 
vent the flag officer from seeing their small number. 
Major .James Rutherford and another officer were oi'dered 
to meet him a short distance from the line. The propo- 
sition being made, Major Rutherford demanded that the 
Tories should sui'render in ten minutes, and then the ar- 
rangements as requested could be effected. In the mean- 


time Moore and Welch gave orders tliat such of their 
own men as were on foot, or had inferior horses, should 
inovf' otf singly as fast as they could ; so ihat, when the 
flag returned, not more than fifty men remained. These 
very brave officers, before the battle^ and who misled so 
many of their countrymen, were among the first to take 
their departure from the scene of conflict, and seek else- 
where, by rapid flight, more healthy quarters. Col. Moore, 
with thirty of his followers, succeeded in reaching the 
British army at Camden, where he was threatened with 
a trial by court-martial for disobedience of orders in at- 
tempting to embody the Loyalists before the time ap- 
pointed b}"" Lord Coi'uwallis. 

As there was no perfect organization by either party, 
nor regular returns made after the action, the loss could 
not be accurately ascertained. Fifty-six men lay dead on 
the side of the ridge, and near the present brick enclo- 
sure, where the hottest part of the fight occurred. Many 
of the dead were found on the flanks and over the ridge 
toward the Mill. It is believed that about seventy weie 
killed altogether, and that the loss on either side was 
nearly ef|ual. About one liundred "werf wounded, and 
fifty tories marie prisoners. The men had no uni- 
form, and it could not be told to which paity many of 
the dead belonged. Most of the "Whigs wore a white 
piece of paper on their hats in front, which served as a 
mark at which the Tories frequently aimed, and conse- 
quently, several of the Whigs, after the battle, were found 
to be shot in the head. 'In this battle, neighbors, near 
relatives and personal friends were engaged in hostile 
array against each other. After the action commenced, 
scarcely any orders were given by the commanding offi- 
cers. They all fought like common soldiers, and ani- 
mated each other by their example, as in the battle of 
King's Mountain, a little over three months after. In no 
battle of the Revolution, where a band of patriots, less 


than four hundred in number, engaged against an en- 
^iiiy, at least twelve hundred strong, was there an equal 
loss of officers, showing the leading part they performed, 
and the severity of the conflict. They were all 

"Patriots, who perished for their country's riglit, 
Or nobly triumphed on the fieUl of fight." 

Of the Whig officers, Captains Falls, Knox, Dobson, 
Smith, Bowman, Sloan, and Armstrong were killed. 
Oaptain William Falls, who commanded one of the cav- 
alry companies, was shot in the breast in the first spirited 
charge, as previously stated, and riding a short distance 
in the rear, fell dead from his horse. His body, after the 
battle was over, was wrapped in a blanket procured from 
Mrs. Reinhardt and conveyed to Iredell (then a part of 
Rowan) for burial. Captain Falls lived in Iredell coun- 
ty, not far from Sherrill's Ford, on the Catawba. There 
is a reliable tradition which states that when Captain 
Falls was killed a Tory ran up to rob the body, and had 
.taken his watch, when a young son of Falls, though only 
fourteen years old, ran up suddenly behind the Tory, 
drew his father's sword and killed him. Captain Falls 
was the maternal grandfather of the late Robert Falls 
Simonton, who had the sword in his possession at the 
lime of his death, in February, 187G. 

• Captain Patrick Knox was mortally wounded in the 
ihigh ; an artery being severed, he very soon died from the 
resulting hemorrhage. Captain James Houston was 
severely wounded in the thigh, from the eff'ects of which 
he never fully recovered. Captain Daniel McKissick was 
also severely wounded, but recovered, and represented 
Lincoln county in the Commons from 1783 to ITS?- 
Captains Hugh Torrence, David Caldwell, John Reid, all 
of Rowan county, and Captain Smith, of Mecklenburg, 
came out of the conflict unhurt. William Wilson had a 
,horse shot down under him, and was wounded in the 


second fire. Several of the inferior officers were killed.. 
Thirteen men from the vicinit}' of Fourth Creek (States- 
ville) lay dead on the ground after the battle, and many 
of the wounded died a few days afterward. JosephWas- 
sOn, from Snc ,' Creek, received five balls, one of which it- 
is said he carried /or^y years to a day^ when it came out of 
itself. Being unable to stand up he lay on the ground,^ 
loaded his musket, and fired several times. 

The brick monumental structure on the southern brow 
of the rising battle-ground, about fiftv or sixty yards 
from the present public road, contains the mortal remains 
of six Whig Captains ; also those of Wallace Alexander, 
and his wife, who was a daughter of Captain Dobson,one 
of the fallen heroes on this hotly-contested field of strife. 

The loss of the Tories was greater in privates, but less 
in officers, than the Whigs. Captains Cumberland, War- 
lick and Murray were killed, and Captain Carpenter 
wounded. Captains Keener, Williams and others, in- 
cluding Lieutenant-Colonel John Moore and Major 
Welch, escaped with their lives, but not " to fight another 

On the highest prominence of the battle-ground ^ in a 
thinly- wooded forest, is a single headstone pointing out- 
the graves of three Tories, probably subordinate officers, 
with the initials of their names inscribed in parentheses, 
thus: "(I. S.)': (N. W.)f (P. W.): "—with three dots 
after each name, as here presented. A little below are 
two parallel lines extending across the face of the coarse 
soap stone, enclosing three hearts with crosses between, 
as much as to say, here lie three loving hearts. 

Near a pine tree now standing on the battle-ground,, 
reliable tradition says a long trench was dug, in which 
w^as buried nearly all of the killed belonging to both of 
the contending forces, laid side by side, as the high and 
the low are perfectly equal in the narrow confines of the- 



Early on the morning of the 20th of June, 1780, when 
the Tories were forming their forces in 'Martial array 
near the residence of Christian Reinhardt, situated on 
the south-western brow of the battle-ground, he conduct- 
ed his wife, with two little children in his arras, and sev- 
eral small negroes, across thecreeic to a dense cane-brako 
extending along and up the western bank of the mill 
pond as a place of safety. He then returned to his resi- 
dence, and in a very short time the battle commenced. 
As the contest raged, and peal after peal of musketry re- 
verberated over the surrounding hills and dales, hi& 
dwelling-house, smoke-house, and even his empt}'- stables 
were successively filled with the dead, the dying and the 
wounded. When the battle was nearly over, and victory 
abouc to result in favor of the Whigs, many of the Tories- 
swam the mill pond at its upper end, and thus made 
their escape. Two of these fleeing Tories, with green pine' 
tops in their hats, (their badge of distinction), rushed 
through the cane-brake very near to Mrs. Reinhardt and 
her tender objects of care, exclaiming as they passed- 
" We are whipped ! we are whipped ! ! " and were soon 
out of sight. During the unusual commotion and terrific 
conflict of arms, even the deer Avere aroused from their 
quiet retreat. One of these denizens of the cane-brake, 
with sprangling horns, dashed up near to Mrs. Reinhardt,. 
and after viewing for a moment, with astonishment, the 
new occupants of their rightful solitude, darted off" with 
a celefeity little surpassing that of the fleeing Tories. 
As soon as the firing ceased, Mrs. Reinhardt came out of 
her covert with her little ones, and, on reaching the 
bridge, at the mill, found it had been torn up by the re- 
treating Tories, but, being met there by her husband, she 
was enabled to cross over, reach her home, and witness- 


the mournful scene which presented itself. The tender 
sympathy of w^oman's heart, ever ready to minister to 
the wants of suffering humanity, was then called into re- 
quisition, and kindly extended. In a short time her 
house was stripped of every disposable blanket and sheet 
to wrap around the dead, or be employed in some other 
useful way. Neighbors and relatives, a few hours before 
bitter enemies, were now seen freely mingling together 
iind giving every kind attention to the sufferers, whether 
Whig or Tor}^ wnthin their power. 


After the battle of the Cowpens, on the 17th of Jan- 
uary, 1781, Lord Cornwallis left his. headquarters at 
Winnsboro, S. C, being reinforced by G-eneral Leslie, 
and marched rapidly to overtake General Morgan, encum- 
bered with more than five hundred prisoners, and neces- 
sar}'^ baggage, on his way to a place of safety in Virginia. 
His Lordship was now smarting under two signal defeats 
(King's Mountain and the Cowpens) occurring a little 
more than three months apart. But the race is not al- 
ways to the swift nor the battle to the strong. " Man 
proposes, but God disposes." 

The original manuscript journal of Lord Cornwallis, 
now" on file in the archives of the Historical Society of 
the State University at Chapel Hill, discloses, with great 
iiccuracy, the movements of the British army through 
Lincoln, Mecklenburg and Rowan counties. 

On the 17th of .January, 1781, the headcjuarters of Gen- 
eral Leslie were at Sandy Run, Chester county, S. C. On 
the 18th, at Hillhouse's plantation, in York county, he 
returns his thanks to the troops under his command, and 
informs them that all orders in future will issue from 
Lord Cornwallis and the Adjutant General. At eight 
.o'clock at night, Lord Cornwallis issues his orders to the 


anny to march at eigljt o'clock on the ensuing morning 
in the following order: 1. Yagers; 2. Corps of Pioneers; 
3. two thre« pounders; 4. Brigade Guards; 5. Regiment 
of Bose; 6. North Carolina Volunteers; 7. two six pound- 
ers ; 8. Lieutenant Colonel Webster's Brigade ; 9. Wagons 
of the General; 10. Field Officers' wagons; 11. Ammuni- 
tion wagons; 12. Hospital wagons; 13. Regimental wag- 
ons; 14. Provision train; 15. Bat. horses; a captain, two 
subalterns, and one hundred men from Col. Webster's 
Brigade, to form a rear guard. On the 19th the array 
camped at Smith's house, near the Cherokee Iron Works, 
on Broad river. On the 20th the army camped atSaun- 
der's plantation, on Buffalo creek. On the 23d the army 
crossed the North Carolina line, and camped at Tryon 
old Court House, in the western part of tlie present county 
of Gaston. On the 24th the army arrived at Ramsour's 
Mill, near the present town of Lincolnton. Here Corn- 
wallis was compelled to remain three days to lay in a 
supply of provisions for his large army. To accomplish 
this, foraging parties were sent out in different directions 
to purchase all the grain, of every kind, that could be 
procured. Ramsour's Mill, surrounded with a guard of 
eiglit or ten men, was set to work, running day and night, 
converting the grain into meal or flour. 

General O'llara camped at the "Reep place," two miles 
and a half northwest of Ramsour'sMill. His forces crossed 
the iSouth Fork,- about a mile above the bridge, on the 
public road leading to Rutherfordton. Tarleton's cav- 
alry crossed the same stream in "Cobb's bottom," pass- 
ing over the present site of Lincolnton, to form a junction 
with Cornwallis. This small divergence from the direct 
line of travel, and subsequent concentration at some des- 
ignated point, was frequently made by sections of the 
British army for the purpose of procuring supplies. 

Lord Cornwallis, during his transitory sta}'', made his 
headquarters nearly on the summit of the rising ground, 


two hundred and fifty yards east of the Mill, on which 
had been fought the severe battle between the Whigs^ 
under Colonel Francis Locke, and theTories, under Lieu- 
tenant Colonel John Moore (son of Moses Moore), in 
which the former were victorious. 

Christian Reinhardt. one of the first German settlers 
of the county, then lived near the base of the rising bat- 
tle ground, and carried on a tan-yard. He owned a 
valuable servant, named Fess, (contraction of Festus,) 
whose whole sowi was exerted in making good sole leather, 
and upper too, for the surrounding country. This ser- 
vant, greatly attached to his kind master, was forced ofi", 
very much rgainst his will, by some of the British sol- 
diery on their departure; but his whereabouts having 
been found out, Adam Reep, and one or two other noted 
Whigs, adroiily managed to recover him from the Brit- 
ish camp, a few days afterward, and restored him to his 
rightful owner. 

The Marquee of Lord Cornwallis was placed near a 
a pine tree, still standing on the battle ground, left tliere 
by the present owner of the property, (W. M. Reinhardt, 
Esq., grand son of Christian Reinhardt,) in clearing the 
land, as a memento of the past — where Royalty, for a 
brief season, held undisputed sway, and feasted on the fat 
of the land. 

Reliable tradition says that some of the British soldiery, 
while encamped on the Ramsour battle-ground, evinced 
a notable propensity for depredating upon the savory 
poultry of the good old house-wife, Mrs. Barbara Rein- 
hardt — in other words, they showed a fondness for pro- 
curing /o/6'/ meat by foul means, in opposition to the prin- 
ciples of honesty and good morals. As soon as the 
depredations were discovered by Mrs. Reinhardt she 
immediately laid in her complaints at liead-quarters. 
Whereupon his lordship, placing greater stress upon the 
sanctity of the eiglith commandment tlian his loyal 


soldiers, promptly replied, " Madan], you shall be pro- 
tected,'' and accordingly had a guard placed over her 
property until his departure. 

Another incident relating to the advance of the British 
army is to the following effect. As Tarleton's cavalry 
passed through the southern part of Lincoln county (now 
Gaston) they rode up to the residence of Bejamin Ormand, 
on the head-waters of Long Creek, and tied one of the 
horses, which they had taken, to the top of a small white 
oak, growing in his yard. This little fvevolutionary 
sapling is still livving in the serenity of a I'obust old age, 
and now measures, two feet from the ground, ttcenty-seven 
feet in comcumference ! Its branches extend all around in 
diflerent directions from forty to fifty feet, and the tree 
is supposed to contain at least ten cords of wood. 

When Tarleton's cavalry were on the point of leaving, 
they took the blanket from the cradle in which James 
Ormand, the baby, was lying, and used it as a saddle- 
blanket, and the large family Bible of Benjamin 
Ormand was converted into a saddle ! ! 

The Bible was afterward found near Beattie's Ford, on 
the Catawba river, in the line of the British march, and 
restored to its proper owner. Mr. Z. S. Ormand, a grand- 
son of Benjamin Ormond,and a worthy citizen of Gaston 
county, now lives at the old homestead, where the Bible, 
considerably injured, can be seen at any time, as an 
abused relic of the past, and invested with a most singu- 
lar history. Tarleton's cavalry also seized and carried 
off the bedding and blankets in the house, and some of 
the cooking utensils in the kitchen. 

Mr. Ormand also informs the author that he frequent- 
Iv heard his grandmother, who then lived near Steele 
Creek Church, say that she was present at the great 
meeting at Charlotte, on the 20Lh of May, 1775, and that 
she exhibited, on that occasion, a quilt of her oimi manu- 
factare. She said it was a large turn out of people from 


all parts of the county, and was considered a suitable 
time for the ffrir sex to exhibit productions of their own 

Having replenished his commissary department as- 
much as possible while encamped on theliamsour battle- 
ground, and having experienced too much delay in his. 
late march in consequence of the encumbrance of his 
baggage, Cornwallis destroyed, before moving, all such 
as could be regarded as superfluous. The baggage at 
head-quarters was first thrown into the flames, thus con- 
verting the greater portion of his army into light troops, 
with a view of renewing more rapidh' the pursuit of 
Morgan, or of forcing (Jeneral Greene into an early action- 
It is said " pewter plates "' were freely distributed 
among some "loyal " friends in the immediate vicinity, 
or thrown into tiie mill-pond ; and large numbers of 
very strong glass bottle?, originally filled with English 
ale, or something stronger, were broken to pieces on the 
rocks, fragments of which may be seen scattered around 
at the present time. 

Thus disencumbered, Cornwallis, early on tiic morning 
of the 28th of January, br'oke up camp and inarched to- 
the Catawba river, but finding it much swollen, and ren- 
dered impassable in consequence of lieavy I'ains at its 
sources, he I'ell back to Forney's plantcition, five miUs 
from the river. Jacob Forney was a thriily, well-to-do 
farmer, and a well-known VV^hig. Tlie }>iantatioii is now 
(1876) owned. by Willis £. Hall, Esq. Iler^e the British 
array lay encamped for three days, waiting for the sudsi- 
dence of the waters, and consumed, during that time, 
Forney's entire stock of cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry^ 
with all of which he was well supplied. (For further 
particulars, see sketch of " Jacob Forney, Sen.") 

Having dried their powder, and laid in an additional 
supply of pi'ovisions and forage, the British ai'my was 
now prepai'ed to rerrew more actively the pursuit of Mor- 


gau. On the evening before the marching of the main 
army, Colonel Webster moved forward with the artillery, 
and a small detachment as a rear guard, and took posi- 
tion at Beattie's Ford. This was a mere feint, intended 
to create the impression that the whole British army 
would cross there, as it was the most eligible pass, and 
thus elude the vigilance of the Wjiigs. 

At half-past two o'clock, on the morning of the 1st of 
February, 1781, Cornwallis broke up his camp at For- 
ney's plantation, and marclied to a private crossing-place 
known as Cowan's Ford, six miles below Beattie's Ford^ 
As he approached the river, a little before the dawn of a 
cloudy, misty morning, numerous camp fires on the east- 
ern bank assured him his passage would be resisted ; but- 
General Davidson had neglected to place his entire force, 
about three hundred and fifty in number, near the ford,, 
so as to present an imposing appearance. As it was, only 
the companies of Captain Joseph Graham, and of two or 
three other officers, probably not more than one third of 
the whole force on duty, actual I3' participated in the- 
skirmish which immediately took place; otherwise, the- 
result might have been far more disastrous to tlieBritisli' 

The river at Cowan's Ford, for most of the distance- 
across, has a very rugged bottom, abounding with numer- 
ous rocks, of considerable size, barely visible at tlie low' 
water of summer-time. With judicious forethought, Corn- 
wallis had hired the services of Frederick Hager, aTory,oiD 
the western bank, and, under his guidance, the bold Bret- 
ons plunged into the water, with the firm determination 
of encountering the small band of Americans on the* 
eastern bank. 

Stedman, the English commissary and historian, who« 
accompanied Cornwallis in his Southern campaigns, thu« 
speaks of the passage of the river at Cowan's Ford : 

"The light infantry of the guards, led by Colonel Hally 


first entered the water. They were followed by the gren- 
adiers, and the grenadiers by the battalions, the men 
marching in platoons, to support one another against the 
rapidity of the stream. When the light infantry had 
nearly reached the middle of the river, they were chal- 
lenged by one of the enemy's sentinels. The sentinel 
having challenged thrice, and receiving no answer, im- 
mediately gave the alarm by discharging his musket; 
and the enemy's pickets were turned out. Ko sooner did 
the guide (a Tory) who attended the light infantry to 
show them the ford, hear the report of the sentinel's mus- 
ket than he turned around and left them. This, which 
at first, seemed to portend much mischief, in the end, 
proved a fortunate incident. Colonel Hall, being for- 
saken by his guide, and not knowing the true direction 
of the ford, led the column directly across the river to the 
nearest part of the opposite bank." 

This direct course carried the British army to a new 
landing-place on the eastern, or Mecklenburg side, so 
that they did not encounter a full and concentrated fire 
from the Whigs. Upon hearing the firing. General Da- 
vidson, who M'as stationed about half a mile from the 
ford, (in the Lucas house, still standing,) with the greater 
portion of the militia, hastened to the scene of conflict, 
evincing his well-established bravery, but it was too late 
to change the issue of the contest, and array any more 
effectual resistence. At this moment. General Davidson 
arrived near the river, and in attempting to rally the 
Whiof forces for renewed action, received a fatal shot in the 
breast, fell from his horse, and almost instantly expired. 
The few patriots on the bank of the river nobly per- 
formed their duty, but had soon to retreat before vastly 
superior numbers. 

The British infantry waded the river, preceded by their 
Tory guide, staff in hand, to show them the proper ford, 
and the statement made by some historians that General 


Davidson was killed by this guide is not corroborated by 
Stedman, the English historian ; but, on the contrary, he 
leaves ns to infer that the American General met his death 
at the hands of one of their own troops. The same author- 
ity states their own loss to be Colonel Hall and three pri- 
vates killed, and thirty-six wounded. The horse of Lord 
Cornwallis was fatally shot and fell dead just as he ascended 
the bank. The horse of General O'Hara, after tumbling- 
over the slippery rocks several times, producing a partial 
submersion of his rider, finally reached the bank in safety. 
The British reserved their fire until they reached the eastern 
shore, and then pouring in two or three volleys into the- 
ranks of the opposing Whig forces, now considerably dis- 
concerted, soon compelled them to retreat with small loss. 
Colonel Hall was buried on the edge of the alluvial land 
a short distance below the crossing-place, with a head and 
foot stone of rock from the adjoining liill, which were long 
visible and could be pointed out by the nearest neighbors ; 
l»ut these were finally concealed from view by successive 
overflows of sand from the swollen river. The privates of 
both contending forces were buried on the risino- OTound 
near the scene of conflict, and with such haste on the part 
of the British interring party as to leave one of their mat- 
tocks behind them at the graves of their fallen comrades, 
eager to overtake the vigilant Morgan. 

(Coudeused from Wheeler's "Historical Sketches."') 

General Joseph Graham was born in Pennsylvania on 
the loth of October, 1759. His mother being left a wid- 
ow with five small children, and slender means of sup- 
port, removed to North Carolina when he was abouc 
seven years of age, and settled in the neighborhood of 
Charlotte. He received the principal part of his educa- 
tion at "Queen's Museum" in Charlotte, (afterward. 
^ 15 ^ 


called "Liberty Hall Academy,") and was distinguished 
for his talents, industry and manly de{)ortment. His 
thirst fur knowledge led him at an early period to become 
well acquainted with all those interesting and exciting 
■events which preceded our Revolutionary struggle. He 
was present in Charlotte on the 20tli of Ma}', 1775, when 
the tirst Declaration of Independence was formally and 
publicly made. The deep impression made upon his 
mind by the solemn and illustrious decisions of that day 
gave good evidence that he was then preparing for the 
jioble stand which he took during the war. 

He enlisted .in the army of the United States in May, 
1778, at the age of nineteen years. He served in the 
Fourth Regiment of ^orth Carolina regular troops, un- 
der Col. Archibald Lytle, acting as an officer in Captain 
Gooden's company. The troops to which he was at- 
tached were ordered to rendezvous at Bladensburg, Md. 
Having marched as far as Caswell county they received 
intelligence of the battle of Monmouth, when he returned 
home on a furlough. 

He again entered the service on the 5th of November, 
1778, and marched under General Rutherford to Purys- 
burg, on the Savannah river, soon after the defeat of Gen. 
Ashe at Brier Creek. He was with the troops under Gen, 
Lincoln, and fought in the battle of Stono, against Gen. 
Prevost, on the 20th of June, 1779, which lasted one hour 
and twenty minutes. During nearly the whole of this 
campaign he acted as quartermaster. In July, 1779, he 
was taken with the fever, and after two months' severe' 
illness was discharged near Dorchester, and returned 


After the surrender of Charleston, and defeat of Col. 
Bufort at the Waxhaw, he again entered the service as 
adjutant of the Mecklenburg Regiment, and spent the 
summer in opposing the advance of Lord Rawdon into 


I^ortli Carolina, and assailing his troops, then within 
forty miles of Charlotte. 

When it was understood that the British were march- 
ing to Charlotte he was ordered by General Davidson to 
repair to that place, and take command of such a force 
as he could readily collect, and join Col. Davie. About 
midnight of the 25th of September, 1780, Col. Davie 
reached Charlotte. On the next day the British army 
entered Charlotte, and received such a stinging reception 
£is to cause Lord Cornwallis to designate the place as the 
'^' Hornets' Nest of America." After a well-directed fire 
upon the British from the Court House to the gum tree, 
Gen. Grraham, with the troops assigned to his command, 
retreated, opposing Tarletou's cavalry and a regiment of 
infantry for four miles on the kialisbury road. On the 
plantation formerly owned by Joseph McConnaughey,he 
again formed his men, and attacked the advancing Brit- 
ish infantr}'. After again retreating, he formed on the 
hill above where Sugar Creek Church now stands. There, 
owing to the imprudent but honest zeal of Major White, 
they were detained too long, for by the time they had 
reached the cross roads a party of British dragoons were 
in sight, and, after close pursuit for nearly two miles, 
overtook them. It was at this time that Lieut. George 
Locke, a brother of Col. Francis Locke, of Rowan county, 
was killed at the margin of a small pond, now to be seen 
at the end of Alexander Kennedy's lane. Between that 
spot and where James A. Houston now lives, Gen. Gra- 
ham was cut down and severely wounded. He received 
nine wounds, six with the saber and three from musket 
balls. His life was narrowl}' and mercifully preserved 
by a large stock buckle which broke the violence of the 
stroke. Pie received four deep gashes of the saber over 
his head and one in his side; and three balls were af- 
terward removed from his body. After being much ex- 
hausted by loss of blood, he reached the house of the late 


Mrs. Susaiiiuih Alexander, where he was kindly nurseJ 
and watched during the night, and his Avounds dressed 
as well as circumstances would permit. On the next day 
he reached his mother's residence, where the late Major 
Bostw'ick resided, and from that place transferred to the 
hospital in Charlotte. 

Thus, at the tender age of twenty-one years, we seethis^ 
gallant young officer leading a band of as brave men as^ 
ever faced a foe, to guard the ground first consecrated 
by the Mecklenburg Decleration of Independence, leaving; 
his blood as the best memorial of a righteous cause, anJ 
of true heroism in its defence. 

x4s soon as he recovered from his wounds, he again* 
entered the service of his country. Gen. Davidson, who^ 
had command of all the militia in the western counties^ 
of the State, applied to him to raise one or more cont- 
panics, promising him such rank as the number of mei'is 
raised would justify. Through his great energy, per- 
severance and influence he succeeded in raising a com- 
pany of hfty-fi ve men in two weeks. These were mounteJ 
riflemen, armed also with swords , and some with pistols.- 

They supplied themselves with their own horses audi 
necessary equipments, and entered the held without' 
commissary or C[uartermaster, and with every prospect of 
hard fighting, and little compensation. After Tarleton's; 
signal defeat at tlie Cowpens, Cornwallis resolved to pur- 
sue Gen. Morgan, encumbered with upwards of five hun- 
dred prisoners. At that time Gen. Greene had assumed^ 
command of the southern army, and stationed himself 
with a portion of it at Hicks' Creek, near to Oheraw- 
After Gen. Morgan's successful retreat, Gen. Greene leffc 
his main arm}' with Gen. Iluger, and rode one hundred 
and fiffty miles to join Gen. Morgan's detachment near 
the Catawba river. The plan of opposing Lord Corn- 
wallis in crossing the Catawba was arranged by Gen- 
Greene, and its execution assigned to Gen. DavidsoD- 


Lieutenant Col. Webster moved forward and crossed the 
•Catawba in advance with a detachment of cavahy to 
create the impression that the whole British arni}^ would 
cross there, but the real intention of Cornwallis was to 
make the attempt at Cowan's Ford. Soon after the action 
commenced, Gen. Davidson was killed, greatly lamented 
by all who knew him as a brave and generous officer. 
'The company commanded by Gen. Graham commenced 
ithe attack upon the British as they advanced through 
the river, and resolutely kept it up until they ascended the 
bank. The British then poured in a heavy fire upon 
Graham's men, two of whom were killed. Col. William 
Polk and Rev. T. II. McCaule were near Gen. Davidson 
when he fell. Col. Hall and three or four of the British 
were killed and upwards of thirty wounded. The British 
were detained here about three hours in burying their 
dead and then resumed their march in pursuit of Gen. 

The body of General Davidson was secured by David 
Wilson and Richard Barry, conveyed to the house of 
Samuel Wilson, Sen., there dressed for burial, and inter- 
red that night in the grave -yard of Hopewell Church. 

The North Carolina militia were then placed under 
the command of General Pickens, of South Carolina, and 
continued to harass the British as they advanced toward 
Virginia. General Graham with his company, and some 
troops from Rowan county, surprised and captured a 
guard at Hart's Mill, one mile and a-half frpm Hillsboro, 
where the British army then lay, and the same day join- 
ed Colonel Lee's forces. On the next day, under General 
Pickens, he was in the action against Colonel Pyles, who 
commanded about three hundred and fifty Tories on 
their way to join Tarleton. These Tories supposed the 
Whigs to be a company of British troops sent for their 
protection, and commenced crying, " God save the King." 
Tarleton was about a mile from this place, and retreated 


to Hillsboro. Shortly afterward General Graham was in 
an engagement under Colonel Lee, at Clapp's Mill, on 
the Alamance, and had two of his company killed, three 
wounded and two made prisoners. Again, a few days 
afterward, he was in the action at Whitsell's Mill, under 
Colonel Washington. As the term of service of his men 
had expired, and the country was annoyed with Tories, 
General Greene directed him to return with his company 
and keep them in a compact body until they crossed the 
Yadkin, wdiich they did on the 14th of March, 1781. 

After the battle of Guilford the British retired to Wil- 
mington, and but little miUtar}'' service was performed 
in North Carolina during the summer of 1781. About 
the 1st of September Fannin surprised Hillsboro and 
took Governor Burke prisoner. General Rutherford, wdi a 
had been taken prisoner at Gates' defeat, was set at liber- 
ty, and returned home about this time. He immediately 
gave orders to General Graham, in whose military prowess 
and influence he placed great confidence, to raise a troop 
of cavalry in Mecklenburg county. These troops of" 
dragoons, and about two hundred mounted infantry, were^ 
raised and formed into a legion, over which Robert 
Smith was made Colonel and General Graham Major^ 
They immediatel}'' commenced their march toward Wil- 
mington. South of Fayetteville, ynth ninety-six dragoons 
and forty mounted infantry, made a gallant and success- 
ful attack against a body of Tories commanded by the 
noted Tory Colonels, McNeil, Ray, Graham and McDou- 
gal. This action took place near McFalls' Mill, on tha 
Raft swamp, in which the Tories where signally defeated, 
their leaders dispersed, and their cause greatly damaged. 
In this spirited engagement one hundred and thirty-six 
Whigs opposed and vanquished six hundred Tories, re- 
flecting great credit upon the bravery and military sagac- 
ity of General Graham. 

