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Sketches of Western North Carolina, Historical and Biographical by C. L. Hunter

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King's Mountain, in which Captain Charles Mattocks was killed early in
the action when pressing forward with undaunted courage against the
enemy. Among the severely wounded, was Ned Mattocks, the Tory brother.
After the battle and signal victory, Charles Mattocks, fearing his
brother might be hung with some others who suffered this penalty on
the next day, kindly interceded in his behalf, took him home and
nursed him carefully until he recovered of his wound. It is said, this
_extraction of blood_ so effectually performed by some one of the
gallant Whigs on that occasion, completely _cured_ Ned Mattocks of
_Toryism_ and caused him never afterward to unite with the enemies of
his country. The whole surviving family a few years after the war
moved to Georgia, where they have descendants at the present time.

Major Chronicle, Captain Mattocks, William Rabb and John Boyd, all
from the same South Fork neighborhood, are buried in a common grave at
the foot of the mountain.

A plain head-stone of dark slate rock, commemorates the hallowed spot
with the following inscription:

"Sacred to the memory of

"Who were killed here fighting in defence of America, On the
7th of October, 1780."

Many fragmentary but interesting incidents connected with the battle
of King's Mountain have come down to our own time and unfortunately,
many others have been buried in oblivion. The following incident was
related to the author by a grandson of a brave soldier in that battle.
Moses and James Henry both actively participated in that hotly
contested engagement.

A few days after the battle, as James Henry was passing through the
woods near the scene of conflict, he found a very fine horse,
handsomely equipped with an elegant saddle, the reins of the bridle
being broken. The horse and equipments were, as he supposed, the
property of an officer. He took the horse home with him, considerably
elated with his good luck; but his mother met him at the gate, and
immediately inquired whose horse it was he had in charge, he replied,
he supposed it belonged to some British officer. "James," said the
mother, "turn it loose and drive it off from the place, for I will not
have the hands of my household stained with British plunder."

The incident illustrates the noble Christian spirit which actuated our
good mothers of the Revolutionary period.

The other brother, Moses Henry, evinced great bravery in the same
engagement, and was mortally wounded. He was taken to the hospital in
Charlotte, and was attentively waited upon by Dr. William McLean until
he died. His widow, with several others under similar bereavement, was
granted a liberal allowance by the county court of Lincoln. Moses
Henry is the grandfather of Col. Moses Henry Hand, a worthy citizen of
Gaston county, N.C.


William Rankin was born in Pennsylvania, on the 10th of January, 1761,
and at an early age joined the tide of emigration to the Southern
States, and settled in "Tryon," afterward Lincoln county, N.C.

He first entered the service as a private in Captain Robert
Alexander's company, Colonel William Graham's regiment, and marched to
Montfort's Cove against the Cherokee Indians. In 1779 he volunteered
under the same officer, and marched by way of Charlotte and Camden to
the relief of Charleston, but finding the city completely invested by
the British army, the regiment returned to North Carolina. In 1780, he
again volunteered under Major Dickson, and marched against Col. Floyd,
a Tory leader of upper South Carolina. After this service he returned
home, and soon afterward marched under the same officer, General
Rutherford commanding, to Ramsour's Mill, where a large body of Tories
had assembled under Colonel John Moore. The forces under General
Rutherford were encamped on Colonel Dickson's plantation, three miles
north-west of Tuckaseege Ford, and about sixteen miles from Ramsour's.
Early on the morning of the 20th of June, 1780, they broke up camp and
moved forward, but did not reach the battle-field until two hours
after the action had taken place, and the Tories defeated by Colonel
Locke and his brave associates, with a force greatly inferior to that
of the enemy. Immediately after this battle, he substituted for Henry
E. Locke, in Captain William Armstrong's company, marched to Park's
Mill, near Charlotte, and thence to General Rutherford's army,
encamped at Phifer's plantation.

The Tories having assembled a considerable force at Coulson's Mill,
General Davidson with a detachment of troops vigorously attacked them,
in which skirmish he (Davidson) was severely wounded, detaining him
from the service about two months. Soon afterward he marched with
General Rutherford's command to Camden and participated in the
unfortunate battle at that place on the 16th of August, 1780. While
the British army were in Charlotte he served under Captain Forney and
Major Dickson, watching the movements of the enemy. Shortly afterward
he volunteered under Captain James Little, marched to Rocky Mount, and
thence to the Eutaw Springs. In this battle, one of the most severely
contested during the Revolution, his company was placed under the
command of Colonel Malmedy, a Frenchman. Soon after his return home he
was placed in charge of a considerable number of prisoners, and in
obedience to orders, conveyed them to Salisbury. Here he remained
until his time of service expired, and then received his discharge
from Colonel Locke.

William Rankin attained the good old age of nearly ninety-three, and
was at the time of his death the last surviving soldier of the
Revolution in Gaston county. He married Mary Moore, a sister of
General John Moore, also a soldier of the Revolution. His wife
preceded him several years to the tomb.

His son, Colonel Richard Rankin, is now (1876) living at the old
homestead, having passed "his three score years and ten." He served
several times in the State Legislature, is an industrious farmer and
worthy citizen of Gaston county.


General John Moore was born in Lincoln county, when a part of Anson,
in 1759. His father, William Moore, of Scotch-Irish descent, was one
of the first settlers of the county and a prominent member of society.
He had four sons, James, William, John and Alexander, who, inheriting
the liberty-loving principles of that period, were all true patriots
in the Revolutionary war.

John Moore performed a soldier's duty on several occasions and was one
of the guards stationed at Tuckaseege Ford, watching the movements of
Lord Cornwallis after his entrance into Lincoln county. He also acted
for a considerable length of time as Commissary to the army. General
Moore married a sister of General John Adair, of Kentucky, by whom he
had many children. Several years after her death, he married Mary
Scott, widow of James Scott, and daughter of Captain Robert Alexander
by whom he had two children, Lee Alexander and Elizabeth Moore. He was
a member of the House of Commons as early as 1788, and served for many
years subsequently with great fidelity and to the general acceptance
of his constituents.

To remove a false impression, sometimes entertained by persons little
conversant with our Revolutionary history, it should be here stated
that General John Moore was in no way related to the _Colonel John
Moore_, (son of Moses Moore), who lived about seven miles west of
Lincolton, and commanded the Tory forces in the battle of Ramsour's

General Moore, after a life of protracted usefulness, died in 1836,
with Christian resignation, aged about seventy-seven years, and lies
buried near several of his kindred in Goshen graveyard, Gaston county,


Elisha Withers was born in Stafford county, Va., on the 10th of
August, 1762. His first service in the Revolutionary war was in 1780,
acting for twelve months as Commissary in furnishing provisions for
the soldiers stationed at Captain Robert Alexander's, near the
Tuckaseege Ford on the Catawba river, their place of rendezvous. After
this service, he was drafted and served a tour of three months under
Captain Thomas Loftin and Lieut. Robert Shannon, and marched from
Lincoln county to Guilford Court-house under Colonels Locke and Hunt.
His time having expired shortly before the battle, he returned home.

He again served another tour, commencing in August, 1781, as a
substitute for James Withers, under Captain James Little, at the Eutaw
Springs, where he was detailed with a few others, to guard the baggage
wagons during the battle. He again volunteered under Captain Thomas
Loftin and Lieut. Thomas McGee and was actively engaged in the "horse
service," in several scouting expeditions until the close of the war.

After the war, he was for a long time known as "old Constable
Withers," was highly respected, and died at a good old age.



Cleaveland county was formed in 1841, from Lincoln and Rutherford
counties and derives its name from Col. Benjamin Cleaveland, of Wilkes
county, who, with a detachment of men from that county and Surry,
under the commands of himself, and Major Joseph Winston, performed a
magnanimous part in the battle of King's Mountain. Shelby, the capital
of this county, derives its name from Col. Isaac Shelby, a sketch of
whose services with those of Colonels Campbell, Graham, Hambright and
Williams will appear in the present chapter.


"O'er the proud heads of free men, our star banner waves;
Men firm as their mountains, and still as their graves,
To-morrow shall pour out their life-blood like rain;
We come back in triumph, or come not again."

After the defeat of General Gates at Camden, on the 16th of August,
1780, and the surprise and defeat of Gen. Sumter, two days after at
Fishing Creek, by Col. Tarleton, the South was almost entirely
abandoned to the enemy. It was one of the darkest periods of our
Revolutionary history. While Cornwallis remained at Camden, he was
busily employed in sending off his prisoners to Charleston and
Orangeburg; in ascertaining the condition of his distant posts at
ninety-six and Augusta, and in establishing civil government in South
Carolina. Yet his success did not impair his vigilance in concerting
measures for its continuance. West of the Catawba river, were bands of
active Whigs, and parties of those who were defeated at Camden, were
harrassing their enemies and defending on every available occasion,
the suffering inhabitants of the upper country. Cornwallis, becoming
apprised of this rebellious spirit of upper Carolina, detached Col.
Patrick Ferguson, one of his most favorite officers, with one hundred
and ten regulars and about the same number of Tories, under captain
Depeyster, a loyalist, with an ample supply of arms and other military
stores. He was ordered to embody the loyalists beyond the Catawba (or
Wateree as the same river is called opposite Camden) and the Broad
rivers; intercept the "mountain men", who were retreating from Camden,
and also, the Americans under Col. Clarke, of Georgia, falling back
from an unsuccessful attack upon Augusta. Ferguson's special orders
were to crush the spirit of rebellion still too rife and menacing; and
after scouring the upper part of South Carolina, toward the mountains
of North Carolina, to join his Lordship at Charlotte. He at first made
rapid marches to overtake the mountain men--the "Hornets," from the
"Switzerland of America," and cut off Col. Clarke's forces. Failing in
this, he afterward moved more slowly and frequently halted to collect
all the Tories he could persuade to join him. He crossed Broad river,
ravaging the country through which he marched. About the last of
September he encamped at Gilberttown, near the present town of
Rutherfordton. la his march to this point, his force-increased to
upwards of one thousand men. All of his Tory recruits were furnished
with arms, most of them with rifles, and a smaller portion with
muskets, to the muzzles of which they fixed the large knives they
usually carried with them to be used as bayonets, if occasion should

Although Ferguson failed to overtake the detachment of "mountain men,"
previously alluded to, he took two of them prisoners who had become
separated from their command. These he paroled and sent off, enjoining
them to tell the officers on the western waters that if they did not
desist from their opposition to the British arms, and take protection
under the royal standard, he would march his army over the mountains
and lay waste their country with fire and sword. This was no idle
threat, and its execution would have been attempted had not a brief
stay in Gilberttown satisfied him from the reports of his spies that a
storm of patriotic indignation was brewing among and beyond the
mountains that was destined soon to descend in all its fury upon his
own army. He knew that most of the inhabitants were of Scotch-Irish
and Huguenot descent, mingled with many Germans, whose long residence
in the wilds of America had greatly tended to increase their love of

As soon as General McDowell heard that Gates was defeated, he broke up
his camp at Smith's Ford on Broad River, and passed beyond the
mountains, accompanied by a few of his unyielding patriots. While
there in consultation with Colonels Sevier and Shelby as to the best
means for raising troops and repelling the invaders, the two paroled
men arrived and delivered the message from Ferguson. It produced no
terrific effects on the minds of these well-tried officers, but on the
contrary tended to stimulate and quicken their patriotic exertions. It
was soon decided that each one should use his best efforts to raise
all the men that could be enlisted, and that these forces should
assemble at the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga river, on the 25th of
September. The plans for raising a sufficient number of men to
accomplish their purpose were speedily devised and carried into
execution. To Col. Sevier was assigned the duty of communicating with
Col. McDowell and other officers in voluntary exile beyond the
mountains. To Col. Shelby was assigned a similar duty of writing to
Col. Campbell of the adjoining county of Washington, in Virginia.
Among the refugees beyond the mountains was Col. Clarke, of Georgia,
with about one hundred of his overpowered but not subdued men. Their
story of the sufferings endured by the Whig inhabitants of upper South
Carolina and Georgia served to arouse and intensify the state of
patriotic feeling among the hardy sons of Western North Carolina.

