Sunday Salute ~ Colonel Benjamin Cleveland ~ Terror of the Tories ~Part 3

Benjamin Cleveland signIn the fall of 1780, Benjamin led 350 Heroes to their most famous moment of the Revolution, the Battle of King’s Mountain, when he learned that British Colonel Patrick Ferguson intended to march into North Carolina.


Mounted columns of Carolinians and Virginians came from the west over the mountains in the snow that totally covered their feet and ankles in response to the threat. These “over-mountain” men had established their settlements and their homes in remote regions far and independent from the Royal authority in the eastern colonies’ years before the first sounds of war were heard. Though the American Revolution had been raging for five years, these men had until now been unthreatened by the war, but Ferguson’s invasion of the South Carolina upcountry changed their perspective.

In his own campaign, Ferguson had succeeded in recruiting several thousand Carolinians who were loyal to the British. With them, he started to hunt down and punish the “rebels” who continued to resist Royal authority. During the summer of 1780, Ferguson marched and counter-marched through the Carolina country as the over-mountain men swept eastward and engaged him or his detachment in fierce little actions of sometimes confused guerrilla warfare.


In September Benjamin and his 350 Bulldogs had joined Colonel William Campbell,Benjamin Cleveland Statue Cleveland TN Colonel Isaac Shelby, Colonel John Sevier, and other militia leaders at Quaker Meadows near Catawba River. Since there were so many officers of equal rank it was agreed that command should rest with the board of colonels. Colonel Campbell was elected officer of the day to execute the board’s decisions. Benjamin was to be one of the principal officers in the conflict. Most of the united forces of 1600 were afoot, but approximately 700 were mounted on the fastest horses and overtook Ferguson at King’s Mountain.


These mounted troops were divided into three divisions under Benjamin, Colonel Campbell, and Colonel Lacey, each division would storm the mountain from a different direction. Lacey from the west, Campbell from the center, and Benjamin from the east.


Kings Mountain Battle-SignJust before the beginning of the battle, Benjamin addressed his troops in which Dr. David Ramsay called “plain unvarnished language”. It showed Benjamin’s good sense and knowledge of human nature. This speech inspired the courage and patriotism of the over-mountain men. Inspired to win at all cost, the men hid behind rocks and trees and fired at the British. They were repelled, but they rallied and came back to fight, and the over-mountain men had better luck in the second attempt. Benjamin, with a sword in hand, rode to the front of his column and led the ascent, yelling for his men to follow him. Ferguson’s troops poured continuous gunfire into the advancing line and during the shooting Roebuck, Benjamin’s beloved warhorse was shot out from under him. Grabbing his flintlock pistols, he dismounted and ran ahead of his men until another horse was brought to him from the rear. Benjamin weighed 300 pounds so he always had 2 horses with him, so one could rest while the other carried his large frame.


By then, the patriots were ascending the mountain from all sides. Unceasing gunfire Benjamin Cleveland Statueand the roar of the men shouting and the officers yelling words of encouragement to their troops. Eventually, the British line wavered and broke in confusion. Ferguson, who had fought desperately, ran for liberty but was shot with at least a dozen bullets. His troops immediately surrendered to the patriots. Ferguson’s gray charger ran away but was quickly caught and presented to Benjamin to compensate for his loss of Roebuck.



When it was all over 225 Loyalists had been slain, 163 were wounded and 716 had been taken prisoner, The patriots had lost only 28 men and 62 had been wounded. On their way to prison, many of the captured were brutally beaten and some were even hacked to death with swords. About a week later and 50 miles from King’s Mountain, a committee of Whig colonels appointed themselves as judge and jury of the Loyalists. 36 Tories were found guilty of breaking into homes. Killing the inhabitants and burning houses. Benjamin was instrumental in the immediate execution by hanging of 9 of the convicted 36 men.


It is said that The Battle of Kings Mountain was the turning point of the war. To Benjamin Cleveland Statue Wilkesboro NCthose who fought alongside Benjamin, he was considered the supreme hero whose spirit of adventure and self-reliance, quickness of thought, and rapidity of action in times of emergency and danger contributed greatly to the American victory.



Next week in part 4 I will cover Benjamin’s life after the war.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday Salute ~ Martin Finter ~ Revolutionary War

Germany mapMartin Finter, my 5x Great Grandfather was a first-generation Colonial. His parents Hans Michel and Anna Christiana (Eyrich) Finter immigrated from Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany in 1737. They arrived in Philadelphia then migrated to York, Pennsylvania before 1740. Martin was born on February 10, 1740, in York. He married Elizabeth Rothgab (1736-1835) in 1758.

