Book register for:
Biographical Sketches of the
|Title||Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers of the Hopewell Section ...|
|Alt. Title||BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE EARLY
SETTLERS OF THE
HOPEWELL SECTION AND Reminiscences of the Pioneers and their Descendants by
Families, with some Historical Facts and Incidents of the Times in Which They Lived.
|Subject Keyword||Mildred A. B. White ; Biographical Sketches ; Hopewell Section ; Mecklenburg County ; North Carolina ; Presbyterian ; religion ; Major John Davidson ; John McKnitt Alexander ; Margaret Davidson Alexander ; Sarah Davidson Alexander ; William Bain Alexander ; Rebecca Alexander ; John Ramsey Alexander ; Benjamin W. Alexander ; George Washington Alexander ; Dr. Joseph McKnitt Alexander ; Dr. Moses Winslow Alexander ; Samuel Blythe ; John Hill ; genealogy ; genealogical ; Rev. Samuel C. Caldwell ; Isaac Johnston|
|Subject LCSH||White, Mildred, A. B
Hopewell Community -- Mecklenburg County
Alexander, John Brevard, b. 1834
Family records -- Hopewell -- North Carolina
Presbyterians -- Mecklenburg County -- North Carolina
Religion -- North Carolina -- History -- 18th and 19th centuries
|Date||Date digital : 2007-12-04 ; Date of object: 1897|
|Publisher||[Charlotte] Observer Printing and Publishing House, 1897.|
Southern Highlands Research Center
|Type||Source type: text|
|Format||[digital] image/jpeg/text ; [book] 6" x 9"|
|Source||Mildred A.B. White Collection, D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA|
|Relation||Alexander, J.B. (John Brevard), 1834- . The History of Mecklenburg County : from 1740 to 1900. Charlotte, N.C.: Observer Print House, 1902.|
|Coverage||1700's to late1800's; North Carolina|
|Rights||Any display, publication or public use must
credit D. H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North
Carolina at Asheville.
Copyright retained by the authors of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
|Donor||Donor number 52|
|Description||A 104 page book about the Hopewell Community in Mecklenburg County. Describes early Presbyterian settlers, their families, and their achievements. Contains descriptions of historical incidents and facts of the times in which these settlers lived. Slavery and anecdotal accounts of pre-Civil war era daily life are found throughout the book.|
|Citation||Mildred A. B. White Collection, D. H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804|
|Processed by||Special Collections staff, 2007|
The only way to Preserve History is to Reduce it to
Written at the request of Revolutionary
CHARLOTTE, N. C.
TO MY WIFE
Annie Lowrie Alexander, who had an aptitude for genological [sic] pursuits, and was fond of tracing family relations. And had she been permitted to have joined in the preparation of this work, it would have been more attractive to the general reader, and more accurate in detail. Trusting this offering may stimulate the descendants of her friends to further prosecute the work of gathering up all the facts pertaining to the first patriots of America, this little book is dedicated to her memory.
Early settlers in the Hopewell Congregation
[Describes Scotch-Irish settlers who followed the Presbyterian faith and other pioneers who came from Maryland and Pennsylvania. The climate and land in which they settled, bound by the Catawba on the west and the Rocky River to the east, is also depicted.]
There is no more
historic place in America than Mecklenburg county, and in the county
no spot so conspicuous for men of daring and chivalric deeds in
Revolutionary times as the Hopewell settlement. This section was
settled by that sturdy Scotch-Irish element who appear to have been
born in the Presbyterian faith, strongly imbued with a love of
liberty, religious freedom, and fair play. The majority of the
pioneers came from Maryland and Pennsylvania. The section of which
we write is bounded on the west by the Catawba river, taking its
name from the tribe of Indians who roamed over this portion of North
Carolina long after the white people established homes on its
borders; bounded on the east by a high ridge without a single water
course running across it for twenty miles. The rain falling on the
west side flows into the Catawba, and all on the east side to Rocky
River. In the early days
|M79.1.1||4-5||[Hopewell church was organized in 1765. Most who
signed the declaration of Independence were Presbyterians. Most
early church records of Hopewell were lost, but a manuscript of John
McKnitt Alexander, written in 1807, is appended.]
