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Herman Husband, a time-line

Compiled by James A. Quinn

October 03, 1724 – born in Cecil County, Maryland to William Husband (Husbands) and Mary Kinkey (Kankey). The Husbands were originally indentured servants from England who became land owners and slave owners. The Kinkeys were of German ancestry. The name Harmon or Herman was passed down from the Kinkey side (it was the name of one of Herman’s uncles). Herman Husband’s parents moved from the Maryland Tide Water to Cecil County where they owned over 1700 acres on the east side of the Susquehannah River. The Husbands were members of the Church of England.

About 1731 – Herman went to live with his maternal grandfather, Herman Kankey, who was born in Hamburg, Germany. Herman Kankey was a very religious tavern owner who was anti-slavery.

1739 – Husband heard the preaching of George Whitefield in the village of North East, whose teachings became a major influence on his life. Whitefield preached that individual rebirth was key, not the beliefs of the various denominations. He preached a personal, blissful relationship with God. He also preached that man must actively work to bring the Second kingdom of Christ to Earth. His preaching was part of the “New Light” or “Great Awakening” movement of the first part of the eighteenth century. This led to a period of seeking for Husband which led him to quit the Anglicans, then the Presbyterians and finally settle on the Quakers and East Nottingham monthly meeting. Husband also became a millenarian – a believer in working to establish the Second Kingdom of Christ on earth. Husband’s younger brother Joseph and two of his sisters also became Quakers.

Husband embraced many of the Quaker beliefs including the personal relationship with God, the universal brotherhood of man (even non-Christians), a strong belief in obeying the Golden Rule, pacifism and a belief that holding slaves was wrong.

About 1745 – married “Elsey Phebe” Cox- children of this marriage were Thomas, Mary and Herman. Herman’s aunt, Catherine Kinkey had also married a Cox. “Elsey Phebe” died some time between 1753 and 1762. Husband bought a plantation in Maryland and prospered. He acquired more wealth as a land speculator, a part-owner of two copper mines and investment in a Caribbean shipping firm.

1750s and early 1760s – His land speculation leads him to buy land in the Piedmont of North Carolina. He ended up with over 10,000 acres on the Sandy Creek and Deep River. He wrote Lord Granville hoping to prevent the establishment of the Anglican Church as the state religion and to prevent slavery from being legal in the Piedmont of North Carolina.

1762 – After his wife’s death he moves to what was then Orange County, North Carolina and joined Cane Creek Monthly Meeting.

June 16, 1762 – Married Mary Pugh under the care of Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, in what is now Alamance Co., North Carolina. Mary was the daughter of Thomas Pugh and Elizabeth Richardson who had moved to North Carolina from Chester Co., PA.

June 16, 1763 – Son William is born. His mother dies shortly afterwards.

January 7, 1764 – Expelled from Cane Creek Monthly Meeting for opposing the new Quaker Discipline that was adopted after 1750 to make Quaker practice uniform. He objected to what he saw as the Friends’ placing the will of the Meeting over the leadings of the Holy Spirit.

10 May 1765 – married Amy (Emmy) Allen (born February 18, 1743/44 in Chester Co., PA), daughter of John Allen (mother Amy Cox) and Phebe Scarlett. Amy was expelled from Cane Creek MM for marrying Herman Husband. Children with Amy: David (1770), Isaac Tuscape (1771), Emmy (1775), Phoebe (1776).

After the Stamp Act it is said that Husband corresponded with Benjamin Franklin through John Wilcox. Husband began to equate the struggle for American liberty with his spiritual beliefs in the coming of the Second Kingdom. (Hogeland)

Protesting the arbitrary taxation policies of the wealthy classes in the Piedmont, Husband became a pamphlet writer for the Regulators.

April 30, 1768 – Arrest of Regulator leaders Harmon Husband and William Butler as leaders of a riot that rescued a horse from the tax collectors.

May 3, 1768 – Rescue of the arrested leaders by a mob. Husband was later acquitted as he had nothing to do with the riot other than being a pamphlet writer and spokesman for the people.

1769 An example of Husband’s writings on the internet: “Shew yourselves to be Freemen” 1770 Another example: “An Impartial Relation of the First Rise and Cause of the Recent Differences” (from

March 12, 1770 – Husband is elected to the North Carolina Assembly for a second term for Orange County with John Pryor.

December 20, 1770 the North Carolina House resolved to expel him from its membership, accusing him of being a “promotor of the late Riots and seditions in the County of Orange and other parts.” Husband was arrested for libel, though the document in question was written by James Hunter. When his arrest was found out in the backcountry, the Regulators assembled to free him. However, he was found not guilty (“no bill”) and was freed before they showed up.

As the Regulator movement progressed the pacifist Husband’s desire to negotiate with Governor Tryon was no longer favored and James Hunter and William Butler became the leaders of the movement. This was unfortunate in that the House passed legislation that largely met the Regulator grievances during the 1770 session including measures to give the back country more representation and fairer means of collecting taxes. (McKeehan)

Prior to the Battle of Alamance, Husband tries to arrange a compromise with the Governor and the Regulators, but was unsuccessful. In March, Governor Tryon marched the militias from the eastern counties of North Carolina to the Piedmont to suppress the Regulators.

