Monday, December 24, 2007

Charles McDowell & The Kings Mountain Command

From "The McDowells of Burke County Divided Over Who Commanded at King's Mountain," A Sketch by Judge M. L. McCorkle, Charlotte Democrat, Charlotte, NC, 6 July 1894:

    [Joseph] McDowell [b. 1715], of Quaker Meadows, married Margaret O'Neil. They were married in Ulster, Ireland. They determined to encounter all the perils in search of what better fortune might await them on this side of the broad ocean. They first settled in Pennsylvania. Thence they soon moved to Winchester, Va. There their sons, Charles and Joe, were born—the former in 1743; the latter in 1755. They removed to North Carolina and settled at Quaker Meadows. Their sons soon grew to manhood. Charles, afterwards General Charles, early embarked in the War of the Revolution. He was soon placed in command of Burke and Rutherford Counties, a large military district at that time. Stoutly he had held the mountain passes against the Indians, and had made several successful expeditions against the Cherokees; one called the Rutherford campaign, another the Stono expedition. He was engaged in a number of skirmishes with the Tories. He had a small force under him to resist Col. Ferguson. With this force he went across the mountains to obtain assistance, and was in consultation with Colonels Shelby and Sevier. It was decided that each should make an effort to raise all the men he could, and that they should meet on the Wautauga. Colonel Shelby informed Colonel William Campbell, of Washington County, Virginia, of their purpose and asked them to join them. They met on the Wautauga and were joined by Colonels Cleveland, Campbell, Sevier and others. They immediately crossed the mountains near the head of the Catawba river. They ascertained that they were nearly all of the same rank, and had no general officer to command them. It was decided to send Colonel Charles McDowell to Hillsboro, to see General Gates and procure a general officer to command the troops. In the meantime, they elected Colonel Campbell, the red-headed Argyle, as commander-in-chief of all the forces present.
    It is said that Colonel Campbell was placed in command through courtesy, on account of his being from a sister State and also on account of his having the largest number of men under him. Colonel Charles McDowell turned his regiment over to the command of Major Joe McDowell, of Pleasant Garden, until he should return from his mission; but the great battle was fought before he returned. This was the last of Colonel Charles McDowell's military career. He lived many years after the war at his paternal home Quaker Meadows, and served his country and district many times in the Senate of North Carolina, from 1783 to 1788. He died at Quaker Meadows greatly beloved and respected by all who knew him. The following tablet was placed over his grave: "To the memory of General Charles McDowell, A Whig officer in the Revolutionary War, who died, as he had lived, a patriot, the 31st of March, 1815, aged about 70 years."