Monday, January 14, 2008

"Hunting John" & his son Joseph,
of Pleasant Gardens

From Historic Families of Kentucky, By Thomas Marshall Green, Published 1889, R. Clarke, Kentucky, pp.24-25:

    ... "Hunting John," was the first of the McDowells to move to the Catawba country. Draper narrates that when Charles McDowell called the leading men of the Catawba valley together, in 1780, and, to meet the present emergency, suggested that they should repair to Gilbert Town, and there take British protection, as the only means of saving their live stock, which were essential to the support of the country—justifying it as a temporary expedient—"Hunting John" absolutely refused to adopt the suggestion. With others who agreed with him, he proposed to drive all the stock they could collect into the deep coves at the base of the Black Mountain, leaving to others the humiliating office of taking protection, in order to save the remainder. The distinguished Indian fighter, Captain John Carson, and the Davidsons, and others, were selected to take protection, which they did, deeming it justifiable and not unpatriotic under the circumstances. His [i.e., Hunting John's] son Joseph McDowell, who married Mary Moffett, was born at the Pleasant Garden, February 25, 1758. A boy when the Revolution broke out, he immediately went into active service in the patriot army. He soon rose to a captaincy in the Burke regiment, of which his cousins Charles was the colonel and Joseph the major. He was with it in every fight in which it was engaged. At King's Mountain, while Major Joseph, of Quaker Meadows, acted as colonel, Captain Joseph, of Pleasant Garden, acted as major. Hence the dispute as to which of the two it was who commanded in that fight. They were equally brave, equally patriotic, equally able. Captain Joe, of the Pleasant Garden, is the one known in history as major, while he of the Quaker Meadows is known as colonel [and subsequently, respectively, colonel and general]. Both were at the Cowpens, where Tarleton succumbed to the sturdy blows of the wagoner, Morgan. Serving from the beginning to the close of the war for independence, Major Joe [of Pleasant Gardens] possessed the fighting characteristics which distinguished the breed in all its branches. In the Rutherford campaign he killed an Indian in single combat. Educated as a physician, his distinction as a statesman was not less than that he won as a soldier. As Joseph McDowell, Jr., he served in the North Carolina House of Commons from 1787 to 1792. McDowell county, North Carolina, was named for him. He was also a member of the North Carolina Convention of 1788, and was generally regarded as the brightest intellect of any of the North Carolina connection. He died in 1795, leaving several children.