They moved their growing family to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. They had 3 Kings mountaindaughters and 1 son. When the Revolutionary War began Martin joined the fight along with over 3000 other German-Americans. He joined the Virginia Militia. On October 7, 1780, he participated in the Battle of Kings Mountain. It was a military engagement between Patriot and Loyalist militias in South Carolina during the Southern Campaign of the American Revolutionary War, resulting in a decisive victory for the Patriots.

yorktownFrom August 2 to October 5, 1781, he served under the command of Colonel Elias Edmundson of General Stephen’s Brigade. They had many minor skirmishes with the British troops there in Yorktown. General George Washington arrived with reinforcements in mid-September. On October 9 after digging their own trenches about 800 yards from the British they started a week-long artillery assault on the enemy. Then on October 14, Alexander Hamilton led a surprise nighttime attack against the British forces. These two assaults wreaked havoc on the enemy. Finally on October 17 after a failed attempt at a nighttime sea evacuation, the British sent forward a red-coated drummer boy followed by an officer waving a white handkerchief, All the guns fell silent as Cornwallis surrendered, and the War was won!

Martin returned home to the Shenandoah Valley and his family, He was granted 300 acres of land for his service, and like most people in the area, he began to grow tobacco. Martin began receiving a pension for his service to the country in 1831, He died in 1833 at the age of 93. His wife, Elizabeth continued to receive his pension until her death in 1835 at the age of 99.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday Salute ~ The Parrott Boys ~ Revolutionary War

Patriot picFrederick Parrott, my 4x Great Grandfather, was born in Bern, Switzerland in 1717 and died in 1798.  He arrived in Colonial Virginia in 1737. He married Barbara Edwards (1722-1780) and his first son, John was born and both events took place in Tom Brooks, Shenandoah Co, Virginia in 1740. Frederick and Barbara went on to have a total of 10 children, 3 daughters, and 7 sons. The last son was born in 1764.


The Revolutionary War started on April 19, 1775, and Frederick Sr joined the fight. One by one each one of his sons also signed up for service. The last son joined in 1781. Here is the list of sons and the information about their service.


John Parrott DAR

John Parrott (1740-1800) enlisted in the Revolutionary War for a three-year term on July 4, 1777, and served as a private in Colonel William Grayson’s Virginia Regiment. He would have been 37 at the time of his enlistment, comparatively old for a soldier in those days. His age probably accounts for why he did not enlist earlier when his brothers did. It was undoubtedly a sacrifice for him to serve, for he left a wife of 17 years and a large family behind. He only served 2 years of his 3-year commitment and he deserted his commission on August 12, 1779. He had to return home because his wife had died and he had to care for his children. John is my 3x Great Grandfather.

Henry Parrott (1742-1793) enlisted at the start of War and served under Captain John Tipton who was in charge of the Shenandoah Co., Virginia, militia during the Revolutionary War. He served for the entire length of the war engaging in many battles including the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780.

Jacob Parrott HS St John Luth Cem Singers Glen VA

Jacob Parrott (1744-1829) enlisted on March 4, 1776, serving under Captain John Tipton and was quickly promoted to ensign. On March 1, 1777, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. He was dismissed from service on May 9, 1777. There is no reason given for the dismissal.


George Parrott (1746-1777)  enlisted at the start of the War in 1775 serving under Captain John Tipton. He participated in many battles including the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Paoli. On October 4, 1777, he fought in The Battle of Germantown. It was fought before dawn during a heavy fog, after marching all night to achieve the element of surprise, things did not go well for the Continentals. The Continentals lost 152 men that morning. Many soldiers were buried in mass graves, some were buried in local cemeteries. There is no known record of the disposition of George’s body. George was 31 years old and had never been married nor had any children.

Samuel Parrott hs

Samuel Parrott (1755-1843) enlisted on January1, 1781 to December of that same year. He served under Captain John Tipton. His rank was private.



Joseph Parrott (1760-1847) enlisted in December 1775 and served under Captain Jonathan Clark. In 1778 he was promoted to Lieutenant and Commissary. He was Joseph Parrott RW HSin the Battles Brandywine, Germantown and Yorktown. On December 25, 1777, he was appointed by General George Washington as a Purchasing Company to obtain provisions and clothing for the Army at Valley Forge, PA. He served until the end of the War.