The enlisted troops assembled at the Sycamore Shoals, marched from
that place on the 26th of September. They were all mounted, and
unencumbered with baggage expecting to support themselves partly by
their trusty rifles from the game of the forest, as they progressed
and partly by compelling the Tories to minister to their wants. The
assembled forces placed under marching orders, were as follows: From
Washington county, Va., under Col. William Campbell, four hundred men.
From Sullivan county, N.C. (now in Tennessee) under Col. Isaac Shelby,
two hundred and forty men. From Washington county, N.C. (now in
Tennessee) under Col John Sevier, two hundred and forty men. From
Burke and Rutherford counties, N.C., under Col. Charles McDowell, one
hundred and sixty men. On the second day's march, two of their men
deserted, and went ahead to the enemy. It is probable their report of
the Whig strength accelerated Ferguson's retreating movements. On the
30th of September, they crossed the mountains and were joined at the
head of the Catawba river by Col. Benjamin Cleaveland and Major Joseph
Winston, with three hundred and fifty men from Wilkes and Surry
counties. Upon the junction of these forces, the officers held a
council and as they were all of equal grade, it was agreed that a
messenger be dispatched immediately to head-quarters, supposed to be
between Charlotte and Salisbury to get General Sumner or Gen. Davidson
to assume the chief command. They were now in Col. Charles McDowell's
military district, and being the senior officer, the chief command
properly devolved upon him, unless his right, for the present, should
be waived, and by agreement, turned over to another. Col. Shelby
proposed, mainly through courtesy, that Col. William Campbell, who had
met them with the largest regiment from a sister State, should assume
the chief command until the arrival of some superior officer. This
proposition was readily assented to, and Col. Charles McDowell
volunteered his services to proceed to headquarters, and requested his
brother, Major Joseph McDowell, to take command of his regiment until
his return.

On the 4th of October the riflemen--the "mountain boys,"--advanced to
Gilberttown, unwilling that Ferguson should be at the trouble to
"cross the mountains and hang their leaders," as boastfully
promulgated only a few days before.

Ferguson's abrupt departure and retrograde movement from Gilberttown,
like that of Cornwallis from Charlotte two weeks later, clearly
betrayed his apprehensions of formidable opposition by the enraged
"hornets" of the mountains. Pursuit was immediately determined upon,
and the Whig forces reached the celebrated Cowpens on the 6th of
October, where they were joined by Col. James D. Williams, of South
Carolina, with nearly four hundred men, and about sixty men from
Lincoln county, under Lieut. Colonel Hambright. (Col. William Graham,
of the same regiment, on account of severe sickness in his family, was
not in the battle fought on the next day.) It is also known a company
was raised under Capt. Shannon, from the same county, but failed to
reach the battle-ground in time for the engagement.

On the evening of the 6th of October the Colonels in council
unanimously resolved that they would select all the men and horses fit
for service, and immediately pursue Ferguson until they should
overtake him, leaving the remaining troops to follow after them as
fast as possible. Accordingly, nine hundred and ten men a mounted
infantry, were selected, who set out about eight o'clock on the same
evening and marched all night, taking Fergusons trail toward Deer's
Ferry, on Broad river. Night coming on, and it being very dark, they
got out of the right way, and for some time were lost, but before
daylight they nearly reached the ferry. The officers thinking it
probable that the enemy might be in possession of the eastern bank of
the river, directed the pilot to lead them to the Cherokee ford, about
one mile and a half below. It was on the morning of the 7th of
October, before sunrise, when they crossed the river and marched about
two miles to the place where Ferguson had encamped on the night of the
5th. There they halted a short time and took such breakfast as their
wallets and saddlebags would afford. Every hour the trail of the enemy
became more clearly visible, which served to quicken their movements
and exhilarate their patriotic spirits. About the time they marched
from the Cowpens they were informed a party of four or five hundred
Tories were assembled at Major Gibbs, about four miles to the right;
these they did not turn aside to attack. The riflemen from the
mountains had turned out to _catch Ferguson_. This was their rallying
cry from the day they left the Sycamore Shoals, on the Watauga, to the
present opportune moment for accomplishing their patriotic purpose.
For the last thirty six hours they had alighted from their horses but
once at the Cowpens for one hour's rest and, refreshment. As soon as
their humble repast was finished on the morning of the 7th, at
Ferguson's encampment, on the 5th just alluded to, the riflemen
resumed their eager march. The day was showery, which compelled them
to use their blankets and overcoats to prevent their arms from getting

After marching about ten miles, the riflemen met a young man named
John Fonderin, riding in great haste from Ferguson's camp, then
scarcely three miles distant Col. Hambright being acquainted with him
and knowing that he had relatives in the enemy's camp, caused him to
be arrested. Upon searching his person, he was found to have a fresh
dispatch from Ferguson to Cornwallis, then at Charlotte, in which he
manifested great anxiety as to his situation and earnestly solicited
aid. The contents of the dispatch was read to the privates, without
stating Ferguson's superior strength to discourage them. Col.
Hambright then interrogated the young man as to Ferguson's uniform. He
replied by saying, "Ferguson was the best uniformed man on the hill,
but they would not see his uniform as be wore a checked shirt (duster)
over it." Col. Hambright immediately called the attention of his men
to this distinguishing feature of Ferguson's dress. "Well _poys_, says
he, in broken German, _when you see that man mit a pig shirt on over
his clothes you may know who him is_." Accordingly after the battle,
his body was found among the dead, wearing the checked shirt, now
crimsoned with blood and pierced with numerous balls. After a brief
consultation of the chief officers upon horseback, the plan of attack
was quickly arranged. Several persons present were well acquainted
with the ground upon which the enemy was encamped. Orders were
promptly given and as promptly obeyed. The Whig forces moved forward
over King's Creek, and up a ravine, and between two rocky knobs, when
soon the enemy's camp was seen about one hundred poles in front.
Ferguson, aware that he was hotly pursued by a band of patriots of
determined bravery, had chosen this mountain elevation as one from
which he boastingly proclaimed he could not be driven.

It was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon when the Whig forces reached
the battle ground. The rain had ceased, the clouds had nearly passed
away, the sun now shone brightly, and nature seemed to smile
propitiously upon the sanguinary conflict soon to take place. On the
march, the following disposition was made of the Whig forces.

The central column was commanded by Colonels Campbell and Shelby; the
right, by Colonel Sevier and Major McDowell; and the left by Colonels
Cleaveland and Williams. In this order the Whig forces advanced and
came within a quarter of a mile of the enemy before they were
discovered. Colonels Campbell's and Shelby's regiments commenced the
attack, and kept up a galling fire on the enemy, while the right and
left wings were advancing forward to surround them, which was done in
about five minutes. The fire soon became general all around and
maintained with the greatest bravery.

The engagement lasted a little over an hour, during which time, a
heavy and incessant fire was kept up on both sides.

The Whigs, in some parts where the British regulars fought, were
forced to give way two or three times for a short distance, before the
bayonet charges of the enemy, but soon rallied and returned with
additional ardor and animation to the attack. The troops of the right
having gained the summit of the mountain, compelled the enemy to give
way and retreat along the top of the ridge, where Col. Cleaveland
commanded and were soon stopped by his brave men. Some of the
regiments suffered severely under the galling fire of the enemy,
before they were in a proper position to engage in the action. The men
led by Col. Shelby and Major McDowell were soon closely engaged and
the contest throughout was very severe, and hotly contested.

As Ferguson would advance towards Campbell, Sevier, Hambright and
Winston, he was quickly pursued by Shelby, Cleaveland, McDowell and
Williams. Thus Ferguson continued to struggle on, making charges with
the bayonet and then retreating to make a vigorous attack at some
other point; but, his men were rapidly falling before the fatal aim
and persistent bravery of the Whigs.

Even after Ferguson was severely wounded and had three horses shot
from under him, he continued to fight on, and animate his men by his
example and unyielding courage--"extricate himself, he could not, and
surrender, he would not," although requested to do so, near the close
of the action by Captain De Peyster, his second in command. At length
he received a fatal shot in the breast, which closed his earthly
career forever.

Captain De Peyster then look command, and immediately ordered a white
flag to be raised in token of surrender. The firing however did not
entirely cease until Cols. Shelby and Sevier went inside the lines and
ordered the men to desist. The Whigs were still greatly exasperated
when they called to remembrance Tarleton's cruelty at Buford's defeat,
where no quarter was given. The victory was complete, and reanimated
the Whigs throughout the whole country. The Tory element of western
Carolina, before strong and menacing, was broken up and greatly
humbled, and Cornwallis himself when he received intelligence of the
battle and its result, became so seriously alarmed at his perilous
situation in a land of _assailing hornets_, that he suddenly decamped
from Charlotte to safer quarters at Winnsboro, South Carolina.

According to the official statement furnished to Gen. Gates, encamped
at Hillsboro, and signed by Colonels Campbell, Shelby and Cleaveland,
the enemy sustained the following loss:

"Of the regulars, one major, one captain, two Lieutenants
and fifteen privates killed, thirty-five privates wounded
and left on the ground not able to march; two captains, four
lieutenants, three ensigns, one surgeon, five sergeants,
three corporals, one drummer and fifty-nine privates taken

"Loss of the Tories, two colonels, three captains and two
hundred privates killed; one major, and one hundred and
twenty-seven privates wounded and left on the ground not
able to march; one colonel, twelve captains, eleven
lieutenants, two ensigns, one quarter-master, one adjutant,
two commissaries, eighteen sergeants and six hundred
privates taken prisoners.

"Total loss of the enemy eleven hundred and five men at
King's Mountain."

The loss on the Whig side was, one colonel, one major, one captain,
two lieutenants, four ensigns, and nineteen privates killed, one
major, three captains, three lieutenants, and fifty-three privates
wounded. Total Whig casualties, twenty-eight killed and sixty wounded.
Of the latter, upwards of twenty died of their wounds, making the
entire Whig loss about fifty men.

The victory of King's Mountain was the "turning point of the fortunes
of America," and foreshadowed more clearly than ever before, _final

As soon as the battle was over, a guard was placed around the
prisoners and all remained on the mountain that night. On the next
day, after the dead were buried and the wounded properly cared for,
the cumbrous spoils of victory were drawn into a pile and burned.
Colonels Campbell, Shelby and Cleaveland then repaired, with as little
delay as possible, to the headquarters of General Gates, at Hillsboro,
and made out to that officer on the 1st of November, an official
statement of their brilliant victory. Col. Sevier, Major McDowell and
other officers returned to the mountains and to their own
neighborhoods, ready at all times, to obey any future calls of their
country. The prisoners were turned over to the "mountain men" for safe
keeping. Having no conveyances, they compelled the prisoners to carry
the captured arms (about fifteen hundred in number) two guns each
being assigned to most of the men. About sunset the Whigs who had
fought the battle, being extremely hungry, had the pleasure of meeting
the footmen, who had been left behind at Green river on their march to
King's Mountain, pressing forward with a good supply of provisions.

Having appeased the cravings of hunger, they all marched to
Bickerstaff's old field, in Rutherford county, where the principal
officers held a court-martial over the "most audacious and murderous
Tories." Thirty-two were condemned to be hung; after nine were thus
disposed of, three at a time, the remainder, through mitigating
circumstances and the entreaties of their Whig acquaintances, were
respited. Several of the Tories, thus leniently dealt with, afterward
joined the Whig ranks, and made good soldiers to the end of the war.

