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which they suffered, Andrew Jackson sold his farm and de-
termined to emigrate to America. Accompanied by three of his
neighbors, Jam.es, Robert, and Joseph Crawford, the former of
whom had married a sister of his wife, he embarked for America
with his family and landed safely at Charleston, S. C, in 1765.

Dissatisfied with the flat country bordering on the coast, the
immigrants pushed into the interior of the colony. Lands were
purchased and they all settled near each other on Waxhaw Creek,
one of the branches of the Catawba River, about forty-five miles
from Camden and close to the boundary line of North Carolina.
Here, in this fine and healthy region, agreeably diversified with
hills and dales, Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the
United States, was born on March 15, 1767.

This account of his birth is accepted as truth by the ma-
jority of historians, and Jackson himself — in a letter of December
24, 1830; in the proclamation addressed to the nullifiers in
1832, and again in his wall — speaks of himself as a native of South
Carolina. The evidence of Parton, however, seems to show that
Jackson was born in North Carolina, and Lossing says he was
informed by David L. Swain that Jackson was born in Mecklen-
burg County, N. C.

We need not go into the details of Jackson's career here,
but we will recite a few incidents of his earlier life as given by
his biographer, Alexander Walker.

Not long after the birth of his third son the elder Jackson
died, leaving to his wife and children a limited property, yet with
an honest and unsullied name. A double duty now devolved on
the surviving parent. Faithfully and nobly was it discharged.
To the resolute firmness and unflinching fortitude of the Spartan
mother she united the piety and resignation, the trustful faith and
confidence of the devoted Christian. Naturally gifted with a
strong mind, and strengthened by Him who is ever the stay and
helper of the widow and orphan, no difficulties deterred her from
the accomplishment of her high and holy task. In order to sup-
plement the slender resources left her by her husband, soon after
his death she took charge of Mr. Crawford's family — her sister,
Mrs. Crawford, being in feeble health. Her two younger sons,
Robert and Andrew, remained with her and the oldest went to
reside with a neighbor. She intended Andrew for the Church,



102 THE IRISH IX THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

and therefore sent him to the Waxhaw Academ}-, where he was
making considerable progress in classic subjects when the
ravages of the Revolutionary War put an end to his studies.

Boys though they were, the young Jacksons became deeply
imbued with the prevailing spirit. This was especially the case
with Andrew, who longed for the hour to arrive when he would
be able to shoulder a musket and perform some doughty enter-
prise in defense of the liberties of his country.

Hugh Jackson, the oldest of the three brothers, belonged
to the company commanded by Captain, afterwards Colonel
Davie, and was killed at the battle of Stono, on June 20, 1780,
after displaying the same heroic bravery which distinguished his
youngest brother in after life.

After the departure of Lord Cornwallis from South Caro-
lina, Lord Rawdon, properly surnam.ed "the bloody Rawdon,"
was left in command. Hearing that the Irish Waxhaw settlers
were still defiant he dispatched Major Cofifin with dragoons and
infantry to subdue them. The settlers resolved to give them bat-
tle and assembled in the Waxhaw meeting-house for that purpose,
Robert and Andrew Jackson being amongst the number, the lat-
ter being only in his thirteenth year. They were waiting for a
friendly company under Captain Nesbit, an Irish-American of-
ficer, when they saw what they supposed to be his friendly forces
advancing. Instead, however, they proved to be the detachment
of ]\Iajor Cofifin, with the Tories, who wore the usual dress of the
country, in front. The deception was not discovered till the Brit-
ish dashed in among them, cleaving down all who stood in their
way. Eleven of the party were taken prisoners; the remainder
sprang upon their horses and most of them made their es-
cape.

