The Rockwood Times, Rockwood, TN, Thursday, 21 Jul 1904, Vol. XXIV, No. 19.
About Roane County People. by W.E. McELWEE.----John BROWN married Mary TARVER near Snow Hill, Green county, N.C., 1764 and settled on Contentea creek where he died. After his death his widow and family moved to Tennessee and settled on town creek. Two of her sons, twins, born Sept. 15th, 1779, became prominent in public matters. John was the first Sheriff elected in Roane county. He engaged in military affairs and was promoted from lower positions finally holding the rank of brigadier general. He owned the farm where Rockwood is located. Thomas held a number of positions of trust and was at one time a candidate for U.S. Senator. John W. WESTER, a son-in-law of John BROWN, was a representative. BROWN was a democrat and WESTER a whig. Party spirit at that time was intense and WESTER voted with his party. BROWN was defeated by one vote.
As a large number of your readers are direct or collateral descendants of the BROWN family it will be interesting to them, at least, as well as historical, to copy portions of what might be called a letter written by Morgan BROWN, on the blank leaves of his family bible, to his descendants. The BROWN'S came from Maryland to North Carolina in the early part of the century. "Morgan BROWN was born at the Grassy Island on Pedee river, Anson county, on Friday the 13th day of January 1758. At that time the county was thinly inhabited; the first settlements were only about thirteen years standing and settlers were greatly detached. There was not a school in the county and [torn] __pect of an education was very unpromising. As the county increased in population, teachers were employed but like all other new settlements the first of them were but indifferent.
"My father intended me for a physician and although the schools of the county were of little account, I was kept constantly at them for four or five years, after which I was to have been sent to an academy at Charlotte, then recently established. But my father had some business in Maryland, and in 1774, when I was about fifteen years old, sent me on the long journey on horseback. I crossed Chesapeake bay at Annapolis, and having to pass a British sloop of war our boat was hailed and a little detained by her, but on the ferryman assuring the captain that he only had a lad from North Carolina on board, who was going to see relatives in Maryland he was permitted to pass. We reached Kent's island and I came to my aunt, Rachel BROWN'S. Being now among relatives I visited my cousins, Morgan and Dr. James BROWN, father of my cousin John BROWN, of Anson county, N.C. After a stay of four or five weeks commenced my journey homeward. I called again at my aunt Rachel BROWN'S on Kent's Island, and as her house was immediately opposite Annapolis I had a clear view of the brig which was burned loaded with tea. The circumstance happened the night I stayed here. I have been surprised not to see this mentioned in the histories of the revolutionary war, when so much has been said of throwing the tea overboard in Boston harbor. I proceeded to Hillsboro, N.C. At this place I saw the first party of emigrants that moved to Kentucky under the auspices of Judge HENDERSON. They marched out of town with great solemnity. The remarkable events of this year were the great solemnity. The remarkable events of this year were the great May frosts (5th, 6th and 7th,) destroying the wheat in the ear and killing stout trees; and again as early as the 11th of September. The battle with the Shawnees at the Great Kenhawa, and the settlement of the first families of Kentucky. It was late in the fall before I went to Charlotte to begin my studies. The increasing prospect for war was such that filled with zeal and enthusiasm for the liberties of my country, I determined to give her my aid at first call. I was now turning my 17th year. Armed with a good rifle, a pistol and a tomahawk in my belt, and a silver crescent, with the words, "Liberty or Death," placed on the front cock of my hat, I rode into the town ready for the first emergency.
"War had already begun in North Carolina. The battle of Alamance creek had been fought, the head men had signed a declaration of Indexpendence, and Mr. POLK, standing on a stump in the court house yard, had read it aloud to the people. At the May term of court which was attended by a great many, already much excited the news of the battle of Lexington. The news was first whispered by the messenger, then the crier proclaimed it in a loud voice. The court was sitting; some of the magistrates were Whigs and some Tories. At first the people seemed struck with awe and silence, then became clamorous and excited. The sheriff was, by some, ordered to adjourn court, which he did in his usual form until the last words which in form were, "God save the King." These the people ordered him to omit and the Tory magistrates ordered him to repeat saying, they would have him to know that the court sit in the kings name and by his royal authority. Several people standing near the door forbade the conclusion in these words, declaring the court should never perform another act in the Kings name or by his authority. High words ensued and threats made, but the people rushed out, taking the sheriff and the Whig magistrates with them and left the Tory magistrates themselves, but they soon left the bench.
"After some confusion it was agreed by the people that the court should reconvene to transact some unfinished business, but it should not be called in the king's name and the words 'God save the King' should not be added for we will have nothing more done in the kings name." (Continued.)
