This is a copy transcribed from the typewritten pages from the Barbara N. Grigg Collection, R. C. Public Library.
Apparently, the original
title of the book was,
INCIDENTS AND SKETCHES OF
CHARACTERS, CHIEFLY IN
THE OLD NORTH
STATE", which has
come to be commonly
referred to as: "The
Old North State in
20, page 297, is the
reference for Colonel
'COLONEL ANDREW BALFOUR'
From THE OLD NORTH STATE IN 1776
By (Rev. Eli W.) Caruthers (1854)
moves south) (The
goes to North Carolina)
Among those who fell a sacrifice in the cause of freedom, and who, for their self-sacrifice and their patriotic services, deserve to be remembered, was Andrew Balfour. Though a foreigner by birth, he had made this his adopted country, and showed himself, from the first, a warm and decided advocate for the rights of man. He was a native of Edinburgh, in Scotland, and came over to America about four years before the Declaration of Independence. Like many others, he was an adventurer to the New World, but proved to be of kindred sprit with those who resolved to be free or die.
It is to be regretted that he lived so short a time in the country and that so little is known of his history. Nearly all we know of him is gleaned from a family correspondence which was carried on, for several years, between him and his friends, both in Scotland and in this country. From this correspondence it appears that his family was in good circumstances, and had a respectable standing in the city of Edinburgh. In a country where the distinctions of birth and the gradations of society are so scrupulously observed as they are in Scotland, a man who could be, as it appears incidentally from these letters, Andrew Balfour was, on terms of social equality with such families as the Erskines, the Huttons, the Montcriefs, and others of equal notoriety, must have belonged to the same class; and that he was in good circumstances, may also be inferred from another fact casually mentioned in the freedom and confidence of this familiar correspondence. When his son, John Balfour, who had been, for a few years in this country, engaged in business, returned to Edinburgh, merely on a visit to his friends, the old man, as he himself tells Andrew in a letter, gave him 200 pounds, or a thousand dollars, to enable himto carry on his business here more in accordance with his wishes; and to his daughter Margaret, who was coming over to this country with him, to bring her brother Andrew's motherless and only child, he gave 400 pounds, or two thousand dollars; but a man who could thus give, at one time, three thousand dollars to two of his children, for their accommodation and without inconvenience to himself, if not wealthy when compared with many others in the far-famed metropolis of Scotland, he must have been very independent in his circumstances, or engaged, at the time, in a very lucrative business; for he seems to have been a very prudent man, and would not have heedlessly embarrassed himself to accommodate his children, who were doing a respectable business for themselves in a foreign land.
When Andrew arrived to maturity, he engaged, for a time, in mercantile business with Robert Scott Montcrief, and then set up on his own footing. About this time he married Miss Janet McCormick, a lady who had been well educated and accustomed to move in the first circle of society. He thus became connected by affinity, as he had probably been before by blood, with some of the most influential families in the city; but the fair prospects with which he commenced life were not to be of long continuance, whether it was owing to the want of a sufficient acquaintance with the details of business, or to those losses which mercantile men so often sustain or to the misconduct of others who were in his employ, does not appear; but he soon found it necessary to close his business and make some other arrangement. In this juncture of his affairs, so trying to one of his temperament and connexions in society, he was impelled, by his great sensitiveness and by his high-toned feelings of honor, to take a step which he soon regretted and which was quite unfortunate both for him and for his friends. Without trying to do the best he could, or even waiting to know the worst, he set sail for America, leaving his young wife with an infant child to the care of his and her friends, and his property, including his notes and papers of every description, to his creditors. He did not even let his wife or anybody else know he was going away; but left a letter for her and another for his friend Robert S. Montcrief, informing him of the fact that he had just sailed for the American shore; that he had done so because he could not bear the shame of bankruptcy and poverty at home; and that his keys, books and papers of every description would be found in such a place. This was exceedingly unfortunate; for , as they informed him afterwards, if he had remained and settled up his business himself, they would not have lost one shilling in the pound, or one twentieth if the whole, which said, they would have borne without a murmur; but having gone off without leaving his property in the care of any one, or duly authorizing any of his friends to act for him, so much of it was lost by the peculations of servants, the costs of legal processes and in various ways, that in the final settlement, they did not realize more than one third the amount.
By this step, however, he did not lose the confidence of his friends; and his creditors imputed it to his having too high a sense of honor, or too great a sensitiveness in regard to his character. The following extract from a letter addressed to him by Robert S. Montcrief, a merchant of Edinburgh, and the gentleman with whom he had first been engaged in business, and now one of his creditors, bears an explicit and honorable testimony to his character. It is dated, Edinburgh, July 2d, 1773; and after such matters and things as are usually most prominent in letters of friendship, he says, "I should be happy to hear that you are successful in business. You will derive some advantage from past experience, and learn from that not to be too sanguine in your expectations, nor too forward in depending on the honesty of others. There never was a time that called for more caution and circumspection than the present. I sincerely wish you may meet with many of as honest principles as yourself; for, notwithstanding all that has passed, I never could call in question your integrity. I had great confidence in it while we used to do business together. I have not changed my opinion of your heart, though I regret your too great sensibility and sense of honor, whereby I am persuaded, you were led to the step you took." In his answer to the above letter, dated Newport, R. I., Nov. 12th, 1773, Colonel Balfour, after expressing his gratification at receiving such a kind and consoling letter from one who had sustained a considerable loss by his failure, says, "It gave me the greatest sorrow to hear of the bad effects my leaving the country has had upon the interests of my friends. I had too little experience in business to know or forsee the bad consequences of such a step, and too little firmness of mind to support the disgrace of a failure, perhaps the reproaches of friends, and all the melancholy consequences of poverty and dependence. This weakness, which your humanity and friendship are pleased to soften with the pleasing appellations of too great sensibility and a high degree of honor, was the chief cause of my flight. Indeed , my dear friend, the greatest consolation, and comfort I have under all the revolutions of fortune, is in the reflection that I never had, have not, and, I hope in God, never shall have the smallest disposition to any thing that is in the least dishonest, or even dishonorable."
All his letters, written about this time, to his wife, his father, and others, with whom he had been in habits of intimacy, are in the same strain; and it appears to have been his earnest desire, if he could be successful in business, to make up all the losses which his creditors and friends had sustained by his failure.
