Tag Archives: Military Memories

Sunday Salute ~ Colonel Benjamin Cleveland ~ Terror of the Tories ~ Finale

Benjamin Cleveland StatueOver the last 3 weeks, we have taken a close look at Benjamin Cleveland’s life. All of it, including the good, the bad, and the very ugly. He was honored as a hero in the Revolutionary War, and he was also convicted as a murderer in the same war. He was called the Terror of the Tories and a man with no morals, but he was also called a kindhearted, fair, Patriotic, and loving man. He was a man of many contradictions.

This week we will pick up where we left off, life after the war. After the war, homeBenjamin returned to his beloved Round About, but he was able to remain there for only four years before he lost his plantation to a “better title.” At that time in North Carolina history, land speculation and claim jumping were rampant in the Yadkin Valley. Anyone who had been away fighting in the war for any length of time could expect to be victimized. Even Benjamin’s good friend, Daniel Boone, encountered these problems.

Benjamin directed his ambitions toward the beautiful land he had seen in the Tugaloo River Valley in South Carolina. In 1785 when he was granted 1050 acres on the Franklin County, GA, side so he began selling off his remaining Wilkes County property. Sometime between 1786 and 1787 he moved his family to their new home in the fork of the Tugaloo River and Chauga Creek in the Pendleton District.

Tugaloo mapHe added to his new farm by buying land from other Revolutionary grantees. Between 1779 and 1793 he acquired, through grants and purchases, nearly seven thousand acres of land on both sides of the Tugaloo River. Some of this land he kept as part of his “estate,” and some he sold. One record, for example, shows him selling 650 acres on Mill Creek of the Chauga River to a blacksmith named Littleberry Toney (November 29, 1790). All the land retained in his estate was eventually passed on to his son Absalom. Over the years this large estate has been bought in small portions by local residents and newcomers to the area.

Benjamin soon became involved in the affairs of his new state and served for many years as a judge of the court of Old Pendleton District along with General Andrew Pickens and Colonel Robert Anderson. As a judge, he continued the philosophy he had perpetuated in warfare. Lacking the formal training of a lawyer, he relied on his own keen sense of right and wrong when issuing a legal decision. In truth, he had tremendous contempt for the technicalities of law and all the resulting delays. When lawyers expounded their legalese before his bench, he often fell asleep, sometimes lapsing into snores that interfered with the litigation until one of his associates could nudge him awake. Consequently, all the long, prosy legal speeches had little effect on the judgments he rendered. Both on the field of battle and in the court of law, he was considered a fast man with a rope as he administered justice promptly and fairly. Any unfortunate horse thief brought before Benjamin received the same treatment as the Tories had, usually hanging.

Several years before his death in 1806, Benjamin became so large in size that heGrave stone could not mount his favorite saddle horse. Estimates placed his peak weight somewhere between 450 and 500 pounds. His arms could not meet across his body, and he became an object of curiosity to strangers. In his final years, he was able to wear only loose-fitting gowns made of light fabric in the summer and heavier material in winter. He was confined to a special chair that was built especially for him and mounted on rollers. By day he sat in it to direct the operation of his farm; by night OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhe slept in it, for his bulk hindered his breathing whenever he laid down. Benjamin’s special chair became his death chair, too, when he died in it at his breakfast table in October of 1806. He was sixty-nine years old. His wife, Mary, had predeceased him by ten years, and his younger son John had also died a few years before. He was buried in the family cemetery on the grounds of his plantation.

The story of his life would not be complete without the story of his illegitimate daughter. “When young, back in Virginia, Benjamin Cleveland, though married, had an illegitimate daughter [Jemima]. She married a man named Evan Edwards and they moved ‘to the west’ and had several children. They were very poor. Benjamin had a friend who knew where his daughter was living to ask her to come to him and he would help her. After she received the verbal invitation she came from Powell Valley to Tugaloo, where he was then living. The Indians had killed her husband, and she was in dire circumstances. When he discovered that his daughter has indeed come to see him and was nearby, Benjamin wept. When he told his family about his daughter they surprised him when they said they would receive the daughter as one of their own, which they did. She then settled near the Cleveland home. She was quite a remarkable, and respected woman. She then remarried and she did very well for herself.”