this locality, on the extreme limits of western civilization —
Mecklenburg having no western limit.
|M79.1.1||6-7||the doctrines of the Gospel explained to them, yet
to have the necessity of inward, practical and experimental religion
pressed upon them, and to be warned of the fatal consequences of a
neglect thereof, in so warm and pathetic a manner as was customary
for the Rev. S. C. Caldwell to do; this to them was very
disagreeable; however, it was borne with some degree of quiet until
May, 1802, when the late and glorious revival made its first public
appearance in Hopewell. The loud cries of penitents, who were
convinced of their guilt and danger, pleading for mercy, roused ail their slumbering prejudices into wakeful activity. Little else but murmurs and reproaches could now be
heard from them. Those loud cries continuing occasionally to be heard, and frequently taking place under warm addresses, their worthy pastor bore equal, if not superior
blame, consequently their murmur against both the preacher and the penitents became incessant, accompanied with insidious and bitter opposition. Yet this ill treatment, the reverend and worthy Samuel C. Caldwell bore with much patience for several years; but at length, being grieved at heart with their continued and increasing murmurs, at the close of the year 1806. he withdrew from those sons of strife, left them to enjoy their silent Sabbaths, and betook himself to a more peaceful habitation. This gave rise
to the following lines:"
[A poem, part of John McKnitt's manuscript.]
|M79.1.1||8-9||[Continuation of poem]|
[Numerous Alexanders settled in Mecklenburg county. John McKnitt Alexander was born in Pennsylvania and came to the county in 1754. He learned the tailor's trade and was a surveyor. He married Jane Bain in 1759. Many patriots met at his house and in 1755 they drafted the Mecklenburg declaration, though it was later destroyed when his house burned. He was an active patriot and helped organize Hopewell church, and passed away in 1817.]
|M79.1.1||12-13||[He had five children. William Bain Alexander
married a daughter of Major John Davidson. They were prosperous,
owning 6,000 acres of land. He was Recorder of Deeds, an active
member of the Hopewell church, and Postmaster at Alexandriana. He
and his wife had fourteen children. One passed away at age
twenty-nine, another lived longer than ninety-three.]
McKnitt Alexander was the oldest, born in 1792. He lived on a farm
and made brick for Hopewell Church. He married Nancy Cathey and they
had three children. They moved to Alabama in 1835.
|M79.1.1||14-15||[Describes other children, their families, and where they reside: Margaret Davidson Alexander, Sarah Davidson Alexander, William Bain Alexander, Rebecca, John Ramsey Alexander]|
|M79.1.1||16-17||[Describes Elizabeth, James McKnitt Alexander, Abigail, Isabella.]|
|M79.1.1||20-21||[Describes Hamilton Lafayette, Sophia and Mrs. Julia Smith, Alice, Captain Sydenham B. Alexander, Abigail Bain.]|
|M79.1.1||22-23||[Describes Dr. D. T. Caldwell, who married Harriet Davidson; Jane Bain, daughter of John McKnitt Alexander, who married Reverend James Wallace; Margaret, daughter of John McKnitt Alexander, who married Colonel Alexander Ramsay.]|
[Describes the Davidson family.
Robert Davidson of Pennsylvania married Isabella Ramsay. Robert died
and Isabelle and the two children moved to Rowan County in 1740.
|M79.1.1||26-27||[Describes Governor Graham and the family of Sally Davidson, who married Rev. Alexander Caldwell.]|
|M79.1.1||28-29||[David Alexander Caldwell bought and cultivated a farm north of Hopewell. Describes "scalp" hunts. He married the widow of his cousin; her name was Martha Bishop. Describes her good character. David A. Caldwell read, had a logical mind and a retentive memory; he was a devoted Presbyterian.]|
|M79.1.1||30-31||He had charity as broad as Christian faith, and had
convictions so decided that when he had formed an opinion no amount
of policy could swerve him from duty as he saw it.
