Part 5 out of 6
self-authorized officer drew a paper from his pocket, and after
looking at it for a moment said, "these houses must be burned." They
were accordingly 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 Everything in the house
was consumed. The reason assigned by the soldiery for this incendiary
act was she then had "eight sons in the rebel army."
Mary, the eldest daughter of John Brevard, married Gen. Davidson who
was killed at Cowan's Ford on the Catawba river.
Nancy married John Davidson. They 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 forces.
Rebecca married a Jones and moved to Tennessee.
Ephraim Brevard, the eldest son, married a daughter of Col. Thomas
Polk. After a course of preparatory studies he went to Princeton
College. Having graduated, he pursued 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
commanding influence over the youthful patriots of that day. In the
language of Dr. Foote, "he thought clearly; felt deeply; wrote 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 occasions, unflinching
bravery and a warm devotion to the cause of American freedom.
_Hugh Brevard_, with several brothers, was at the battle of Ramsour's
Mill. Early in the war he 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 was elected a member of the Legislature in 1780
and 1781, was held in high esteem by his fellow citizens, and died
about the close of the war.
_Adam Brevard_ first served one year in the Northern Army under
General Washington. He then came South, and was present at the battle
of Ramsour's Mill. He there had 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 with
business, and found a greater delight in the law-telling _strokes_ of
a Blackstone than in the hard-ringing strokes of a blacksmith's
hammer. 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
_Alexander Brevard_ first joined the army as a cadet. He then received
the commission of Lieutenant, and soon afterward that of Captain in
the Continental Army. He was engaged in the battles of White Plains,
Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Monmouth, and Germanton, and remained
in the Northern Army under General Washington until some time in the
year 1779, when, his health failing, he was sent into the country.
After a short absence 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
commander in all his battles; so that, with little interruption, he
was in active service _from the beginning to the end of the war_. He
thought his hardest fighting was at the Eutaw Springs. He was there in
command of his company, and in the hottest part of the fight, losing
eighteen of his brave men. At one time he and his company were in a
very critical situation. A division of the British army came very
unexpectedly upon their rear while they were closely engaged in front;
but, just at that moment, Col. Washington, perceiving their imminent
danger, 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 renewing 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 prisoner, but succeeded
with his brave men in preventing 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. Brevard was engaged, fought on the 8th of
September, 1781, and near the close of the war. On all occasions he
maintained 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 suggested 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 Vesuvius Furnace on the public road from Beattie's Ford to
Lincolnton--at present known as Smith's Furnace. After operating for a
time altogether, Forney withdrew. Davidson and Brevard then left
Graham in the management of Vesuvius Furnace, and built Mount 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 obligations to his
country rather by obeying than by making her laws. His manners were
frank and candid, and the more intimately he was 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 adviser and
beneficent assistant. Long will he be remembered as a pure man, a
faithful friend, and an upright citizen, conscientious in the
discharge of all his obligations and in the performance of all his
duties. He 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 represented, at different times, the county
of Lincoln in the State Legislature.
_Joseph Brevard_, the youngest son of John Brevard, Sen., at the
youthful age of seventeen, held the commission of Lieutenant in the
Continental army. His brother Alexander said he was at that time quite
small and delicate, 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 Lieutenant 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 a lawyer and a citizen. After
filling several offices of public trust, he was elected one of the
Judges, which position he occupied with distinguished honor.
After a few years he resigned his Judgeship, 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 remember his numerous virtues.
Such is a brief and imperfect sketch of that family whose name is
prefixed. Many events, of thrilling interest, connected with their
revolutionary services, have, no doubt, sunk into oblivion; but enough
has been presented to stimulate the rising generation to imitate their
heroic example and admire their unfaltering devotion to the cause of
COLONEL JAMES JOHNSTON.
Col. James Johnston, one of the earliest patriots of "Tryon,"
afterward Lincoln county, 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 1688, and the
ruinous 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 during this period were
some of the extensive clan of Johnstons (frequently spelled
_Johnstone_); also, the Alexanders, Ewarts, Bells, Knoxes, Barnetts,
Pattons, Wilsons, Spratts, Martins, with a strong sprinkling of the
Davidsons, Caldwells, Grahams, Hunters, Polks, and many others whose
descendants performed a magnanimous part in achieving our
independence, and stand high on the "roll of fame" and exalted worth.
The name Johnston in Scotland embraces many distinguished personages
in every department of literature. From one of the families who came
directly to America in 1722 ("Lord William Johnston") have descended
in different 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 to honor.
The Johnstons in their native "land o'cakes and brither Scots," had
the reputation of being "heady," strong-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
struggle, but in accordance with the most honorable and patriotic
When Henry Johnston and his youthful wife settled on the western banks
of the Catawba river, the country was then covered with its native
forests, and over its wide expanse of territory, as yet but little
disturbed by the implements of husbandry, the Indians and wild beasts
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, indicating the great fertility of the soil, and the
sure road, under proper industrial efforts, to agricultural
In the absence of family records we are left to infer Col. Johnston
grew up to manhood, receiving as good an education as his own limited
means and the 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 heartily 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 Revolutionary period
"Whose deeds were cast in manly mold,
For hardy sports or contest bold."