A short time afterward he commanded one troop of 


dragoons and two of mounted infaiitiy, and defeated a 
band of Tories on Alfred Moore's plantation, opposite 
Wilmington. On the next day he led the troops in per- 
son, and attacked the British garrison near the &ame 
place. Shortly afterward he commanded three companies 
in defeating (,'oloncl Gagny, near Waccamaw lake. Tins' 
campaign closed General Graham's services in the Revo- 
lutionary war, having commanded in fifteen engage- 
ments with a degree of courage, wisdom, calmness and 
success, surpassed, perhaps, by no officer of the same 

Hundreds who served under him have delighted in 
testifying to the upright, faithful, and undaunted man- 
ner in which he discharged the duties of his trying and 
responsible station. Never was hektiown to shrink from 
any toil, however painful, or quail before any danger, 
however threatening, or stand back from any privations 
or sacrifices which might serve his country. Alter the 
close of the war he was elected the first Sheriff of Meck- 
lenburg county, and gave great satisfaction by the faith- 
ful performance of the duties of that office. From 1788 
to 1794 he was elected to the Senate from the same cpun- 
ty. About the year 1787 he was married to Isabella, the 
second daughter of Major .John Davidson. By this mar- 
riage he had twelve children. Not long after his mar- 
riage he removed to Lincoln cour)ty and engaged in the 
manufacture of iron. For more than forty years before 
his death he conducted a large establishment of iron 
works with great energy and success. 

In 1814 General Graham commanded a Regiment of 
North Carolina Volunteers against the Creek Indians, 
and arrived about the time the last stroke of punishment 
was inflicted upon this hostile tribe by General Jackson^ 
at the battle of the Horse Shoe. For many years after 
the war he was Major General of the 5th Division of the 
North Carolina Militia. By a life of temperance and 


regular exercise, with the blessing of God, he enjoyed re- 
markable health and vigor of constitution. 

On the 13th of October, 1836, he made the following 
minute in his day-book : " This da}- I am seventy-seven 
years of age, Bci Gratia." He rode from Lincolnton on 
the lOth^ of November, soon thereafter was struck with 
apoplexy, and on the evening of the 12th closed his eyes 
upon the cares and trials of a long, useful and honorable 

General Joseph Graham was the father of the late Ex- 
Governor A^^illiam A. Graham, one of North Carolina's 
most worthy, honorable, and illustrious sons. 


(Condensed from Wheeler's "Historical Sketclies.") 

The Brevard family acted a very conspicuous part 
during our Revolutionary war. The first one of the 
name of whom anvthing is known was a Huguenot who 
fled from France on the revocation of the edict of Nantes 
in 1685, and settled among the Scotch-Irish in the north- 
ern part of Ireland. He there formed the acquaintance 
of a* family of McKnitts, and with them set sail for the 
Americaneghores.^^ne of this family was a young and 
l)looming lassie, " ver}' fair to look upon." Brevard and 
herself soon discovered in each other kindred spirits, and 
a mutual attacliment sprung up between them. They 
joined their fortunes, determined to share the hardships 
and trials incident to a settlement in a new countr}', then 
filled with wild beasts and savages. They settled on Elk 
river, in Maryland. The issue of this marriage were five 
sons and one daughter ; John, Robert, Zebulon, Benja- 
min, Adam, and Elizabeth. The three elder brothers, 
with their sister and her husband, came to North Caro- 
lina between 1740 and 1750. The three brothers were 
all "Whigs during the Kevolution. John Brevard, whose 


i/v<>l ^--^ ^^' '^ 


family i8 the immediate subject of this sketch, married a 
sister of Dr. Alexander JNlcWhorter, a distinguished Pres- 
byterian minister from New Jersey, who had tor a tiuie the 
control of Queen's Museum in Charlotte. Soon after his 
marriage, Brevard also emigrated to JSTorth Carolina, and 
settled about two miles from Center Church, in Iredell 
county. Dr. McWhorter was a very zealous Whig, and it 
is said the British w^ere anxious to seize him on account of 
his independent addresses, botli in and out of the pulpit. 
But they failed in their endeavors, aud, after the invasion 
■of Charlotte by Cornw-allis in 1780, he returned to the 

At the commencement of the Revolutionary war, John 
Brevard, then an old and infirm man, liad eight sons and 
four daughters, Marj^, Ephraim, John, Hugh, Adam, Alex- 
ander, Robert, Benjamin, Nancy, Joseph, Jane and Re- 
becca. He was a w^ell known and influential Whig, and 
early instilled his patriotic principles into the minds of his 
children. When the British arm}' under Cornwallis passed 
near his residence a squad of soldiers went to his nouseand 
burned every building on the premises to the ground. No 
one was at home at the time except his wife, then quite old 
and infirm, the daughters having been sent to a neighbor- 
ing house across a swamp to preserve them from an}' in- 
dignities that might be ottered to them by a base soldiery. 
When the soldiers came up a self-authorized officer drew a 
paper from his pocket, and after looking at it for a moment 
said, " these houses must be burned." They w-ere accord- 
ingly set on fire. Mrs. Brevard attempted to save some 
articles of furniture from the flames, but the soldiers would 
throw them back as fast as she could take them out Ever}-- 
thing in the house was consumed. The reason assigned 
by the soldiery for this incendiary act was she then had 
" eight sons in the re]>el army." 

Mary, the eldest daughter of John Brevard, married 



Gen. Davidson who was killed at Cowan's Ford on the 
Ccitawl:)a river. 

Kane J married .John Davidson. Thej were both killed 
by the Indians at the head of the Catawba river. 

Jane married Ephraim, a brother of John Davidson. 
Though very young, he was sent by Gen. Davidson, on the 
night before the skirmish at Cowan's Ford, with an express 
to Col, Morgan, warning him of the approach of the British 

Rebecca married a Jones and moved to Tennessee. 

.Ephraim Brevard, the eldest son, married a daughter of 
Col. Thomas P^. After a course of preparatory studies 
he went to Princeton College. Having graduated, he pur- 
sued a course of medical studies and settled as a physician 
in Charlotte. Being highly educated, and possessed of a 
superior mind, and agreeable manner, he exerted a com- 
manding influence over the youthful patriots of that day. 
In the language of Dr. Foote, "bethought clearly; felt 
deeply ; w^rote well ; resisted bravely, and died a martyr to 
that liberty none loved better, and few understood so well." 
(For further particulars respecting Dr. Brevard, see Sketches 
of the Signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration."^ 

John Brevard, Jr., served in the Continental Army with 
the commission of Lieutenant, displaying, on all occa- 
sions, unflinching bravery and a warm devotion to the 
cause of American freedom. 

4 Huqh Brevard., with several brothers, was at the battle 
of Ramsour s Mill. Early in the war lie was appointed a 
Colonel of the militia, and was present at the defeat of 
General Ashe at Brier Creek. He settled in Burke 
county, and Avas elected a niember of the Legislature in 
1780 and 1781, was held in high esteem by his fellow- 
citizens, and died about the close of tl)e war. 

Adam Brevard first served one year in the Northern 
Army under General Washington. lie then came South, 
and was present at the battle of Ramsour's Mill. He 


Ihere liad a button shot from his pantaloons, but escaped 
unharmed. He was a blacksmith by trade, and, after the 
war followed this occupation for a considerable length 
of time. Being fond of reading he studied law in his 
shop, when not much pressed w^ith business, and found a 
greater delight in the law-telling strokes of a Blackstone 
than in the hard-ringing strokes of a blacksmith's ham- 
mer. He finally abandoned his trade and engaged in 
the practice of the law, in which he was successful. He 
was a man of strong intellect, sound judgment, and keen 
observation. He wrote a piece called the " Mecklenburg- 
Censor," abounding with sarcastic wit and well-timed 
humor, making him truly the "learned blacksmith" of 
Mecklenburg county. 

Alexander Brevard first joined the arm}' as a cadet. He 
then received the commission of Lieutenant, and soon af- 
ward that of Captain in^he Continental Army. He was 
engaged in the battles of White Plains, Trenton, Prince- 
ton, Brandywine, Monmouth, and Germanton, and re- 
mained in the Northern Army under General Washing- 
ton until some time in the year 1779, when, his health 
failing, he was sent into the country. After a short ab- 
sence he reported himself for service to Gen. Washington. 
This illustrious and humane commander, seeing his 
slender figure and delicate appearance, remarked that he 
was unfit for hard service, and enquired of him where 
his parents lived. The reply was, in North Carolina. 
Gen. Washington then advised him to return home. 
With this advice he complied, and his health, in the 
meantime, having improved in the genial climate of 
Western North Carolina, he immediately joined the 
Southern Army under General Gates. Being a Captain 
in the regular service, and removed from his command, 
he was appointed quartermaster, and acted as such at 
the battle of Camden. After the defeat of Gen. Gates, the 
Southern Army was placed under the command of Gen. 


Greene. Alexander Brevard was with this gallant com- 
mander in all his battles ; so that, with little interrup- 
tion, he was in active service/?'om the heginning to the end 
qftheioar. He thought his hardest fighting was at the 
Eutaw Springs. He was therein command of his com- 
pan}^ and in the hottest part of the fignt, losing eighteen 
of his brave men. At one time he and his company 
were in a very critical situation. A division of the Brit- 
ish army came very unexpectedly upon their rear while 
the}' were closely engaged in front ; but, just at that mo- 
ment, Col. Washington, perceiving their imminent dan- 
ger, made an impetuous charge with his cavalry upon 
this division of the enemy. A portion of his men broke 
through, and formed again with the intention of renew- 
ing the charge. This was prevented by the retreat of the 
British into a position where it was impossible for the 
cavalry to pursue them. 

Colonel Washington was unhorsed and made a pris- 
oner, but succeeded with his brave men in prevent- 
ing the meditated attack in the rear. Brevard had not 
observed this division of the enemy, and the first thing 
he saw was the flying caps and tumbling horses of the 
cavalry as they made their dashing charge upon them. 
This was the last important battle in which Capt. Bre- 
vard was engaged, fought on the 8th of September, 1781, 
and near the close of the war. On all occasions he main- 
tained an unflagging zeal and promptitude of action in 
achieving the independence of his country, and evincing 
a persistent bravery unsurpassed in the annals of the 
American Revolution. 

After the war Captain Brevard married Rebecca, a 
daughter of Major John Davidson, one of the signers of 
the Mecklenburg Declaration. Major Davidson suggest- 
ed to himself and General Joseph Graham, another son- 
in-law, the propriety of entering into the manufacture of 
iron. They readily approved of the suggestion and went 


over into Lincoln county. There they found General 
Peter Forney in possession of a valuable iron ore bank. 
With him they formed a copartnership and erected Vesu- 
vius Furnace on the public road from Seattle's Ford to 
Lincolnton — at present known as Smith's Furnace. Af- 
ter operating for a time -altogether; Forney withdrew.- 
Davidson and Brevard then left Graham in the manage- 
ment of Vesuvius Furnace, and built ^^ount Tirzah 
Forge, now known as Brevard's Forge. The sons-in-law 
shortly afterward bought out Davidson, and finally they 
dissolved. Brevard then built a furnace on Leeper's- 
Creek, above Mount Tirzah Forge, and continued in the 
iron business until his death. 

Captain Brevard, being of a retiring disposition, never 
sought political favor, but preferred to discharge his obli- 
gations to his country rather by obeying than by making" 
her laws. His manners were frank and candid, and the- 
more intimately he v/as known the better was he beloved- 
The dishonest met his searching eye with dread, but the- 
industrious and the honest ever found in him a kind ad- 
viser and beneficent assistant. Long will he be remem- 
bered as a pure man, a faithful friend, and an upright- 
citizen, conscientious in the discharge of all his obliga- 
tions and in the performance of all his duties. Tie was^ 
for many years, a worthy elder in the Presbyterian 
Church, and died', as he had lived, a true christian, and- 
with humble resignation, on the 1st of November, 1829,, 
in the seventy-fifth year of his age. His mortal remains- 
repose in a private cemetery, selected by General Graham 
and himself as a family burying ground, and near which 
has lately been built the church of Macpelah. He left- 
seven children — Ephraim, Franklin, Harriet, Robert,, 
Joseph, Theodore and Mary. Franklin and Joseph rep- 
resented, at different times, the county of Lincoln in the 
State Legislature. 

Joseph Brevard, the youngest son of .John Brevard^ 


Sen., at the 3'outhful age of seventeen, held the commis- 
sion of Lieutenant in the Continental array. His brother 
Alexander said he was at that time quite small and deli- 
cate, and that he always pitied him when it was his turn 

to mount guard. General , who was in command 

at Philadelphia, discovering that he wrote a pretty hand, 
appointed him his private secretary. In this position he 
remained until he received the commission of Lieuten- 
ant in the Southern army, which he held until the close 
of the war. After the war he studied law, and settled in 
Camden, S. C, where he took a high stand both as alaw- 
3"er and a citizen. After filling several offices of public 
trust, he was elected one of the Judges, which position 
he occupied with distingaished honor. 

After a few years he resigned his Judgship, and was 
twice elected to Congress from his district. He made a 
Digest of the Statute Laws of South Carolina, and also 
left one or two volumes of cases reported by himself. 
These books, particularly the latter, are still referred to 
as good legal authority. He died in Camden, and has 
left a name cherished and honored by all those who re- 
member his numerous virtues. 

Such is a brief and imperfect sketch of that family 
whose name is prefixed. Many events, of thrilling in- 
terest, connected with their revolutionary services, have, 
no doubt, sunk into oblivion ; but enough has been pre- 
sented to stimulate the rising generation to imitate their 
heroic example and admire their unfaltering devotion to 
the cause of American freedom. 


Col. James Johnston, one of the earliest patriots of 
•' Tryou," afterward Lincoln count}', was born about the 
year 1742. His father, Henry Johnston, was of Scottish 
descent. During the many civil and ecclesiastical troubles 


which greatly agitated England preceding the ascent of 
William, Prince of Orange, to the throne in 16S8, and tlie 
rninons consequences of the defeat of Charles Edward, the 
" Pretender," at the battle of Culloden, in April, 1746, a 
constant tide of emigration was flowing from Scotland to 
the northern part of Ireland, or directly to the shores of the 
New World, then holding forth to the disturbed population 
of Europe peculiar features of attractiveness, accompanied 
with the most alluring prospects of future aggrandizement 
and wealth. Among the families who passed over duriuo- 
this period were some of the extensive clan of Johnstons 
(frequently spelled Johnstone) ; also, the Alexanders 
Ewarts, Bells, Ivnoxes, Baruetts, Pattons, Wilsons, Spratts, 
Martins, with a strong sprinkling of the Davidsons, Cald- 
wells, Grahams, Hunters, Polks, and many others whose 
descendants performed a magnanimous part in achievino- 
our independence, and stand high on the " roll of fame" 
and exalted worth. 

The name Johnston in Scotland embraces manv dis- 
tinguished personages in every department of literature 
From one of the lamilies who came directly to America in 
1722 (^' Lord Wihiam Johnston") have descended in dif- 
ferent branches, the late General Albert Sidney Johnston 
and General Joseph E. Johnston — illustrious, patriotic 
names the Southern people and a disinterested posterity 
will ever delight ta honor. 

The Johnstons in their native " land o'cakes and brither 
Scots," had the reputation of being " heady," strono'-minded 
proud of their ancestral descent, and were regarded at 
times, as being rather " rebellious " — a trait of character 
which, in this last respect, some of their descendants 
strongly manifested in the late Confederate strugo-je but in 
accordance with the most honorable and patriotic motives. 

When Henry Johnston and his youthful wife settled on 
the western banks of the Catawba river, the countrv was 
then covered with its native forests, and over its wide ex. 


pause of territoiy, as yet but little disturbed by tbe imple- 
ments of husbandry, the Indians and Avild ])easts held 
almost undisputed sway. The uplands were clothed with 
wild " pea vines," and other luxuriant herbage, and cattle 
literally roamed over and fed upon a " thousand hills."' 
Every water course, too, bristled with cane-brakes, indi- 
cating the great fertility of the soil, and the sure road, undei^ 
proper industrial eiibrts, to agricultui'al prosperity. 

In the absence of family records we are left to infer CoL 
Johnston grew up to manhood, receiving as good an edu- 
cation as his own limited means and tbe opportunities of 
societies then afforded. It was then a gloomy period in 
our history. In 1765 the Stamp Act had been passed, 
which agitated the American Colonies from one extremity 
to the other. The dark cloud of discontent hung heavily 
over our people, too truly foreboding the storm of open 
rupture, and approaching revolution. During this exciting 
period he imbibed those patriotic principles, which, in 
subsequent years, governed his actions, and prepared him 
to cast in his lot, and heartly unite with those who pledged 
" their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor " in the- 
cause of American freedom. He emphatically belonged 
to that class of ardent young men of the Revoiutionary 

" Whose deeds were cast in manly mold, 
For hardy sports or contest boll." 

Tradition speaks of tbe wife of Henry Ji)bnston as 
dving comparatively young, leaving two children — Jaines^ 
the immediate subject of this sketch, and Mary — wiio 
maj'ried Moses ScotL, settled near Goshen Church, in the 
})resent county of Graston, and there ended her days. 
Moses Scott had three children — James J., William and 
Abram Scott. Of these sons, James Johnston Scott mar- 
ried in 1803, ^lary, a daughter of Captain Robert Alex- 
ander, a soldier of the Revolution, and of extensive use- 
fulness. He (James) died in 180U, in the twenty- seventh 



year of liis age, leaving two children — Abram and Mary 
Scott, the former of whom in this Centennial year (1876) 
still survives, having nearly completed his "three-score 
years and ten." 

Col. Johnston first entered the service as Captain of a 
company, in the winter of 1776, Col. "William Graham 
commanding, against a large body of Tories in the north- 
western section of South Carolina. This expedition is 
known in history as the '"Snow Campaign,'"' from the 
unusually heavy snow, of that wiriter,and,in conjunction 
Avith the troops of that State, drove the Tory command- 
ers, Cunniiigham and Fletcher, from the siege of the post 
of Ninety Six. On the retreat of these Tory leaders they 
surprised and defeated them with a loss of four hundred 
of their followers. The reader maybe curious to know 
the origin of the name ••' Ninety Six" applied to this 
post, now constituting tlie village of Cambridge, in 
Abbeville county. It was so called because it was ninety- 
six miles from the frontier fort, Prince^Cleorge, on Keovvee 
rivei', in the present county of Pickens. No portion oi* 
South Carolina suffered more during the Revolution than 
the district around Ninety-Six. The Tories were nume- 
rous, bold and vindictive, and for that reason the gallant 
"Whigs of that region frequently called upon their com- 
patriots-in-arms in North Caroliiia, more particularl}' in 
jNfecklenburg, Lincoln and Burke counties, for assistance 
in defending their homes and their property. 

In this same year (1776) Gen. Rutherlbrd called out a 
strong force of infantry and cavalry from Mecklenburg, 
Rowan, Tryon, (afterwards Lincoln), and other western 
counties to subdue the "Over-hill" Cherokee Indians, 
who were committing numerous depredations, and occa- 
sioualh^ murdering the inhabitants on the frontier set- 
tlements. At that time the "Blue Ridge" constituted 
the bounds of organized civilization. The expedition, 

commanded bv Gen. Rutherford, was compietelv succe=;s- 
"^ 16 


i'ul, the Indians were routed, their towns destroyed, and 
XI considerable number killed and made prisoners. Noth- 
ing sliort of this severe chastisement of the Indians for 
their depredations and murders would serve to teach 
them of the supremacy of the white man, and cause 
them to sue for peace. On this occasion many of the 
western patriots experienced their first essay in arms, 
and learned something of the toils and dangers of the 
soldier's life. 

During the war several expeditions were sent from 
the border counties of North Carolina to assist in pulling 
down the Toiy ascendancy of the disaffected portion of 
upper South Carolina. In one of these expeditions Col. 
Johnston experienced an adventure — a passage at arms, 
which, as an incident of the war and characteristic of liis 
bravery, is here wortln?^ of narration. On Pacolet river, 
near the place where the late Dr. Bivings erected a fac- 
tor}'. Col. Johnston, in a skirmish, had a personal ren- 
contre with Patrick Moore, a Tory officer, whom he 
finally overpowered and captured. In the contest he 
received several sword cuts on liis head, and on the 
thumb of the right hand. As he was bearing his pris- 
oner to the Whig lines, a short distance off, he was rap- 
idly approached b}'^ several British troopers. He then 
immediately attempted to discharge his loaded musket 
against his assailants, but unfortunately it ivissed fire, in 
consequence of blood flowing from his wounded thumb 
and wetting the priming. This misfortune on his part 
enabled his prisoner to escape ; and, perceiving his own 
dangerous and armless position, he promptly availed 
himself of a friendly thicket at his side, eluded his pur- 
suers and soon afterwards joined his command. 

On the 14th of June, 1780, Gen. Rutherford, whilst 
■encamped near Charlotte, received intelligence that the 
Tories under Col. John Moore had assembled in strong 
force at Ramsour's Mill, near the present town of Lin- 


€olnton. He immediatel}^ issued orders to Col. Francis 
Locke, of Rowan ; to Major David Wilson, of Mecklen- 
burg, and other officers, to use every exertion to raise a 
sufficient number of men to attack the Tories at that 
place. On the 17th of June Gen. Rutherford marched 
from his encampment, two miles south of Charlotte, to 
the Tuckaseegee Ford, on the Catawba. He had previ- 
ously dispatched an express to Col. Locke, advising him 
of his movement, and ordered him to join his army on 
the 19th or morning of the 20th of June, a few miles 
beyond that ford. The express, in some unaccountable 
way, miscarried. The morning of the 19th being web, 
<Gren, Rutherford did not cross the river until evening 
iind encamped three miles beyond on Col. Dickson's 
plantation. Whilst there, waiting for Col. Locke's arri- 
val, in obedience to the express, he received a notice 
from that officer, then encamped at Mountain Creek, in- 
forming him of his intention of attacking the Tories on 
the next morning at sunrise, and requested his co-opera- 
tion. This notice was delivered to Gen. Rutherford by 
Col. Johnston at li o'clock of the night of the 19th of 
-June, being selected for that duty b}'' Col. Locke on ac- 
count of his personal knowledge of the intervening coun- 
try and undaunted courage. Col. Locke's encampment 
was then sixteen miles from Ramsour's Mill. Late in 
the evening of the same day, and soon after the depart- 
ure of Col. Johnston to Gen. Rutherford's camp, Col, 
Locke marched with his forces, less than four hundred 
in number, stopped a short time in the night for rest 
and consultation, and arrived within a mile of Ramsour's 
at daylight without being observed by the Tories. The 
battle soon commenced by the mounted companies of 
Captains Falls, McDowell and Brandon. The Tories at 
first fought with considerable bravery, driving back the 
Whig cavahy. These, however, soon rallied, and, being 
.supported by the advancing infantry, pressed forward 


under their gallant leaders with a courage which knew 
no faltering and completely routed the Tories, driving 
them, after an hour's contest, from their strong position^ 
and capturing about fifty of their number. This victory^ 
occurring soon after the surrender of Charleston, when 
the Tories had become bold and menacing in their con- 
duct, greatly cheered the Whigs throughout the entire 
South, animated them with fresh hopes, and nerved them 
on to future deeds of "noble daring." 

Get). Rutherford, not leaving his encampment at Col, 
Dickson's before daylight of the morning of the 20th of 
June, failed to reach Ramsour's Mill until two hours- 
after the battle. Col, Johnston there joined his com- 
mand, and participated in the closing duties of this vic- 
torious engagement in the cause of American freedo'Ui. 

At the battle of King's Mountain Col. Johnston com- 
manded the "reserves, about ninety in number, whicb 
were soon called into service after the battle commenced- 
The decisive and brilliant victory of that memorable day 
has been so freqiientl}^ adverted to in history that it i? 
<leemed here unnecessar}^ to enter into particulars. Suf- 
fice it to say, it completely broke down the Tory intlii- 
ence in Western North Carolina, and its more rampant 
manifestations in upper South Carolina. It is known 
that Cornwallis, then in Charlotte, in a few days after 
hearing of the defeat and death of Ferguson, one of hi& 
bravest officers, marched from tlut rebellious town in the' 
night and hastily retreated to safer quarters in Winns- 
boro, S. C, 

During the progress of the war Col. Johnston was fre- 
quently engaged in other minor expeditions, recj^uiring; 
promptitude of action and unflinching bravery, in assist- 
ing to disperse bodies of Tories wherever they might- 
assemble, and arrest obnoxious individuals when th& 
peace and welfare of society demanded such service. 

At the Provincial Congress which met at Halifax oo 


the 4th of April, 1770, Colonel James Johnston and 
dolonel Charles McLean were the delegates from Try on 
count}'. Colonel McLean was an early and devoted 
friend of liberty. He resided on the headwaters of Crow- 
der's creek, in the present county of Gaston, and com- 
manded the first regiment which marched from Lincoln 
county against the Tories of upper South Carolina. This 
Provincial Congress was one of the most important ever 
iield in the State. The spirit of liberty was then in the 
ascendant, animating every patriotic bosom from the sea 
coast to the mountains. At this assembly the military 
organization of the State was completed, and the follow- 
ing patriotic resolution unanimously adopted : 

" Resolved^ That the Delegates from this Colony in the 
Continental Congress be empowered to concur with the 
Delegates from the other colonies in declaring inde- 
pendence and forming foreign alliances, reserving to this 
colony the sole and exclusive right of forming a consti- 
tution and laws for this colony." 

This early action of the Provincial Congress of North 
■Carolina is the first public declaration, by proper legis- 
lative State authority, on record, preceding the Virginia 
resolutions of the same character by more than a month, 
and of those of the National Congress at Philadelphia by 
nearly three months, now exulting in its centennial cele- 
bration. Near the close of the Revolution Col. Johnston 
acted for a considerable length of time as disbursing 
agent for the Western Division of the army. After the 
division of Tryon count}^ in 1779 into Lincoln and 
Rutherford counties, he was elected to the Senate from 
the former county in 1780, '81 and '82. He also acted, 
for many years, as one of tiie magistrates of the county, 
and, by virtue of his office, was frequently called upon 
" to make of twain one flesh in the holy bonds of matri- 

Major John Davidson, who knew Col. Johnston long 


and well, always summed up his estimate of his character- 
by saying, "he was a most excellent man, and never 
shrunk from the performance of any duty when the wel 
fare of his country demanded such service." 

Several years previous to the Revolution Colonel John- 
ston married Jane Ewart, eldest daughter of Robert 
Ewart, a most worthy lady of tecotch-Irish descent. In 
1775 Robert Ewart was appointed with Griffith Ruther- 
ford, John Brevard, Ilezekiah Alexander, Benjamin 
Patton, and others, one of the Committee of Safety for 
the "Salisbury District," which included Rowan, Meck- 
lenburg and other western counties. The marriage con- 
nections of other members of the Ewart family were as 
follows : Margaret married Joseph Jack ; Mary married 
Robert Knox ; Rachel married Thomas Bell ; Betsy 
married Jonathan Price; Sallie married Thomas Hill ;. 
Robert married Margaret Adams At the battle of 
King's Mountain Robert Ewart, James Ewart, Robert 
Knox, Joseph Jack, Thomas Bell, Jonathan Price, Abram 
Forney, Peter Forney, and other brave spirits, were iu 
the company commanded by Colonel James Johnston,, 
and performed a conspicuous part in achieving the glori- 
ous victory on that occasion. 

Previous to the war Colonel Johnston purchased valu- 
able land on the Catawba river, one mile southwest of 
Toole's Ford, which became known in subsequent years 
as "Oak Grove " farm, deriving this name from several 
native denizens of the forest which stood near the family 
mansion and cast around their beneficent shade. Here 
he was blest with a numerous offspring, and permitted to 
enjoy much of that dignified ease and pleasures of a quiet 
home-life which his patriotic services had assisted to pro- 
cure. For many years preceding his death he was a con- 
sistent member and Ruling Elder of the Presbyterian 
church at Unity, in Lincoln county. His large experi- 
ence, general intelligence, disinterested benevolence, un- 


sullieil inte.ij:rity and .^reat deci.-iou of character, all com- 
bined to p.iake iiim eminently useful in the different 
relations of society and secure for him the high regard 
and esteem of all who knew him. 

Colonel Johnston died with calm resignation on the- 
23rd of July, 1805, aged about sixty-three years. His 
wife died on the 17th of August, 1795 ; and both, withi 
other members of the family, are buried in a private, 
cemetery on the " Oak Grove " farm. 


Col. James Johnston (sketch of his life and services 
previously given) married .Jane Ewart,an estimable lady, 
daughter of Robert Evvart, of Scotch-Irish descent, and 
one of the early patriots of Mecklenburg county. Their 
descendants were, first generation : 

1. Robert Johnston, who married Mary M , daughter 
of Capt. John Reid, a soldier of the Revolution, a Sen- 
ator from Lincoln county in 1810 and 1811, and again 
in 1817 and 1818, and former proprietor of the Catawba 
Springs. He raised a family of twelve children, all of 
whom attained the age of maturity and survived their 
parents. The first death in the family was that of the 
late Rufus M. Johnston, of Charlotte. He was an indus- 
trious farmer, 'and upright member of society; for many- 
years an elder of the Presbyterian church at Unity, ind 
died with peaceful resignation on the 23d of May, 1854, 
in the seventy-seventh year of his age. His wife, Mary, 
died on the 30th of July, 1857, and both are buried in 
a private cemetery on the old homestead property, uow 
owned by their grandson, John R. Johnston, Esq. His 
descendants were, 2d generation: 

1. Sarah Johnston married Dr. Benjamin Johnson, of 


2. James A. Johnston married Jane B^'ers, of Iredell 

3. Dr. Sidnej'' X. Johnston married PlarrietK. Connor, 
of Lincoln county. 

4. Jane Johnston married tirst, John D. Graham, 
second, Dr. William B. McLean, of Lincoln county. 

5. John R. Johnston married first, Delia Torrence, 
second, Laura E. Happoldt, of Burke county. 

6. Robert Johnston married Caroline Shuford, of Lin- 
coln county. 

7. Dr. Thos. Johnston married Dorcas Luckey, of 
Mecklenburg county. 

8. Harriet Johnston m.arried William T. Shipp, of 
CJaston count}'. 

9. Mar}'' Johnston married Dr. William Davidson, of 
Mecklenburg county. 

10. Martha Johnston married Col. J. B. Rankin, of 
McDowell county. 

IL Col. William Johnston, present Mayor (187G) of 
Charlotte, married Ann Graham, of Mecklenburg county. 