Andrew Jackson was accompanied in this flight by his cousin,
Lieutenant Thomas Crawford, but in passing over a piece of
marshy ground the horse of the latter mired and fell and he was
wounded and taken prisoner. Young Jackson shortly afterwards
encountered his brother Robert, who had also eluded pursuit.
They remained together during the night, and at dawn on the
following morning concealed themselves in a dense thicket, on
the bank of Cain Creek, near the house of Lieutenant Crawford.
During the day they became very hungry, and deeming them-
selves secure, ventured out to the house. A boy was directed
to watch the road; but while they were satisfying their hunger,
a band of Tories and dragoons, who had discovered their retreat,
and captured their horses and guns, which were left behind them,
suddenly made their appearance and surrounded the house. Re-
sistance could be of no avail, and escape was impossible. They



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, I03

therefore surrendered themselves prisoners of war. Not content
with the capture of the two young men, the dragoons and Tories
commenced abusing and maltreating Mrs. Crawford and her
children. The crockery and furniture in the house were broken
in pieces ; and the beds and bedding, and all the clothing of the
family, including that of an infant at breast, was torn into
shreds. While the work of destruction was going on, the Brit-
ish officer, in command of the party, directed Andrew Jackson
to clean the mud from his boots. As might be supposed, he in-
dignantly refused to do the menial office. Enraged at this reply,
the officer drew his sword, and aimed a dastardly blow at the
head of his unarmed prisoner. The latter parried it with his left
hand, but, in doing so received a cut, the scar of which he car-
ried to his grave. Disappointed in the spirit of the intrepid youth,
the officer turned to his brother, and requested him to perform
the task. Robert likewise refused; a furious blow from the in-
furiated Briton was the consequence, and a wound was inflicted,
from the effect of which his victim never recovered.

After this, the two Jacksons, with about twenty other pris-
oners, were mounted on captured horses, and the party set out
on their return to Camden. Not a mouthful of food, not a drop
of water, was given them on the road ; and when they reached
Camden they were thrust into a redoubt surrounding the jail, in
which some two hundred and fifty prisoners, besides those taken
at Waxhaw, were confined. Here they were stripped of part of
their clothing — Andrew losing his jacket and shoes; their wounds
were undressed; no attention was paid to their wants, and when
the relationship between the two Jacksons and Lieutenant Craw-
ford was discovered, they were instantly separated, and kept in
ignorance of each other's fate. The Provost was a Tory from
New York, who, it was afterwards said, took the provisions in-
tended for the prisoners, to feed a number of negroes whom he
had collected from different Whig plantations, with the intention
of disposing of them for his own benefit. Be that as it may, the
prisoners were but sparingly supplied with bad bread ; and to add
to their wretchedness, the smallpox appeared among them, and
made frightful ravages.

Amid the accumulated horrors of his prison-house, with
sickness and starvation staring him in the face, the groans of
the dying constantly ringing in his ears, and hourly exposed to
the ill-treatment of his captors, Andrew JacI<son never lost the
fearlessness of spirit which ever distinguished him. Availing
himself of a favorable opportunity he boldly remonstrated with
the officer of the guard, in behalf of himself and his suffering
companions. His remonstrances had the desired effect; meat



104 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

was added to the rations, and in other respects the condition of
the prisoners was decidedly improved.

Matters were in this situation, when General Green returned
from North Carolina, in April, 1781, and encamped, with his
arn\y, on Hobkirk's Hill, a little over a mile north of Camden,
waiting only the arrival of his cannon, before making his dis-
positions to assault the post.

On the morning of the 24th of April, Andrew Jackson dis-
covered indications of a design to attack General Green. The
jail and redoubt stood on the eminence upon which Camden is
situated, and a fine view would have been afforded of the en-
campment on Hobkirk's Hill, had not the British taken the pre-
caution to construct a high and tight plank fence on the redoubt,
immediately after the arrival of the American army in the neigh-
borhood. He was determined, nevertheless, to obtain a view of
the anticipated conflict ; and by working nearly all night with an
old razor blade furnished the prisoners to cut their rations, he
succeeded in digging out a knot in one of the planks. When Lord
Rawdon led cut his men on the morning of the 25th, for a bold
stroke at the American leader, Andrew mounted the breast-
work, and placed himself at the lookout, while his fellow-prisoners
gathered in groups below him, listening attentively, as he detailed
the varied incidents of the day.

