OUR PART IN THE REVOLUTION.<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1
N. C. Booklet, Vol. I, No.7, p.3"> In the summer of 1780 "the British were making a supreme effort to dismember the colonies by the conquest of the Southern States." "They thought," says Holmes, "that important advantages might be expected from shifting the war to the rich Southern colonies, which chiefly upheld the financial credit of the Confederacy in Europe, and through which the Americans received most of their military and other supplies.," "The militiaman of Western North Carolina was unique in his way. Regarded by his government, in the words of Governor Graham, as 'a self-supporting institution,' he went forth to service generally without thought of drawing uniform, rations, arms or pay. A piece of white paper pinned to his hunting cap was his uniform; a wallet of parched flour or a sack of meal was his commissariat; a tin-cup, a frying-pan and a pair of saddle-bags, his only impedimenta; his domestic rifle-a Deckard or a Kutter-and sometimes a sword, made in his own black-smith shop, constituted his martial weapons; a horse capable of long subsisting on nature's bounty was his means of rapid mobilization or 'hasty change of base'; a sense of manly duty performed, his quarter's pay. Indeed, his sense of propriety would have been rudely shocked by any suggestion of reward for serving his endangered country… An expert rider and an unerring shot, he was yet disdainful of the discipline that must mechanaze a man into a soldier or convert a mob into an army … he was so tenacious of personal freedom as to be jealous of the authority of officers chosen by his vote."
THE MECKLENBURG RESORCES. Alamance was but the forerunner of the declaration of independence at Mecklenburg, the proof of which follows:
Hon. George Bancroft, the historian, and at the time Minister to England, wrote to David L. Swain, at Chapel Hill, July 4, 1848, as follows "The first account of the Resolves by the people in Charlotte Town, Mecklenburg County, was sent over by Sir James Wright, then Governor of Georgia, in a letter of the 20th of June, 1775. The newspaper thus transmitted is still preserved, and is in number 498 of the South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal.<a href="#2" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 2
Dropped Stitches, 2, p.17"> Tuesday, June 13, 1775. I read the Resolves, you may be sure, with reverence, and immediately obtained a copy of them, thinking myself the sole discoverer. I do not send you the copy, as it is identically the same with the paper you enclosed to me, but I forward to you a transcript of the entire letter of Sir James Wright. The newspapers seem to have reached him after he had finished his dispatch, for the paragraph relating to it is added in his own handwriting, tee former part being written by a secretary…. It is a mistake if any have supposed that the Regulators were cowed down by their defeat at Alamance."
THE MEN OF ASHE AND BUNCOMBE. As many of those who had taken part in the Mecklenburg Resolves bore their part in the Revolutionary War which followed, and then moved into Ashe and Buncombe counties, wert of the Blue Ridge, the interest of their descendants in the reality of heroic step is intense. As, also, many of these men were with Sevier and McDowell in the expedition to and battle of Kings Mountain, the following account of their experiences through the mountains Western North Carolina and of the landmarks which still mark their old trails must be of equal importance.
WESTERN NORTH CAROLINIANS WON THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.<a href="#3" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 3
Asheville's Centenary"> After the battle of Alamance, the defiance declared at public meetings, the declaration of independence at Mecklenburg and at Halifax; after Gates' defeat at Camden, August 16, 1780, and Sumter's rout at Fishing' creek, Cornwallis started northward to complete the conquest of Virginia and North Carolina. "At this dark crisis the Western North Carolinians conceived and organized and, with the aid which they sought and received from Virginia and the Watauga settlement [the latter being then a part of North Carolina) now in Tennessee, carried to glorious success at Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780, an expedition which thwarted all the plans of the British commander, and restored the almost lost cause of the Americans and rendered possible its final triumph at Yorktown on October 19, 1781. This expedition was without reward or the hope of reward, undertaken and executed by private individuals, at their own instance, who furnished their own arms, conveyances and supplies, bore their own expenses, achieved the victory, and then quietly retired to their homes, leaving the benefit of their work to all Americans, and the United States their debtors for independence."