Tradition speaks of the wife of Henry Johnston as dying comparatively
young, leaving two children--James, the immediate subject of this
sketch, and Mary--who married Moses Scott, settled near Goshen Church,
in the present county of Gaston, and there ended her days. Moses Scott
had three children--James J., William and Abram Scott. Of these sons,
James Johnston Scott married in 1803, Mary, a daughter of Captain
Robert Alexander, a soldier of the Revolution, and of extensive
usefulness. He (James) died in 1809, in the twenty seventh year of his
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 northwestern section of South Carolina. This
expedition is known in history as the "Snow Campaign," from the
unusually heavy snow, of that winter, and, in conjunction with the
troops of that State, drove the Tory commanders, Cunningham 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 may be curious to know the
origin of the name "Ninety Six" applied to this post, now constituting
the village of Cambridge, in Abbeville county. It was so called
because it was ninety-six miles from the frontier fort, Prince George,
on Keowee river, in the present county of Pickens. No portion of South
Carolina suffered more during the Revolution than the district around
Ninety-Six. The Tories were numerous, bold and vindictive, and for
that reason the gallant Whigs of that region frequently called upon
their compatriots-in-arms in North Carolina, more particularly in
Mecklenburg, Lincoln and Burke counties, for assistance in defending
their homes and their property.
In this same year (1776) Gen. Rutherford 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
occasionally murdering the inhabitants on the frontier settlements. At
that time the "Blue Ridge" constituted the bounds of organized
civilization. The expedition, commanded by Gen. Rutherford, was
completely successful, the Indians were routed, their towns destroyed,
and a considerable number killed and made prisoners. Nothing short 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 Tory 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 his bravery, is
here worthy of narration. On Pacolet river, near the place where the
late Dr. Bivings erected a factory, Col. Johnston, in a skirmish, had
a personal rencontre with Patrick Moore, a Tory officer, whom he
finally overpowered and captured. In the contest he received several
sword cuts on his head, and on the thumb of the right hand. As he was
bearing his prisoner to the Whig lines, a short distance off, he was
rapidly approached by several British troopers. He then immediately
attempted to discharge his loaded musket against his assailants, but
unfortunately it _missed 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 pursuers and soon afterwards joined
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 Lincolnton. He immediately issued orders to Col. Francis Locke, of
Rowan; to Major David Wilson, of Mecklenburg, 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 Tuckasege Ford,
on the Catawba. He had previously 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 wet, Gen. Rutherford did not cross the river until evening
and encamped three miles beyond on Col. Dickson's plantation. Whilst
there, waiting for Col. Locke's arrival, in obedience to the express,
he received a notice from that officer, then encamped at Mountain
Creek, informing him of his intention of attacking the Tories on the
next morning at sunrise, and requested his co-operation. This notice
was delivered to Gen. Rutherford by Col. Johnston at 11 o'clock of the
night of the 19th of June, being selected for that duty by Col. Locke
on account of his personal knowledge of the intervening country 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 departure 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 cavalry. 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 conduct, greatly
cheered the Whigs throughout the entire South, animated them with
fresh hopes, and nerved them on to future deeds of "noble daring."
Gen. 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
command, and participated in the closing duties of this victorious
engagement in the cause of American freedom.
At the battle of King's Mountain Col. Johnston commanded the reserves,
about ninety in number, which were soon called into service after the
battle commenced. The decisive and brilliant victory of that memorable
day has been so frequently adverted to in history that it is deemed
here unnecessary to enter into particulars. Suffice it to say, it
completely broke down the Tory influence 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 his bravest officers,
marched from that rebellious town in the night and hastily retreated
to safer quarters in Winnsboro, S.C.
During the progress of the war Col. Johnston was frequently engaged in
other minor expeditions, requiring promptitude of action and
unflinching bravery, in assisting to disperse bodies of Tories
wherever they might assemble, and arrest obnoxious individuals when
the peace and welfare of society demanded such service.
At the Provincial Congress which met at Halifax on the 4th of April,
1776, Colonel James Johnston and Colonel Charles McLean were the
delegates from Tryon county. Colonel McLean was an early and devoted
friend of liberty. He resided on the headwaters of Crowder's creek, in
the present county of Gaston, and commanded 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
held 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 following 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 independence
and forming foreign alliances, reserving to this colony the
sole and exclusive right of forming a constitution and laws
for this colony."
This early action of the Provincial Congress of North Carolina is the
first public declaration, by proper legislative 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
celebration_. 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 county 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 the 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 matrimony."
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 welfare of his country demanded such service."
Several years previous to the Revolution Colonel Johnston married Jane
Ewart, eldest daughter of Robert Ewart, a most worthy lady of
Scotch-Irish descent. In 1775 Robert Ewart was appointed with Griffith
Rutherford, John Brevard, Hezekiah Alexander, Benjamin Patton, and
others, one of the Committee of Safety for the "Salisbury District,"
which included Rowan, Mecklenburg and other western counties. The
marriage connections 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 in the company commanded by Colonel James
Johnston, and performed a conspicuous part in achieving the glorious
victory on that occasion.
Previous to the war Colonel Johnston purchased valuable 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 procure. For many years preceding his death he was a
consistent member and Ruling Elder of the Presbyterian church at
Unity, in Lincoln county. His large experience, general intelligence,
disinterested benevolence, unsullied integrity and great decision of
character, all combined to make him 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, with other members of the family, are buried in a
private cemetery on the "Oak Grove" farm.
GENEALOGY OF COL. JAMES JOHNSTON.
Col. James Johnston (sketch of his life and services previously given)
married Jane Ewart, an estimable lady, daughter of Robert Ewart, 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 Senator 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
industrious farmer, and upright member of society; for many years an
elder of the Presbyterian church at Unity, and died with peaceful
resignation on the 23rd 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, now owned
by their grandson, John R. Johnston, Esq. His descendants were, 2d
1. Sarah Johnston married Dr. Benjamin Johnson, of Virginia.
2. James A. Johnston married Jane Byers, of Iredell county.
3. Dr. Sidney X. Johnston married Harriet K. Connor, of Lincoln
4. Jane Johnston married first, 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 Lincoln county.
7. Dr. Thos. Johnston married Dorcas Luckey, of Mecklenburg county.
8. Harriet Johnston married William T. Shipp, of Gaston county.
9. Mary Johnston married Dr. William Davidson, of Mecklenburg county.
10. Martha Johnston married Col. J.B. Rankin, of McDowell county.
11. Col. William Johnston, present Mayor (1876) 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 Henderson, Esq., youngest
son of James Henderson, who moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina
at the first settlement of the country. He 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
the battle of New Orleans. The patriarchal ancestor, James Henderson,
became the owner of a large body of land on the south fork of the
Catawba river, in the present county of Gaston, embracing a valuable
water-power, at which he 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 others.