This was his sole object in coming to America, and he appears to have made every possible exertion for the accomplishment of his purpose. His father, who was also a merchant in Edinburgh, and who appears, from all his letters to his son, to have been a man of piety and sound discretion, thus commences a letter to him, dated, Edinburgh, Feb. 20th, 1773, "Dear Andrew:-- I received your very agreeable letter, which gave me a great deal of comfort, as I see much of God's good providence in it, for which we ought to be thankful. As it is plain it was not by your own conduct or imprudence it happened, so I hope you will ascribe the praise to him." A high-minded young Scotchman, raised in affluence, and honorably related, both by blood and affinity, could not brook the idea of a failure in business, and the untold evils to which it would subject him-the scorn of enemies, the mortification of friends, and the taunts and sneers of rivals. To escape from it, all at once, in the agonized state of his feelings, and without ever thinking of the consequences to himself, or anybody else, he abruptly left the country, and sailed "for the land of promise."
He sailed from Grenock, in Scotland, May 20th, 1772, in a ship called the Snow George, and arrived at Boston on the 18th of July, intending to go by water, via Philadelphia, to Charleston, in South Carolina, where his brother, John Balfour, was already engaged in business; but while waiting for a vessel to sail, he accidentally became acquainted with a man by the name of John Thompson, a merchant in the city of New York, who had gone to Boston in his gig, with a single horse, and having transacted his business, was now ready to return. Being desirous of company, and having met with a countryman, an adventurer like himself, with whom he professed to be well pleased, he readily offered him a seat in his gig, and the offer was as readily accepted. Thompson was from the south of Scotland, and had been only a few years in America. Being a man of liberal education, Balfour says, he was very companionable and prepossessing in his manners, a member of the Presbyterian church, strictly moral in his deportment, and very popular in New York. As they were from the same country, they contracted a great intimacy and friendship as traveling companions; and, on their arrival in New York, he invited Balfour to stay with him at his boarding house until his trunks should arrive which being too heavy to bring with them, he had left in Boston to be sent round by water.
During this time, which was thirteen days, they became such boon companions, that Thompson proposed to take him in as a partner, and to give him a full third of the profits, provided he would put in what little money he had, and give his whole attention to the business. The partnership was soon formed, and they commenced business with flattering prospects. Thompson was, at this time, a young man, or a single man; but soon after married a Miss Robbins, the daughter of a clergyman in Connecticut. He stood high in the public confidence, and was doing an extensive business, having three country stores and a ship or two, at sea. By submitting his bonds, book accounts, , etc., to Balfour's inspection, he made him believe that he had a clear capital of five thousand pounds sterling; and that there were no claims against him which were due, or which he could not promptly meet. Balfour, with his characteristic frankness and honesty of intention, told him at once that he had been unfortunate in business, and that he had no capital, except two hundred pounds, or about a thousand dollars, which he had brought with him to be prepared for any emergency that might arise, or, for any casualty that might befall him in a strange land. From such a beginning he had high expectations of success, and there was apparently no ground for apprehension.
For a time
their mutual friendship and confidence were unimpaired; and they seemed to be doing a safe and profitable business. In the midst of it, however, he received the sad intelligence that his wife, whom he had left behind, with an infant at the breast, and who had gone to live with her brother, Robert McCormick, at Preston Pans, had died of inflammatory fever, June 17th, 1773; and, while the object of his fondest affection, for whose welfare he had been most solicitous, was now taken away, he felt all the bitterness of separation. In about a year after, he married Miss Elizabeth Dayton, of Newport, in Rhode Island, a most estimable young lady, and of a very respectable family. By her he had two children, a daughter whom he named Margaret, for his mother and sister; and a son whom he called Andrew, for himself and his father. As Thompson had the most experience in this line of business, and was regarded by Balfour as owning the principal part of the stock, he either assumed the management, or it was conceded to him, as a matter of courtesy, and with full confidence in his integrity; but within eighteen months after the partnership was formed, he exploded and became insolvent to a considerable amount.
Although Colonel Balfour, had discernment enough to see that a storm was coming, before it burst upon them, and in time to secure the greater part of what was due to him, yet, he sustained a considerable loss. What little money he advanced was, at his own request, so fixed that Thompson could, in no event, be liable for his debts; and, at Thompson's suggestion, was so secured that his creditors could not take it from him, during the two or three years, for which the co-partnership was formed. Of course, he was not in strict justice bound for Thompson's debts, and would not in law, be held liable to his creditors. The firm was in fact, a mere nominal one; and the creditors, though much chagrined at their loss, acquitted Balfour of any fraudulent or dishonest conduct. In a letter written to his father on this subject, and dated Newport, R. I, January 3d, 1775, he says, "I have got it from under the hand of my creditors, that I have behaved in an honest and honorable manner towards them. It gives me particular satisfaction that, disposed as they were to use me with rigor and severity, I have not afforded them the least opportunity to refuse me an honorable testimony to my character."
We feel tempted here, to give an extract from a letter of his pious old father, written when he first heard of these disasters; and we give it as illustrative of the old man's Christian character, and consequently, of the religious instruction and training, which we suppose he had given to his children. It is dated -
Edinburgh, Oct., 20th, 1774
"My dear Andrew - - I received your very melancholy letter of the 23d of May, and we all sincerely condole and sympathise with you, and hope you will bear your afflictions patiently, as from the hand of a good and merciful God, who afflicts us only for our good; and believe in our Lord and Saviour, and pray for the forgiveness of your sins in, and through his merits and sufferings for us. Then I hope God will make the remaining part of your life, as prosperous as the by-past part of it has been troublesome, (full of trouble,) but though our whole life were troublesome, we ought not to repine, as we are promised eternal happiness, when we perform our duties sincerely, and repent of our sins. Read the first and last chapters of Job; and I hope you will observe the many comforts you have, of which he was deprived. You have good health, friends who sincerely condole with, and pity you, and a wife who sympathises with you- - so you have no reason to despair of God's goodness. Read also the 15th chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, which gives a description of the Deity, and the history of our Saviour; and especially the 13th chapter of John's Gospel to the end of the book."