In 1815, through the instrumentality of Dr. William M'Lean, of Lincoln
county, a head-stone of dark slate rock, was erected at King's
Mountain, near the spot where Ferguson fell. It bears this
inscription: On the east:

"Sacred to the memory of Maj. Wm. Chronicle, Capt. John
Mattocks, William Robb and John Boyd, who were killed at
this place on the 7th of October, 1780, fighting in defence
of America."

On the west side:--"Col. Ferguson, an officer of his Brittanic
Majesty, was defeated and killed at this place on the 7th of October,

Incidents: Among the captured Tories were Captain W---- G---- and his
lieutenant J---- L----, both of whom were sentenced to be hung next
morning at sunrise. They were first tied separately, with leather
strings, and then closely together. During the night they managed to
crawl to the waters edge, near their place of confinement, and wet
their strings; this soon caused them to stretch so greatly as to
enable the _leather-bound prisoners_ to make their escape, and thereby
deprive the "Mountain Boys" of having some contemplated fun. Like the
Irishman's pig, in the morning "they came up _missing_."

As a foraging party of Tories, belonging to Ferguson's army, was
passing up King's Creek, they took old Arthur Patterson and his son
Thomas prisoners; who, being recognized as noted Whigs, were carried
to Ferguson's camp, threatened with hanging, and a guard placed over
them. As the battle waxed warm and the issue of the contest seemed to
be turning in favor of the American arms a call was made upon the
guard to fall into line and assist their comrades in averting, if
possible, their approaching defeat. During the commotion the old man
Patterson moved gently to the back ground and thus made his escape.
Thomas Patterson, not liking the _back movement_, watched his
opportunity, _between fires_ and charge of the enemies' position,
dashed off boldly to the Whig lines, about one hundred yards distant,
and reached them safely. He immediately called for a gun, which being
furnished he fought bravely to the close of the engagement.

For several particulars connected with the battle of Kings Mountain,
hitherto unknown, the author acknowledges his indebtedness to Abraham
Hardin, Esq., a native of Lincoln County, N.C., and relative of Col.
Hambright, now (1876) a worthy, intelligent, and christian citizen of
York County, S.C., aged eighty-seven years.


Colonel William Campbell was a native of Augusta County, Va. He was of
Scottish descent (his grandfather coming from Inverary) and possessed
all the fire and sagacity of his ancestors. He assisted in raising the
first regular troops in Virginia in 1775, and was honored with a
Captain's commission. In 1776 he was made Lieutenant Colonel of the
militia of Washington County, Va., and on the resignation of Evan
Shelby, the father of Governor Shelby, he was promoted to the rank of
Colonel, that rank he retained until after the battles of King's
Mountain and Guilford Court-House, in both of which he distinguished
himself, when he was promoted by the Virginia Legislature, for
gallantry and general high merit, to the rank of Brigadier General in
the Continental service. La Fayette, perceiving his fine military
talents, gave him the command of a brigade of riflemen and light
infantry, and he was ordered to join that officer below Richmond, who
was covering Washington's approach to Yorktown in September 1781,
previous to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown on the 19th of
October following.

Colonel Campbell, suffering from the severe wound received in the
battle of Guilford, was taken ill and soon after died at La Fayette's
head-quarters, about twenty-five miles above Williamsburg, in the
thirty-sixth year of his age. His military career was short, but
brilliant; and on all occasions, bravery, unsullied patriotism and
manly rectitude of conduct marked his movements. La Fayette's general
order, on the occasion of his decease is most highly complimentary to
his efficient services and exalted worth. He is buried at Rocky Mills,
in Hanover county, Va. About forty years afterward, his remains were
removed to Washington county, to repose with those of his family.

Col. Campbell married a sister of Patrick Henry and left but one
child, the mother of the late Hon. William C. Preston and Col. John S.
Preston, both of Columbia, S.C. He was a man of high culture, a good
classical scholar, but was chiefly given to the accurate sciences and
_practically_ to land surveying for himself and his kindred who were
large land-holders in Virginia, east Tennessee and Kentucky. When
under thirty years of age, he commanded a company in the Point
Pleasant expedition on the Kenhawa river, in which occurred one of the
most sanguinary battles in the history of Indian warfare and there
acquired that early experience in arms which qualified him to perform
a conspicuous part in the Revolutionary War.

When the emergency arose for expelling the boasting Ferguson from the
soil of the Carolinas, Col. Sevier sought the assistance and
co-operation of Col. Campbell, of Virginia, whose bravery and
gallantry had become widely known. On the first application, Col.
Campbell deemed it imprudent to withdraw his forces from their place
of rendezvous, for fear of an attack from the neighboring Indians, but
on a second urgent application, his assent yielded to the appeals of
patriotism and he promptly marched with his regiment to co-operate
with Colonels Sevier, Shelby and other officers to gain an undying
fame, and glorious victory at King's Mountain.

The preceding statement of facts, corrects an error into which several
historians have unintentionally fallen by confounding Lieut. Col.
Campbell, a brave officer of a South Carolina regiment, who was
mortally wounded at the battle of the Eutaw Springs, with Col. Wm.
Campbell, of Virginia, one of the heroes of King's Mountain, who died
a natural death in his native State a few weeks before the surrender
of Cornwallis at Yorktown. The two officers were of no close family
relationship, but resembled each other in unflinching bravery and
genuine exhibitions of true patriotism.


Col. Isaac Shelby was born in Maryland, near the North mountain, a few
miles from Hagerstown, on the 11th of December, 1750. He was the son
of General Evan Shelby, a native of Wales, who came to America when a
mere youth. General Shelby was distinguished for his indomitable
courage, iron constitution, and clear intellect. He served as a
Captain of Rangers under Gen. Braddock, and acted bravely in the
attack under General Forbes in 1758, in which he led the advance, and
took from the French Fort Du Quesne. In 1772, he removed to the west
and in 1774, commanded a company under Colonel Lewis and Governor
Dunmore against the Indians, on the Scioto river. He was in the
sanguinary battle of Kenhawa, October 10th, 1774, when Colonels Lewis,
Fleming and Field were killed and he was left the commanding officer.

In 1779, he led a strong force against the Chickamauga Indians, on the
Tennessee river; and for his services and gallantry, was appointed a
Brigadier General by the State of Virginia; the first officer ever
vested with that grade on the western waters.

Thomas Shelby, a brother of Gen. Evan Shelby, joined the great tide of
southern emigration and settled on Caldwell's Creek, in the eastern
part of Mecklenburg county (now Cabarrus) about 1760. He died near the
beginning of the Revolutionary war, leaving four sons, William, John,
Evan and Thomas. One of these sons (Thomas) served as a private in
Captain Charles Polk's company in the spring of 1776, in the
Wilmington campaign.

Col. Isaac Shelby, the immediate subject of this sketch was born to
the use of arms, blessed with a strong constitution and capable of
enduring great exposure and fatigue. His whole educational training
was such as fitted him for the stirring scenes in which he was
destined by Providence to become so prominent an actor.

His first essay in arms was as a Lieutenant in a company commanded by
his father, in the celebrated battle, previously mentioned, at the
mouth of the Kenhawa, the most sanguinary conflict ever maintained
against the northwestern Indians, the action lasting from sunrise to
sunset, with varying success.

Night closed the conflict and under its cover, the celebrated chief
_Cornstalk_, who commanded the Indians, abandoned the ground. In July,
1776, he was appointed Captain of a company of minute men by the
Virginia committee of safety. In 1777, he was appointed by Governor
Henry, a commissary of supplies for an extensive body of troops to
guard the frontiers and one of the commissioners appointed to form a
treaty with the Cherokees at the Long Island of the Holston river. In
1778, he was elected a member of the Virginia Legislature from
Washington county, and was appointed by Thomas Jefferson, then
Governor of that State, a Major in the escort of guards for the
commissioners, engaged in running the line between Virginia and North
Carolina. On the completion of that line, his residence was found to
be in North Carolina, which circumstance induced Richard Caswell, then
Governor of the State, to appoint him Colonel of the militia of
Sullivan county. In the summer of 1780, he was engaged in Kentucky in
surveying, locating and securing the lands which five years
previously, he had marked out, and improved. It was at this time, that
he heard of the surrender of Charleston. This disaster aroused his
patriotic spirit, and caused him to return home, determined to enter
the service of his bleeding country and never to leave it until her
liberty and independence were secured. On his arrival at home, he
found a requisition from General Charles McDowell to furnish all the
aid in his power to check the enemy, who flushed with their late
success in overrunning South Carolina and Georgia, had entered North
Carolina with a similar object in view. He immediately sought
enlistments from the militia of Sullivan county and in a few days
crossed the mountains at the head of two hundred and forty riflemen.

He reported to Gen. McDowell near the Cherokee Ford, on Broad river,
and was by that officer detached, with Colonels Sevier and Clarke, to
surprise and take a fort held by Captain Patrick Moore, a noted Tory
leader, on the Palcolet river. This service was promptly executed
without losing any of his men. The fort was surrounded, and, after a
short parley as to terms the enemy surrendered as prisoners of war.

Captain Moore, one British Major, ninety-three Tories and two hundred
and fifty stands of arms and their ammunition greatly needed at that
time, were the fruits of this victory.

It was at this period that Major Ferguson of the British army, in his
progress to the mountains of North Carolina, made several attempts to
surprise Col. Shelby, but in every instance, he was baffled through
his vigilance and activity.

On the first of August, 1780, the advance of the British force came up
and attacked Shelby at Cedar Springs. The situation had been chosen by
Shelby and his martial, adventurous spirit did not avoid the issue of
battle. A sharp and animated conflict ensued, which lasted half an
hour, when the whole force of Ferguson advanced to the scene of
action. Shelby deemed it prudent to retreat before superior numbers,
carrying off as the fruits of his victory thus far obtained, fifty
prisoners, including two British officers. The enemy made a rapid
pursuit, but Shelby, availing himself of every advantageous ground,
completely eluded their efforts to overtake him and soon afterward
joined Gen. McDowell with only a loss of ten or twelve killed and

On the 19th of August, 1780, Colonels Shelby, Williams and Clarke,
under orders from Gen. McDowell, again attacked, with seven hundred
mounted men, a large body of Tories near Musgrove's Mill, on the south
side of the Ennoree river. On the night of the 18th of August, these
officers left Smith's Ford on Broad river, took a circuitous route
through the woods to avoid Ferguson, whose whole force lay between,
and at dawn of day, after riding about forty miles, attacked the
patrol of the Tories, about half a mile from their camp. A brisk
skirmish ensued, several were killed, and the patrol driven in. At
this moment, a countryman living near informed Col. Shelby the enemy
on the night before had been re-inforced by a body of six hundred
regulars (the Queen's American regiment from New York) under Col.
Innis. This was unexpected news. Fatigued as were their horses,
retreat was impracticable; and to attack an enemy of such superior
force, would have been an act of rashness and the certain defeat of
his own little band of patriots.