VANCE, McDOWELL AND HENRY. "The white occupation of North Carolina had extended only to the Blue Ridge when the Revolution began"; but at its close General Charles McDowell, Col. David Vance and Private Robert Henry were among the first to cross the Blue Ridge and settle in the new county of Buncombe.<a href="#4" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 4
McDowell entered land and settled his children near Brevard"> As a reward for their services, no doubt, they were appointed to run and mark the line between North Carolina and Tennessee in 1799, McDowell and Vance as commissioners and Henry as surveyor. While on this work they wrote and left in the care of Robert Henry their narratives of the battle of Kings Mountain and the fight at Cowan's ford. After his death Robert Henry's son, William L. Henry, furnished the manuscript to the late Dr. J. F. E. Hardy, and he sent it to Dr. Lyman C. Draper, of Wisconsin. On it is largely based his "King's Mountain and its Heroes" (1880).
DAVID VANCE. He was the grandfather of Governor and General Vance; "came south with a great tide of Scotch-Irish emigration which flowed into the Piedmont country from the middle colonies between 1744 and 1752, and made his home on the Catawba river, in what is now Burke, and was then Rowan county, where he married Miss Brank about 1775; and here, pursuing his vocation as a surveyor and teacher, the beginning of the Revolutionary war found him. He was one of the first in North Carolina to take up arms in support of the colonies, and in June, 1776, was appointed ensign in the second North Carolina regiment of Regular Continental troops, and shortly thereafter was promoted to a lieutenancy, and served with his regiment until May or June, 1778, "when the remnant of that regiment was consolidated with other North Carolina troops. He served at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and was with Washington at Valley Forge through the terrible winter of 1777-78. In command of a company he fought at Ramseur's Mill, Cowpens, and King's Mountain in 1780-81. His son David was the father of Zebulon and Robert B. Vance, the United States senator and Confederate general respectively, was a prominent and influential citizen of his time, and a captain in the War of 1812, which, however, terminated before his regiment reached the theater of war.
CAPTAIN WILLIAM MOORE. He was from Ulster county, Ireland, and was the 'first white man to settle west of the Blue Ridge in Buncombe. He was with his brother-in-law, Griffith Rutherford when that officer came through Buncombe in 1776 on his way to punish the Cherokees, and was struck with the beauty and fertility of the spot on which he afterwards settled, six and a half miles west of Asheville, the present residence, remodeled and enlarged, of Dr. David M. Gudger. He was a captain of one of Rutherford's companies. He returned in 1777 and built a fort on the site above referred to, obtaining a grant for 640 acres from Governor Caswell soon afterwards, for "land on Hominy creek, Burke county." But he had to leave his new home for the Revolutionary War, in which he served gallantly, returning at its close with his own family-his wife being Gen. Rutherford's sister-and five others. He had three sons, William, Samuel, and Charles, and three daughters, all of whom married Penlands, brothers. William and Samuel moved to Georgia, and Charles, the youngest, fell heir to the home place. Of him Col. Allen T. Davidson says in The Lyceum for April, 1891, page 24, that he had been born in a fort on Hominy creek "and was one of the most honorable, hospitable, open-hearted men it was my good fortune to know, whom I was taught by my parents to revere and respect; and I can now say I never found in him anything to lessen the high estimate placed upon him by them."
MOUNTAIN TORIES. There was a man named Mills mentioned in "The Heart of the Alleghanies" as living in Henderson county during the Revolutionary War; local tradition says there was a Tory named Hicks who at some time during the Revolutionary War built hiraself a pole cabin on what is now the Meadow Farm near Banners Elk; but which was for years known as Hick's Improvement. Benjamin Howard built what is known as the Boone cabin for the accommodation of himself and his herders when they were looking after the cattle grazing on the mountains near what is now the town of Boone. Howard's Knob, where he is said to had a cave, and Howard's creek are named for him. daughter Sarah married Jordan Council, Sr., a prominent citizen, and they lived near the oak tree that has buck-horns embedded in its trunk, near Boone village. There is also here at the spring, a large sycamore tree which grew from a switch stuck in the moist soil by Jesse Council, eldest son of Jordan Coucil, but one hundred years ago. Howard was a Tory. Some of the Norris family are said to have been Tories also and two men, named White and Asher, were killed by the Whigs near Shull's Mills during the Revolutionary War.<a href="#5" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 5
Captain W. M. Hodge's statement to Col. W. L. Bryan of Boone, 1912 in letter from latter to J. P. A., November 26, 1912."> There were, doubtless, other Tories hidden in these mountains during those troublous times. Daniel Boone himself was not above suspicion, and escaped conviction under charges of disloyalty at Boonesborough, Ky., by pleading that his acts of apparent disloyalty were due to the fact that he had been "playing the Indians in order to gain time for getting reinforcements to come up."<a href="#6" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 6
Thwaites, p. 167">
THE NORRIS FAMILY. William Norris settled on Meat Camp, and his brother Jonathan on New river, about 1803, probably, as William was less than ninety when he died in 1873.
