North Carolina Pioneers

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Highlanders were Pardoned and Sent to America

Battle of Culloden The Scottish people had always supported the Stuarts on the throne. As soon as James II and his son were disqualified from taking the throne, the two kingdoms and Scotland became Great Britain with a single act of Parliament. After 1688, those people in England and Scotland who favored the restoration of James II (and the restoration to his son James III) were known as "Jacobites". They took part in several uprisings, the main revolutionary events occurring in the year of 1715 and 1745. Hence, during the first part of the 18th century, a sizable group of non-juring Episcopalian clergymen in Scotland refused to take the oath of loyalty to the House of Hanover and the result was an uprising. In 1745, another revolutionary attempt was fired, deemed to be the work of the son of James (Charles Edward Stuart) known as "Bonnie Prince Charles" who sailed for the Highlands and demarked to begin his revolutionary adventure. Macdonald of Boisdale was the first chief to meet the prince and advised Charles to go home. The young Stuart replied "I am come home, Sir." When all of these causes were lost, the British government in 1746) started enacting laws designed to destroy the clans to to bring the Highlanders under political supervision. The Disarming Act of 1746 caused that all weaponds be taken from the Highlanders and forbade them from rendering military service to their chiefs. Simultaneously, the Highland Dress Act deprived the clansmen of the highland cloaths (plaid, philebeg or little kilt, trowse, shoulder-belts or anything whatsoever pecularily belonging to highland garb. Prisoners were taken after the Battle of Culloden and a large number were pardoned, upon the condition of their emigrating to the plantations, after having taken the oath of allegiance. Thus, for the next several years, began an extensive settlement of large groups of Highlander families in North Carolina along the Cape Fear River. They settled in Campbellton (now Fayetteville) and it was this country which became a refuge for harassed Highlanders. Robert D. W. Conner, formerly Secretary of the North Carolina Historical Commission (History of North Carolina, Vol. I) stated that the Highlanders were driven into North Carolina by poverty and agricultural displacement and that they came because "the king offered a pardon to all who would take the oath of allegiance and emigrate." Yet, there are no 18th century documents which cite a settlement of pardoned Highlanders on the Cape Fear River immediately after the Battle of 1745. Also, British resources fail to reveal that Jacobites were transported to North Carolina or that groups of Highlanders immigrated shortly after Culloden, but they did note that the total number of Jacobite prisoners at the end of the rebellion was 3,471 and that of this number, 936 were ordered transported to the colonies.

The Harper House in War

Harper HouseThe Harper House was built in 1850 near Newton Grove, North Carolina. The home of Amy and John Harper was used as a field hospital during the War Between the States. It mostly accommodated Union soldiers, although some Confederates were also treated there. A colonel from the 9th Ohio Cavalry recorded his memory of the bloody and gruesome battle as follows: "A dozen surgeons and attendants in their shirtsleeves stood at rude benches cutting off arms and legs and throwing them out of the windows, there they lay scattered on the grass. The legs of infantrymen would be distinguished from those of the cavalry by the side of their calves, as the march of 1,000 miles had increased the size of one and diminished the size of the other." More resources for North Carolina Genealogy Source: The Smithsonian, Guide to America, Text by Patricia L. Hudson and Sandra L. Ballard; special photography by Jonathan Wallen.

The Battle of Cross Creek during the American Revolutionary War

Cross CreekCumberland County was taken from Bladen County in 1754 and a court house and jail were erected in Choeffington (near Linden). In 1760, the North Carolina General Assembly elected to establish a town on a tract of one hundred acres along the Cape Fear River, one mile from Cross Creek named Campbellton. But three years later the site of the town was relocated. The residents of Cross Creek disliked the new location and petitioned the legislature to relocate the public buildings to Cross Creek. But only the jail was moved. It was not until 1778 that the General Assembly annexed Campbelltown with Cross Creek and relocated the court house there. In June 1775, the "Liberty Point Resolves" was adopted by the citizenry endorsing the cause of the patriots against Great Britain. The Southern Campaign included much of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. In fact, the Torie concentrated many of their skirmishes and battles around North and South Carolina. As they captured Charleston and Savannah, guerrilla militia forces took to the back country attempting to prevent the British from occupying more territory. Thus, Cross Creek soon became a hotbed of wartime activity, not only for the Patriots but also for Loyalist sympathizers in the region. Cross Creek was the rendezvous site of the Highland Scots fighting for Great Britain in 1776 when that army marched to the bridge at Moores Creek, only to be defeated by the Patriots. Two years later the county court issued orders to about four hundred citizens suspected of being Loyalists across Cumberland County to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Provincial government. Soon afterwards Lord Cornwallis marched his troops from South Carolina towards the Guilford Court House. They passed through Cross Creek and a skirmish waged between local patriots and the Loyalists favoring the British. The next time that the army of Lord Cornwallis passed through the region, they were following the retreat of the patriots from the bloody battle of Guilford Court House. And then four months later, David Fanning raided Cross Creek with his band of Tories and captured several Patriots. The Battle of Alamance The Brave General Isaac Gregory of Fairfax Hall Orphan Boy Fights Major Battles during Revolutionary War The Siege of Charleston The Treatment of British Prisoners during the Battle of Kings Mountain John Penn, North Carolina Patriot The Battle of Guilford Court House The Battle of Eutaw Springs The Battle of Rockfish Branch on the Cape Fear River Patriots in North Carolina, a Precurser to the American Revolution Soldier from Rockingham in Battle of Camden Minutemen Played a Crucial Roll in the Revolutionary War Villians in the Revolutionary War Every Revolutionary War Pension has a Story An Eyewitness to the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis "Mad" Anthony Wayne Colonel Benjamin Cleaveland, Hero of Kings Mountain
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Hansel and Gretel Left Crumbs. What Crumbs Did our Ancestors Drop?"

