October 1, 2012


The Regulators' Movement and the Aftermath

~ 1764 – 1775 ~

If you have not heard of the Regulators' Movement in North Carolina, then you’re likely not aware that Burlingham Rudd was one of the signers of the October 9, 1769 petition from the inhabitants of Anson County. Through the previous two decades, our Rudd family in Anson County has witnessed the French and Indian War in their “backyard”, the Anglo-Cherokee War in their “front yard”, and now the Regulators' Movement comes to their “doorstep”. The story is a captivating episode in our history, not just our family, but for our Nation. The French and Indian War had ended in 1763 and the British had established the Royal Proclamation Line intended to keep the Americans inside their colonial boundaries and the Indians in their reserve along the colonial western frontier. In 1764, the British Parliament passed the Sugar Act and the Currency Act. These taxing legislations prompted Samuel Adams to create the Committees of Correspondence. Then in 1765, the British Parliament passed the Quartering Act and the Stamp Act which was met with the Stamp Act Protests across colonial America. In 1767, the British passed the Townsend Acts which brought about the occupation of Boston by British troops and led to the Boston Massacre in 1770. All these well known causes of the American Revolution were taking place at the same time the Regulators’ Movement was unfolding and ultimately extinguished in the North Carolina backcountry.

There has been a lot written about the Regulators' Movement from various perspectives, some believe it to be the opening battle in the American Revolution, others disagree. Some believe the underlying cause was inspired by the Sons of Liberty and their successful protest against the Stamp Act, others disagree. And then there are those who characterize the men who were the Regulators in a variety of ways from criminals to fools. Now, knowing our Burlingham Rudd’s name is among the list of signatures of men from Anson County, I wanted to know why.
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The published literature and the North Carolina colonial records tell the story. There were, of course, many noteworthy men on both sides of the Movement, but there were a few who were pivotal in the making of the uprising. Edmund Fanning, a native of Long Island, New York, moved to Hillsborough, North Carolina in 1759 after he received his law degree and began his political career at the age of twenty-two. He successfully cultivated a personal friendship with Governor William Tryon which helped him become a prestigious and profitable lawyer. He held many official offices in the provincial government of colonial North Carolina. In 1761 he was appointed Crown Attorney and had a probate law practice in Rowan County. He soon became the clerk of the Superior Court of Orange County. Next he was appointed the Associate Justice of North Carolina for an interim period when Judge Alfred Moore was temporarily deposed for publicly criticizing the Stamp Act. Many of his positions in the government were bought including a colonelcy in the militia. He was perhaps the most arrogant of all those who participated in the corruption and extortion that provided the fuel for the Movement. Fanning is recorded in history as saying he believed he was right to take all he could take. North Carolina was an English colony, and as such, the prevailing social order in Great Britain favored the aristocracy of the ruling/political classes over the layman of the working class. And Edmund Fanning had deep family roots in the English aristocracy.

William Tryon became the royal governor of North Carolina after the death of Governor Arthur Dobbs in 1765. He was a professional soldier who rose through the ranks because he was “well-bred” and “well-married”, in spite of his lack of formal education. It is speculated he attained his position of governor due to his family relationship with Lord Hillsborough of the Board of Trade and Plantations. He was an ardent Anglican who imposed the Church of England as the official church of the colony and levied a vestry tax for the support of Anglican ministry. History has provided him with two faces. One is the efficient governor of North Carolina during trying times. The other is an aristocrat with high ambitions who put his self-interest first above the people. Given the times, both at likely true. His ultimate political ambition was to become governor of New York, which he achieved, a result of his brutal put-down of the Regulators’ Movement.

Even though there were no elected, designated or self-appointed leaders among the Regulators, William Butler and James Hunter are often referred to as having leadership roles among the backcountry farmers who participated in the Movement. However, there were agitators primarily in the persons of Herman Husband and Rednap Howell. Husband had been a successful farmer in Maryland who had visited Orange County, North Carolina and was so impressed with the potential of the Piedmont for farming that he relocated to the Sandy Creek area in 1762 at the age of thirty-eight. Husband had been a member of the Anglican Church who became disenchanted and converted to Presbyterianism and then to Quakerism by the time he moved to North Carolina. After living in the community for a few years he became enraged at what he saw as injustice and exploitation by the wealthy land owners against their workers and farming families striving to acquire land. He co-organized the Sandy Creek Association in 1766 as a way to address these injustices but the movement failed after two years. In 1768, the movement rose again when the Piedmont farmers reorganized as the “Regulators” and Husband became their chief spokesman, political thinker and negotiator ... and the nemesis of Governor Tryon.

Rednap Howell was a musician, songwriter and school teacher who is believed to have relocated from Delaware to Orange County, North Carolina around 1750 when he was about twenty-one years old. During the uprisings he taunted those who he saw as corrupt and oppressors by publishing and circulating about forty ballads and broadsides set to music which mocked government officials, lawyers and merchants who made up the aristocrat-class which undermined the influence and control they had on the common people and rallied public opinion to the Regulators’ cause. He was also one of the men who led the Hillsborough Riot in September 1770.

When Fanning first to Orange came, He looked both pale and wan,
An old patched coat upon his back, An old mare he rode on.
Both man and mare wa’n't worth five pounds, As I’ve been often told,
But by his civil robberies, He’s laced his coat with gold.


What began as an attempt to exercise their constitutional rights as Englishmen, to assembly, and to petition their government for redress of grievances, was mischaracterized, intentionally or not, as an anti-government insurgency by Edmund Fanning. The Regulators’ claim was that corrupt officials appointed by the Governor and his Council were using their authority to extort unlawful fees for services and manipulating the tax collection system which often resulted in the illegal confiscation of property and the illegal incarceration of backwoodsmen.

The colonial records show that several attempts were made by different groups of Regulators in their respective counties to petition the governor, as well as, the Hillsborough District Court and the Salisbury District Court in an effort to open dialogue, and attain fairness, not as anti-government rabble-rousers, or traitors as they would eventually be condemned, but as men who saw injustice and sought to set it right.

The refusal of officials to heed what was a clarion call for equality and evenhandedness according to English law provided the spark that set the fire in the belly of the backwoodsmen and grew into a popular uprising involving several of the back counties of the Piedmont. As it escalated into intimidation on both sides, desperation grew on the part of the Regulators and sometimes pushed them into violent confrontations. And just when it appeared a compromise was in the works, fate took a cruel turn and the Movement became a War which ended with a showdown between about 2,000 Regulators gathered in the woods at Great Alamance Creek and 1,452 militia men, of which 1,068 were from eastern counties, in the Battle of Alamance on May 16, 1771 near Hillsborough in Orange County.

The next day, James Few, a twenty-five year old Orange County farmer, was hung without trial. His body was left swinging beside the road to Hillsborough as a warning to others. A few weeks later, fourteen Regulators were tried and twelve were convicted, of that, six were hung. The other six were released in an effort that North Carolinians would think the government generous and forgiving. All were accused as traitors and outlawed, when Governor Tryon issued amnesty to those who took an oath of allegiance to the King, the choices were 1) leave North Carolina, 2) be shot on sight, 3) swear allegiance to the British Crown. In the two weeks that followed, 6,409 swore allegiance and an estimated 1,500 fled the colony. But, as we will see the distrust of far away, centralized power of government over citizens only grew stronger.
To quote historian Milton Ready: “Backcountry freeholders had become Jeffersonian long before Jefferson in their belief that a government that exercises the least control over its people governs best.”
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Those offices appointed by the King, or the Governor as the King’s representative, were considered gifts and the office holder’s property right. That included every office in the provincial government structure with the exception of the Lower House of the General Assembly which was elected by the freeholders. In addition, the Sheriff, who was selected by the Governor, was in charge of elections. The sheriff’s salary came from a percentage of the taxes he collected. Lawmaking moved up the chain beginning in the General Assembly, but the Lower House needed the approval of the Upper House. Then it went to the Governor’s Council and next to the Governor. Ultimately, the Board of Trade and Plantations was the final approval body which looked out for the Crown’s interests. The individual county courts which included the Justices, Clerk of Court and Sheriff were the sole unit of local government. Frequently, a man held a military commission and a public office; in fact, he might hold several offices at the same time.

The results of this type of government structure ensured that a certain number of men in each county were in control of all the offices. The effectiveness of government depended too much on the personal honesty of the office holders.

To quote Professor John S. Bassett, Trinity College, North Carolina, from “The Regulators of North Carolina 1765-1771”, page 149:
“In many of the eastern counties this state of affairs seems to have worked well. But in the remote sections there is much evidence that the officers were selfish and mercenary, and that they were mutually leagued together to forward their own selfish ends. It was to try to clean out this Augean stable that Regulation had its existence.”
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Great Britain accumulated a huge debt during the French and Indian War and turned her eyes to the colonies in America as a source of revenue, as well as, passing legislation that served to reduce her cost. The scarcity of hard currency in the colonies had always been a problem. But it was worsened when the British Parliament passed the Currency Act of 1764 which took control of the entire colonial currency system. It prohibited the issue of new bills and the reissue of existing bills in favor of hard currency based on the pound sterling. Rather than regulate the colonial monetary system, they chose to abolish it. No longer could the Assembly issue proclamation money. This made the trade deficit with Great Britain worse because now British merchants and bankers wanted debts paid in hard currency. The money shortage in the North Carolina backcountry was severe. Banks did not exist and there was not a consistent monetary system, not just in North Carolina, but throughout colonial America. The lack of ports on the east coast of the colony was partly the reason for the economic situation, but even if ports were available, there were no roads for backcountry farmers to take their commodities to port in order to maximize their profits. From time to time, the legislative body had issued proclamation money, but this money often came with restrictions concerning how it could be used. It might be used to purchase land, but not pay debts to merchants. It wasn’t used to pay taxes but might be used for legal fees, and it very often wasn’t accepted outside of the North Carolina colony. Up until this point in time, creditors were paid mostly in commodities. Those commodities were kept in warehouses and warehouse receipts were traded as a form of currency. The backcountry was also warehouse poor.

The farmers in the backcountry grew and raised what they needed to support their families, often using the barter system among their neighbors, few kept hard currency on hand. If they needed hard currency, they usually borrowed from neighbors and most areas had someone who was a lender. Professor John S. Bassett gives us an example of how dishonest county sheriffs took advantage of the situation and sometimes used the shortage of hard currency as a pretext to confiscate personal property for payment of taxes, page 151:
When the sheriff would come unexpectedly to the taxpayer, the latter would propose to get the money if the officer would accompany him to the home of this neighborhood banker. The officer usually refused to do this and proceeded to distrain on some property, taking a fee of 2s. 8d. for the same. The taxpayer would then hasten to his neighbor's, secure the needed money, and hurry after the sheriff. That officer would take a different route than the one he had promised to take, and the luckless pursuer would arrive in Hillsboro in time to see his property sold to some friend of the officer's for much less than its value. The Regulators charged that officers played into each others hands for this purpose, and that there were men in Hillsboro who had made large sums by dealing in such business.
The first recorded incident that seemed to foretell things to come was in 1759 in Enfield, Granville District. In January 1759, a group of backwoodsmen seized Lord Granville's land agent, Francis Corbin, in Edenton and brought him to Enfield. There they forced Corbin to give bond to return illegal fees which had been collected. On May 14, 1759, a group of citizens in Enfield expressed the same sentiments against British tyranny. Several of the "rioters" were arrested and jailed. However, they were soon released when an irate group of citizens broke into the jail and freed them.

