Archive | North Carolina

Moving West

Two of my ancestors moved west over the mountains, one from Virginia and the other from North Carolina, within eight years of each other.  They were part of the “second wave” of settlement, yeoman farmers who supplanted the earlier hunters and Indian traders.  Both were moderately prosperous citizens, with standing in their communities.  Newit Drew, […]

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Freemasonry and Reconciliation in Moore County

They saw themselves as building a new republic.  But in Moore County, North Carolina, their first task was to heal a community. Before the Revolution, the Masonic lodges of the coastal cities had helped to train the leaders of those cities in the skills of gentlemanly behavior, creating a cohesive elite whose members were bound […]

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A Dashing Loyalist Guerilla

David Fanning was captured fourteen times by the Patriot forces in the upper Cape Fear valley of North Carolina.  He escaped nearly every time, twice while chained and once while chained and naked.   He was feared and hated by the Patriot leaders, and tales of his cruelty can still be found in popular accounts of […]

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“Barbarities that would disgrace the Savage”

The whole of the North Carolina backcountry, wrote the Patriot General Nathanael Greene (pictured at left)  in 1780, was in danger of being laid waste by the Patriots and Tories, “who pursue each other with as much relentless Fury as Beasts of Prey.”  His warnings were echoed by other Patriot officers.  “Good God! Sir,” cried […]

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Greased Logs and Broadswords at Moore’s Creek Bridge

Flora MacDonald, the Jacobite heroine who had saved the life of Bonny Prince Charlie after his defeat at the battle of Culloden, and her husband Allan MacDonald, who had fought on the side of the English against the Prince, arrived in the Cape Fear Valley of North Carolina in 1774.  They were accompanied by a […]

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Kilts on the Cape Fear

The most interesting thing about the Highland Scots who began arriving in Cumberland County, North Carolina in the 1750s is how quickly they were corrupted by the Americans. They came by the thousands, rowing 90 miles up the Cape Fear river in log canoes.  Most of them came from the western islands, the large majority […]

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Lessons in Citizenship from a Renegade Quaker

Herman Husband was disowned by his Quaker Meeting, along with his future wife and everyone who attended their wedding.  His offense was refusing to accept the decision of the Meeting to show leniency to a member who had vocally objected to the mistreatment of her daughter.   He was very much on the wrong side of […]

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Forgotten History: The Regulator Rebellion

The Regulator Rebellion, one of the great lost tragedies of American history, has been almost forgotten, except by people who learned about it in school in North Carolina.  It was not “the first battle of the American Revolution,” but rather a revolt by angry  backwoodsmen against corrupt local officials, some of whom were soon to […]

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How to Build a Really Good Log Cabin

Joel McClendon’s cabin, built around 1760, still stands at the head of the creek that bears his name.  Elsewhere in the western parts of North Carolina there are other such homes, many of them built in the 18th century and occupied till the 20th.  They are nothing like the dirt-floored shacks of the early Virginia […]

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Forest and Fire

One of the last small stands of the great longleaf pine forest that once covered 90 million acres, dominating the southern landscape from Virginia to Louisiana, survives at the Weymouth-Sandhills Nature Preserve in Moore County, North Carolina.  The forest is part of an amazingly rich and diverse ecosystem, home to 900 species that are found […]

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