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.







Filed under Ancestry, Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, Daniel Boone, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Military Service, Revolutionary War, Sunday Salute, Uncategorized

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 Amazon.com: 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.


Filed under Ancestry, Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, Family Search, Genealogy, History, King's Mountain, Military Service, Revolutionary War, Sunday Salute, Uncategorized

Sunday Salute ~ Colonel Benjamin Cleveland ~ Terror of the Tories ~ Part 2

An image of the american revolution

Last week I took a look into the early years of this Revolutionary War hero.  I discovered that not every Patriot was honorable or moral, even though I had always seen them that way. This week I will cover his military career up to his participation in the Battle of Kings Mountain: the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Before the Revolutionary War Benjamin Cleveland fought off and on in1200px-French_and_indian_war_map.svg the French and Indian War. During the seven years, he would join a skirmish for a while then return home. It was here that he learned the brutal way the French fought. As the area where Benjamin lived was prospering there were mounting troubles with the British. By 1774 he was becoming excessively outspoken in his criticisms of British policies concerning the colonies. When news of colonial taxation by King George and the Parliament reached the Yadkin Valley, Benjamin was among the first to resent the threatened tyranny. He joined the Regiment of Militia for Surry County on June 28, 1774. Those listed in this unit were Jesse Walton as captain, Benjamin Cleveland as a lieutenant, and William Jerrell as ensign along with three sergeants, three corporals, one drummer, and eighty privates who were not listed by name.

By 1775 local tempers were running high when neighbors and friends of the Upper Yadkin Valley traveled to Cross Creek to sell their surplus products and to purchase supplies. Before they were permitted to make these transactions the colonists were compelled to make an oath of allegiance to the king. When Benjamin heard of this blatant act of tyranny, he swore he would crush the scoundrels. He then raised a select party of riflemen to march upon the Loyalists and scatter them.

loyalistBenjamin hunted the countryside and captured several Loyalist outlaws, one of whom he executed. He was a man named Jackson, who had set fire to the home and fully-stocked storehouse of Ransom Sunderland, one of the many Surry County residents who were friends of American liberty. On September 1, 1775, Benjamin was offered the position of the ensign of the North Carolina Line under the command of Colonel Robert Howe, but he turned down the honor, to serve with the militia in his own locality.

By the summer of 1776, the British had enticed the Cherokees into open hostilities with the colonists. Fighting had begun in various locations as some British agents tried to divert the patriots’ mental focus. Working as a colonial scout on the western frontier, Benjamin took his men to Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River. From there they covered the frontier in a display of force for the Cherokees. His activities caused the Indians to change their thoughts about being associated with the British, and the tribes smoked the long pipe of peace with Benjamin and his friends.

The peace was only temporary and by autumn the Indians were once again agitated into ravaging the frontier by the British. This time General Griffith Rutherford led a strong force against the Cherokees, and Benjamin and his men joined the campaign in the Surry Regimentcolonel joseph williams under Colonel Joseph Williams and Major Joseph Winston. During the campaign, the troops suffered hardships and need in this service. There were never enough provisions and the company had just a few blankets and no tents. The men were dressed in mended clothing made of a crude material gathered from the field and forest. They were often harassed on their march by ambush parties, and all of the men participated in the skirmishes of the campaign because there was no official general engagement. General Rutherford had begun with two thousand men before Benjamin and his volunteers added to their strength.

He was promoted to captain on November 23, 1776. While securing the country around Cape Fear, Benjamin and his men engaged in the Battle of Moore’s Creek and captured and executed several outlaws while burning many Loyalist towns. “Cleveland’s Bulldogs” were earning him a reputation for brutality in partisan warfare characterized by inhumanity, summary hangings, and mutilation. On some occasions, he would hang Tories by their thumbs until they confessed to British movements–thus creating a local expression “being hung by your thumbs.”

mountain menThe fiercely loyal mountain men were untrained but they were hardy and accurate with their guns. Admirers and countrymen called them “Cleveland’s Heroes” or “Cleveland’s Bulldogs,” but to the British and the Tories they were the “Cleveland’s Devils.” In 1778 Benjamin was made colonel of the militia. Despite his reputation for brutal justice or it could have been because of it, he was appointed justice of the Wilkes County court and placed at the head of the Commission of Justices. Regarded as one of the most popular leaders of the mountain section of the state, he was easily elected to the state’s House of Commons during this year.