It is probable that he had received a liberal education , or, at least, that he had a good knowledge of the Latin and Greek classics, and with the common branches of science; for a man could hardly be raised in such a city as Edinburgh, and in the circle of society to which he belonged, without some such education; for otherwise he could not maintain his standing, or feel himself on a par with his associates. It is known that Balfour was a good French scholar; and it is therefore presumable that he was not deficient in other things. The Hon. Augustine H. Shephard, our late representative in Congress, has informed me, that, when Colonel Balfour was in the legislature, in the spring of 1780, a communication was received by that body, which was written in French, and that he was the only man there who could give it a translation. He read it off readily and with great correctness. Mr. Shephard had this fact from his father, Jacob Shephard, who was also a prominent Whig, and held different offices of public trust, during the war. Jacob Shephard and Colonel Balfour lived within two or three miles of each other, and were very intimate. He said Balfour had a very valuable library, for that day, and for a man who was not engaged in any of the learned professions. He always spoke of Balfour in terms of the highest respect, as a man who showed a high sense of honor in every thing, very intelligent, very patriotic, and had the entire respect and confidence of the community, so far as he was known. If a man's family and most intimate friends can appreciate his character better than any other, and if their regard for him, while living, and their veneration for his memory, when dead, are the best evidences of his worth, then Colonel Balfour ought not to be forgotten; for, as will be shown hereafter, there were few men, of that day, whose nearest friends and most intimate acquaintances were more warmly attached to them, while they lived, or manifested a deeper sorrow for their death.
Whether he ever made a profession of religion, or was in communion with the church, is not known; but the early religious instruction which he had received, and the influence of the Christian example which had been set him by his pious parents, had at least, the effect of making him moral, conscientious and upright in all his transactions and intercourse with society. There is now before me a large bundle of letters, a family correspondence kept up for a number of years, and consisting partly of letters written by him to men with whom he had been engaged in business, as well as to his most intimate and confidential friends; partly of letters from men who had considerable loss by his failures; and partly of letters from friends who lived at a great distance from each other, and who spoke of him in all the frankness usual in such correspondence; but I have not seen the least suspicion expressed in regard to his integrity or honesty of purpose. From all I can learn, here and elsewhere, he was a man of sound principles and of enlightened views, of patriotic feelings, of an enterprising character, of a fearless sprit and of strict fidelity to whatever trust was reposed in him, whether by his fellow-citizens or by his friends in the ordinary transactions of life.
As soon as the difficulties arising out of his connection with Thompson were adjusted, he commenced business for himself, in a village called Enfield, on the Connecticut river, about the latter end of 1774, and continued there between two and three years. What he saved from the failure of Thompson and what he got with his wife, would have enabled him, in quiet and prosperous times, to do a respectable business, or one which would have enabled him to support his family in decency and comfort; but, at that time, the north was the theatre of war, and every thing was in confusion. The implements of husbandry, if not actually beaten into swords and instruments of death, were nearly laid aside as useless for want of time and opportunity to use them; foreign trade, if not entirely cut off by the effects of the enemy, was reduced to almost nothing; and men, who had families to be provided for, were often compelled to change their business and resort to any honest occupation that would afford them a bare subsistence, or leave those who were most dear to them and who had the strongest claims on their exertions, to take care of themselves.
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(Elizabeth goes to North
About the beginning of 1777, he went to Charleston, in South Carolina, where his brother John had been for some years engaged in a profitable business; and there were several things which now induced him to visit the south. The north being the seat of war, business of every kind was at a stand; manufactures had not yet commenced; foreign commerce was cut off; and merchandising, the occupation in which he had hitherto been engaged, was out of the
question; but the south, being comparatively tranquil, presented a better prospect of providing for a family. In addition to these considerations, his maiden sister, Margaret, and his little daughter, Tibby, the only child he had by the wife of his youth, were there, and had been for a year or more. It was natural that he should wish to see them both, but especially his daughter; and leaving his wife and her two children in the care of her friends until he could make some comfortable or safe arrangement for them in the south, he travelled the whole or most of the way to Charleston by land. His brother, John Balfour, was a royalist; but it does not appear that he had taken any active or prominent part in the contest. As I infer from some incidental remarks of allusions, in the letters now before me, Andrew was, from the first, a Whig in principle and feeling; but, like many others who wavered, or rather remained inactive for a time, not from any hesitancy in regard to the principle, but from the condition of their families, which seemed to have, for the time being, an imperious claim on their attention, he became more decided and active as the struggle advanced.
Whether he took part in the civil or military operations of the north, is not known, but his main object in coming south was evidently to make better provision for his family; and there seemed to be a necessity for doing something. Not only were the difficulties then great, but they were every day increasing; and to show the distressed condition of the country soon after he left, it may not be amiss, in passing, to notice the great scarcity and high prices of provisions, during the next year. In a letter written to him by his wife, and dated South Kingston, R. I., Oct. 23d, 1778, she tells him that corn was then selling at five and six dollars per bushel; in another, dated Feb. 13th, 1779, she says it was then selling at ten dollars, and in another dated the 1st of June, following, it was selling at twenty to thirty dollars per bushel, which was equivalent to saying that it was not to be had at all; and although she had procured enough for her family in good time, many poor families had to subsist almost entirely without bread. Whether this extreme scarcity was owing to the drought or the ravages of war, is not stated-probably to both; but from the enormous prices of bread stuffs, and the extreme severity of the winter, which she says was greater than usual, the sufferings of all classes, except the most provident and forehanded, must have been immense.
The South being free from war and comparatively tranquil, the two brothers, though belonging to opposite parties in the great conquest which was going on for freedom and Independence, might have prosecuted their business in harmony together, as was often done by brothers similarly situated and with good success; but no such partnership was formed by them and perhaps was not designed. The object of Colonel Balfour in going to Charleston was part to pay his brother a visit, having never seen him since they came to America; but mainly to see his daughter and take her under his own care, for we find him soon after at Georgetown, or in the vicinity of it, engaged in making salt. As none of his letters to his wife and other friends, during this period, have been preserved, or if they have it is not known by whom, we gather these facts from the incidental allusions which she makes in her answers to what he had written. Thus in a letter, dated March 31st, 1778, she says, "I rejoice at your success in making salt, though I am not very sanguine in my expectations; for I have resolved not to be disappointed with respect to riches." Under what circumstances he engaged in this business and with what results, I have not learned, but probably he and some other public spirited and enterprising gentlemen, of that region, had been induced to undertake it by the pressing wants of the country and by the encouragement which the legislative authorities had repeatedly given. However this may have been, either they did not succeed as they expected, or else a supply was obtained from some other source; for we find him, in a little time, at Chevau, to which place his brother John also removed either in company with him or soon after, and remained there until his death. How long the Colonel remained at Chevau we know not; for there are long intervals between the letters of his wife, at least so far as they have been preserved. Many letters were written by him and as many by her which were never received. At this period, the transmission of letters or papers of any description especially to such a distance, was a very uncertain business, sometimes the mail was captured by the enemy, and often from carelessness or other cause, letters were lost by the way, so that it was frequently months and even a year or two, before a communication sent either way, though not lost by violence or carelessness, arrived at the place of its destination.