Col. Shelby met the trying emergency with unflinching courage and
great promptness of action. It was agreed that Colonel Williams should
have the chief command. Accordingly, the whole Whig force, except
Capt. Inman's command, was ordered to form a breastwork of old logs
and brush, and make as brave a defence as circumstances permitted.
Capt. Inman, with twenty-five men was directed to proceed to the ford
of the river, fire across upon the enemy, and retreat when they
appeared in strong force. This stratagem being the suggestion of the
brave Capt. Inman, was successful. Col. Innis immediately crossed the
river to dislodge the "rebels." Capt. Inman and his little force
instantly retreated, hotly pursued by Innis until within the area of
the patriot ambuscade when a single shot by Col. Shelby gave the
signal for attack. The Whig riflemen, with sure and steady aim, opened
a destructive fire which was kept up for an hour, during which time
Col. Innis was wounded; all the British officers except a subaltern
were killed or wounded. The Tory Captain, Hawsey, and Major Fraser, of
the British regulars, with sixty-three privates were killed, and one
hundred and sixty made prisoners. The American loss was only four
killed and nine wounded. In the pursuit Captain Inman was killed
fighting hand to hand with the enemy. After this victory Col.
Williams, with the prisoners, encamped at the Cedar Spring, in
Spartanburg County and from thence proceeded to Charlotte, N.C.
Colonels Williams and Clarke then returned to the western frontier and
the prisoners under Maj. Hammond marched to Hillsboro.

Excited by this brilliant victory Col. Shelby prepared to attack the
British force at Ninety-six, about thirty miles distant, when an
express arrived from Gen. McDowell, with a letter from Governor
Caswell, dated on the battle ground of Camden, informing him of Gates'
defeat and advising him to get out of the way. This advice came in
good time, for on the next day a strong detachment from Ferguson's
army sallied forth to overtake the victors, but through the energy and
activity of Col. Shelby the designs of the enemy were completely

The brilliancy of the affair shone more brightly by the dark gloom
which now overspread the public mind in consequence of the defeat of
Gen. Gates at Camden. This caused Gen. McDowell to disband for the
present his little force and retire beyond the mountains. The whole
country was now apparently subjugated, the hopes of the patriot were
dimmed, and many took protection under the British standard. But the
brave spirits of the west, as firm as their native mountains, were
still undismayed; and, if for a moment subdued, they were not
conquered, and the fire of freedom glowed deeply in their patriotic

At this gloomy period, Col. Shelby, in consultation with Col. Charles
McDowell, proposed to Colonels Sevier and Campbell to raise a force as
quickly as possible from their several counties, and attack the
boasting Ferguson. A concert of action, and junction of their forces
were promptly agreed upon, the battle of Kings Mountain followed soon
thereafter, and the result is well known. It will be seen, the first
movement for organizing forces and bringing to a speedy accomplishment
this most decisive victory of the South originated in Western North

Inspired by this victory, the forces of North Carolina assembled under
General Davidson at New Providence, in Mecklenburg County, near the
South Carolina line. Gen. Smallwood, with Morgan's light corps and the
Maryland line advanced to the same point. Gen. Gates, with the remnant
of his army, and General Stevens with levies from Virginia enabled
General Greene, after he assumed the chief command in December, 1780,
to hold Cornwallis in check and frustrate his design, at that time, of
marching to Charlotte.

It was at the suggestion of Col. Shelby that General Greene sent out
the expedition which achieved the brilliant victory at the Cowpens. In
1781, Col. Shelby served under Gen. Marion, and with Col. Mayhem, was
in the skirmish near Monk's Corner. On attacking this post it
immediately surrendered with one hundred and fifty prisoners. Soon
afterward he obtained leave of absence from Gen. Marion to attend the
General Assembly of North Carolina, of which he was a member from
Sullivan County.

In 1782 he was again a member, and was appointed a Commissioner to
settle the preemption claims upon the Cumberland, and lay off the
lands allotted to the officers and soldiers south of where Nashville
now stands. He returned to Boonsboro on the April following where he
married Susanna Hart, whose father was one of the partners of Judge
Henderson. The liberties of his Country being nearly established he
devoted himself to his farm on the first pre-emption and settlement
granted in Kentucky. In May, 1792, he was elected the first Governor
of the new State. In 1812, a stormy period in our history, he was
again elected to the same position. When the war with Great Britain
broke out his well known energy and Revolutionary fame induced the
Legislature of Kentucky to solicit his services in the field. At the
head of four thousand volunteers he marched to the shores of Lake Erie
to assist Gen. Harrison in the celebrated battle of the Thames. For
his bravery in this battle, Congress honored him with a gold medal. In
1817 President Monroe appointed him his Secretary of War, but on
account of his advanced age he declined the honor. His last public act
was that of holding a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians, in 1818, in
which General Jackson was his colleague. In 1820 he was attacked with
a paralytic affection but his mind still remained unimpaired. In July,
1826, he expired from a stroke of apoplexy, in the seventy-sixth year
of his age, enjoying the love and respect of his country and consoled
by the rich hopes of a joyful immortality. Worthily is his name
preserved in North Carolina in a region that witnessed his exalted
patriotism and valor.


Col. James D. Williams, a brave and meritorious officer, was mortally
wounded at King's Mountain, near the close of the action. He died on
the next morning, and is buried within two miles of the place where he
so gallantly fell. Tradition says his first words, after reviving a
little, were, "For God's sake, boys, don't give up the hill."

He was a native of Granville county, N.C. He moved to Laurens county,
S.C., in 1773, and settled upon Little river. He early espoused the
patriot cause, and was active in raising troops and defending the
territory of the "Ninety-Six" District, abounding with many
evil-disposed loyalists.

He first appears as a Colonel of militia in April, 1778. In the spring
of 1779, he went into actual service, and was probably at the siege of
Savannah. He was with Gen. Sumter in 1780, and in the early part of
that year he was in the battle of Musgrove's Mill, on the Ennoree
river. After that engagement he went to Hillsboro, where he raised a
corps of cavalry, and returned to South Carolina. During Ferguson's
movements, after crossing the Wateree with the intention of embodying
the loyalists, and intercepting the "Mountain Men," Col. Williams
continually hovered around his camp, prepared to strike a blow when he
could, and cripple his advance.

Colonel Williams was a worthy member and Elder of the Presbyterian
Church, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him. It is to be
regretted more has not been preserved of his efficient military


Colonel William Graham was the son of Archibald Graham, of Scotland.
He was born in Augusta county, Va., in 1742. He emigrated to North
Carolina several years previous to the Revolutionary War, became the
owner of much valuable land, and finally settled on First Broad river,
then Tryon county, but now in Cleaveland. His patriotic principles
soon became known, and were called into active service at the
commencement of the Revolution. As the commanding officer, he had the
general superintendence of several Forts, erected on and near the
frontier settlements, as protections against the hostile Cherokee
Indians. Whilst in command of Fort McFadden, near the present town of
Rutherfordton, he formed the acquaintance of Mrs. Susan Twitty, widow
of William Twitty, and, as the "darts of Cupid" are often
irresistible, he married her, and the union proved to be a happy one.

In the Provincial Congress which met at Halifax on the 12th of Nov.,
1776, when the first State Constitution was formed, Colonel Graham was
one of the delegates from Lincoln county, his colleagues being Joseph
Hardin, Robert Abernathy, William Alston and John Barber.

In the expedition which marched in 1776, under General Rutherford,
against the Cherokee Indians, Colonel Graham commanded the regiment
which went from Lincoln and Rutherford counties. This expedition, as
is well known, was completely successful, and caused the Indians to
sue for peace.

In the expedition which marched for the relief of Charleston, in the
spring of 1780, from Charlotte, the place of rendezvous for several
counties, Colonel Graham led the regiment from Lincoln county. On the
arrival of the several forces at Charleston, they found the city so
completely invested by the British army that they could not render
assistance to the American garrison.

Soon after his return home, Colonel Graham again marched with his
regiment, General Rutherford commanding, against a large body of
Tories assembled at Ramsour's Mill under Lieut. Colonel John Moore,
(son of Moses Moore) near the present town of Lincolnton. General
Rutherford, with some Mecklenburg troops, crossed the Catawba river at
Tuckaseege Ford, on the evening of the 19th of June, 1780, and camped
at Colonel Joseph Dickson's plantation, three miles northwest of the
ford. On the morning of the 20th, Gen. Rutherford marched, at an early
hour, with the expectation of co-operating with Colonel Locke, of
Rowan county, in making a combined attack against the Tories, but
failed to reach the battleground until about two hours after the close
of that sanguinary engagement, in which the Tories were signally

When a call was made upon the commanding officers of the militia of
Lincoln county (under its old limits) in September, 1780, for troops
to oppose the boasting Ferguson, Colonel Graham marched with his
regiment, and joined Colonels Campbell, Sevier, Shelby and others at
the "Cowpens," where, a little more than three months afterward,
General Morgan gained a brilliant victory; but, it is known, in
consequence of severe sickness in his family, Colonel Graham did not
participate in the battle which took place on King's Mountain on the
afternoon of the 7th of October, 1780, and which resulted so
gloriously for the American arms.

During the year 1775, the Province of North Carolina, ever in the van
of early patriotic movements, formed "Associations" throughout her
territory, mainly as _tests of patriotism_. The county of Cumberland
formed an Association on the 20th of June, 1775. The county of Tryon
(embracing Lincoln and Rutherford) formed a similar "Association" on
the 14th of August following, which was signed by the "Committee of
Safety," and ordered to be "signed by every freeholder in the county."
Among the forty-eight signatures may be conspicuously noticed those of
William Graham, Charles McLean, (who at one time commanded the Lincoln
regiment), Frederick Hambright, (see sketch of his services in this
volume) John Walker, Jacob Forney, (father of Gen. Peter Forney),
Thomas Espey, (brother of Capt. Samuel Espey, severely wounded at the
battle of King's Mountain), Andrew Neal, Joseph Neal, John Dellinger,
George Dellinger, Joseph Hardin, Jacob Costner, Valentine Mauney,
Peter Sides, Joseph Kuykendall, James Coburn, James Miller and others.
One of the signers, Peter Sides, (properly Seitz) belonged to a family
from Switzerland--all true Whigs, and worthy representatives of the
land of William Tell.

Colonel William Graham died in April, 1835, in the eighty-seventh year
of his age, and is buried at the old homestead, on First Broad river,
in Cleaveland county, N.C.


Lieutenant-Colonel Hambright was born in Germany in 1727, emigrated to
Pennsylvania about 1740, and after remaining there a short time
removed to Virginia about 1755, where he married Sarah Hardin, with
whom he lived happily until her death during the Revolution. A few
years after his marriage he moved to Tryon county in North Carolina,
being accompanied by his brothers-in-law, Colonel Joseph Hardin, John
Hardin and Benjamin Hardin; also, by James Kuykendall, Nathaniel
Henderson, Robert Leeper, and others. He first settled at the Fort,
erected near the mouth of the South Fork of the Catawba river, as a
protection against the attacks of the Indians. From that place he soon
afterward moved to Long Creek, in the same county, and was living
there when the battle of King's Mountain took place, in which he so
gallantly participated. A short time previous to that battle he had
purchased a tract of land on King's Creek, and had built a cabin upon
it, preparatory to a future removal of his family.

Colonel Hambright was twice married. By the first marriage to Sarah
Hardin, previously noticed, he had twelve children, of whom six were
raised, viz: 1. John H. Hambright, who fought at King's Mountain. 2.
Elizabeth. 3. Frederick. 4. Sarah. 5. Benjamin, and 6. James
Hambright. Of these, Elizabeth married Joseph Jenkins, and Sarah Peter
Eaker, both of whom have worthy descendants.

By the second wife, Mary Dover, whom he married in 1781, he had ten
children, of whom eight were raised. Mrs. Susannah Dickson, the tenth
child by the second wife, and the youngest of the twenty-two children,
is still living and retains in her memory many interesting traditions
of the Revolution.

Colonel Hambright early displayed a fervent patriotic zeal for the
independence of his adopted country. In 1777 he received the
appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel, and was throughout the war an
active and courageous officer. He was constantly watching the
movements of the Tories, whose malicious influence and plundering
habits seriously disturbed the peace and welfare of society. His name
soon became a "terror to the Tories, who well knew the determination
of his character and the vigilance and prowess of his arms in
arresting disaffected persons, and defeating their designs."