In 1818, Logan Henderson joined the tide of emigration to Tennessee,
and purchased much valuable land near Murfreesboro, in Rutherford
county. In and near his last place of settlement, where most of his
worthy descendants still reside. He died, after a brief illness, with
calm composure, on the 8th of December, 1846, in the sixty-second year
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
Their descendants were, second generation:
1. James F. Henderson married Amanda M. Vorhees, of Tennessee.
2. Violet C. Henderson married William F. Lytle, of Tennessee.
3. Jane E. Henderson married William S. Moore, of Tennessee.
The remaining children of Col. James Johnston were:
4. James Johnston, Jr., a promising young man, died near the age of
maturity, in 1816, without issue.
5. Henry Johnston died in 1818 without issue.
6. Martha Johnston married Dr. James M. Burton.
Soon after marriage they moved to Georgia, where they both died
7. Jane Johnston married Rev. John Williamson, pastor of Hopewell
church, in Mecklenburg county, and died in 1817 without issue.
8. 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 13th of
April, 1846, aged seventy-two years. His wife, Catharine, a lady of
great amiability and worth, died on the 17th of December, 1858, aged
Their descendants were, second generation:
1. Jane C. Hayes married Dr. Sidney J. Harris, of Cabarrus 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 W. 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 Mecklenburg county.
7. Dr. William 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
2. Jane C. Johnston died at school in Greensboro, Guilford county.
3. Martha S. Johnston married Richard R. Hunley, Esq., of Alabama.
4. Capt. James F. Johnston, citizen of Charlotte.
5. Susan L. Johnston, citizen of Charlotte.
6. William P. Johnston, (died young).
7. Margaret Johnston married Col. Peter F. Hunley, of Alabama.
8. Gen. Robert D. Johnson married Johncie Evans, of Greensboro, N.C.
9. Dr. William H. Johnston married Cathleen Gage, of Chester county,
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 performed 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 services. This will be the noble task of some future
historian, illustrating, as it would, much heroic bravery, chivalric
daring, and perseverance under difficulties seldom surpassed 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 earliest 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.
JACOB FORNEY, SR.
(Condensed from Wheeler's "Historical Sketches.")
Among the early settlers of Lincoln county (formerly Tryon) was Jacob
Forney, 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-expatriation to the
renunciation of his religious belief, and settled in Alsace, on the
Rhine where, under the enlightening influences of the reformation,
freedom of opinion in matters of conscience was tolerated. The family
name was originally spelt _Farney_, but afterwards, in Alsace, where
the German language is generally spoken, was changed to _Forney_. Here
his father died, leaving him an orphan when four years old. At the age
of fourteen he left Alsace and went to Amsterdam in Holland. Becoming
delighted whilst there with the glowing accounts which crossed the
Atlantic respecting the New World, and allured with the prospect of
improving his condition and enjoying still greater political and
religious privileges, he came to America by the first vessel having
that destination, and settled in Pennsylvania. Here he remained
industriously employed until his maturity, when he returned to Germany
to procure a small legacy. Having adjusted his affairs there he again
embarked for America on board of a vessel bringing over many emigrants
from the Canton of Berne in Switzerland. Among the number was a
blithesome, rosy-cheeked damsel, buoyant with the chains of youth, who
particularly attracted young Forney's attention. His acquaintance was
soon made, and, as might be expected, a mutual attachment was silently
but surely formed between two youthful hearts so congenial in feeling,
and similarly filled with the spirit of adventure. Prosperous gales
quickly 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 lands and healthful climate of the South were
attracting a numerous emigration from the middle colonies. Influenced
by such inviting considerations, Forney joined the great tide of
emigration a few years after his marriage, and settled in Lincoln
county (formerly Tryon) about the year 1754.
The first settlers of Lincoln county suffered greatly by the
depredations and occasional murders by the Cherokee Indians. On
several occasions many of the inhabitants temporarily abandoned their
homes, and removed to the more populous settlements east of the
Catawba river. Others, finding it inconvenient to remove, constructed
rude forts for their mutual defence. A repetition of these incursions
having occurred a few years after Forney's arrival, he removed his
family to a place of safety east of the river until the Indians could
be severely chastised by military force. On the next day he returned
to his former residence, accompanied by two of his neighbors, to
search for his cattle. After proceeding about a mile from home they
spied a small Indian just ahead of them running rapidly, and not far
from the spot now well known as the "Rocky Spring Camp Ground." Forney
truly suspected more Indians were in the immediate vicinity. After
progressing but a short distance, he and his party discovered, in an
open space beyond them, ten or twelve Indians, a part of whom, at
least, were armed with guns, apparently waiting their approach. Forney
being a good marksman, and having a courage equal to any emergency,
was in favor of giving them battle immediately, but his two companions
overruled him, contending it would be impossible to disperse such a
large number. It was therefore deemed advisable to retreat, and make
their way to the fort, about two miles in their rear, where several
families had assembled. After proceeding a short distance the Indians
approached somewhat nearer and fired upon the party but without
effect. Forney directed his companies to reserve their fire until the
Indians approached sufficiently near to take a sure and deadly aim,
and maintain an orderly retreat in the direction of the fort. Soon
after they commenced retreating the Indians again fired upon them and
unfortunately one of the party, Richards, was dangerously wounded. At
this critical moment, when one or two well directed fires might have
repulsed their enemy, the courage of F----, the other companion,
failed him, and he made his _rapid departure_. Forney, however,
continued his retreat, assisting his wounded companion as much as he
could, and, although fired upon several times, managed to keep the
Indians at some distance off by presenting, 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 Richards, 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 satisfied with the murder of the wounded Richards.