Of this she complained bitterly, and adopted the expedient of sending to some man who was high in office, or so distinguished in other ways, that his name would command respect:--sometimes they were sent to the care of Mr. Marshall in Wachovia, or to the Moravian settlement; sometimes to the care of Governor Nash from Dr, Stiles, President of Yale college. The first notice we have of Colonel Balfour, in North Carolina, is in a letter to his wife, dated Salisbury, N. C., July, 1778, in which he tells her that he was sometimes there, and sometimes at his plantation; but he intended to remove, in a short time, to the plantation. He did remove to it, and with the intention of making such improvements, as would render it a comfortable home for his family. It ultimately became their residence; but the sovereign Disposer of all things did not permit him to enjoy it with them. At this time, he had a considerable quantity of land in this state, some in the neighborhood of Cheraw, and a number of servants. Had he lived, they would all have been independent in their circumstances, and happy in the enjoyment of their social comforts and relations.
The plantation to which, we suppose, he refers, in the above letter, was one which he had recently bought on the south side of Randolph county, at the head waters of Little river or Uwhar, and probably adjoining or near to a tract of land, belonging to his father. The old man had either taken this land to secure a debt, or, what is more likely, had purchased it some years before, from the heirs of Lord Granville, as men in the older states, have been ever since the Independence of the country was obtained, in the habit of buying lands in the far west on speculation, oras a settlement for their children at a future day. It seems that he had either put the title deeds of this land into the hands of Andrew before he left Scotland, or had them sent to him after he came to America; for in a letter written to him, and dated Edinburgh, Feb. 20th, 1773, he mentions these papers and tells him what to do with them. He directs him to send them back by his brother John, who was expected shortly to pay a visit to his friends in Scotland, and he would then fix the land for him, so that in case of any misfortune, his creditors could not take it from him, by which we suppose, he would secure it to his children.
It appears that the original Deed called for ten hundred and fifty acres; but when it came to be resurveyed, according to the corners and limits designated, it was found to contain nineteen hundred acres. Thus, Mrs. Balfour, in a letter to her husband, dated May 4th, 1779, says, "I need not tell you that I am glad you are so far successful as to be able to purchase so much land. * * * * What an agreeable disappointment to find 1900 instead of 1050 acres in the old plantation!" By "the old plantation," we presume she meant the plantation or tract which had belonged to the old man, and had now been made over to her husband, or to his children; but be that as it may, his descendants have been livingon it ever since, and it is still owned and occupied by the third generation. There is something quite remarkable in the whole history of this affair, as will appear in the sequel; but any further details here would only be anticipating what will be more appropriate in another place, and cause an irksome or useless repetition.
In this year, 1779, he wrote to his wife that he would be ready, in a short time, to go for her, and bring her to her new home in this country. When replying to this, in a letter already referred to, she says, "It is impossible for me to express the joy I feel at hearing that you are well , and that you have fixed upon a time when you will visit your family. I earnestly pray that nothing may happen to disappoint us. After an absense of more than two years and a half, to meet will be a pleasure beyond the power of words to express. * * * * I have always understood that to be a sickly country, and have been anxious on account of your health ever since you went there. I have been reading the history of the European settlements in America, and the author recommended it, not only as one of the most pleasant, but one of the most healthy places in the world; from which I am led to think that the inhabitants being sickly is owing to their high living; but, be this as it may, I shall never have an objection to living there, or any where else that may be most agreeable to your circumstances." The anticipations which were now so flattering and so fondly indulged, some of which were quite as sad as they were imperative.
During this year, Randolph county was formed, and he was chosen as one of the first representatives. This is noticed in a letter from his wife, and his name stands on the records of the State as a member of the Assembly for 1780. Another reason was, that before the adjournment of the Assembly, or very soon after, the British army had taken Charleston, and were advancing through South Carolina toward this State; and it was not deemed expedient to remove his family here, when every thing seemed to indicate an approaching time of great and protracted distress, while the Eastern States were not comparatively tranquil. When the country of his adoption was thus invaded, or threatened with invasion, he felt it his duty to share all their dangers with his fellow citizens, and sacrifice his life, if need be, in the common cause. He was appointed colonel: and, with a heroic and magnanimous sprit, engaged in the military operations of the day; but to what extent is not known. In view of such perils and sufferings throughout the entire south, as he would be much from home, and his life would be all the time exposed to the most imminent dangers, he deemed it best to let his wife and children remain, for the present, with their friends in Rhode Island, and leave to Providence the ordering of their lot for the future.
That he determined to risk his life in the military defense of the country, as we are informed by a letter from Mrs. Balfour, dated June1st, 1779, and written in answer to one from him. After noticing some other things in his letter, she says, "I have been anxious about the enemy's being in Georgia ever since I heard they were there; but your resolution of exposing yourself raises a thousand melancholy thoughts. I can only say, I am unhappy and shall be so until I see you." From this I would infer that he went, or at least he intended going with the unfortunate expedition to Georgia, and under the command of General Ashe: but of this we have no certain information. How he was employed, or what he accomplished, during this period, we have no means of knowing; for he had become very obnoxious to the Tories. In the fall of 1780, he and Jacob Shephard, father of the Hon. Augustine H. Shephard, who was also a prominent Whig, were captured by a party of Tories, from the Pedee, under the command of Colonel Coulson, who were carrying them as prisoners to the British at Cheraw, but were attacked by Captain Childs, from Montgomery, who completely dispersed them, and set their prisoners at liberty to return
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moves to North Carolina)
On their return, Shephard left the neighborhood and went into one of more security, but Balfour remained and met an untimely fate. In the narrative of Judge Murphy, furnished for the University Magazine, by Governor Swain, we have the following account of this most barbarous and disgraceful affair. "In one of his predatory and murderous excursions, he (Fanning) went to the house of Andrew Balfour, which he had plundered three years before. Stephen Cole, one of Balfour's neighbors, hearing of his approach and apprised of his intentions, rode at full speed to Balfour's house and gave him notice of the danger that threatened him. Balfour had scarcely stepped out of his house before he saw Fanning galloping up. He ran, but one of Fanning's party, named Absalom Autry, fired at him with his rifle and broke his arm. He returned to the house and entered it, and his daughter and sister clung to him in despair. Fanning and his men immediately entered and tore away the women, threw them on the floor and held them under their feet until they shot Balfour. He fell on the floor, and Fanning taking a pistol, shot him through the head." These are the most important facts in the case; but we have the details more fully and minutely given in letters written soon after by his sister and others, who, being present at the time, and treated with most barbarous cruelty, felt what they wrote.