May 16, 1771 – The Battle of Alamance. A pacifist, who has a price on his head, Husband leaves North Carolina prior to the battle, one of a dozen men to whom the Governor’s pardon does not apply.

1771 – After Alamance he traveled under the pseudonym “Tuscape Death”. He first went back to Maryland, but shortly thereafter began hiding in the Allegheny Mountains with Isaac Cox, his wife’s step-father, who was a hunter and trapper who lived in The Glades in what is now Somerset County, Pennsylvania (then Bedford County). Here he was the first to clear the land for farming with nothing but one horse and his family. Husband later bought hunter William Spark’s land in The Glades and much of the other surrounding land in The Glades, including later that of Isaac Cox, again becoming land rich, even though he had lost everything in North Carolina. His friends in Pennsylvania call him the “Old Quaker.”

1776 – Plots out the town of Somerset. “In the tax records for Turkey Foot Township, Bedford Co., PA Herman Husband has 900 acres, 9 head of cattle, 2 horses, but did not live there. In Ouemahoning Township, Bedford Co., PA he is listed as owning 400 acres but did not live there.” (Ellen Ward)

1776-1783. A supporter of the Revolution, Husband was appointed tax collector by the new American government for the Glades. He supported the new Pennsylvania constitution passed at the beginning of the revolution. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly after it passed. This Assembly enacted many bills supported by the working people of Pennsylvania such as price control regulations, support of families left without fathers who were called to serve in the Revolution and resolutions against profiteering which were supported by Husband.

1787 – Husband is not a supporter of the new US Constitution, preferring local control to national control of government and being suspicious of the (then) unelected Senate as looking too much like the House of Lords. Things Husband was for: an income tax with progressively higher rates for the rich, much as today; public promotion of arts and sciences; rules against nepotism and patronage; no slavery; peace with the Indians, paper currency with price controls; profit-sharing for workers. (Hogeland) For these views, he was viewed as a sympathizer with the French Revolution, an unpopular stand with Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists in power at the time.

1789 – Elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly

1794 – Husband’s writings and sermons were blamed as a cause of the Whiskey Rebellion. He viewed the Federal government and its tax policy as favoring the eastern wealthy elite at the expense of the small farmer and small manufacturers who were the majority in western Pennsylvania. He fanned popular opinion against the Whiskey tax. However, when the resistance became violent he preached moderation and non-violence. He was among the first leaders of the movement arrested (July 1794) and was tried for sedition but was quickly found not guilty by the jury on May 12, 1795.

On May the 12, 1795, Husband and seven others were released from prison. His health failing, he died of pneumonia on June 19, 1795 at a tavern outside of Philadelphia in the presence of his wife Amy and son John. His grave site is unknown.


Relatives of Herman Husband involved in the Regulation:

  • Harmon Cox (1723-1812), was Herman Husband’s first cousin (his mother was the sister of Husband’s mother). Many of the Regulator’s meetings were held at his mill. He was arrested after the Battle of Alamance 1771, tried for high treason and convicted. Governor Tryon pardoned him after he signed an oath of Loyalty to the King. Nevertheless, he took the Whig side in the Revolution as did his brothers. Harmon Cox was listed as one of the 12 wealthiest men in Randolph Co., NC at the time of its formation in 1779.
  • Solomon Cox (abt 1730-1812) – brother of Harmon Cox, first cousin of Harmon Husband – disowned by the Quakers in 1767 for participating in the Regulation.
  • James Pugh (1733-1771), brother in law, son of Thomas Pugh – hung by Governor Tryon after the Battle of Alamance. Gun-smith and crack shot. “The blood we have shed will be as good seed sown, and will reap a hundred-fold,” he said just before they hanged him.
  • Thomas Pugh (1703-1794), father in law – disowned by the Friends for participating in the Regulation.

Surnames related to Harmon Husband (ancestors, married to siblings or siblings of spouses or parents/grandparents of spouses, or married to children):

Allen, Amick, Bowater, Cox, Dunbar, Fruit, Haines, Hopkins, Husband/Husbands, Kimmel, King, Kinkey/Kankey, Price, Pugh, Pusey, Richardson, Scarlett, Stewart/Stuart, Stump, Walker

Surnames related to Harmon Cox b. 1723

Allen, Cain, Carr, Cox, Davis, Dixon, Farrell, Fincher, Garrettson, Hunt, John/Johns, Kinkey/Kankey, Lindley, Moffitt, Nichols, Potts, Scarlett


Biographies available, but not used here that the serious scholar should consult:

  • “Herman Husband, a story of his life”, by Mary Elinor Lazenby, Publisher: Washington, D.C., Old Neighborhoods press, 1940.

Hogeland’s new book above draws on three Ph.D. theses which could be ordered as pdfs through a University library:

  • Bouton, Terry. “Tying Up the Revolution: Money, Power, and the Regulation in Pennsylvania,” Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1996.
  • Fennell, Dorothy E. “From Rebelliousness to Insurrection: A Social History of the Whiskey Rebellion, 1765-1802.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1981.
  • Jones, Mark H. “Herman Husband: Millenarian, Carolina Regulator, and Whiskey Rebel.” Ph.D. dissertation, Northern Illinois University, 1982.

From these the reader can surely be pointed to the original sources available. The Regulators | Flower Swift Home | New River Notes Home