decision of character and devotion to principle with a
|M79.1.1||32-33||[Describes public events at Long Creek, where
Colonel "Jacky" and Mrs. Davidson lived for fifteen years. They
moved to Alabama in 1835 where they became wealthy. Alexander
Davidson was a find scholar, a successful farmer, and served terms
in the United States Congress. Mrs. Patsy Caldwell Davidson had a
[Describes the family of Elizabeth Davidson. She married William L. Davidson. Mr. Davidson donated the lands for Davidson College, which was named in honor of his father. His father was killed February 1, 1781, while resisting Cornwallis as he crossed the Catawba River.]
|M79.1.1||34-35||[Mr. Davidson died towards the end of the Civil War.
He and his wife had no offspring.]
[Daughters and sons of Major John Davidson are described.]
|M79.1.1||36-37||[Mrs. Davidson's nephew was James W. Osborne. He was
a Superior Court judge, and was called Demosthenese of Western
Carolina. Won almost all of his cases; his intellect is continued in
his two sons.]
[Describes the family of John Davidson, or Jacky.]
|M79.1.1||38-39||[Describes Dr. William S.M. Davidson, Constantine Davidson, Isabella Davidson, Mary Davidson, Jacky Davidson, and Benjamin Wilson Davidson.]|
|M79.1.1||40-41||[Describes John Ramsay Davidson, who was born on
August 2,1821. He had three children, and later moved to Alabama.
James Latta Davidson married Miss Sarah Springs and settled south
of Charlotte. When he died, she married Zenas Grier. William Lee Davidson graduated from Davidson College. He
volunteered to fight in the war against Mexico, but soon returned
home. He was promoted to colonel. After the war he married Annie
Irvin Pagan. They had seven children.]
|M79.1.1||42-43||[Describes Dr. Joseph Malcom Davidson.
He graduated at Davidson College and studied medicine. He married
Mary Caldwell, who was pretty, intellectual, and had a wealthy
father, Benjamin Howard Davidson, who was raised by his Uncle
Robert Davidson. He became a businessman, but was killed n the
battle of Sharpsburg in 1862.Isabelle Ramsay married Robert Davidson, but after his death she
moved to Rowan County and married Henry Henry.]
[Describes the families of John and Mary, Robert Davidson's two children.]
Richard Barry was born in Pennsylvania, in 1726. His father came from the north of Ireland, where patriotism and Presbyterianism were synonymous terms. Richard married Ann Price, of Maryland, and moved to Mecklenburg County.
[Describes his achievements: signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, fighting in the battle of Cowan's Ford, an elder in Hopewell Church, a member of the County Court.]
[Richard Barry, Jr., married Margaret McDowell. Andrew Barry married Larissa Sample, and later Ruth Byers. Describes children, states that the Barrys and Monteiths were worthy descendants of a noble ancestry.]
|M79.1.1||48-49||[Jane Barry married W.A. Sample. They had a family
of four sons and two daughters. John, McCamie, Hugh, and David were
all members of Hopewell. Martha fell victim to consumption, and a
younger sister married Samuel McElroy.]
[Describes Mr. W.A. Sample, William Sample, James Sample, Milas Sample, Leroy, Augustus E. Sample, John, Elam Sample, Mary Terissa Sample, and Caroline Sample.]
[The first occupant was in 1753, twelve years before Hopewell church was built. Others buried there are Reverend John Thompson, John Baker, Hugh Lawson, and Mrs. Isabella Henry.]
Andrew Moore's Family.
[Jane, called Jensie, was the only daughter
of William and Elizabeth Sample. She married Andrew Moore. They
lived east of Hopewell.]
|M79.1.1||52-53||[Mr. Moore, a class leader for many years, regarded
as leader of Bethesda church. Died in 1843. Mr. and Mrs. Moore
raised six children: Amzi, Fletcher Moore, Malissa Moore, Emalie
Moore, Margaret Moore, and Eliza. Describes "tokens," passed along
and collected by the elders.]