THOMAS HODGES came to Hodges' gap one, and a half miles west of what is now Boone, during the Revolutionary War. He came from Virginia, and brought his family with him. He was a Tory and was seeking to keep out of taking up arms against Great Britain when he came to his new home. There was a Norris in this section who was also a Tory. Thomas Hodges' son Gilbert married a daughter of Robert Shearer who lived on New River, three miles from Boone, and died there about 1845. Robert Shearer was a Scotchman who had fought in the American army. In 1787 Gilbert was born, and lived at the place of his birth in Hodges' gap till his death in December, 1862. Hollard Hodges, a son of Gilbert, was born there July 18, 1827, and is still there. He still remembers that about 1856 he and Jordan McGhee in one day killed 432 rattlesnakes on a rocky and cliffy place on the Rich mountain about three miles from Boone; and that he has always heard that Ben. Howard had entered all the land about Hodges gap. His wife was born Elizabeth Councill, and is a grand-daughter of Jordan Council, Sr., whose wife was Sallie, daughter of Ben. Howard.
HENDERSON COUNTY HEROES. In her history of Henderson county, written for this work, Mrs. Mattie S. Candler says, "here are unquestionably numbers of quiet sleepers in the little old and neglected burying grounds all over the county who followed Shelby and Sevier at Kings Mountain,"and mentions the grandfather of Misses Ella and Lela McLean and Mrs. Hattie Scott as having fought against his immediate relatives in the British army on that occasion, receiving a severe wound there. Elijah Williamson is said to have lived in Henderson county on land now owned by Preston Patton, his great grandson. Williamson was born in Virginia, moved to Ninety-Six, S. C., and afterwards settled on the Patton farm, where he planted five sycamore trees, naming each for one of his daughters. They still stand. Samuel Fletcher, ancestor of Dr. G. E. Fletcher and of Mrs. Wm. R. Kirk and Miss Estelle Edgerton of Hendersonville, owned an immense tract adjoining the Patton farm, to which it is supposed he came about the time that Elijah Williamson did.
DESCENDANTS OF REVOLUTIONARY HEROES. Representatives of several Revolutionary soldiers reside in these mountains, among whom are the Alexanders, Davidsons, Fosters, McDowells, Coffeys, Bryans, Penlands, Wisemans, Allens, Welches, and scores of others, who fought in North Carolina. Others are descendants of Nathan Horton, who was a member of the guard at the execution of Major Andre, when he carried a shot-gun loaded with one ball and three buckshot. J. B. Horton, a direct descendant, has the gun now. J. C. Horton, who lives on the South Fork of the New River, near Boone, has a grandfather's clock which his ancestor, Nathan Horton, brought with him from New Jersey over one hundred years ago. The late Superior Court Judge, L. L. Greene of Boone, and the Greenes of Watauga generally, trace their descent directly from General Nathanael Greene, who conducted the most masterly retreat of the Revolutionary War, when he slowly retired before Cornwallis from Camden to Yorktown, and won the applause of even the British.
THE OLD FIELD. Where Gap creek empties into the South Fork of New River is a rich meadow on which, according to tradition, there has never been any trees. It has been called the "old field" time out of mind. it was here that Col. Cleveland was captured by a notorious Tory named Riddle and his followers during the Revolutionary War.<a href="#8" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 8
Wheeler's History of North Carolina, p.444"> The tree under which it is said he was seated when surprised and captured is still standing in the yard of the old Luther Perkins home,<a href="#9" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 9
He was probably related to "Gentleman George" Perkins who had piloted Bishop Spangenberg's party in 1752, Col. Rec., Vol. V, pp. 1 to 14."> now occupied by a son of Nathan Waugh. The tree is said to be 180 years old. It is three feet in diameter six feet from the ground, and still bears fruit. It is said that Mrs. Perkins sent her daughter to notify Ben Cleveland and Joseph Calloway of Cleveland's capture and that they followed him by means of twigs dropped in the river as he was led up stream, having joined the party of Captain Cleveland, who had gone in pursuit. Greer lived four miles above Old Field and Calloway two miles below. It is said that Greer shot one of the captors at Riddle's knob, to which point Cleveland had been taken, and that the rest fled, Cleveland himself dropping behind the log on which he had been seated while slowly writing passes for his captors. It is also claimed that Ben Greer fired the shot which killed Col. Ferguson at Kings Mountain.<a href="#10" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 10
This tradition is also preserved in the family of Prof. Isaac G. Greer, professor history in the Appalachian Training School, Boone."> Roosevelt says Ferguson was pierced by half a dozen bullets. (Vol. iii, 170).