As Col. Balfour was the most prominent and influential man in that region, Fanning, in this murderous excursion up the river, made him the first victim, and accompanied the act with almost every degree of barbarity that was possible. It was on Sabbath morning, March 10th, 1782; when it might be expected that the sacredness of the day would have had at least, some mitigating influence on the ferocity of these banditti; but we will let Miss Margaret Balfour give the account of this transaction in her own language. It was some months, however, before her feelings were sufficiently composed and tranquil to write an account of a scene so distressing, and in the meantime, Mrs. Balfour, who, from all her letters, appears to have been most affectionate and devoted wife, had received intelligence of the fact by another hand. Mr. Marshall, of Salem, N. C., had communicated a notice of Colonel Balfour's death to his friend, the Rev. Mr. Russmeyer, in Newport, where she lived, and he had made it known to her. Owing to the difficulty of transmitting letters, this was a little over two months after the event; and she immediately wrote to Miss Margaret for a particular account of the whole affair. Her letter, from which the reader will, no doubt, be pleased to see a short extract, is dated
Newport, R. I. , May 22d, 1782.
"My Dear Peggy:
With the utmost grief and sorrow of heart, I sit down to write to you, having eight days ago, heard the unhappy news of my dear husband's death. I had the day before, received two very affectionate letters from him, which raised my hope to a height to which I had long been a stranger. I had flattered myself that, with my dear little ones, I should, in a short time, be happy under the protection and guidance of the best of husbands and fathers. My fond imagination had painted an addition of happiness in the society of an affectionate sister who , though personally unknown to me, I had ever thought upon with love and esteem, and of my dear Tibby, to whom I had considered myself as under particular obligations of friendship; but I was soon roused from these pleasing thoughts by the most distressing account of his being killed by a company of villains in his own house. My dear Peggy, it is not in the power of language to express what I feel on the present occasion, and I shall not attempt it. It is some consolation that there is a way open through which I may hope to hear from you, and I embrace this, the first opportunity of entreating you not to delay writing, and let me know every thing which you think can afford consolation. I wish to know the particulars of your brother's death; and, O, I wish to know more than it is possible for me to express in my present distress."
In reply to this sorrowful request, Miss Margaret wrote a letter, of which we will give the greater part, because it contains a fuller and more authentic account of Colonel Balfour's murder, and of the treatment which she and little Tibby received from these savages, than can be got elsewhere; because it gives an affecting view of the disorder, recklessness and Heart-rending distress which then prevailed in the country, for this was one of the almost numberless cases of a similar kind, and differing from it only a little in degree, and because the writer was not only an eye-wittness, but a deep sufferer in the scenes which she describes. When we read such accounts, it seems difficult to say whether the men or the female portion of the community were the greatest sufferers; for the revengeful and infuriated sprit, which reigns in a state of civil war, has very little respect for age or sex; but it might not be amiss for the present and all coming generations, while living at their ease and enjoying all the luxuries which wealth and ingenuity can furnish, to remember the toils and privations, perils and sufferings, which were the price of our liberties and all our blessings. It is neither duty nor policy to forget the lessons of the past; but we return to the letter; it is dated
Swearing Creek, Sept. 24th, 1782
My Dear Eliza,
I have just now received your very kind but sorrowful letter, dated May 22d; and it gives me a great deal of both pleasure and pain. I am extremely happy to hear from you; but as sorry, that it is on such a melancholy subject. You desire me to give you a particular account of your husband's death. My Dear Eliza, imposes on me a hard task; for the very thought of it throws me into such nervous fits, that it is with the greatest difficulty, I can hold the pen. Besides, I have not yet quit the bed of a long and dangerous fever, occasioned, I believe, by grief and vexation. However, to show that I really love you; I will comply with your request, but in as few words as possible. On the 10th of March, about twenty-five armed ruffians came to the house with the intention to kill my brother. - - Tibby and I endeavored to prevent them; but it was all in vain. The wretches cut and bruised us both a great deal, and dragged us from the dear man before our eyes. The worthless, base, horrible Fanning shot a bullet into his head, which soon put a period to the life of the best of men, and the most affectionate and dutiful husband, father, son and brother. The sight was so shocking, that it is impossible for tongue to express any thing like our feelings; but the barbarians, not in the least touched by our anguish, drove us out of the house, and took every thing that they could carry off except the negroes who happened to be all from home at the time. It being Sunday, never were creatures in more distress. We were left in a strange country, naked, without money, and what was a thousand times worse, we had lost forever a near and dear relation. What added to our affliction, was the thought of his poor, helpless family left destitute, and it was not in our power to assist them. I wish his two families were united together, We would be a mutual help and comfort to each other; but whether it would be best that you should come to us, or that we should go to you, is out of my power to determine 'till I hear from you. Until then, I shall hire out my negroes, and go to Salisbury, where we intend to try the milliner's business. If there is good encouragement for that business with you, please let me know it, as soon as possible. If there is not, I beg you will come to us; and while I have a sixpence, I will share it with you. We are at present about tem miles from Salisbury, at Mr James McCay's, where we have made a crop of corn. We remained only a few days on our own plantation, after the dreadful disaster, having been informed that Fanning was coming to burn the house and take the negroes. I will write you soon again, and let you know how we succeed in business, and I pray you will write immediately. Let me know how you are and whether you will come out or not. If you will not come to us, I will endeavor to sell out and go to you; for I cannot be happy, "till I see my dear Andrew's beloved wife and little innocent children, of whom I have often heard him speak with a great deal of pleasure. I had a letter from my brother John's widow, who is at Charleston. It informs me of my father's death; and that his will remains in the same way it was when I left home. As it will be of some advantage to us: I propose going home as soon as circumstances will permit. Tibby joins me in love and compliments to you, and the dear little remains of our best friend. She will write to you by the first opportunity.