[James Latta came from Ireland in 1790, locating between Hopewell and the river. He married his second wife, Jane Knox, in 1795 and they had three daughters: Betsy, Polly, and Nancy.]
|M79.1.1||54-55||Mr. Latta was "cranky" on the subject of watching
the boys when they came to see his girls.
[John Montgomery was born in the Sugar Creek congregation, but
moved into the boundary of Hopewell. He married Miss Clark. Their
children were Clark, Harry, Hannah, Anna Woods, Dorcas, Rebecca, and
Narcissa. Describes families and occupations of children.
|M79.1.1||56-57||[Eliza, a slave, decided to "cure" her. She made
arrangements to relieve her mistress. She secured a lizard that
looked like the one her mistress had described. The next day, Eliza
dropped the lizard in the woman's room, and the woman was cured at
[James McCoy came from Pennsylvania in the late eighteenth
century. His son, John McCoy, married Ester Frazier in 1798. After
his son was married James sold his farm and went to the west; he was
never heard of again. John and his wife were members of Hopewell.
They had a son and three daughters.]
[Thomas McKnight married Peggy Falls, daughter of Colonel Falls.]
|M79.1.1||58-59||[Thomas and Peggy had seven children.]
[John Peoples was born in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, in 1765. He was of Irish parentage and moved to North Carolina. In 1788, he married Hannah Stinson. They lived near Long Creek mill and raised a large family: Richard, Silas, John, James, William and Elizabeth. Richard married Jane Harris in 1816, and Silas married Miss Hunter in 1834.]
[George Davis was a musician, he was leader of the singing and was called clerk. Describes the pulpit and his stand. The singing was of a high order. Large congregations of negroes attended on Sacramental occasions; few could read, and it was necessary that they could take part in the worship. Mr. George Davis married a daughter of David Vance. They had four songs and one daughter. The family has drifted and few, unfortunately, remember him.
[Andrew Elliot's family attended Hopewell often. He had three sons and four daughters: George, Andrew, William, Catherine, Mary, Ann, and Betsy. None of his children married.]
[Samuel Blythe was Scotch-Irish. He came from north Ireland in 1740 and resided north of Charlotte. His family history is not known. He married a Miss Patton; reared a family of children until they moved to the southwest. Only Samuel Blythe stayed to occupy the homestead. He married Isabella. He was born in 1790 and died in 1866. They had seven children: Franklin, Clement, John, James, Nancy, Rebecca, and Ellen. Describes children's families.]
[Hugh Torrance came from Ireland in the late
eighteenth century. He built a home in Mecklenburg. He married
Isabella and they raised a son named James. Hugh and Isabella both
died in February, 1816, and were buried in Hopewell.
|M79.1.1||64-65||[Nancy died in 1818. Mr. Torrance then married Mary
Latta, and they had two children. Describes children's families and
[Only little is known. Moses Winslow was probably born in Iredell
county. He married Jean, a daughter of Alexander Osborne. They had
four daughters: Mary, Dovy, Rocinda, and another. Jean Osborne
Winslow died in 1795. His daughters married into refined and
Samuel Wilson Family.
[Samuel Wilson, Sr., was married three times with three sets of children. He first married Mary Winslow. They had six children: David, Benjamin, Samuel, Mary, Violet, and Sally. The second wife was the widow Howard. They had a daughter, Margaret. His third wife was Margaret Jack. They had three children: William, Robert, and Lillie. Describes the families and locations of these children.]
|M79.1.1||68-69||[Describes Lillie Wilson, who married James Connor.]
[During the Revolutionary War, John Cathy lived near Beattie's Ford. Tarlton's troopers carried off everything as they went towards Salisbury. He left his farm to his son, Col. Archibald Cathy. Archibald married a Miss Caldwell; they raised five sons and one daughter: Pink, William, Andrew, John, Henry, and Nancy. Colonel Cathy died, and his widow married Tom DeArmond. He was not considered the equal of the family. They had a son named Joe. When the older children married, the younger ones went to live with them.]
|M79.1.1||70-71||[Description of the children in the Cathy family.]
