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ilies, like General Lewis and his five brothers, and Matthew Mul-
lens and his three sons, volunteered together in the good cause
and sacrificed for its sake everything dear to them in this life.

The Irish people began to flow towards Virginia in great
numbers as early as 1710, and setded chiefly along the Blue
Ridge Mountains, where the names of places, towns, and rivers
give ample evidence of their origin.

Here are a few of the honored family names which figured
in Virginia history both before and during the Revolution :

Breckenridge, Doherty, Coleman, Ryan, McHugh, Haley,
Shav, Joyce, Haggerty, Shannon, McCline, Kenny, O'Neill,
McDuffie, Lawlor, Connelly, Curly, McElhenny, O'Neil, Kelly,
Wright, Walsh, O'Hara, Ragan, Mullins, Manning, McDowell.
McCarthy, Madden, McEagan, McLaughlin, Conway, Daily, Mc-
Gee, Mcivory, McGowan, O'Brien, McGunell, and McGruder.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE IRISH IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE CAROLINAS.

Dr. David Ramsey, the most noted historian of the Revolu-
tionary era, himself the son of Irish parents, tells us that of all
countries none has furnished the Province of South CaroHna
with as many inhabitants as Ireland. Scarce a ship sailed from
any of its ports for Charleston that was not crowded with men,
women, and children. The Moores, Rutledges, Jacksons,
Lynches, Polks, Calhouns, and many other Irish families whom
we might name, not only distinguished themselves in the Caro-
linas, but became leaders of the very highest reputation in na-
tional affairs, at least two of them becoming Presidents of the
United States, and many of them Governors, Senators, and
chiefs of the army and navy.

James Moore, the founder of the Moore family in the
Carolinas, was born in Ireland in 1640 and emigrated to this
country in 1665. He settled in Charleston, S. C, and the year
after his arrival married the daughter of Sir John Yeamans,
a former Governor of the Province; the result of their union
being ten children. He became Governor of South Carolina in
1700. and lived to the great age of eighty-nine years.

His son, James Moore, who was born in Charleston in 1667,
and died in Cape Fear, N. C, in 1740, was a leader in military
affairs. He was commander of the forces of the colony in 171 3
and was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1719, in place of
Robert Johnston, the English Governor, who was deposed by
the people. James Moore subsequently became Attorney Gen-
eral and Judge of the Admiralty Court, and was Speaker of the
South Carolina Assembly from 1721 to 1725. He removed to
Cape Fear, N. C, in 1736, and died there in 1740.

Maurice, another son of James Moore, the founder, was also
a soldier. He was three years younger than his brother, James,
and accompanied him in his expedition against the Cape Fear
Indians. He was one of the first settlers in that region. Maurice
had two sons, Maurice and James.

The second Maurice was born in Brunswick County, N. C,
in 1735, and died in Wilmington, N. C, in 1777. He early won
reputation at the bar, and was one of the three colonial judges
of North CaroHna at the opening of the Revolution. He joined
the patriot cause at the beginning of the struggle and denounced

92



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 93

the high-handed measures of the English Governor, Tryon, So
great was his popularity that during the Hillsborough riots of
1770, he alone among all the colonial officers remained unmo-
lested. His death and that of his brother James occurred at the
same hour in adjoining rooms.

This brother James was colonel of the first regiment of
North Carolina troops that was raised for the defense of the new
State. In February, 1776, he was in command of the forces
which won the first victory of the Revolution at Moore's Creek
Bridge, near Wilmington, where he defeated 1,500 Scotch Tories.
He was promoted to brigadier general for this achievement,
made Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Department, and
received the thanks of Congress. He died of a fever on his
way to join Washington under the circumstances above related.

The second Maurice's son, Alfred, was admitted to the bar
when only twenty years of age, but temporarily relinquished
his profession to become a captain in the regiment of his Uncle
James, and fought all through the war. While the British occu-
pied Wilmington they destroyed all his property, and at the end
of the Revolution he was without means to support his family.
The people, however, came to his rescue and he speedily rose to
a high rank in his profession. In 1792 he was elected State
Attorney General, and was called to the bench in 1798. In 1799
he was appointed by the President as an associate Justice of the
Supreme Court of the United States and occupied that position
until 1805, when he was compelled to resign through ill health.
His son, Alfred, possessed brilliant oratorical gifts, became an
eminent lawyer, and was several times Speaker of the North
Carolina Legislature.