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 greatly frightened,
having heard the repeated firing. After this adventure and narrow
escape became generally known, a belief was widely entertained by the
surrounding community that Forney was _bullet-proof_. It was even
affirmed, and received _additions by repeating_, that after he reached
the fort and unbuttoned his vest, a _handful of bullets dropped out_.
In subsequent years Forney was accustomed to smile at this innocent
credulity of his neighbors but frequently remarked that the impression
of his being _bullet-proof_ was of great service to him on more than
one occasion preceding and during the Revolutionary war.
Few persons during the war suffered heavier losses than Jacob Forney.
By persevering industry and strict economy 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 winter of 1781, endeavoring to overtake Morgan with his large
number of prisoners captured at the Cowpens, he was arrested in his
progress by the swollen waters of the Catawba river. Being thus foiled
in his expectations, supposing he had Morgan _almost in his grasp_,
Cornwallis fell back about five miles from the river to Forney's
plantation, having been conducted there by a Tory well 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, and many thousands of
rails and other property destroyed. But the extent of his losses did
not end here. Cornwallis 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, aided by the Tory conductor's
suggestions, they finally succeeded in finding his gold, silver and
jewelry buried in his distillery, 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 proper, soothing effect, and caused him to
desist from his impetuous 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 headquarters for _three
days_ and _four nights_ is still in existence, though removed, many
years since, from its original site to a more level location in the
immediate vicinity. In this humble building he, no doubt, cogitated
upon the 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 whole army, in less than
nine months from that time, would have to surrender to the "rebel
army," under Washington, as prisoners of war!
It is said Cornwallis, after finishing his morning repast upon the
savory beef and fowls of the old patriot's property, 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 "bachelor's
hall," but was then absent, with his brother Abram, battling for their
country's freedom. About midway of the extended lines, and only a few
steps from the road on which the British army was encamped, several
granite rocks protrude from the ground. One is about four feet high,
with a rounded, weather-worn top--a convenient place to receive his
lordship'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 officers 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 captured 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 "Cornwallis'
Table." On visiting this durable remembrance 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 away were a few chips from its outer edge, without
seriously mutilating its weather-beaten surface, now handsomely
overspread with _moss_ and _lichen_. 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 murmurs of the passing breeze in the
After Cornwallis left, Forney ascertained that the Tory informer was
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 immediately 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
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 history all that is grand in heroic suffering and chivalric
daring. His wife survived 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 Macpelah Church.
GEN. PETER FORNEY.
Gen. Peter Forney, second son of Jacob Forney, Sr., was born in Tyron
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 have
been cast with the promotion of civil and religious liberty.
Gen. Forney was one of the earliest and most unwavering 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
present town of Rutherfordton, 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 detachment returned to the fort.
In 1777, Gen. Forney volunteered as a Lieut. in Capt James Reid's
company, for the purpose of quelling a considerable body of Tories
assemble not far from the South Carolina line. The detachment was
commanded by Col. Charles M'Lean, who marched into South Carolina and
pursued after the Tories until it was ascertained Gen. Pickens,
considerably in advance with his forces, had commenced the pursuit of
the same, and was too far ahead to be overtaken. The detachment then
returned to North Carolina, and, having taken several prisoners on the
way, suspected of being inimical to the American cause, Capt. Reid was
ordered to convey them to Salisbury. Gen. Forney still remained in
service, and attached himself to Capt. Kuykendal's company until some
time in June. After this time he was frequently out in short
expeditions for the purpose of intimidating 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
volunteered with a party to go to Kentucky (Harrod 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 Charleston, he
volunteered as a Lieut. in Capt. Neals' company, which 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. Neal being superseded in his command on account of
intemperance. From Charlotte the assembled forces march by way of
Camden to Charleston, under the command of Cols. 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 after his
arrival at Charleston, and the British being in considerable force off
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, immediately 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 Lincolnton. On the next day he left home and went
up the Catawba river, when, encountering a considerable body of Tories
near Mountain Creek, he returned and immediately hastened to inform
Gen. Rutherford. He found him encamped at Col. Dickson's, three miles
northwest of Tuckaseege Ford, with a strong force. He then attached
himself to his army, and marched early next morning to 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. The 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 Houston and McKissick wounded. Of the Tories, Captains
Murray, Cumberland and Warlick were killed, and Capt. Carpenter
During the latter part of the year 1780 Gen. Forney was almost
constantly in service in different portions of county. When 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 encamped 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 themselves on the eastern bank of the
river, endeavoring 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 Abbot's creek about six weeks, during which time he
had no regular command, and co-operated with other soldiers, whenever
it appeared any advantage could be rendered to the American cause.
In the spring of 1871, Gen. Forney commenced repairing his plantation
which the British had entirely destroyed, together with that of his
father's in the immediate vicinity, whilst encamped there. He remained
at home 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 Captains White 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. Rutherford 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, deeming 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 Nancy, daughter of 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
Anderson's creek, now owned by the heirs of the late J.M. Smith, Esq.
After a few years the copartnership was dissolved, separate sites were
purchased by Forney and Brevard, on Leeper's creek, additional
furnaces were erected and thus the manufacture of cast metal, under
its various forms, was vigorously and successfully 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 small account
book, produced hammered iron in his forge on the 28th of August, 1788.