To write only of battles and sieges, and of great leaders of men, and of great events that happen only once in a century, may be a pleasant past time to the writer and furnish enjoyable reading to those who are not particular as to the great facts that underlie our civilization, but it is unworthy of the purpose intended to be accomplished by writing history. History, to be true and express facts as they exist, must reach down among the great common people, who produce the wealth, pay the taxes, and fight the battles of their country, as ell as to eulogize the fortunate few who ride upon the flood tide that led them on to fortune. Notwithstanding the inhabitants of the Hopewell section were noted for their piety and morals, their love of freedom and fair play, they sometimes found it necessary to protect their honor and self-respect by personal combat. These personal encounters generally occurred on public occasions, such as elections, musters, or sales; sometimes at public places, as the court house, or the blacksmith shop. The blacksmith shop was a noted adjunct to the civilization of seventy-five years ago. These shops were patronized by all classes. The rich and the educated would frequently spend a few hours chatting with their neighbors, hearing and telling the news. Newspapers were not so plentiful then as now, and the price was considerably more. So at these public resorts people would kill two birds with one stone, i.e., get their smithing done and hear the news.
[Description of Maxwell family; several were deaf mutes, but all were young and strong. Describes Joe Maxwell, who got into many fights, and an encounter with Joe Alexander.]
|M79.1.1||72-73||[As soon as they were parted, Maxwell threatened to
give another beating. Monteith, the blacksmith, hoped to cool
Maxwell's ardor by magisterial authority. When Joe saw him again,
John drew his red-hot ax tongs from the furnace. Joe was badly
blistered and his throat was bleeding.]
[No one knows when the area started being used as a graveyard. There is no stone with a mark earlier than 1775, though. There are numerous Alexanders buried there.]
|M79.1.1||74-75||[Description of the Alexanders, Davidsons, and
Williamsons. One of the most noted of those buried in the last
quarter of the eighteenth century is Fancis Bradly, a patriot of the
What a peaceful and pleasant change it must be to be carried from fields of strife to the green pastures ever found by the River of Life in that world where the weary are at rest and Love reigns supreme. It is with a feeling of awe and reverence that we pass among those who have been nobly performed their duty while living, and have been called to take up their abode in this silent enclosure, and read their names and learn what is possible of their characters, feeling sure that we will soon be summoned to dwell in the silent tomb where history ceases, and we pass into the new life where, yesterday, today and tomorrow ever remain present.
|M79.1.1||76-77||[Names different families buried in the cemetery.]
Who were these people, and what part did they act in life's great drama? or were they visitors passing through the country and were drafted by the pale recruiting officer before they reached their destination? No one can now tell their story. But stranger still, some people appear to invite oblivion by not marking the spot or sepulchre, or chiseling their names upon stone.
[Describes those who did not put their names on stones, or whose history is lost.]
These names are now wholly unknown in the community, however important may have been the services rendered by those whose names are preserved on marble slabs. IT is more difficult to preserve ordinary or local fame than it is to win it. What a historical treasure we would have if only short sketches of the many heads of families that lie moldered into dust had been prepared when the material was fresh and abundant.
While we have reason to regret the loss of so much by the carelessness or want of forethought on the part of our ancestors, we have also greater reason to rejoice that so much of inestimable value has been kept safely for posterity's use. The history of every generation should be written, and not allow such wide gaps of time to intervene, which prove broken links in the historic chain connecting widely separated epochs of our civilization. Only in this way can history be preserved in its entirety. In this age of schools, while progress is the watchword, would it not be wise for the State to establish a department of history-for the writing of history- for the benefit of those who will live in the future, as well as to satisfy the reading people of today.