THE WOLF'S DEN. Riddle's knob is ten miles north of Boone, and is even yet a "wild and secluded spot, being very near the noted Elk Knob, the place where this noted Tory had his headquarters. It is known as the "Wolf's Den," and is the place where the early settlers caught many young wolves." About 1857 Micajah Tugman found Riddle's knife in the crevices of the Wolf's Den. It was of peculiar design, the "jaws" being six inches long, and the handle was curved.<a href="#11" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 11
From Col. W.L. Bryan's "Primitive History of the Mountain Region," written 1912 for this work.">
BENJAMIN CLEVELAND. This brave man was born in Virginia May 26, 1738. When thirty-one years of age he came to North Carolina to live, settling in Wilkes county. In 1776 he became a Whig. He was himself somewhat cruel, as it is related of him that "some time after this (his capture at Old Field) this same Riddle and his son, and another was taken, and brought before Cleveland, and he hung all three of them near the Mulberry Meeting House, now Wilkesborough".<a href="#12" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 12
Wheeler's History of North Carolina, p.444"> Cleveland weighed over three hundred pounds, and his men called him "Old Roundabout," and themselves "Cleveland's Bull Dogs." The Tories, however, called them "Cleveland's Devils." He was a captain in Rutherford's expedition across the mountains to punish the Cherokees in 1776, for which service he was made a colonel, and as such rendered great service in suppressing Tory bands on the frontier. He raised a regiment of four hundred men in Surry and Wilkes counties and with them took part in Kings Mountain fight. Before he died he weighed over 450 pounds, but was cheerful and witty to the end, which came in October, 1806.<a href="#13" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 13
N. C. Booklet, Vol. I, No.7, p.27">
DR. DRAPER'S ACCOUNT. In his "Kings Mountain and Its Heroes,"' Dr. Draper tells us (Ch. 19, p.437, et seq.) that the Old Fields belonged to Colonel Cleveland, and served, in peaceful times, as a grazing region for his stock, and there his tenant, Jesse Duncan, resided. On Saturday, April 14, 1881, accompanied only by a negro servant, Cleveland rode from his "Round About" plantation on the Yadkin to the Old Fields, where he spent the night. Captain William Riddle, a son of Col. James Riddle of Surry county, both of whom were Royalists, was at that time approaching Old Field from Virginia, with Captain Ross, a Whig captive, and his servant, enroute to Ninety Six, in South Carolina. Captain Riddle's party of six or eight men, reached the home of Benjamin Cutbirth, some four miles above Old Field on the afternoon of the day that Cleveland arrived at Jesse Duncan's, and abused Cutbirth, who was a Whig and suffering from wounds he had but recently sustained in the American cause. Riddle, however, soon left Cutbirth's and went on to the upper end of Old Fields, where Joseph and Timothy Perkins resided, about one mile above Duncan's. Both these men were absent in Tory service at the time; but Riddle learned from their women that Cleveland was at Duncan's "with only his servant, Duncan and one or two of the Calloway family." Riddle, however, was afraid to attack Cleveland openly, and determined to lure him into an ambush the next morning. Accordingly, that night, he had Cleveland's horses secretly taken from Duncan's to a laurel thicket "just above the Perkins house," where they were tried and left. But, it so happened, that on that very Saturday, Richard Calloway and his brother-in-law, John Shirley, went down from the neighboring residence of Thomas Calloway, to see Col. Cleveland, where they remained over night. On the following (Sunday) morning, discovering that his horses were missing, Cleveland and Duncan, each with a pistol, and Calloway and Shirley, unarmed, went in pursuit, following the tracks of the stolen horses, just as Riddle had planned. "Reaching the Perkins place, one of the Perkins women knowing of the ambuscade, secretly desired to save the Colonel from his impending fate, and detained him as long as she could, while his three companions went on, Cleveland following some little distance behind." She also followed, retarding Cleveland by enquiries, until his companions had crossed the fence that adjoined the thicket, where they were fired upon by Riddle's men from their places of concealment. Calloway's thigh was broken