At the battle of King's Mountain Col. William Graham, having charge of
the Lincoln regiment, not being present on account of sickness in his
family, the command devolved on Col. Hambright and most nobly and
courageously did he sustain the responsible position. No portion of
the advancing Whig columns evinced more irresistible bravery, and
suffered more severely than the troops under his immediate command.
Major William Chronicle, one of his most efficient and gallant
officers, fell early in the action. There, too, Captain John Mattocks,
Lieutenants Robb and Boyd, and others, all from the same neighborhood,
lost their lives in that fiercely contested battle, which resulted so
gloriously for the cause of liberty.

In this conflict Colonel Hambright was severely wounded by a large
rifle ball passing through the fleshy part of the thigh. It was soon
discovered by the soldiers near him that he was wounded and bleeding
profusely. Samuel Moore, of York county, South Carolina, requested him
to to be taken from his horse; he refused by saying, "he knew he was
wounded but was not sick or faint from the loss of blood--said he
could still ride very well, and therefore deemed it his duty to fight
on till the battle was over." And most nobly did he remain in his
place, encouraging his men by his persistent bravery and heroic
example until signal victory crowned the American arms.

At the close of the action, when Colonel Hambright alighted from his
horse, the blood was running over the top of the boot on the wounded
leg. He was then conveyed to the cabin erected on his own land, as
previously stated, before the war, where he was properly cared for
until he was partially recovered. Although the wound, in process of
time, seemed to have healed, yet its deep-seated injury caused him to
falter in his walk during the remainder of his life. The reason he
assigned for refusing to be taken from his horse when severely wounded
does honor to his exalted patriotism. He said if he had complied his
men would neglect to _load_ and _fire_ as often as they should; would
gather around him to administer to his wants, and thus fail to do
their whole duty in opposing and conquering the enemy.

Such true devotion to the cause of freedom is worthy of our warmest
admiration, and forcibly illustrates the heroic spirit which animated
the band of patriots who achieved, on King's Mountain, one of the most
important and decisive victories of the American Revolution.

Colonel Hambright was long a worthy member and elder of the
Presbyterian church at Shiloh, in the present limits of Cleaveland
county. On his tombstone we have this plain inscription:

"In memory of Colonel Frederick Hambright, who departed this
life, March (figures indistinct) 1817, in the ninetieth year
of his age."



Burke county was formed in 1777 from Rowan county, and was named in
honor of the celebrated orator and statesman, Edmund Burke, an
Irishman by birth, and possessed of all the warm and impetuous order
of his countrymen. He early employed his pen in literature, and his
eloquence in politics. Having been introduced to the Marquis of
Rockingham, he made him his secretary and procured his election to the
House of Commons. He there eloquently pleaded the cause of the
Americans. During his political career he wrote much, and his
compositions rank among the purest of English classics. This true
friend of America died on the 8th of July, 1797, in the seventieth
year of his age.

At the commencement of the Revolutionary war the territory now lying
on and near the eastern base of the "Blue Ridge," or Alleghany chain
of mountains, constituted the borders of civilization, and suffered
frequently from marauding bands of Cherokee Indians, the great scourge
of Western North Carolina. The whole country west of Tryon county
(afterward Lincoln) was sparsely settled with the families of
adventurous individuals, who, confronting all dangers, had carved out
homes in the mountains and raised up hardy sons, deeply imbued with
the spirit of liberty, prepared to go forth, at a moment's warning, to
fight the battles of their country.


"There was Greene in the South; you must know him,--
Whom some called a 'Hickory Quaker;'
But he ne'er turned his back on the foemen,
Nor ever was known for a _shaker_."

After the unfortunate battle of Camden, on the 16th of August, 1780,
where Gen. Gates lost the laurels he had obtained at Saratoga,
Congress perceived the necessity of appointing a more efficient
commander for the Southern army. Accordingly Gen. Washington was
directed to make the selection from his well-tried and experienced
officers. Whereupon the commander-in-chief appointed General Nathaniel
Greene, late the Quartermaster General, on the 30th of October, 1780,
who, in a few days afterward, set out for his field of labor. As he
passed through Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, he ascertained what
supplies it was likely could be obtained from those States; and
leaving the Baron Steuben to take charge of the defence of Virginia he
proceeded to Hillsboro, then the temporary seat of government for
North Carolina. Gov. Nash received him with much joy, as the safety of
the State was in imminent danger. After a short stay in that place he
hastened on to Charlotte, the headquarters of the Southern army. Gen.
Gates there met him with marked respect, without displaying any of
those feelings which sometimes arise from disappointed ambition, and
immediately set out for the headquarters of Washington, then in New
Jersey, to submit to an inquiry into his conduct, which had been
ordered by Congress.

Gen. Green took charge of the Southern army in the town of Charlotte
on the 3rd day of December, 1780. After surveying his troops and
supplies he found himself at the head of about two thousand men, one
half of whom were militia, with only a sufficiency of provisions for
three days, in an exhausted country, and with a scanty supply of
ammunition. With the quick eye of military genius, he determined at
once to divide his army, small as it was, and provide the needful
supplies in different localities. Relying upon Gen. Davidson's
militia, as a central force and protection, to be called out upon
emergencies from the surrounding counties, he led the largest portion
of his army under himself, and encamped on Hick's Creek, opposite
Cheraw, and about seventy miles to the right of Cornwallis, who was
then at Winsboro, South Carolina. While encamped at this place he was
joined by the legionary corps of cavalry under Lieutenant-Colonel
Henry Lee, more familiarly known as "Light Horse Harry," and father of
the late distinguished Gen. Robert E. Lee, of the Confederate army,
whose memory the Southern people and an _impartial world_ will ever
delight to honor! The other detachment of the army, about one thousand
strong, under Brig. Gen. Morgan was placed about fifty miles to the
left to disperse bands of Tories and protect the country between the
Broad and Pacolet rivers. Gen. Morgan's division, near the close of
1780, consisted of four hundred of Continental infantry under
Lieutenant-Colonel Howard, of the Maryland line, two companies of the
Virginia militia under Captains Triplett and Tate, and about one
hundred dragoons under Lieutenant-Colonel William Washington. This
force, at the time just mentioned, was considerably augmented by North
Carolina militia under Major McDowell--"Mountain boys," ever reliable,
and some Georgia militia, under Major Cunningham. Gen. Morgan encamped
on the northern bank of Pacolet river, and near Pacolet Springs. From
this point Col. Washington frequently sallied forth to disperse bodies
of Tories who assembled at different places and plundered the Whig
inhabitants. He attacked and defeated two hundred of them at Hammond's
store, and soon afterward a section of his command dispersed another
Tory force under the "bloody Bill Cunningham."

Cornwallis, who was still at Winnsboro, perceived these successes with
alarm, and fearing an attack upon his important post at Ninety-Six,
determined to disperse the forces under Morgan or drive them into
North Carolina before he should rally the Mountain Men in sufficient
numbers to cut off his communication with his post at Augusta. He
accordingly dispatched Tarleton with his legion and a strong force of
infantry, with two field pieces, to compel Morgan to fight or hastily
retreat. Tarleton's entire force consisted of about eleven hundred
well-disciplined men, and in every respect he had the advantage of

It is related of Tarleton that when he heard of Morgan's forces being
encampted near the post of Ninety-Six, he begged of Lord Rawdon the
privilege of attacking the American officer. "By Heaven, my lord, said
he, I would not desire a finer feather in my cap than Colonel Morgan.
Such a prisoner would make my fortune. Ah, Ban," (contraction of
Banastre, Tarleton's Christian name) replied Rawdon, "you had better
let the old wagoner alone." As no refusal would satisfy him,
permission was given, and he immediately set out with a strong force
in pursuit of Morgan. At parting Tarleton said to Rawdon with a smile,
"My lord, if you will be so obliging as to wait dinner, the day after
to-morrow, till four o'clock, Colonel Morgan shall be one of your
lordship's guests." "Very well, Ban, said Rawdon, we shall wait; but
remember, Morgan was brought up under Washington."

Tarleton commenced his march from Winnsboro on the 11th of January,
1781, Cornwallis following leisurely in the rear with the main army.
He crossed Broad river near Turkey creek, and advanced with all
possible speed in the direction of Morgan's camp. That officer was at
first disposed to dispute Tarleton's passage of the Pacolet river, but
being informed of the superiority of his numbers, and that a portion
of the British army had already crossed above him, he hastily
retreated northward, and took post for battle on the north side of
Thicketty Mountain, near the Cowpens. Tarleton pressed eagerly forward
in pursuit, riding all night, and making a circuit around the western
side of the mountain. At eight o'clock in the morning he came in sight
of the advanced guard of the patriots, and fearing that Morgan might
again retreat and get safely across Broad river, he resolved to attack
him immediately, notwithstanding the fatigued condition of his troops.
Tarleton was evidently disposed to view Morgan as "flying game," and
he therefore wished to "bag him" while clearly within scope of his
vision. The sequel will show how sadly he was mistaken.

The Americans were posted upon an eminence of gentle ascent, covered
with an open wood. They were rested and refreshed after their retreat
from the Pacolet. And, now expecting the enemy, they were drawn up in
battle order. Tarleton was rather disconcerted when he found that
Morgan was prepared to fight him, for he expected to overtake him on a
flying retreat. It was now about nine o'clock. The sun was shining
brightly over the summits of Thicketty Mountain, and imparted a
glowing brilliancy to the martial array in the forests below. On the
crown of the eminence were stationed two hundred and ninety Maryland
regulars, and on their right the two companies of Virginia militia
under Major Triplet. These composed the rear line of four hundred and
thirty men under Lieutenant-Colonel Howard. One hundred and fifty
yards in advance of this line was a body of about three hundred
militia under Colonel Andrew Pickens, all experienced riflemen, and
burning with a spirit of revenge on account of numerous cruelties
previously inflicted by the British and Tories. This brave officer had
arrived during the night, with his followers, and joined Morgan. About
one hundred and fifty yards in advance of this first line, were placed
the best riflemen of the corps under McDowell and Cunningham. The
action soon commenced.

At a signal from Tarleton, his advance gave a loud shout and rushed
furiously to the contest, under cover of their artillery, and a
constant discharge of musketry. The riflemen under McDowell and
Cunningham delivered their fire with terrible effect, and then fell
back to the flanks of the first line under Pickens. The contest was
close and severe, with alternate wavings of the British and American
lines, under successive attacks of the bayonet, which the prescribed
limits of this work forbid to be presented in all their animating
details. Suffice it to say, Tarleton here met a "foeman worthy of his
steel;" and the Americans, at the Cowpens, on the 17th of January,
1781, gained one of the most triumphant victories of the Revolutionary
War. Almost the whole of the British infantry, except the baggage
guard, were either killed or taken. Two pieces of artillery, eight
hundred muskets, two standards, thirty-five wagons and one hundred
dragoon horses fell into the hands of the Americans. Notwithstanding
the cruel warfare which Tarleton had waged against the Americans, to
the honor of the victors it is said not one of the British prisoners
was killed, or even insulted after they had surrendered.

The loss of the Americans in this decisive battle was twelve killed
and about sixty wounded. The loss of the British was ten officers and
ninety privates killed, and twenty-three officers and five hundred
privates taken prisoners. At the close of the action, Washington, with
his cavalry, pursued Tarleton, who now in turn, had become "flying
game." In his eagerness of pursuit of that officer, Washington had
dashed forward considerably in advance of his squadron, when Tarleton
and two of his aids turned upon him, and just as an officer on
Tarleton's right was about to strike him with his sabre, his sergeant
dashed up and disabled the assailant's sword arm. An officer on
Tarleton's left was about to strike at the same moment, when
Washington's little bugler, too small to wield a sword, wounded the
assailant with a pistol ball. Tarleton, who was in the center, then
made a thrust at him, which Washington parried, and wounded his enemy
in the hand. Tarleton wheeled, and, as he retreated, discharged a
pistol, wounding Washington in the knee. During that night and the
following morning, the remnant of Tarleton's forces crossed Broad
river at Hamilton's Ford, and reached the encampment of Cornwallis at
Turkey creek, about twenty-five miles from the Cowpens.

