Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Judge McCorkle, re: the Josephs McDowell

Excerpt from "THE McDOWELS [sic] OF BURKE COUNTY Divided Over Who Commanded at King's Mountain, A SKETCH BY JUDGE M. L. McCORKLE": 

Joe, [Joseph McDowell] of Pleasant Garden, was a mere boy at the commencement of the Revolutionary War. Young as he was, he immediately went into active service in the Patriotic Army. He soon was promoted to the rank of major, in which his cousin Charles [McDowell] was colonel. He was engaged with it in every fight where his cousin commanded. When his cousin Charles retired from the command of the Burke and Rutherford Regiment he was placed in command. At the battle of King's Mountain he commanded the regiment, and Colonel Joe [McDowell], of Quaker Meadows, commanded the right wing of a "portion" of the regiment "under him." Hence, there is a dispute, which had the chief command in that gallant struggle. They were equally brave, equally patriotic, and equally able. One is known as Major Joe of Pleasant Garden, the other as Colonel Joe of Quaker Meadows. Both were at the Cowpens, where Colonel [Banastre] Tarleton succumbed to the sturdy blows of Col. [Daniel] Morgan. Major Joe possessed the fighting qualities which distinguished the family in all its branches. In the [Griffith] Rutherford campaign he killed an Indian in a hand-to-hand fight. He served from the beginning of the war to the close. He was not only a distinguished fighter, but an able statesman and civilian. He was a lawyer by profession. Several of his law books are now in my possession, in which he signed his own name. His autograph is "J. McDowell. P. G."
The signatures of the two Josephs are very different. The one signs his name "J. McDowell of Pleasant Garden," the other "Jos. McDowell of Quaker Meadows." They were known as Major Joseph McDowell of Pleasant Garden and Colonel Joseph of Quaker Meadows. Two of these law books of J. McDowell, in which is written his autograph, are "Hale's Pleas of the Crown," another "Vade Mecum." He was not only eminent as a soldier, but stood high as a statesman. He served in the North Carolina Legislature from 1785 to 1792. McDowell County was named in honor of him. He was a member of the North Carolina Convention of 1788, for the purpose of adopting or rejecting the Constitution of the United States in which he made a statesmanlike speech, opposing its adoption on the ground that it did not guarantee rights of the States, trial by jury and the great writ of "habeas corpus." He was regarded as possessing the brightest intellect of any of the name.
(Source: Originally read by Judge Matthew Locke McCorkle before the Mecklenburg Historical Society. Published in the Charlotte Democrat, Charlotte, N.C., 6 July 1894.)