by the shot of Zachariah Wells, but Duncan and Shirley escaped. Cleveland "dodged into the house with several Tories at his heels." There he surrendered on condition that they would spare his life; but when Wells arrived he swore that he would kill Cleveland then and there, and would have done so had not the latter "seized Abigal Walters and kept her between him and his would-be assassin. Riddle, however, soon came upon the scene and ordered Wells to desist; after which, "the whole party with their prisoner and his servant were speedily mounted and hurried up New river," traveling "mostly in its bed to avoid being tracked, in case of pursuit." Two boys, of fourteen and fifteen, "Daniel Cutbirth and a youth named Walters," had resolved to waylay Riddle on his return to Benjamin Cutbirth's, and rescue whatever prisoners he might have with him; but they were deterred from their purpose by the size and noise of Riddle's party as they passed their place of concealment that Sunday morning. Riddle's party got dinner at Benjamin Cutbirth's where one of Cutbirth's daughters was abused and kicked by Riddle because of her reluctance in serving Riddle's party. After dinner Riddle's party proceeded up the bed of New river to the mouth of Elk creek, where the new and promising town of Todd now flourishes at the terminus of a new railroad now building from Konarok, Va., Cleveland meanwhile breaking off overhanging twigs and dropping them in the stream as a guide to his friends who, he knew, would soon follow in pursuit. "From the head of the south fork of Elk, they ascended up the mountains in what has since been known as Riddle's Knob, in what is now Watauga county, and some fourteen miles from the place of Cleveland's captivity," where they camped for the night. Meantime, early that Sabbath morning, Joseph Calloway and his brother-in-law, Berry Toney, had called at Duncan's, and hearing firing in the direction of Perkins's home, hastened there; but, meeting Duncan and Shirley in rapid flight, they learned from them that Richard Calloway had been left behind for dead and that Cleveland was either dead or captured. Duncan, Shirley and Toney then went to notify the people of the scattered settlements to meet that afternoon at the Old Fields, while Joseph Calloway rode to Captain Robert Cleveland's place on Lewis Fork of the Yadkin river, a dozen miles distant. His brother, William Calloway, started forthwith up New river and soon came across Benjamin Greer and Samuel McQueen, who readily joined them, and together they followed Riddle's trail till night overtook them ten miles above the Old Fields, where Calloway and McQueen remained, while Greer returned to pilot whatever men might have gathered to engage in the pursuit of the Tories. Greer soon met Robert Cleveland and twenty others at the Old Fields, and all started at once, reaching Calloway and McQueen before day Monday morning. John Baker joined Calloway and McQueen to lead the advance as spies or advance guards; and, soon after sunrise, the nine men who were in advance of the others fired upon Riddle's party, while Cleveland tumbled behind the log on which he was slowly writing passes for his Tory captors. But Wells alone was shot, being hit as he scampered away by William Calloway, and was left as it was supposed that he had been mortally wounded. Riddle and his wife mounted horses and escaped with the others of his band. "Cleveland's servant, who had been a pack-horse for the Tory plunderers," was rescued" his master. Captain Ross, Riddle's Virginia prisoner, was rescued. Shortly after this Riddle captured on Kings creek at night two of Cleveland's noted soldiers, David and John Witherspoon, who resided with their parents on Kings creek, and spirited them many miles away in the mountain region on Watauga river. Here they escaped death by taking the oath of allegiance to the King of England, and were released; but as soon as they reached their home, David hastened to notify Col. Ben. Herndon, several miles down the Yadkin, who with a party of men, under the guidance of the Witherspoon brothers returned and captured Riddle and two of his noted associates, Reeves and Gross, [sic - Goss] who were taken to Wilkesboro and "executed on the hill adjoining the village on a stately oak. Mrs. Riddle," who seems to have accompanied her husband on his wild and reckless marauds, "was present and witnessed his execution." Wells had been captured and hanged by Cleveland a short time before. (P.446.)