This _hand-wound_ of Tarleton, inflicted by Washington, gave rise, on
two different occasions, to sallies of wit by two American ladies,
daughters of Colonel Montford, of Halifax county, North Carolina. When
Cornwallis and his army were at Halifax, on their way to Virginia,
Tarleton was at the house of an American citizen. In the presence of
Mrs. Willie Jones, Tarleton spoke of Colonel Washington as an
illiterate fellow, hardly able to write his name. "Ah! Colonel," said
Mrs. Jones, "you ought to know better, for you bear on your person
proof that he knows very well how to make his mark!" At another time,
Tarleton was sarcastically speaking of Washington in the presence of
her sister, Mrs. Ashe. "I would be happy to see Colonel Washington,"
he said, with a sneer. Mrs. Ashe instantly replied: "If you had looked
behind you, Colonel Tarleton, at the battle of the Cowpens, you would
have enjoyed that pleasure." Stung with this keen wit, Tarleton placed
his hand on his sword with an inclination to use it. General Leslie,
who was present, remarked, "Say what you please, Mrs. Ashe, Colonel
Tarleton knows better than to insult a lady in my presence."

The victory of the Cowpens gave great joy to the friends of liberty
throughout the whole country. Congress received information of it on
the 8th of February following, and on the 9th of March voted an award
of a gold medal to Morgan; a silver medal to Howard and Washington; a
sword to Col. Pickens, and a vote of thanks to the other officers and
men engaged in the battle.

At this time, Cornwallis was advancing triumphantly in the direction
of North Carolina, having placed South Carolina and Georgia, as he
thought, in submission at his feet. The defeat and death of Ferguson,
one of his most efficient officers, at King's Mountain, and now of
Tarleton, his favorite partisan, greatly withered his hopes of strong
Tory cooperation. His last hope was the destruction of Greene's army
by his own superior force, and, with that design in view, he broke up
his encampment near Turkey creek, and like Saul, "yet breathing out
threatenings and slaughter" against Morgan's little army, he commenced
that pursuit of the "hero of the Cowpens," who, encumbered with his
five hundred prisoners, under various Providential interpositions,
made good his retreat into Virginia, constituting one of the most
thrilling and successful military achievements of the American


General Daniel Morgan was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, in 1737,
and moved to Virginia in 1755. He was a private soldier under General
Braddock, and after the defeat of that officer returned to his
occupation of a farmer and a wagoner. When the war of the Revolution
broke out, he joined the army under General Washington, at Cambridge,
and commanded a corps of riflemen. He was with General Montgomery at
Quebec, and with General Gates at Saratoga, in both of which battles
he greatly distinguished himself. For his bravery he was promoted to
the rank of Brigadier General, and joined the army in the South. After
the battle of Camden, when General Greene assumed the chief command,
General Morgan was detached to raise troops in the western part of the
State and in South Carolina. He soon became distinguished as a
partisan officer, inspiring confidence and arousing the despondent
Whigs to a more active sense of duty. His victory at the Cowpens was
justly considered as one of the most brilliant and decided victories
of the Revolution, and Congress accordingly voted him a gold medal. At
the close of the war, he returned to his farm. In 1794 he was
appointed by General Washington to quell the Whisky Insurrection in
Western Virginia, and after the difficulties were settled, he was
elected a member of Congress and served from 1797 to 1799. His health
failing, he declined a re-election. His farm in Clarke county, a few
miles from Winchester, Va., was called Saratoga. In 1800, he removed
to Winchester, where he died on the 6th of July, 1802, in the
sixty-seventh year of his age.

In early life, General Morgan was dissipated; yet the teachings of a
pious mother always made him reverential when his thoughts turned
toward the Deity. In his latter years he professed religion and became
a member of the Presbyterian Church in Winchester. "Ah!" he would
often exclaim when talking of the past, "people said old Morgan never
feared--they thought old Morgan never prayed--they did not know old
Morgan was miserably afraid." He said he trembled at Quebec, and in
the gloom of early morning, when approaching the battery at Cape
Diamond, he knelt in the snow and prayed; and before the battle at the
Cowpens, he went into the woods, ascended a tree, and there poured out
his soul in prayer to the Almighty Ruler of the Universe for


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

Colonel Charles McDowell and his brothers, Joseph and William, were
sons of Joseph McDowell and Margaret O'Neal, who emigrated from
Ireland and settled in Winchester, Va. Here, Charles and Joseph were
born, the former in 1743. Soon afterward, Joseph McDowell, Sr., moved
to Burke county, N.C.

In June, 1780, Colonel Charles McDowell being joined by Colonels Isaac
Shelby and John Sevier from Tennessee, and by Colonel Clarke, of
Georgia, near the Cherokee Ford on Broad river, in South Carolina, he
determined to attack a post held by the enemy on Pacolet river, in
Spartanburg county. The position was strongly fortified under the
command of Captain Patrick Moore, a distinguished loyalist. On being
surrounded, the enemy, after some parley as to terms, surrendered as
prisoners of war. One British Sergeant Major, ninety-three loyalists,
two hundred and fifty fire-arms and other munitions of war were the
fruits of this victory. Soon afterward Col. McDowell detached Shelby
to watch the movements of Ferguson, and attack him. On the 1st of
August, 1780, Shelby met the advance guard of Ferguson at Cedar
Spring, about six hundred strong, when a spirited contest commenced;
but on the enemy being reinforced, Shelby made good his retreat,
carrying off from the field twenty prisoners, including two British

On learning that a body of five hundred Tories had assembled on the
south side of Enoree river, near Musgrove's Mill, Colonel McDowell
detached Colonels Shelby, Williams and Clarke to attack them. Colonel
Ferguson, with his whole force, lay encamped between them. They left
the camp on the 18th of August at Smith's Ford on Broad river, and
taking a circuitous route through the woods, avoided Ferguson's
forces. They rode hard all night, and at daybreak encountered a strong
patrol party of the enemy. A skirmish immediately ensued and the
Tories retreated. They then advanced on the main body of the Tories.
At this juncture a countryman living near, a friend of liberty, came
to Shelby and informed him that the enemy had been reinforced the
evening before, by six hundred regular troops, and the Queen's
American regiment from New York, commanded by Colonel Innis, marching
to join Ferguson. Here was a position that would have tried the talent
and nerve of the most skillful and brave officer. Advance was
hopeless, and retreat impossible. But Shelby was equal to the
emergency. He immediately commenced forming a breast-work of brush and
old logs, while he detailed twenty-five tried men to reconnoiter and
skirmish with the enemy as soon as they crossed the Enoree river. The
drums and bugles of the enemy were soon heard marching upon this
devoted band. Captain Inman had been ordered to fire and retreat. This
stratagem, suggested by Captain Inman himself, was successful in its
object. The enemy advanced in rapid pursuit and in great confusion,
believing that the whole American force was routed. When they
approached the rude breast-work of Shelby, they received from his
riflemen a most destructive fire, which carried great slaughter among
them. This was gallantly kept up; all the British officers were killed
or wounded, and Hawsey, the Tory leader, shot down. The enemy then
began a disorderly retreat. The Americans now in turn pursued, and in
this pursuit the brave Captain Inman was killed, fighting hand to hand
with the enemy. Colonel Shelby commanded the right wing, Colonel
Clarke the left, and Colonel Williams the center.

The British loss in this brilliant and well-planned battle, was
sixty-three killed and one hundred wounded and prisoners; the American
loss was only four killed, including Captain Inman, and Captain Clarke

The triumphant victors were about to remount and advance on the
British post at Ninety Six, when an express arrived from Colonel
McDowell, with a letter from Governor Caswell, informing them of the
defeat of General Gates at Camden on the 16th of August, and advising
the retreat of our troops, as the British, flushed with victory, would
advance in strong force and cut off all detachments of our people.
With Ferguson near him, Colonel Shelby, encumbered with more than two
hundred prisoners, acted with energy and promptness. He distributed
the prisoners among the companies, each behind a private, and without
stopping day or night, retreated over the mountains to a place of

This rapid movement saved his men and himself. On the next day Major
DePeyster, of Ferguson's forces, with a strong body of men, made an
active but fruitless search.

In consequence of the panic after Gates' defeat on the 16th of August,
1780, and the surprise and dispersion of Sumter's forces at Fishing
creek by Tarleton's cavalry on the 18th following, Colonel McDowell
disbanded, for a time, his little army, and he himself retreated over
the mountains.

This was a dark and doleful period of American history. The British
flag floated in triumph over Charleston and Savannah. The troops of
Lord Cornwallis, with all the pomp and circumstance of glory, advanced
from the battle-field of Camden to Charlotte, with the fond
expectation of soon placing North Carolina under his subjection. Many
of the brave had despaired of final success, and the timid, and some
of the wealthy, to save their property, had taken "protection" under
the enemy. Colonel Ferguson, with chosen troops, was ravaging the
whole western portion of upper South Carolina, subduing in his
progress to western North Carolina, all opponents of English power,
and encouraging, by bribes and artifice, others to join the royal

Under all these discouraging circumstances the brave "Mountain Boys,"
and other kindred spirits of the west never despaired. On the mountain
heights of North Carolina, and in her secure retreats, like Warsaw's
"last champion," stood the stalwart soldiers of that day:

"Oh Heaven! they said, our bleeding country save!
Is there no hand on high to shield the brave?
What though destruction sweep these lovely plains!--
Rise, fellow-men! our country yet remains;
By that dread name, we wave the sword on high,
And swear for her to live! for her to die!"

If the sky was then gloomy, a storm was gathering in these mountain
retreats which was soon to descend in all its fury on the heads of the
enemies of our country. In a short time afterward the battle of King's
Mountain was fought and won by the patriots, which spread a thrill of
joy throughout the land.

Colonel Charles McDowell was elected the first Senator to the State
Legislature from Burke county in 1778, and successively from 1782 to
1790. From 1791 to 1795, he was succeeded in the same position by his
brother, Major Joseph McDowell. About this period, at three or four
different times, all three of the members of the Assembly to which the
county was entitled were of this family, which proved their great
popularity and worth. Major Joseph McDowell also served as a member of
Congress from 1793 to 1795, and from 1797 to 1799. He lived on John's
river, and died there. His family returned to Virginia, where some of
his descendants may still be found. One of his sons, Hugh Harvey,
settled in Missouri, and Joseph J. McDowell, in Ohio, who was a member
of Congress from that State from 1843 to 1847.

General Charles McDowell married Grace Greenlee, the widow of Captain
John Bowman, who fell at the battle of Ramsour's Mill. By this union
he had several children, one of whom was the late Captain Charles
McDowell, who resided on the Catawba river, near Morganton.

General Charles McDowell died on the 31st of March, 1815, aged about
seventy-two years.



Wilkes county was formed in 1777, from Surry, and named in honor of
John Wilkes, a distinguished statesman and member of Parliament. He
was a fearless political writer, and violently opposed to the
oppressive measures of Great Britain against her American Colonies. In
1763 he published in the "North Briton" newspaper a severe attack on
the government, for which he was sent to the Tower. Acquitted of the
charge for which he was imprisoned, he sued for and recovered five
thousand dollars damages and then went to Paris. In 1768 he returned
to England and was soon after elected a member of Parliament. In his
private character he was licentious, but his eminent talents, energy,
and fascinating manners made him a great favorite with the people. He
died at his seat in the Isle of Wight in 1797, aged seventy years.