His voice was tremulous with apprehensions, as he informed
his companions that the Americans had been taken unawares,
and their pickets were driven in ; it was pitched to a louder key,
when the cannon of Green opened their brazen throats, and vom-
ited forth torrents of flame and iron, tearing and rending through'
the British colum.ns ; again it sank, as the enemy rallied and
pushed boldly forward; it rose once more when the regiments
of Ford and Campbell pressed gallantly upon their flank — when
Washington and his brave dragoons came thundering down m
their rear — and he caught sight of the glistening bayonets of the
First Maryland and the Virginians, as they prepared to charge
home upon their assailants ; it fell again as the veteran regimi^t
of Gunby recoiled before the British fire, and died away into a
whisper, when all hope of deliverance vanished, as the beaten
but not routed Green, retired slowly over the hill, and the pursuit
was only checked by the timely charge of Washington's cavalry.

The Jacksons were not deserted by one friend, in their con-
finement—the mother who had reared them to serve their countiy,
and who knew no prouder joy than to see them do their duty
well. She followed them to Camden to aid and succor them,
and, soon after the battle of Hobkirk's Hill, procured their ex-
change, with five of their neighbors, for thirteen British soldiers,



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. IO5

captured by a Whig partisan captain by the name of Walker.
Pale, emaciated, barefooted, almost naked, and infected with
the smallpox, they presented themselves before their surviving
parent. The wound in Robert's head had never been dressed ;
and this, in connection with hunger, and the disease that had
fastened itself upon him, had reduced him so low that he was
unable to ride, except as he was held on a horse.

There were but two horses for the whole party, consisting
of Mrs. Jackson and her sons, and the other released prisoners,
who accompanied them home. Mrs. Jackson rode one, and Rob-
ert was supported on the other by his companions. Thus wearily
and sadly did they perform their melancholy journey of more
than forty miles, through a country blighted by the ravages" of
war, as if the lightnings of heaven had scathed it. Within two
hours' ride of the Waxhaws they were overtaken by a shower of
rain, by which the company were completely drenched. The
smallpox was driven in on both the boys; Robert died in two
days, and Andrew at once became delirious. The fever raged
violently for several days and his case v/as regarded as nearly
hopeless. The kind nursing of his patient and devoted mother,,
and the attentions of his physician at length triumphed over the
disease and restored him to health.

He had scarcely recovered his strength when his mother,
with characteristic energy and fortitude, in company with five
other ladies, set out to visit a number of the Waxhaw settlers,
including some of the Crawfords, who had been taken by the
English and were confined on board the Charleston prison-ship — ,
whose history, like that of the Old Jersey at New York, is but
a tale of unmitigated horror and suffering. Mrs. Jackson never
returned from this errand of love and mercy. Enfeebled by con-
stant care and privation, worn down by the numerous hardships
and fatigues which she had endured, she was seized with the
fever prevailing among the prisoners, which soon terminated her
existence. She was buried near the enemy's lines, in the vicinity
of Charleston, in an unknown grave, but her memory in after
times was doubly honored as that of the noble, self-sacrificing
Irish-born mother of Andrew Jackson.

Solitary and alone, her orphan son, at the time when he most
needed the care and advice of a parent, was cast upon the world,
to buffet as he might the billows of adverse fortune. His home
was indeed desolate. Mother and brothers — all had perished, the
victims of English cruelty. Is it to be wondered, then, that he
cherished such a feeling of animosity towards the British name,
or that he hated everything akin to oppression with a hatred so
deep and fervent?



I06 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

Andrew Jackson remained for some time subsequent to the
death of his mother at the home of his kinsman, Major Thomas
Crawford, and afterwards entered the family of Mr, Joseph White,
another of the Irish settlers and an uncle of Mrs. Crawford.
Mr. White's son was a saddler, and young Jackson, though still
suffering from fever, entered his shop and assisted him as far as
he was able, thus giving evidence of that sturdy spirit of inde-
pendence which always characterized him.

Subsequently he collected together the remains of his small
property and removed to Salisbury, N. C, where he entered on
the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1786, and in
1788, at the age of twenty-one, without solicitation on his part,
w?s appointed Solicitor for the Western District of North Caro-
li: a, which afterwards became the State of Tennessee. This was
his first entry into public life, and on that glorious career which
has reflected such high credit on Ireland and America — a credit
so ennobling that even the following words of Historian Ban-
croft, all fervent and glowing as they are, do not more than do
justice to his character :

"No man in private life so possessed the hearts of all around
him; no public man of this country ever returned to private life
with such an abiding mastery over the affections of the people.
No man with truer instincts received American ideas; no man
expressed them so completely, or so boldly, or so sincerely. Up
to the last he dared to do anything that was right to do. He
united personal courage and moral courage beyond any man of
whom history keeps record. Not danger, not an army in battle
array, not age, not the anguish of disease, could impair in the
least degree the vigor of his steadfast mind. The heroes of
antiquity would have contemplated with awe the unmatched
hardihood of his character, and Napoleon, had he possessed his
disinterested will, could never have been vanquished.