Fredrick Parrott HS RW So Salem Cem, So Salem OH

Frederick Parrott Jr (1764-1842) enlisted in 1780 at the age of 17. He was called to serve at the Battle of Yorktown and witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis. He was a private. After the war, he served in the Virginia Militia as an Ensign starting in1786. His last commission was 1794. He also participated in the War of 1812.




I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday Salute ~ Colonel Joseph Hardin Sr ~ Revolutionary War

Plaque for joseph hardinColonel Joseph Hardin Sr, my 4x Great Grandfather was born April 18, 1734, in Richmond Co, Virginia Colony the son of Benjamin Hardin Jr and Elizabeth Hooper. Not much is known about his early years but we do know that he grew up on a sprawling farm that grew tobacco. He married Jane Gibson on July 8, 1762, and they soon moved to the newly formed Tryon Co., NC Colony where he was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1772. Between 1762 and 1789 Joseph and Jane had 13 children, 9 boys, and 4 girls. 3 of their sons John, Benjamin, and Robert were killed by Indians during the Indian War.

tryon resolves

Joseph served several times as Justice of the peace, first in Tryon Co. from 1772 to 1778, then in Washington Co. in 1783 and finally in Greene Co. in 1796. When the Revolutionary War began he was appointed as Major to the 2nd North Carolina Minute Men in 1775. That same year, he appears in the rolls as a Captain in the North Carolina Colonial Light Horse Rangers, taking part in the Cherokee Expedition into the Washington District (Tennessee) the next year. Joseph was a signatory to the Tryon Resolves on August 14, 1775. The Resolves was a response to the Battles of Lexington and Concord showing solidarity against the British. It declares independence from British tyranny. Beginning in 1777, Hardin carried a Captain’s commission in Locke’s Battalion seeing much action against Britain and its allies. He fought in the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill on June 20, 1780, and later that year at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7th rising to the rank of Colonel.

Joseph Hardin map

In 1786 after the war, he was awarded land grants that totaled 8400 acres of land in North Carolina and what is now Tennessee for his service. Here Joseph once again entered politics, serving as an Assemblyman for the First Territorial Assembly of the Southwest Territory held at Knoxville, Knox Co., TN in the summer of 1794. Later that same year he made Knoxville his home and became a trustee of the newly chartered Greeneville College (later Tusculum).

Although he never set foot in the region, on March 11, 1786, the land along the far western reaches of the Tennessee River was surveyed by Isaac Taylor and warrants were drawn on behalf of Joseph for 3,000 acres in what was to become Hardin Co. Unfortunately, due to legal trouble with squatters and the wildness of this part of Tennessee, it would be another thirty years before the family could settle there.

Joseph died July 4, 1801, at his home-site near Knoxville. He is buried, along with his wife, at the Hickory Creek Cemetery, Hardin Valley, Knox Co., Tennessee.

Joseph Hardin HS

This is the large monument dedicated to Hardin at his burial site. The inscription reads:


Born April 18, 1734, in Virginia of English Ancestry.
Died July 4, 1801, in Hardin Valley, Tennessee.
A strict Presbyterian, stern and fearless in the discharge of duty.
Loved and trusted by his friends, feared by his enemies.


Major 2nd N.C. Minute Men, Salisbury District, 1775.
Captain Tryon Co., N.C. Light Horse, Cherokee Expedition, 1776.
In the battle of Ramsour’s Mill and at Kings Mountain, 1780.
Colonel for Western Counties (Tenn.), 1788.
Lost three sons in Tennessee Indian Wars.

Member Committee of Safety, Tryon Co., N.C., 1775.
Member Provincial Congress at Hillsborough 1775 and at Halifax 1776.
Member General Assembly of N.C., 1778-79 and (from Tenn.) 1782-88.
Organizer State of Franklin, Jonesboro, 1784-1785.
Member General Assembly, Territory South of the Ohio, Knoxville, 1794.

For his military services during the Revolutionary War and Indian Wars, he received in 1785 from North Carolina,
3000 acres of land in the middle district, now Hardin County, Tenn. named for him.

As a side note, Joseph Hardin is the great-grandfather of legendary Texas outlaw and gunslinger, John Wesley Hardin.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.














Sunday Salute ~ Colonel James Blair ~ “Ride of the Rebel” ~ Revolutionary War

Patriot picI recently discovered documentation about my 6x Great Uncle, James Blair. I have been trying to spend more time digging into the lives of my Great Aunts and Uncles instead of just concentrating on my direct line ancestors. To say I am excited about what I have found about James would be an understatement! The following is just a small amount of what I have found.