This is believed to be the _first_ manufacture of iron in the western
part of the State. Here Gen. Forney permanently settled for life, and
prospered in his useful calling. His residence received the name of
"Mount Welcome," an 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 1801 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 Jefferson, Madison, Monroe
and Jackson. With these repeated evidences of popular favor his public
services ended. Frequent solicitations were tendered to him
afterwards, all of which he declined. The infirmities of old age were
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, without visible pain or suffering, 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
prominent traits in his character. Let his name and his deeds and his
sterling virtues be duly appreciated and faithfully imitated by the
MAJOR ABRAM FORNEY.
Major Abram Forney, youngest son of Jacob Forney, Sr., was born in
Tryon 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 who were driven into exile rather than renounce
their religious belief under the persecutions which disgraced the
reign of Louis XIV, of France. Major Forney first entered the service
about the 25th 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 Cherokee Indians. The militia of Mecklenburg, Rowan,
Lincoln and 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 Forney marched into the Nation
with a detachment under Col. William Sharpe as far as the Hiwassee
river, where they met with a portion of Gen. Williamson's army from
South Carolina. The expedition was completely successful; the Indians
were 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 13th of October, 1776.
In February, 1777, Major Forney again volunteered as 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 detachment was commanded by Col. Charles McLean. The Tories were
commanded by a certain John Moore, whom Col. McLean pursued into South
Carolina until he ascertained Gen. Pickens was engaged in the same
pursuit, and too far ahead to be overtaken. The detachment then
returned to North Carolina, and having taken several prisoners on the
way, suspected of being inimical to the American cause, Major Forney
was ordered to take them to Salisbury. After this service he was
dismissed and returned home in April, 1777.
At different times subsequently Major Forney volunteered 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. William 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, the 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 was deemed
advisable 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
having 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 point_ 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 having 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 to keep it as a trophy, but
some subordinate officer getting hold of it, made off with it, and
thus deprived 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 surveying the prisoners, through the guard
surrounding them, he spied one of his neighbors, 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 you, Simon?" The
reply quickly came back, "Yes, it is, Abram, and I beg you to get me
out of this _bull pen_; if you do, I will promise never to be caught
in such a scrape again." Accordingly, 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
offence 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. Morgan 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 the battle of the Cowpens. He then returned home, and remained
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 of
troops on its eastern bank under Capt. Henderson, placed 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 relieved, he went a short distance to a house to procure
refreshments 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
disheartened 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 return home, and
in doing so was furnished with a ticket to procure provisions on the
On the 25th of March, 1781, the militia being again called out, Major
Forney attached himself to the command 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 company, 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,
In a short time afterward, Major Forney attached himself to the
company of Capt. John Weir, under orders to proceed to Wilmington. His
company crossed the Catawba at Tuckaseege Ford on the 1st day of
November, 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 _suspected_
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 authorities 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 rendezvous 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 troops of Burke and Wilkes. He then
attached his company to 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 Nation, nearly on the trail of Gen. Rutherford in
1776, but proceeded some farther than where his army halted. The
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 homestead, has already 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 Forney, has in his possession is a small _leather
memorandum pocket-book_, filled originally with twenty-four blank
leaves; also a _powder horn_, made by his father preparatory to an
expedition to the mountains. The front, or opening 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; numerous entries appear on its pages, made at different times,
and without reference to strict chronological order; brief notices of
military and agricultural matters and occasionally 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
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 indispensible
employment. Our soldiers then wore _hunting shirts_, made of flax, to
the battle fields. Cotton was not generally cultivated 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 important battle it could have
been ascertained from this memorandum pocket-book of this
distinguished patriotic 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 following, and a new Republic
sprung into existence.
GENEALOGY OF THE FORNEY FAMILY.
Jacob Forney, 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
Jacob Forney, the eldest son, married Mary Corpening, 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
Forney, born Nov. 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 Montgomery county.
3. Isaac Newton Forney, married M.L. Corpening, of Burke county.
4. Marcus L. Forney married S. Connelly, of Burke county.
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 county.
10. Mary L. Forney married W.P. Reinhardt, of Catawba county.
11. Catharine S. Forney married A.T. Bost, of Catawba county.
12. _General Peter Forney_, (sketch of his life previously given)
married Nancy, daughter of David Abernathy, of Lincoln county. He had
1. Daniel M. Forney married Harriet Brevard, of Lincoln county.
2. Mary Forney married Christian Reinhardt, of Lincoln county.
3. Moses Forney, (died in Alabama unmarried.)
4. Jacob Forney married Sarah Hoke, of Lincoln county,
5. Joseph Forney (died comparatively young.)
6. Eliza Forney married 1st, Henry T. Webb, Esq., of North Carolina,
and 2nd, Dr. John Meek, of Alabama.
7. Susan Forney married Bartlett Shipp, Esq., of Lincoln county.
8. Lavinia Forney married John Fulenwider, of Lincoln county.
9. Nancy Forney married Dr. William Johnston, of Lincoln county.
10. Caroline Forney married Ransom G. Hunley, of South Carolina.
11. Sophia G. Forney married Dr. C.L. Hunter, of Lincoln county.
12. J. Monroe Forney married Sarah Fulenwider, of Cleaveland county.
13. _Major Abram 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
(1876) considerably 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, received the
appointment of Major in the war of 1812, and proceeded to 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 Forney married Gen. Jones Withers, of Mobile, 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 young.)
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
liberality 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 Jacksonville,
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 Alabama.