The above is only a mere glance at the history of the Moore
family in the Carolinas. It would take volumes to do full jus-
tice to their achievements, but from the little we have said it can
readily be perceived that they wielded a mighty influence for the
right in this country from its earliest days down to the present
mioment.

One would imagine that the American historian of the pres-
ent day would find in the many stirring and im.portant events, in
which the Moores took a leading part, a rich field for research
and comment, and that he would be only too anxious to do jus-
tice to their memory. Yet such does not seem to be the case. The
disposition is only too plainly apparent to pass over in silence
the noble deeds and costly sacrifices which they made for their
adopted country.

In evidence of this we will cite an extract from John R.
Musick's "Independence," an historical novel of the Revolution,



94 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

in which he devotes a chapter to the glorification of Flora Mc-
Donald and the Scotch Tories of North Carolina, who took up
arms against their adopted country, where they found a home,
which was denied them in their own country, and only honors
the man who defeated them, James Moore, with the mere men-
tion of his name, although he was promoted and specially
thanked by Congress for the braver}- and devotion which cost
him his life.

"Soon after the rebellion in England," Mr. Musick writes,
"many Scotch Highlanders, having favored the young pretender,
as Charles Stuart was called, were forced to fly from their native
country, and they settled in North Carolina.

"Strange as it may seem, notwithstanding all the persecu-
tions which the Scotch suffered at the hands of the English, they
were generally loyal to the home government when the war for
American independence broke out. Among them was Flora
McDonald, who, with her husband and children, had settled at
Cross Creek, and had great influence among her countrymen.

"Late in 1775 Governor Martin was acting in concert with
Dunmore in Southwestern Virginia and was expecting a British
force on the coast of North Carolina. He therefore resolved to
strike an effective blow against the republicans of the province.
He commissioned Donald McDonald, an influential Scotchman
at Cross Creek, as brigadier general, and Flora's husband took
a captaincy under him. He was ordered to embody the High-
landers and other loyalists into a military corps and raise the
royal standard at Cross Creek. It was formally unfurled at a
large gathering of the clan, by Flora herself. While Colonel
Howe was absent with his regiment assisting the Virginians
against Dunmore, fifteen hundred armed Tories gathered under
the banner of Flora McDonald.

"On hearing of this gathering. Colonel Moore marched with
his regulars and some Hanover militia, eleven hundred strong,
to disperse them. McDonald was alarmed and fled towards Cape
Fear, hotly pursued by Moore. At a bridge over Moore's Creek
he was met by armed patriots of the Newse region under Col-
onels Casewell and Livingston, on the evening of February 26,
1776. At daylight the next morning a terrible conflict ensued.
The Tories, unable to withstand the fierce onslaught of the
patriots, were scattered in every direction, leaving many of their
dead and wounded on the ground." ^

Although Colonel James Moore' who defeated these Scotch
Tories, was the grandson of an Irishman, and in spite of the fact
that more than half the soldiers of his command were Irishmen
or Irish-Americans, Mr. Musick does not mention the name of



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 95

Ireland in his account, while the word Scotch is repeated again
and again, even though it stands only for treachery to the
American cause and slavish subserviency to the King and people
who deprived them of their rights and persecuted them at home.

Mr. Hanna, too, in his history of his so-called Scotch-Irish
in America, has the hardihood to claim the Moores of South
Carolina as Scotch-Irish. They were nothing of the kind.
Tames Moore, the founder of the family, was the son of Sir
Roger O'Moore, the leader of the CathoUc Confederation in 1641.
He made war on the English Government to prevent the grant-
ing to British colonists of the estates robbed from the native
Irish owners and to make the people of Ireland as free as those
of England. He headed a movement which in one night wiped
out English rule in three provinces and which would have done
the same in the fourth but for the unhappy accident of impart-
ing important information to the wrong man.

It was of this period that Gavan Duffy wrote his great
poem, "The Muster of the North," the first stanza of which is
as follows:

"Joy, joy, the day is come at last, the day of hope and pride,
And see, over crackling bonfires' light old Bann's rejoicing tide!
And gladsome bcll and bugle horn, from Newry's captured towers —
Hark, how they tell the Saxon swine this land is ours — is ours !"

Oh, no. There is no Scotch about the O'Moores, of Leix,
from whom James Moore, the founder of the North Carolina
Moores, was descended.