We are now living so fast, literally traveling by electricity, that we accomplish in ten years in this present era what it took one hundred years to accomplish a century ago. It is now a necessity to record new discoveries, new developments and rapid changes in a better way than in newspapers and periodicals if we would carry into the future a correct account of the maddening rush that is driving us forward. If the ashes of the wisest ones who have been asleep for fifty years could awake, see and hear what changes have been made since their departure, the would scarcely give credence to the true stories, although told by their own kith and kin. All discoveries and inventions have been by gradation, as it were, preparing the mind to receive and comprehend the wonderful phenomena thrust with such apparent haste upon the astonished vision of an expectant world; somewhat after this similitude of Darwinian evolution. We now scarcely feel safe to doubt, much less deny any dream we hear, even the most unlooked-for.
Rev. John Williamson.
[Tells of the success and popularity of
Reverend John Williamson; also describes his wife and family.]
[The area around Bethel was largely Presbyterian and Methodism had not taken root in Mecklenburg county before it was built. Describes the location of the church, and its small membership. There was no permanent reverend. Names the supporters of the church, and describes the high school nearby.
|M79.1.1||80-81||[The education at the school has declined because of
the death of prominent persons, and others that have moved away.]
[Describes thoughts that a temple erected to the worship of God a hundred years ago deserves more than a passing notice. It is a great historical loss that records were not kept, or that they have been lost. Many customs have changed. Description of Gilead and the Gilead graveyard; it is not as rich in history.]
|M79.1.1||82-83||[John Boyce was probably the first pastor; he was in charge of Coddle Creek, Prosperity Gilead, and Hopewell in South Carolina. He died in 1793. The second pastor was Reverend James McKnight. He was installed pastor of Gilead, Coddle Creek, and Prosperity in 1797. Describes the preaching styles of James McKnight. Description of the present site at Gilead and those in the movement to organize Gilead church. Names the first elders and the first pastors.]|
Manners, Habits and Customs.
[Describes stern family government and values, and the use of a switch for discipline. There was a plan for a high school to be built in the shadow of all Presbyterian churches, but it was not carried into effect. Describes how teachers would whip, and Presbyterian ministers who could not read Latin or Greek fluently would not have been granted a license to preach.]
|M79.1.1||86-87||[The Presbyterian church has an educated ministry, but preachers now are not as educated as they were 100 years ago. Dr. Joseph McKnitt Alexander was the first physician in the territory, though there were already surgeons. Description of how the practices changed once the Germ theory was thought of, but states that the same doctors were successful in fighting off the last enemy and restoring their patients' health as any other M.D. of the advanced age of medical science. Describes Dr. Isaac Wilson and his practice. Though he was a self educated physician, he had the conference of everyone. Describes his pack of fox hounds, that no one today can appreciate the excitement of the sport. The days of African slavery (when the negroes were happy creatures) are also reminisced; their best and happiest days passed away when their freedom was thrust upon them.]|
[Letter to J.B. Alexander; October 6, 1896.]
|M79.1.1||90-91||[Continuation of letter, describing relatives and well organized churches.]|
|M79.1.1||92-93||[R. C. Kerr, the writer of the letter, explained that
he had bronchitis for six weeks.]
[Discusses the grave stone of Capt. James Knox, the grandfather of President James Knox Polk. Polk was probably born in the southern part of Mecklenburg county, near Pineville. Describes Peggy Alcorn, an girl who came from Ireland as a 13 year old. She was hired by Sam Polk to wait on his wife and nurse the baby.]
Assassination of Ben Wilson.
Probably there has never been a more
tragic foundation for thrilling romance than the one laid by the
episode mentioned, This tragedy occurred in the early part of the
present century, and there is now no person living who was
personally cognizant of the facts. Tradition has had much to say
with the regard to the matter, and it is still talked of by the
people in the section of country where it occurred. Allen Curry, a
brother, and Mrs. Johnston, a sister of Nixon Curry, lived to old
age in this neighborhood, and were people of respectability, and
their descendants are numerous in the county. They are esteemed
good, law-abiding citizens. T he Curry family lived sixteen miles
north of Charlotte, and about half a mile west of what is now
Caldwell's station, on the Atlantic, Tennessee and Ohio Railroad.