I am, my dear Eliza, with great sincerity, your affectionate and loving, but distressed sister,
The following letter from Major Tatom to Governor Burke, is both interesting and reliable; it is appropriate in conexion with the above. It is copied from the communication of Governor Swain to the University Magazine, for March, 1853; and it confirms, not only the main facts respecting the murder of Colonel Balfour, but what we have said about the general state of things in that part of the country, during the period in which the South was the theatre of war. Major Tatom, it appears, was a member of the House of Commons, from Hillsboro', about the year 1802; and, having died there, while a member, he was buried in the cemetery of the late Comptroller Goodwin, in the Raleigh grave yard. The letter is dated,
Hillsboro', March 20th, 1782.
Sir: - - On Sunday the 11th inst., Col. Balfour, of Randolph, was murdered in the most inhuman manner, by Fanning and his party, also a Captain Bryant and a Mr. King were murdered in the night of the same day, by them.
Colonel Collier's and two other houses were burned by the same party.
Colonel Balfour's sister and daughter, and several other women, were wounded and abused in a barbarous manner.
There, sir, are facts. I was at that time in Randolph- -saw the Tories and some of their cruelties. Without a speedy relief, the good people of that county must leave their habitations, and seek refuge in some other place.
I am, sir, your o'bt serv't,
It is not strange that his friends, especially his widow and sister, should wish to have such a monster as Fanning, and all his accomplices, brought to punishment; and we have an extract from another letter of Miss Margaret, to her sister-in-law, as illustrative of the feelings that existed, and of the course of conduct pursued at that period of civil conflict.
In a letter to Mrs. Balfour, dated June 6th, 1783, a little more than a year after the death of her brother, she says: "Some time last February, having been informed that my horse was at one Major Gholson's, I got Mr. John McCoy with me, and we went to the Major's, where we found the horse, but in such poor condition, that it was with great difficulty that we got him home. However, he is now so much recruited, that he is fit for a little service. When I was after the horse, I heard that one of Fanning's men was in Hillsboro' jail; and, as the court commenced on the 1st of April, I went to Hillsboro', and witnessed against him. The crime was proved so plainly, that not one lawyer spoke a word in his favor, though he had three of them employed. My story was so affecting, that the court was willing to give me every satisfaction in their power; and in order to do this, they broke a little through the usual course, for they had the villain fried, condemned and hung, all in the space of the court. While the judge was giving the jury their charge, I heard several gentlemen of my brother's acquaintance wishing to God the jury would not bring him in guilty, that they might have the pleasure of putting the rascal to death with their own hands; and if the jury had not brought him in guilty, I am sure they would have killed the wretch before he had got out of the house. If it is an inexpressible happiness for one to know, that his dear friends are much beloved, we have that happiness; for I believe, that there has not a man fallen since the beginning of the troubles, who was more sincerely and generally lamented, than our dear Andrew.
My brother gave the rights of the land that is in the neighborhood of Georgetown to Mr. Randolph Hays, a gentleman who lives in that town, to dispose of it; but he could not do so at that time. According to the last accounts, my brother had of him, he was a prisoner in Charlestown; but since my brother's death, I have seen General Harrington, who tells me that Mr. Hays is now in Georgetown.
My dear Eliza, I am infinitely obliged to you, and I sincerely thank you for your kind and friendly advice. I shall use every method in my power to drive the horrid scene from my thoughts, as my life may be of some service, both to my dear Andrew's family, and to the avenging of his innocent blood. I have not had the pleasure of the letter you wrote in October. The distance between Salisbury and the plantation, is 42 miles, and 30 between Salisbury and Salem.
I am , my dear Eliza, your sincere friend, and affectionate sister.
Miss Balfour, in the letter just quoted, does not give the name of the man against whom she witnessed; but we have it in the following extract from the records of the court at which she attended as a witness. We give the indictment as drawn up by Alfred Moore, the Attorney General; and then the simple statement that a "true bill" was found. At the same court, some half a dozen others were tried and condemned, but to notice them here would be foreign to my purpose.
State of North Carolina ) Superior Court of La
Hillsboro' District. ) And Equity, April
The jurors for the State, upon their oath, present that David Fanning, late of the county of Chatham, yeoman, and Frederick Smith, late of the county of Cumberland, yeoman, not having the fear of God in their hearts, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, on the ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, and in the sixth year of American Independence, with force and arms, in the county of Randolph, in the District of Hillsboro', in and upon one Andrew Balfour, in the peace of God, and the said then and there being, feloniously, wilfully and of their malice aforethought, did make an assault, and that the said David Fanning, a certain pistol of the value of Five shillings sterling, then and there charged with gunpowder and one leaden bullet, which pistol, he, the said David, in his right hand than and there had and held, to, against, and upon the said Andrew Balfour, than and there feloniously, wilfully , and of his malice aforethought, did shoot and discharge, and that the said David Fanning, with the leaden bullet aforesaid, out of the pistol aforesaid, then and there, by force of the gunpowder, shot and sent forth as aforesaid, the aforesaid Andrew Balfour, in and upon the head of the said Andrew, then and there with the leaden bullet aforesaid,, out of the pistol aforesaid, by the said David Fanning so as to aforesaid shot, discharged, and sent forth, feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, did strike, penetrate, and wound, giving to the said Andrew Balfour, then and there, with the leaden bullet aforesaid, so as aforesaid shot, discharged and sent forth out of the pistol aforesaid, by the said David, in and upon the head of him the said Andrew, one mortal wound of the depth of four inches and of the breadth of half an inch, of which said mortal wound, the aforesaid Andrew Balfour then and there instantly died; and that the aforesaid Frederick Smith, then and there, feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, was present, aiding, helping, abetting, comforting, assisting and maintaining the said David Fanning, the felonly and murder aforesaid, in manner and form aforesaid, to do and commit, and so the jurors upon their oath aforesaid, do say, that the said David Fanning and Frederick Smith, the said Andrew Balfour, then and there in manner and form aforesaid, feloniously, wilfully, and of their malice aforethought, did kill and murder against the peace and dignity of the said State.
ALFRED MOORE, Att'y Gen'l.
vs. ) Indictment Murder.