James Blair was born on March 6, 1761, in Augusta County, Virginia. He was the third child born to Colbert and Sarah (Morgan) Blair. They lived in the section of the county called the Shenandoah Valley, so James grew up in the vast open lands, hunting game, riding horses, and enjoying the outdoors. By 1772, the British and the Colonial settlers were on the verge of having a war with each other.  It is said that the British agents inflamed the mountain Indians by giving them whiskey and guns and encouraging them to drive the settlers out of the beautiful valley.  So, for the safety of their family, Colbert and Sarah moved southeastward into Guilford County, North Carolina.  After a few years, they moved again into the Cedar Valley of Caldwell County, North Carolina.

In 1778, at the age of 17, James felt the call to join in the fight against the British. He served until the end of the Revolutionary War,  first as an orderly then as a sergeant, ensign, and an Indian spy with the North Carolina troops. Every time his service ended, he reenlisted and as a result, he served under about 16 different commanders. He eventually reached the rank of Colonel by the end of the war.

When he was 19 years old, he joined Colonel McDowell’s regiment and he became one of Express riderthe express riders because of his riding skills. In early October 1780, word reached Fort Defiance in North Carolina that General Ferguson and his troops were positioning themselves on King’s Mountain preparing to take on the much smaller unit of Patriots. Colonel McDowell called upon James to make the long journey of riding for over 24 hours to warn the Colonists and the other fighting units in the area of Ferguson’s plan. This dangerous ride began in Quaker Meadows near Marion, North Carolina, and it was a long-distance of frontier backroads with many streams, creeks, and rivers to cross. There were enemy sharpshooters along the route and James was wounded by the British during a volley of rifle fire. He was shot in the shoulder, but he continued his ride. He was successful in bringing Colonel Kings Mountain map 2Benjamin Cleveland along with the 350 men of Wilkes and Surrey County North Carolina in to strengthen the Colonial forces. His ride was instrumental in stopping the thrust into the Carolinas by the British redcoats.  James along with Cleveland’s men joined with the tough Overmountain men on horseback, who wore coonskin caps and every man carried a small-bore rifle, a tomahawk, and a scalping knife. The Patriots charged the hillside multiple times, demonstrating lethal marksmanship against the surrounded British troops. Unwilling to surrender to a “band of bandits,” Ferguson led a suicidal charge down the mountain and was cut down in a hail of bullets. All the southern Colonists looked upon young James as a true hero, much like the famous rider from Boston, Paul Revere.

James was referred to as the “Paul Revere of the South” and Thomas Trotwood Moore Thomas Trotwood Moore picwrote this poem titled “The Ride of the Rebel”:

“The race of the rebel, wilderness run
The race for a nation just begun
You will find it not on the gilded page
But on King’s Mountain’s starlit stage
Over the Border, the British came,
Their jackets red as the sun,
City and hamlet had felt of the fall,
From the flash of the Red Coat’s gun.

Over the border, Ferguson rode,
He never rode back again,
For Jimmy Blair his horse bestrode,
And galloped with might and main.

To Cleveland and to Campbell’s tent,
O’er hill and o’er valley he sped,
And roused the patriots as he went,
As Gabriel would rouse the dead.

Go! For your country’s life, he said,
And away like a ghost, he was gone,
Riding from morn to midnight on to morn.
Oh, never was a race like that,
Since gallant steed was born!”

Blair line GA & Indian Nation boundry made by James BlairAfter the War, he married Elizabeth Powell and they had 7 children. He then served as a Captain during the Cherokee Indian War. He eventually moved to Habersham Co, Ga. and he became a land surveyor. He surveyed “The Blair Line”, which was the historic line between the State of Georgia and the Cherokee Indian Nation in the early 1800s. It ran from the forks of the Soque and Chattahoochee Rivers in a direct northerly line to the Tallulah River. It was the boundary line established in 1817 for the purchase of all lands east of the Chattahoochee by the State of Georgia from the Cherokee Nation in accords with the Treaty of 1818. James was appointed as an Indian Agent and he brokered the deals between the Governor of Georgia and the Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation.

He was the first representative from the County, and he went on to be a senator from James Blair HSHabersham from 1819 until his death on March 31, 1839. Altogether, he served over 20 years in the state legislature. He died just 5 days after his wife Elizabeth. They are buried in a long-abandoned cemetery in the woods. Her headstone is still readable however his was not. Some of his descendants had a stone made and they laid it in the ground next to his wife.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.