3. William H. Forney married Eliza Woodward, of Alabama.
4. Barbara Ann Forney married P. Rowan, Esq., of Alabama.
5. Gen. John H. Forney married Septima Rutledge, grand-daughter of
Edward Rutledge, one of the signers of the Declaration of
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.D. Williams, Esq., of
The sons of Jacob Forney won military distinction and renown in the
late Confederate war. Our prescribed limits forbid 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
4. _Eliza Forney_ married 1st, Henry Y. Webb, Esq., of Granville
county, N.C. He was educated at the University of North Carolina, was
a member of the Legislature in 1817; appointed by President Monroe,
Territorial Judge of Alabama; elected to the same position by the
State Convention of 1819, and died in September, 1823.
Eliza Forney, by first marriage with Henry Y. Webb, Esq., had five
1. Frances Ann Webb married Col. John R. Hampton formerly of
Charlotte, N.C., now a worthy and highly respected citizen of Bradley
county, Ark. His wife Frances, died in 1842, leaving three children,
of whom only one, (Susan) widow of Dr. Greene Newton, at present
2. William P. Webb, Esq., married Martha Bell, of Alabama. His
1. James E. Webb, of Hale county, Alabama, married Zemma Creswell.
2. Frances E. Webb married Robert Crawford, of St. Louis, Mo.
3. Judge William H. Webb married "Donna Louise Abrigo," of Monterey,
4. Rev. Frank Bell Webb, pastor of the Presbyterian church, at Union
5. Wert Webb, commission merchant of St. Louis, Mo., and two
daughters, now in their minority.
3. Col. James D. Webb, of the 51st Alabama Regiment, married Jessie
Walton. He was frequently a member of the Legislature of Alabama, and
was highly esteemed for his purity of character. He died of wounds
received in battle, July 3rd, 1863, 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 years.
5. Dr. Henry Y. Webb, married Elizabeth S. Alexander, a great-grand
daughter 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 Scotland to the North
of Ireland on account of civil and religious 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 Carolina.
2. John A. Meek, of Franklin, Ky., married Miss Newton, of Arkansas.
3. Lavinia Meek married, 1st, Col. Harry Williams, of Louisiana and
2nd, E.B. Cryer, of Trenton, Louisiana.
4. Nancy, 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
1. Eliza Shipp married William Preston Bynum, Esq., at present one of
the Judges of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
2. William M. Shipp, Esq., married 1st, Catharine Cameron, of
Hillsboro, and 2d, Margaret Iredell, of Raleigh.
3. Susan Shipp married V.Q. Johnson, Esq., of Virginia.
Descendants of John Fulenwider and Lavinia Forney were:
1. John M. Fulenwider married Frances Hudson, of Alabama.
2. Eliza Fulenwider married L.M. Rudisill, Esq., of Catawba county,
3. Robert Fulenwider married Mary Sellers of Alabama.
4. Daniel Fulenwider married Mary Ann Leslie of Alabama.
5. Jane Fulenwider married Joshua Kirby, of Alabama.
6. Fannie Fulenwider, married James Gore, of Alabama.
7. Louisa Fulenwider married Robert Loyd, of Alabama.
8. Mary Fulenwider, (unmarried.)
For descendants of Dr. William Johnston and Nancy Forney see
"Genealogy of Colonel James Johnston."
Descendants of Ransom G. Hunley and Carolina Forney, were:
1. Richard R. Hunley married Martha S. Johnston, of Lincoln county.
2. Col. Peter F. Hunley married Margaret Johnston, of Lincoln county.
3. Mary Hunley married Gen. E.W. Martin, of Alabama.
4. Annie Hunley married Alfred Agee, Esq., of Alabama.
5. Ransom Hunley, (died young.)
Descendants of Dr. C.L. Hunter and Sophia G. Forney, were:
1. Nancy Jane Hunter, (died young.)
2. Caroline Elmina Hunter, (died young.)
3. Henry Stanhope Hunter (severely wounded in the late war.)
4. Capt. George William Hunter, mortally wounded in the battle at
5. Sophia F. Hunter married John H. Sharp, Esq., of Norfolk, Va.
Gaston county was formed in 1846, from Lincoln county, and derives its
name from William Gaston, one of the most distinguished men of North
Carolina, and late one of the Judges of the 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 chapter.
REV. HUMPHREY HUNTER.
[Condensed from Wheeler's "Historical Sketches."]
Rev. Humphrey Hunter was born in Ireland, near Londonderry, on the
14th of May, 1775. His paternal grandfather was from Glasgow, in
Scotland. His maternal grandfather was from Brest, in France. His
descent is thus traced to the Scotch-Irish, and Huguenots of France,
forming a race of people who greatly contributed to the spread 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 magnanimous
part in the achievement of our independence.
At the early age of four years, Humphrey Hunter was deprived by death
of his father. In a short time afterward, 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 destination in safety. His
mother then procured a cheap conveyance and proceeded to the eastern
part of Mecklenburg county, (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 respecting his life and
services. He informs us he grew up in the neighborhood of Poplar Tent,
inhaling the salubrious 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 were 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 your _cowardice_."
In a short time afterward this patriotic advice of his mother was
called into action. "Orders were presently issued," continues his
journal, "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 Declaration of Independence_ in the United States, and
joined in the shout of approval 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 cavalry, 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 commenced his
classical studies at Clio Academy, in the western part of Rowan
county, (now Iredell) under the instruction of the Rev. James Hall.
About this time the Cherokee Indians were committing numerous
depredations and occasional murders near the head sources of the
Catawba river. Upon this information, Gen. Rutherford called out a
brigade of militia from Guilford, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Lincoln and
other western counties, composed of infantry and three corps of
cavalry. In one of the companies commanded by Captain, afterwards Col.