Hansel and Gretel At the beginning of the colonizing of American, European immigrants commenced taking the high risk of travel upon the high seas. The journey lasted from two to three months, with passengers sleeping on slabs in the belly of a brigate or similar vessel. The risk of losing one's life in a ship wreck during a storm or hurricane was always high, and not only that, merchant ships delivering supplies also suffered setbacks. Although contracts were issued (found in some county deed records) between merchants and ship's captains to satisfy any losses, perishable goods did not always survive the sail. And, more importantly, a ship's manifest containing the names, ages, port of origin and destination was kept aboard every vessel. If you are searching for such a manifest at the Federal Archives, do not expect to discover it by the date of arrival. Sometimes captains did not delivered the manifest to docking authorities until several months later. However, the manifest is a valuable genealogical tool because it provides the port of origin. Thus, a study of the port of origin is indicated and important because it has its own history. For instance, dutch ports during the early of the 18th century suggest protestant migrations. French ports suggests Hugenots, and English ports suggest protestants, particularly Scotch-Irish presbyterians. For the most part, the Scotch-Irish embarked from Antrim, Ireland and landed in Pennsylvania. The trail for these people was a hurried settlement in Berks and Bucks Counties; then, a movement through Philadelphia and down into the Alleghany Mountains. Other routes included joining other Scots in North Carolina, first, along the Dismal Swamp, and later, in Burke County, North Carolina We learn much of this information by tracing the crumbs, i.e., county deeds, wills, estates, marriages, etc. Remember, almost 200 years passed before the First Census of 1790. The records to look for are graves, bibles, military pensions, and importantly, county records because that is the where they set down roots.

Cumberland County Wills and Estates

Cape Fear River

Cumberland County began as a settlement in the Upper Cape Fear Valley between 1729 and 1736 by European emigrants known as Highland Scots. The Cape River was a major transportation center, and ferries and the like began to crop up dating from the 1730s. In 1754, the Colonial Legislature passed an Act which resulted in the division of Bladen County, thus forming Cumberland County. It was named after the Duke of Cumberland (William Augustus) who commanded the English Army. Campbellton was named the County seat during 1778. In 1783 Campbellton was renamed Fayetteville in honor of Marquis De La Fayette, a French general that served in the American Colonies Revolutionary Army.

Cumberland County Wills and other Records Available to Members of North Carolina Pioneers

Images of Cumberland County from the "Loose" Wills and Estates Collection, 1761 to 1895

Crow, John | Evans, Josiah | Hardin, Mary Ann | Harmack, Benjamin | McMesh, Nancy | McTeran, Archibald | Morgan, W. M. | Newberry, John | Patterson, Daniel | Patterson, Duncan | Patterson, John | Pearce, Margaret | Peacock, Jesse | Pearson, G. W. | Pearson, John Stokes | Pegram, Stephen | Pemberton, Thomas H. | Perry, Jane Beeye | Perry, Peter T. | Peterson, John | Peyton, Thomas | Phillips, John | Phillips, Mark | Plummer, Richard | Porter, Sylvia | Porterfield, John | Potter, Henry | Priest, Mary | Prince, John | Ragland, George | Ramsay, Francis | Ray, Angus | Ray, Ann | Ray, Catharine | Ray, Daniel | Ray, Duncan | Ray, John | Reardon, Thomas | Reding, Timothy | Reeves, Nathaniel | Revels, Thomas | Roberts, Phillip | Robinson, Edward | Robinson, Mary | Robinson, Phillip | Rodgers, Jacob | Rollins, G. S. | Ross, Catharine | Rowan, Robert | Russell, William | Ryals, Richard | Shaw, Duncan | Smith, Sarah R. | Wade, Levi C. | Walker, Farthy | Walker, Francis | Walker, Rachael | Walker, William | Walls, John | Ward, Ollive Warrick, John | Watson, Samuel Westbrook, Elizabeth | White, Rachel | White, Thomas | White, William | Whitehead, William | Whittle, William | Wilder, Mary | Wilkins, Elisha | Wilkinson, Neill | Williams, Mary | Williams, Samuel | Williamson, John | Williamson, Josiah | Wilson, Jane | Wilson, Joseph C. | Wilson, Silvanus | Winslow, Caroline Martha | Yarbrough, Elizabeth

Miscellaneous Wills

  • Peterson, John, LWT, transcript (1788)

Index to Probate Records

  • Loose Wills and Estates 1761 to 1895

Map of Cumberland County, North Carolina