DAVID AND JOHN WITHERSPOON. Of these heroes Dr. Draper says (p.461), "David was a subordinate officer-perhaps a lieutenent- in Cleveland's regiment at Kings mountain, and his younger brother John was a private." They were of Scotch origin, but natives of New Jersey. David was born in 1758 and John in 1760. They were collateral relatives of John Witherspoon, president of Princeton college, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Each afterwards represented Wilkes in the legislature. David died in May 1828 while on a visit to South Carolina, and John in Wayne county, Tenn., in 1839. Captain William Harrison Witherspoon, of Jefferson, was descended from John Witherspoon, and was born near Kings creek, January 24, 1841. He was a sergeant major of the 1st N. C. Infantry, was shot in the leg at Seven Pines in 1862, and in the forehead at Spottsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864, returning for duty in less than two months. He surrendered with Lee at Appomattox, after serving four years and nine days in the Confederate army. His wife was born Clarissa Pennell in Wilkes County. In the Spring of 1865, while seven of Stonemen's men-three negroes and four white men-were trying to break into her father's stable near Wilkesboro, for the purpose of stealing her father's horses and mules, she warned them that if they persisted she would shoot; and as they paid her no heed, she did actually shoot and kill one of the white robbers, and the rest fled. Gen. Stoneman, when he heard of her conduct, sent her a guard and complimented her highly for her courage and determination.
THE PERKINS FAMILY. J. D. Perkins, Esq., an attorney at Kendrick, Va., in a letter to his brother, L. N. Perkins, at Boone, N. C., of date December 1, 1913, says that his ancestors Joseph and Timothy Perkins were tax gatherers under the colonial government of Massachusetts about the commencement of the Revolutionary War, but removed to Old Fields, Ashe county on account of political persecution. They remained loyal to the King during the whole of the Revolutionary War, and Timothy was killed somewhere in Ashe in a Tory skirmish. Timothy left several sons and one daughter, Lucy, J. D. Perkins' great grandmother, who married a man named Young. Joseph also left sons and daughters. "I have forgotten the names of most of our great grand uncles," wrote J. D. Perkins in the letter above mentioned, "but I remember to have heard our mother tell about seeing 'Granny Skritch,' a sister to our great-great-grandfather, and who was very old at that time, and living with one of her Perkins relatives up on Little Wilson. Our mother was then quite small and the old lady (Granny Skritch) was very old and confined to her bed; but our mother was impressed with Granny Skritch's loyalty, even then, to King George, and the manner in which she abused the Patriot soldiers in her talk."
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTs. Dr. Draper says (p.435), "In the summer of 1780 he (Cleveland) was constantly employed in surppressing the Tories-first in marching against those assembled at Ramsour's mill, reaching them shortly after their defeat; then in chasing Col. (Samuel) Bryan from the State, and finally in scouring the region of New River including the Tory rising in that quarter, capturing and hanging some of their notorious leaders and outlaws."
CLEVELAND'S CHARACTER. Dr. Draper tries to temper the facts of Benjamin Cleveland's career as much as possible, but that this hero of the Revolutionary War was inhumanly cruel, cannot be disguised. His compelling a horse-thief, socalled-for he had not been tried-to cut off his own ears with a case knife in order to escape death by hanging, was inexpressibly revolting. (P.447). Cleveland lost his "Round About Farm" "by a better title" at the close of the war, and moved to the "fine region of the Tugalo on the western border of South Carolina" and "though the Indian title was not yet extinguished," he resolved to be among the early squatters of the country, and "removed to his new home in the forks of the Tugalo river and Chauga creek in the present county of Oconee" in 1785. He served many years as a "judge of the Court of Old Pendleton county, with General Pickens and Col. Robert Anderson as his associates, … 'frequently taking a snooze on the bench' says Governor B. F. Perry, while the lawyers were making long and prosy speeches." He was defeated for the legislature in 1793 by seven votes "He had scarcely any education," and "was despotic in his nature" declares Dr. Draper; but "North Carolina deservedly commemorated his services by naming a county after him. Here he died and was buried; but "no monument-no inscription-no memorial stone-point out his silent resting place." (P. 453A.)
ASHE A BATTLE GROUND. From Robert Love's pension papers it appears that the first battle in which he took part was when he was in command of a party of Americans in 1780 against a party of Tories in July of that year. This band of Tories was composed of about one hundred and fifty men, and they were routed "up New River at the Big Glades, now in Ashe county, North Carolina, as they were on the way to join Cornwallis." "In the year 1780 this declarent was engaged against the Torys at a special court first held on Toms creek down the New river, and afterwards upon Cripple creek; then up New river…then, afterwards at the Moravian Old Town…. making an examination up to near the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin … routing two parties of Tories in Guilford county, hanging one of the party who fell into his hands up the New River, and another, afterwards, whom they captured in Guilford." This activity may explain the presence of the mysteriuos battle ground in Alleghany county. (See ch. 13, "A Forgotten Battlefield.")