Then in 1764, groups of citizens in Anson, Orange and Granville counties banded together to create a number of local disturbances which prompted a response from the Board of Trade and Plantations with orders to publish a proclamation by the King strictly forbidding the collection of illegal fees.

In Mecklenburg County in 1765, there was an incident known as the Sugar Creek War. Farmers led by Thomas Polk attacked John Frohock and six surveyors on a tract of land said to be patented to absentee landlords, Henry Eustace McCulloch and George A. Selwyn, who had been partners in land speculation with former Governor Dobbs before he died. The conflict arose when McCulloch and Selwyn assembled a team of surveyors to lay out the boundaries of the land that had been settled by squatters so they would have to purchase the land from McCulloch and Selwyn. Many of them had been on the land for several years where they had built homesteads and improved the value of the property. They felt McCulloch and Selwyn’s claim to the land was no longer valid; the patent was a couple of decades old and the requirements laid out for retaining the land had not been met. The cost was assessed at “current value” instead of the original value with back rents. The older residents objected, the newer ones agreed. The older ones intimidated the newer ones into backing down. A violent conflict ensued. Frohock was lashed across his face and another man was said to have daylight cracked in his head. Governor Tryon interceded and appointed a commission which determined the proprietorships were null and void because they had not met the requirements to settle the land according to the original patent. Therefore, they had to relinquish their claim. The history of the incident is recorded in Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council, May 07, 1765 - May 09, 1765, Volume 07, pages 10-31

On June 6, 1765, a school master by the name of George Sims in Granville District published what became known as the Nutbush Address describing the “deplorable situations” the people suffer. How a poor man without cash resources who tried to do the right thing, provide for his family and meet his obligations, was victimized by the system and those who manipulated it. Professor John S. Bassett excerpts part of the address for us, page 160:
A poor man is supposed to have given his judgment bond for £5, and this bond is by his creditor thrown into court. The clerk of the county has to enter it on the docket and issue execution, the work of one long minute, for which the poor man has to pay the trifling sum of 41s. 5d. The clerk, in consideration he is a poor man, takes it out in work at 18d. a day. The poor man works some more than twenty-seven days to pay for this one minute's writing. Well, the poor man reflects thus: At this rate, when shall I get to labor for my family? I have a wife and parcel of small children suffering at home, and here I have lost a whole month, and I don't know for what, for my merchant is as far from being paid yet as ever. However, I will go home now and try and do what I can. Stay, neighbor, you have not half done yet. There is a d--d lawyer's mouth to stop yet--for you empowered him to confess that you owed this £5, and you have 30s. to pay him for that, and go and work nineteen days more; and then you must work as long to pay the sheriff for his trouble; and then you may go home to see your horses and cow sold, and all your personal estate for one-tenth part of the value, to pay off your merchant. And lastly, if the debt is so great that all your personal estate will not do to raise the money--which is not to be had--then goes your lands the same way to satisfy these cursed hungry caterpillars that will eat out the very bowels of our commonwealth if they are not pulled down from their nests in a very short time.
In August 1766, in Orange County the Sandy Creek Association founded by Shubal Stearns, a Separate Baptists minister, joined with Hermon Husband and other Quakers to call for a meeting between taxpayers and county officials. Regulator’s Advertisement No. 1 was read at the Orange County Courthouse, inviting county neighbors to elect delegates to attend a meeting at Maddock’s Mill on the Eno River. The purpose of the meeting, the advertisement stated, would be...
"... to judiciously enquire whether the free men of this county labor under any abuses of power or not and let the same be notified in writing if any is found and the matter fully conversed upon and proper measures used for amendment; this method will certainly cause wicked men to tremble..."
County officials were invited to attend, but Colonel Edmund Fanning, who had just been promoted from Attorney General to Assistant Judge of the Superior Court of Justice for the District of Salisbury, deemed the gathering “insurrectionary” and no county officials attended.

As land, personal property, farm animals and implements, even clothing, continued to be taken from the people for payment of taxes, fuel was added to the growing fire when Governor Tryon secured a $15,000 appropriation from his Governing Council to build a new combination statehouse-governor’s residence at New Bern to be paid for by an extra poll tax. The backcountry settlers gave it the name of “Tryon’s Palace” and many were furious, only to be made more furious when Tryon and his entourage undertook a very costly and luxurious march to survey the western boundary line of the Cherokee country, which would also be paid for by taxes. That was followed by an announcement by the Sheriff of Orange County that he would accept tax payment at only five locations in his huge county and that, if he were forced to visit the taxpayer to collect, he would levy the legal 2s8d additional fee for his "distress."

These things added to the feeling that the government did not care about the welfare of the citizens in the western counties and caused the unrest to spread. Soon the backcountry men of Orange County were joined by others who formed an association calling themselves “Regulators” and published their resolves. The Regulators in Anson County also took an oath:
The Regulation in Anson County ~ Rules and Resolves

Whereas the Tax for the present year is very high part of which, unseen seem to many unlawful and unnecessary, that together with the great scarcity of Money that have put it out of our power to make payment of the same, and we the subscribers being in that circumstance and also willing to consider the Public, that we are sensible of oppressions and therefore have thought convenient to stay the payment of the Tax aforesaid, not but what we acknowledge ourselves true and lawful subjects to the crown of Great Britain and therefore have entered into a league with each other and have taken the following Oath & subscribed our name, being willing to pay four shillings for Kings Dues.

THE OATH
I [A. B.] do promise and swear that if any Officer or any other Person do make distress on any of the goods or other Estate of any Person sworn herein being a subscriber for the non-payment of the said Tax that I will with other sufficient assistance go take if in my power from the said Officer and restore it to the party from whom taken and in case any one concerned herein should be imprisoned or under an arrest or otherwise confined, or his Estate or any part thereof by reason or means of joining into this Company of Regulators for the non-payment of Taxes, that I will immediately do my best endeavour to raise as many of the said subscribers as will be of force sufficient and if in my power set the said Person and his Estate at liberty and I do further promise and swear that if in case this our scheme should be broke or otherwise give out our intention, any of our Company should be put to any expence or be put under any confinement that I will bear an equal share with those in trying to pay and make up the sufferer, all these things I do promise and swear and subscribe my name.
Tension grew when the Regulators of Orange County published a new advertisement demanding the sheriff show his tax lists, collection records and fees table. Local officials became furious and Fanning wrote a frantic letter to Tryon encouraging him to call out the militia “and do battle” referring to the Regulators as “the mob” and declaring they thought themselves to be “the sovereign arbiters of right and wrong”.

In a day or two the powder keg was lit by an incident. The sheriff seized a Regulators’ horse, saddle and bridle for tax payment. On April 8, 1768, eighty angry Regulators marched on Hillsborough armed with clubs, staves and cloven muskets; they captured and bound Sheriff Hawkins, then "rescued" the horse and tack. On the way out of town, some in the group fired shots into Fanning's house. He was in Halifax at the time and when he was informed, he ordered the arrest of the "ringleaders". He then called out seven companies of the Orange militia, hurried back to Hillsborough to take command and wrote again to Tryon asking for more authority to deal with the "traitorous Dogs . . ." Tryon's Council declared the Regulators guilty of insurrection. Fanning was authorized to call up militia from the surrounding counties.

Meanwhile, terrified officials in Orange agreed to meet with the Regulators to discuss grievances. While this was happening, Fanning rode with a posse to the Sandy Creek area and arrested William Butler and Herman Husband on a charge of "inciting to rebellion." The two prisoners were jailed in Hillsborough. When news reached the Regulators, they dropped plans for the meeting and 700 Regulators and supporters marched on Hillsborough. County officials released the two prisoners on bail. Isaac Edwards, the governor's private secretary, promised the Regulators if they would lay out their complaints in a petition to the governor, he would see that justice was done them. The Regulators agreed to the request. But on hearing this, Governor Tryon stated that his secretary had exceeded his authority, refused to deal with the Regulators as an organization, and demanded they immediately disband.

About three weeks later, on April 27, 1768, trouble erupted in Anson County when a “mob” marched to the Anson County Court House and disrupted the proceedings. They demanded the removal of local magistrates and clerk Samuel Spencer, Sheriff James Medlock and Anthony Hutchins. Samuel Spencer, a colonel for the Anson County militia, had purchased his position as clerk of the county court from John Frohock for one hundred and fifty pounds. Spencer wrote a letter to Tryon describing the scene and expressed that he believed the entire business had been instigated by someone trying to garner support for the next election. The Regulators had held a vote during the commotion and elected Charles Robinson to represent them in the Lower House of the Assembly.

The Anson County Regulators also wrote to Governor Tryon concerning the incident. The document is known as the Regulator Protest Paper, April 28, 1768 and is signed by ninety-nine men. They say, “we blame ourselves” but “being long under the growing weight of oppression became rash, and precipitate” and decided they would make those who are abusing their offices “wary of their employments”. So they organized themselves into “the opposite Party called a mob of about five hundred men”. They say to Tryon, surely you as governor have the good of your people at heart and would not want them “oppressed to gratify the errors and ambition of any particular Persons, who are Anthony Hutchins, Colonel Samuel Spencer, Charles Medlock and their Assistants the Justices and Sheriffs.” They did not believe these persons were capable of performing the duty of their offices and their character was “extremely doubtful and precarious” because they arrest citizens, put them in jail, causing a great expense, then let them go without a trial to cover up their corruption. Then they listed examples of the “unusual manner” of taxing.
First, Persons who commit capital offences are committed to the County Goal and there retained five or six months, a County Tax is laid to defray the expence when it is notoriously known it is a Province Expence, But Medlock the late Sheriff stop’t not there, but proceeded by Mr. Spencer the Clerk and Member for the County to have the same claim allowed by the Assembly, and were only prevented as we are informed by its being proved to the Committee of Claims that the Prisoners had made satisfaction themselves – These things were not unknown to Mr. Spencer when he laid Medlock’s claim before the Assembly. In the next place where the Justices are in possession of Public Ferries they establish them free at times pretending for the free passage of Courtiers a considerable Tax is laid for that Purpose. In the next place they tax considerable sums of money for particular Persons, who not having the right thereto, the Magistrates after receive back part, if not all to their own use. All these things can be made to appear, and we conceive that no People have a right to be taxed, but by the consent of themselves or their Delegates. But here the Magistrates assume it, then the Sheriffs who receive the Tax particularly Medlock and his Associates have made a constant practice to exact 2.8 for distress money, when no distress is made nor necessary to be made, and also have taxed different sums from the People according to their non acquaintance with the right Tax so that several different sums were received from the People in the same year surmounting the right Tax.

As to the Clerk his extortions are burthensome to all that fall in his power as he takes double and some times treble his due – And tho’ it is true he purchased his Office from Colonel Frohock and gave to the amount of one hundred and fifty pounds for it yet it’s unreasonable we should bear the expence by way of extortion, Please Sir, to enquire of Mr. Edwards, touching the connection of Hutchins Spencer and Medlock, and their unreasonable method of proceeding by means of their influence over the ignorant Magistrates as he had doubtless made some observation on their behaviour. This and much more are the causes of the present disturbances which we humbly pray your Excellency will please to reconcile by discharging the most of the Magistrates from their seats, and appointing better men, more capable and willing to discharge that Office, and also the Clerk if it seems right to you.
They close by saying to Tryon, that if he will give them honest officials who are knowledgeable and capable of performing their duties, then it will ease the minds of the people who are willing to pay honest taxes for the support of their government. The names of those petitioners are at the above link. Burlingham Rudd’s name is not on this petition, but I think it likely these are the names of those who represented “the mob” that stormed the court house.