12. Rufus M. Johnston married Cecilia Latta, of 
York county, S. C. 

2d. Margaret Ewart Johnston married Logan Hen- 
derson, Esq., youngest son of James Henderson, who 
moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina at the 
first settlement of the country. Ho was the brother 
of Major Lawson Henderson, long and well known as 
one of the worthy citizens of Lincoln county, and of Col. 
James Henderson, a brave officer killed at tlie battle of 
JiSTew Orleans. The patriarchal ancestor, James Hender- 
son, became the owner of a large body of land on the 
south fork of the Catawba river, in the ]>resent county of 
Ciaston, embracing a valuable water-power, at v/hich lie 
erected a grist mill, then a new and useful institution. 
He lived to an extreme old age, and is buried on a high 
eminence near the eastern bank of the river, where a 


substantial stone wall surrounds the graves of himself, 
Adam Springs, the next owner of the property, and a few 

In 1818, Logan Henderson joined the tide of emigra- 
tion to Tennessee, and purchased much valuable land 
near Murfreesboro, in Rutherford county. In and near 
his last place of settlement, the most of his worthy de- 
scendants still reside. He died, after a brief illness, 
•with calm composure, on the 8th of December, 1846, in 
the sixty-second 3'ear of his age. His wife survived him 
many years, and died with peaceful resignation on the 
13th of August, 1863, in the seventy-fifth year of her 

Their descendants Vv'ere, second generation : 

1. James F. Henderson married Amanda M. Vorhees, 
of Tennessee. 

2. Violet C. Henderson married William F. Lytle, of 

3. Jane E. Henderson married William S. Moore, of 

The remaining children of Col. James Johnston were : 

3. James Johnston, Jr., a promising young man, died 
near the age of maturity, in 1816, without issue. 

4. Henry Johnston died in 1818 without issue. 

5 Martha Johnston married Dr. James M. Burton. 
Soon after marriage the}^ moved to Georgia, where they 
both died without issue. 

6. Jane Johnston married Rev. .John Williamson, 
pastor of Hopewell church, in Mecklenburg county, and 
died in 1817 without issue. 

7. Catharine Johnston married John Hayes, Esq., who 
settled near Toole's Ford, on the Catawba river, about 
one mile from the old homestead of Col. James Johnston. 
He was a worthy christian citizen, long a subject of 
patient suffering from disease, for many years an elder 
of the Presbyterian church, and died peacefully on the 


13tli of April, 1846, aged sevenly-two years. His wife^ 
Catharine, a lady of great amiability and worth, died on 
the 17th of December, 1858, aged seventy-four ^^ears. 
Their descendants were, second generation : 

1. Jane C. Hayes married Dr. Sidney J. Harris, of Ca- 
barrus county. 

2. Martha E. Hayes married William Fulenwider, of 
Lincoln county. 

3. Margaret J. Hayes married Dr. William Adams, of 
York county, S. C. 

4. Minerva AY. Hayes married Col. William Grier, of 
Mecklenburg county. 

5. Elizabeth L. Hayes married Charles L. Torrence, of 
Rowan county. 

6. John L. Hayes married Matilda Hutchinson, of Meck- 
lenburg county. 

7. Dr. WiUiam J. Hayes married Isabella Alexander, 
great-grand daughter of John McKnitt Alexander, a Signer 
and one of the Secretaries of the Mecklenburg Convention 
of the 20th of May, 1775. 

8. Dr. William Johnston, youngest son of Col. James 
Johnston, married Nancy, daughter of Gen. Peter Forney, 
of Lincoln county. 

Their descendants were, second generation : 

1. Annie C. Johnston married Dr. Joseph W. Calloway, 
of Rutherford county. 

2. Jane C. Johnston died at school in Greensboro, Guil- 
ford county. 

3. Martha S. .Johnston married Richard K. Hunley, Esq., 
of Alabama. 

4. Capt. James F. Johnston, citizen of Charlotte. 

5. Susan L. Johnston, citizen of Charlotte. 
G. William P. Johnston, (died young). 

7. Margaret Johnston married Col. Peter F. Hunley, of 


8. Geii. Robert D, Johnson married Johncie Evans, of 
Greensboro, N. C. 

9. Dr. William 11. Johnston married Cathleen Gage, of 
Chester county, S. C. 

10. Capt. Joseph F. Johnston married Theresa Hooper,, 
of Alabama. 

11. Catharine Johnson died comparatively young. 

12. Bartlett S. Johnston, now (1876) a merchant of New 
York city. 

Most of the descendants of Colonel James Johnston per- 
formed a soldier's duty, and won military distinction in 
the late war between the States, but our prescribed limits 
forbid a more extended notice of their Confederate ser- 
vices. This will be the noble task of some future historian, 
illustrating, as it would, much heroic bravery, chivalrie 
daring, and perseverance under difficulties seldom surpass- 
ed in the annals of any people. The preceding sketch and 
genealogy will serve to perpetuate the name and indicate 
the relationship of different branches of the family. It 
should awaken in every descendant emotions of veneration 
for the memory of a common patriarchal ancestor, who 
was one of the earhest and most unwavering patriots of 
the Revolutionary struggle for independence ; contributed 
largely in council and in the field to its success, and whose 
mortal remains, with others of the family, now repose in 
the private cemetery of the " Oak Grove " farm, in Gaston 
county, N. C. 

(Condensed from Wheeler's "Historical Sketches.") 

Among the early settlers of Lincoln county (formerly 
Tryon) was Jacob Forne}^, Sr. He was the son of a 
Huguenot, and born about the year 1721. His life was 
checkered with a vicissitude of fortunes bordering on 
romance. At the revocation of^the edict of Nantes, in 1685,. 


his father fled from France, preferring self-expatriati( 
to the renunciation of his religious belief, and settled 
Alsace, on the Rhine where, under the enlightening i 
fiuencesof the reformation, freedom of opinion in matte 
of conscience was tolerated. The family name was ori 
inally spelt Famey, but afterwards, in Alsace, where tl 
Wman language is generally spoken, was changed 
J^orney. Here his father died, leaving him an orpha 
when four years old. At the age of fourteen he le 
Alsace and went to Amsterdam in Holland. Becomin 
delighted whilst there with the glowing accounts whic 
crossed the Atlantic respecting the New World, an 
allured with the prospect of improving his conditio 
and enjoyingstill greater political and religious prvileo-e 
he came to America by the first vessel having that de^st 
nation, and settled in Pennsylvania. Here he remaine 
industriously employed until u^ptil his maturity, whe 
he returned to Germany to procure a small l-gac^ 
Having adjusted his affairs there he again embarked fo 
America on board of a vessel bringing over many emi 
grants from the Canton of Berne in Switzerland. Amon^ 
the number was a blithesome, rosy-cheeked damsel 
buoyant with the chli^i^ of youtli^,, who particularly at 
tracted young Forney's attention. "&s' acquaintance wa: 
soon made, and, as might be expected, a mutual attach 
raent was silently but surely formed between two youth- 
ful hearts so congenial in feeling, and similarly filled 
with the spirit of adventure. Prosperous gales quicklj 
wafted the vessel in safety to the shores of America, and 
soon after their arrival ^in Pennsylvania Jacob Forney 
and Mariah Bergner (for that was the fair one's name) 
were united in marriage. At this time the fertile land; 
and healthful climate of the South were attracting i 
numerous emigration from the middle colonies. Influ 
enced by such inviting considerations, Forney joined th( 
great tide of emigration a few years after his marriage 


d settled iii Lincoln county (formerly Tryon) about 
e year 1754. 

The first settlers of Lincoln county suffered greatly by 
e depredations and occasional murders by the Cherokee 
dians. On several occasions many of the inhabitants 
mporarily abandoned tneir homes, and removed to the 
ore populous settlements east of the Catawba river 
liers, finding it inconvenient to remove, constructed 
de forts for their mutual defence. A repetition of 
ese incursions having occurred a few years after For- 
y's arrival, he removed his family to a place of safety 
st of the river until the Lidians could be severely chas- 
led by military force. On the next day he returned to 
s former residence, accompanied by two of his neio-h- 
Ts, to search for his cattle. After proceeding about a 
lie from home they spied a small Indian just ahead of 
em running rapidly, and not far from the spot now 
?11 known as the " Rocky Spring Camp Ground." 
)rney truly suspected more Indians were in the imme- 
ate vicinity. After progressing but a short distance, 
I and his party discovered, in an open space beyond 
em, ten or twelve Indians, a part of whom, at least, 
re armed with guns, apparently waiting their ap- 
oach. Forney being a good marksman, and having a 
urage equal to any emergency, was in favor of giving 
em battle immediately', but his two companions over- 
led him, contending it would be impossible to disperse 
ch a large number. It was therefore deemed advisable 
^ retreat, and make their way to the fort, about two 
iles in their rear, where several families had assembled, 
rter proceeding a short distance the Indians approached 
rnewhat nearer and fired upon the party but without 
ect. Forney directed his companies to reserve their 
e until the Indians approached sufficiently near to take 
sure and deadly aim, and maintain an orderly retreat 
the direction of the fort. Soon after they commenced 


retreating the Indians again fired upon them and un- 
fortunately one of the party, Richards, was dangerously 
wounded. At this critical moment, when one or two 
well directed fires might l^ave repulsed their enemy, the 

courge of F , the other companion, failed him, and he 

made his rci'pid departure. Forney, however, continued 
his retreat, assisting his wounded companion as much as 
he could, and, although fired upon several times, man- 
aged to keep the Indians at some distance off by present- 
ing, his unerring rifle when their timidity was manifested 
by falling down in the grass, or taking shelter behind 
the trees, each one, no doubt, supposing the well-aimed 
shot might fell him to the earth. At length poor Rich- 
ards, becoming faint from loss of blood, and seeing the 
imminent danger of his friend's life, directed Forney to 
leave him, and, if possible, save himself. This advice he 
reluctantly complied with and pursued his course to the 
fort. But the Indians did not pursue him much farther, 
being probably satified with the murder of the wounded 

In this unequal contest Forney only received a small 
wound on the back of his left hand, but, on examination, 
discovered that several bullets had pierced his clothes. 
This adventure shows what cool, determined bravery 
may effect under the most discouraging circumstances, 
and that an individual may sometimes providentially 
escape although made the object of a score of bullets or 
other missiles of destruction. When he reached the 
fort he found the occupants greatily frightened, having 
heard the repeated firing. After this adventure and nar- 
row escape became generally known, a belief was widely 
entertained b}'^ the surrounding community that Forney 
was bullet-'proqf. It was even affirmed, and received ad- 
ditions by repeaiiiui, that after he reached the fort and un_ 
buttoned his vest, a lumdfid of bullets dropped out. In sub- 
sequent years Forne}' was accustomed to smile at this 


innocent credality of his neighbors but frequently re- 
marked that the impression of his being bullet-j^roof w&s 
of great service to him on more than one occasion pre- 
ceding and durinij: the Revohitionary war. 

Few persons during the war suffered heavier losses than 
Jacob Forney. By persevering industry and strict econ- 
omy he had surrounded himself and family with all the 
comforts, and, to some extent, luxuries of the substantial 
farmer. When Cornwallis marched through Lincoln 
county in the w^inter of 1781, endeavoring to overtake 
Morgan with his large number of prisoners captured at 
the Cowpens, he was arrested in his progress by the swol- 
len waters of the Cataw^ba river. Being thus foiled in 
his expectations, supposing he had Morgan almost in his 
f/rasp, Cornwallis fell back about five miles from the river 
to Forney's plantation, having been conducted there by a 
Tory w^ell acquainted with the neighborhood. Here 
Cornwallis remained encamped for three days, consuming, 
in the meantime Forney's entire stock of cattle, hogs, 
sheep, geese, chickens, a large amount of forage, forty 
gallons of brandy, &c. His three horses were carried off, 
unci many thousands of rails and other property destroy- 
ed. But the extent of his losses did not end here. Corn- 
wallis had been informed that Forney had a large amount 
•of money concealed somewhere in his premises, and that 
if diligent search were made it might be readily found. 
This information set the British soldiers to work, and, 
iiided by the Tory conductor's suggestions, they finally 
succeeded in finding his gold, silver and jewelry buried 
in his distiller}', the greater portion of which he had 
brought with him from Germany, Whilst this work of 
search was going on without, his Lordship was quietly 
occupying the upper story of the family mansion, making 
it his headquarters. Forney and his wife being old, were 
graciously allowed the privilege of living in the basement. 
As soon as he was informed his gold, silver and jewelry 


were found, amounting to one hundred and seventy 
pounds sterling, he was so exasperated for the moment 
that he seized his gun and rushed to the stair steps with 
the determination to kill Cornwallis, but his wife quickly 
followed and intercepted him, thus preventing the most 
deplorable consequences — the loss of his own life, and 
perhaps that of his family. But the prudent advice of 
his wife, "Heaven's last, best gift to man," had its prop- 
er, soothing eifect, and caused him to desist from his im- 
petuous purpose. It is hardly necessary to inform the 
reader he was punished in this severe manner because he 
was a zealous supporter of the cause of freedom, and his 
three sons were then in the "■ rebel army." 

The log house in which his lordship made his head- 
quarters for three days and /our nights is still in existence^ 
though removed, many years since, from its original site 
to a moi'e level location in the immediate vicinity. In 
this humble building he, no doubt, cogitated upon tlie 
speedy subjugation of the " rebels," and that subsequent 
glorification which awaits the successful hero. Little did 
Cornwallis then allow himself to think that he and his 
wliole arm}', in less than nine months from ihat time,. 
would have to suri-ender to tiie " rebel army," under 
Washijigton, as prisoners of war! 

It is said Cornwallis, after finishing his morning rcpast- 
upon the savory beef and fowls of the old j>atriot's proper- 
ty, would come down from his headquarters, up stairs, 
and pass along his lines of soldiers, extending for more 
than a mile in a northwest direction, and reaching to the 
adjoining plantation of his son Peter, who kept " bache- 
lor's hall," but was then absent, with his brother Abram, 
battling for their countr3''s freedom. About midway of 
the extended lines, and only a i>d\\ steps troin the road 
on which the British array was encamped, several gran- 
ite rocks protrude from the ground. On*^ is about four 
feet high, with a rounded, weather-worn top — a conve- 


nient place to receive his lordsliip's cloak. Another 
rock, nearly adjoining, is about two feet and a half high, 
with a flat surface gently descending, and five feet across. 
At this spot Cornwallis was accustomed to dine daily with 
some of his oflicers upon the rich variety of food seized 
during his stay, and washing it all down, as might be 
aptly inferred, with a portion of the forty gallons of cap- 
tured brandy previously mentioned. This smooth-faced 
rock, on which his lordship and officers feasted for three- 
days, is known in the neighborhood to this day as "Corn- 
wallis' Table." On visiting this durable remembrancer 
of the past quite recently, the writer looked around for a 
piece of some broken plate or other vessel, but sought in 
vain. The only mementoes of this natural table he could 
bear aw^ay were a few chips from its outer edge, without 
seriously mutilating its weather-beaten surface, now hand- 
somely overspread with moss and Ucheiu Where once the 
tramp and bustle of a large army resounded, all is now 
quiet and silent around, save the singing of birds and 
gentle murmers of the passing breeze in the surrounding 

After Cornwallis left, Forney ascertained that the Tory 
informer Vv as one of his near neighbors with whom he had 
always lived on terms of friendship. Considering the 
heavy losses he had sustained attributable to his agency,, 
he could not overlook the enormity of the offence, and 
accordingly sent a message to the Tory that he must leave 
the neighborhood, if not, he would shoot him at first sight. 
The Tory eluded him for several days by lying out, well 
knowing that the stern message he had received meant 
action. At length Forney, still keeping up his search,, 
came upon him unawares and fast asleep. He was im- 
mediately aroused from his slumbers, when beholding his- 
perilous situation, he commenced pleading most earnestly 
for his life, and promised to leave the neighborhood.. 
Forney could not resist such touching appeals to his mercy„ 


and kindly let him off. In a few days afterward the 
Tory, true to his promise, left the neighborhood and never 

Jacob Forney, Sr., died in 1806, aged eighty-five. In 
his offspring flowed the blood of the Huguenot and the 
Swiss — people illustrating in their historj- all that is grand 
in heroic suffering and chivalric daring. His wife sur- 
vived him several years ; both were consistent and worthy 
members of the Lutheran Church, and are buried in the 
"old Dutch Meeting House" graveyard, about three miles 
from the family homestead, and near Maepelah Church. 


Gen. Peter Forney, second son of Jacob Forney, Sr., was 
liorn in Tj'ron county (now Lincoln) in April, 1756. His 
father was the son of a French Huguenot, and his mother 
Swiss. His origin is thus traced to a noble class of people 
whose heroic bravery, unparalleled suffering and ardent 
piety are closely connected in all lands where their lots 
liave been cast with the promotion of civil and religious 

Gen. Forney was one of the earliest and most unwaver- 
ing Whigs of the revolutionary struggle. He first entered 
the service about the first of June, 1876, in Capt. James 
Johnston's company and Col. William Graham's regiment. 
The command marched to Fort McFadden, near the pres- 
ent town of Kutherfordton, and found that the greater 
portion of the inhabitants had fled for protection against 
the Cherokee Indians. After remaining a short time at 
the fort, he joined a detachment of about one hundred 
men in pursuit of the Indians, under Captains Johnston, 
'Cook and Hardin. They marched about one hundred 
miles, and not being able to overtake them, the detach- 
ment returned to the fort. In 1777, Gen. Forney volun- 
tered as a Lieut, in Capt- James Reid's company, for the 


purpose of quelling a considerable body of Tories assem- 
ble not far from the South Carolina line. The detach- 
ment was commanded by Cob Charles M'Lean, who 
marched into South Carolina and pursued after the Tories 
until it was ascertained Gen. Pickens, considerably in ad- 
vance with his forces, had commenced the pursuit of the 
same, and was too far ahead to be overtaken. The de- 
tachment then returned to North Carolina, and, having 
taken several prisioners on the way, suspected of being in- 
imical to the American cause, Capt. E.eid was ordered to 
eonvey them to Salisbury. Gen. Forney still remained in 
service, and attached himself to Capt. Kuykendal's com- 
pany until some time in June. After this time he was 
frequently out in short expeditions for the purpose of in- 
timidating and keeping down the rising spirit of the 
Tories, and arresting them, whenever the good of the 
•country seemed to require it. In the fall of 1779 Gen_ 
Forney voluntered with a party to go to Kentucky (Hai- 
rod Station) and after staying there a short time returned 
home. At this time, there being a call made upon the 
militia to march to the relief of Charle&ton, he voluntered 
as a Lieut, in Capt. Neals' company, wliich was ordered 
to rendezvous at Charlotte, whilst there, waiting for the 
assemblage of more troops, he was appointed Captain by 
Col. Hampton and Lieut, Col. Hambright, Capt. JSTeal 
being superseded in his command on account of intemper- 
ance. From Charlotte the assembled forces march by 
w^ay of Camden to Charleston, under the command of 
Ools. Hall, Dickson and Major John Nelson, continental 
officers. The militia of North Carolina, at the time, was 
commanded by Gen. Lillington. The term of service of 
Gen Forney's company having expired shortly alter his 
arrival at Charleston, and the British being in considera- 
ble force oiF that city, he induced the greater portion of 
his company to again volunteer for about six weeks 
longer, until fresh troops, then expected, would come to 


their relief. In the spring of 1780 Gen. Forney, immedi' 
ately after his return from Charleston, volunteered under 
Lieut. Col. Hambright, and went in pursuit of Col. Floyd 
a Tory leader on Fishing Creek, S. C. Hearing of their 
approach Floyd hastily fled to Rocky Mount, and the 
expedition, not being able to accomplish anything more 
at that time, returned to North Carolina On the night of 
his arrival at home Gen. Forney was informed that the 
Tories, under Col. John Moore, were embodied in strong- 
force at Ramsour's Mill near the present town of Lincoln- 
ton. On the next day he left home and went up the Ca- 
tawba river, when, encountering a considerable body of 
Tories near Mountain Creek, he returned and immediately 
hastened to inform Gen. Rutherford. lie found him en- 
camped at Col. Dickson's, three miles northwest of Tuck- 
aseege Ford, with a strong force. He then attached him- 
self to his army, and marched early next morning t(y 
Ramsour's, but did not reach there until two hours after 
the battle, the Tories having been completely defeated by 
Col. Locke and his brave associates. Tlie dead and 
wounded were still lying where they had fallen, and Gen, 
Rutherford's forces assisted in the closing duties of that 
brilliant victory. Never afterwards in that county did 
Tory-loyalism present a formidable opposition to the final 
success of the American arms. Of the Whig officers the 
brave Captains Falls, Dobson, Smith, Knox, Bowman^ 
Sloan and Armstrong were killed, and Captains Iloustoo 
and ]vIcKissick wounded. Of the Tories, Captains Mur- 
ra_y, Cumberland and Warlick were killed, and Capt,. 
Carpenter wounded. 

During the latter part of the year 1780 Gen. Forney 
Avas almost constantly in service in different portions of 
count3^ AVhen Cornwallis entered the county in the last 
week of January, 1781, endeavoring to overtake Gen, 
Morgan with his prisoners captured at the Cowpens, he 
was providentially arrested in his march by the swollen 


waters of the Catawba river. He then fell back and en- 
-camped three days on the plantation of Jacob Forney, Sr,, 
a well to-do farmer and noted Whig, consuming in the 
meantime, destroying or carrying off, every thing of 
value belonging to father or son, (Gen. Forney,) consisting 
of three horses, a large stock of cattle, hogs, sheep, fowls, 
forage, &c. 

After the British army moved from this encampment, 
Gen. Forney commanded a company and placed them- 
selves on the eastern bank of the river, endeavorhig to 
oppose their crossing, and remained there until the light 
troops, under Col. Hall, effected a passage at Cowan's 
Ford, The militia being repulsed, and Gen. Davidson 
killed, he fled to Adam Torrence's, hotly pursued by 
Tarleton's troop of cavalry. At this place he found a 
■considerable body of militia, but in great confusion in 
consequence of the death of Gen. Davidson, and greatly 
-disheartened. After giving the British one discharge of 
their arms, and killing several, the militia were repulsed, 
with small loss, and fled in all directions. Gen. Forney 
then retreated across the Yadkin, and remained on Ab- 
*bot's creek about six weeks, during which time he had 
;«o regular command, and co-operated with other soldiers, 
whenever it appeared any advantage could be rendered 
to the American cause. 

In the spring of 1^571, Gen. Forney commenced repair- 
ing his plantation which the British had entirely de- 
stroyed, together with that of his father's in the imme- 
diate vicinity, whilst encamped there. He remained at 
liome until a call was made upon the militia to march to 
the relief of Wilmington, when he again volunteered and 
commanded a company of dragoons, associated with Cap- 
tains AVhite and Lemmonds. In this expedition Charles 
Polk was appointed Major of dragoons, Gen. Rutherford 
in chief command, and marched through the disaffected 
country around Cross creek, (now Fayetteville,) and on to 


the immediate vicinity of Wilmington. Here Gen Ruth- 
erford created a belief before his arrival that his forces 
were much larger than they really were. In consequence 
of this belief Major Craig, in command of the post, deem- 
ing his situation then insecure, immediately evacuated 
Wilmington and fled to Charleston. This was the only 
post in North Carolina held by the British, and with the 
flight of Craig all military operations ceased within her 
borders- This campaign closed the Revolutionary services 
of a gallant soldier and faithful patriot in the cause of 
American freedom. 

In 1783 Gen. Forney married ISTancy, daughter ot 
David Abernathy, a lady of great moral worth and 
christian benevolence. The natural goodness of her heart 
made her the " cheerful giver." Her numerous acts of 
charity were free of all ostentation, and flowed silently 
forth like gentle streams from a pure fountain, imparting 
new vigor and refreshing everything in their course. 
After the close of the war, full of youthful enterprise, and 
anxious to engage in some useful business, he fortunately 
became the owner of the " Big Iron Ore Bank," seven 
miles east of Lincolnton. This is one of the best and most 
extensive deposits of iron ore, of the variety known as 
" magnetic," in the State. Aware of the inexhaustible 
supply of ore, Gen. Forney disposed of interests to other 
parties (Brevard and Graham) and they immediately 
proceeded to erect a furnace (called Vesuvius) on An- 
derson's creek, now owned by the heirs of the late J. M. 
Pmith, Esq. After a few years the copartnership was 
dissolved, separate sites were purchased by Forney and 
Brevard, on Beeper's creek, additional furnaces were 
erected and thus the manufacture of cast metal, under its 
various forms, was vigorously and successful!}^ carried into 
operation. Gen. Forney commenced building his ironworks 
in 1787, associated for several years with his brother 
Abram, laid in a supply of the necessary stock, (ore and. 


coal,) as recorded in a sinall account book, produced ham- 
mered iron in his forge on the 26th of August, 1788. 
This is believed to be the^r^;' manufacture of iron in tlifr 
western part of the State. Here Gen. Forney permanentljr 
settled for life, and prospered in his useful calling. His-, 
residence jeceived the name of " Mount Welcome," ain 
appellation appropriately bestowed, as his future history 
manifestly proved. The poor and needy of his own 
neighborhood were frequently' the beneficiaries of his 
bounty ; and the weary traveler was at all times made 
" welcome," and entertained beneath his hospitable roof 
" without money, and without price." 

Gen. Forney was elected as a member to the House of 
Commons from 1794 to 1796 inclusively, and to the State 
Senate in ISOl and 1802. He was again called out from 
the shades of private life and elected as a Representative 
to Congress from 1813 to 1815. He also served as Elector 
in the Presidential campaigns of Jefl'erson, Madison, Mon- 
roe and Jackson. With these repeated evidences of 
popular favor his public services ended. Frequent solici- 
tations were tendered to him afterwards, all of Avhich he 
declined. The infirmities of old age w^ere now rapidly 
stealing upon him, and rendering him unfit for the proper 
discharge of public duties. For several years previous to 
his decease his mental vigor and corporeal strength greatly 
failed. After a short illness, w^ithout visible pain or suf- 
fering, he quietly breathed his last on February 1st, 1834, 
in the seventy-eighth year of his age. Generosity, candor^ 
integrity and freedom from pride or vain show were prom- 
inent traits in his character. Let his name and his deeds 
and his sterling virtues be duly appreciated and faithfully 
imitated by the rising generation. 



Major Abram Forney, youngest sou of Jacob Forney, 
Sr., was born in Trj^on county, (now Lincoln) in October, 
1758. His father was a Huguenot, and his mother Swiss. 
His origin is thus connected with a noble race of people 
\vho Avere driven into exile rather than renounce their re- 
ligious belief under the persecutions w^hich disgraced the 
reign of Louis XIV, of France. Major Forney first 
entered the service about the 2oth of June, 1776, as one of 
the drafted militia in Capt. James Johnston's company, 
and Col. William Graham's regiment. His company was 
then ordered to reinforce the troops at Fort McFadden, 
near the present town of Rutherfordton, and remained 
there until about the 1st of August, when he returned 
home to prepare for the expedition against the (Jherokee 
Indians. The '^militia of Mecklenburg, Rowan Lincoln 
iind other counties were called out by orders from Gen. 
Rutherford, who marched to Pleasant Gardens, -where he 
was joined by other forces. From that place Major For- 
ney marched into the JSTation with a detachment under 
Col. William Sharpe as far as the Hiwassee river, where 
they met Avith a portion of Gen. Williamson's army from 
South Carolina. The expedition was completely success- 
ful ; the Indians w^ere routed, their towns destroyed, a few 
prisoners taken, and they were compelled to sue for peace. 
The prisoners and property taken by Gen. Rutherford's 
forces were turned over to Gen. Williamson, as falling 
within his military jurisdiction. The expedition then 
left the Nation, and he reached home on the loth of Oc- 
tober, 1776. 

In February, 1777, Major Forney again volunteered a« 
a private in Capt. James Reid's company for the purpose 
of quelling some Tories who had, or were about to embody 
themselves near the South Carolina line. The detach- 
ment was commanded by Col. Charles McLean. The 


Tories were commanded hy a certain John Moore, whom 
CoL McLean pursued into South Carolina until he ascer- 
tained Gen. Pickens was engaged in the same pursuit, and 
too far ahead to be overtaken. The detachment then re- 
turned to North Carolina, and having taken several pris- 
oners on the way, suspected of being inimical to the 
American cause, Major Forney was ordered to take them 
to Salisbur}'. After this service he was dismissed and 
returned home in April, 1777. 

At diiferent times subsequently Major Forney volun- 
teered in several short expeditions as far as the South 
Carolina line, for the purpose of intimidating and keeping 
down the rising spirit of the Tories, who were numerous 
in this section of country, and required a strict vigilance 
to hold them in a state of subjection. Early in June, 1780, 
when a call was made upon the militia, he volunteered in 
Capt. John Baldridge's company, marched to a temporary 
rendezvous at Ramsour's, and thence to Espey's, where 
they joined other troops under the command of Col. Wil- 
liam Graham and Lieut. Col. Hambright. The united 
forces then proceeded to Lincoln "old Court House," near 
Moses Moore's, the father of Col. John Moore, thi Tory 
leader, and marched and countermarched through that 
section of country. At this time, hearing that Ferguson 
was coming on with a strong force, it Avas deemed advisa- 
ble to retreat and -cross the Catawba at Tuckaseege Ford* 
Col. Graham then marched with his forces to that place, 
and there met some other troops from South Carolina, 
under Col. Williams, retreating before Cornwallis, whose 
army had just reached Charlotte. The two forces then 
united under Col. Williams and marched up the west side 
of the Catawba river, and thence across the country in a 
circuitous direction towards South Carolina in the rear of 
Ferguson, and thus were enabled to fall in with the "over 
mountain" troops under Campbell, Shelby, Cleaveland, 
Sevier, and others, at the Cowpens, afterwards rendered 


famous by the battle fought there. The officers haviug 
agreed upon the plan of operations, a select portion of the 
combined forces marched rapidly in pursuit of Ferguson, 
and found him encamped on King's Mountain on the 7th 
of October, 1780. The action immediately commenced, 
and resulted in one of the most decisive victories gained 
during the Revolutionary struggle, and constitutes the 
turning j^omt of final triumph in the cause of American 
freedom. Soon after the battle, Major Forney and Capt. 
James Johnston were appointed to number the dead on 
the British side. They soon found Ferguson at the foot 
of the hill, dead, and covered with blood. His horse hav- 
ing been shot from under him, he continued to advance,, 
sword in hand, cheering on his men by word and example,, 
until five or six balls pierced his body and sealed his fate. 
Major Forney often stated he picked up Ferguson's sword, 
intending t© keep it as a trophy, but some subordinate 
officer getting hold of it, made ofi' with it, and thus de- 
prived him of his prize. An incident connected with the 
closing scenes of this memorable battle is here worthy of 
being recorded : 

As" Major Forney was survej'ing the prisoners, through 
the guard surrounding them, he spied one of his neigh- 
bors, who only a short time before the battle had been 
acting with the Whigs, but had been persuaded by some 
of his Tory acquaintances to join the king's troops. Upon 
seeing him Major Forney exclaimed, "is that jou, Simon ?" 
The reply quickly came back, "Yes, it is, Abram, and I 
beg you to get me out of this bull iien ; if you do, I will 
promise never to be caught in such ji scrape again." Ac- 
cordingly, when it was made to appear on the day of trial 
that he had been unfortunately wrought upon by some 
Tory neighbors, such a mitigation of his disloyalty was 
presented as to induce the officers holding the court- 
martial to overlook his oft'ence and set him at liberty. 
Soon afterward, true to his promise, he joined his former 


Whig comrades, marched to the battle of Guilford and 
made a good soldier to the end of the war. 

