SAR speaker Ralph Martin talks about King’s Mountain battle
Jul 20, 2014 | 1147 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) recently held its monthly meeting at the Elks Club.

President Dave Whaley presided at the meeting. The Rev. Sam Melton gave the invocation,. Tommy McLain led the pledge to the U.S. flag, Dan Wilson led the pledge to the Tennessee flag and Bill Brown led the SAR flag pledge.

Second Vice President Bill McClure introduced guest speaker Ralph Martin, who presented a living history program on his wife Rebecca’s sixth great-grandparents, Robert and Mary Young. Ralph and Rebecca are both retired from Oak Ridge plant. Both are members of the Anderson County Speakers Bureau (where they live), and are highly regarded for informative and captivation presentations.

Ralph participated in the chapter’s Lane Grave Dedication on May 17 at the old Lee Cemetery. He is also involved in the “Let Freedom Ring” program at Marble Springs.

Ralph was dressed in a “very exact” period dress of the Over-mountain Men during the Revolutionary War.

In his presentation he was in the role of Robert Young, his wife’s ancestor. His wife Rebecca was unable to attend, so Ralph gave the entire presentation alone.

He started by working through the various Revolutionary War battles in the South that led up to the Battle of Kings Mountain, such as the surrender of the Patriot troops at Charleston and the prisoners dying on the prison ships; the battle at Waxhaw where the Patriots under Col. Buford were defeated and the British officer, Tarleton disregarded the surrender flag and continued killing the Patriot soldiers thus creating the slogan, Tarleton’s Quarter; and Gen. Gates’ defeat at Camden against Cornwallis.

With these Southern defeats, British officer Patrick Ferguson was sent out to recruit and organize Tories. They started ramsacking, burning and killing the neighboring Patriots.

Ferguson sent a messenger over the mountain to the settlers in the Watauga settlement in what is now upper East Tennessee. The message in effect read that if their leader Col. Isaac Shelby and other leaders did not desist from their opposition to the British Arms, he would march his army over the mountain, hang their leaders, and lay waste the country with fire and sword.

As a result of Ferguson’s threat, Col. Isaac Shelby and John Sevier selected around 900 of their best men to march to Kings Mountain where Ferguson was known to be.

Every seventh man stayed behind to protect their homes and families from Cherokee warrior Dragging Canoe who was active in the area. After the gathering at Sycamore Shoals, and the sermon by the Rev. Samuel Doak, they left for the 2-1/2 week trip to Kings Mountain with 500 pounds of black powder and a small herd of cattle which they slaughtered and ate on the way.

When they got close, other militiamen from neighboring states, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia joined them.

On Oct 6, they arrived at the South Carolina camp at Cowpens, and at 3 p.m. on Oct 7 the Patriot militias under their respective colonels, encircled Kings Mountain and the battle commenced.

The Patriots charged two times but were repelled by bayonets, but on the third charge Ferguson was cornered. John Gilliland had a bead on Ferguson, but his rifle misfired and he told his father-in-law Thomas Young to take a shot at Ferguson.

So Young aimed his rifle, which he affectionately called “Sweet Lips” named for his wife Mary back home in Tennessee and shot Ferguson in the head. Other bullets then riddled Ferguson’s body.

With their leader dead, the Tories started waving the white flag of surrender, but it was hard to stop fighting for some time. The British troop numbers at Kings Mountain were around 1,100 total, with more then 150 killed, and 60 wounded being reported. One year and 12 days after this battle, the surrender was signed at Yorktown.

Ralph Martin next took questions from those present. One question came from 7-year-old junior member Jed Pritchett, son of Shawn Pritchett. He asked very earnestly why Ralph had several guns on him.

Ralph said that if he couldn’t get his rifle loaded in time then he would pull his pistol, then tomahawk, and finally his hunting knife. He went through all the actions for young Jed.

The guests introduced included Curtis Goff, Chuck and Kathy Hazelbaker, and Joe White’s two daughters, Whitney and Makenzie.

Prospective members included Ken Moffet and wife Linda, and Perry Skates.

Five new members were sworn in by chapter founder, Stan Evans. They were Dr. Jeffrey A. Carson, John A. Clines, Jr., C. Lynn Gobble, R. Dan Howell and Gerald S. Lillard. William L. Creech was supposed to be sworn-in, but couldn’t attend due to illness.

Several said a few words showing their appreciation of having the opportunity to join this prestigious society, and for those who helped them become a member. Supplemental applications were given to Ron Bullard and Joe White by First Vice President Bob George.

There was one member this month to participate in the “Pin the Patriot” program. This was Wendell Dixon.

He spoke on his Revolutionary War Patriot Samuel Henderson from Augusta Co, Va. He provided large quantities of beef to the Patriots, and was also appointed surveyor of numerous sections of highways used by the Patriots during the war. He died in 1782 before the end of the war at 57 years old. His son Andrew (also Dixon’s descendant) served in the war as an ensign in the 4th PA Regt in 1783. At the end of the war, Andrew moved to what is now Jefferson County and was a lieutenant in the territory’s militia. He was one of the commissioners to lay out the town of Dandridge.

President Whaley made several announcements, including on the East Tennessee Historical Society’s project to list all Civil War soldiers in the cemeteries in Bradley County.

Whaley reported that members Sam Allen and Randall Higgins had been working hard on this project and that 24 cemeteries have been completed.

He announced the chapter executive committee will meet in August to review the findings for the actions for the chapter as how best to support our veterans.

President Whaley also announced the chapter will be having another grave dedication, this time in Meigs County on Sept. 13 honoring the graves of two Revolutionary War soldiers. The names of the Patriots will be announced closer to the event.

Whaley also mentioned work on the the marble memorial marker continues. It will list all the names of Revolutionary War soldier known to be in Bradley County. The dedication should either be Nov. 8 or 15.

State president and chapter member Claude Hardison spoke on several issues, including Gov. Haslem’s breakfast meeting Tuesday morning at the Mountain View Restaurant in Cleveland with 10 chapter members attending; on a new State committee with Jerry Venable as chairman which will conduct ancestor search for veterans, especially wounded warriors; on the state convention in March to be held here in Cleveland, using the Hampton Inn Hotel and the Museum at Five Points; on various past and future grave marking; and his goals and objectives as state president for his year.

President Whaley to closed the meeting. Joe Brock then led the recessional and the Rev. Sam Melton delivered the benediction.