In May 1768, Governor Tryon wrote back to Spencer. He tells him that he has issued a proclamation “requiring the Rioters to disperse, and return to a dutiful obedience to the Laws of their Country” and he hopes it will be effective. Tryon gives Spencer the authority to raise the Anson Regiment of Militia if need be in order to apprehend the ringleaders of the mob so they can be brought to trial to discourage future outbreaks. Tryon acknowledges receiving from Spencer the copies of the “rules and Oath of the Insurgents” and calls it “rash, inconsistent and illegal”. Tryon then tells Spencer if the people of Anson have any real grievances they should put them in a petition to the General Assembly or to him so they can be redressed. Tryon assures Spencer he does not form his opinion of the people of Anson based on “a few Incendiaries who are more desperate perhaps in their Fortunes than in their Courage” but he will not allow “the most dissolute part of the inhabitants of this Province to pay off their Public Taxes by Insurrections”. Then Tryon tells Spencer, “This contagion and disaffection has spread from Anson to Orange County”, that a similar confrontation had transpired in Hillsborough but Fanning and his officers through their firmness and with the assurances of Tryon’s secretary, Mr. Edwards, dispersed them through the same strategy … put your grievances in a petition. What that last statement reveals is that Fanning, evidently, did not want Tryon to know that the bulk of the unrest was in Orange County because it would be poor reflection on him; it was a cover-up of personal responsibility that would fan the flames in Orange County.

On July 6, 1768, Tryon arrived in Hillsborough with two purposes. First, persuade the Regulators to disband, and second, protect the September term of the Superior Court – the court that was about to put William Butler, Herman Husband, Samuel Devinney and John Hartzo on trial charged with inciting the recent Hillsborough Riot. On July 21, 1768, Tryon issued a new "Proclamation Against Charging Exorbitant Fees", ordering that fee tables be posted and that illegal practices be stopped. At this point, he began to exchange messages with the Regulators in an attempt to get them to disband. He ordered the Attorney General to initiate prosecutions against officers charged with taking illegal fees. One officer charged was Colonel Edmund Fanning.

The Regulators would not agree to disband, but they did agree to petition the Assembly for redress. They would not agree to make a bond to ensure their good behavior at the upcoming trials because it might limit their ability to restrain the more volatile members among them. Governor Tryon knew most of the backwoodsmen were sympathetic to the Regulators’ cause and he needed to raise county militias to protect the upcoming court session. He turned to the Presbyterian ministers for assistance and offered 40 shillings per volunteer.

Tryon did not respond to the Anson County Regulators’ Protest Paper of April until August 1768. Read it well. He tells them that the charges they make against county officials are so serious that it will require consultation of his Council at New Bern, but he’s away at Hillsborough at the moment. Anyone who feels they have been extorted should file a complaint with the Attorney General who will prosecute those who abuse the public trust. And by the way, nice of you to admit your guilt because there will be an investigation of the incident at Anson County Court House by the Salisbury District Superior Court and your acknowledgement of your rash and illegal behavior might bring you some leniency IF you behave yourselves and “dutifully submit to the law.”

On trial in the Hillsborough District Superior Court during the September term were four Regulators: Herman Husband, William Butler, Samuel Devinney, and John Hartzo. Husband was acquitted of the charge of inciting a riot. The other three were found guilty of the same charge, but Tryon suspended the fines and released the prisoners. Later, they received a full pardon from the governor.

Also on trial for extortion were three county officials: Edmund Fanning, Francis Nash and John Wood. About 800 Regulators were waiting outside Hillsborough for the outcome of the court trials. Also waiting were 1,461 militia members who had been raised from Rowan, Mecklenburg, Granville, and Orange counties with the help of the ministers. No Anson militia.

Fanning was found guilty on five counts of extortion, and fined one penny for each count. But the three judges, Martin Howard, Chief; Maurice Moore and Richard Henderson, Associates were unsure of the legality of judging Fanning guilty, and the case was referred to England. Fanning immediately resigned the office of Registrar and never fulfilled his five penny fine.

After the trials in Hillsborough, about eighty Regulators unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the court in Johnston County and in Edgecombe County about thirty Regulators tried to rescue a fellow Regulator from the Halifax jail but were routed. In Rowan County, the Regulators attempted to prosecute Judge John Frohock and three other officers for extortion in the Salisbury District Superior Court. When the Regulators arrived at court they discovered the grand jury was stacked with their enemies, all but three of the men were officers. They later found out that those sitting on the jury were not the first chosen. Not surprisingly, the juries refused to return "true bills" on the cases.

There was not another election for Assembly representation until July 18, 1769 with the next session scheduled to convene in October 1769. This election demonstrated the strong feelings against the officers throughout the province by the results. Carteret, Beaufort, Anson, Halifax, Bladen, Edgecombe, Tyrrell, Orange, Granville, and Hyde changed their entire delegations. In Orange, Granville, Anson, and Halifax, where the Regulator sentiment was strong, the change was complete. In Rowan, a strong Regulator county, Griffith Rutherford, considered a moderate friend of the people, was retained, but his yokefellow, John Frohock, was dropped and in his place Christopher Nation, an ardent Regulator, was elected. Out of the 78 members of the new Assembly, 43 were new men. Professor Bassett explains the change in political thinking on page 183:
The next step taken by the Regulators was in the line of practical politics. Until recently no suspicion had been cast upon the members of the assembly. The people were accustomed to leaders and willingly trusted their affairs in their hands. With no widely circulating newspapers and no political aptness, they formed themselves into no parties, but usually accepted the candidate put forward by the officeholders, who was generally either a member of or closely associated with the officeholding class. When they first began their agitation the Regulators had been content to aim at the local officers. They were told to apply to the courts, where justice should be done them. They complied, and found that the laws were in favor of the officers. They concluded that the laws should be changed. At the same time, since the issue had been sharply defined, they saw that the assemblymen were ranged on the side of the county officers. They now determined to attack this office, and here they were more successful than they had been in any of their other undertakings.
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This idea, as we have seen, had taken shape in Anson when the Regulators had nominated Charles Robinson as their candidate for the assembly, making, perhaps, the first political nomination in America.
At the fall session of the new Assembly, the Anson County Regulators submitted their petition dated October 9, 1769. It was signed by approximately 250 men, many of whom who had signed the 1768 Protest Paper after “the mob” took the court house. Orange and Rowan counties united in another petition that contained some of the same issues as the Anson petition, although not as extensive. A very noteworthy petition came from the Presbyterians in Mecklenburg. They declared themselves a thousand freemen, "who hold to the Established Church of Scotland, able to bear arms." They told Tryon they were ready and cheerful to support him during the recent trouble in Hillsborough and then demanded that he repeal the vestry and marriage acts in the counties of Mecklenburg, Rowan, and Tryon so that the Scottish church had the same footing with "our sister church of England."

It is true that freedom of non-Anglican worship was granted to colonials in America, the exception being the Catholic Church was banned in most all of them. But since the Church of England was the official church in the colonies and was supported by a vestry tax upon the people, it was the only Church allowed to perform legal marriages, register birth, baptisms, and burials. For those who were not Anglican, their choice was something like Quaker-style where they announced their marriage to their neighbors, or “jumped the broom” as was an old-world tradition, or common law marriages. The Presbyterians of the Church of Scotland wanted equal rights with the Anglicans of the Church of England.

The Assembly was working along, proposing legislation that addressed many of the problems that had been listed in the various petitions, when a situation developed between Tryon and the lower chamber which was represented by the freeholders that had come into the legislature during the last anti-establishment election. The issue prompted Tryon to dissolve the Assembly and schedule an election for a new Assembly in March 1770.

When the election was completed, many of the same freeholders were returned to the next legislative session which was described as having the “Regulator spirit”, with an additional representative seat for Hillsborough created by Tryon, to which Fanning was promptly elected, and therefore, returned to one of his previous offices.

Preparations for the next legislation session were underway when word came in September that there had been another riot at the Hillsborough District Superior Court. The Orange County Regulators had presented a petition to the justice requesting an investigation of extortion; a measure that had been previously recommended by Tryon. Judge Richard Henderson was the only justice on the bench and deferred the petition to the following Monday. When Monday came about 150 Regulators gathered outside the courthouse. The crowd inside included Hunter, Howell, Husband, Butler, Hamilton, and Devinney. Jeremiah Fields asked for permission to speak. Granted, he rose and said that the Regulators understood that the judge had decided not to try their causes at that term but they were determined to have them tried, and if the court would do it, it would prevent “mischief”. They insisted that the jury that had been selected be changed. While the judge was trying to pacify them on the inside, the group gathered outside was becoming restless. They were all carrying switches and sticks when a lawyer named John Williams started to enter the building. The crowd fell upon him, beating him severely until he made his escape. They rushed into the courthouse and found Fanning. They seized him by the heels and dragged him into the street and beat him mercilessly until he made his escape. They went after him, but allowed him to go home with the promise he surrendered himself the following morning. They also whipped several others that were there before they could make their escape. The next morning Fanning gave himself up to the Regulators and they told him they would release him if he agreed to take to the road running until he was out of sight. Which he no doubt did! Then they went to his pretentious new house, which represented to them all that Fanning had acquired with illegal fees. They tore it up, then demolished it.

The Regulators returned to the courthouse and allowed Judge Henderson to adjourn the court for the day on the promise he would take up their case the next day. He promised. About 10 o’clock that night the judge took a fast horse out of town. On November 12th, Judge Henderson’s barn and stables were burned to the ground, two nights later his house was burned to the ground. Regulators were suspected.

Tryon inquired of the attorney general if the Regulators involved in the second Hillsborough Riot could be tried for treason. The AG told him no, they could only be charged with rioting and the law required they be tried in their home district court. Tryon knew there would be too much sympathy for the Regulators in Orange County to raise a jury that would return his desired verdict. He ordered his officers to call for a muster of their militias to test the responsiveness of volunteers. Soon came rumors that the Regulators were going to march on the coming session of the Assembly in New Bern. The Governor's Council was panicked, offered rewards for the instigators and called the militias between Hillsborough and New Bern into readiness. The General Assembly finally had a quorum on December 5th and a report came from Pitt County that the Regulators of Bute and Johnston were marching on New Bern to stop Fanning from taking his seat for Hillsborough. The Council fabricated some charges against Husband, expelled him from the Assembly and had him arrested by the Chief Justice in mid-December. At the end of December word came that another group of Regulators were at Cross Creek preparing to march on New Bern. With that the Johnston Riot Act was passed into law giving the governor and attorney general extensive authority in suppressing riots with a one year expiration date.

The Assembly was making great progress with legislation addressing the grievances of the Regulators, perhaps the rumors of gathering Regulators preparing to march on the government was having some effect. They passed a bill to amend the act for appointing sheriffs and to direct their duty in office; a bill to ascertain attorneys' fees; an act more strictly to regulate officers' fees; an act for the more speedy collection of debts under £5; an act to grant the chief justice a salary, and acts to erect the counties of Wake, Guilford, Chatham, and Surry, all lying in the region infected with the Regulator spirit. All these laws contained reforms sought by the Regulators. Many of them are reflected in the 1769 Regulators’ Petition from Anson County that bears the name of Burlingham Rudd.