Near the close of the year 1780, hearing that Col. Mor- 
gan was preparing to go upon an expedition into South 
Carolina, Major Forney attached himself to the command 
of Capt. James Little, with the intention of joining his- 
forces, but did not come up with them until after th& 
battle of the Cowpens. He then returned home, and re- 
mained there until the 27th of January, 1781, when all 
the Whigs in his section of the country had to fly before 
Cornwallis in pursuit of Morgan with his large number 
of prisoners on their way to Virginia. Major Forney 
then crossed the Catawba, and joined a detachment (/if 
troops on its eastern bank under Capt. Henderson, place^i 
as a guard by Gen. Davidson at Cowan's Ford, where it 
was expected the British might attempt to cross. Having 
stood guard for some time at this point, and being re- 
lieved, he went a short distance to a house to procure re- 
freshments of which he was much in need, and was not 
present when the guard was repulsed, and Gen. Davidson 
killed. He then fled with the other troops to Adam 
Torrence's, about ten miles distant, where a considerable 
body of militia had assembled, but were greatly disheart- 
ened on account of the death of Gen. Davidson. The day 
was damp and unfavorable to the use of firearms. The 
militia, without much order, fired once at the British, 
killing seven, and then dispersed in all directions. He 
then retreated until he reached Gen. Greene's army, in: 
Guilford county. From this place he was advised to re- 
turn home, and in doing so was furnished with a ticket 
to procure provisions on the way. 

On the 25th of March, 1781, the militia being again 
called out. Major Forney attached himself to the com- 
mand of Capt. Samuel Espey, acting as a Sergeant. The 
company then joined a detachment of militia under Gen. 
Thomas Polk, marched into South Carolina, and came up- 


with Gen. Greene's army at Rugeley's Mill. The army 
was then placed under the command of Col. Dudley, and 
remained under him until Gen. Greene commenced his 
march to the post of Ninety Six. At this time, Capt. 
Espey being compelled to leave the service in consequence 
of a wound received at the battle of King's Mountain, 
went home with a part of his compan}'', and then Major 
Forney joined the command of Capt. Jack, still acting as 
Sergeant. Soon afterward the expedition returned to 
■Charlotte, when he was dismissed by Capt. Jack, about 
the 1st of July, 1781. 

In a short time afterward. Major Forney attached him- 
self to the company of Capt. John Weir, under orders to 
proceed to Wilmington. His company crossed the Ca- 
tawba at Tuckaseege Ford on the 1st day of ISTovember, 
1781, and encamped three or four miles beyond the river 
on the road leading to Charlotte. On the next day the 
company marched through Charlotte and encamped at 
Col. Alexander's, who had been ordered to take command 
of the detachment. Whilst there intelligence was received 
of the return of Gen Rutherford's forces. Major Forney 
was then sent to that officer for orders ; receiving these, 
the company recrossed the Catawba. Capt, Loftin then 
took command in place of Capt. Weir, who had resigned 
and returned home. The company proceeded to form 
several stations in the county, and arrested some susjyecfcd 
persons. Capt. Thomas McGee having assumed command 
in place of Loftin, resigning, marched with the prisoners 
to Salisbury, and delivered them up to the proper authori- 
ties on the 31st of December, 1781. 

Again, when a call was made upon the militia in 1782, 
to march against the Cherokee Indians, Major Forney was 
placed in command of a company, and ordered to rendez- 
vous at Ramsour's Mill. He remained there from about 
the 1st of June until the 1st of August, when he marched 
,to the head of the Catawba and joined the trooj^s of 


Burke and Wilkes. He then attached his company ta 
Col. Joseph McDowell's regiment, marched across the 
Blue Ridge and met with the Rutherford troops on the 
Swannanoa river, under the command of Col, Miller. After 
the junction of the Rutherford troops, the expedition, 
under Gen. Charles McDowell, marched into the !N"ation,. 
nearly on the trail of Gen. Rutherford in 1776, but pro- 
ceeded some farther than where his army halted. Tha 
expedition was entirely successful ; took a few prisoners^ 
returned home and were dismissed in October, 1782. 

This was the last service of a brave soldier, who fought 
long, and fought well, for the freedom of his country. 
Major Abram Forney died on the 22nd day of July, 1849,. 
in the ninety-first year of his age. 

His only surviving son, Capt. Abram Earhardt Forney, 
at the present time, (1876,) is still living at the old home- 
stead, has alread}^ passed his "three score years and ten ;" is 
an industrious farmer, and worthy citizen of Lincoln county, 


Among the curious revolutionary mementoes that 
Capt. A. E. Forney, son of Major Abram Fornej^ 
has in his possession is a small leathei^ memorandum 
pocket-hook, tilled originally with twenty-four blank 
leaves ; also Si powder horn, made by his father preparatory 
to an expedition to the mountains. The front, or open- 
ing sides, is handsomely ornamented with numerous small 
stars, arranged diagonally across the surface and around 
the borders. The back side has the patriot's initials, A. F, 
distinctly impressed, and immediately beneath, the year 
1775, the whole displaying considerable artistic skill ; nu- 
merous entries appear on its pages, made at different times, 
and without reference to strict chronological order; brief no- 
tices of military and agricultural matters and occassion. 
ally a birth, death or marriage are harmoniously blended^ 
On page 5 is this entry : "The first snow in the year 1775^ 
was on December the 23rd day, and it was very deep." 


On the same page it is recorded: "April the 28th day, 
Old John Seagle departed this world, 1780." On page 11 
this entry appears: " May the 3rd day I sowed flax seed 
in the year 1779, and other entries relating to the same 
agricultural avocation are interspersed through the little 
book. The culture of flax was then an indispeusible em- 
ployment. Our soldiers then wore hunting shirts, made of 
flax, to the battle flelds. Cotton was not generally cul- 
tivated until twenty years later. On page 24 it is recorded: 
"' May the 1st day there was a frost in the year 1779." 
On page 22 is this entry: " Be it remembered the battle 
between the Whigs and Tories (at Ramsour's) was fought 
on the 20th day of June 1780." (Signed) Abram Forney. 
Had any doubt arisen as to the precise date of this impor- 
tant battle it could have been ascertained from this mem- 
orandum pocket-book of this distinguished patriotia 
soldier. On page 13 is an entry which, on its realization, 
sent a thrill of joy throughout the land: " April the 17th 
day, great talk of peace in the year 1783." The definite 
treaty was not signed until the 30th of September follow- 
ing, and a new Republic sprung into existence. 


Jacob Forne}'^, Sr., (sketch of his life previously given) 
married Mariah Bergner, a native of Switzerland. Their 
•descendants were three sons, Jacob, Peter and Abram, 
and four daughters. Catherine married Abram Earhardt, 
Elizabeth married John Young, Christina married David 
Abernathy and Susan married John D. Abernathy. Of 
the descendants of the daughters, who left the State soon 
after marriage, little is known. 

Jacob Forney, the eldest son, married Mary Corpeuing, 
of Burke county, N. C. Soon after the Revolutionary 
war he purchased a valuable track of land on Upper creek, 
five miles northwest of Morganton, on which he settled 


.and raised a large family. He lived a long, quiet and 
useful life. His tombstone, in a private cemetery on the 
old homestead property, bears this inscription: "Sacred 
to the memory of Jacob Fornej^ born Xov. 6th, 1754, 
died Nov. 7th, 1840, aged eighty-six years and one day." 
He had eleven children : 

1. Elizabeth E. Forney, (died young.) 

2. Thomas J. Forney married S. C. Harris, of Mont- 
gomery county. 

3. Isaac ]!Tewton Forney, married M. L. Corpening, of 
Burke count3^ 

4. Marcus L. Forney married S. Connelly, of Burke 

5. Albert G. Forney married Eglantine Logan, of 
Rutherford county. 

6 Fatima E. Forney married H. Alexander Tate, of 
Burke county. 

7. Peter Bergner Forney married M. S. Connelly, of 
Caldwell county. 

8. James Harvey Forney married Emily Logan, of 
Rutherford county. 

9. Daniel J. Forney married S. C. Ramsour, of Lincoln 

10. Mary L. Forney married W. P. Reinhardt, of Ca- 
tawba county. 

11. Catharine S. Forney married A. T. Bost, of Catawba 

2. General Peter Forney, (sketch of his life previously 
given) married Nancy, daughter of David Abernathy, of 
Lincoln county. He had twelve children : 

1. Daniel M. Forney married Harriet Brevard, of Lin- 
coln county. 

2. Mar}^ Forney married Christian Reinhardt, of Lin- 
coln county. 

3. Moses Forney, (^died in Alabama unmarried.) 



4. Jacob Forney married Sarah Hoke, of Lincoln 

5. Joseph Forney (died comparatively young.) 

6. Eliza Forney married 1st, Henry T, Webb, Esq., of 
N^orth Carolina, and 2nd, Dr. John Meek, of Alabama. 

7. Susan Forney married Bartlett Shipp, Esq., of Lin- 
coln count}'. 

8. Lavinia Forney married John Fulenwider, of Lin- 
coln county. 

9. Xancy Forney married Dr. Willian John.ston, of Lin- 
coln county. 

10. Caroline Forney married Ransom G. Hunley, of 
South Carolina. 

11. Sophia G. Forney married Dr. C. L. Hunter, of Lin- 
coUi county. 

12. J. Monroe Forney married Sarah Fulenwider, of 
Cleaveland county. 

3. Major Ahram Forney, (sketch of his life previously 
given,) married Rachel Gabriel, of Lincoln county. He 
only had two children: 1. Abram Earhardt Forney, a 
worthy citizen of the same county, and now (187(3) con- 
siderably past his "three score years and ten," and 2., John 
W. Forney, who died comparatively young. 

Daniel M. Forney, eldest son of Gen. Peter Forney, re- 
ceived the appointment of Major in the war of 1812, and. 
proceeded lo the scene of conflict in Canada. He served 
as a Representative to Congress from 1815 to 1818, and as 
a Senator from Lincoln county to the State Legislature 
from 1823 to 1826. In 1834, he moved to Lowndes 
county, Ala., where he died in October, 1847, in the sixty- 
fourth year of his age. He had seven children : 

1. Eloise Forne}^ married Gen. Jones Withers, of Mo- 
bile, Ala. 

2. Mariah Forney married Judge Moore, of Alabama, 

3. Alexander B. Forney, (died comparatively young.) 

4. Harriet Forney, (died young.) 


5. Macon Forney, (died yoimg.) 

6. Susan Forney, married Dr. B. C. Jones, of Alabama. 

7. Emma Forney married Col. M. Smith, of Alabama. 

2. Mary Forney^ who married Christian Reinhardt, had 
five sons and four daughters. One of the sons, Franklin 
M. Reinhardt, who remained in the State, was a worthy 
member of society, highly esteemed by all who knew him, 
and remarkable for his benevolent disposition and liber- 
Siliij to the poor. He married Sarah, daughter of the late 
David Smith, of Lincoln county. He died on the 12th of 
June, 1869, in the sixty-second year of his age. 

3. Jacob Forney, who married Sarah Hoke, daughter of 
the late Daniel Hoke, formerly of Lincoln county, N. C, 
was an enterprising, useful and highly respected member 
of society, possessed many noble traits of character, and 
raised a large and interesting family. He moved in 1835, 
from Lincoln county to Alabama, and settled in Jackson- 
ville, where he died on the 24th of April, 1856, in the 
sixty-ninth, year of his age. He had nine children : 

1. Daniel P. Forney, of Jacksonville, Alabama. 

2. Joseph B. Forney married Mary Whitaker, of Ala- 

3. William H. Forney married Eliza Woodward, of 

4. Barbara Ann Forne}^ married P. Rowan, Esq., of 

5. Gen. John II. Forney married Septima Rutledge, 
grand-daughter of Edward Rutledge, one of the signers of 
the Declaration of Independence. 

6. Emma E. Forney married 1st, Col. Rice, 2nd, Rev. 
Thomas A. Morris. 

7. Col. George H. Forney, (killed at Spotsylvania Court 
House, Va.) 

8. Catharine Amelia Forney, married J. M. Wylie, Esq., 
of Alabama. 



9. Mariah Louisa Forney, ("Ida") married R. J). Wil- 
liams, Esq., of Alabama. 

The sons of Jacob Forney won military distinction and 
renown in the late Confederate war. Our prescribed limits 
ferbid a more extended notice of their gallant services. 
Their chivalric courage and "deeds of noble daring" will 
justly claim the careful study of some future historian. 

4. Miza Forney married 1st, Henry Y. Webb, Esq., of 
Granville county, N. C. He was educated at the Univer- 
sity of iSTorth Carolina, was a member of the Legislature 
in 1817 ; appointed by President Monroe, TerritorialJudge 
of Alabama ; elected to the same position by the State 
Convention of 1819, and died in September, 1823. 

Eliza Forney, by tirst marrage with Henry Y. Webbj, 
Esq., had five children. 

1. Frances Ann Webb married Col. John R. Hampton.. 
formerly of Charlotte, N". C, now a worthy and highly re- 
spected citizen of Bradley county. Ark. His wife Frances, 
died in 1842, leaving three children, of whom only one,. 
(Susan) widow of Dr. Greene jSTewton, at present survives, 

2. William P. Webb, Esq, married Martlm Bell, of 
Alabama. His children are: 

1. James E. Webb, of Hale county, Alabama, married 
Zemma Creswell. 

2. Frances E. Webb married Robert Cra^vford, of St- 
Louis, Mo. 

3. Judge William H. Webb married " Donna Louise 
Abrigo," of Monterey, Mexico. 

4. Rev. Frank Bell Webb, pastor of the Presbyteriaiu 
church, at Union Springs, Ala. 

5. Wert Webb, commission merchant of St. Louif, 
Mo., and two daughters, now in their minority. 

3. Col. James D. Webb, of the 51st Alabama Resri- 
ment, married Jessie Walton. He was frequently a mem- 
ber of the Legislature of Alabama, and was highly es- 
teemed for his purity of character. He died of wounds 


received in battle, July 3rcl, 18G3, near Winchester, Tenn., 
where he is buried. He left a widow and six children. 

4. Susan E. Webb died in 1832, at the age of twelve 

5. Dr. Ilenr}'- Y. Webb, married Elizabeth S. Alexan- 
der, a great-grand draughter of Abraham Alexander, 
Chairman of the Mecklenburg Convention of the 20th of 
May, 1775. Most of the Alexanders in the United States 
have descended from seven brothers who fled from Scot- 
land to the !N^orth of Ireland on account of civil and re- 
ligious persecutions. From 1725 to 1740, many of their 
descendants emigrated to America, one of whom was 
William Alexander, who inherited an estate and earldom 
in Scotland, and became Lord Stirling, a distinguished 
General in the Revolutionary war. After a short sojourn 
in Pennsylvania, many of the Alexander families and 
their descendants emigrated south, and formed numerous 
settlements in Mecklenburg and adjoining counties. 

Descendants of Eliza Forney (2nd marriage) and Dr. 
John Meek were : 

1. Samuel T. Meek, married Miss Cabeen, of South 

2. John A. IMeek, of Franklin, Ky., married Miss New- 
ton, of Arkansas. 

3. Lavinia Meek married, 1st, Col. Harry Williams, of 
Louisiana and 2nd, E. B. Cryer, of Trenton, Louisiana. 

4. iSTancy, and' 5, Sarah Meek. 

Bartlett Shipp, who married Susan Forney, served in 
the State Legislature from 1824 to 1830, and was one 
of the delegates from Lincoln county in 1835, to amend 
the constitution. He was an able lawyer, had a large 
practice for many years, and died in Lincolnton, on the 
26th of May, 1869, in the eighty fourth year of his age. 
His descendants were : 

1. Eliza Shipp married William Preston Bynum, Esq., 
at present one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of 
Korth Carolina. 


2. William M. Shipp, Esq., married 1st, Catharine Cam- 
eron, of Hillsboro, and 2d, Margaret Iredell, of Raleigh. 

3. Susan Shipp married Y. Q. Johnson, Esq., of Vir- 

Descendants of John Fiilenwider and Lavinia Forney 
v;ere : 

1. John M. Fulensvider married Frances Hudson, of 

2. Eliza Fulenwider married L. M. Eudisill, Esq., of 
Catawba county, K. C. 

3. liobert Fulenwider married Mary Sellers of Ala- 

4. Daniel Fulenwider married Maiy Ann Leslie of Ala- 

5. Jane Fulhnwider married Joshua Kirby, of Alabama. 
G. Fannie Fulenwider, married James Gore, of Alabama, 

7. Louisa Fulenwider married Robert Loyd, of Ala- 

8. Mary Fulenwider, (unmarried.) 

For descendants of Dr. William Johnston and IS'ancy 
Forney see " Genealogy of Colonel James Johnston." 

Descendants of Ransom G. Ilunley and Carolina Forney, 
were : 

1. Richard R. Ilunley married Mai-tha S. Johnston, of 
Lincoln county. 

2. Col. Peter F. Ilunley nmrried Margaret Johnston, of 
Lincoln coun/y. 

3. Mary Hunlej^ married Gen. E. \V. Martin, of Ala- 

4. Annie Ilunley married Alfred Agee, Esq., of Ala- 

5. Ransom liunley, (died young.) 

Descndants of Dr. C. L. Hunter and Sophia G. Forney, 
were : 

1. Nancy Jcine Hunter, (died young.) 

2. Caroline Elmina Hunter, (died young.) 


Henry Stanhope Hnntor (severely wounded in tlie late 

4. Capt. George William Ilnnter, mortally wounded in^ 
the battle at Chancellorsville, Va. 

5. Sophia F, ITunter married John II. Sharp, Esq., of 
iN'orfolk, Va. 



Gaston county was formed in 1846, from Lincoln coun- 
ty, and derives its name from William Gaston, one of tlm 
spost distinguished men of North Carolina, and late one 
of the Judges of th^ Supreme Court. In the language of 
one who knew him well 'the late Chief Justice Ruffin) 
'' he was a great Judge, and a good man." Its capital, 
Dallas, is named in honor of the Hon. George M. Dallas, 
Vice-President of the United States in 1844. 

The territory embraced in this county, contained many 
true and gallant Whigs during the Revolutionary war. 
Sketches of some of these will appear in the present cliap- 


[Condensed from Wlieeler's "Historical Sl^etclies." J 

Rev. Humphrey Hunter was boriirin Ireland, near 
Londonderry, on the lltli of May, 17¥5. His paternal 
grandfather was from Glasgow, in Scotland. His mater- 
nal grandfather was from Brest, in France. His descent 
is thus traced to the Scotch-"!" rish, and Huguenots ot 
France, forming a race of people who greatly contributed 
to the spi'ead of civil and religious liberty wherever their 
lots were cast. In America, the asylum of the oppressed 
of all nations, many of their descendants occupy proud 
positions on the page of history, and acted a magnani- 
mous part in the achievment of our independence. 

At the early age of four years, Iluniphicy Hunter was 


-deprived by death of his father. In a short time al'ter- 
ward, his mother joined the great tide of emigration to 
the new world, and in May 1759, embarked on the ship 
Helena, bound for Charleston, S. C. After a long and 
boisterous voyage, the vessel at length reached its desti- 
nation in safety. His mother then procured a cheap con- 
veyance and proceeded to the eastern part of Mecklen- 
burg count}^, (now in Cabarrus) where she purchased a 
small tract of land, and spent the remainder of her days. 

In the manuscript journal of the Rev. Humphrey 
Hunter, we are furnished with some interesting facts re- 
specting his life and services. He informs us he grew up 
in the neighborhood of Poplar Tent, inhaling the salu- 
brious air of a free clime, and imbibing the principles of 
genuine liberty. At this stage of his early training, he 
pays a beautiful tribute to the patriotism of the mothers 
■of the Revolution. He says : " Neither w^ere our mother's 
•silent at the commencement of the Revolution." "' Go 
son, said his mother, and join yourself to the men of our 
country. We ventured our lives on the waves of the 
ocean in quest of the freedom promised us here. Go, and 
fight for it, and rather let me hear of your death than of 
yonY cowardicc.^^ 

In a short time afterward this patriotic advice of his 
mother was called into action. " Orders were presently 
issued," continues hisjournal, "by Colonel Thomas Polk to 
the several militia companies of the county for two men, 
selected from each beat or district to meet at the Court 
House in Charlotte, on the 19th day of May, 1775, in 
order to consult upon such measures as might be thought 
best to be pursued. Accordingly, on said day, a far 
greater number than two out of each company were 
present." Drawn by the great excitement of the occasion, 
surpassing that of any other preceding it, he attended the 
Convention on the appointed day. He was then a few 
.days over twenty years of his age, and mingled with the 


numerous crowd of interested spectators. He then had 
the pleasure of listening to the reading of the first Declar-^ 
ation of Independence in the United States, and joined in the 
shout of opproval which burst forth from the assembled 
multitude. In a short time after the Convention in 
Charlotte, Col. Thomas Polk raised a regiment of infantry 
and cavalr}'^, and marched in the direction of Cross creek 
(now Fayetteville) to disperse a body of Tories. In this- 
service, he joined a corps of cavalry under Captain Chas. 
Polk. Soon after the return of this expedition, he com- 
menced his classical studies at Clio Academy, in the wes- 
tern part of Rowan county, (now Iredell) under the in- 
struction of the Rev. James Hall. 

About this time the Cherokee Indians were commit- 
ting numerous depredations and occasional murders near 
the head sources of the Catawba river. Upon this in- 
formation, Gen. Rutherford called out a brigade of mili- 
tia from Guilford, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Lincoln and 
other western counties, composed of infantr}' and three 
corps of cavalry. In one of the companies commanded 
by Captain, afterwards Col. Robert Mebane, he acted ag 
Lieutenant. Two skirmishes took place during this cam- 
paign, in which several Indians were killed and a con- 
siderable number made prisoners, among the latter, Hicks 
and Scott, tw^o white traders, who had married Indians 
and espoused their cause. After his return from the 
Cherokee expedition, he resumed his classical education 
at Queen's Museum, in Charlotte, under the control of 
Dr. Alexander McWhorter, an eminent Presbyterian 
clergyman from ISTew Jersey. In the summer of 1780^ 
this institution, having assumed in 1777, the more patri- 
otic name of "Liberty Hall Academy," was broken up b}^ 
the approach of the British army under Lord Cornwallis. 
The school, then in a flourishing state, was dismissed ; 
the young men w^ere urged by Dr. McWhorter Math 
patriotic appeals, to take up arms in defence of their 


country ; and upon all he invoked the blessings of Heaven. 
At this time Gen. Gates was on his way to the Southern 
states. Under orders from Gen. Rutherford, a brigade 
was promptly raised to rendezvous at Salisbury. In this 
brigade Hunter acted for a short time as Commissary, 
and afterward as Lieutenant in the company of Capt. 
Givens. This force first marched from Salisbury down 
the northeast side of the Yadkin, scouring the Tory set- 
tlements of the Uwharrie and Deep rivers, previous to its 
junction with Gen. Gates at Cheraw. From this place 
Gen. Gates moved forward to Clermont, where he arrived 
on the 12th of August. On the loth he marched towards 
Camden, progressing as far as the Gum Swamp, where 
sharp skirmishing took place in the night between ad- 
vanced parties of the Americans and the British. On the- 
16th of August, 1780, the unfortunate battle of Camden 
was fought. A contagious panic seized most of the mili- 
tia early in the action, and a precipitate retreat was the 
natural consequence. The regulars of Maryland and 
Delaware, with a small portion of the North Carolina 
militia, firmly stood their ground until surrounded Avith 
overwhelming numbers. The subject of this sketch was 
there made a prisoner and stripped of mo^t of his clothes- 
Soon after his surrender he witnessed the painful inci- 
dents of battle, resulting in the death of Baron DeKalb- 
He informs us he saw the Baron without suite or aid, and 
without manifesting the designs of his movements, gal- 
loping down the line. He was soon descried by the 
enemy, who, clapping their hands on their shoulders in 
reference to his epaulettes, exclaimed "a General, a rebel 
General." Immediately a man on horseback (not Tarle- 
ton) met him and demanded his sword. The Baron re- 
luctlantly presented the handle towards him, inquiring 
in French, " Are you an officer, sir." His antagonist not 
understanding the language, with an oath, more sternly 
demanded his sword. The Baron then rode on with all 


possible speed, disdaining to surrender to any one but an 
■officer. Soon the cr}', "a rebel General," sounded along 
the line. The musketeers immediately, by platoons, fired 
upon him. He proceeded about twenty-five rods, when 
he fell from his horse, mortally wounded. Presently he 
was raised to his feet, stripped of his hat, coat and neck- 
cloth, and placed with his hands resting on a wagon. 
His body was found, upon examination, to have been 
pierced by seven musket balls. Whilst standing in this 
position, and the blood streaming through his shirt, 
Oornwallis, with his suite, rode up. Being informed that 
the wounded man was Baron De Kalb, he addressed him 
by saying: "I am rjorry, sir, to see you; not sorry that 
you are vanquished, but sorry to see you so badly 
wounded." Having given orders to an officer to admin- 
ister to the wants of the Baron, Cornwallis rode on to 
secure the fruits of his victory. In a short time the brave 
.and generous De Kalb, who had served in the armies of 
France and embarked in the American cause, breathed 
his last. He is buried in Camden, where a neat monu- 
ment has been erected to his memory. 

After being confined seven days in a prison-3'ard in 
Camden, Hunfer was taken, with many other prisoners, 
including about fifty officers, to Orangeburg, where he 
remained until the 13th of November following, idthout 
hat or coat. On that day, without any intention of trans- 
gressing, he set out to visit a friendly lady in the suburbs 
who had promised to give him a homespun coat. Before 
he reached her residence, he was stopped by a horseman, 
armed with sword and pistols, who styled himself a Lieu- 
tenant of the station at the Court House, under Col. 
Fisher. The horseman blustered and threatened, and 
sternly commanded him to march before him to the sta- 
tion to be tried for having broken his parole. No excuse, 
apology or confession would be received in extenuation 
•of his transgression. "To the station," said the horse- 


man, "you shall go — take the road." The Tory loyalist 
was evidently exercising his brief authority over a real 
Whig. Up the road his prisoner had to go, sour and 
sulk}', with much reluctance, being hurried in his march 
by the point of the Tory's sword. Hunter pursued his 
course, but constantly on the look-out for some means of 
self-defence. Fortunately, after they progressed a short 
distance, they approached a large fallen pine tree, around 
which lay a quantity of pine-knots, hardened and black- 
ened b}' the recent action of fire. Hunter, in an instant, 
saw "his opportunity," immediately jumped to the further 
side of said tree, and, armed with a good pine-knot, pre- 
pared for combat. The Tory instantly fired one of his 
pistols at him, but without effect. He then leaped his 
horse over the tree. Hunter, with equal promptness, ex- 
changed sides, being fired at a second time by his would- 
be conqueror, but again without effect. Much skilful 
manoeuvoring took place, whilst the Tory was thus kept 
at bay. Hunter then commenced a vigorous warfare 
with the pine-knots so opportunely placed at his com- 
mand, and dealt them out with profuse liberality. The 
accurate aim of two or three pine-knots against the horse- 
man's head soon disabled him and brought him to the 
ground. He was then disarmed of his sword, and capitu- 
lated on the following terms: Tha.t Hunter should never 
make known the conquest he had gained over him, and 
give back the captured sword; and that he, (the Tory 
lo^^alist) would never report to headquarters that any of 
the prisoners had ever crossed the boundary line, or of- 
fended in any other manner. But secrec}'- could not be 
preserved, for during the combat the horse, without his 
rider, galloped off to the station and created considerable 
anxiety respecting the horseman's fate. All serious ap- 
lirehensions, however, were soon removed as the dis- 
mounted horseman presently made his appearance, with 
several visible bruises on his head, bearing striking proof 


of the effective precision of the pine-knots. A close ex- 
amination was soon instituted at tlie station, and numer- 
ous searching questions propounded to the wounded 
horseman, when the history of the contest had to begiven, 
and all concealment no longer attempted. The ren- 
counter took place on a Friday evening. On the Sabbath 
follov/ing, orders were issued by Col. Fisher to all the 
prisoners to appear at the Court House on Monday by 
twelve o'clock. On the evening of tlui Sabbath, Hunter, 
expecting close confinement, or, perhaps, the loss of his 
life, made his escape with five or six others from Meck- 
Ipuhurg, and commenced their way to North Carolina. 
They concealed themselves b}' day to avoid the British 
scouts sent in pursuit, and traveled during the night, 
supporting themselves principally on the raw corn found 
b}'- the way-side. On the ninth night after they set out 
from Orangeburg, they crossed the Catawba and arrived 
safely in Mecklenburg county. 