Fred'k Smith. )
Hillsboro' Sup'r Court, April Term, 1783.
Margaret Balfour, )
Stephen Cole. ) Witnesses.
Sworn and sent.
P. HENDERSON, Clerk
A true bill.
JOHN HOGAN, Foreman.
As the letters of Miss Balfour, though written with great simplicity, and in the freedom and confidence of private correspondence, describe the deplorable state of things at that period more feelingly and more vividly than the present writer could possibly do, the reader will no doubt be gratified to peruse another from the same hand. Mrs. Balfour had written her two letters, the first of which had not been received, and in the second which had come safe to hand, she had requested her sister-in-law to relate fully the circumstances of her husband's death. It appears that in writing this letter, instead of beginning with "My dear sister," as usual, she inadvertently began with "My dear Madam," and this will explain an expression in the first of Miss Margaret's letter. The first part of it relates merely to private matters which are unimportant in themselves; but as they were the consequences of Col. Balfour's death, we give the letter entire.
Salisbury, N. C., August 17th, 1783.
MY DEAR, DEAR SISTER: - - Two days ago I received yours of Oct. 13th. By your changing the appellation at the top of your letter, I am afraid you imagine that I am indifferent about my dear brother's family; but I assure you it is one of my greatest afflictions that I can do so little for them. I wish from my heart you could come home. We might, by our industry, make a decent and independent living. I have had the negroes hired out this summer; but as they sell very high at present, I have some thoughts of selling them and going into trade, if you would come and assist us; for I cannot think that I will ever be happy on the plantation where I have seen so much distress and misery. Besides, I shall take every opportunity to bring to justice all who had any hand in my brother's death.
I do not think, therefore, that it would be safe for us to live among their friends, as it is very possible they would do us some private injury. That there was a time when my dear brother was happy in his family, I well know; and it was his constant and ardent wish, as well as ours, to have his two families united. A great deal of pleasure we promised ourselves from this union; but fortune was pleased to persecute him to the grave.
My dear Eliza, I beg you will not insist on all the particulars of your husband's death, as every circumstance strikes me like a clap of thunder. I held his dead head in my bosom till a moment before his death, when the ruffians dragged us from him; and then- -O, Eliza! I can write no more. I hope and pray that I may see you soon. Then, I will tell you all; for I do not think that it is so dreadful to repeat as to write, though the repetition of it in court shocked me so much that I was sick for three weeks. But whatever may be the consequences, I shall attend all courts, and every place where my presence is necessary, to bring the infernal villains to condign punishment. Dear sister, it grieves me to the heart that you should be dependent even on your father. It was very far from my brother's endeavor. Pray, come to us; and by the blessing of God and your assistance, we may make a comfortable living, and have it in our power to give the dear children a proper education. Tibby joins in kind compliments to you, to the children and to all friends.
Adieu! My dear Eliza. I remain your affectionate, loving, perplexed sister,
Although the writer of the above letters has avoided any detail of circumstances, and has no doubt omitted the most cruel and revolting parts of the tragedy, nothing more need be said. The rest may be safely left to the imagination of the reader. We can hardly conceive a more heart-rending scene than that which was exhibited in the house of Col. Balfour on the day of his murder; yet it was one of scores hardly less bloody and atrocious, and often the surviving sufferers had not the means of temporal support and comfort afterwards even, which Col. Balfour's family had. We feel indignant that acts of such savage barbarity should be committed in a civilized and Protestant country; and not only that, but committed so often by the same hands. We seem to be carried back to the days and the countries of Turkish or Popish ferocity, and we can hardly believe that men raised in such a country as ours, so blessed, even at that day, with civilization, intelligence and Christian influence, could deliberately murder a lone man, in his own house and in the presence of his own family; that they could rudely tear away two helpless females, a sister and a little daughter only ten years of age, from the embrace of a murdered and expiring father and brother, and that they could drive them from the house in the night and in the cold, blustering winds of March, without sufficient clothing, without a protector, and without the means of subsistence. Then where was the boasted humanity and generosity of the British nation, when British Colonel, holding his commission under the British government, and acting under the eye of his superiors in office, who must have been aware of his conduct, was permitted to commit such atrocities to the full extent of his power, and knowing that their connivance, if there was nothing more, encouraged him in this course of savage barbarity? A distinguished poet said of Lord Bacon, that he was "the wisest, greatest, meanest of mankind;" and the language might, at any time, be applied, with very little qualification, to the British government. In every war we have had with them, they employed blood-thirsty savages to murder at discretion, helpless females and children, stimulating them by the most tempting bribes to the full exertion of their powers; and they not only bribed Fanning by a commission, but, by their connivance, if not by their plaudits, encouraged him and his lawless bandits in their course of savage cruelty.
In the above accounts of Colonel Balfour's murder, Mr Tatom says that there were several females and that they were all treated with great rudeness. Miss Margaret makes no mention of any except herself and little Tibby; but we must recollect that he wrote from a report while she was present-an eye witness of the scene and deep sufferer. In Judge Murphy's narrative already quoted, it is stated that he attempted to escape; but that one of Fanning's men shot him with his rifle and broke his arm, when he returned to the house and submitted to his fate. A number of years ago I was told that he could have escaped, but that he heroically determined to stay by his sister and daughter, who had no other protector, rather than save his own life by flight and leave them to the barbarous treatment of his enemies. There is, however, a tradition in the family, which seems to be reliable and which is confirmed by the concurrent traditions of the neighborhood, that he had, only a short time before, returned home very sick, from some tour of military service and that , although he was convalescing and had so far recovered that he could be up a little and about in the house, he was unable either to fight or fly. The current tradition of the country a number of years ago, was that he was confined to bed at the time and was murdered in his bed; but I believe the other to be the most reliable. Miss Margaret makes no mention either of his sickness or of his having it in his power to escape, but as she relates, in the intensity of her grief, only the fact of his murder, without going into a minute detail of circumstances, her silence in relation to this matter cannot be regarded as disproving the family tradition; and both may be true. Having been suddenly attacked, and on the Sabbath, when not expecting such a thing, even if he had so far recovered that he could get out of the way, he may have resolved to stand by his sister and little daughter at all hazards; thinking perhaps that they were mot merciless savages as to murder a sick man, on the day of sacred rest and in the presence of those whose delicacy and dependence, and especially whose entreaties and distresses, even savages often respect. It was natural for him to suppose that men, who had been born and raised under the influence of civilization and Christianity, would so far regard the presence and the entreaties of a sister and a daughter, who had no other friend and no other protector within hundreds of miles, as to spare his life, though the might have taken him prisoner; but in this, to the shame and grief of humanity, he was mistaken.