Tryon did not wait for the new laws to have effect on the unrest. The first law he signed was the riot law and at once had the leaders of the Hillsborough riot charged. He called for a special court at New Bern as the location of their trial. The new law gave the attorney general the power to change of venue, no longer was a sympathetic jury in Orange County an obstacle. On February 2, 1771, the grand jury took up the case of Hermon Husband who had been in jail since December 1770. The grand jury found “no bill” and Husband was released. Tryon was "unpleased with the discharge of Husband." He dismissed that term of the court and called another for March 11th. He instructed the county sheriffs to only select jurymen who were “gentlemen of the first rank, property and probity”. The witnesses were all one-sided and most were officers who testified before the grand jury which returned “a true bill” for all sixty-two counts. The riot law declared that the defendants would be considered outlaws if they did not appear for trial within sixty days.

Meanwhile, on March 7, 1771 in Rowan County, a committee of arbitrators had been formed to work out a resolution between the Regulators and representatives of the government including Hermon Husband, James Graham, James Hunter, and Thomas Person on the Regulators side and Matthew Locke, John Kerr, Samuel Young, and James Smith on the other side. Alexander Martin and John Frohock reported the progress to Tryon with great enthusiasm telling him the committee had planned to meet on the third Tuesday in May. Tryon wrote back that he did not approve of their entering into negotiations with insurgents and he was about to march with an army into the Regulators’ country. He believed this was a more effective resolution than a Rowan agreement.

On March 18, 1771, Tryon read to the Governor’s Council an intercepted letter from Rednap Howell to James Hunter:
Halifax Feb. 16th 1771.

Respected Friend,
On my setting out for Hallifax my horse fell sick which detained me some time so that on my arrival here I had certain information that Herman was at liberty; so that I found it needless to raise the Country but I am satisfied it would be easily done if occasion required, however I have animated the people here to join the Regulation; on Saturday come 2 weeks they are to have a meeting for the purpose. If it once takes a start here it will run into the neighboring Counties of Edgecomb, Bute and Northampton and this will undoubtedly facilitate Justice to poor Carolina. I will now inform you of such things as I have learnt since I left home. At New Bern the Governor called a general muster of 1,100 men; after treating them at yours and my expence he tried to prevail on them to march against the rebels but on one man's absolute refusal he ordered him to turn out of the Ranks for a Traitor which he very readily did and all the Regiment followed or were following him; the Governor perceiving his mistake says Gentlemen you mistook me I only meant should they come down and destroy all your livings would you not fight them; they answered yes on which he dismissed them, they then gathered in Companys of 6, 8, 10 and 12 growling and swearing would the Mob come down they would join them. In Dobbs a general muster was called for the same purpose, but only seven men attended. I am informed the Clerk's places in the New Countrys are parcelled out among the Quality; one Cooper is designed for your Country but if you suffer any rascal to come there may eternal oppressions be your lot: as I cannot solely depend on the Irish ahead pray you will reserve that morsel for yours to serve; for as the whole province is in your favor you may do as you list in that respect. I understand Butler and you are to be outlawed; despise it laugh at it—We hear that the Governor has sent a proclamation to you importing as the French and Spaniards are now at war with us, it's a pity to breed a civil war among ourselves; that the Chief cause of the trouble was the counterfeit money for which the great men were to blame; artful V—n! if he could have raised the Province on us he would have told another tale. However if this be true the day is ours in spite of Lucifer—I give out here that the Regulators are determined to whip every one who goes to Law or will not pay his just debts or will not agree to leave his cause to men where disputes; that they will choose Representatives but not send them to be put in jail; in short to stand in defiance and as to thieves to drive them out of the Country. I leave the plan to your consideration from your sincere friend ~ Rednap Howell
Tryon also read a letter to the Council from the Chief Justice of Hillsborough District Superior Court stating that he and his associates could not attend the March term of the Hillsborough court for fear of personal safety. Tryon’s strategy paid off. The Council resolved the governor should immediately raise a body of militia to march against the insurgents.

The following day, March 19, 1771, Tryon began preparations for a military campaign against the Regulators. He gave orders to raise 2,550 men by April 20th. A bounty of 40 shillings was promised to each volunteer. Tryon would lead one column of eastern militias directly from New Bern to Hillsborough. General Hugh Waddell would take the Cape Fear militia and lead a second column to overcome the Rowan Regulators, raise the western militias, march to Salisbury, and then join Tryon at Hillsborough. Tryon’s regiment included 917 rank and file and 151 officers with detachments from Craven, Carteret, Orange, Beaufort, New Hanover, Onslow, Dobbs, and Johnston, and an artillery company. The Wake County militia showed up with no arms which appeared to have been a ruse to keep from having to serve in the conflict, but when a smaller detachment reported, Tryon ordered the sheriff to take the smaller detachment with him and collect taxes in Wake County.

Waddell’s regiment contained 236 rank and file and 48 officers and an artillery company. In addition to the Scots at Cape Fear, along the march he picked up militias from Anson, Rowan, Mecklenburg, and Tryon, but he met opposition along the way. First, on the way to Salisbury, his column was attacked by a group of Regulators who had disguised themselves with black-face, later they became known as “The Black Boys of Cabarrus”, they destroyed a power shipment coming from South Carolina by ambushing the wagons on Rocky River. Later, on the march to Hillsborough, Waddell’s camp was surrounded by about 2,000 Regulators in a daring and insolent attempt to push the regiment back, which they did without a fight. Waddell had no more than 300 men and he had his doubts they would be willing to engage, so he had no other option than to retreat over the Yadkin River.

On May 12th, Tryon and the Regulators received news of Waddell's rebuff. The Regulators issued a call for all men to assemble at James Hunter's plantation, to prevent Waddell and Tryon from linking forces. On Monday, May 13th, Tryon’s forces camped on the west bank of Great Alamance Creek. On the evening of May 15th, Tryon received a petition from the Regulators who were camped about five miles west of him. They asked if he was prejudiced against their cause and determined for bloodshed. They asked for a meeting to state their grievances. The next morning, May 16th, Tryon marched is column within a half-mile of the Regulator camp and dispatched his aide, Captain Malcom, with the Sheriff of Orange County who carried his response to their petition:
In answer to your petition, I am to acquaint you that I have been attentive to the true Interest of this Country, and to that of every Individual residing within it. I lament the fatal Necessity to which you have now reduced me, by withdrawing yourselves from the Mercy of the Crown, and the Laws of your Country, to require you who are Assembled as Regulators, to lay down your Arms, Surrender up the outlawed Ringleaders, and Submit yourselves to the Laws of your Country, and then on the lenity and Mercy of Government. By accepting these Terms in one Hour from the delivery of this Dispatch you will prevent an effusion of Blood, as you are at this time in a State of War and Rebellion against your King, your Country, and your Laws.
The sheriff and aide returned to Tryon with the news that “the Rebels” rejected his offer with distain, saying they needed no time to consider his terms. About mid-morning, Tryon sent another message “cautioning the Rebels to take care of themselves, as he should immediately give the signal for action." According to traditional accounts, the Regulators' reply was "Fire and be damned". Tryon gave the order for the cannons to fire on the Regulators and the first line of militia fired a volley, kneeled to reload and the second line fired a volley. The Regulators scrambled for cover. They had no battle plan, officers, or discipline. They were crouching behind rocks and trees, each man waging his own private war against a unified militia. The militia began moving forward advancing through the trees, the Regulators began to flee. The battle lasted about two hours, fifteen Regulators were captured. Remarkably, only nine Regulators and nine militia were killed, many were wounded. Tryon took the prisoners and wounded back to his camp on Alamance Creek. The next day, May 17th, a captured Regulator named James Few was hung without benefit of military trial. His body was left hanging beside the road to Hillsborough as a warning to others. During the next few days, militia units scoured the countryside for Regulators. The main body of the army stayed at Alamance Camp.

Tryon issued a proclamation of pardon to all Regulators who would swear a loyalty oath to the government with the exception of those responsible for destroying General Waddell’s ammunition, the remaining fourteen prisoners and four others; Herman Husband, Rednap Howell, James Hunter, and William Butler, who had already fled the province. On May 21st the troops marched to James Hunter's farm at Sandy Creek were Tryon burned the dwelling and outbuildings. That evening he marched to Hermon Husband’s plantation and took possession of it.

By June 6th, Tryon and Waddell joined forces at the Moravian settlement and celebrated the King’s birthday and their victory. On June 14th, they arrived in Hillsborough. Four days later a court martial tried the prisoners. On the bench were Chief Justice Martin Howard and Associate Justices Maurice Moore and Richard Henderson. Of the fourteen prisoners remaining after the execution of James Few, two were acquitted, twelve were found guilty of high treason against the Crown. Of the twelve, six were pardoned: Forest Mercer, James Stewart, James Emerson, Hermon Cox, William Brown, and James Copeland; and six were hung: Robert Messer, Benjamin Merrill, Robert Matear (Matter), James Pugh, and two others whose names have been lost in history. Of those six, James Pugh died steadfast in his principles. He lectured Tryon from the barrel which served as his scaffold. He told him that "his blood would be a good seed sown on good ground, which would produce a hundredfold". He recalled the causes of the conflict noting that the “Regulators had taken the life of no man previous to the battle, nor had they aimed at anything more than a redress of grievances”. As he was about to address Fanning, he was strangled when the barrel was overturned at the instigation of Fanning.

After the hangings, Tryon hastened back to New Bern. Back in February he had been told his long sought for appointment as Governor of New York had final come true. He had proven his loyalty to the King and on June 30, 1771 he left for New York. Soon he sent for Edmund Fanning to come to New York as his personal secretary.

About two weeks after the hangings at Hillsborough ... 6,409 Regulators had taken the oath of allegiance and an estimated 1500 fled the colony.
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~ The Aftermath ~
1771 – 1775

Because the Regulators’ Movement followed on the heels of the Stamp Act Protests that swept across the American colonies, it gave some support to Governor Tryon’s claim that the unrest in the backcountry was directed at the British Crown and not at his own governing policies. Outside of North Carolina newspapers, such as, the Boston Gazette and Pennsylvania Journal published accounts and opinions about the Regulators' uprising. There were a few in support of Governor Tryon which were countered with others condemning his actions and laying the facts before the public. The most demoralizing one was a “Letter from “Atticus” to Governor Tryon” on November 7, 1771 in The Virginia Gazette. We now know it was anonymously penned by Maurice Moore, one of the Associate Justices of the Superior Court during the Regulators’ Movement. He was on the bench during the trial of Edmund Fanning when the guilty verdict was deferred to England for clarification and consequently not enforced, and he was on the bench during the trial after Alamance which resulted in the hanging of six Regulators for treason, one of the six was Benjamin Merrill, who certainly would have been pretty well known and respected in the province to be the Captain of the Rowan County Militia.

“Atticus” not only recounted the Regulators’ Movement from its origins and condemned Tryon’s actions, but also exposed the ruse Tryon created that the Regulators were in rebellion against the Crown when actually the upheaval was against Tryon’s government. Moore was especially critical of Tryon’s manipulation of the legislative process that created the temporary law, the Johnston Riot Act. There is so much detail and first hand knowledge in the Letter, it’s hard to imagine that Maurice Moore’s compatriots didn’t know he was Atticus.