The same can be said about the Rutledges, another Irish
family who shed luster not only on the Carolinas, but on the
entire nation. Dr. John Rutledge, the founder of the family,
came to South Carolina from Ireland in 1735, practiced medicine
in Charleston, and married a lady of great wealth. He was a
man of progressive mind and sterling character, but he died
while still young, leaving his widow with seven children in her
twenty-seventh year.

Their eldest son, John, was born in Charleston, in 1739.
Like the Carrolls, of Maryland, he was sent abroad for his edu-
cation. He returned to Charleston in 1761, and from that time
forth boldly advocated colonial union and resistance to oppres-
sion. He was sent to the Congress at New York in 1765 and to
the first Continental Congress at Philadelphia nine years later,
and was pronounced by Patrick Henry as by far the greatest
orator in the latter body.

On March 27, 1776, he was elected president of South
Carolina and Commander-in-Chief of her forces. When the



96 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

British fleet arrived in Cape Fear River he fortified Charleston
and insisted on retaining the post on SulHvan's Island when
General Charles Lee weakly proposed its evacuation. During
the battle he sent five hundred pounds of powder to Colonel
Moultrie and directed him not to retreat without an order from
him, adding that he would "sooner cut off his right arm than
write one." He infused his own energy and enthusiasm into
every one, and the British were compelled to retire, crestfallen
and defeated. Three years later when the British again ad-
vanced upon Charleston, Governor Rutledge, at the head of the
militia, took the field against the invaders, and when at length
the city fell into the hands of the enemy, he, with his forces,
joined the army of General Greene and participated in all its
operations until the close of hostilities.

After independence was established he filled the positions,
one after the other, of Governor, Congressman, Chancellor, and
Chief Justice of South Carolina, and was a member of the Con-
vention which franied the Constitution of the United States. On
July I, 1795, he was appointed Chief Justice of the United
States Supreme Court, but owing to ill health he was only able
to preside at one term.

Cyrus Townsend Brady, in a recent review of General
McCrady's History of South Carolina, refers to Governor Rut-
ledge as "that high-souled, high-principled — I might almost say,
for his time and day, peerless statesman." He died in Charleston
on July 23, 1800, in his sixty-first year, his death being looked
upon as a great national bereavement.

His brother, Hugh Rutledge, was also an able jurist. When
Charleston was captured he was sent, with his brother Edward
and other patriots, to the British prison at St. Augustine, where
he was subjected to the vilest treatment, in common with all his
fellow-prisoners. From 1782 to 1785 he was Speaker of the
South Carolina House of Representatives, and in 1791 he was
appointed Judge of the Court of Equity, which position he held
until his death in 181 1.

Edward Rutledge, the youngest member of the family of
Dr. Rutledge, was sent to the Continental Congress in 1774- He
took an active part in the discussions which preceded the Dec-
laration of Independence, of which he was one of the signers,
and remained a member of the national body until 1777. As
Lieutenant-Colonel of the Charleston Artillery he assisted in
routing the British regulars from the island of Port Royal in
1779. During the siege of Charleston in 1780 he fell into the
hands of the enemy and was confined in the prison of St.
Augustine for a year. After independence was established, as



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOI.UTION. 97

a member of the State Legislature, he effectually resisted the
efforts that were made to revive the slave trade as long as he
had a voice in the business of the State, and was the author of
the law abolishing the rights of primogeniture. He declined the
office of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
In 1798 he was elected Governor of South Carolina, but did
not live to complete: his term of office.

The Calhouns were another Irish family that achieved dis-
tinction in the Carolinas previous to and during the Revolution.
James Calhoun, the founder of the family, emigrated from
Donegal, Ireland, in 1733, bringing with him a family of chil-
dren, amongst whom was Patrick Calhoun, then a boy of six
years. James Calhoun at first settled in Pennsylvania, but soon
removed to Western Virginia, and finally made his home in
South Carolina. In 1756 he established the Calhoun Settlement
in the upper part of that State, near the frontier of the Cherokee.
Indians. Conflicts between them and the white settlers were
frequent and bloody and the Calhoun family suffered severe
losses. Patrick Calhoun was distinguished for his undaunted
courage and able generalship in these struggles and was placed
in command of the provincial rangers raised for the defense
of the frontier. His resolute will and trustworthy character
called him to important service during the Revolution, and well
did he support the cause of American Independence.