His strong patriotic nature saved the western Carolinas from the British and Tory taking over. In 1779 his abrupt justice was further demonstrated by his handling of two hoodlums, James Coyle and John Brown, who had terrorized the entire country between Wilkes County, North Carolina, and Ninety-Six, South Carolina. After their spree of rape, murder, robbery, and plundering, they were eventually caught and brought before Benjamin, who was so incensed he wanted to kill them himself. He thrust his sword at Coyle, but a counterblow broke the blade. Now even more enraged, Benjamin had them seized by his men and hanged from the nearest tree. James Harwell, who had housed and protected these hoodlums, were severely beaten by Benjamin’s men. Cleveland and Benjamin Herndon, who was also involved in this justice, were subsequently indicted for murder in the Superior Court of the District of Salisbury, but on November 6, 1779, the North Carolina House of Commons offered a resolution to the governor, who signed it, and the two men were pardoned for their actions.

Benjamin was the leader of more than a hundred fights with the Benjamin Cleveland portraitTories. He was considered the perfect athlete with a large frame and an iron constitution. Since he was accustomed to the forest and climbing mountains, he was able to endure fatigue and hardships in his pursuit of Tory rebels. According to Governor Perry, Benjamin was “bold, fearless, and self-willed, full of hope and buoyancy of spirits…..He was a stern man and loved justice more than he did mercy. He knew that very often mercy to a criminal was death to an innocent man.”

Next week will be part 3 of the series on Benjamin Cleveland. This one will cover his greatest victory, the Battle of Kings Mountain.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.



Filed under Ancestry, Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, Family History, Family Search, French and Indian War, Genealogy, History, Military Service, Revolutionary War, Sunday Salute, Uncategorized

Sunday’s Salute ~ Roy Lee Hughes ~World War I

Roy Lee Hughes Military DressRoy Lee Hughes, my 1st cousin 1x removed, was born to Henry Siegel and Myrtle (Joslin) Hughes on July 18, 1891, in Malta Bend, Saline Co, MO. He was the 5th of 11 children. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Hughesville, Pettis Co, MO. His family was farmers so he grew up and worked on the farm. The 1910 Census,  lists Roy as being single and in the 1920 Census, it lists him as being divorced. I have not found a marriage nor divorce record for him during this time frame. On his draft registration card for WWI dated June 5, 1917, he is listed as being single.

On July 28, 1914, a global war was declared against Germany. It wasn’t until 1917 that the United States officially joined the fight. Roy felt called to help defend democracy so he enlisted in the Company A 162 Infantry at the age of 23 and within 1 month he was sent to the newly constructed military training camp, Camp McArthur in Waco Texas. From there he was transported on September 21st,1917 to Hoboken, New Jersey along with the rest of his unit to begin his deployment overseas. He served in France until February 19,1919. He was honorably discharged upon demobilization

roy and salle hughes older

When he returned home he met and married Sallie Sarah Anthony (1894-1972) on October 8, 1921, in Sedalia, Pettis Co, MO. They rented a farm in Houstonia, MO, and over the next 14 years, they had OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7 children, 3 sons, and 4 daughters. In 1935 the family moved to Kansas City, MO and here they had two more children 1 son and 1 daughter. Once they got settled here, Roy began working in a rock quarry. He passed away from Multiple Myeloma and Bilateral Bronco pneumonia at the Veterans Hospital in Kansas City on September 24, 1968, at the age of 77.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.