When the Lower House convened in November 1771, the new governor, Josiah Martin had arrived. One of the first orders of business was a Bill proposed by Maurice Moore to indemnify those who had participated in “defence of the Government” and pardon “the misguided offenders”. In other words, Moore wanted those who had assisted Tryon in squashing the Regulators to be protected from law suits. The Bill was amended to exclude from pardon Hermon Husband, Rednap Howell and William Butler. Governor Martin told the Assembly he did not have the authority to issue a pardon, but would send the Bill on to England for approval. The Board of Trade and Plantations responded that the language in the Bill was too broad and indemnification was never approved. The Board also gave an opinion about the Johnston Riot Act …”said clause appears to us to be irreconcilable with the principles of the Constitution, full of danger in its operation, and unfit for any part of the British Empire …” Perhaps, Maurice Moore suspected that would be the results and could place those who acted on behalf of Tryon in legal jeopardy. During the session a compensation claim was approved for thirty-seven pounds ten shillings as payment to William Few, the brother of James Few who had been hung without trial by Tryon, for the field of wheat, barley and oats that had been destroyed on Tryon’s orders. A request made by Governor Martin to compensate Edmund Fanning for the loss of his property, destroyed by the Regulators of Orange County, was refused payment. The shift in allegiance among the men in the legislature appears to be beginning.

About a year later, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act in May 1773, which not only imposed a tax on tea, but gave a monopoly to the East India Company in an attempt to rescue it from bankruptcy. The move outraged the American colonists and tea shipments, just like the stamped paper from the previous Stamp Act, sat on ships in ports or at port warehouses where it rotted. And we all remember that on December 16, 1773, colonists disguised as Indians snuck aboard the ships in Boston Harbor and dumped the tea in to the harbor is what became The Boston Tea Party. This was met with a harsh response by the British with the passage of the Intolerable Acts and the occupation of Boston by British troops.

This aggression united the colonies. On July 21, 1774, a meeting was held in Wilmington, North Carolina by a group of freeholders. They took the lead and prepared a circular letter to the other counties condemning the oppressive acts taken against the Massachusetts Bay colony for having exerted itself in defense of the constitutional rights of America. They called for all counties of North Carolina to send representatives to a general meeting at the Johnston County Court House in August. In Anson, a meeting was held at the courthouse on August 15, 1774, Thomas Wade was selected Chairman.
Their language wasn’t as nuanced as Wilmington. It was more straightforward. Here’s an example:
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Meeting, that the late arbitrary and cruel Acts of the British Parliament, and other unconstitutional and oppressive measures of the British Ministry, against the Town and Port of Boston, and province of Massachusetts Bay, are no other than the most alarming prelude to that yoke of slavery already manufactured by the said Ministry, and by them intended to be laid on all the Inhabitants of British America, and their Posterity for ever.
Samuel Spencer and William Thomas were appointed representatives to the August meeting at the Johnston County Court House and empowered to “consult on the great and important Subject of American Freedom”… “to the preservation of the Rights and Liberties of this Colony and those of America in general”.

Thomas Dockery, Thomas Wade, Samuel Spencer, William Thomas, Charles Robinson, Charles Medlock, William Pickett and James Auld were appointed to a Committee of Correspondence and empowered to call meetings of the freeholders when they thought necessary.

On August 25, 1774, the First Provincial Congress of North Carolina opened at New Bern. Delegates selected to represent the freeholders of each county were in attendance and when it concluded they signed their name to the document they had drafted… “That therefore until we obtain an explicit declaration and acknowledgment of our rights, we agree to stop all imports, from Great Britain after the first day of January 1775, and that we will not export any of our commodities to Great Britain after the first day of October 1775.”

The following month, the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774. Twelve of the thirteen colonies sent representatives, absent was the Georgia colony (but a couple of individuals from Georgia did attend). Joseph Hewes, William Hooper and Richard Caswell were in attendance representing North Carolina. On September 9, the Suffolk Resolves of Massachusetts were unanimously passed by the leaders of Suffolk County and Paul Revere carried a copy to the Congress in Philadelphia where they were endorsed. The main outcome of the First Continental Congress was a Declaration of Rights and Grievances, a petition to George 3rd, and an agreement to form a Continental Association which would ensure the enforcement of the boycotts. They set a date for their next meeting on May 10, 1775 if the Parliament had not agreed to their demands.

On February 9, 1775, the British Parliament declared the American colonies in a state of rebellion and on March 30, 1775, Parliament passed, and George 3rd approved, the New England Restraining Act which targeted the northeastern colonies as the troublemakers. The following April, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina were added to the Restraining Act as a punishment for joining the Continental Association. North Carolina was not included in the expansion because Lord North was unaware that North Carolina had joined the Continental Association. But they were soon added to the Restraining Act. When the Second Provincial Congress of North Carolina convened on April 3, 1775, Hewes, Hooper and Caswell presented the oath of the new Continental Association for approval by the representatives. All those at the meeting signed the oath, except Thomas MacKnight, a delegate from Currituck County. He withdrew himself as a representative. Upon which the other members issued the following resolve and ordered it to be printed in the newspapers of the neighboring provinces.
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Convention that from the Disingenuous and equivical behaviour of the said Thomas Macknight, it is manifest his intentions are inimical to the Cause of American Liberty, and we do hold him up as a proper object of Contempt to this Continent, and recommend that every person break off all connection, and have no further Commercial Intercourse or Dealings with him.
When the Second Provincial Congress of North Carolina adjourned on April 7, 1775, General Gage was undertaking a British troop build-up in Boston and had given orders to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Paul Revere made his famous ride to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams "that the British were coming" to arrest them. Hancock and Adams escaped. Jonas Parker with seventy-five Minutemen were waiting and met the British upon their arrival. On April 19, 1775, the British fired on the Minutemen … "The shot that was heard around the world”, at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

The Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775 in Philadelphia, as had been planned. On that same day, the Green Mountain Boys led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold defeated a small garrison and captured Fort Ticonderoga, and Fort Crown Point the following day. Seven days later, Arnold and fifty men raided Fort Saint-Jean and seized the British’s largest military vessel on Lake Champlain. They took the armaments and cannons to Boston.

The first shots of the Revolutionary War had been fired by the time the Second Continental Congress came into session and the sentiment had begun to shift from reconciliation to independence, especially in Boston which was under occupation by the British military. The advocates for independence marshaled a resolution recommending that any colony that lacked a proper revolutionary government should form one.

On May 15, 1775, the Congress adopted John Adams’ preamble to this resolution which called for the colonies to throw off the authority of the Crown government and their oath of allegiance to Britain. The Virginia Convention gave instructions to their delegates to propose a resolution calling for a declaration of independence.

On May 20, 1775 a meeting was called in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina by freeholders led by Colonel Thomas Polk and others, some of whom had been involved in the Sugar Creek War, and the Mecklenburg Resolves were drafted, approved and posted calling for independence from England.

On June 13, 1775, the colonial leaders in Boston heard of a plan by General Gage to occupy the hills surrounding the city and lay siege to Boston. They took those cannons they had captured from that British ship on Lake Champlain with 1,200 colonial troops and fortified the area at the surprise of the British. On June 17th the colonial forces repulsed two assaults by the British, but fell on the third one and retreated to Cambridge. The British attained a victory at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but their losses were significant, 800 wounded, 226 killed, including a large number of their officers. The colonial forces had few losses, but more importantly they demonstrated they were willing to stand and fight the British army.

The Second Continental Congress stayed in session throughout the War and took on the role of our national government. Delegates communicated back to their Provincial Congress the instructions and recommendations and periodically reported back in person. On June 14, 1775 the Congress created the Continental Army and named George Washington the Commander in Chief on June 15th, he took command on July 3, 1775.

Over the course of the following year, Governor Martin’s communications with William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth, reveals his success in convincing the British they had loyal supporters of the government among the majority population of the colony and that he could, not only regain control of his government, but with a show of force on the part of the British, he assured, those loyal to the Crown would rally to the King’s Standard and open a southern path to squelch the rebellion in the northern colonies.

As a consequence of the extinguishing of the Regulators’ Movement, more than 6,000 men had taken an oath of loyalty to the British Crown just four years earlier. Martin had been working in the backcountry to remind them of that oath. And once again, the loyalty of the Presbyterians ministers would be exploited by the Crown’s representative governor just as had been done a few years earlier when the Presbyterian ministers played a significant role in the squelching of the Regulators’ Movement by using their sermons to fill the ranks of the militias who not only guarded the courthouses during the trials, but also fought against the Regulators during the Battle of Alamance. After Josiah Martin replaced William Tryon as governor, he found a backlog of legislation that had been passed by both the General Assembly and the Governor’s Council during the session prior to the Battle of Alamance, but had not been forwarded to England for approval by the Board of Trade and Plantations. Among the items were three Acts that Tryon signed off on when he solicited the Presbyterian ministers as quid pro quo for their loyalty: 1) an Act for the establishment of Queen’s College in Mecklenburg, 2) an Act authorizing the Presbyterian ministers to solemnize the Rites of Matrimony according to The Church of Scotland, 3) an Act to suspend taxes for four years to a group of Highlanders who had settled in Cumberland County three years earlier. The Board of Trade disallowed these three Acts in April 1772, almost a year after the Battle of Alamance. But the historical ties between Scotland and England were stronger than the duplicity of Governor Tryon and Governor Martin used that loyalty to his advantage. Highlanders began arriving by shiploads and were required to take an oath of allegiance to Great Britain before he would issue their land grants. Soon, the propaganda war that was being waged in the backcountry by Martin upon those of the Presbyterian faith reached the ears of the Presbyterian ministers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who sent a circular letter to the inhabitants of North Carolina on July 10, 1775 explaining to them that what they have been told about the ministers in Pennsylvania is not true. That it was totally in keeping with the principles of their faith to demand their rights as Englishmen.
Listen not to them who abuse our General (Continental) Congress, or our poor distressed brethren at Boston, who are contending for American liberty, and now bear the burden and heat of the day; but above all listen not to their bloody Counsels who would excite you to draw your sword to enslave your fellow subjects in North Carolina and make your Province a field of blood. We conclude with hearty prayers for your temporal and everlasting welfare, and for a speedy and honorable decision of our contests with Great Britain on constitutional principles: and beg leave to subscribe ourselves, with great respect, your friends and brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Governor Martin also proposed to the Earl of Dartmouth to arm the slave population and turn them loose on the whites. He encouraged the British to use their influence with the Indians along the frontier to attack the backcountry settlers. On July 13, 1775, the Committee of Safety in Wilmington wrote to Samuel Johnston and told him the Committee of Intelligence had intercepted a letter from Legge to Martin that indicated a plan to use the Regulators, Indians and Negroes against them. They asked that the Provincial Congress be convened without delay because the time had come to raise the militia and put them on a payroll for the defense of the province. Only the Provincial Congress had the authority to do that. They also told him they had “a number of enterprising young fellows that would attempt to take the fort, but are much afraid of having their conduct disavowed by the Conventien.” In other words, they wanted orders to attack Fort Johnston. Governor Martin had already fled from the Governor’s Palace to Fort Johnston for security, but when heard of the talk about the attack on Fort Johnston, he fled to the safety of the British sloop-of-war Cruizer, anchored on the Cape Fear River, leaving Captain Collett at the fort. Because Martin had dismantled the guns at the fort and remounted them on the Cape Fear River to protect the Cruizer, Captain Collett could not protect the fort and abandoned it. On the night of July 18th, Colonel Robert Howe and his militia, with John Ashe and Cornelius Harnett, marched to the abandoned fort and burned it in full view of Governor Martin aboard the Cruizer. When Martin received a response from Legge, he was told that the King approved his plan.

Over the next few months, Britain recalled General Thomas Gage from his command as a result of the huge loss of men he had incurred at the Battle of Bunker Hill and put Major General William Howe in charge. By December 1775, General Howe gave the orders for resources to be put in motion with the intent of launching an invasion of the southern colonies at Wilmington, North Carolina.

North Carolina was in the crosshairs.