After remaining a few days at his mother's residence, 
he again entered the service, and joined a cavalry com- 
pany, acting as lieutenat under Colonel Henry Lee. In 
a short time, the battle of the Eutaw Springs, the last im- 
portant one in the extreme South, took place. In this 
engagement, where so much personal bravery was dis- 
played, he performed a gallant part, and was slightly 
wounded. With this campaign, his military services 
ended. Among the variety of incidents which occurred 
during this year he was gratified in revisiting his old 
prison-bounds, and in witnessing the reduction of the 
station at Orangeburg. But greater still was the gratifi- 
cation he experienced in again beholding the identical 
sword he had taken from his Tor}' antagonist, as previ- 
ously stated. 

Soon after the close of the war he resumed his classical 
studies under the instruction of the Rev. Robert Archi- 
bald, near Poplar Tent Church. During the summer of 


1785, he entered the Junior Class at Mount Zion College, 
in AVinnsboro, S. C, and graduated in July, 1787. In a 
short time afterward he commenced thestudy of Thelogy 
under the care of the Presbytery of South Carolina, and 
was licensed to preach in October, 1789. In 179G he re- 
moved from South Carolina to the south-eastern part of 
Lincoln county (now Gaston) where he purchased a home 
for his rising family. His ministeral labors extended 
through a period of nearl}^ thirty-eight years, principally 
at Goshen and Unity churches in Lincoln county (under 
its old boundaries) and Steele Creek church, in Mecklen- 
burg county. In 1789 he married Jane, daughter of Dr. 
George Ross, of Laurens District, S. C. — an estimable 
lady, noted for her amiable disposition, numerous acts of 
charit}^, and fervent piety. 

In his preaching Mr. Hunter was earnest, persuasive 
and often eloquent. Ho possessed, in a remarkable de- 
gree, a talent for refined sarcasm, and knew how to use 
most effectively its piercing shafts against the idle ob- 
jections, or disingenuous cavils of all triflers with the 
great truths of religion. In his advanced years the in- 
firmities of old age greatly contracted the extent of his 
useful labors without impairing the vigor of his mental 
powers or the fervency and faithfulness of his preaching. 
He died, with christian resignation, on the 21st of August, 
1827, in the 73rd year of hit! age. The Rev. Humphrey 
Hunter had ten chrilden, of whom, at the present time 
(1870) only one, the author and compiler of these sketches, 


Dr. William McLean was born in Rowan county, N. 
C, on the 2nd day of April, 1757- His father, Alexander 
McLean, was a native of Ireland, who emigrated to 
America, landing at Philadelphia, between the years 1725 


and 1730. Some time after his arrival in Pennsylvania 
he married Elizabeth Ratchford, whose lather emigrated 
from England shortl}" after McLean left Ireland. Three 
of his daughters, Jane, Margaret and Agnes, were born in 
that State. He then joined the great tide of emigration 
to the more enticing fields and genial climate of the 
southern colonies, and settled in the Dobbin neighbor- 
hood, eight miles from Salisbur}^ Rowan county, N. C. 
Here he remained for a few years, during which time 
his eldest son John, and William, the immediate subject 
of this sketch, were born. He then moved to a tract of 
land he purchased near the junction of the South 
Fork with the main Catawba river, in Tryon, (now Gaston 
county,) where three more sons were born, Alexander^ 
George and Thomas. This place he made his permanent 
abode during the remainder of his life, surrounded wdth 
the greater portion of his rising family. He attained a 
good old age, his wife surviving him a few years; both 
were consistent members of the Presbyterian church, and 
are buried at the old " Smith graveyard," near the place 
of his last settlement. Soon after the Revolutionary war, 
Alexander McLean, Jr., moved to Missouri, and George 
IMcLean to Tennessee Thomas McLean, the yourgest 
son, retained the old homestead, wdiere, at an advanced 
age, he ended his earthly existence. Although only 
thirteen years old at the time of the battle of King's 
Mountain, he could give a glowing account of the heroic 
bravery which characterized that brilliant victory in 
which many of his neighbors, under the brave Lieut. 
Col. Hambrightand Maj. Clironicle, actively participated- 
.John McLean, the eldest son, performed a soldier's duty 
on several occasions during the war. Upon the call of 
troops from Xorth Carolina for the defence of Charleston, 
he attached himself to Col. Graham's regiment, under 
Gen. Rutherford, and was there captured. Immediately 
after being exchanged, he returned to North Carolina 


and joined the command of Capt. Adlai Osborne, and 
about three month's afterward was killed in a skirmish 
at Buford's Bridge, S. C. 

After the removal of Alexander McLean to his final 
settlement on the south fork of the Catawba, as pre- 
viously stated, William assisted him on the farm, and 
when a favorable opportunity offered, went to school in 
the neighborhood, acquiring as good an education as the- 
facilities of the countr3''then afforded. Ilis instructor for 
the last three months in this early training was a Mr. 
Bl3^the, who, noticing his rapid advancement in learn- 
ing, and capacity for more extended usefulness, advised 
him to go to Queen's Museum, in Charlotte. This insti- 
tution was then in high repute under the able manage- 
ment of Dr. Alexander and Rev. Alexander McWhorter,. 
a distinguished Presbyterian clergyman from New Jersey. 

Dr. McLean complied with the advice of his instruc- 
tor, and became a pupil of Queen's Museum. In this 
venerated institution, shedding abroad its enlightening 
influence on Western North Carolina, many of the lead- 
ing patriots of the Revolution acquired their principal 
educational training. Its president. Dr. McWhorter, was 
not only an eminent preacher of the gospel, but was also 
an ardent patriot, and never failed, on suitable occasions, 
to discuss the politics of the day, and instil into the minds 
of his youthful pupils the essential principles of civil and 
religious liberty. His sentiments in this respect were so 
generally kno\\n, that it is said Cornwallis previous to 
his entrance into Charlotte in 1780, was extremely 
anxious to c7ifold him in his embraces. Dr. McLean re- 
mained in this institution of learning about two years 
and then returned home. Having made up his mind to 
become a physician during his collegiate course, he gath- 
ered all the medical books he could procure at that pe- 
riod, and diligently devoted his time to their study. In 
this stage of his early preparation for future usefulness,. 


Dr. Joseph Blytlie, a distinauished surgeon in the Conti- 
nental Army, wrote to him in terms of warmest friend- 
ship, and offered him the position of "surgeon's mate." 
This offer he accepted, repaired to Charlottte, and they 
both marched with the army to James Island , near Charles- 
ton. In this immediate vicinity at Stono (the narrow river 
or inlet, which separates John's Island from the main 
land) a severe but indecisive battle had been fought be- 
tween a detachment of General Lincoln's army and the 
British, under General Prevost, in June, 1779. At the 
time of Dr. McLean's arrival at James Island, many sol- 
diers were sick with the pestilental "camp fever" of that 
sultry climate, or were suffering from the wounds of bat- 
tle at the army hospital. Some of these sufferers were 
from Lincoln and Mecklenbura: counties, with whom he 
was personally acquainted. Under judicious medical 
treatment he was pleased to see most of them, in a short 
time, restored to health and ready for the future service 
■of their country. 

In the summer and fall of 1780 Dr. McLean was con- 
stantly with the Southern arm}' watching the movements 
■of Ferguson in the upper Tory settlements of South Car- 
olina, previous to his defeat and death at King's Moun- 
tain. After that battle he went to Charlotte to wait on 
the sick and the wounded at that place. 

In 1781 he was with General Greene's army, near 
Camden, and at other military encampments recjuiring 
his services. In all of these responsible positions he con- 
tinued to faithfully discharge the duties of "Surgeon's 
Mate," or Assistant Surgeon, until the close of the Rev- 

Having completed his preparatory studies Dr. Mcljean 
went to the medical University of Pennsylvania at Phil- 
adelphia, and received from that venerable institution 
his diploma in 1787. In a short time after his arrival 
at home he purchased a farm in the " South Point " 
neighborhood, soon engaged in an extensive practice 


frequently charitable) and became eminent in his pro- 

On the 19th of June, 1792, Dr. McLean married Mar}', 
daughter of Major John Davidson, one of the signers of 
the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. In 1814 
he was elected to the Senate from Lincoln county. In 
1815 he delivered an address at King's Mountain, com- 
memorative of the battle at that place, and caused to be 
^erected, at his own expense, a plain headstone of dark 
••sliite rock, with appropriate inscriptions on both sides. 
The inscription on the east side reads thus : Sacred to 
the memory of Major William Chronicle, Capt, John 
Mattocks, William Eobb and John Boyd, who were 
billed here on the 7th of October, 1780, fighting in de- 
fence of America." The inscription on the west side 
reads thus : " Colonel Ferguson, an officer belonging to 
liis Brittanic Majesty, was here defeated and killed.'' 

Dr. McLean, after a life of protracted usefulness, died 
with peaceful resignation on the 25th of October, 1828, in 
the seventy-second year of his age. Llis wife survived 
him many years, being nearly ninety-seven years old at 
the time of her death. They were both long, worthy and 
consistant members of the Presbyterian church, dignified 
their lives with their professions, and are buried in 
Bethel Graveyard, York county, S. C. 


Major William Cronicle, the soldier and martyr to the 
cause of liberty at King's Mountain, was born in the 
•south eastern part of Lincoln county (now Gaston) about 
1755. His mother was first married to a Mr. McKee in 
Pennsylvania, who afterwards removed to iTorth Caro- 
lina and settled in Mecklenburg county. By this mar- 
riage she had one son, James McKee, a soldier of the rev- 
olution, and ancestor of the several families of that name 


in the neighboehoocl of Armstrong's Ford, on the South 
Fork of the Catawba. After McKee's death, his widow 
married Mr. Clironicle, by whom she had an only son^ 
William, "who afterward performed a magnanimous part 
in defence of his country's rights. The site of the old 
family mansion is still pointed out by the oldest inhabi- 
tants with feelings of lingering veneration. " There," they 
will tell you, ''is the spot where old Mr. Chronicle lived 
and his brave son, William, was brought up. " The uni- 
versal testimon}^ of all who knew Major Chronicle repre- 
sented him as the constant,never-tiring advocate of liberty^ 
and as exerting a powerful inliuence in spreading the princi- 
ples of freedom throughout the whole lower portion of old 
Lincoln county. His jovial turn of mind and winning man- 
ners, by gaining the good will of all, greatly assisted m 
making successful his appeals to their patriotism, and 
promoting the cause of liberty in which be had so zeal- 
ously embarked. 

Major Chronicle's first service was performed as Cap- 
tain of a company at Purysburg in South Carolina. Early 
in the fiiU of 1780, a regiment was raised in Lincoln coun- 
ty, over which Col. William Graham was appointed Col- 
onel ; Frederick Ilambrite, Lieut. Colonel, and William 
Chronicle, Major. It is well known that Col. Graham- 
on account of severe sickness in his family, was not present 
at the battle of King's Mountain. The immediate command 
of the regiment, assisted by Col. Dickson of the county,, 
was then gallantly assumed by these officers, and nobly 
did they sustain themselves by word and example, iu 
that ever-memorable conflict. Major Chronicle was brave,, 
perhaps to a fault, energetic in his movements, self pos- 
sessed in danger, and deeply imbued with the spirit of 
liberty. His last words of encouragement in leading a 
spirited charge against the enemy, were " Come on my 
boj^s, never let it be said a Fork boy run, " alluding to 
South Fork, near which stream most of them resided. 


This patriotic appeal was not given in vain. It nerved 
evey man for the contest. Onward his brave boys steadi- 
ly moved forward, Major Chronicle in the advance, and 
approached within gun-shot of the British forces. Just at 
this time, a few sharp shooters of the enemy discharged 
their pieces, and retreated. The brave Chronicle fell 
mortally wounded, receiving a fatal ball in the breast. 
Almost at the same time, Capt. John Mattocks and Lieu- 
tenants William Rabb and John Boyd, also fell. Major 
Chronicle was only about twenty-five years old at the 
time of his death. The late Capt. Samuel Caldwell and his 
brother William, were both in this battle. William Cald- 
well brought home Major Chronicle's horse ; his sword 
and spurs passed into the hands of his half brother, James 
McKee, and the venerated memorials are still in posses- 
sion of one of his sons, who moved many years ago to- 


Captain Samuel Martin was a native of Ireland, and 
born in the year 1 732. When a young man, he emigrated 
to America, and first settled in Pennsylvania. After re- 
maining a short time in that State, he joined the great 
tide of emigration to the southern colonies. He first en- 
tered the service as a private in Captain Robert Alexan- 
der's company, in June 1776, Colonel Graham's Remiment,. 
and marched to Fort McGaughey, in Rutherford county,, 
and thence across the Blue Rid^e Mountains asiainst the 
Cherokee Indians, who were committing murders and 
depredations upon the frontier settlements. In January 
1777, he attached himself to the command of Captain 
AVilliam Chronicle, and marched to the relief of the post 
of Ninety Six, in Abbeville county, S. C, and after this 
service he returned to North Carolina. 

About the 1st of November, 1779, his company was 


ordered to Charlotte, at that time a place of rendezvous 
of soldiers for the surrounding counties, and while there 
lie received a special commission of captain, conferred on 
him by Greneral Rutherford. With his special command 
he marched with other forces from Charlotte by way of 
Camden, to the relief of Charleston, and fell in with Col. 
Hampton, at the Governor's gate, near that city. Find- 
ing that place completely invested by the British army, 
he remained but a short time, and returned to ISTorth 
Carolina with Colonel Grraham's regiment, about the let 
of June, 1780. 

Being informed on the night of his arrival at home that 
the Tories were embodied in strong force at Ramsour's 
Mill, near the present town of Lincolnton, he immediately 
raised a small company and joined General Davidson's 
battalion, General Rutherford conmianding, encamped at 
Colonel Dickson's plantation, three miles northwest of 
Tuckaseege ford. General Rutherford broke up his en- 
campment at that place, early on the morning of the 20th 
of June, 1780, then sixteen miles from Ramsour's Mill, 
and marched with his forces, expecting to unite with 
Colonel Locke in making a joint attack upon the Tories, 
but failed to reach the scene of conflict until two hours 
after the battle. The Tories had been signally defeated 
and routed by Colonel Locke and his brave associates, 
and about fifty made prisoners, among the number a 
brother of Colonel Moore, the commander of the Tory 

Immediately after this battle he received orders from 
Colonels Johnston and Dickson to proceed with his com- 
pany to Colonel Moore's residence, six or seven miles west 
of the present town of Lincolnton, and arrest that Tory 
leader, but he had fled with about thirty of his fol- 
lower's to Camden, S. C, where Cornwall's was then en- 
camped. Soon after this service Captain Martain was or- 
dered to proceed with his company to Rugeley's JSIill, in 


Kershaw county, S, C. Here Colonel Rugeley, the Toiy 
commander, had assembled a considerable force, and for- 
tified his log barn and dwelling house. Colonel Wash- 
ington, by order of General Morgan, had pursued him. 
with his cavalry, but having no artillery, he resorted to- 
an ingenious stratagem to capture the post without bacri- 
ficing his own men. Accordingly he mounted a j^ine log, 
fashioned as a cannon, elevated on its own limbs and. 
placed it in position to command the houses in which the^ 
Tories were lodged. Colonel Washington then made a. 
formal demand for immediate surrender. ( olonel Ruo-elej 
fearing the destructive consequences of the formidable 
cannon bearing u})on his command in the log barn and 
dwelling house, after a stipulation as to terms, promptly 
surrendered his whole force, consiating of one hundred 
and twelve men, without a gun being fired on either side. 
It was upon the reception of the news of this surrender 
that Cornwallis wrote to Tarleton, "Rugeley will not be 
made a Brigadier." 

After this successful stratagem, seldom ecpialed durino- 
the war, Captain jMartin was ordered to march with 
his company in pursuit of Colonel Cunningham, (com- 
monly called " bloody Bill Cunningham") a Tory leader, 
encamped on Fishing creek, but he fied so rapidly he- 
could not overtake him. During the latter part of Auo-ust 
and the whole of September, Captain Martin was rarely 
at home, and then not remaining for more than two daya 
at a time. About the last week of September he marched 
with his company by a circuitous route, under Colonel 
Graham, to the Cowpens. There he united with Colonels. 
Campbell, Shelby, Sevier, Cleaveland and other officers and 
marched with them to King's Mountain. In this battle 
Captain Martin acted a conspicuous part, was in the 
thickest of the fight, and lost six of his company. After 
this battle he continued in active scouting duties wher- 
ever liis services were needed. 


When Cornwallis marched through Lincohi county in 
pursuit of General Morgan, encumhered with upwards of 
■five hundred prisoners, captured at the Cowpens, he was 
ordered to harass his advance as much as possible. A 
short time after Cornwallis crossed the Catawba at 
Cowan's Ford, he marched as far as Salisbury, when he 
-was ordered by Colonel Dickson to convey some prisoners 
to Charlotte. Having performed this service, he proceeded 
to Guilford Court house, but did not reach that place 
until after the battle. He then returned home, and was 
Boon after discharged. 

In October 1833, Captain Martin, when one hundred and 
one years old, was granted a pension by the general gov- 
ernment. He was a worthy and consistent member of 
the Associate Reformed Church, and died on the 26th of 
]^ovember, 1836, aged one hundred and four years! He 
married in Ireland, Margaret McCurdy, who also at- 
tained an extreme old age, and both are huried in Goshen 
grave yard, in Gaston county. 


Samuel Caldwell was born in Orange County, IST. C, on 
the 10th of February, 1759, and moved to Tryon county, 
afterward Lincoln, in 1772. He lirst entered the service 
in Captain Gowen's comimny in 1776, and marched 
against the Cherokee Indians beyond the mountains. In 
1779, he volunteered in Captain William Chronicle's 
company) in the "nine months service," and joined Gen- 
eral Lincoln's ni-my at Purysburg, S. C. In March, 1780, 
lie joined Captain Isaac White's company, and marched 
to King's Mountain. In the battle which immediately 
followed, he and his brother, William actively partici- 
pated. Shortly alter this celebrated victory, he attached 
himself to Captain Montgomery's compan}^ and w\as in 
the hattle of the Cowpens, fought on the 17th of January, 
1781. Soon afterward he marched to Guilford, and was 


in the battle fought there on the 15th of March, 1 781. In 
the following fall, he substituted for Clement Nance, in 
Captain Lemmonds cavalry company in the regiment com- 
manded by Col. Robert Smith and Major Joseph Graham. 

At the Raft Swamp, they attacked and signally de- 
feated a large body of Tories ; and in two days afterward 
defeated a band of Tories on Alfred Moore's plantation op- 
posite Wilmington. On the next day, the same troops 
made a vigorous attack on the garrison, near the same 
place. After this service, he returned home and was 
frequently engaged in other minor but important military 
duties until the close of the war. 

After the war. Captain Caldwell settled on a farm three 
miles southwest of Tuckaseege Ford where he raised a 
large family. He was a kind and obliging neighbor, at- 
tained a good old age, and is buried in the graveyard of 
■Goshen church, Gaston county 'N. C. 


Captain John Mattocks was one of the brave soldiers 
who :^11 at King's Mountain. He belonged to a fximilj- 
who resided a few miles below Armstrong's jFord, on the 
south fork of the Catavv^'ba river^at what is now known as the 
^' Alison old place." There were three brothers and two 
sisters, Sallie and Barbara. The whole family, men and 
women, had the reputation of being " uncommonly stout. '' 
John and Charles Mattocks were staunch Whigs, eve r 
ready to engage in any enterprise in defence of the free- 
dom of their country, but Edward ]\fattocks (commonly 
called Ned Mattocks) was a Tor3^ All of the brothers 
were at the battle of King's Mountain, in which Captain 
Charles Mattocks was killed early in the action when 
pressing forward with undaunted courage against the 
■enemy. Among the severely wounded, was jSTed Mat- 
tocks, the Tory brother. After the battle and signal 
•victory, Charles Mattocks, fearing his brother might be 


hung with some others who suiFered this penalty on the- 
next day, kindly interceded in his behalf, took him home 
and nursed him carfully until he recovered of his wound. 
It is said, this extraction of blood so effectually performed 
by someone of the gallant Whigs on that occasion, com- 
pletely cured Ned Mattocks of Toryism and caused him 
never afterward to unite with the enemies of his country. 

The -whole surviving family a few years after the war 
moved to Georgia, where they have descendants at the 
present time. 

Major Chronicle, Captain Mattocks, William Rabb and 
John Boyd, all from the same South Fork neighborhood, 
are buried in a common grave at the foot of the mountain, 

A plain head-stone of dark slate rock, commemorates 
the hallowed spot with the following inscription : 

" Sacred to the memory of 


Who were killed here fighting in defence of America^ 
On the 7th of October, 1780. 

Many fragmentary but interesting incidents connected 
\viththe battle of King's Mountain have come dowai to our 
own time and unfortunately, many others have been buried 
in oblivion. The following incident w^as related to the 
author by a grandson of a brave soldier in that battle. 
Moses and James Henry both actively participated i» 
that hotly contested engagement. 

A few days after the battle, as James Henry was pass- 
ing through the woods near the scene of conflict, he found 
a very fine horse, handsomely equipped with an elegant 
saddle, the reins of the bridle being broken. The horse 


and equipments were, as lie supposed, the property of an 
oiScer. He took the horse home with him, considerably 
elated with his good luck ; but his mother met him at 
the gate, and immediately inquired whose horse it was 
he had in charge, he replied, he supposed it belonged to 
some British officer, "James," said the mother, " turn it 
loose and drive it off from the place, for I will not have 
the hands of my household stained with British plunder." 

The incident illustrates the noble Christian spirit which 
actuated our good mothers of the Revolutionar}'- period. 

The other brother, Moses Henry, evinced great bravery 
in the same engagement, and was mortally wounded. He- 
was taken to the hospital in Charlotte, and was atten- 
tively waited upon by Dr. William McLean until he 
died. His widow, with several others under similar 
bereavement, was granted a liberal allowance by the- 
county court of Lincoln. Moses Henry is the grandfather 
of Col. Moses Henry Hand, a worthy citizen of Gaston 
county, IsT. C. 


William Rankin was born in Pennsylvania, on the 10th 
of January, 1761, and at an early age joined the tide of 
emigration to the Southern States, and settled in " Try on," 
afterward Lincoln county, K- C. 

He first entered the service as a private in Captain 
Robert Alexander's company, Colonel William Graham's- 
regiment, and marched to Montfort's Cove against the 
Cherokee Indians. In 1779 he volunteered under the 
same officer, and marched by way of Charlotte and Cam- 
den to the relief of Charleston, but finding the city com- 
pletely invested by the British army, the regiment re- 
turned to Korth Carolina. In 1780, he again volunteered 
under Major Dickson, and marched against Col. Floyd, a 
Tory leader of upper South Carolina. After this service- 


he returned home, and soon afterward marched under the 
same officer, General Rutherford commanding, to Ram. 
sour's Mill, where a large body of Tories had assembled 
under Colonel John Moore. The forces under General 
Rutherford were encamped on Colonel Dickson's planta- 
tation, three miles north-west of Tuckaseege Ford, and 
about sixteen miles from Ramsour's. Early on the morn- 
ing of the 20th of June, 1780, they broke up camp and 
moved forward, but did not reach the battle-field until 
two hours after the action had taken place, and the Tories 
defeated by Colonel Locke and his brave associates, with 
a force greatly inferior to that of the enem}'. Imme- 
diately after this battle, he substituted for Henry E. 
Locke, in Captain William Armstrong's company, 
marched to Park's Mill, near Charlotte, and thence to 
General Rutherford's army, encamped at Phifer's planta- 

The Tories having assembled a considerable force at 
Coulson's Mill, General Davidson with a detachment of 
troops vigorously attacked them, in which skirmish he 
(Davidson) was severely wounded, detaining him from the 
service about two months. Soon afterward he marched with 
General Rutherford's command to Camden and participa- 
ted in the unfortunate battle at that place on the 16th of 
August, 1780. While the British army were in Charlotte 
he served under Captain Forney and Major Dickson, 
watching the movements of the enemy. Shortly after- 
ward he volunteered under Captain James Little, marched 
to Rocky Mount, and thence to the Eutaw Springs. In 
this battle, one of the most severely contested during the 
Revolution, his company was placed under the command 
of Colonel Malmedy, a Frenchman, Soon after his return 
home he was placed in charge of a considerable number 
of prisoners, and in obedience to orders, conveyed them to 
Salisbury. Here he remained until his time of service 
expired, and then received his discharge from Colonel 


Williarri Rankin attained the good ©Id age of nearly 
ninety-three, and was at the time of his death the last 
surviving soldier of the Revolution in Gaston county. 
He married Mary Moore, a sister of General John Moore, 
also a soldier of the Revolution. His wife preceded him 
several years to the tomb. 

His son, Colonel Richard Rankin, is now (1876) living 
at the old homestead, having passed " his three score 
years and ten." He served several times in the State 
Legislature, is an industrious farmer and worthy citizen 
of Gaston county. 


General John Moore was born in Lincoln county, when 
a partof Ansou, in 1759. His fiither, William Moore, 
of Scotch-Irish descent, was one of the first settlers of the 
county and a prominent member of society. He had four 
sons, James, William, John and Alexander, who, inherit- 
ing the liberty-loving principles of that period, were all 
true patriots in the Revolutionary war. 

John Moore performed a soldier's duty on several oc- 
casions and was one of the guards stationed atTuckaseege 
Ford, watching the movements of Lord Cornwallis after 
his entrance into Lincoln county. He also acted for a 
considerable length of time as Commissary to the army. 
General Moore married a sister of General John Adair, of 
Kentucky, by whom he had many children. Several 
3'ears after her death, he married Mary Scott, widow of 
James Scott, and daughter of Captain Robert Alexander? 
by whom he had two children, Lee Alexander and Eliza- 
l)eth Moore. He was a member of the House of Com- 
mons as early as 1788, and served for many years subse- 
quently with great fidelity and to the general acceptance 
of his constituents. 

To remove a false impression, sometimes entertained by 


persons little conversant with our Revolutionary history, 
it should be here stated that General John Moore was in 
no way related to the Colonel John Ifoore, (son of Moses 
Moore), who lived about seven miles west of Lincolton, 
and commanded the Tory forces in the battle of Ram- 
sour's Mill. 

General Moore, after a life of protracted usefulness, 
died in 1836, with Christian resignation, aged about sev- 
enty-seven years, and lies buried near several of his kin- 
dred in Goshen graveyard, Gaston county, iN". C. 


Elisha Withers was born in Stafford county,. Va., on 
the 10th of August, 1762. His first service in the Revo- 
lutionary war was in 1780, acting for twelve months as 
Commissary in furnishing provisions for the soldiers 
stationed at Captain Robert Alexander's, near the Tuck- 
aseege Ford on the Catawba river, their place of rendez- 
vous. After this service, he was drafted and served a 
tour of three months under Captain Thomas Loftin and 
Lieut, Robert Shannon, and marched from Lincoln county 
to Guilford Court-house under Colonels Locke and Hunt. 
His time having expired shortly before the battle, he re- 
turned home. 

He again served another tour, commencing in August, 
1781, as a substitute for James Withers, under Captain 
James Little, at the Eutaw Springs, where he was de- 
tailed with a few others, to guard the baggage wagons 
during the battle. He again volunteered under Caj^tain 
Thomas Loftin and Lieut. Thomas McGee and was active- 
ly engaged in the "horse service," in several scouting ex- 
peditions until the close of the war. 

After the war, he was for a long time known as "old 
Constable Withers," was highly respected, and died at a 
good old age. 



Cleaveland county was formed in 1841, from Lincoln 
iind Rutherford counties and derives its name from Col. 
Benjamin Cleaveland, of Wilkes county, who, with a de- 
tachment of men from that county and Surry, under the 
commands of himself, and Major Joseph Winston, per- 
formed a magnanimous part in the battle of King's 
Mountain. Shelby, the capital of this county, derives its 
name from from Col. Isaac Shelby, a sketch of whose ser- 
vices with those of Colonels Campbell, Graham, Ham- 
bright and Williams will appear in the present chapter. 


"O'er the proud heads of free men, our star banner waves ; 
Men tirm as their mountains, and still as their graves, 
To-morrovf shall pour out their life-blood like rain ; 
We come back in triumph, or come not again." 

After the defeat of General Gates at Camden, on the 
IGtli of August, 1780, and the surprise and defeat of Gen. 
Sumter, two* days after at Fishing Creek, by Col. Tarleton, 
the South was almost entirely abandoned to the enemy. 
It was one of the darkest periods of our Revolutionary 
history. While Cornwallis remained at Camden, he was 
busily employed in sending oif his prisoners to Charles- 
ton and Orangeburg ; in ascertaining the condition of his 
distant posts at ninety-six and Augusta, and in estab- 
lishing civil government in South Carolina. Yet his suc- 
cess did not impair his vigilance in concerting measures 


for its continuance. West of the Catawba river, were 
bands of active Whigs, and parties of those who were de- 
feated at Camden, were harrassing their enemies and de- 
fending on every available occasion, the suffering inhabi- 
tants of the upper country. Cornwallis, becoming ap- 
prised of this rebellious spirit of upper Carolina, detached 
Col. Patrick Ferguson, one of his most favorite oiiicers,. 
with one hundred and ten regulars and about the same 
number of Tories, under captain Depeyster, a loyalist, 
with an ample supply of arms and other military stores. 
He was ordered to embody the loyalists beyond the Ca- 
tawba (or Wateree as the same river is called opposite 
Camden) and the Broad rivers ; intercept the "mountain 
men", who were retreating from Camden, and also, the 
Americans under Col. Clarke, of Georgia, falling back 
from an unsuccessful attack upon Augusta. Ferguson's 
special orders were to crush the spirit of rebellion still 
too rife and menacing ; and after scouring the upper part 
of South Carolina, toward the mountains of ISTorth Caro- 
lina, to join his Lordship at Charlotte. He at first made 
rapid marches to overtake the mountain men — the 
"Hornets,"' from the "Switzerland of America," and cut 
off Col. Clarke's forces. Failing in this, he afterward 
moved more slowly and frequently halted to collect all 
the Tories he could pursuade to join him. He crossed 
Broad river, ravaging the country through which he 
marched. About the last of September he encamped at 
Gilberttown, near the present town of Rutherfordton. In 
his march to this point, his force increased to upwards of 
one thousand men. All of his Tory recruits were fur- 
nished with arras, most of them with rifles, and a smaller 
portion with muskets, to the muzzles of which the}' fixed 
the large knives they usually carried with them to be 
used as bayonets, if occasion should require. 