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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hughes, Military Service, Missouri, Roy Lee Hughes, Sunday Salute, Uncategorized, World War I

Sunday Salute ~ Military Binders

moving boxesWhen we moved into our new home we had to do it all in one day. Our Son and daughter and their families only had one day off together to help us. So with 5 adults and 6 teenagers, we divided and conquered! Or so I thought. I was very careful to separate and mark the boxes so they could be placed in their perspective places and we got things done in record time. Or so I thought. I took my time unpacking and when I was finished my first priority was to start blogging and clavesresearching again. I kept thinking something was missing but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was. A couple of weeks ago my youngest grandson asked me about my claves (Percussion sticks). He wanted to use them for a project at school. I had no idea where they were. I went out to our shed and started searching and I came upon a box marked “Genealogy”. It was then that I remembered what had been missing.

book 1About 8 years ago I decided to put together some binders for those who served in one of the many wars the United States has been in. I was surprised to find ancestors who fought in almost every one since King Philips War in 1675-1678. So, I researched as many as I could and made binders for them, including documents, information on the war they fought in, stories about the battles they engaged in and a cover sheet that showed how the soldier was related to me. I had forgotten about them and to say I was excited to find them is an understatement.

My grandson reminded me that he took 3 of them to school in 5th grade when they were studying the Revolutionary War. The teacher used them to help the children learn about the individual soldier, his life and the service he provided to our country. They were a big hit.

I am posting some photos of the binders so you can get an idea of what they look like. I have discovered more ancestors who fought in a war so I will be spending time putting more together. I wonder how many I will have when I’m done?

20200321_124408    book 2  20200321_123631


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

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Filed under Ancestry, Civil War, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, King Philips War, Military Service, Revolutionary War, Sunday Salute, Uncategorized, War of 1812

“My Aunt, One of the Rosie the Riveters”

ImageOn a cold winter morning on the 14th of November, 1919, Margaret Ruth Hughes was born in Sweetwater Missouri. She was the youngest of 11 siblings. Being raised on a farm in rural Missouri she spent most of her childhood working on the family farm and tending to her Fathers prize-winning horses and mules. She learned how to cook and sew, which seemed to come naturally to her.

By 1930, soon after the start of the Great Depression, her family moved to a new farm outside of Lexington Missouri.  The Hughes’ were skilled farmers and they were able to grow enough vegetables not only to feed their own large family but also those of their neighbors. They also raised cows and pigs so there was always plenty of meat to eat.  Margaret learned how to be generous and giving from the examples of her parents.

In 1940 she was living in the town of Lexington sharing an apartment with her widowed brother (my Dad) and her widowed sister. She was working at a Laundry as an ironer. She used her skills as a seamstress and she soon began a sewing career, one that she worked at until her retirement in 1980. She was so talented that she developed her own unique type of Western Shirt that was well sought after in the Kansas City area.


Aunt Margaret and a friend, 1940 Lexington MO.

Then came World War II. At the age of 24, she moved by herself across the country to the San Francisco area to become one of the thousands of “Rosie the Riveters”. She worked at the Naval Shipyard on Mare Island. This shipyard built more than 400 vessels during the course of the War. As a matter of fact, Mare Island set a record for building a Navy Destroyer in just 17 ½ days. To this day this record has never been broken. She really enjoyed her job as a riveter and she learned a lot from the experience. She would sew shirts for the sailors as gifts and gave them to the men when they shipped out.  Margaret met and married a sailor in 1944 and he was soon sent overseas. It wasn’t long after he left that she discovered that she was pregnant. In the spring of 1945, Margaret returned home to Missouri to have her son there. Her husband never returned from the War so she raised him by herself for 4 years until she married my Uncle.

This experience made Margaret a very strong and determined woman. She loved her family deeply and worked very hard. She approached every obstacle in life with a zeal I have never found in anyone else. She passed away in 1988. A month Aunt Margaret for blog olderbefore she died Margaret was told she had cancer throughout her entire body. The doctor was shocked that she could even walk let alone continue to care for her family. No one knew that for years she had lived in terrible pain. This is the woman that I try to fashion my life after. I want to be as loving, giving, kind and strong as she was. At least that is my goal.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, andcropped-blog-pic1.jpg grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.


May 8, 2014 · 10:21 pm