August 1, 2012


French and Indian War ~ Anglo-Cherokee War ~ Pontiac’s War

~ Join or Die ~
1754 - 1766

On May 9, 1754, the Pennsylvania Gazette published this political cartoon which accompanied an editorial about the “disunited state” of the British colonies which inhibited “…speedy and effectual measures for our common defense and security; while our enemies have the very great advantage of being under one direction, with one council and one purse... ”.

The publication was intended to provide support for The Albany Plan which was a proposal, unanimously adopted, by the Albany Congress that would create a centralized government structure among the colonies that included a President General appointed by the Crown and a Grand Council chosen by representatives of the various colonial assemblies. The Albany Plan was an attempt to organize the colonies into a union for their common defense against the encroachment of the French into the upper Ohio Country.

The author of the cartoon and editorial, as well as, the plan was Benjamin Franklin.

A copy of The Albany Plan was presented to each of the colonial assemblies and, being suspicious of creating a central taxing authority, it was promptly rejected.

A copy of The Albany Plan was sent to the Board of Trade and Plantations in London and because many in the British government were already suspicious of some of the strong-willed colonial assemblies and weren’t keen on the idea of consolidating power in the colonies, it was promptly rejected.

On May 28, 1754, a young Lieutenant Colonel in the British army was involved in a short skirmish at Fort Necessity resulting in the first shot in the opening battle of the French and Indian War.

His name was George Washington.
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At the conclusion of the King George’s War (1744-1748), as it is known in America, known in Europe as the War of the Austrian Succession, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed. The details of the Treaty were mostly negotiated between Britain and France and, basically, returned the world to the status quo of 1744. New England colonials were not happy. In 1745, they had captured the mighty fortress at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, not only without the assistance of the British Navy, but with the adamant refusal of the British government to assist them in any way … and now the British Empire gave it back to France. Since 1740, when the fort had been completed, French privateers had used it as a base to prey upon New England fishermen working the Grand Banks. In 1745, a small force of New Englanders under William Pepperrell, with the support of Sir Peter Warren and a fleet of merchantmen, attacked Louisbourg and forced its surrender. Now, it was being returned in exchange for Madras, India. The Treaty also failed to resolve the growing colonial and commercial tensions between the British colonists and the French traders along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The struggle for North America would continue in North America while Europe pretended peace had finally come to their continent.

About thirty-five years earlier, the Queen Anne’s War (1702–13) as it is known in America, in Europe as the War of the Spanish Succession, had been fought by colonials in New York and New England along the Canadian border against French forces and their native Indian allies. As a result, the British had captured Port Royal which brought French Arcadia under British control as the province of Nova Scotia. But under the Treaty of Utrecht which brought an end to this war, the British had allowed France to retain control of Cape Breton Island, upon which they had promptly built Fort Louisbourg creating a French base for the launch of attacks against New England fishermen.

Also in North America, France ceded to Great Britain all claim to the Hudson’s Bay Company, Rupert’s Island and Newfoundland. As a condition of the Treaty, France was required to recognize British dominion over the Iroquois and commerce with the “Far Indians” was to be open to traders of all nations. This part of the Treaty should not be underemphasized. The British and Iroquois had a strong relationship and as you’ll see, as far as native culture is concerned, the Iroquois had dominion over the Ohio Country. But France wasn’t inclined to share the grip they had on the fur trade.

About sixteen years before the end of the Queen Anne’s War, the New England colonists and their native Indian allies had fought the French Canadians during King William’s War (1689-97) as a part of the War for the Grand Alliance (1688–97) which resulted in Great Britain’s failure to capture Quebec and France’s failure to capture Boston.

Therefore, by 1748, New England colonials had had more than their share of conflicts with the French along their borders for about fifty years. They had rallied to the side of the British government in conflict after conflict and when the British government did not come to their assistance, they took matters into their own hands and emerged triumphant, only to have the British government trade their conquests for Madras, India.
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The Iroquois Indians were an association of several tribes of indigenous people located mostly in present-day central and upstate New York and into Canada. Around the 16th century they united into an association known as the Iroquois League, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy, including Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca nations. They are often referred to as the Five Nations. After the Tuscarora War (1711-15) in North Carolina, the Tuscarora returned to their ancestral home and joined the League in 1722 which then became known as the Six Nations.

Beginning in the early 1600s, the Iroquois traded mostly with Dutch and British merchants, a few traded with the French. They gave beaver and other hides to European traders and in turn they received muskets, iron tools, blankets, glass beads and other items of their interests. By mid-1600s, the Iroquois had hunted and trapped most of all the fur-bearing animals in their homeland and turned their eyes towards the rich hunting grounds of their neighboring tribes in the Ohio Country. The natives in that area had been weakened by diseases and had lost many of their numbers. Between 1650 and 1700 the Iroquois waged a war (The Beaver Wars) of extermination against the tribes in Ohio Country and claimed the land for the Iroquois Confederacy as the Beaver Hunting Ground. Most the hunters and warriors did not live there but came primarily to hunt deer and beaver and returned home after a hunting expedition. The Erie Indians were the exception and lived along the south shore of Lake Erie from New York to about present-day Cleveland, Ohio.

During King William’s War (1689-97), the Iroquois Confederation allied with the British against the French and in 1701 they deeded their Beaver Hunting Ground in the Nanfan Treaty to the acting colonial governor of New York. The Treaty was ratified in 1726. Of course, the vast majority of the Beaver Hunting Ground was located in New France and the French did not recognize the treaty as valid. That same year, 1701, the Iroquois signed a peace treaty with France known as the Great Peace of Montreal. During the next war, the Queen Anne’s War, the Iroquois pretty much stayed neutral even though Queen Anne had them at Court in an effort to secure their assistance.

Between 1721-22, the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia renewed the Covenant Chain with the Iroquois in the signing of a new Treaty of Albany which recognized the Blue Ridge as the boundary between the Iroquois and the Virginia Colony. But by 1730, new settlers began to move beyond the Blue Ridge into the Shenandoah Valley to which the Iroquois objected and were told that the agreed upon demarcation line was intended to prevent them from trespassing east of the Blue Ridge, but not to prevent English from moving west of the Blue Ridge. The Iroquois were on the verge of war with the Virginia Colony when Governor Gooch, acting on behalf of the Crown, in 1743 agreed to pay them 100 pounds sterling for any settled land in the Valley that was claimed by them. The next year, the Treaty of Lancaster was signed whereby the Iroquois sold to Virginia all of their remaining claims on the Shenandoah Valley for 200 pounds gold.
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However, the French had a different opinion about who held the lands west of the Allegany Mountains. As you can see by this 1750 map of New France; their claim stretched from Louisiana to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. They had secured the western boundary of the British colonies with a cordon of fortifications, especially along the upper northern area. As far as they were concerned, the vast landmass between Louisiana and Canada belonged to them. Even though colonization was not as successful for France as it had been for England, France argued that the area was majority populated by French. They argued that their countrymen had been the original explorers who navigated the area, and therefore, they had the right of discovery. They did not recognize the Iroquois’ claim of domination over the Beaver Hunting Ground and were negotiating treaties with the powerful Delawares and Shawnees on the frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The French were not going to allow expansion westward of the British colonies and apparently had even greater plans for pushing the British colonists off the continent. The British colonials perceived real and impending danger. Those living on the frontier were becoming alarmed.

From the ”The history of South Carolina under the royal government, 1719-1776, by Edward McCrady, page 300-302
The colony of Georgia was now interposed between the Carolinians and the Spaniards in Florida; but her western frontier was still exposed to the claims of France. Firmly established in Canada and Louisiana, France was rapidly connecting these extreme points by a chain of military posts, stretching through the entire length of the Mississippi Valley, and having formed close commercial alliances with several of the most powerful tribes of the continent, her triumph was apparently, beyond peradventure, not far distant. Her design was to secure the possession of the great valley, and having circumscribed the English colonists within their narrow belt along the Atlantic, when everything was ready for the blow, to fall upon them, with the hordes of their savage confederates, and exterminate or drive them from the soil.

In an old map, constructed previous to 1741, by M. de L’Isle, geographer to the French King, a definite line is traced, marking the eastern limit of France’s assumed domain on the American continent. It set out from a point near Charlestown, ran northeastward to Cooper River, - which it crossed some sixty miles from the ocean, - passed the Santee one hundred miles from its mouth, turned northwestward along the eastern bank of that stream till it reached the Catawba, pursued this tributary into the Alleghany Mountains, followed that course around the head waters of the Potomac to the Susquehanna, - crossing it at a point some sixty-five miles from the head of the Chesapeake Bay, - ran thence up the eastern bank to the North Branch, and along that stream to the Mohawk, - which it crossed some fifty miles above its junction with the Hudson, - thence to a point near the lower extremity of Lake Champlain, and along the channel of that water to the mouth of the Sorrell, by which it finally passed to the River St. Lawrence. The sandy strip of country lying between this imaginary defiant line of frontier and the ocean was all that was allowed England for her portion of the continent. Through all the immense territory between this strip and the Mississippi, English and French emissaries were alike alternately stirring up the Indians against each other.
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Now the stage was set. Great Britain had purchased the Beaver Hunting Ground located in Ohio Country from the Iroquois. The area was rather thinly populated by native Indians since the Iroquois had driven them out. Those tribes still in the area were under the Iroquois’ dominion, for example the Delawares, with whom the French were negotiating. So, before the ink had time to dry on the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, the Earl of Halifax, who had just attained the position as head of the Board of Trade and Plantations, convinced the Crown to deed land to two new land speculation companies, the Ohio Company and the Loyal Company, both based in Virginia. During the mid-1740s, a sprinkling of British colonists had made their way across the Allegany Mountains and settled on the frontier, businessmen from Great Britain had moved into the region and set up trading posts among the natives and were competing with the French for the lucrative fur trade. The French had strong influence over the native populations in their near-area, but it was beginning to wane as the Indians were developing a trade relationship with the British. On the North American continent, the French claimed more land mass, but the British had more population. Tensions were high.

The group known as the Loyal Company was organized in 1749. Among the investors were Peter Jefferson, who was the father of Thomas Jefferson, Joshua Fry, a surveyor and map maker among other things, Reverend James Maury and Thomas Walker, the first being Thomas Jefferson’s teacher and the latter will become his guardian, and Thomas Meriwether, who was the grandfather of Meriwether Lewis of Lewis & Clark. This group acquired an 800,000 acre patent located on the southern border of Virginia in what is present-day southeastern Kentucky, which they renewed twice, but even though they completed the surveys, the coming war interrupted the process and their plans never got off the ground.

However, the Ohio Company of Virginia which organized in 1747 was more successful. Among the members were Thomas Lee, the namesake for Leesburg, Virginia, Nathaniel Chapman, a prominent physician, John Mercer and his son, George Mercer, Lawrence Washington and Augustine Washington, Jr., who were the brothers of George Washington, as well as, the Duke of Bedford, Virginia Lt. Governor Robert Dinwiddie, and John Hanbury, who was a wealthy London merchant. This group acquired 200,000 acres of land near the headwaters of the Ohio River in what is now western Pennsylvania. The patent was awarded in 1749 and made with the conditions that one hundred families would be settled within seven years, that the Company would build a fort at their own expense to protect the settlers and the claim, and that the settlement would establish a regular trade with the local natives in order to maintain friendly relations. To that end, in 1752, the Company signed a treaty of friendship and permission at Logstown with the main tribes in the region. Then, from 1748-50, they hired Thomas Cresap who opened a trading fort and founded Oldtown, Maryland at the foot of the eastern climb up the Cumberland Narrows. He was was contracted to blaze a trail over the mountains to the Monogahela River as the first step in building a wagon road. In 1750, the Company hired Christopher Gist to explore the Ohio Valley and identify lands for potential settelment which he did in 1750, 1751 and 1753. He traveled far and kept a journal of his experiences and when he returned his report, the Company identified the an area in western Pennsylvania and present-day West Virginia for settlement.