Colonel Benjamin Cleaveland, one of the distinguished heroes of King's
Mountain, and in honor of whom Cleaveland county is named, lived and
died in Wilkes county at a good old age.

In 1775 he first entered the service as Ensign in the second regiment
of troops, and acted a brave and conspicuous part in the battle's of
King's Mountain and Guilford court house. A serious impediment in his
speech prevented him from entering public life. He is frequently
spoken of in the mountain country as the "hero of a hundred fights
with the Tories." He was for many years the Surveyor of Wilkes county
and resided at the "Little Hickerson place."

Among other singular incidents in his remarkable career, as preserved
by General William Lenoir, and recorded in Wheeler's "Historical
Sketches," we give place to the following:

"Riddle Knob, in Watauga county, derives its name from a
circumstance of the capture of Colonel Benjamin Cleaveland,
during the Revolution, by a party of Tories headed by men of
this name, and adds the charm of heroic association to the
loveliness of it unrivaled scenery. Cleaveland had been a
terror to the Tories. Two notorious characters of their
band, (Jones and Coil) had been apprehended by him and hung.
Cleaveland had gone alone, on some private business, to New
river, and was taken prisoners by the Tories, at the 'Old
Fields, on that stream. They demanded that he should furnish
passes for them.

"Being an indifferent penman he was some time in preparing
these papers, and he was in no hurry as he believed that
they would kill him when they had obtained them. While thus
engaged Captain Robert Cleaveland, his brother, with a party
followed him, knowing the dangerous proximity of the Tories.
They came up with the Tories and fired on them. Colonel
Cleaveland slid off the log to prevent being shot, while the
Tories fled, and he thus escaped certain destruction.

"Some time after this circumstance the same Riddle and his
son, and another were taken and brought before Cleaveland,
and he hung all three of them near the Mulberry
meeting-house, now Wilkesboro. The depredations of the
Tories were so frequent, and their conduct so savage, that
summary punishment was demanded by the exigencies of the
times. This Cleaveland inflicted without ceremony."


Colonel John Sevier was born in Shenandoah county, Virginia, in 1734.
His father descended from an ancient family in France, the name being
originally spelled Xavier.

About 1769 young Sevier joined an exploring and emigrating party to
the Holston river, in East Tennessee, then a part of North Carolina.
He assisted in erecting the first fort on the Watauga river, where he,
his father, his brother Valentine, and others settled. Whilst engaged
in the defence of the Watauga fort, in conjunction with Captain James
Robertson, so known and distinguished in the early history of Middle
Tennessee, he espied a young lady, of tall and erect stature, running
rapidly towards the fort, closely pursued by Indians, and her approach
to the gate cut off by the savage enemy. Her cruel pursuers were
doubtless confident of securing a captive or a victim to their
blood-thirty purposes; but, turning suddenly, she eluded the savages,
leaped the palisades of the fort at another point, and gracefully fell
into the arms of Captain John Sevier. This remarkably active and
resolute woman was Miss Catharine Sherrill, who, in a few years after
this sudden leap and rescue, became the devoted and heroic wife of the
gallant Captain and future Colonel, General, Governor and people's
friend, John Sevier. She became the mother of ten children, who could
gratefully rise up and call her blessed.

During Sevier's visit to his family in Virginia in 1773, Governor
Dunmore gave him a Captain's commission.

Through his own exertions he raised a company and was in the
sanguinary battle of Point Pleasant, on the Kenhawa, in which James
Robertson and Valentine Sevier actively participated.

The first settlers on the Holston, Watauga and other tributary
streams, were so far beyond the influence of the State laws of North
Carolina as to induce them in 1772 to form a temporary government for
their better protection and security. The people enjoyed the
advantages of this "Watauga government," as it was called, from 1772
until 1777, at which date Colonel Sevier procured the establishment of
courts and the extension of State laws over "Washington District,"
then in North Carolina, embracing an interesting section of country in
which he and other pioneers of civilization had cast their lots. These
hardy pioneers opened roads across the mountains, felled the forests,
built forts and houses, subdued the earth, and began rapidly to
replenish it, for they married and were given in marriage. The State
of North Carolina, several years afterward, with a motherly
forgiveness, passed laws to confirm marriages and other deeds of these
wayward children in the wilderness.

Colonel Sevier served in the expedition under Colonel Christian to
chastise the Indians for their numerous murders and depredations. In
1779, he raised troops, entered the Indian territory, and fought the
successful battle of Boyd's creek. A few days after this battle, he
was joined by Colonel Arthur Campbell with a Virginia regiment, and
Colonel Isaac Shelby with troops from Sullivan county, then in North
Carolina. These active officers scoured the Cherokee country,
scattered hostile bands, destroyed most of the Indian towns, and,
after inflicting this severe chastisement, returned to their homes
with greater assurance of peace and security.

The former part of the year 1780, was one of gloom and despondency in
the Southern States. Charleston surrendered, Gates defeated, and other
minor reverses; Tories becoming daring and insolent; the British
overrunning South Carolina and Georgia; the Indians upon the borders,
bribed and inflamed against the Americans--all tended to increase the
gloom and darken the prospect of achieving our independence. But
amidst all the obscurity which shrouded the sun of American
independence, there was a gallant band of patriots in the mountains of
North Carolina and upper South Carolina, who never quailed in duty
before the enemy, struck a severe blow at every opportune moment, and
never despaired of final success.

In the brilliant victory of King's Mountain, Col. Sevier, with his
regiment, displayed the most consummate bravery. In June of the same
year, he marched into South Carolina and assisted Col. McDowell and
other officers in the successful battle of Musgrove's Mill.

In 1781, Colonel Sevier was appointed by General Greene a commissioner
to treat with the chiefs of the Cherokees and other tribes of Indians,
which trust he faithfully performed. During the years 1781 and 1782,
he was almost constantly engaged in leading expeditions into the
Cherokee country.

On the 14th of December, 1784, a convention of five delegates from
each county of the extreme western portion of North Carolina, met at
Jonesboro, now in Tennessee, of which body Col. Sevier was made
President. They formed a constitution for a new State, to be called
"Frankland," which was to be received or rejected by another body of
similar powers, "fresh from the people," to meet at Greenville in
November 1785. This anomalous state of things, as might be expected,
caused Governor Caswell, who was both a soldier and a statesman, to
issue his proclamation "against this lawless thirst for power."

The prescribed limits of this sketch forbid a full recital of all the
angry discussions and violent acts of the opposing parties which
unfortunately, for about three years, seriously disturbed the peace
and welfare of Western North Carolina.

In 1789, Colonel Sevier was elected the Senator from Greene county to
the Legislature of North Carolina. In 1790, he was elected a member of
Congress. He was twice elected Governor of Tennessee. In 1811, he was
elected a Representative to Congress, and in 1813, re-elected to the
same position. In 1815, he was appointed by President Madison a
commissioner to adjust difficulties with the Creek Indians. Whilst
engaged in the performance of this arduous duty, he was taken
seriously ill, and soon thereafter died near Fort Decatur, Ala., on
the 24th of September, 1815, aged about eighty-one years.

Gen. Gaines, then in command of the regular troops near that place,
though quite ill at the time, paid the last sad tribute of respect to
a brave fellow-soldier, and had him buried with the honors of war.


General William Lenoir was born in Brunswick county, Virginia, on the
20th of May, 1751. He was of French (Huguenot) descent, and the
youngest of a family of ten children. When he was about eight years
old his father removed to a place near Tarboro, N.C., where he resided
until his death, a short time afterward. He received no other
education than his own limited means and personal exertions enabled
him to procure. When about twenty years of age he married Ann Ballard,
of Halifax, N.C.--a lady possessing, in an eminent degree, those
domestic and heroic virtues which qualified her for sustaining the
privations and hardships of a frontier life, which it was her lot
afterward to encounter.

In March 1775 Gen. Lenoir removed with his family to Wilkes county
(then a part of Surry) and settled near the place where Wilkesboro now
stands. Previous to leaving Halifax he signed the paper known as the
"Association," containing a declaration of patriotic principles and
means of redress, relative to the existing troubles with Great
Britain. Soon after his removal to Surry he was appointed a member of
the "Committee of Safety" for that county. He took an early and active
part in repelling the depredating and murderous incursions of the
Cherokee Indians upon the frontier settlements. In this kind of
service he was actively engaged until the celebrated expedition, under
Gen. Rutherford, completely subdued the Indians, and compelled them to
sue for peace. From the termination of this campaign, in which he
acted as a Lieutenant under Captain Benjamin Cleaveland, to the one
projected against Major Ferguson, he was almost constantly engaged in
capturing and suppressing the Tories, who, at that time, were assuming
great boldness, and molesting the persons and property of the Whig

In the expedition to King's Mountain Gen. Lenoir held the appointment
of Captain in Colonel Cleaveland's regiment, which united with the
other Whig forces at the head of the Catawba river. When it was
ascertained it would be impossible to overtake Ferguson, now evidently
showing signs of fear, with the footmen, it was decided by a council
of the officers, that as many as could procure horses should do so,
and thus, as mounted infantry, advance rapidly upon the retreating
enemy. Accordingly, Gen. Lenoir and his company offered their
services, joined the select Spartan band of _nine hundred and ten_
brave spirits, and pressed forward without delay to the scene of

In the brilliant achievement on King's Mountain, Gen. Lenoir was
wounded in the arm and in the side, but not severely, and a third ball
passed through his hair, just above where it was tied. He was also at
the defeat of Col. Pyles, on Haw River, where his horse was shot and
his sword broken. At a later period he raised a company and marched
towards Dan river with the hope of joining General Greene, but was
unable to effect a junction in time. He performed many other minor but
important services, which it is here unnecessary to enumerate.

General Lenoir served as Major General of the militia about eighteen
years. In a civil capacity he also discharged many high and
responsible duties.

He filled, at different times, the offices of Register, Surveyor,
Commissioner of Affidavits, Chairman of the County Court, and Clerk of
the Superior Court for Wilkes county. He was one of the original
Trustees of the State University, and the first President of the
Board. He was also a member of both the State Conventions which met
for the purpose of considering the Constitution of the United States.
He served for many years in both branches of the State Legislature.
During the last seven years of his services in the Senate, he was
unanimously chosen Speaker of that body, and performed the duties of
that important station with great satisfaction, firmness and

In private life General Lenoir was no less distinguished for his moral
worth and generous hospitality than in public life for his unbending
integrity and enlarged patriotism. His mansion was open at all times,
not only to a large circle of friends and relatives, but to the
stranger and the traveller. To the poor he was kind and charitable,
and in his will made liberal provision for those of his own

During his last illness he suffered much pain which he bore with
Christian resignation. He often said "he did not fear to die--death
had no terrors for him." He died, with calm composure, at his
residence at Fort Defiance, on the 6th of May, 1839, aged eighty-eight

His remains were interred in the family burying ground which occupies
the spot where Fort Defiance was erected during the Revolutionary war.




The readers of American history, and more particularly those of the
Southern States, will doubtless be gratified to know something of _the
end_--the closing career, and "shuffling off of this mortal coil" of
Lord Cornwallis and Colonel Tarleton, the two British officers, who
remained the longest time among them; sometimes conquering all before
them, and again retrograding, until their capture and surrender at
Yorktown, in Virginia, on the 19th of October, 1781.