By profession he was a surveyor. He was a man of studious
and thoughtful habits, accurate, skillful, and successful in his
business, and was well versed in English literature. His father
was a Presbyterian and he adhered to the same faith. In 1770
he married Martha Caldwell, the daughter of an Irishman who
settled in Virginia. The members of her family were all de-
voted to the American cause and suffered severely for their
patriotism at the hands of the Tories.

The Rev. David Caldvv'ell, the patriotic Presbyterian pastor,
of Alamance, N. C, was one of her kinsmen. His house was
plundered by the British, his library burned, even to the family
Bible, and everything on his plantation destroyed. All was
made a desolation in accordance with the laws of English civ-
ilization, and Cornwallis offered one thousand dollars reward for
any one who should bring him into camp. All efforts to capture
him were unsuccessful, and he lived to be one hundred years of
age.

Patrick Calhoun had three brothers who also fought bravely
for independence during the Revolution. They were all born
in Ireland, as was also their sister, Rebecca Calhoun, one of the
most beautiful young ladies of the South. In 1765 she was



98 THE IRISH IN THK AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

married to Colonel Andrew Pickens. Her marriage was the
occasion of a great assemblage, her relatives and friends being
very numerous. "Rebecca Calhoun's wedding" was such a great
event in South Carolina that old people used it as a point from
which to reckon time. ]Mrs. EUet, in her "Women of the Revo-
lution," gives some interesting sketches of this lady and her hfe
during the Revolution. Her husband. Colonel Pickens, was
himself the son of an Irish father and mother, who settled in
Paxton township. Pa., where the Colonel was born, on Septem-
ber 19, 1739. In 1752 the family removed to Waxhaw, S. C. At
the beginning of the Revolution Andrew Pickens was made a
Captain of militia and rose rapidly to the rank of Brigadier Gen-
eral. He kept the field after South Carolina was overrun by the
British, and at Kettle Creek, in February, 1779, with four hun-
dred men, defeated a party of seven hundred English under
Colonel Boyd. On June 20 of the same year his horse was killed
under him at the battle of Stano, soon after which he inflicted a
severe defeat on the Cherokee Indian allies of England at
Tomassee. Congress gave him a sword for bravery at the battle
of Cowpens, on January 17, 1771, where he brought the militia
a second time into action after their ranks had been broken and
compelled to retreat. He reduced tlic British force at Augusta,
Ga., after a two weeks' siege and led a brigade of South Caro-
lina militia at the battle of Eutaw Springs, where he was struck
by a bullet, which would have inflicted a mortal wound but for
the buckle of his sword belt. After the war he was for ten con-
secutive years a member of the South Carolina Legislature, a
member of Congress, a member of the State Constitutional Con-
vention, Major General of Militia, and again served in the Legis-
lature in 1801 and 1812.

John Caldwell Calhoun, one of the greatest statesmen
America ever produced, was the son of Patrick Calhoun. He
was Secretary of War under President Monroe, Secretary of
State under President Tyler, and Senator and Vice President
of the United States. He was proud of the fact that he was the
son of an Irishman, as will be seen from the following letter,
which he wrote on becoming a member of the Irish Emigrant
Society of New York:

"Senate Chamber, Washington, September 13, 1841.
"To the Secretary Irish Emigrant Society.

"Dear Sir— I have been so much engaged in the discharge
of my public duties that 1 have been compelled to neglect almost
everything else for the past few weeks, which I hope will be a



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 99

sufficient apology for not answering at an earlier date your letter
of August 13th.

"I have ever taken pride in my Irish descent. My father,
Patrick Calhoun, was a native of Donegal County. His father
emigrated when he was a child. As a son of an emigrant I
cheerfully join your society. Its object does honor to its foun-
ders. I enclose five dollars, which the society will please regard
as mv annual subscription for the next five years. With great
respect, yours, etc., JOHN C. CALHOUN."

When such men as President Jackson and Vice President
Calhoun write about themselves or their ancestors they use no
uncertain or compound words to describe their nationality, and
have no apologies to make for being Irishmen. When General
Jackson was President of the United States all his personal at-
tendants were natives of Ireland and he treated them as mem-
bers of his own family. In the speech which he delivered to the
Boston Irishmen in 1833, we have seen how he gloried in the fact
that he was Irish, and here in this letter Vice President Calhoun
asserts his nationality in the same direct and manly manner.

THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS SCOTCH IN THEIR
GENEALOGICAL VOCABULARIES. THERE IS NOTH-
ING MIXED ABOUT THEM. THEY WERE PURE, UN-
ADULTERATED IRISHMEN WHO LOVED THE COUN-
TRY OF THEIR FATHERS AND TOOK A PRIDE IN ITS
ANCIENT GLORY AND ACHIEVEMENT. TPIE INVEN-
TION OF THE TERM "SCOTCH-IRISH" WAS LEFT FOR
A LATER AND MORE DEGENERATE DAY, AND WAS
COINED EXPRESSLY BY OUR ENEMIES TO ROB US
OF THE NOBLE liERITAGE OF OUR RACE.

The Polk family of North Carolina is one of the most im-
portant in the United States, and gave to the nation a President,
several Governors, Senators, Congressmen, and many others
conspicuous in politics, literature, and religion. It was founded
by Robert Pollock and Magdalen, his wife, who came from Ire-
land in 1660, with their six sons and two daughters, all of whom
were born in Ireland, where their ancestors had dwelt for gen-
erations.

Robert and Magdalen Pollock settled in Maryland, where,
for the sake of shortness, their name was abbreviated to Polk.
Their grandson, William Polk, removed from Maryland to Penn-
sylvania, and his son, Thomas, the great-grandson of the founder,
made his home in Mecklenburg County, N. C. in 1753, where
he speedily became a leader ar.iong the Irishmen already settled
there. He was chosen a member of the Provincial Assembly



lOO THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

and through his influence in it he estabUshed a college In the
town of Charlotte. At the Mecklenburg Convention in 1775,
after the resolutions had been adopted, he read them from the
steps of the courthouse to the people. He become a Colonel
during the Revolution, fought in many battles, and otherwise
rendered valuable aid to the patriot cause.

His son, William Polk, while he was yet a student in Char-
lotte College, was appointed a Lieutenant in the Third South
Carolina Regiment and served with distinction throughout the
war, being severely wounded on two occasions. After the war
he became President of the Bank of North Carolina, and on
March 25, 1812, he was appointed by President Madison, with
the consent of the Senate, a Brigadier General in the regular
anny. When Lafayette revisited the United States in 1824, he
represented his native State on the commission appointed to re-
ceive him. He wielded great influence on the rising fortunes of
the State of Tennessee, and as the personal friend and associate
of Andrew Jackson, he enabled that hero to secure valuable lands,
furnishing him with information from his field notes as a sur-
veyor. He made Samuel Polk, his first cousin and father of
James Kjiox Polk, the eleventh President of the United States,
the agent of his estates in Tennessee, and as first President of
the Bank of North Carolina he appointed Jacob Johnson, the
father of President Andrew Johnson, the first porter of the in-
stitution.

Thus the three Carolinians, two of whom were Irish-Ameri-
cans, who entered the White House through Tennessee, were all
deeply indebted to General William Polk. He died in his
seventy-sixth year, on January 4, 1834, and was the last surviving
officer of the North Carolina line.

James Knox Polk, the eleventh President of the United
States, was a direct descendant of Robert Pollock, the Donegal
founder of the family. His mother, too, was of Irish descent,
being the daughter of Colonel James Knox, of Iredell County,
N. C., who was a son of one of the Irish emigrants to that region
and a Colonel in the Revolutionary War.

The family of Andrew Jackson was settled in South Caro-
lina ten years before the Revolution and two years previous to
the birth of the hero of New Orleans. General Jackson's grand-
father, Hugh Jackson, was a linen-draper and resided in the
town of Carrickfergus, on Belfast Lough, Ireland. Hugh
Jackson had four sons, who were plain, respectable farmers,
liberal, hoFj.itable. and of strict integrity. They belonged to that
patriotic body of Northern Presbyterians who made such a gal-
lant stand for Ireland in 1798. Andrew, the youngest of these



the; IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 101

sons, married Elizabeth Hvitchinson, also a native of Carrick-
fergus, by whom he had two sons, Hugh and Robert, born in
Ireland.

Tired of the persecution, turmoil, and confusion attendant
upon British rule in Ireland, and despairing of th: success of any
attempt to relieve the Irish people from the grievances under



Online LibraryJames HaltiganThe Irish in the American revolution, and their early influence in the colonies → online text (page 10 of 67)