On July 1, 1752, Marquis Duquesne, the governor in New France, ordered the construction of new forts to secure control of the Ohio Country and in 1753 sent 1,500 French soldiers into the upper Ohio Valley to established Fort Presq'-isle in modern day Erie, Pennsylvania, Fort Le Boeuf in modern day Waterford, Pennsylvania and Fort Manchault in modern day Franklin, Pennsylvania. Back in England, the Earl of Halifax charged the French had broken the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, which acknowledged the Iroquois as British subjects, therefore, their land, even areas conquered by them were British.

The Ohio Company’s land patent was technically under the control of the Virginia colony because it fell within the chartered boundaries. Robert Dinwiddie, a member of the Company, as well as, Lt. Governor of Virginia first sent Major George Washington to Fort Le Boeuf with a letter of remonstrance to Captain Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, the French commander. He was joined by John Davidson as Indian interpreter, and Jacob Van Braam, who spoke the French language and Christopher Gist who acted as a guide, as well as four other men, two of them Indian traders. Forty-one days later they arrived at Fort Le Boeuf and handed the letter to Captain Saint-Pierre. Four days later, December 16, 1753, Saint-Pierre handed to Major Washington his sealed reply to Lt. Governor Dinwiddie and the party began their perilous journey back to Virginia. The mountains were covered with snow, the streams were swift and swollen and filled with ice, and much of the journey was on foot. They arrived back in Williamsburg on January 16, 1754. In addition to the letter, Washington reported on the reconnaissance he had gathered telling Dinwiddie that the French had swept south; he detailed the steps they had taken to fortify the area and their intention to fortify the confluence of the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers.

Lt. Governor Dinwiddie commissioned Major Washington a Lieutenant-Colonel, and placed him in chief command of two hundred troops to be raised to march to the Ohio River and build two forts before the French could descend the stream or its tributaries in the spring. The Governor sent an appeal to the other colonies for help. All hesitated except … North Carolina … whose Assembly immediately voted men and money, for the first time a colony put their money and their men in support of another colony beyond their boundaries for common defense. The other colonial assemblies became bogged down in the debate over the supremacy of parliament verses the rights of the colonists in regards to which group had the authority to levy taxes and direct the use of those funds; and on the frontier, there was competition for the Indian trade among the provincial governments.

Thus, Benjamin Franklin’s political cartoon … “Join, or Die” … and his scathing editorial about the “disunited state” of the British colonies.

Washington recommended the building of the first fort at the forks of the Ohio River and Captain Trent took a contingent of troops and went ahead to speed the construction while Washington remained in Alexandria recruiting. In early April, Washington left Alexandria with his small force, along the way he was intercepted by swift runners from the Half-King on the Monongahela with reports of the French movements toward the forks of the Ohio River. He reached Will’s Creek on April 20, 1754 and was met by a member of Trent’s Company with news that French Captain Contrecoeur had come down the Alleghany and not only taken possession of the unfinished fort that Trent’s troops had begun, but had finished it on a stronger plan and named it Fort Duquesne for the Governor of New France.

By late May, Colonel Fry and his contingent of troops had reached Washington on the banks of the Youghiogheny River, within forty miles of Fort Duquesne. There they received a message from the Half-King warning the French were on the move, so Washington fell back across the Great Meadows and built a stockade that he named Fort Necessity. Christopher Gist, who lived nearby, reported tracks of Frenchmen within five miles of the Great Meadows. That night the Half-King sent a message saying a party of armed Frenchmen was lying in ambush about six miles away. Even though it was dark and rainy, Washington immediately set out with about forty men for the camp of the friendly Seneca Chief to enlist his help and together they sought the hiding place of their common foe. On May 28, when they met the enemy, Washington order this troops to fire and the enemy returned fire, the fight lasted about fifteen minutes. When it ceased, French Commander Jumonville and ten of his men were dead, one Virginian had been killed.

Colonel Fry died on May 31 and Washington was promoted to Colonel. He spent the next few days fortifying his position, preparing for the French to attack. On June 9, the rest of the Virginia regiment arrived at the Great Meadows, bringing supplies and nine swivel guns. Washington had under his command now a total of 293 officers and men. Several days later about 100 men of Captain James MacKay’s Independent Company of regular British troops from South Carolina arrive but Washington’s attempt to retain his Indian allies was not successful.

The South Carolina troops remained in the Great Meadows while Washington and the Virginians spent most of June opening a road from Fort Necessity to Gist’s Plantation in direction of the forks of the Ohio. When he received reports of a large force of French and Indians advancing from Fort Duquesne, Washington withdrew his men to the Great Meadows, arriving there on July 1.

On the morning of July 3, a force of about 600 French and 100 Indians took up position in the woods. Rain fell all day and flooded the marshy ground. Both the British and the French and Indians took casualties, but the British suffered greater losses. At about 8 o’clock that evening, the French Captain, Louis Coulon de Villiers, commander and brother of Jumonville, requested a truce to discuss the surrender of Washington’s command. The British forces were allowed to withdraw with the honors of war, were allowed to keep their baggage and weapons, except for the swivel guns. On July 4, Washington and MacKay left Fort Necessity and marched back to Virginia. The French burned Fort Necessity to the ground and returned to Fort Duquesne.

The French and Indian War had begun in North America.

After the surrender of Washington at Fort Necessity, Lt. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia pressed the British government for assistance to remove the French from Fort Duquesne and found them eager to advance a full war on the French in North America. What resulted was a disaster in the making, infamously known in American history as Braddock’s Defeat. On July 9, 1755, about 1,500 British and American troops from Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina were set upon by a force of 300 to 600 Indians including Ottawas, Miamis, Hurons, Delawares, Shawnees and Mingoes and about 30 French colonial troops on the Monongahela River at the fork of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers near present-day Pittsburgh. Braddock attempted to fight European-style, while the French and Indians fought Indian-style. When the colonial militias fell behind the trees out of instinct to fight Indian-style, Braddock forced them back into European-style. When it was over the British command had lost twenty-six officers killed, thirty-seven wounded, 430 soldiers killed and 385 wounded, many had been shot by their own men in the confusion. The French and Indian losses were probably less that thirty killed and an unknown number of wounded. Most of the women and children who had been permitted to accompany the march were killed and scalped. Twelve prisoners were stripped naked and tortured to death throughout the night.

The defeat of Braddock unleashed a relentless wave of French and Indian attacks on frontier settlements from Pennsylvania and Maryland to Virginia. Many of the settlers living on that frontier had recently arrived during the migration period that had brought the expansion of the North Carolina Piedmont and their experiences with the Indians thus far had not prepared them for the onslaught that was to come down upon them. The peaceful, non-violent Quakers had entered into a treaty with the Delawares, and now they were being murdered, scalped, kidnapped and tortured by those very same Indians. The tomahawk of the Shawnees was at work on the Virginia frontier. There are numerous accounts of the horrendous brutality that was brought down on their heads. One of those accounts you can find HERE, of Sidnah Rosine, one of my ancestors who lived to tell her story, which I suspect was not that unusual except that she survived it.

On May 8, 1756, Britain and France formally declared war against each other as the conflict grew world-wide and became the Seven Years’ War.
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Meanwhile, back in South Carolina, it was about the time of Governor Dinwiddie’s initial adventurer into the Ohio Country that Governor Glen of South Carolina was made aware of Dinwiddie’s attempt to secure a larger share of trade with the four southern tribes, Cherokee, Catawba, Muscogee/Creek and Chickasaw, by enticing them away from their dependence on South Carolina for their necessities of life. The South Carolina colony had a long standing relationship with the Cherokee, as well as, the Catawba. Governor Glen understood the importance of their trade with South Carolina, and more importantly it seems he understood how to manage the Cherokee. They had been on and off allies with the Carolinians during the 1711 Tuscarora War in North Carolina and the 1715 Yamasee War on the South Carolina/Spanish Florida border.

Edward McCrady, in his ”The history of South Carolina under the royal government, 1719-1776, records on pages 303-4, the letter Governor Glen sent to Governor Dinwiddie. It not only describes how Glen has learned to manage the Cherokee, but also, gives us some insight into just how unprotected the Carolina frontier was at the time. All that stood between them and the Indians, on their western boundary, was a small Georgia colony on the Savannah River.
“South Carolina,” he wrote, “is a weak frontier colony, and in case of an invasion by the French would be their first object of attack. We have not much to fear, however, while we retain the affections of the Indians around us; but should we forfeit that by any mismanagement on our part, or by the superior address of the French, we are in a miserable situation. The Cherokees alone have several thousand gunmen well acquainted with every inch of this province – their country is the key to Carolina. We have been greatly alarmed by the behavior of the Virginians in regard to the Cherokees. Few or no Indians are in treaty with Virginia. By long experience we have become thoroughly acquainted with their nature and inclinations, and have been so successful in managing them as to keep them steady to the British interest, notwithstanding the vigorous and persevering efforts of France to seduce them from us. We can see no good or wise policy in endeavoring to draw away these Indians form one of his Majesty’s provinces to another. We have been enabled to fix the affections of the four great nations around us. Let facts speak: they come when we send for them, and go when we bid them depart; they do whatever we desire them. They now perfectly understand the injustice of punishing the innocent for the guilty, and the necessity of punishing the latter in conformity to the treaties between them and us. And when, under any circumstances, a white man is killed in their country, the offender is sure to die, through the greatest of the nation.

“When a people unacquainted with the nature of crimes and punishments are brought to deal with offenders on principles that guide, under similar circumstances, the most enlightened nations, may we not safely boast of having progressed a great way in the education of savages? All this we do aver to be truthful. What benefit, therefore, do you hope to gain for the common cause by sending so many pressing invitations to those nations, or the five of New York to come to Virginia? I will answer for their good behavior with my life if your province will let them alone. In my absence the Council of this colony wrote praying you not to intermeddle with out Indians. I have also requested the same, yet you have sent messages lately to the Catawbas and the Chickasaws inviting them to come and receive the presents sent over by the King.”
Between 1753 and 1755, battles had broken out between the Cherokee and the Muscogee/Creek nations over disputed hunting grounds in North Georgia with the Cherokee emerging victorious. In 1753, Governor Glen of South Carolina agreed to build Fort Prince George in present-day Pickens County on two thousand acres of land opposite the Indian town of Keowee to serve as protection against the Creek Indians, as well as, a trading post for the Cherokee Lower Towns. Chief Old Hop, crippled King of the Cherokee, agreed to give Governor Glen all the land lying between the Cherokee nation and the existing white settlements which at the time extended no higher than Aiken and Lexington counties and two years later deeded the area to Governor Glen which became District Ninety-Six.