"Jackson never was vanquished. He was always fortunate.
He conquered the wilderness ; he conquered the savage ; he con-
quered Uie bravest veterans trained on tjie battlefields of Europe ;
he conquered everywhere in statesmanship, and when death came
to get the mastery over him he turned the last enemy aside as tran-

?uilly as he had done the feeblest of his adversaries, and passed
rom earth in the triumphant consciousness of immortality."

Woodrow Wilson, in his History of the American People,
also writes the following eulogy of Andrew Jackson, even placing
him above the father of Democracy himself, Thomas Jefferson:
"General Jackson professed to be of the school of Mr. Jef-
ferson himself, and what he professed he believed. There was
no touch of the charlatan or the demagogue about him. The



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. I07

action of his mind was as direct, as sincere, as unsophisticated as
the action of the mind of an ingenuous child, though it exhibited
also the sustained intensity and the range of the mature man.
The difference between Mr. Jefferson and General Jackson was
not a difference of moral quality so much as a difference in social
stock and breeding. Mr. Jefferson, an aristocrat and yet a
philosophical radical, deliberately practiced the arts of the poli-
tician and exhibited oftentimes the sort of insincerity which subtle
natures yield to without loss of essential integrity. General
Jackson was incapable of arts or deceptions of any kind. He
was, in fact, what his partisans loved to call him, a man of the
people, of the common people."

Any reference to the early days of the Carolinas would be
incomplete without special mention of the Crawfords, who ac-
companied General Jackson's father from Carrickfergus. They
fought nobly and well for the patriot cause and left families be-
hind them that still shed luster on the nation. One of them. Col-
onel Crawford, during the Revolution, was cruelly tortured by
the Indians. They were incited to their bloody work by a Tory
named Simon Girty, an unmitigated scoundrel, who was far
more cruel than the savages themselves and who witnessed the
agonies of the patriot wrth demon-like glee.

The Grahams were another family of Irish-Americans who
reflected honor on North Carolina and wrote their names high
on its roll of fame. Their mother was left a widow with six
children and slender means. Her son George was born in Chester
County, Pa., in 1758. He emigrated to North Carolina, whither
all the family followed him. He fought throughout the Revolu-
tionary War, and after its close served several terms in the legis-
lature, and was appointed major general of the militia.

His brother Joseph was also one of the bravest soldiers in the
War of Independence and rose to a high rank. He took part in
nineteen different engagements before he was nineteen years of
age. In 1780, while covering the retreat of Major Davie, he was
struck down by a British dragoon and received six saber thrusts
and three bullet wounds. When he recovered he was again on the
fighting line and on one occasion defeated six hundred Tories
with a force of only one hundred and thirty-six patriots. He
was appointed major general of the North Carolina forces in
1814. His son James was a noted lawyer and served his State
in Congress, with the exception of a single term, from 1833 to
1847.

Another son of General Joseph Graham, William A. Grahan/
was United States Senator, twice Governor of North Carolina, and
Secretary of the Navy under President Fillmore. These are only



I08 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

some of the records of the descendants of the Irish widow and her
six children.

Thomas Lynch, the founder of the South CaroHna family
of that name, came to America from Galway early in the eight-
eenth century. Having some relatives in Austria, who had risen
to distinction in that country, he paid them a visit before leaving
Europe, and then sailed direct to America from Austria. Because
of this fact many so-called historians have stated that the Lynches
were of Austrian descent. This is only another instance of the
reckless statements resorted to in order to leave the name of
Ireland out of the record. But the very stupidity of such asser-
tions brand them as false, and no one but a prejudiced fool would
undertake to make them.