Charles Cornwallis, son of the first Earl of Cornwallis, was born in
Suffolk on the 31st of December, 1738. He was educated at Westminster
and St. John's College, Cambridge. He entered the army in 1759, and
succeeded to the title and estates of his father in 1761. He was the
most competent and energetic of all the British generals sent to
America during the Revolution, but the cruelties exercised by his
orders on a few occasions, have left an indelible stain upon his
character. It was in pursuance of one of his orders, issued soon after
the battle of Camden, that the unfortunate Colonel Isaac Hayne was
executed by that tyrannical British officer, Lord Rawdon.
Notwithstanding this cruel tragedy, which might have resulted
otherwise had he been present, Cornwallis possessed some fine traits
of character, had an amiable disposition, was greatly beloved by his
men, and was bitterly opposed to _house-burning_ when the fortunes of
war were in his favor. In 1770, he and three other young peers, joined
Lord Camden in protesting against the taxation of the American
colonies. Mansfield, the Chief Justice, is said to have sneeringly
remarked: "Poor Camden could only get four boys to join him." Although
opposed to the course of the British Ministry, yet, when hostilities
commenced, he did not refuse to accept active employment against
America. Soon after the war he was appointed Governor-General of the
East Indies, which position he held for six years. During that time,
he conquered the renowned Tippoo Sultan, for which service he was
created a marquis and master of the ordnance. He was Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland from 1798 to 1801, and was instrumental in restoring peace
to that country, then distracted by rebellion. He signed the treaty of
Amicus in 1802, and in 1804 was again appointed Governor General of
India. On his arrival at Calcutta, his health failed and he died at
Ghazepore on the 5th of October, 1805, aged sixty-seven years.


Colonel Banastre Tarleton was born in Liverpool, England, on the 21st
of August, 1754. He commenced the study of the law, but when the war
in America broke out he entered the British army and came to this
country with Lord Cornwallis. He served with that officer in all his
campaigns in the South, and by his daring intrepedity, and indomitable
energy, greatly contributed to the success of the British arms at
Camden. He possessed a sanguinary disposition, as was exhibited in the
cruel massacre of Col. Buford's regiment at the Waxhaws. In tracing
his history in America, we look in vain for any redeeming traits in
his character. The ardor of his temper and military ambition received
a severe check at the battle of the "Cowpens" on the 17th of January,
1781. The capitulation of the British army at Yorktown, closed his
military services in America. On his return to England, he received,
as might be expected, numerous honors.

In 1798, he married the daughter of the Duke of Ancaster. He died on
the 25th of January, 1833, in the seventy-ninth year of his age,
_without_ issue, and _without_ any lingering affection of the American


"We, the rightful lords of yore,
Are the rightful lords no more;
Like the silver mist, we fail,
Like the red leaves in the gale--
Fail, like shadows, when the dawning
Waves the bright flag of the morning."

In every history of the United States the different tribes of
Indians--the native "sons of the forest" and "rightful lords of the
soil," from Main to Florida and from the Atlantic ocean to the great
Mississippi valley--justly claim conspicuous notice, whether
considered as prowling enemies or warm-hearted friends.

As the Tuscaroras of eastern and middle Carolina were one of the most
powerful of the Indian tribes, exercising a dominant sway over much of
its undulating and semi-tropical territory early in the last century,
so the Cherokees were the most powerful tribe of western Carolina and
the adjoining region, preceding and during our Revolutionary war,
frequently requiring the strong arm of military force to chastise them
and teach them, by dear experience, the superiority and growing
destiny of their "pale faced" neighbors.

The native land of the Cherokees was the most inviting and beautiful
section of the United States, lying upon the sources of the Catawba
and Yadkin rivers--upon Keowee, Tugaloo, Etowab, Coosa and Flint, on
the east and south, and several of the tributaries of the Tennessee,
on the west and north. If to this list be added the names of Hiwassee,
Enoree, Tallulah, Swannanoa and Watauga, all streams originating and
flowing through this mountainous country in rapid, frolicksome mood,
we have an assemblage of musical sounds, (omitting the hard-sounding
_Flint_,) only equaled in beauty and soft cadence upon the ear, by the
grand and picturesque scenery with which they are surrounded.

According to Adair, one of the earliest settlers of South Carolina,
and who wrote of the four principal tribes, (Cherokees, Shawnees,
Chickasaws and Choctaws,) in 1775, "the Cherokees derive their name
from _Cheera_, or _fire_, which is their reputed lower heaven, and
hence they call their _magi, Cheera-tah-gee_, men possessed of the
divine fire."

Within twenty miles of old Fort Loudon, built on the Tennessee in
1756, says the same authority, "there is a great plenty of whetstones
for razors, of red, white and black colors. The silver mines are so
rich that by digging about ten yards (thirty feet) deep, some
desperate vagrants found at sundry times, so much rich ore as to
enable them to counterfeit dollars to a great amount, a horse load of
which was detected in passing for the purchase of negroes at Augusta."
"A tradition, says Dr. Ramsey, (Annals of Tennessee,) still continues
of the existence of the silver mine mentioned by Adair."

After the whites had settled near, and began to encroach upon the
"Over-Hill Towns," their inhabitants withheld all knowledge of the
mines from the traders, fearing their cupidity for the precious metals
might lead to their appropriation by others, and the ultimate
expulsion of the natives from the country. The history of the
Cherokees is closely identified with that of the early settlements of
the frontiers of the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee, and
all suffered from their vigorous and frequent hostile and murderous
incursions. They were formidable for their numbers, and passionate
fondness for war. They were the mountaineers of Aboriginal America,
and like all other inhabitants of an Alpine region, cherished a deep
affection for their country, and defended it with a lasting devotion
and persevering tenacity. Little of their early history can be
gathered from their traditions, extending back scarcely a century
preceding the Revolution. _Oka-na-sto-ta_, one of their distinguished
chiefs, visited England during the reign of George the Second. From
his time they date the declension of their nation. His place of
residence was at _Echota_, one of the Over-Hill Towns. Of the
_tumuli_, or mounds scattered through the country, and other ancient
remains, they know nothing, and considered them, when they took
possession of the country, as vestiges of a more numerous population
than themselves, and farther advanced in the arts of civilization. The
several Indian tribes in America have been compared to the fragments
of a vast ruin. And though these vestiges of a remote period in the
past may not awaken the same grand associations in the mind of the
beholder as the majestic ruins of Greece and Rome, yet they cannot
fail to excite feelings of veneration for the memory of a numerous
people, whose lingering signs of greatness are widely visible from the
western borders of North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico, and
throughout the Mississippi valley.

As early as the year 1806, two Deputations attended Washington City
from the Cherokee nation; one from the lower towns, to make known to
the President their desire to remove west of the Mississippi, and
pursue the hunter's life; the other Deputation, representing in part
the Cherokees belonging to the above settlement, to make known their
desire to remain in the lands of their fathers, and become cultivators
of the soil. The President answered their petitions as follows:

"The United States, my children, are the friends of both
parties. As far as can be reasonably asked, they are willing
to satisfy the wishes of both. Those who remain may be
assured of our patronage, our aid, and good neighborhood."

The treaties formed between the United States and the Cherokee Nation,
in the years 1817 and 1819, made provision for those desiring to
remain, agreeably to the promise of the President; and they thus
became citizens of the United States, each family being allowed a
reservation of six hundred and forty acres of land. The whites claimed
the same lands under a purchase made of the State. Suits were
instituted in favor of the Indians, and by our Courts were decided in
their favor. Afterward they sold their reservations to the
Commissioners of the State, and purchased lands in the white
settlement, and in the neighborhood of the hunting grounds reserved
for them by treaties concluded with the Cherokee nation between the
years 1790 and 1799; which privilege as a part of their nation they
now enjoy.

The Cherokees now own in Haywood county, a tract of seventy-two
thousand acres of land, well adapted in the vallies for farming, and
on the mountains for wild game and sports of the chase. _Qualla Town_,
their metropolis, is chiefly inhabited by the former sovereigns of the
country, among whom are a few Catawbas. The Qualla Town people are
divided into seven clans or divisions, over each of which a chief

About the year 1830 the principal chief of this settlement, by the
name of "Drowning Bear" (or You-na-guskee) becoming convinced that
_intemperance_ would destroy himself and his people, determined, if
possible, to bring about a work of reform. He accordingly directed his
clerk to write in the Indian language an agreement which translated
reads as follows: "The undersigned Cherokees, belonging to the town of
Qualla, agree to abandon the use of spirituous liquors." This
instrument of writing was immediately signed by the old and venerable
chief, and the whole town. This wise proceeding has worked a wonderful
change for the better in their condition. They are now a temperate,
orderly, industrious and peaceable people.

One of the most wonderful achievements of our age is the invention of
the Cherokee alphabet. The invention was made in 1821 by _Guess_,
(Se-qua-yah) _a half breed_ Indian, his father being a white man and
his mother a Cherokee. He was at the time not only perfectly
unacquainted with letters but entirely so with every other language
except his own. The first idea of the practicability of such a project
was received by looking at an old piece of printed paper and
reflecting upon the very singular manner (to him) by which the white
people could place their thoughts on paper and communicate them to
others at a distance. A thought struck him that there surely must be
some mode by which the Indians could do the same. He first invented a
distinct character for each word, but soon found the number so great
that it was impossible to retain them in the memory. After several
months' labor he reduced his original plan so as to give to each
character a _syllabic sound_, and ascertained there were but
eighty-six variations of sounds in the whole language; and when each
of these was represented by some particular character or letter, the
language was at once reduced to a system, and the extraordinary mode
of now writing it crowned his labors with the most happy success.
Considerable improvement has been made in the formation of the
characters, in order that they might be written with greater facility.
One of the characters, being found superfluous, has been discarded,
reducing the number to eighty-five. Guess emigrated to the West in
1824. It has been much regretted that he did not remain in North
Carolina to witness the advantages and blessings of his discovery.

The Bible, newspapers and other literature are now published in the
_musical_ Cherokee language.

The Catawba Indians, contiguous to our southern borders, and once so
numerous and powerful, have dwindled down to a diminutive
remnant--mostly half breeds. They inhabited in their palmiest days
much of the territory south of the Tuscaroras, and adjoining the
Cherokees. For their general adherence to the patriots in the
Revolution they have always received the fostering care of the State.
They own a tract of land ten miles square in the south-east corner of
York county, South Carolina. They speak a different language from the
Cherokees, but possessing a similarity of musical sounds. They gave
origin to the name of the noble river along whose banks, in its
southern meanderings and its larger tributaries their lingering signs
of former habitation are frequently visible, informing us here they
once flourished in their simple avocations and enjoyments of the
forest, and now excite our commiseration in their gradual decay and
probable future extinction.


In conclusion, the author would remark that other historic materials
are on hand, in a partial state of preparation, which may hereafter be
published. The history of "liberty's story" in the "Old North State,"
with all its grand array of early patriotic developments, has never
been fully presented to the world. The field of research is still far
from being exhausted, and it is hoped others--descendants, it may be,
of our illustrious forefathers, will prosecute the same line of
investigation as herein attempted.

For the present, this series of sketches, with their unavoidable
omissions and imperfections, craving indulgent criticism, will come to
an end.


[A: Bancroft, I., p. 270.]

[B: Bancroft. Vol. II., p. 158.]

[C: Wheelers Sketches, I., p. 30.]

[D: Wheeler's Sketches, I., p. 49.]

[E: Wheeler's Sketches, I., p. 50.]

[F: Foote's Sketches of North Carolina, p. 83.]

[G: General Moultrie, in sneaking of this engagement in his "Memoirs
of the American Revolution," says: "When General Sumter began this
attack he had not more than ten rounds of ball to a man; but before
the action was over, he was amply supplied with arms and ammunition
from the British and Tories that fell in the beginning."]

[H: "Virtue affords no exemption from death."]

[I: "Beautiful, although dead."]

[J: Tarleton's Southern Campaigns, p. 94.]

[K: Lossing's "Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution," vol. II, p.

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