The Rockwood Times, Rockwood, TN, Thursday, 28 Jul 1904, Vol. XXIV, No. 20.
About Roane County People. by W.E. McELWEE. (Continued from last week.)---"And thus ended royal authority, for the court, after closing the records never assembled again." The heads of the people came together. All law had now been abolished. It was agreed to appoint a committee of the most respectable men in the county who should exercise general and discretionary powers in the civil and military departments, restraining all wrongs, settling all controversies among the people and corresponding with head men in the other counties. This committee appointed a person to act as marshal or sheriff to carry their resolves into execution; and this office fell to my lot, young as I was, and I must confess that I felt highly gratified as it was entirely unsolicited.
"A similar change took place generally throughout the counties of the province but to be particular in every instance would be to write a history of the revolutionary war for which I have neither time nor inclination, but I thought it would be gratifying to my children to know the bonds of government were dissolved, and how a rational people may establish a free government of their own choice. All government had flowed from the king to the people who were subjects, now the order was to be reversed and the people became sovereign and the law eliminated from then.
"It may be a practical benefit to know that there is not so much mystery in government and administration of justice as people are too apt to believe. Under the administration of the committee good order was preserved. If a men owed a debt that was due he was ordered to pay or secure his creditor. If he refused or delayed his property was ordered seized or sequestered till he did.
The adjustment of disputed accounts was done by one or two neighbors appointed by the committee, and it was better done than by the courts employing a host of officers, counsellors, barristers, lawyers, attorneys, pettifoggers, clerks, writers, recorders, marshals, sheriffs, deputies, constables, bailiffs and catchpolls; all of whom comes in for his fees before his suitor can establish the smallest of his rights. More business would be done by the committee in a few hours than would be done in courts with legal procrastination in as many months and much more tot he satisfaction of parties. If men fell out one or two of their neighbors were ordered to settle their differences. I have known complicated cases of title and boundaries of land settled by some neighbors ordered convened on the premises in one day and without one cent of cost and greatly to the satisfaction of all parties. This kind of government continued a year or so. But I return to my subject.
"An insurrection of the Scotch inhabitants of Anson and Bladen counties bid fair to give serious employment but the whigs rose in arms so quick that they were intercepted at Moor's creek before they got to Wilmington the place of their rendezvous. Here an engagement took place and general McLEOD, their leader, was killed, and his father-in-law, Col. McDONALD, with a number of others were taken prisoners on the battle ground, and a number of others fled fell into the hands of another party of whigs who were also in pursuit. McDONALD with some of the principal leaders were sent to Philadelphia and the rest liberated on a kind of parole and promise of good behavior.
"The spirit of Toryism seeming to be pretty well suppressed in this part of the country I joined a regiment of rangers under the command of Col. William THOMPSON of South Carolina. The regiment consisted of between four and five hundred volunteer horseman whose business it was to range in companies through different parts of the country to keep order and suppress (faded)__reection. We were [illegible] twenty pounds per month which was in full pay for rations, arms and horse feed, for every man had to furnish his own horse and expenses.
"Early in the spring of 1776 the regiment took the field against the British and went toward Charleston. In May we camped at the mile house. We were, after some coaxing and some artifice, induced to leave our horses and march on to sea island along the coast, and finally on to Sullivans island, about fifteen or twenty days before the British fleet destined for that place appeared in sight. They cast anchor outside the bar, their largest ships having to lighten before they could cross, but after a few days they crossed and anchored in five fathom hole till they refitted again. In the mean time they landed three or four thousand troops on John's island immediately opposite our encampment at the east end of Sullivan's island, and about a half mile distant. A small inlet about sixty yards wide lay between us. A serious and perhaps a bloody battle was inevitable, and various opinions as to the result of our regiment against such odds was entertained.
"Gen. LEE had come on and taken command but up to this time had kept in the city. The report was soon circulated and we understood it was his opinion that the islands could not be defended, but the troops on the islands were to be sacrificed to gain time in which to finish the defenses at the city but our own immediate commanders and the men pledged each other to defend our position to the last extremity. Every exertion was made to finish the fort (Moultrie) and we threw up a small breastwork of sand at the eastern point of the island opposite the island where the British troops had been landed and in this had been placed an eighteen pounder and a few field pieces with a few artillery men. But our principle reliance was on our trusty rifles and our own skilled use of them. The odds appeared fearful--three or four thousand against three or four hundred, and very few of the latter had at that time ever burned powder in battle. But they were all marksmen and could shoot to the center at the hundred yards match." (Continued)