Although Ferguson failed to overtake the detachment 
of " mountain men," previously alluded to, he took two of 


them prisoners who had become separated from their 
command. These he |)aroled and sent off", enjoining them 
to tell the officers on the western waters that if they did 
not desist from their opposition to the British arms, and 
take protection under the royal standard, he would march 
his army over the mountains and lay waste their country 
with fire and sword. This was no idle threat, and its ex- 
ecution would have been attempted had not a brief stay 
in Gilberttown satisfied him from the reports of his spies 
that a storm of patriotic indignation was brewing among 
and beyond the mountains that was destined soon to de- 
scend in all its fury upon his own army. He knew that 
most of the inhabitants were of Scotch-Irish and Huguenot 
descent, mingled with many Germans, whose long resi- 
dence in the wilds of America had greatly tended to in- 
crease their love of liberty. 

As soon as General McDowell heard that Gates was 
defeated, he broke up his camp at Smith's Ford on Broad. 
River, and passed beyond the mountains, accompanied by 
a few of his unyielding patriots. While there in consul- 
tation with Colonels Sevier and Shelby as to the best 
means for raising troops and repelling the invaders, the 
two paroled men arrived and delivered the message from 
Ferguson- It produced no terrific eftects on the minds of 
these well-tried officers, but on the contrary tended to 
stimulate and quicken their patriotic exertions. It was 
soon decided that each one should use his best efiibrts to 
raise all the men that could be enlisted, and that these 
forces should assemble at the Sycamore Shoals of the 
Watauga river, on the 25th of September. The plans for 
raising a sufficient number of men to accomplish their 
purpose were speedily devised and carried into execution. 
To Col. Sevier was assigned the duty of communicating 
with Col. McDowell and other officers in voluntary exile 
beyond the mnuutains. To Col. Shelby was assigned a 
similar duty of writing to Col. Compbell of the adjoining^ 


county of Washington, in Virginia. Among the refugees 
TDeyond the mountains was Col. Clarke, of Georgia, with 
about one hundred of his overpowered but not subdued 
men. Their story of the sufferings endured by the Whig 
inhabitants of upper South Carolina and Georgia served 
to arouse and intensify the state of patriotic feeling 
among the hardy sons of Western !N"orth Carolina. 

The enlisted troops assembled at the Sycamore Shoals, 
marched from that place on the 26th of September. They 
were all mounted, and unemcumbered with baggage ex- 
pecting to support themselves partly by their trusty rifles 
from the game of the forest, as they progressed and part- 
ly by compelling the Tories to minister to their wants. 
The assembled forces placed under marching orders, were 
us follows : From Washington county, Va., under Col. 
William Campbell, four hundred men. From Sullivan 
county, N. C. (now in Tennessee) under Col. Isaac Shelby, 
two hundred and forty men. From Washington county, 
K. C. (now in Tennessee) under Col John Sevier, two hun- 
dred and forty men. From Burke and Rutherford coun- 
ties, N. C, under Col. Charles McDowell, one hundred 
und sixty men. On the second day's march, two of their 
men deserted, and went ahead to the enemy. It is proba- 
ble their report of the Whig strength accelerated Fergu- 
son's retreating movements. On the 30th of September, 
they crossed the mountains and were joined at the head 
oftheCatawbariverby Col. Benjamin Cleaveland and Ma- 
jor Joseph Winston, with three hundred and fifty men from 
Wilkes and Surry counties. Upon the junction of these 
forces, the officers held a council and as they were all of 
■equal grade, it was agreed that a messenger be dispatched 
immediately to head-quarters, supposed to be between 
Charlotte and Salisbury to get General Sumner or Gen. 
Davidson to assume the chief command. They were 
now in Col Charles McDowell's military district, and 
being the senior officer, the chief command properly de- 


volved upon him, unless his right, for the present, should 
be waived, and by agreement, turned over to another. 
Col. Shelby proposed, mainly through courtesy, that Col. 
William Campbell, who had met them with the largest 
rigiment from a sister State, should assume the chief 
command until the arrival of some superior officer. This 
proposition was readily assented to, and Col. Charles 
.McDowell volunteered his services to proceed to head- 
quarters, and requested his brother, Major Joseph Mc- 
Dowell, to take command of his'regiment until his return. 

On the 4th of October the riflemen — the " mountain 
boys," — advanced toGilberfctown, unwilling thatFergu- 
son should be at the trouble to " cross the mountains and 
hang their leaders," as boastfully promulgated only a few 
days before. 

Ferguson's abrupt departure and retrograde move- 
ment from Gilberttown, like that of Cornwallis from 
Charlotte two weeks later, clearly betrayed his apprehen- 
sions of formidable opposition by the enraged " hornets" 
of the mountains. Pursuit \\*as immediately determined 
upon, and, the AYhig forces reached the celebrated Cow- 
pens on the 6th of October, where they Avere joined by 
Col. James D. Williams, of South Carolina, with nearly 
four hundred men, and about sixty men from Lincoln 
county, under Lieut. Colonel Ilambright. (Col. William 
Graham, of the same regiment, on account of severe 
sickness in his family, was not in the battle fought on 
the next day.) It is alsp known a company v\'as raised 
under Capt. Shannon, from the same county, but failed 
to reach the battle-ground in time for the engagement. 

On the evening of the 6th of October the Colonels in 
council unanimously resolved that they would select all 
the men and horses fit for service, and immediately 
pursue Ferguson until they should overtake him, leaving 
the remaining troops to follow after them as fast as pos 
sible. Accordingly, nine hundred and ten man a 


mounted infantry, were selected, who set out about eight 
o'clock on the same evening and marched all night, ta- 
king Fergusons trail toward Deer's Ferry, on Broad river- 
IN'ight coming on, and it being very dark, they got out of 
the right way, and for some time were lost, but before 
daylight the}'- nearly reached the ferry. The officers 
thinking it probable that the enemy might be in posses- 
sion of the eastern bank of the river, directed the pilot to 
lead them to the Cherokee ford, about one mile and a 
half below. It was on the morning of the 7th of October, 
before sunrise, when they crossed the river and marched 
about two miles to the place where Ferguson had en- 
camped on the night of the 5th. There the}'- halted a 
short time and took such breakfast as their wallets and 
saddlebags would afford. Every hour the trail of the 
enemy l)ecame more clearly visible, which served to 
quicken their movements and exhilarate their patriotic 
spirits. About the time they marched from the Cowpens 
they were informed a party of four or five hundred Tories 
were assembled at Major Gibbs, about four miles to the 
right ; these they did not turn aside to attack. The rifle- 
men from the mountains had turned out to catch Ferguson. 
This was their rallying cry from the day they left the 
Sycamore Shoals, on the Watauga, to the present oppor- 
tune moment for accomplishing their patriotic purpose. 
For the last thirty six hours they had alighted from their 
horses but once at the Cowpens for one hour's rest and 
refresliment. As soon as their humble repast was finished 
on the morning of the 7th, at Ferguson's encampment, 
on the 5th just alluded to, the riflemen resumed their 
eager march. The day was showery, which compelled 
them to use their blankets and overcoats to prevent their 
arms from getting wet. 

After marching about ten miles, the riflemen met a 
3^oung man named John Fonderin, riding in great haste 
from Ferguson's camp, then scarcely three miles distant 


Col. Hambright being acquainted with him and knowing 
that he had relatives in the enemy's camp, caused him 
to be arrested. Upon searching his person, he was found 
to have a fresh dispatch from Furguson to Cornwallis, 
then at Charlotte, in which he manifested great anxiety 
sxs to his situation and earnes*tly solicited aid. The con- 
tents of the dispatch wa^ read to the privates, without 
stating Ferguson's superior strenght to discourage them. 
€ol. Hambright then interrogated the young man as to 
Ferguson's uniform. He replied by saying, "Ferguson 
was the best uniformed man on the hill, but they would 
not see his uniform as he wore a checked shirt (duster) 
over it." Col. Hambright immediately called the atten- 
tion of his men to this distinguishing feature of Furgu- 
sons dress. " Well i^oys, says he, in broken German, 
sullen you see that man mit a ing shirt on over his clothes you 
may know loho him is^ Accordingly after the battle, his 
body was found among the dead, wearing the checked 
shirt, now crimsoned with blood and pierced with nu- 
merous balls. After a brief consultation of the chief of- 
ficers upon horseback, the plan of attack was quickl}^ ar- 
ranged. Several persons present were well acquainted 
with the ground upon which the enemy was encamped. 
Orders were promptly given and as promptly obeyed. 
The Whig forces moved forward over King's Creek, and 
up a ravine, and between two rocky knobs, when soon 
the enemy's camp was seen about one hundred poles in 
front. Furguson, aware that he was hotly pursued by a 
band of patriots of determined bravery, had chosen this 
mountain elevation as one from which he boastingly 
proclaimed he could not be driven. '^^^ 

Tt was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon when the 
Whig forces reached the battle ground. The rain had 
ceased, the clouds had nearly passed away, the sun now 
shone brightly, and nature seemed to smile propitiously 
upon the sanguinary conflict soon to take place. On the 


march, the following disposition was made of the Whig 

The central column was commanded by Colonels 
Campbell and Shelby ; the right, by Colonel Sevier and 
Major McDowell ; and the left by Colonels Cleaveland 
and Williams. In this order the Whig forces advanced 
and came within a quarter of a mile of the enemy before 
they were discovered. Colonels Campbell's and Shelby's 
regiments commenced the attack, and kept up a galling 
fire on the enem}-, while the right and left wings were 
advancing forward to surround them, which was done 
in about five minutes. The fire soon became general all 
around and maintained with the greatest bravery. 

The engagement lasted a little over an hour, during, 
which time, a heavy and incessant fire was kept up oik 
both sides. 

The Whigs, in some parts where the British regulars 
fought, were forced to give way two or three times for a 
short distance, before the bayonet charges of the enemy, 
but soon rallied and returned with additional arder and 
amination to the attack. The troops of the right having: 
gained the summit of the mountain, compelled the ene- 
my to give way and retreat along the top of the ridge^ 
where Col. Cleaveland commanded and were soon stop- 
ped by his brave men. Some of the regiments suffered 
Severely under the galling fire of the enem}^, before they 
were in a proj^er position to engage in the action. Thtr 
men led by Col. Shelby and Major McDowell w^re sood 
closely engaged and the contest throughout was very 
severe, and hotly contested. . 

As Ferguson would advance towards Campbell, Sevier-r 
Hambright and Winston, he was quickly pursued by 
Shelby, Cleaveland, McDowell and Williams. Thu& 
Ferguson continued to struggle on, making charges with 
the bayonet and thea retreating to make a vigorous at' I 
tack at some other point ; but, his men were rapidly fall-j 


ing before the fatal aim and persistent bravery of the 

Even after Ferguson was severely wounded and had 
three horses shot from under him, he continued to fight 
on, and animate his men by his example and unyield- 
ing courage — "extricate himself, he could not, and sur- 
render, he would not," although requested to do so, near 
the close of the action by Captain De Peyster, his second 
in command. At length he received a fatal shot in the 
breast, which closed his earthly career forever. 

Captain De Pej'ster then look command, and imme- 
diately ordered a white flag to be raised in token of sur- 
render. The firing however did not e ntirely cease until 
Cols. Shelby and Sevier went inside the lines and ordered 
the men to desist. The Whigs were still greatly exas- 
pterated when they called to remembrance Tarleton's 
cruelty at Buford's defeat, where no quarter was given. 
The victory was complete, and reanimated the Whigs 
throughout the whole country. The Tory element of 
western Carolina, before strong and menacing, was bro- 
ken up and greatly humbled, and Cornwallis himself 
when he received intelligence of the battle and its result, 
became so seriously alarmed at his perilous situation in 
a land of assailing hornets, that he suddenly decamped 
from Charlotte to safer quarters at Winnsboro, South 

According to the official statemant furnished to Gen 
Gates, encamped at Hillsboro, and signed by Colonels 
Campbell, Shelby and Cleaveland, the enemy sustained 
the following loss : "Of the regulars, one major, one cap- 
tain, tw^o Lieutenants and fifteen privates killed, thirty- 
five privates wounded and left on the ground not able to 
march ; two captains, four lieutenats, three ensigns, one ■ 
surgeon, five sergeants, three corporals, one drummer and 
fifty-nine privates taken prisoners. 

Loss of the Tories, tw^o colonels, three captains and 


two hundred privates killed ; one major, and one hundred 
and twentj'^-seven privates wounded and left on the ground 
not able to march ; one colonel, twelve captains, eleven 
lieutenants, two ensigns, one quarter-master, one adjutant, 
two commissaries, eighteen sergeants and six hundred pri- 
vates taken prisoners. 

Total loss of the enemy eleven hundred and five men 
at King's Mountain." 

The loss on the Whig side was, one colonel, one major, 
one captain, two lieutenants, four ensigns, and nineteen 
privates killed, one major, three captains, three lieuten- 
ants, and fifty-three privates wounded. Total "Whig cas- 
ualties, twenty-eight killed and sixty wounded. Of the 
latter, upwards of twenty died of their wounds, making 
the entire Whig loss about fifty men. 

The victory of King's Mountain was the " turning 
point of the fortunes of America," and foreshadowed more 
clearly than ever before, final success. 

As soon as the battle was over, a guard was placed 
around the prisoners and all remained on. the mountain 
that night. On the next day, after the dead were buried 
and the wounded properly cared for, the cumbrous spoils 
of victory were drawn into a pile and burned. Colonels 
Campbell, Shelby and Cleaveland then repaired, with as 
little delay as possible, to the headquarters of General 
Gates, at Hillsboro, and made out to that oflicer on the 
1st of ITovember, an ofiicial statement of their brilliant 
victory. Col. Sevier, Major McDowell and other oflicers 
returned to the mountains and to their own neighbor- 
hoods, ready at all times, to obey any future calls of their 
country. The prisoners were turned over to the "moun- 
tain men" for safe keeping. Having no conveyances, 
they compelled the prisoners to carry the captured arms 
(about fifteen hundred in* number) two guns each being 
assigned to most of the men. About sunset the Whigs 
who had fought the battle, being extremely hungry, had 


the pleasure of meeting the footmen, who had been left 
behind at Green river on their march to King's Mountain,. 
pressing forward with a good supply of provisions. 

Having appeased the cravings of hunger, they all 
marched to Bickerstaff's old iield, in Rutherford county,, 
where the principal officers held a court-martial over the' 
"most audacious and murderous Tories." Thirty-twO' 
were condemned to be hung ; after nine were thus disposed 
of, three at a time, the remainder, through mitigating, 
circumstances and the entreaties of their Whig acquian- 
tances, were respited. Several of the Tories, thus lenient- 
ly dealt with, afterward joined the Whig ranks, and 
made good soldiers to the end of the war. 

In 1815, through the instrumentality of Dr. William 
M'Lean, of Lincoln county, a head-stone of dark slate 
rock, was erected at King's Mountain, near the spot 
where Ferguson fell. It bears this incription : On the east: 
"Sacred to the memory of Maj. Wm. Chronicle. Capt. John 
Mattocks, William Robb and John Boyd, who were killed 
at this place on the 7th of October, 1780, fighting in de- 
fence of America. " 

On the Avest side : — "Col. Ferguson, an officer of his 
Brittanic Majesty, was defeated and killed at this place 
on the 7th of October, 17S0.'' 

Incidents: — Among the captured Tories were Captain 
W — G — and his lieutenant J — L— , both of whom 
were sentenced to be hung next morning at sunrise. They 
were first tied separately, with leather strings, and then 
closely together. Durnig the night they managed to 
crawl to the waters edge, near their place of confinement, 
and wet their strings ; this soon caused them to stretch so 
greatly as to enable the leather-bound prisoners to make 
their escape, and thereby deprive the "Mountain Boys" 
of having some contemplated fun. Like the Irishman's 
pig, in the morning "they came up missing.'" 

As a foraging party of Tories, belonging to Ferguson's 


:army, was passing up King's Creek, they took old Arthur 
Patterson and his son Thomas prisoners ; who, being rec- 
ognized as noted AVhigs, were carried to Ferguson's camp, 
threatened with hanging, and a guard placed over them. 
As the battle waxed warm and the issue of the contest 
seemed to be turning in favor of the American arms a 
■call was made upon the guard to fall into line and assist 
their comrades in averting, if possible, their approaching 
defeat. During the commotion the old man Patterson 
moved gently to the back ground and thus made his es- 
cape. Thomas Patterson, not liking the hack movement^ 
watched his opportunity, between fires and change of the, 
€nimies position, dashed off boldly to the Whig lines, 
about one hundred yards distant, and reached them safely. 
He immediately called for a gnu, which being furnished 
he fought bravely to the close of the engagement. 

For several particulars connected "with the battle of 
Xings Mountain, hitherto unknown, the author acknowl- 
edges his indebtedness to Abraham Hardin, Esq., a native 
of Lincoln County, N. C, and relative of Col. Hambright, 
now (1876) a worthy, intelligent, and christian citizen of 
York County, S. C, aged eighty-seven years. 


Colonel William Campbell was a native of Augusta 
County, Va. He w^as of Scottish decent (his grandfather 
coming from Inver.^'y) and possessed all the tire and sa- 
gacity of his ancestors. He assisted in raising the first 
regular troops in Yirginia in 1775, and was honored with 
a Captain's commission. In 1776 he was made Lieutenant 
Colonel of the militia of Washington County, Ya., and on 
the resignation of Evan Shelby, the father of Governor 
Shelby, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, that 
rank he retained until after the battles of King's Moun- 
tain and Guilford Court-House, in both of which he dis- 


tiiigulshed himself, when he was promoted by the Yir- 
g'mia Legishxture, for gallantry and general high merit, 
to the rank of Brigadier General in the Continental ser- 
vice. LaFayette, perceiving his fine military talents, 
gave him the command of a brigade of riflemen and light ' 
infantry, and he was ordered to join that oflicer below 
Richmond, who was covering "Washington's approach to 
Yorktown in September 1781, previous to the surrender 
of Cornwallis at Yorktown on the 19th of October follow- 

Colonel Campbell, suffering from the severe wound re- 
ceived in the battle of Guilford, was taken ill and soon 
after died at La Fayette's head-quarters, about twenty- 
five miles above Williamsburg, in the thirty-sixth 3'ear of 
his age. His military career was short, but brilliant ; and 
on all occasions, bravery, unsullied patriotism and manly 
rectitude of conduct marked his movements. La Fayette's 
general order, on the occasion of his decease is most high- 
ly complimentar}^ to his efficient services and exalted 
worth. He i4^i^^i'ied at Ilocky Mills, in Hanover county, 
Va. About forty years afterward, his remains were re- 
moved to Washington county, to repose with those of his 

Col. Campbell married a sister of Patrick Henry and 
left but one child, the mother of the late Hon. William 
C. Preston and Col. John S. Preston, both of Columbia? 
S. C. He was a man of high culture, a good classi- 
ca 1 scholar, but was chiefly given to the aecumte 
sciences and 'practically to land suiweying for himself and 
his kindred whb were large land-holders in Virginia, east 
Tennessee and Kentucky. When under thirty j-ears of 
age, he commanded a company in the Point Pleasant ex- 
pedition on the Kenhawa river, in which occurred one of 
the most snnguinary battles in the history of Indian war- 
fare and there acquired that early experience in arms 


which qimlifiecl him to perform a conspicuous part in the 
Revohitionary War 

When the emergency arose for expelling the boasting 
Furguson from the soil of the Carolinas, Col. Sevier 
sought the assistance and co-operation of Col. Campbell, 
of Virginia, whose bravery and gallantry had become 
widely known. On the first application, Col. Campbell 
deemed it imprudent to withdraw his forces from their 
place of rendezvous, for fea'r of an attack from the neigh- 
boring Indians, but on a second urgent application, his 
assent yielded to the appeals of patriotism and he prompt- 
ly marched with his regiment to co-operate with Colonels 
Lcvier, Shelby and other oflicers to gain an undying fame, 
and glorious victory at King's Mountain. 

The preceding statement of facts, corrects an error into 
which several historians have unintentionally fallen by 
confounding Lieut. Col. Campbell, a brave officer of a 
South Carolina regiment, who was mortally wounded at 
the battle of the Eutaw Springs, with Col. Wm. Camp- 
bell, of Virginia, one of the heroes of King's Mountain, 
Mdio died a natural death in his native State a few weeks 
before the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. The 
two officers were of no close famil}^ relationship, but re- 
sembled each other in unflinching bravery and genuine 
exhibitions of true patriotism. 


Col. Isaac Shelby was born in Maryland, near the 
North mountain, a few miles from Ilagerstown, on the 11th 
of December, 1750. He was the son of General Evan 
Shelby, a native of Wales, wdio came to America when a 
mere youth. General Shelby was distinguished for his 
indomitable courage, iron constitution, and clear intellect. 
He served as a Captain of Rangers under Gen. Braddock, 
and acted bravely in the attack under General Forbes in 


1758, ill which he led the advance, and took from the 
French Fort Du Quesne. In 1772, he removed to the 
west and in 1 774, commanded a company under Colonel 
Lewis and Governor Dunmore against the Indians, on 
the Scioto river. He was in the sanguinary battle of 
Kenhawa, October 10th 1774, when Colonels Lewis, 
Fleming and Field were killed and he was left the com. 
manding officer. 

In 1779, he led a strong force against the Chickamauga 
Indians, on the Tennessee river ; and for his services and 
gallantry, was appointed a Brigadier General by the 
State of Virginia ; the first officer ever vested with that 
grade on the western waters. 

Thomas Shelby, a brother of Gen, Evan Shelby, joined 
the great tide of southern emigration and settled on 
Caldwell's Creek, in the eastern part of Mecklenburg 
county (now Cabarrus) about 1760. He died near the 
beginning of the Revolutionary war, leaving four sons, 
William, John, Evan and Thomas. One of these sons 
(Thomas) served as a private in Captain Charles Polk's 
company in the spring of 1776, in the Wilmington cam- 

Col. Isaac Shelby, the immediate subject of this sketch 
was born to the use of arms, blessed with a strong con- 
stitution and capable of enduring great exposure and 
fatigue. His whole educational training was such as 
fitted him for the stiring scenes in which he was destined 
by Providence to become so prominent an actor. 

His first essay in arms was as a Lieutenant in a com- 
pany commanded by his father, in the celebrated battle, 
previously mentioned, at the mouth of the Kenhawa, 
the most sanguinary conflict ever maintained against the 
northwestern Indians, the action lasting from sunrise to 
sunset, wdth varying success. 

Kight closed the conflict and under its cover, the cele- 
brated chief Cornstalk, who commanded the Indians^ 


abandoned the ground. In Jnly, 1776, lie was appointed 
Captain of a company of minute men by the Yirgina com- 
mittee of safety. In 1777, he was appointed by Governor 
Henry, a commissary of supplies for an extensive body of 
troops to guard the frontiers and one of the commissioners 
appointed to form a treaty with the Cherokees . at the 
Long Island of the Holston river. In 1778, he was elected 
a member of the Virginia Legislature from Washington 
<30unty, and was appointed by Thomas Jefferson, then 
Governor of that State, a Major in the escort of guards 
for the commissioners, engaged in running the line be- 
tween Virginia and North Carolina. On the completion 
of that line, his residence was found to be in North Car- 
olina, which circumstance induced Richard Caswell, then 
Governor of the State, to appoint him Colonel of the mil- 
itia of Sullivan county. In the summer of 1780, he was 
engaged in Kentucky in surveying, locating and securing 
the lands which five years previously, he had marked 
out, and improved. It was at this time, that he heard 
of the surrender of Charleston. This disaster aroused 
his patriotic spirit, and caused him to return home, de- 
termined to enter the service of his bleeding country and 
never to leave it until her liberty and independence were 
secured. On his arrival at home, he found a requisition 
from General Charles McDowell to furnish all the aid in 
his power to check the enemy, who flushed with their 
late success in overrunnino' South Carolina and Georgia, 
had entered North Carolina with a similar object in 
view. lie immediate!}^ sought enlistments from the 
militia of Sullivan county and in a few days crossed the 
mountains at the head of two hundred and forty rifle- 

He reported to Gen. McDowell near the Cherokee 
Ford, on Broad river, and was by that oflicer detached, 
with Colonels Sevier and Clarke, to surprise and take a 
fort held by Captain Patrick Moore, a noted Tory leader, 


on the Palcolet river. This service was promptly exe- 
cuted without losing any of his men. The fort was sur- 
rounded, and, after a short parley as to terms the enemy 
surrendered as prisoners of war. 

Captain Moore, one British Major, ninety-three Tories 
and two hundred and lifty stands of arms and their amu- 
nition, greatly needed at that time, were the fruits of 
this victory. 

It was at this period that Major Ferguson of the 
British army, in his progress to the mountains ofiN'orth 
Carolina, made several attempts to surprise Col. Shelby, 
but in every instance, he was baffled through his vigi- 
lance and activity. 

On the first of August, 1780, the advance of the Brit- 
ish force came up and attacked Shelby at Cedar Springs, 
The situation had been chosen by Shelby and his mar- 
tial, adventurous spirit did not avoid the issue of battle, 
A sharp and animated conflict ensued, which lasted half 
an hour, when the whole force of Ferguson advanced to 
the scene of action. Shelb}^ deemed it prudent to retreat 
before superior numbers, carrying off as the fruits of his 
victory thus far obtained, fifty prisoners, including two 
British ofi&cers. The enemy made a rapid pursuit, but 
Shelby, availing himself of every advantageous ground, 
completely eluded their eflbrts to overtake him and soon 
afterwardjoined Gen. McDowell w^ith only a loss of ten 
or twelve killed and wounded. 

On the 19th of August, 1780, Colonels Shelby, Williams 
and Clarke, under orders from Gen. McDowell, again at- 
tacked, with seven hundred mounted men, a large body 
of Tories near Musgrove's Mill, on the south side of the 
Fnnoree river. On the night of the 18th of August, these 
officers left Smith's Ford on Broad river, took a circuitous 
route through the woods to avoid Ferguson, whose whole 
force lay between, and at dawn of day, j^fter riding about 
forty miles, attacked the patrol of the Tories, about half a 


mile from their camp. A brisk skirmish ensued, several 
were killed, and the patrol driven in. At this moment, 
a countrj'man living near informed Col. Shelby the enemy 
on the night before had been re-inforced by a body of 
six hundred regulars (the Queen's American regiment 
from Isew York) under Col. Innis. This was unexpected 
news. Fatigued as were their horses, retreat was 
impracticable ; and to attack an enemy of such su- 
perior force, would have been an act of rashness and the 
certain defeat of his own little band of patriots. 

Col. Shelby met the trying emergency with unflinch- 
ing courage and great promptness of action. It was 
agreed that Colonel Williams should have the chief com- 
mand. Accordingly, the whole "Whig force, except Capt. 
Inman's command, was ordered to form a breastwork of 
old logs and brush, and make as brave a defence as cir- 
cumstances permitted. Capt. Inman, with twenty-five 
men was directed to proceed to the ford of the river, fire 
across upon the enemy, and retreat when they appeared 
in strong force. This stratagem being the suggestion of 
the brave Capt. Inman, was successful. Col. Innis im 
mediately crosssd the river to dislodge the "rebels." Capt ' 
Inman and his little force instantly retreated, hotly pur- 
sued by Funis until within the area of the patriot ambus- 
cade when a single shot by Col. Shelby gave the signal 
for attack. The Whig riflemen, with sure and steady 
aim, opened a destructive fire which was kept up for an 
hour, during Avhich time Col. Innis was wounded ; all the 
British ofiicers except a subaltern were killed or wounded. 
The Tory Captain, Hawsey, and Major Fraser, of the 
British regulars, with sixty-three privates were killed, 
and one hundred and sixty made prisoners. The Ameri- 
can loss was only four killed and nine wounded. In the 
pursuit Captain Inman was killed fighting hand to hand 
with the enem3\ After this victory Col. Williams, with 


the prisoners, encamped at the Cedar Spring, in Spartan- 
burg Connty and from thence proceeded to Charlotte, ^N". 
C. Colonels Williams and Clarke then returned to the 
western frontier and the prisoners under Maj. Hammond 
marched to Hillsboro, 

Excited by this brilliant victory Col, Shelby prepared 
to attack the British force at Ninety-six, about thirty 
miles distant, when an exjDress arrived from Gen. McDow- 
ell, with a letter from Governor Caswell, dated on the 
battle ground of Camden, informing him of Gates' defeat 
and advising him to get out of the way. This advice came 
in good time, for on the next day a strong detachment 
from Ferguson's army sallied forth to overtake the vic- 
tors, but through the energy and activity of Col. Shelby 
the designs of the enemy were completely baffled- 

The brilliancy of tbe affair shone more brightly by the 
dark gloom which now overspread the public mind in 
consequence of the defeat of Gen. Gates at Camden. This 
caused Gen. Mcdowell to disband for the present his lit- 
tle force and retire beyond the mountains. The whole 
country was now apparently subjugated, the hopes of the 
patriot were dimmed, and many took protection under 
the British standard. But the brave spirits of the west, 
as firm as their native mountains, were still undismayed ; 
and, if for a moment subdued, they were not conquered, 
and the fire of freedom glowed deeply in their patriotic 

At this gloom}^ period, Col. Shelby, in consultation 
with Col. Charles McDowell, proposed to Colonels Sevier 
and Campbell to raise a force as quickly as possible from 
their several counties, and attack the boasting Ferguson. 
A concert of action, and junction of their forces were 
promptly agreed upon, the battle of Kings Mountain fol- 
lowed soon thereafter, and the result is well known. It 
will be seen, the first movement for organizing forces and 
bringing to a speedy accomplishment this most decisive 


victory of the South originated in Western Xorth Car- 

Inspired by this victorj-, the forces of JSTorth Carolina 
assembled under General Davidson at iSTew Providence^ 
in Mecklenburg County, near the South Carolina line. 
Gen. Smallwood, with Morgan's light corps and the 
Maryland line advanced to the same point. Gen. Gates, 
with the remnant of his army, and General Stevens with 
levies from Virginia enabled General Greene, after he 
assumed the chief command in December, 1780, to hold 
Cornwallis in check and frustrate his design, at that time, 
of marching to Charlotte. 

