Thursday, December 20, 2007

Kings Mountain: Who Was in Charge?

From History of the McDowells and Connections, by John Hugh McDowell, pub. 1918, C. B. Johnston, page 265:

    Who Commanded At Kings Mountain? 
    By Frank McDowell 
    The facts as to who commanded at King's Mountain, as near as I can get them are as follows:
    From history and from tradition, having heard it discussed by my father, my uncles, my grand-uncle, [Alexander] Hamilton Erwin [b. 1808], and Aunt Matilda Cecelia Erwin [b. 1808, twin sister of Hamilton], who lived to be eighty-one (81) years old [actually 85], also from my mother, who was Sarah Erwin, and noted for her excellent memory for dates, births and deaths, I gained many of the facts. They all asserted that the reason Gen. Charles McDowell was not in command at King's Mountain was because he was on a "spree" at the time. Others not related to General Charles, have expressed themselves that he had grown a little lukewarm for the cause. Col. [John Hazzard] Carson, son-in-law of ''Hunting John" McDowell was pro-British, and offered to go to South Carolina and ask protection in order to save "Pleasant Gardens" from being raided, but Old John McDowell said, "No! he would drive his cattle into North Cove, and the British be d----d." Hunting John was 63 years old at the time. 
    My mother was a close neighbor to "Quaker Meadows," as "Erwin's Delight" (known today as Bellevue) was only two miles away. She was the schoolmate and great friend of Margaret McDowell [b. 1828], the daughter of Captain Charles [b. 1785, son of Gen. Charles] and Annie McDowell [b. 1793, daughter of Joseph "P.G." McDowell, b. 1758, and Mary Moffett, b. 1768], who was of the "Pleasant Gardens" branch. I have heard her say that "Uncle Charlie, when intoxicated, would tell his wife that it was his father who commanded at King's Mountain," and she would answer that it was her father—Joseph, of Pleasant Gardens. At any rate the china taken from Colonel Ferguson's tent comes through Annie McDowell, of "Pleasant Gardens," to the "Quaker Meadow" branch of McDowells. Judge Gray Bynum, who married Hennie Erwin (my first cousin) gave it back to my sister, Margaret Erwin McDowell [b. 1856, great-granddaughter of Col. Joseph "P.G." McDowell,] who now has it. We are descended from from the "Pleasant Gardens" branch.