At the outbreak of the French and Indian War, the Overhill Cherokee located on the Tennessee were attacked by the French-allied Shawnee and requested of Governor Glen to build a fort among them for protection and trade, so in 1756, Governor Glen began the building of Fort Loudon, in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee, a few miles downstream from the Cherokee capital Chota in an attempt to ensure their allegiance. The British representatives in the colonies were aware of attempts by French traders to sway the Overhills to their ally. Over many years French traders from Fort Toulouse in French Alabama had made numerous visits to the Overhills on their way to and from their fort on the St. Lawrence River. It is said that at the beginning of the French and Indian War, the Cherokee allied with the British, however, suspicions and tensions grew between them, misunderstandings and indignations perpetuated mistrust which resulted in the Cherokee switching sides and joining with the French before the end of the war. The Battle of Quebec in 1759 ended most of the fighting against the French in the British colonies of North America. By September 1760, fighting in Canada ended with English victories in Montréal, then Newfoundland. But that was not the case with the Indians. The timing of and causes for the switch of allegiance is difficult to determine. I think it was a case of gradual drifting of allegiances. It seems the Upper Towns flipped first, perhaps beginning with the Overhill Cherokees on the Tennessee. It seems the older, more moderate Cherokees in the Lower Towns were more British-leaning, perhaps because of long relationships and their attachment to the items they acquired through trade with the British; and the younger, more fundamentalist Cherokees were influenced by the French who were telling them that the British intended to make them slaves. There was a history of Indian slave trading in the colonies, so that played on their fears. No doubt the increased migration of new white settlers, pushing the frontier of the colonies further into Indians lands was a major factor also.

On page 24 of her book, ”History of Anson County, North Carolina-1750-1976”, Mary L. Medley tells us that Fort Dobbs, in present-day Rowan County, North Carolina, was built in 1756 as an outpost against the Cherokee. That same year, Governor Dobbs recommended another fort near the headwaters of the Catawba called Old Fort in present-day McDowell County, North Carolina. So, it seems that at least by that time, the threat from the Cherokee was a concern for North Carolinians.

On page 22, Ms. Medley quotes for us from The Colonial Records an account of a meeting in Salisbury, North Carolina held on May 26-27, 1756 between chief justices and King Hagler of the Catawbas with fifteen of his warriors. King Hagler says:
The Cherokees, we and the white People have been brothers and I desired that the path between them might be kept clear but the Cherokees have been playing the Rogue at which I am terribly concerned. We will stand by our brethren the English or go down to the grave with them. Mine is a small nation yet are brave men, and will be fast friends to their brothers the white people as long as the sun endures.
On page 23, Ms. Medley tells us that at the Salisbury Conference, King Hagler also made an interesting plea for the life of a white woman, who had been captured or delivered to him by the Cherokees. He said that she had been forced to do what she did and added, “I always hate to lose a woman for she may become the mother of sons.”

On page 24, Ms. Medley quotes again from the The Colonial Records, this time a letter sent by Governor Dobbs of North Carolina to the Board of Trade in London on June 14, 1756:
My Lords,
There having been a conference with the Catawbas held at Salisbury by their King Hagler and some warriors with Chief Justice Henly which had been sent down to me I thought to send you a Copy of it occasioned by some of the Cherokees who were returning from Virginia after their disappointment of attacking the Shawnee, who carried off a white Woman from Virginia and tis’ supposed at her instigation carried off horses, saddles and plunder from the Back Settlers as they passed through the Province, but I suppose they would not supply them with provisions, and our Mad settlers want to repel force with force. But I have sent strict orders at their peril to make any opposition but save their lives. I shall order 100 weight of Gunpowder and 400 weight of lead to the Catawbas, our friends although, we have not 1000 weight in the Province and none can be unless the Government supplies us from England in case of war.
In South Carolina, Governor Glen’s replacement, William Henry Lyttleton, arrived from England on June 1, 1756. His inability, or rather unwillingness, to “manage” the Cherokee as Governor Glen had done, brought down horrendous butchery upon the Carolina frontier. His brusque treatment of their chiefs was cause for concern for Lt. Governor William Bull and others of influence in the colony, and they were right to be concerned. An incident involving about twenty-six Cherokee chiefs held hostage at Fort Prince George by Governor Lyttleton, while awaiting his demand to surrender those Cherokee warriors responsible for raids resulting in the murder and kidnapping of white settlers, ended with an attempt by the Cherokee to free their chiefs that resulted in, not only the killing of the officer and wounding of the small contingent of soldiers at the fort, but also the killing of the hostages by those soldiers.

A quote from a quote in ”History of South Carolina, Volume 1”, edited by Yates Snowden, Harry Gardner Cutler, on page 271:
The horrible sequel in graphically told in Landrum’s “History of Upper South Carolina,” to this effect: “This unfortunate catastrophe maddened the whole Cherokee nation. The pleasant relations which had been so recently formed with these people were at the end. It is said that in the murder of these hostages, there was scarcely a family among the Cherokees that had not lost a friend or relative. The whole nation seized at once the hatchet, sang their war songs and, burning for revenge, fell upon the frontier settlements of Carolina, and with merciless fury set to work murdering men, women and children. The settlements, everywhere alarmed and terrified, lost no time in setting to the work of building forts and stockades. It is said that a line of forts extended along the borders of the outer settlements from Virginia to Georgia.
As Indian trouble rose up to the north, south and west of Anson, the provincial government at Wilmington sent Hugh Waddell of Rowan County to defend the frontier about the same time that a smallpox outbreak struck the Catawbas and reduced their numbers by half, so they were not able to provide much assistance against the Cherokee. By 1758, there was a temporary relief from the Cherokee threat until an attack on settlers in the Catawba Valley that year which killed Robert Gillespie and the fourteen-year-old son of Richard Lewis. Then the Cherokee attacked Fort Dobbs in 1759 which resulted in about twelve Indians killed and two North Carolina militia killed, one who died from scalping.

In late 1759 the Cherokees laid siege to Fort Loudoun, which had been built for the Overhills on the Tennessee. After five months, the fort surrendered under terms that allowed the garrison to return to South Carolina under a white flag. After spending the night on the bottoms of Cane Creek near Belltown, the garrison woke to find the Cherokee guides gone and their party surrounded. Cherokee warriors attacked at dawn, killing about twenty-five soldiers. Attakullakulla, a respected Cherokee leader, asked that John Stuart be spared, describing him as "a true friend." The Cherokees considered it a retaliation for an earlier killing of Cherokee hostages at Fort Prince George in South Carolina.

From 1759-61, the Anglo-Cherokee War was unleashed on the Carolina frontiers, from the western border of South Carolina to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina. After the incident at Fort Prince George unleashed the fury of the Cherokee on settlers in the Carolina frontier, General Jeffrey Amherst, the British commander in North America, sent Archibald Montgomerie with an army of 1,200 troops consisting of the Royal Scots and the 77th Regiment of Foot Highlanders to South Carolina and they razed the Cherokee Lower Towns including Keowee. When Montgomerie attempted to enter the Middle Towns territory at Echoee Pass, he was defeated and withdrew. After the siege at Fort Loudoun and the resulting ambush, in 1761, James Grant, who had replaced Archibald Montgomerie, enlisted the help of Catawba scouts and led an army of 2,600 men through Echoee Pass, and proceeded to raze about fifteen Middle Towns. Hugh Waddell and Griffith Rutherford of Rowan, and Hugh Montgomery of Salisbury accompanied Major Grant on this final push against the Cherokee that brought an end to the war. In November 1761, the Cherokee signed a peace treaty with Virginia and another with South Carolina.

In 1762, King Hagler, head of the Catawbas, was murdered by a Shawnee while on a journey into the Waxhaw settlement with only one bodyguard. He was a friend of the Carolinians, and that is what likely got him killed.

Then in May 1763, came Pontiac’s War, named after an Ottawa chief Obwandiyag, whom the English called Pontiac. It included tribes of the Great Lakes region, Ottawas, Ojibwas, Potawatomis and Hurons, and the tribes of eastern Illinois Country, Miamis, Weas, Kickappos, Mascoutens, and Piankashaws, As well as, tribes in the Ohio Country, Delawares, Shawnees, Wyandots, and Mingos. Two things they had in common; one, they had all been French allies, and two, they were very alarmed to learn that they were under British sovereignty after the French loss of North America. They discovered this when the British moved into Fort Detroit and began to fortify the other forts in the region that had been vacated by the French. It is said that the policies of General Amherst spurred the tensions that led to this war. Those polices included the practice of giving presents such as guns, knives, tobacco, and clothing to village chiefs, who in turn distributed these gifts to their people. By this process, the village chiefs gained stature among their people. This was an important aspect of the colonial-native relationship. Amherst considered it a form of bribery that was no longer necessary. The Indians regarded this change in policy as an insult and an indication that the British looked upon them as conquered people rather than as allies. Amherst also restricted the amount of ammunition and gunpowder that traders could sell to Indians because he did not trust them, especially after the Anglo-Cherokee War.

Nine forts were captured by the Indians, eight of which were destroyed, about 2,500 white settlers were killed, others were captured and hundreds fled from the region. The war spread throughout the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions with the Indian’s coalition having many successes. However, Pontiac's alliance slowly began to disintegrate, first the Potawatomis dissociated themselves, and then Hurons broke their alliance. Little by little most of his Ojibwa and Ottawa followers also deserted him and scattered to their winter hunting grounds. The final peace was concluded at Fort Ontario July 23-25, 1766.

It is said that Pontiac's acquiescence in peace set his former allies against him; his own village decided to banish him. He was murdered at the hand of a Peoria.
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The Peace of Paris or Treaty of 1763 was signed on February 10, 1763 in Paris between the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the world-wide Seven Years’ War and the North American French and Indian War. As you can see, the Crown created an Indian reservation the entire distance of the western colonial frontier from Florida to Quebec. I bet I can guess how those who had just lived through the worst nightmare imaginable felt about that ... can’t you?

Then the Crown went even further. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued on October 7, 1763 by King George the Third. It is said that the intent of the proclamation was to organize Great Britain’s North American empire and to stabilize relations with the natives through regulation of trade, settlement and land purchases on the western frontier. Basically it said, any British subject living on the western side of the Proclamation Line was to move immediately, no compensation or assistance was offered, and if you didn’t ... you were on your on ... the Crown was not responsible for your safety.

I think I can guess how that was received. Bet you can too.

There are several points of view as to why the Crown made these decisions depending on who is doing the opining. But the one thing they didn’t succeed in doing, which should not have been a surprise, was stop the migration west of the colonists. As a matter of fact the demarcation line was moved twice with more treaties ... by the Crown. After the war, George Washington requested and received a 20,000 acre patent in Ohio Country for those who had served during the French and Indian War ... from the Crown. This land grant was located in parts of present-day West Virginia and Kentucky, very near the area that had been granted to the Loyal Company prior to the war. That land was eventually opened to Virginians. As settlers continued to venture west, Indians continued to attack attempting to push them back, most notably Lord Dunmore's War in 1774 between the Colony of Virginia and the Shawnee and Mingo nations.

The back and forth attacks, skirmishes and raids between Indians and settlers on the frontier continued right up until the outbreak of the American Revolution. And by coincidence … or perhaps design … the very Indians to whom the Crown had granted a land reserve became their allies against the Patriots.
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With the exception of the attack on Fort Dobbs in 1759, the location of the Burlingham Rudd family on the Pee Dee River appears to have limited their exposure to the fighting between the British and the French and Indians during most of the war. No doubt the news of the fighting reached Anson, and no doubt there were neighbors who fought as part of the colonial militias from the Piedmont. However, I think that was not likely the case when it came to the Anglo-Cherokee War that followed. Not only was that conflict much closer to home, along the South Carolina and North Carolina border, but the Carolinians and the Cherokee had been trading partners for a long time up until the outbreak of the fighting between them. It seems that the trouble is traced back to the alliance with the Cherokee and the troops in Virginia against the Shawnee. For the Carolinians and the Cherokee, it must have been a terrorizing time for two cultures that had pretty much adapted to each other over the course of many decades.