The property was bought by Mr. Andrew Springs, many years ago, and
every trace of the family residence is gone, but the Springs branch
is still known as "Curry branch."
|M79.1.1||96-97||[On an afternoon in 1821, Ben Wilson coming home,
called John Knox's residence near where the Curry family lived; told
him to keep watch or he may lose his fast horse.]
Wilson passed on in a southwest course about half a mile, when the sound of a rifle was heard, and soon after Wilson's body found dead, from a rifle shot.
[Everyone believed Nixon Curry was guilty, Curry was in hiding a few days but remained in the neighborhood when he could have escaped. Some say he did not leave because of his wife.]
[Baldy Henderson defended Curry. The trial was moved to Morganton and he was acquitted for want of evidence. However, he was arrested again for stealing negroes. He remained in Statesville jail for a short time until he was able to escape, and he left North Carolina. The crime of stealing a slave was a felony punishable with death. The governor offered a $5,000 award for his apprehension.]
We now come to a part of his history, after leaving the territory of which we write, where truth is stranger than fiction. It is said Curry was a child of impulse from infancy, not quarrelsome, but quick to resent an insult; that he was in love with a class-mate- Lucy Gordon, when they were but children. Their dream flowed smoothly, until Lucy was eighteen, when her parents desired her to marry another, but true to her life-long lover, she refused to obey her parents, and ran away with Nixon Curry. When being pursued, he killed his rival and escaped. It is said that during his entire life of strife and crime, he never spoke an unkind word to his wife. After tarrying a short time in the mountains about the headwaters of the Catawba, he started for a country more congenial to his mode of life. The Territory of Arkansas was just beginning to be settled, and to this point of the fertile delta bordering on the St. Francis, now in the State of Arkansas, an emigrant made his appearance, calling himself John Hill. He rapidly became the most popular man in the settlement. Although of moderate means, he was sober, industrious, generous and of extended hospitality, and such continued to be his character in the country which he had adopted for a period extending over a dozen years.
[Hill was elected multiple times to the Territorial Legislature and was a distinguished leader in the party. Hill's neighbors were the Strongs, four brothers with wealth and ambition. George Strong made a request to Hill to resign his seat in the Senate in his favor. Hill refused and the brothers wanted revenge. They wanted to capture Nixon Curry, the notorious robber.]
[During the attack, two brothers were shot dead and six others were badly wounded. People refused to believe that John Hill was identical with Nixon Curry. A requisition was sent demanding the surrender of Curry. An additional award was published for the arrest of John Hill. Hill went to Upper Arkansas where he knew a band of desperadoes.]
|M79.1.1||100-101||[Hill pursued his way without being caught. However,
the constant pursuit and chasing of him made him sour and morose. He
became a gambler and started drinking. He became famous among the
mountains and piedmont of North Carolina and there was never a man
who inspired more terror.]
[In September, 1845, Hill had a dream that he would die a horrible death before sundown. His wife told him not to go to court, but Hill said he should not avoid death but meet it bravely. Description of Moses Howard. As Howard and Hill reached town, Hill began drinking.]
|M79.1.1||102-103||[Hill threatened that he would clear the court
house. Everyone rushed for the door but those who stayed behind were
beaten. He killed his friend, his sweetheart's father. He soon
realized what he did and tried to kill himself. The by-standers in the
room prevented him from doing so. Moses Howard disappeared and was
later seen in Texas. Mary Hill spent the rest of her life in an
It will be remembered that Hill enjoined upon his son to
avenge his death. Faithfully did that son obey the command. When he
had reached his sixteenth year, he left for Texas. He was gone for
several months. When he returned he said to his mother, in reply to
he inquiring look: It's done, mother! Poor Howard, I pitied him, but
I had to do it!"
(For the facts on which the history of this most remarkable man has been written, I am under obligations to Mrs. Johnston, a sister of Nixon Curry, and to her son,
|M79.1.1||104||Isaac Johnston, a venerable citizen of Davidson College also for the use of Arkansas newspapers printed at the time of the wildest excitement connected with the killing of Curry. As for the killing of Ben Wilson, every person in the upper part of Mecklenburg was familiar with all the details forty years ago.)|