Robert Mebane, he acted as Lieutenant. Two skirmishes took place
during this campaign, in which several Indians were killed and a
considerable number made prisoners, among the latter, Hicks and Scott,
two 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 New
Jersey. In the summer of 1780, this institution, having assumed in
1777, the more patriotic name of "Liberty Hall Academy," was broken up
by the approach of the British army under Lord Cornwallis. The school,
then in a flourishing state, was dismissed; the young men were urged
by Dr. McWhorter with 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 settlements 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 15th he marched towards Camden, progressing
as far as the Gum Swamp, where sharp skirmishing took place in the
night between advanced 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 militia 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 with overwhelming
numbers. The subject of this sketch was there made a prisoner and
stripped of most of his clothes. Soon after his surrender he witnessed
the painful incidents 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, galloping 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 Tarleton) met
him and demanded his sword. The Baron reluctantly 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 cry, "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, Cornwallis, with
his suite, rode up. Being informed that the wounded man was Baron De
Kalb, he addressed him by saying: "I am sorry, 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 administer 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 monument has been erected
to his memory.
After being confined seven days in a prison-yard in Camden, Hunter was
taken, with many other prisoners, including about fifty officers, to
Orangeburg, where he remained until the 13th of November following,
_without hat or coat_. On that day, without any intention of
transgressing, 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 Lieutenant 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 station 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 horseman, "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 sulky, 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 blackened by 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,
prepared 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, exchanged sides, being fired at a
second time by his would-be conqueror, but again without effect. Much
skilful maneuvering 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 command, and dealt them out with profuse
liberality. The accurate aim of two or three pine-knots against the
horseman's head soon disabled him and brought him to the ground. He
was then disarmed of his sword, and capitulated on the following
terms: That Hunter should never make known the conquest he had gained
over him, and give back the captured sword; and that he, (the Tory
loyalist) would never report to headquarters that any of the prisoners
had ever crossed the boundary line, or offended in any other manner.
But secrecy 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
apprehensions, however, were soon removed as the dismounted 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 examination was soon instituted at the station,
and numerous searching questions propounded to the wounded horseman,
when the history of the contest had to be given, and all concealment
no longer attempted. The rencounter took place on a Friday evening. On
the Sabbath following, 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 that Sabbath, Hunter, expecting close confinement, or,
perhaps, the loss of his life, made his escape with five or six others
from Mecklenburg, and commenced their way to North Carolina.
They concealed themselves by day to avoid the British scouts sent in
pursuit, and traveled during the night, supporting themselves
principally on the _raw corn_ found by 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 company, acting as lieutenant under
Colonel Henry Lee. In a short time, the battle of the Eutaw Springs,
the last important one in the extreme South, took place. In this
engagement, where so much personal bravery was displayed, 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 gratification he experienced in again beholding
the identical sword he had taken from his Tory antagonist, as
Soon after the close of the war he resumed his classical studies under
the instruction of the Rev. Robert Archibald, near Poplar Tent Church.
During the summer of 1785, he entered the Junior Class at Mount Zion
College, in Winnsboro, S.C., and graduated in July, 1787. In a short
time afterward he commenced the study of Theology under the care of
the Presbytery of South Carolina, and was licensed to preach in
October, 1789. In 1796 he removed from South Carolina to the
south-eastern part of Lincoln county (now Gaston) where he purchased a
home for his rising family. His ministerial labors extended through a
period of nearly thirty-eight years, principally at Goshen and Unity
churches in Lincoln county (under its old boundaries) and Steele Creek
church, in Mecklenburg 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 charity, and fervent
In his preaching Mr. Hunter was earnest, persuasive and often
eloquent. He possessed, in a remarkable degree, a talent for refined
sarcasm, and knew how to use most effectively its piercing shafts
against the idle objections, or disingenuous cavils of all triflers
with the great truths of religion. In his advanced years the
infirmities 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 his age.
The Rev. Humphrey Hunter had ten children, of whom, at the present
time (1876) only one, the author and compiler of these sketches,
DR. WILLIAM M'LEAN.
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 father emigrated from England shortly 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 neighborhood, eight miles from
Salisbury, 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 with 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 McLean to Tennessee. Thomas
McLean, the youngest son, retained the old homestead, where, 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. Hambright and Maj. Chronicle, actively participated. John
McLean, the eldest son, performed a soldier's duty on several
occasions during the war. Upon the call of troops from North 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 previously 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 country then afforded. His instructor for the last three months
in this early training was a Mr. Blythe, who, noticing his rapid
advancement in learning, and capacity for more extended usefulness,
advised him to go to Queen's Museum, in Charlotte. This institution
was then in high repute under the able management of Dr. Alexander and
Rev. Alexander McWhorter, a distinguished Presbyterian clergyman from
Dr. McLean complied with the advice of his instructor, and became a
pupil of Queen's Museum. In this venerated institution, shedding
abroad its enlightening influence on Western North Carolina, many of
the leading 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 known, that it is said Cornwallis previous
to his entrance into Charlotte in 1780, was extremely anxious to
_enfold him in his embraces_. Dr. McLean remained 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 gathered
all the medical books he could procure at that period, and diligently
devoted his time to their study. In this stage of his early
preparation for future usefulness, Dr. Joseph Blythe, a distinguished
surgeon in the Continental Army, wrote to him in terms of warmest
friendship, and offered him the position of "surgeon's mate." This
offer he accepted, repaired to Charlotte, and they both marched with
the army to James Island, near Charleston. 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
between 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 soldiers were sick with the pestilential "camp
fever" of that sultry climate, or were suffering from the wounds of
battle at the army hospital. Some of these sufferers were from Lincoln
and Mecklenburg 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 constantly with the
Southern army watching the movements of Ferguson in the upper Tory
settlements of South Carolina, previous to his defeat and death at
King's Mountain. 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 requiring his services. In all of these
responsible positions he continued to faithfully discharge the duties
of "Surgeon's Mate," or Assistant Surgeon, until the close of the
Having completed his preparatory studies Dr. McLean went to the
medical University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, 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 profession.