It was at the suggestion of Col Shelby that General 
Greene sent out the expedition which achieved the bril- 
liant victory at the Cowpens, In 1781, Col. Shelby served 
under Gen. Marion, and with Col. Mayhem, was in the 
skirmish near Monk's Corner. On attacking this post it 
immediately surrendered with one hundred and fifty 
prisoners. Soon afterward he obtaliued leave of absence 
from Gen. Marion to attend the General Assembly of 
Kortli Carolina, of which he was a member from Sullivan 

In 1782 he was again a member, and was appointed a 
Commissioner to settle the preemption claims upon the 
Cumberland, and lay oft' the lands allotted to the o.fticer.* 
and soldiers south of where Xashville now stands. He 
returned to Boonsboro on the April following where he 
married Susanna Hart, whose father was one of the part- 
ners of Judge Henderson. The liberties of his Country 
being nearly established he devoted himself to his farm 
on the first pre-emption and settlement granted in Ken- 
tucky. In ^fay, 1792, he w^as elected the first Governor 
of the ne^v State. In 1812, a stormy period in our histo- 
ry, he was again elected to the same position. When the 
war with Great Britain broke out his well known energy 
and Eevolutionary fame induced the Legislature of Ken- 


tueky to solicit his services in the field. At the head of 
four thousand volunteers he marched to the shores of 
Lake Erie to assist Gen. Harrison in the celebrated battle 
of the Thames. For his bravery in this battle, Congress 
honored him with a gold medal. In 1817 President 
Monroe appointed him his Secretary of War, but on ac- 
count of his advanced age he declined the honor. His 
last public act was that of holding a treaty with the 
Chickasaw Indians, in 1818, in which General Jackson 
w^as his colleague. In 1820 he w^as attacked wdth a par- 
alytic affection but his mind still remained unimpaired. 
In July, 1S26, he expired from a stroke of apoplexy, 
in the seventy -sixth year of his age, enjoying the love and 
respect of his country and consoled by the rich hopes of 
a joyful immortality. Worthily is his name preserved in 
I^orth Carolina in a region that witnessed his exalted pa- 
triotism and valor. 


Col. James D. Williams, a brave and meritorious officer, 
was mortally wounded at King's Mountain, near the close 
of the action. He died on the next morning, and is buried 
within two miles of the place where he so gallantly fell. 
Tradition says his first w^ords, after reviving a little, 
w^ere, "For God's sake, boys, don't give up the hill." 

He was a native of Granville county, IST. C. He moved 
to Laurens county, S. C, in 1773, and settled upon Little 
river. He early esposed the patriot cause, and was ac- 
tive in raising troops and defending the territory of the 
"JSTiuety-Six" District, abounding with many evil-disposed 

He first appears as a Colonel of militia in April, 1778-, 

In the spring of 1779, he went into actuiil service, and 

was probably at the siege of Savannah. He was with 

Gen. Sumter in 1780, and in the early part of that year he 



was in the battle of Musgrove's Mill, on the Ennoree river. 
After that engagement he went to Hillsboro, where he 
raised a corps of cavalry, and returned to South Carolina. 
During Ferguson's movements, after crossing the Wateree 
with the intention of embodying the loyalists, and inter- 
cepting the "Mountain Men," Col. Williams contmually 
hovered around his camp, prepared to strike a blow when 
he could, and cripple his advance. 

Colonel Williams was a worthy member and Elder of 
the Presbyterian Church, and was highly esteemed by all 
who knew him. It is to be regretted more has not been 
preserved of his efficient military services. 


Colonel William Graham was the son of Archilmld 
Graham, of Scotland. He was born in Augusta county, 
Va., in 1742. He emigrated to ISTorth Carolina several 
years previous to the Revolutionary War, became the 
owner of much valuable land, and finally settled on First 
Broad river, then Tryon county, but now in Cleaveland. 
His patriotic principles soon became known, and were 
called into active service at the commencement of the 
Revolution. As the commanding officer, he had the gen- 
eral surperintendence of several Forts, erected on and near 
the frontier settlements, as protections against the hostile 
Cherokee Indians. Whilst in command of Fort McFad- 
den, near the present town of Rutherfordton, he formed 
' the acquaintance of Mrs. Susan Twitty, widow of William 
Twitty, and, as the "darts of Cupid" are often irresistible, 
he married her, and the union proved to be a happy one. 

In the Provincial Congress which met at Halifax on the 
12th of IsTov., 1776, when the first State Constitution was 
formed, Colonel Graham was one of the delegates from 
Lincoln county, his colleagues being Joseph Hardin, 
Robert Abernathy, William Alston and John Barber. 


111 the expedition Avhich marched in 1776, under Gen- 
eral Rutherford, against the Cherokee Indians, Colonel 
Oraham commanded the regiment which went from Lin- 
-coln and Rutherford counties. This expedition, as is well 
known, was completely successful, and caused the Indians 
to sue for peace. 

In the expedition which marched for the relief of 
Charleston, in the spring of 1780, from Charlotte, the place 
of renndezvous for several counties, Colonel Graham led 
the regiment from Lincoln county. On the arrival of the 
iseveral forces at Charleston, they found the city so com- 
pletely invested by the British army that they could not 
render assistance to the American garrison. 

Soon after his return home, Colonel Graham again 
marched with his regiment, General Rutherford command- 
ing, against a large body of Tories assembled at Ramsour's 
Mill under Lieut. Colonel John Moore, (son of Moses 
Moore) near the present town of Lincolnton. General 
Rutherford, w^ith some Mecklenburg troops, crossed the 
Oatawba river at Tuckaseege Ford, on the evening of the 
19th of June, 1780, and camped at Colonel Joseph Dick- 
:Son's plantation, three miles northwest ot the ford. On 
the morning of the 20th, Gen. Rutherford marched, at an 
early hour, with the expectation of co-operating -with Col- 
onel Locke, of Rowan county, in making a combined at- 
tack against the Tories, but failed to reach the battle- 
ground until about two hours after the close of that 
sanguinary engagement, in which the Tories were signally 

When a call was made upon the commanding officers of 
the militia of Lincoln county (under its old limits) in 
September, 1780, for troops to oppose the boasting Fero-u- 
eon, Colonel Graham marched with his regiment, and 
joined Colonels Campbell, Sevier, Shelby and others at 
the "Cowpens," where, a little more than three months 
afterward. General Morgan gained a brilliant victory ; 


but, it is known, in consequence of severe sickness in his' 
family, Colonel Graham did not participate in the battle 
which took place on King's Mountain on the afternoon of 
the 7th of October, 1780, and which resulted so gloriously 
for the American .arms. 

During the year 1775, the Province of Xorth Carolinay 
ever in the van of early patriotic movements, formed "As- 
sociations" throughout her territory, mainly as tests of 
jMtrioiism: The county of Cumberland formed an Associa- 
tion on the 20th of June, 1775. The county of Tryon 
(embracing Lincoln and Rutherford) formed a similar 
"Association" on the 14th of August following, which was 
signed by the "Committee of Safety," and ordered to ber 
^'signed by every freeholder in the county." Among thC' 
forty-eight signatures may be conspicuously noticed those? 
of William Graham, Charles McLean, (who at one time^ 
commanded the Lincoln regiment), Frederick Hambright,. 
(see sketch of his services in this volume) John Walker^ 
Jacob Forney, (father of Gen. Peter Forney), Thomas 
Espey, (brother of Capt. Samuel Espey, severely wounded 
at the battle of King's Mountain), Andrew I^^eal, Joseph 
Neal, John Dellinger, George Dellinger, Joseph IJardin,, 
Jacob Costner, Valentine Mauney, Peter Sides, Joseph 
Kuykendall, James Coburn, James Miller and others. 
One of the signers, Peter Sides, (properly Seitz) belonged 
to a family from Switzerland — all true Whigs, and worthy 
representatives of the land of William Tell. 

Colonel William Graham died in April, 1835, in the 
eighty-seventh year of his age, and is buried at the okl 
homestead, on First Broad river, in Cleaveland county,, 
N. C. . 


Lieutenant-Colonel Hambright was born in Germany in 
1727, emigrated to Pennsylvania about 1740, and after re 


tuaiiiing there u short tune removej to Virghiia about 
1755, where he married Sarah Hardin, with Avhom he 
Hved happily until her death during the Revohition. A 
few years after his marriage he moved to Tryon county in 
North Carohna, being accompanied by his brothers-in-law, 
Colonel Joseph Hardin, John Hardin and Benjamin 
Hardin ; also, by James Ivuykendall, Nathaniel Henderson, 
Robert Leeper, and others. He first settled at the Fort, 
erected near the mouth of the South Fork of the Catawba 
river, as a protection against the attacks of the Indians. 
From that place he soon afterward moved to Long Creek, 
in the same county, and was living there when the battle of 
King's Mountain took place, in which he so gallantly par- 
ticipated. A short time previous to that battle he had 
purchased a tract of land on King's Creek, and had built a 
cabin upon it, pveparatory to a future removal of his family. 

Colonel Hambright was twice married. By the first 
marriage to Sarah Hardin, previously noticed, he had 
twelve children, of whom six were raised, viz : 1, John H. 
Hambright, who fought at King's Mountain. 2. Elizabeth. 
3, FrecLerick. 4. Sarah. 5. Benjamin, and 6. James 
Hambright. Of these, Elizabeth married Joseph Jenkins, 
and Sarah Peter Eaker, both of whom have worthy de- 

By the second wife, Mary Dover, whom he married in 
1781, he had ten children, of whom eight were raised. 
Mrs, Susannah Dickson, the tenth child by the second wife, 
and the youngest of the twenty-two children, is still living 
and retains in her memory many interesting traditions of 
the Reveolution. 

Colonel Hambright early displayed a fervent patriotic 
zeal for the independence of his adopted country. In 1777 
he received the appointment of Lieutenant- Colonel, and 
was throughout the war an active and courageous officer. 
He was constantly watching the movements of the Tories, 
whose malicious infiuence and plundering habits seriously 


disturbed the peace and welfare of society. His name- 
soon became a " terror to the Tories, who well knew the 
determination of his character and the vigilence and 
prowess ot his arms in arresting disaffected persons, and 
defeating their designs. 

At the l^attle of King's Mountain Col. WiUiam Graham^ 
having charge of the Lincoln regiment, not being present 
on account of sickness in his family, the command de- 
volved on Col. Hambright and most nobly and courageous- 
ly did he sustain the responsible position. ISTo portion of 
the advancing Whig columns evinced more irresistible 
bravery, and suliered more severely than the troops under 
his immediate command. ^lajor WiUiam Chronicle, one 
of his most efficient and gallant ofhcers, fell early in the 
action. There, too, Captain John Mattocks, Lieutenants- 
Robb and Boyd, and others, all from the same neighbor- 
hood, lost their lives in that fiercely contested battle, which 
resulted so gloriously for the cause of liberty. 

In this conflict Colonel Hambright was severely wounded 
by a large rifle ball passing through the fleshy part of the 
thigh. It was soon discovered by the soldiers near him 
that ho was .wounded and bleeding profusel}'. Samuel 
Moore, of York county. South Carolina, requested him to' 
to be taken from his horse ; he refused by saying, " he knew 
he was wounded but was not sick or faint from the loss of 
blood — said he could still ride very well, and therefore 
deemed it his duty to fight on till the battle was over."' 
And most nobly did he remain in his place, encouraging 
his men by his persistent bravery and heroic example until 
signal victory crowned the American arms. 

At the close of the action, when Colonel Hambright 
alighted from his horse, the blood was running over the 
top of the boot on the wounded \eg. He was then con- 
veyed to the cabin erected on his own laud, as previously 
stated, before the war, where he was properly cared for 
until he was partially recovered. Although the wound, in 


process of time, seemed to have healed, _yet its deep-seated 
injury caused him to falter in his walk during the re- 
mainder of his life. The reason he assigned for refusing tO' 
he taken from his horse when severely wounded does 
lienor to his exalted patriotism. lie said if he had com- 
plied his men would neglect to load and fire as often as they 
should ; would gather around him to administer to his 
wants, and thus fail to do their whole duty in opposing and 
conquering the enemy. 

Such true devotion to the cause of freedom is w^orthy of 
our waimest admiration, and forcihly illustrates the heroic 
spirit which animated the hand of patriots who achieved, on 
King's Mountain, one of the most important and decisive 
victories af the American Revolution. 

Colonel Hamhright was long a worthy memher and 
elder of the Presbyterian church at Shiloh, in the present 
limits of Cleaveland county. On his tombstone we have 
this plain inscription : 

" In memory of Colonel Frederick Hambright, who de- 
parted this life, March (figures indistinct) 1817, in the nine- 
tieth year of his age." 



Burke county was formed in 1777 from Ilowaii county, 
and was named in honor of tlie celebrated orator and 
statesman, Edmund Burke, an Irishman b}' birth, and 
possessed of all the warm and impetuous order of his 
countrymen. He early employed his pen in literature, 
and his eloquence in politics. Having been introduced 
to the Marquis of Rockingham, he made him his secre- 
tary and procured his election to the House of Commons. 
He there eloquently pleaded the cause of the Americans. 
During his political career lie wTote much, and his com- 
positions rank among the purest of English classics. 
This true friend of America died on the Sth of July, 
1797, in tlie seventieth year of his age. 

At the cornmencement of the Revolutionary war the 
territory now lying on and near the eastern base of the 
^' Blue Ridge," or Alleghany chain of mountains, con- 
stituted the borders of civilization, an.d suffered freqentiy 
from marauding bands of Cherokee Indians, the great 
scourge of Western North Carolina. The whole countrj' 
west of Tr3'on county (afterward Lincoln) was sparsely 
settled with the families of adventurous individuals, who, 
confronting all dangers, had carved out homes in the 
mountains and raised up hardy sons, deeply imbued 
with the spirit of liberty, prepared to go forth, at a 
moment's warning, to fight the buttles of their co -ntry. 



" There was Greene in the South; you must know him, — 
Whom some called a " Hickory Quaker;" 

But he ne'er turned his back on the foemen, 
Nor ever was known for a shaker.'''' 

After the unfortunate battle of Camden, on the IGth of 
August, 1780, where Gen. Gates lost the laurels he had 
obtained at Saratoga, Congress perceived the necessity of 
appointing a more efficient commander for the Southern 
array. Accordingly Gen. Washington was directed to 
make the selection from his well-tried and experienced 
officers. Whereupon the commander-in-chief appointed 
General Nathaniel Greene, late the Quartermaster Gen- 
eral, on the 30th of October, 1780, who, in a few days 
afterward, set out for his field of labor. As he passed 
through Deleware, Maryland and Virginia, he ascertain- 
ed what supplies it was likely could be obtained from 
those States ; and leaving the Baron Steuben to take 
charge of the defence of Virginia he proceeded to Hills- 
boro, then the temporary seat of government for North 
Carolina. Gov. received him with m.uch joy, as 
the safety of the State was in imminent danger.. After 
a short stay in that- place he hastened on to Ch' ^- '< ? * fec 'e, the 
headquarters of the Southern army. Gen. Gates there 
met him with marked respect, \vithout displaying any of 
those feelings which sometimes arise from disappointed 
ambition, and immediately set out for the headquarters 
of Washington, then in New Jersey, to submit to an in- 
quiry into his conduct, which had been ordered by 

Gen. Green took charge of the Southern army in the 
town of Charlotte on the 3rd day of December, 1780. 
After surveying his troops and supplies he found himself 
at the head of about two thousand men, one half of whom 


were militia, with only a sufficiency of provisions for 
three days, in an exhausted country, and with a scanty 
supply of ammunition. With the quick eye of military 
genius, he determined at once to divide his arm}', small 
as it was, and provide the needful supplies in dilTerent 
localities. Relying upon Gen. Davidson's militia, as a 
central force and protection, to be called out upon emer- 
gencies from the surrounding counties, he led the largest 
portion of his army under himself, and encamped on 
Hick's Creek, opposite Cheraw, and about sevent}' miles 
to the right of Cornwallis, who was then at \Yinsboro, 
South Carolina. While encamped at this place he was 
jonied by the legionary corps of cavalry under Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Henry Lee, more familiarly known as " Light 
Horse Harry," and father of the late distinguished Gen. 
Robert E. Lee, of the Confederate army, whose memory 
the Southern people and an impartial loovld will ever de- 
light to honor! The other detachment of the army, 
about one thousand strong, under Brig. Gen. Morgan 
was placed about fifty miles to the left to disperse bands 
of Tories and protect the country between the Broad and 
Pacolet rivers. Gen. Morgan's division, near the close 
of 1780, consisted of four hundred of Continental infantry 
under Lieutanant-Colonel Howard, of the Mar3dand line, 
two companies of the Virginia militia under Captains 
Triplett and Tate, and about one hundred dragoons under 
Lieutenant-Colonel AYilliam Washington. This force, at 
the time just mentioned, was considerably augmented by 
North Carolina militia under Major McDowell — "Moun- 
tain boys," ever reliable, and some Georgia militia, under 
Major Cunningham. Gen. Morgan encamped on the 
northern bank of Pacolet river, and near Pacolet Springs. 
From this point Col. Washington frequently sallied forth 
to disperse bodies of Tories who assembled at different 
places and plundered the Whig inhabitants. He at- 
tacked and defeated two liundred of them at Hammond's 


store, and soon afterward a section of his command dis- 
persed another Tory force under the " bloody Bill Cun- 

Cornwallis, who was still at Winnsboro, perceived 
these successes with alarm, and fearing an attack upon 
his important post at Ninety-Six, determined to diperse 
the forces under Morgan or drive them into North Car- 
olina before he should rally the Mountain Men in suf- 
ficient numbers to cut off his communication with his 
post at Augusta. He accordingly dispatched Tarleton 
with his legion and a strong force of infantry, with two 
field pieces, to compel Morgan to fight or hastily retreat. 
Tarleton's entire force consisted of about eleven hundred , 
well-disciplined men, and in every respect he had the 
advantage of Morgan. 

It is related of Tarleton that when he heard of Mor- 
gan's forces being encampted near the post of Ninety- 
Six, he begaed of Lord Rawdon the privilege of attacking 
the American officer. "By Heaven, my lord, said he, I 
would not desire a finer feather in my cap than Colonel 
Morgan. Such a prisoner would make my fortune." Ah, 
Ban, (contration of Banastre, Tarleton's christian name) 
replied Rawdon, you had better let the old wagoner 
alone." As no refusal would satisfy him, permission was 
given, and he immediately set out with a strong force in 
pursuit of Morgan. At parting Tarleton said to Rawdon 
with a smile, " M}^ lord, if you will be so obliging as to- 
wait dinner, the day after to-morrow, till four o'clock,. 
Colonel Morgan shall be one of your lordship's guests." 
"Very well, Ban, said Rawdon, we shall wait; but re- 
niember, Morgan was brought up under Washington." 

Tarleton commenced his march fromWinnsboro on the 
lltli of January, 1781, Cornwallis following leisurely in 
the rear with the main army. He crossed Broad river 
near Turkey creek, and advanced with all possible speed 
in the direction of Morgan's camp. That officer was at 


first disposed to dispute Tarletoii's passage of the Pacolet 
river, but being informed of the superiority of his num- 
bers, and that a portion of the British army had already 
crossed above him, he hastily retreated northward, and 
took post for battle on the north side of Thickettj' Moun- 
tain, near the Cowpens. Tarleton pressed eagerly forward 
in pursuit, riding all night, and making a circuit around 
the western side of the mountain. At eight o'clock in 
the morning he came in sight of the advanced guard of 
the patriots, and fearing that Morgan might again retreat 
and get safely across Broad river, he resolved to attack 
him immediately, notw^ithstanding the fatigued condition 
of his troops. Tarleton was evidently disposed to view 
Morgan as "flying game," and he therefore wished to "bag 
him" while clearly within scope of his vision. The sequel 
will show how sadly he was mistaken. 

The Americans w^ere posted upon an eminence of gentle 
ascent, covered w'ith an open wood. They were rested 
and refreshed after their retreat from the Pacolet. And, 
now expecting the enemy, thej" were drawn up in battle 
order. Tarleton was rather disconcerted when he found 
that ]SIorgan was prepared to fight him, for he expected 
to overtake him on a flying retreat. It was now about 
nine o'clock. The sun was shining brightly over the sum- 
mits of Thicketty Mountain, and imparted a glowing 
brilliancy to the martial array in the forests below. On 
the crown of the eminence were stationed two hundred 
and ninety Maryland regulars, and on their right the two 
companies of Virginia militia under Major Triplet. These 
composed the reau line of four hundred and thirty men 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Howard. One hundred and 
fifty yards in advance of this line was a body of about 
three hundred militia under Colonel Andrew Pickens, all 
experienced riflemen, and burning with a spirit of revenge 
on account of numerous cruelties previously inflicted by 
the British and Tories. This brave oflicer had arrived 


during the iiiglit, with his followers, and joined JSIorgan. 
About one hiindied and fifty yards in advance of this first 
line, were placed the best riflemen of the corps under Mc- 
Dowell and Cunningham. The action soon commenced. 
At a signal from Tarleton, his advance gave a loud shout 
and rushed furiously to the contest, under cover of their 
artillery, and a constant discharge of musketry. The 
riflemen under McDowell and Cunningham delivered their 
fire with terrible eflect, and then fell back to the flanks 
of the first line under Pickens. The contest was close and 
severe, with alternate wavings of the British and Ameri- 
can lines, under successive attacks of the bayonet, which 
the prescribed limits of this work forbid to be presented 
in all their annimating details. Suffice it to say, Tarleton 
here met a "foeman worthy of his steel ;" and the Ameri- 
cans, at the Cowpens, on the 17th of Januar}', 1781, gained 
one of the most triumphant victories of the Revolutionary 
War. Almost the whole of the British infantry, except 
the baggage guard, were either killed or taken. Two 
pieces of artillery, eight hundred muskets, two standards, 
thirty-five wagons and one hundred dragoon horses fell 
into the hands of the Americans. Notwithstanding the 
cruel warfare which Tarleton had waged against the 
Americans, to the honor of the victors it is said not one of 
the British prisoners was killed, or even insulted after 
they had surrendered. 

The loss of' the Americans in this decisive battle was 
twelve killed and about sixty wounded. The loss of the 
British was ten oflicers and ninety privates killed, and 
twenty-three oflicers and five hundred privates taken 
prisoners. At the close of the action, Washington, with 
his cavalry, pursued Tarleton, who now in turn, had be- 
come "flying game." In his eagerness of pursuit of that 
officer, AVashington had dashed forward considerably in 
advance of his squadron, when Tarleton and two of his 
aids turned upon him, and just as an oflicer on Tarleton's 


right was about to strike liini with his sabre, his sergeant 
dashed up and disabled the assailant's sword arm. An 
officer on Tarleton's left was about to strike at the same 
moment, when Washington's little bugler, too small to 
wield a sword, wounded the assailant with a pistol ball. 
Tarleton, who was in the center, then made a thrust at 
him, which Washington parried, and wounded his enemy 
in the hand. Tarleton wheeled, and, as he retreated, dis- 
charged a pistol, wounding Washington in the knee. Dur- 
ing that night and the following morning, the remnant of 
Tarleton's forces crossed Broad river at Hamilton's Ford, 
and reached the encampment of Cornwallis at Turkey 
creek, about twenty-five miles from the Cowpens. 

This hand-iDOWid of Tarleton, inflicted by Washington, 
gave rise, on two difierent occasions, to sallies of wit by 
two American ladies, daughters of Colonel Montford, of 
Halifax county, North Carolina. "When Cornwallis and 
his army were at Halifax, on their way to Virginia, Tarle- 
tgn was at the house of an American citizen. In the pres- 
ence of Mrs. Willie Jones, Tarleton spoke of Colonel 
Washington as an illiterate fellow, hardly able to write 
his name. "Ah ! Colonel," said ]\lrs. Jones, "j^ou ought to 
know better, for you bear on your person proof that he 
knows very well how to make his mark T' At another 
time, Tarleton was sarcastically speaking of Washington 
in the presence of her sister, Mrs. Ashe. "I would be 
happy to see Colonel Washington," he said, with a sneer. 
Mrs. Ashe instantly replied: "If you had looked behind 
you. Colonel Tarleton, at the battle of the Cowpens, you 
would have enjoyed that pleasure." Stung with this keen 
wit, Tarleton placed his hand on his sword with an incli- 
nation to use it. General Leslie, who was present, re- 
marked, "Say what you please, Mrs. Ashe, Colonel Tarle- 
ton knows better than to insult a lady in my presence." 

The victory of the Cowpens gave great joy to the friends 
of liberty throughout the whole country. Congress re- 


ceived information of it on the 8th of Febniary following, 
and on the 9th of March voted an aAvard of a gold medal 
to Morgan ; a silver medal to Howard and Washington ; 
a sw^ord to Col. Pickens, and a vote of thanks to the other 
officers and men engaged in the battle. 

At this time, Cornwallis was advancing triumphantly 
in the direction of North Carolina, having placed South 
Carolina and Georgia, as he thought, in submission at his 
feet. The defeat and death of Ferguson, one of his most 
efficient officers, at King's Mountain, and now of Tareton, 
his favorite partisan, greatl}^ withered his hopes of strong 
Tor}" cooperation. His last hope was the destruction of 
•Greene's army by his own superior force, and, with that 
design in view, he broke up his encampment near Turkey 
creek, and like Saul, "yet breathingout tbreatenings and 
slaughter " against Morgan's little army, he commenced 
that pursuit of the " hero of the Cowpens," who, encum- 
bered with his five hundred prisoners, under various 
Providential interpositions, made good his retreat into 
Virginia, constituting one of the most thrilling and suc- 
cessful military achievements of the American Revolution. 


General Daniel Morgan was born in Bucks county, 
Pennsylvania, in 1737, and moved to Virginia in 1755. 
He was a private soldier under General Braddock, and 
fitter the defeat of that officer returned to his occupation 
of a farmer and a wagoner. When the war of the Revo- 
lution broke out, he joined the army under General 
Washington, at Cambridge, and commanded a corps of 
riflemen. He was with General Montgomery at Quebec, 
and with General Gates at Saratoga, in both of which 
battles he greatly distinguished himself For his bravery 
he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, and 


joined the army in the South. After the battle of Cam- 
den, when General Greene assumed the chief command, 
General Morgan was detached to raise troops in the 
western part of the State and in South Carolina. He 
soon became distinguished as a partisan officer, inspiring 
confidence and arousing the despondent Whigs to a more 
active sense of duty. His victory at the Cowpens was 
justly considered as one of the most brilliant and decided 
victories of the Revolution, and Congress accordingly 
voted him a gold medal. At the close of the war, he re- 
turned to his farm. In 179-4 he was appointed by Gen- 
eral Washington to quell the Whisky Insurrection in 
Western Virginia, and after the ditficulties were settled, 
he was elected a member of Congress and served from 
1797 to 1799. His health lailing, he declined a re-elec- 
tion. Ilis farm in Clarke county, a few miles from Win- 
chester, Va., was called Saratoga. In 1800, he removed 
to AVinchester, where he died on the Gth of July, 1802^ 
in the sixty-seventh year of his age. 

In early life, General Morgan was dissipat-^d ; yet the 
teachings of a pious mother always made him reverential 
when his thoughts turned toward the Deity. l\\ his lat- 
ter years he piofessed religion and became a member of 
the Presbyterian Church in Winchester. " Ah !" he 
would often exclaim when talking of the past, "people- 
said old Morgan never feared — they thought old Morgan 
never prayed — they did not know old Morgan was miser- 
ably afraid." lie said he trembled at Quebec, and in the 
gloom of earl}^ morning, when approaching the battery 
at Cape Diamond, he knelt in the snow and prayed ; and 
before the battle at the Cowpens, he went into the woods, 
ascended a tree, and there poured out his soul in prayer 
to the Almighty Ruler of the Universe for protection. 


(Condensed from Wheeler's "Historical Sketches.") 

Colonel Charles McDowell and his brothers, Joseph 
and William, w^re sons of Joseph McDowell and Margaret 
O'Neal, who emigrated from Ireland and settled in Win- 
chester, Va. Here, Charles and Joseph were born, the 
former in 1743. Soon afterward, Joseph McDowell, Sr.^ 
moved to Burke county, N. C. 

In June, 1780, Colonel Charles McDowell being joined 
by Colonels Isaac Shelby and John Sevier from Tennes- 
see, and by Colonel Clarke, of Georgia, near the Cherokee 
Ford on Broad river, in South Carolina, he determined 
to attack a post held liy the enemy on Pacolet river, in 
Spartanburg county. The position was strongly fortified 
under the command of Captain Patrick Moore, a distin- 
guished loyalist. On being surrounded, the enemy, after 
some parley as to terms, surrendered as jDrisoners of Vv^ar. 
One British Sergeant Major, ninety-three loyalists, tv/o 
hundred and fifty fire-arras and other munitions of war 
were the fruits of this victory. Soon afterward Col. Mc- 
Dowell detached Shelby to watch the movements of Fer- 
guson, and attack him. On the 1st of August, 1780, 
Shelby met the advance guard of Ferguson at Cedar 
Spring, about six hundred strong, when a spirited contest 
commenced ; but on the enemy being reinforced, Shelby 
made good his retreat, carrying off from the field tv/ent.y 
prisoners, including two British officers. 

On learning that a body of five hundred Tories had 
assembled on the south side of Enoree river, near Mus- 
grova's Mill, Colonel McDou ell de,tached Colonels Shelby, 
Williams and Clarke to attack them. Colonel Ferguson, 
with his whole force, lay encamped between them. They 
left the camp on the 18th of August at Smith's Ford on 
Broad river, and taking a circuitous route through the 


woods, avoided Ferguson's forces. They rode hard all 
night, and at daybreak encountered a strong patrol party 
of the enemy. A skirmish immediately ensued and the 
Tories retreated. They then advanced on the main body 
of the Tories. At this juncture a countryman living near, 
a friend of liberty, came to Shelby and informed him 
that the enem}'- had been reinforced the evening before, 
by six hundred regular troops, and the Queen's American 
regiment from New York, commanded by Colonel Innis, 
marching to join Ferguson. Here was a position that 
would have tried the talent and nerve of the most skill- 
ful and brave officer. Advance was hopeless, and retreat 
impossible. But Shelby was ec[ual to the emergency. 
He immediately commenced forming a breast-work of 
brush and old logs, while he detailed twenty-five tried 
men to reconnoiter and skimish with the enemy as soon 
as they crossed the Enoree river. The drums and bugles 
of the enemy were soon heard marching upon this de- 
voted band. Captain Inman had been ordered to fire and 
retreat. This stratagem, suggested by Captain Inman 
himself, was successful in its object. The enemy ad- 
vanced in rapid pursuit and in great confusion, believing 
that the whole American force was routed. When they 
approached the rude breast-work of Shelby, they received 
from his riflemen a most destructive fire, which carried 
great slaughter among them. This was gallantly kept 
up; all the British officers were killed or wounded, and 
Hawsey, the Tor}' leader, shot down. The enem}^ then 
began a disorder!}'- retreat. The Americans now in turn 
pursued, and in this pursuit the brave Captain Inman 
was killed, fighting hand to hand with the enemy. Col- 
onel Shelby commanded the right wing, Colonel Clarke 
the left, and Colonel "Williams the center. 