THE BIG GLADES. This may be the Old Field, and it is most probable that this is the spot reached and lauded by Bishop Spangenberg in 1752. (See ch. 3, "In Goshen's Land.")
But whether they are identical with that locality or not, the following is an account of that well-known spot:
SHORT STORY OF AN OLD PLACE. This land was granted to Luther Perkins by grant No.599, which is recorded in Ashe county July 28, 1904, Book WW, page 254. But the grant itself is dated November 30, 1805, while the land was entered in May, 1803. This tract is the one on which the apple tree stands under which Cleveland is said to have been captured; but it is probably not the first tract nor the best, which was conveyed by Charles McDowell, a son of Gen. Charles McDowell of Revolutionary fame, to Richard Gentry for $1,000 in 1854. There seems to be several hundred acres in that boundary, beginning on a Spanish oak in the line of Joseph Perkins's Old Field Tract, and crossing Gap creek. There is no record in Ashe county, of how Charles McDowell got this place, though he probably inherited it. Richard Gentry divided his property into three parts, two in land and one in slaves. Adolphus Russeau, who married one of Gentry's daughters got the land now owned by Arthur Phillips. Nathan Waugh got the other tract, while James Gentry, a son, took the slaves. It was on this 'tract that the first 100 bushels of corn to the acre of land in Ashe county was raised by Richard Gentry. He was a member of the family of whom Dr. Cox said in his "Foot Prints," (p. 110): "The Gentry family have been distinguished for their principles and patriotic love of constitutional liberty and justice." Of Hon. Richard Gentry himself he said (p. 116): "He married a Miss Harboard and his residence was at Old Field. He was a Baptist preacher, justice of the peace and clerk of the Superior Court and a member of both branches of the legislature."
SWORD-TILT BETWEEN HERNDON AND BEVERLY. "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 Cleveland inflicted without ceremony. General Lenoir relates a circumstance that occurred at Mulberry Meeting-house. While there, on some public occasion, the rumor was that mischief was going on by the Tories. Lenoir went to his horse, tied at some distance from the house, and, as he approached, a man ran off from the opposite side of the horse. Lenoir hailed him, but he did not stop; he pursued him and found that he had stolen one of the stirrups of his saddle. He carried the pilferer to Colonel Cleveland, who ordered him to place his two thumbs in a notch for that purpose in an arbor fork, and hold them there while he ordered him to receive fifteen lashes. This was his peculiar manner of inflicting the law, and gave origin to the phrase, 'To thumb the notch.' The punishment on the offender above was well inflicted by Captain John Beverly, whose ardor did not stop at the ordered number. After the fifteen had been given, Colonel Herndon ordered him to stop, but Beverly continued to whip the wincing culprit. Colonel Herndon drew his sword and struck Beverly. Captain Beverly drew also, and they had a tilt which, but for friends would have terminated fatally."<a href="#14" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 14
Wheeler's History of North Carolina, p.445">
SHAD LAWS' OAK. There is a tree on the public road in Wilkes, which to this day bears the name of "Shad Laws' Oak," on which the notches, thumbed by said Laws under the sentence of Cleveland, are distinctly visible.<a href="#15" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 15
Ibid., citing Mss. of General Wm. Lenoir">
SEVIER THE HARRY PERCY OF THE REVOLUTION. When "General Charles McDowell, finding his force too weak to stop Ferguson," "crossed the mountains to the Watauga settlements, he found the mountaineers ready to unite against the hated Ferguson…. These hardy men set out to search for Ferguson on September 25 (1780). They were armed with short Deckard rifles, and were expert shots. They knew the woods as wild deer do, and from boyhood had been trained in the Indian ways of fighting. They furnished their own horses and carried bags of parched flour for rations."<a href="#16" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 16
According to Dr. Lyman C. Draper's "Kings Mountain and Its Heroes," page 176, Sevier followed the Gap creek from Mathew Talbot's Mill, now known as Clark's Mill, three miles from Sycamore Shoals, "to its head, when they bore somewhat to the left, crossing Little Doe river, reaching the noted 'Resting Place,' at the Shelving Rock, about a mile beyond the Crab Orchard, where, after a march of some twenty miles that day, they took up their camp for the night. . Here a man named Miller resided, who shod several of the horses of the party." The next morning, Wednesday, the twenty-seventh (of September, 1780,)…. they reached the base of the Yellow and Roan mountains and ascended the mountain by following the well-known Bright's Trace, through a gap between the Yellow mountain on the north and the Roan mountain on the south. The sides and top of the mountain were "covered shoe-mouth deep with snow." On the 100 acres of "beautiful table land" on top they paraded and discharged their short Deckard rifles; "and such was the rarity of the atmosphere, that there was little or no report." Here two of Sevier's men deserted. They were James Crawford and Samuel Chambers, and were suspected of having gone ahead to warn Ferguson of Sevier's approach. Sevier did not camp there, however, as there was still some hours of daylight left after the parade and refreshments, but "passed on a couple of miles, descending the eastern slope of the mountains into Elk Hollow, a slight depression between the Yellow and Roan mountains, rather than a gap; and here, at a fine spring flowing into Roaring creek, they took up their camp for the night. Descending Roaring creek on the 28th four miles they reached its confluence with the North Toe river, 'and a mile below they passed Bright's place, now Avery's; and thence down the Toe to the noted spring on the Davenport place, since Tate's, and now known as the Childs place, a little distance west of the stream."