Thomas Lynch, the founder, was the first to cultivate rice
on the alluvial lands periodically overflowed by the tides. His
son, Thomas Lynch, the second, who was born in South Caro-
lina in 1/20 and died there in 1776, inherited vast estates on the
North and South Santee Rivers and became a man of great in-
fluence among the colonists. He took a prominent part in the
provincial assembly and was an early and zealous advocate of re-
sistance to the injustice of England. He was a delegate to the
Colonial Congress of 1765, and, with his colleagues, John Rut-
ledge and Christopher Gadsden, was the first to arrive at the place
of meeting, though having the longest distance to travel. In the
proceedings of the Congress Lynch denied the power of England
over the colonies and opposed the sending of all begging peti-
tions. He was also a delegate to the first Continental Con-
gress of Philadelphia and was appointed one of a committee of
six to confer with Washington at the siege of Boston in Septem-
ber, 1775. One of the first six warships launched by Massa-
chusetts in October, 1775, was named after him. Failing health
compelled him to resign his seat in Congress and he returned to
Charleston, where he died of paralysis. Thomas Lynch, third,
son of the former, was born in Prince George Parish, S. C, on
August 5. 1749. He was sent to Europe for his education, but
returned home before completing his course. In 1775 he was
commissioned as captain of the First South Carolina Regiment,
but while raising his company he contracted swamp fever, from
which he never fully recovered. When his father was stricken
with paralysis Colonel Gadsden refused to allow him leave of
absence, but his connection with the regiment was soon after
severed by his unanimous election as his father's successor in
Congress. He was an earnest and eloquent man and deeply im-
pressed that body with his lofty character and devotion to the
patriotic cause. One of his last public acts was to sign the



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. IO9

Declaration of Independence. Thereafter his health failed rapidly.
As a last resort he took passage with his wife for the South of
France. The ship in which they sailed was seen when a few days
out at sea, but was never heard of afterwards.

There are many other illustrious Irishmen and Irish-Amer-
icans who did noble service for the American cause in the early
days of the Carolinas, whose records will appear later in these
chronicles, when due credit will be given to such men as Judge
Justin and his nine sons; General Thomas Hart, who served in
the Provincial Congress of North Carolina ; James Connors, who
fought all through the Revolution; Major Thomas Butler, one
of the most intrepid native Irish fighters; Major John James,
known as the "Swamp Fox" of Marion's Brigade, who was one
of its principal organizers and who on one occasion knocked down
a British officer with a chair; Lieutenant Patrick Rogers, who
gave up his life for the cause and numerous other heroes and
martyrs whose lives and fortunes were freely sacrificed on the
altar of liberty. For the present we will close our reference to
their patriotic efforts with a brief history of the humblest and
yet bravest of them all— that valiant and devoted Irish hero,
Sergeant William Jasper.

When the brave Captain Francis Marion was organizing his
company for the Second Regiment of South Carolina Foot,
which was commanded by Colonel William Moultrie, he selected
as one of his first men an Irishman named William Jasper, who
was destined, though only an humble soldier in the ranks, to win
fame as bright and honorable as the highest and bravest gen-
erals. His life has been made the theme of many stirring orations
by leading citizens in the past, but to-day his name is rarely rnen-
tioned in'our schools, and the rising generation will know little
of him if matters are allowed to take their present course, which
we hope they wall not, and which we pledge ourselves to do our
utmost to prevent.

On January 3, 1876, Charles C. Jones, Jr., delivered an elo-
quent address on Jasper before the Georgia Historical Society,
in Savannah, but while due credit is given to the heroism of
Jasper, the name of Ireland is not mentioned in any of the bril-
liant periods of the orator. In all else Mr. Jones's tribute is a
noble one. He pictures Jasper as a man of humble origin and
slender means, yet full of energy and daring, imbued with an
earnest and lofty patriotism and destined to afford brilliant illus-
tration of his supreme devotion to the cause of freedom.

General Moultrie describes Jasper as a brave, active, stout,
strong, enterprising man and a very great partisan. He was
hardy,' patient, self-reliant, accustomed to the woods and quick



110 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOtXTTlON.



Online LibraryJames HaltiganThe Irish in the American revolution, and their early influence in the colonies → online text (page 11 of 67)