The British loss in this brilliant and well-planned bat- 
tle, was sixty-three killed and one hundred wounded and 


prisoners ; the American loss was only four killed, includ- 
ing Captain Inman, and Captain Clarke wounded. 

The triumphant victors were about to remount and 
advance on the British post at Ninety Six, when an ex- 
press arrived from Colonel McDowell, with a letter from 
Governor Caswell, informing them of the defeat of Gen- 
eral Gates at Camden on the 16tli of August, and advis- 
ing the retreat of our troops, as the British, flushed with 
victory, would advance in strong force and cut off all de- 
tachments of our people. With Ferguson near him, Col- 
onel Shelby, encumbered with more than two hundred 
prisoners, acted with energy and promptness. He dis- 
tributed the prisoners among the companies, each behind 
a, private, and without stopping day or night, retreated 
over the mountains to a place of safety. 

This rapid movement saved his men and himself. On 
the next day Major DePeyster, of Ferguson's forces, with 
ii strong body of men, made an active but fruitless search. 

In consequence of the panic after Gates' defeat on the 
16th of August, 1780, and the surprise and dispersion of 
.Sumter's forces at Fishing creek by Tarleton's cavalry on 
the 18th following. Colonel McDowell disbanded, for a 
time, his little arni}^, and he himself retreated over the 

This was a dark and doleful period of American his- 
tory. The British flag floated in triumph over Charles- 
ton and Savannah. The troops of Lord Cornwallis, xith 
all the pomp and circumstance of glor}-, advanced from 
the battle-field of Camden to Charlotte, with the fond ex- 
pectation of soon placing North Carolina under his sub- 
jection. Many of the brave had despaired of final suc- 
cess, and the timid, and some of the wealthy, to save 
their propert}', had taken "protection" under the enemy. 
Colonel Ferguson, with chosen troops, was ravaging the 
whole western portion of upper South Carolina, subduing 
in his progress to western North Carolina, all opponents 


of English power, and encouraging, by bribes and artifice;r 
others to join the royal standard. 

Under all these discouraging circumstances the brave 
"Mountain Boys," and other kindred spirits of the west 
never despaired. On the mountain heights of North 
Carolina, and in her secure retreats, like Warsaw's "last 
champion," stood the stalwart soldiers of that day : 

" Oh Heaven I they said, our bleedhig countrjr save ! 

Is there no hand on high to shild the brave ? 

AVhat though destruction sweep these lovely plains I — 

Rise, fellow-men ! our country yet remains ; 

By that dread name, we wave the sword on high, 

And swear for her to live ! for her to die ! " 

If the sky was then gloomy, a storm was gathering ir.i 
these mountain retreats which was soon to descend in all 
its fury on the heads of the enemies of our country. In' 
a short time afterward the battle of King's Mountain was 
fought and won by the patriots, which spread a thrill of 
joy throughout the land. 

Colonel Charles McDowell was elected the first Senatoi" 
to the State Legislature from Burke county in 1778, and 
success! vel}^ from 1782 to 1790. From 1791 to 1795, he- 
was succeeded in the same position by his brother, Major 
Joseph McDowell. About this period, at three or four 
different times, all three of the members of the Assembly 
to which the county was entitled were of this family^ 
Avhich proved their great popularity and worth. Major 
Joseph McDowell also served as a member of Congress- 
from 1793 to 1795, and from 1797 to 1799. He lived on 
John's liver, and died there. His family returned tc 
Virginia, where some of his descendants may still be 
found. One of his sons, Hugh Harvey, settled in Mis- 
souri, and Joseph J. McDowell, in Ohio, wdio was a mem- 
ber of Congress from that State from 1843 to 1847. 


General Charles McDowell married Grace Greenlee, 
the widow of Captain John Bowman, who fell at the bat- 
tle of Ramsoiir's Mill. By this union he had several 
children, one of whom was the late Captain Charles Mc- 
Dowell, who resided on the Catawba river, near Morgan- 

General Charles McDowell died on the 31st of JSIarch, 
1815, aged about seventy-two years. 



Wilkes county was formed in 1777, from Surry, and 
named in lionor of John Wilkes, a distinguished states- 
man and member of Parliament. He was a fearless 
political writer, and violently opposed to the oppressive 
measures of Great Britain against her American Colonies- 
In 1763 he published in the " North Briton " newspaper 
a severe attack on the government, for which he was sent 
to the Tower. Acquitted of the charge for which he was im- 
prisoned, he sued for and recovered five thousand dollars 
damages and then went to Paris. In 1768 he returned to- 
England and was soon after elected a member of Parlia- 
ment. In his private character he was licentious, but his 
eminent talents, energ}', and fascinating manners made? 
him a great favorite with the people. He died at his 
seat in the Isle of Wight in 1797, aged seventy years. 


Colonel Benjamin Cleaveland, one of the distinguished 
heroes of King's Mountain, and in honor of whom Cleave-' 
land county is named, lived and died in Wilkes county 
at a good old age. • 

In 1775 he first entered the service as Ensign in the 
second regiment of troops, and acted a brave and con- 
spicuous part in the battle's of King's Mountain and 
Guilford court house. A serious impediment in his 
speech prevented him from entering public life. He is 


frequently spoken of in the mountain countr}- as the 
" hero of a liundred fights with the Tories." He was for 
many years the Surveyor of Wilkes county and resided, 
at the " Little Hiekerson place.'^ 

Among other singular incidents in his remarkable 
career, as preserved by General William Lenoir, and re- 
corded in Wheeler's "-Historical Sketches," we give place 
to the following : 

" Riddle Knob, in Watauga county, derives its name 
from a circumstance of the capture of Colonel Benjamin 
Cleaveland, during the Revolution, by a party of Tories 
headed by men of this name, and adds the charm of 
heroic association to the loveliness of it unrivaled scenery.. 
Cleaveland had been a tearor to the Tories. Two noto- 
rious characters of their band, (Jones and Coil) had been 
apprehended by him and hung. Cleaveland had gone 
alone, on some private business, to New river, and was 
taken prisoners by the Tories, at the " Old Fields," on 
that stream. They demanded that he should furnish 
passes for them. 

Being an indifferent penman he wis some time in pre- 
paring these papers, and he Vv^as in no hurry as he be- 
lieved that they would kill him when they had obtained 
them. While thus engaged Captain Robert Cleaveland, 
his brother, with a party followed him, knowing the 
dangerous proximity of the Tories. They came up with 
the Tories and fired on them. Colonel Cleaveland slid 
off the log to prevent being shot, while the Tories tied, 
and he thus escaped certain destruction. 

Some time after this circumstance the same Riddle and 
his son, and another were taken and brought before 
Cleaveland, and he hung all three of them near the Mul- 
berry meeting-house, now Wilkesboro, The depreda- 
tions of the Tories were so frequent, and their conduct so 
savage, that summary punishment was demanded by the 


(exigencies of the times. This Cleaveland inflicted with- 
out ceremony." 


Colonel John Sevier was born in Shenandoah county, 
T'irginia, in 1734. His father descended from an ancient 
family in France, the name being originally spelled 

About 1709 young Sevier joined an exploring and em- 
igrating party to the Holston river, in East Tennessee, 
then a part of North Carolina. He assisted in erecting 
the first fort on the Watauga river, where lie, his father, 
Lis brother Valentine, and otliers settled. Whilst en- 
gaged in the defence of the Watauga fort, in conjunction 
with Captain James Robertson, so known and distingu- 
ished in the early history of Middle Tennessee, he espied 
a young lady, of tall and erect stature, running rapidly 
towards the fort, closely pursued by Indians, and her ap- 
proach to the gate cut off by the savage enemy. Her 
-cruel pursuers were doubtless confident of securing a 
captive or a victim to their blood -thirty purposes ; but, 
turning suddenly, she eluded the savages, leaped the 
palisades of the fort at another point, and gracefully fell 
into the arms of Captain John Sevier. This remarkably 
iictive and resolute woman was Miss Catharine Sherrill, 
who, in a few years after this sudden leap and rescue, 
became the devoted and heroic wife of the gallant Cap- 
tain and future Colonel, General, Governor and people's 
friend, John Sevier. She became the mother of ten 
children, who could gratefully rise up and call her blessed. 

During Sevier's visit to hisfrmily in Virginia in 1773, 
Governor Dunmore gave him a Captain's commission. 

Through his own exertions he raised a company and 
was in the sanguinary' battle of Point Pleasant, on the 


Kenbawa, in which James Eobertson and Valentine 
Sevier actively participated. 

The first settlers on the Ilolston, Watauga and other 
tributar}' streams, were so far beyond the influence of 
the State laws of North Carolina as to induce them in 
1772 to form a temporary government for their better 
protection and security. Tlie people enjoyed the ad- 
vantages of this " Watauga government," as it was called, 
from 1772 until 1777, at which date Colonel Sevier pro- 
cured the establishment of courts and the extension of 
State laws over " Washington District," then in North 
Carolina, embracing an interesting section of country in 
waich he and other pioneers of civilization had cast their 
lots. These hardy pioneers opened roads across the 
mountains, felled the forests, built forts and houses, sub- 
dued the earth, and began rapidly to replenish it, for 
they married and were given in marriage. The State of 
North Carolina, several years afterward) with a motherly 
forgiveness, passed laws to confirm marriages and other 
deeds of these wa3'ward children in the wilderness. 

Colonel Sevier served in the expedition under Colonel 
Christian to chastise the Indians for their numerous mur- 
ders and depredations. In 1779, he raised troops, entered 
the Indian territory, and fought the successful battle of 
Boyd's creek. A few days after this battle, he wa.^ joined 
by Colonel Arthur Campbell with a Virginia regiment, 
and Colonel Isaac Shelb}- with troops from Sullivan 
county, then in North Carolina. These active oflicers 
scoured the Cherokee country, scattered hostile bands, de- 
stroyed most of the Indian towns, and, after inflicting this 
severe chastisement, returned to their homes with greater 
assurance of peace and security. 

The former part of the year 1780, was one of gloom and 
despondency in the Southern States. Charleston surren- 
dered, Gates defeated, and other minor reverses ; Tories 
becoming daring and insolent ; the British overrunning 


South Carolina and Georgia ; the Indians upon the borders, 
bribed and inflamed against the Americans — all tended 
to increase the gloom and darken the prospect of achiev- 
ing our independence. But amidst all the obscurity which 
shrouded the sun of American independence, there was a 
gallant band of patriots in the mountains of Xorth Caro- 
lina and upper South Carolina, who never quailed in duty 
before the enemy, struck a severe blow at every opportune 
moment, and never despaired of final success. 

In the brilliant victor}' of King's Mountain, Col. Sevier, 
with his regiment, displayed the most consummate 
braver}-. In June of the same year, he marched into 
buuth Carolina and assisted Col. McDowell and other otfi- 
cers in the successful battle of Musgrove's Mill. 

In 1781, Colonel Sevier was appointed by General 
Greene a commissioner to treat with the chiefs of the 
Cherokees and other tribes of Indians, which trust he 
faithfully performed. During the years 1781 and 1782, 
he was almost constantly engaged in leading expeditions 
into the Cherokee country. 

On the 14th of December, 1784, a convention of five 
delegates from each county of the extreme western por- 
tion of Xorth Carolina, met at Jonesboro, now in Tennes- 
see, of which body Col. Sevier was made President. They 
formed a constitution ior a new State, to be called "Frank- 
land," which was to be received or rejected b}^ another 
body of similar powers, "fresh from the people," to meet 
at Greenville in November 1785. This anomolous state 
of things, as might be expected, caused Governor Caswell, 
who was both a soldier and a statesman, to issue his 
proclamation "against this lawless thirst for power." 

The prescribed limits of this sketch forbid a full recital 
of all the angry discussions and violent acts of the oppos- 
ing parties which unfortunately, for about three years, 
seriously disturbed the peace and welfare of Western 
Xorth Carolina. 


In 1789, Colonel Sevier was elected the Senator from 
Greene county to the Legislature of North Carolina. In 
1790, he was elected a member of Congress. He was 
twice elected Governor of Tennessee. In 1811, he was 
elected a Representative to Congress, and in 1813, re- 
elected to the same position. In 1815, he was appointed 
by President Madison a commissioner to adjust difficulties 
with the Creek Indians. Whilst engaged in the perform- 
ance of tins arduous duty, he was taken seriously ill, and 
soon thereafter died near Fort Decatur, Ala., on the 24th 
of September, 1815, aged about eighty-one years. 

Gen. Gaines, then in command of the regular troops- 
near that place, though quite ill at the time, paid the last 
sad tribute of respect to a brave fellow-soldier, and had 
him buried with the honors of Avar. 


General William Lenoir was born in Brunswick county,. 
Virginia, on the 20th of May, 1 751. He was of French 
(Huguenot) descent, and the youngest of a family of ten 
children. When he was about eight years old his father 
removed to a place near Tarboro, ]Sr. C, where he resided 
until his death, a short time afterAvard. He received no 
other education than his own limited means and personal 
exertions enabled him to procure. When about twenty 
years of age he married Ballard, of Halifax, F. C. — 
a lady possessing, in an eminent degree, those domestic 
and heroic virtues which qualified her for sustaining the 
privations and hardships of a frontier life, which it was 
her lot afterward to encounter. 

In March 1775 Gen. Lenoir removed Avith his family to 
AVilkes county (then a part of Surry) and settled near the 
place Avhere Wilkesboro noAv stands. Previous to leaving 
Halifax he signed the paper knoAvn as the "Association," 
containing a declaration of patriotic principles and means 


of redress, relative to the existing troubles with Great 
Britain. Soon after his removal to Siirry he Avas ap- 
23ointed a member of the " Committee of Safety "' for that 
county. He took an early and active part in repelling 
the depredating and murderous incursions of the Cherokee 
Indians upon the frontier settlements. In this kind of 
service he was activel}^ engaged until the celebrated ex- 
pedition, under Gen. Rutherford, completely subdued the 
Indians, and compelled them to sue for peace. From the 
termination of this campaign, in which he acted as a 
Lieutenant under Captain Benjamin Cleaveland, to the 
one projected against Major Ferguson, he was almost con- 
stantly engaged in capturing and suppressing the Tories, 
who, at that time, were assuming great boldness, and 
molesting the persons and property of the Whig in- 

In the expedition to King's Mountain Gen. Lenoir held 
the appointment of Captain in Colonel Cleaveland's regi- 
ment, which united with the other Whig forces at the 
head of the Catawba river. When it was ascertained it 
would be impossible to overtake Ferguson, now evidently 
showing signs of fear, with the footmen, it was decided 
by a council of the officers, that as many as could procure 
horses should do so, and thus, as mounted infantrj', ad- 
vance rapidly upon the retreating enemy. Accordingh-, 
Gen. Lenoir and his company offered their services, joined 
the select Spartan brnd of nine hundred and ten brave 
spirits, and pressed forward without delay to the scene of 

In the brilliant aehivement on King's Mountain, Gen. 
Lenoir was wounded in the arm and in the side, but not 
severely, and a third ball passed through his hair, just 
above where it was tied. He was also at the defeat of 
Col. Pyles, on Haw River, where his horse vras shot and 
his sword broken. At a later period he raised a company 
iind marched towards Dan river with the hope of joining 


General Greene, but was unable to effect a junction in 
time. He performed many otber minor but important 
services, which it is here unnecessary to enumerate. 

General Lenoir served as Major General of the militia 
about eighteen years. In a civil capacity he also dis- 
charged many high and responsible duties. 

He filled, at different times, the offices of Register, Sur- 
veyor, Commissioner of Affidavits, Chairman of the County 
Court, and Clerk of the Superior Court for Wilkes county. 
He was one of the original Trustees of the State Univer- 
sity, and the first President of the Board. He was also a 
member of both the State Conventions which met for the 
purpose of considering the Constitution of the United 
States. He served for many years in both branches of the 
State Legislature. During the last seven years of his 
services in the Senate, he was unanimously chosen Speaker 
of that body, and performed the duties of that important 
station with great satisfaction, firmness and impartiality. 

In private life General Lenoir was no less distinguished 
for his moral worth and generous hospitality than in 
public life for his unbending integrity and enlarged 
patriotism. His mansion was open at all times, not only 
to a large circle of friends and relatives, but to the stranger 
and the traveller. To the poor he was kind and charita- 
ble, and in his w^ill made liberal provision for those of his 
own neighborhood. 

During his last illness he suffered much pain which he 
bore with Christian resignation. He often said " he did 
not fear to die — death had no terrors for him. He died, 
with calm composure, at his residence at Fort Defiance, 
on the 6th of May, 1839, aged eightj^-eight years. 

His remains were interred in the family burying ground 
which occupies the spot where Fort Defiance Avas erected 
during the Revolutionary war. 




The readers of American history, and more particular!}^ 
those of the Southern States, will doubtless be gratified to 
know something of the end — the closing career, and "shuf- 
fling oif of this mortal coil" of Lord Cornwallis and Col- 
onel Tarletou, the two British officers, who remained the 
longest time among them ; sometimes conquering all be- 
fore them, and again retrograding, until their capture and 
surrender at Yorktown, in Virginia, on the 19th of Octo- 
ber, 1781. 

Charles Cornwallis, son of the first Earl of Cornwallis, 
was born in Suflfolk on the 31st of December, 1738. He 
was educated at Westminster and St. John's College, Cam- 
bridge. He entered the army in 1759, and succeeded to 
the title and estates of his father in 1761. He was the 
most competent and energetic of all the British generals 
sent to America during the Eevolution, but the cruelties 
exercised by his orders on a few occasions, have left an 
indelible stain upon his character. It was in pursuance 
of one of his orders, issued soon after the battle of Cam- 
den, that the unfortunate Colonel Isaac Hayne was exe- 
cuted by that tyrannical British officer, Lord Eawdon. 
Notwithstanding this cruel tragedy, which might have 
resulted otherwise had he been present, Cornwallis pos- 
sessed some fine traits of character, had an amiable dispo- 
sition, was greatly beloved by his men, and was bitterly 


opposed to house-burning when the fortunes of war were 
in his favor. In 1770, he and three other youno- peers, 
joined Lord Camden in protesting against the taxation of 
the American colonies. Mansfield, the Chief Justice, is 
said to have sneeringlj- remarked : "Poor Camden could 
only get four boys to join him." Although opposed tc» 
the course of the British Ministry, yet, when hostilities 
commenced; he did not refuse to accept active employ- 
ment against America. Soon after the war he was ap- 
pointed Governor-General of the East Indies, which posi- 
tion he held for six years. During that time, he con- 
quered the renowned Tippoo Sultan, for which service he 
was created a marquis and master of the ordnance. lie 
was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1798 to 1801, and 
was instrumental in restoring peace to that country, then 
distracted by rebellion. He signed the treaty of Ami^"^ 
in 1S02, and in 1804 was again appointed Governor Gen- 
eral of India. On his arrival at Calcutta, his health failed 
and he died at Ghazepore on the 5th of October, 1805, 
.aged sixty-seven 3'ears. 


Colonel Banastre Tarleton was born in Liverpool, Eng- 
land, on the 21st of August, 1754. He commenced the 
study of the law, but when the w^ar in America broke out 
he entered the British army and came to this country 
with Lord Cornwallis. He served wdth that oflicer in all 
his campaigns in the South, and by his daring intrepedity, 
and indomitable energy, greatly contributed to the suc- 
cess of the British arms at Camden. He possessed a san- 
guinary disposition, as was exhibited in the cruel massacre 
of Col. Buford's regiment at the Waxhaws. In tracing 
his history in America, we look in vain for any redeem- 
ing traits ill his character. The ardor of his temper and 
military ambition received a severe check at the battle of 


the "CowiDens" on the 17th of January, 1781. The capitu- 
lation of the British army at Yorktown, closed his mili- 
tary services in America. On his return to England, he 
received, as might be expected, numerous honors. 

In 1798, he married the daughter of the Duke of An- 
caster. He died on the 25th of January, 1833, in the 
seventy-ninth year of his age, icithoat issue, and (dthoiUauy 
lingering affection of the American people. - 


" We, the rightful lords of yore. 
Are the rightful lords no more; 
Like the silver mist, we fail, 
Like the red leaves in the gale — 
Fail, like shadows, when the dawning 
Waves the bright tinsc of the mornins;. 

In every history of the United States the different 
tribes of Indians — the native "sons of the forest'"' and 
" rightful lords of the soil," from Main to Florida and 
from the Atlantic ocean to the great Mississippi valley — 
justly claim conspicuous notice, whether considered a& 
prowling enemies or warm-hearted friends. 

As the Tuscaroras of eastern and middle Carolina were- 
one of the most powerful of the Indian tribes, exercising; 
a dominant sway over much of its undulating and semi- 
tropical territory earl}' in the last centur}', so the Chero- 
kees were the most ]30werful tribe of western Carolina^ 
and the adjoining region, preceding and during our Rev- 
olutionary war, freqently requiring the strong arm of mil-, 
itary force to chastise them and teach them, by dear ex- 
perience, the superiority and growing destiny of their 
"■ pale faced'"' neighbors. 

The native land of the Cherokees was the most inviting 
and beautiful section of the United States, lying upon the 
sources of the Catawba and Yadkin rivers — upon Keowee, 


Tugaloo, Etowah, Coosa and Flint, on the east and souths 
and several of the tributaries 6f the Tennessee, on the west 
and north. If to this list be added the names of Hiwas- 
see, Enoree, Tallulah, Swannanoa and Watauga, all streams 
originating and flowing through this mountainous coun- 
try in rapid, frolicksome mood, we have an assemblage of 
musical sounds, (omitting the hard-sounding Flint,) only 
equaled in beauty and soft cadence upon the ear, by the 
grand and picturesque sceuery with which they are sur- 

According to Adair, one of the earliest settlers of South 
Carolina, and who wrote of the four principal tribes,. 
(Cherokees, Shawnees, Chickasaws and Choctaws,) in 
1775, "the Cherokees derive their name from CAeero, or 
fire, which is their reputed lower heaven, and hence they 
call their magi, Cheera-tah-gee, men possessed of the divine 

Within twenty miles of old Fort Loudon, built on the- 
Tennessee in 1756, says the same authority, "there is a. 
great plenty of whetstones for razors, of red, white and 
black colors. The silver mines are so rich that by dig- 
ging about ten yards (thirty feet) deep, some desperate 
vagrants found at sundry times, so much rich ore as to 
enable them to counterfeit dollars to a great amount, a 
horse load of which was detected in passing for the pur- 
chase of negroes at Augusta." "A tradition, says Dr> 
Ramsey, (Annals of Tennessee,) still continues of the ex- 
istence of the silver mine mentioned by Adair. -^ * * 
After the whites had settled near, and began to encroach 
upon the "Over-IIill Towns," their inhabitants withheld 
all knowledge of the mines from the traders, fearing their 
cupidity for the precious metals might lead to their ap- 
propriation by others, and the ultimate expulsion of the 
natives from the country." The history of the Cherokees 
is closely identified with that of the early settlements of 
the frontiers of the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Tei^- 


nessee, and all siifiered from their vigorous and frequent 
hostile and murderous incjirsions. They were formidable 
for their numbers, and passionate fondness for war. They 
were the mountaineers of Aboriginal America, and like all 
other inhabitants of an Alpine region, cherished a deep 
affection for their country, and defended it with a lasting 
devotion and persevering tenacity. Little of their early 
history can be gathered fr©m their traditions, extending 
back scarcely a century preceding the Revolution. Oko- 
na-sio-ta, one of their distinguished chiefs, visited England 
during the reign of George the Second. From his time 
they date the declension of their nation. His place of 
residence was at Echota, one of the Over-Hill Towns. Of 
the tumuli, or mounds scattered through the country, and 
other ancient remains, they know nothing, and considered 
them, when they took possession of the country, as ves- 
tiges of a more numerous population than themselves, and 
farther advanced in the arts of civilization. The several 
Indian tribes in America have been compared to the frag- 
ments of a vast ruin. And though these vestiges of a re- 
mote period in the past may not awaken the same grand 
associations in the mind of the beholder as the majestic 
ruins of Greece and Rome, yet they cannot fail to excite 
feelings of veneration for the memory of a numerous peo- 
ple, whose lingering signs of greatness are widely visible 
from the western borders of ]S"orth Carolina to the Gulf of 
Mexico, and throughout the Mississippi valle3\ 

As early as the year 1806, two Deputations attended 
Washington City from the Cherokee nation ; one from the 
lower towns, to make known to the President their desire 
to remove west of the Mississippi, and pursue the hunter's 
life ; the other Deputation, representing in part the Chero- 
kees belonging to the above settlement, to make known 
their desire to remain in the lands of their fathers, and 
become cultivators of the soil. The President answered 
their petitions as follows : " The United States, my chil- 


dreu, are the friends of both parties. As far as can be 
reasonably asked, they are willing to satisfy the wishes of 
both. Those who remain may be assured of our patron- 
age, our aid, and good neighborhood." 

The treaties formed between the United States and the 
Cherokee Nation, in the years 1817 and 1819, made pro- 
vision for those desiring to remain, agreeably to the prom- 
ise of the President ; and they thus became citizens of the 
United States, each family being allowed a reservation of 
six hundred and forty acres of land. The whites claimed 
the same lands under a purchase made of the State. Suits, 
were instituted in favor of the Indians, and by our Courta 
were decided in their favor. Afterward they sold their 
reservations to the Commissioners of the State, and pur- 
chased lands in the white settlement, and in the neighbor- 
hood of the hunting grounds reserved for them by treaties 
concluded with the Cherokee nation between the years 
1790 and 1799 ; which privilege as a part of their nation 
they now enjoy. 

The Cherokees now owh in Haywood county, a tract of 
seventy-two thousand acres of land, well adapted in the 
vallies for farming, and on the mountains for wild game 
and sports of the chase. Qualla Town., their metropolis, 
is chiefly inhabited by the former sovereigns of the coun- 
try, among whom are a few Catawbas. The Qualla Town 
people are divided into seven clans or divisions, over each 
of which a chief presides. 

About the year 1830 the prtncipal chief of this settle- 
ment, by the name of " Drowning Bear " (or You-na- 
guskee) becoming convinced that intemperance would de- 
stroy himself and his people, determined, if possible, to 
bring about a work of reform. He accordingly directed 
his clerk to write in the Indian language an agreement 
which translated reads as follows: "The undersigned 
Cherokees, belonging to the town of Qualla, agree to 
abandon the use of spirituous liquors." This instrument 


■of writing was immediately signed by the old and vener- 
able chief, and the whole town. This wise proceeding 
has worked a wonderfnl change for the better in their 
condition. They are now a temperate, orderly, indus- 
trious and peaceable people. 

One of the most wonderful achievments of our age is the 
invention of the Cherokee alphabet. The invention was 
made in 1821 by Guess, (Se-qua-yah) a half breed Indian, his 
father being a white man and his mother a Cherokee. lie 
was at the time not only perfectly unacquainted with letters 
but entirely so with every other language except his own. 
The first idea of the practicability of such a project was 
received by looking at an old piece of printed paper and 
reflecting upon the very singular manner (to him) by 
which the white people could place their thoughts on 
paper and communicate them to others at a distance. A 
thought struck him that there surely must be some mode 
by which the Indians could do the same. He first in- 
vented a distinct character for each word, but soon found 
the number so great that it was impossible to retain them 
in the memory. After several months' labor he reduced 
his originol plan so as to give to each character a syllabic 
sound, and ascertained there were but eighty- six varia- 
tions of sounds in the whole language ; and wlien each of 
these was represented by some particular character or 
letter, the language was at once reduced to a sj'stem, and 
the extraordinary mode of now writing it crowned his 
labors with the most happy success. Considerable im- 
provement has been made in the formation of the char- 
acters, in order that they might be written with greater 
facility. One of the characters, being found superfluous, 
has been discarded, reducing the number to eighty-five. 

Guess emigrated to the West in 1824. It has been 
much regretted that he did not remain in Xorth Carolina 
to witness the advantages and blessings of his discovery. 


The Bible, newspapers and other literature are now pub- 
lished in the musical Cherokee language. 

The Catawba Indians, contiguous to our southern 
borders, and once so numerous and powerful, have dwin- 
dled down to a diminutive remnant — mostly half breeds. 
They inhabited in their palmiest days much of the terri- 
toiy south of the Tuscaroras, and adjoining the Cherokees. 
For their general adherence to the patriots in the Revo- 
lution they have always received* the fostering care of the 
State, They own a tract of land ten miles square in the 
south-east corner of York county, South Carolina. They 
speak a different language from the Cherokees, but pos- 
sessing a similarity ©f musical sounds. They gave origin 
to the name of the noble river along whose banks, in its 
southern meanderings and its larger tributaries their 
lingering signs of former habitation are frequently visible, 
informing us here they once flourished in their simple 
avocations and enjoyments of the forest, and now excite 
our commiseration in their gradual decay and probable 
future extinction. 


In conclusion, the author would remark that other his- 
toric materials are on hand, in a partial state of prepara- 
tion, which may hereafter be published. The history of 
"liberty's story" in the "Old I^orth State," with all its 
grand array of early patriotic developments, has never 
been fully presented to the world. The field of research 
is still far from being exhausted, and it is hoped others — 
descendants, it may be, of our illustrious forefathers, will 
prosecute the same line of investigation as herein at- 

For the present, this series of sketches, with their un- 
avoidable omissions and imperfections, craving indulgent 
criticism, will come to an end. 


Page 29, fourth line of third paragraph, for " Mayor " read " Major." 
" 69, bottom line, for " $4, 000 " read " £4, 000. " 
" 329, eighteenth line from top, for "Cherokee" read "Charlotte."