HAYWOOD IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
"Long before white people had come into the mountain country, all the land now included in Haywood county was occupied by the warlike Cherokees. As the western frontier of civilization, however, approached the Indian territory, the simple natives of the hills retired farther and farther into the fastnesses of the mountains. While the Regulators were resisting Tryon at Alamance and the patriots under Caswell and Moore were bayonetting the Tories at Moore's Creek Bridge, the Cherokees of what is now Haywood county were smoking their pipes in peace under the shadows of Old Bald or hunting along the banks of the murmuring Pigeon and its tributaries.
"When, however, the tide of western immigration overflowed the French Broad and began to reach the foothills of the Balsams the Cherokees, ever friendly as a rule to the white man, gave up their lands and removed to the banks of the Tuckaseigee, thus surrendering to their white brothers all the land eastward of a llne running north and south between the present town of Waynesville and the Balsam range of mountains. Throughout the period of the early settlement of Haywood county and until the present the most friendly relations have existed between the white people and the Cherokees.
"Only one incident is given by tradition which shows that any hostile feeling existed at any time. It is related that a few Indians from their settlement on the Tuckaseigee, before the close of the eighteenth century, went across the Smoky mountains into Teunessee sad stole several horses from the settlers there. A posse of white men followed the redskins, who came across the Pigeon on their way home, encamped for the night on Richland near the present site of the Hardwood factory m Waynesville. While encamped for the night, their white pursuers came up, fired into them, recaptured the horses, and began their journey back to Tennessee. The Indians, taken by surprise, scattered, but soon recovered themselves and went in pursuit of the white men. At Twelve Mile creek they came upon the whites encamped for the night. Indian fashion they made an attack, and in the fight which ensued one white man by the name of Fine was killed. The Indians, however, were driven off. Before leaving their camp next morning the white men took the body of their dead comrade, broke a hole in the ice which covered the creek, and put him in the ice cold water to remain until they could return for the body. A big snow was on the ground at the time, and it was bitter cold. From this story Twelve Mile creek came to be called Fines creek.
"Haywood county's citizenship has always been at the front in times of war. From the best information obtainable it is quite certain that most of the earliest settlers had been in the Continental army and fought through the entire war of the Revolution, and later on many of them were in the war of 1812. Still later a number of these veterans of two wars moved to the great and boundless West, where the hazardous life might be spent in fighting savage tribes of Indians.
"As best it can be learned, only seven of these grand old patriots died and were buried within the confines of Haywood county, to-wit: at Waynesville, Colonel William Allen and Colonel Robert Love; at Canton George Hall, James Abel, and John Messer; at upper Fines creek, Hugh Rogers; at Lower Fines creek, Christian Messer. There were doubtless others, but their names have been lost.
"All of these old soldiers were ever ready to fight for their homes. They came in almost daily contact with the Cherokee Indians, once a great and warlike tribe controlling the wilderness from the glades of Florida to the Great Lakes. While these savages were friendly to the settlers it was ever regarded as not a remote possibility that they might go upon the warpath at any time. Hence our forefathers had them constantly to watch while they were subduing the land."<a href="#17" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 17