On the 19th of June, 1792, Dr. McLean married Mary, 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,
commemorative of the battle at that place, and caused to be erected,
at his own expense, a plain headstone of dark slate 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 Robb and John Boyd, who were killed here
on the 7th of October, 1780, fighting in defence of America." The
inscription on the west side reads thus: "Colonel Ferguson, an officer
belonging to his 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. His 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 CHRONICLE.
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 North Carolina and
settled in Mecklenburg county. By this marriage she had one son, James
McKee, a soldier of the revolution, and ancestor of the several
families of that name in the neighborhood of Armstrong's Ford, on the
South Fork of the Catawba. After McKee's death, his widow married Mr.
Chronicle, 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
inhabitants 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 universal testimony of all who knew
Major Chronicle represented him as the constant, never-tiring advocate
of liberty, and as exerting a powerful influence in spreading the
principles of freedom throughout the whole lower portion of old
Lincoln county. His jovial turn of mind and winning manners, by
gaining the good will of all, greatly assisted in making successful
his appeals to their patriotism, and promoting the cause of liberty in
which he had so zealously embarked.
Major Chronicle's first service was performed as Captain of a company
at Purysburg in South Carolina. Early in the fall of 1780, a regiment
was raised in Lincoln county, over which Col. William Graham was
appointed Colonel; Frederick Hambrite, 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, in that
ever-memorable conflict. Major Chronicle was brave, perhaps to a
fault, energetic in his movements, self possessed 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 boys, 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 every man for
the contest. Onward his brave boys steadily 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 Lieutenants 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 Caldwell 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 possession of one of his sons, who moved many years ago
CAPTAIN SAMUEL MARTIN.
Captain Samuel Martin was a native of Ireland, and born in the year
1732. When a young man, he emigrated to America, and first settled in
Pennsylvania. After remaining a short time in that State, he joined
the great tide of emigration to the southern colonies. He first
entered the service as a private in Captain Robert Alexander's
company, in June 1776, Colonel Graham's Regiment, and marched to Fort
McGaughey, in Rutherford county, and thence across the Blue Ridge
Mountains against the Cherokee Indians, who were committing murders
and depredations upon the frontier settlements. In January 1777, he
attached himself to the command of Captain William 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 he received a special commission of captain,
conferred on him by General 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. Finding that place completely invested by the
British army, he remained but a short time, and returned to North
Carolina with Colonel Graham's regiment, about the 1st 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 commanding, encamped
at Colonel Dickson's plantation, three miles northwest of Tuckaseege
ford. General Rutherford broke up his encampment 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 forces.
Immediately after this battle he received orders from Colonels
Johnston and Dickson to proceed with his company 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
follower's to Camden, S.C., where Cornwallis was then encamped. Soon
after this service Captain Martin was ordered to proceed with his
company to Rugeley's Mill, in Kershaw county, S.C. Here Colonel
Rugeley, the Tory commander, had assembled a considerable force, and
fortified his log barn and dwelling house. Colonel Washington, 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 sacrificing his own men. Accordingly he mounted a _pine
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.
Colonel Rugeley fearing the destructive consequences of the formidable
cannon bearing upon his command in the log barn and dwelling house,
after a stipulation as to terms, promptly surrendered his whole force,
consisting 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
After this successful stratagem, seldom equaled during the war,
Captain Martin was ordered to march with his company in pursuit of
Colonel Cunningham, (commonly called "bloody Bill Cunningham") a Tory
leader, encamped on Fishing creek, but he fled so rapidly he could not
overtake him. During the latter part of August and the whole of
September, Captain Martin was rarely at home, and then not remaining
for more than two days 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 wherever his
services were needed.
When Cornwallis marched through Lincoln county in pursuit of General
Morgan, encumbered 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 soon after
In October 1833, Captain Martin, when _one hundred and one years_ old,
was granted a pension by the general government. He was a worthy and
consistent member of the Associate Reformed Church, and died on the
26th of November, 1836, aged _one hundred and four years!_ He married
in Ireland, Margaret McCurdy, who also attained an extreme old age,
and both are buried in Goshen graveyard, in Gaston county.
CAPTAIN SAMUEL CALDWELL.
Samuel Caldwell was born in Orange County, N.C., on the 10th of
February, 1759, and moved to Tryon county, afterward Lincoln, in 1772.
He first entered the service in Captain Gowen's company 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 General Lincoln's army at Purysburg, S.C.
In March, 1780, he joined Captain Isaac White's company, and marched
to King's Mountain. In the battle which immediately followed, he and
his brother, William actively participated. Shortly after this
celebrated victory, he attached himself to Captain Montgomery's
company and was in the battle 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, 1781. In the following fall,
he substituted for Clement Nance, in Captain Lemmonds cavalry company
in the regiment commanded by Col. Robert Smith and Major Joseph
At the Raft Swamp, they attacked and signally defeated a large body of
Tories; and in two days afterward defeated a band of Tories on Alfred
Moore's plantation opposite 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, attained a good old age, and is buried in
the graveyard of Goshen church, Gaston county N.C.
CAPTAIN JOHN MATTOCKS.
Captain John Mattocks was one of the brave soldiers who fell at King's
Mountain. He belonged to a family who resided a few miles below
Armstrong's Ford, on the south fork of the Catawba 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, ever ready to engage in any enterprise in defence
of the freedom of their country, but Edward Mattocks (commonly called
Ned Mattocks) was a Tory. All of the brothers were at the battle of