There was not an instance during the war, and hardly one in the history of modern warfare, of more savage and shocking barbarity. We feel indignant at the fate of Colonel Hayue; but if there was as much injustice, there was certainly not as much cold-blooded cruelty in his case as in that of Colonel Balfour. They were both American officers and of the same rank. They were both put to death, too, by British officers but in the case of Colonel Hayue there was a semblance of a trial. A pretext was alleged, false and futile as it was; he had some time allowed to prepare for an exchange of worlds; his family had abundantly the means of support and they were in the midst of sympathising friends; he was not butchered in their presence, nor were they treated with scorn and barbarity; but it was not so with Colonel Balfour. He was put to death as soon as found, on the Sabbath day, and in his own house. The officer, on whom his life or death depended, became the executioner and shot him with his own hand. His sister and daughter, the only relatives he had in the country, who ought to have been allowed at least the meloncholy privilege of closing his eyes in death, and of performing the last sad offices of friendship, were rudely torn from his dying embrace, then beaten, trampled on, hacked with their swords and driven from the house, pennyless and friendless, strangers in a strange land, without comfortable clothing and without the means of subsistence, except as they could get it in charity from those who were little better off themselves; for the miscreants plundered the house of all the money, provisions and everything else they could carry away.
But a kind Providence was their protector, and they lived many years, not only to enjoy the blessings of a free country, and to be, in some measure, compensated for their sufferings, but to contribute their share to the prosperity and social enjoyment of the community in which they lived. The letters of Miss Margaret, already quoted, tell us what course they took and where they fixed their residence. Other letters give us their history for fifteen or twenty years, and that brings us within the reach of living testimony. The descendants of Colonel Balfour, many of whom are still living in the country, and who are among our most useful and estimable citizens, are a standing proof that man cannot curse whom God has blessed, and that man cannot destroy whom God designs to protect.
The reader will be pleased, we have no doubt, to see a letter from this little girl, Tibby, Colonel Balfour's only child by his first wife, and was so rudely treated by the murderers of her father, and turned out to perish amidst the desolation which they had made, a stranger among strangers, fatherless, motherless, and without a friend within several hundred miles, except a maiden aunt, who, it seems, had been treated with even greater barbarity, and who immediately had a severe attack of nervous fever, occasioned by the treatment which she received, and the horrid murder of the best and only friend she had in the country. We give the letter, not because it contains any additional information respecting her father's death, but because it is a good index to her character. There appears to be something womanly in it, when we consider that she was now only about eleven years of age, and that her opportunities for improvement had been very small. Before the war, she was too young to have made much progress in learning, and during the war, especially the latter part of it, and in North Carolina, amidst all the perils and desolations of civil war, going to school was out of the question. It was addressed to her step-mother, in Newport, R. I., who had, a short time before, written to her for the first time, and this is her answer. It is dated
Salisbury, N. C., June 6th, 1783.
"MY DEAR MOTHER:
It gives me a great deal of pleasure to learn that you intend coming to Carolina, as I hope I shall be able to show myself worthy of your regard, of which I have been convinced ever since I heard my dear father speaking of you.
"We have not had a letter from Mrs. Balfour, (widow of John Balfour, who had lately died at Cheraw) since about a week before the evacuation of Charleston. She was there then and mentioned her coming up to her plantation at the Cheraw, but as we have heard nothing of her since, we suppose she has gone home. Uncle died of a lingering disorder of three months, and left three children, Nancy, Peggy and Andrew. Their youngest daughter, Mannie, died some time before her father.
"As my aunt is writing now, I refer you to her letter for further particulars. Give my best love to my dear brother and sister; and believe me to be, my dear mother, most affectionately
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Our readers would, no doubt, be willing to know what became of Col. Balfour's widow and children, especially of that little Tibby; for every one must feel a deep interest in learning something about her subsequent history. She and her Aunt Margaret, went to reside in Salisbury, where with some industry and economy, the lived comfortably on the rent of the land and the hire of the negroes. Towards the close of the year following the date of Tibby's letter to her, Mrs. Balfour, with her two little children, came by water to Wilmington and thence to Salisbury, where Margaret and Tibby had already made many friends. As General Greene was leaving Rhode Island about the same time, for Charleston, he proffered to take her under his protection, provided she would go in the same vessel; but as that would be more expensive, and require her to be longer on the water, she preferred coming, in another vessel, directly to Wilmington. He gave her a letter of recommendation, which secured for her a most respectful attention from the Captain and all on board. In Fayetteville and all along the route, she appears to have received every mark of civility and cordial greeting that she could ask, at least from the Whig portion of the community. It was only a few miles out of her way, and she made a pilgrimage to the grave of her murdered husband; but the scene was too exciting, and she lingered only a short time around the tomb of her buried hopes and affections. Having arrived on the east bank of the Yadkin in the evening, when it was too late to cross, especially as the stream was swollen, the news got ot Salisbury before her; and next morning, George Lucas sent his carriage to the river for her, and brought her into town just in good time to eat a Christmas dinner with him, December 25th, 1784. She appears to have been most cordially welcomed by the good people of that place; and every thing was done that could be done to make her comfortable. In a few years, an arrangement was made for her to keep the Post Office, and the profits of that yielded her a comfortable support. This was obtained either by a petition of the citizens, or, more likely, through the influence of General Steele, who, at that time, had some office under Washington's administration. The office went in the name of her son Andrew; but he held it for her benefit. She transacted all the business and received all the profits. She kept it until 1825, or thereabouts, which was some twenty-five or thirty years; and from the first to last gave entire satisfaction to all concerned, making her quarterly returns very punctually and with great correctness. In proof of this, the following little incident will be sufficient. On making her quarterly or annual report, after she had been many years in the office, the Postmaster General wrote back to her that he had at length detected, in her account, a mistake of half a cent.
(see: the post office
About the year 1790, Tibby Balfour married John Troy, a native citizen of Salisbury, and had by him three children-John Balfour Troy, now of Randolph county, and two daughters, Margaret and Rachel. Margaret died at Flat Swamp Springs, in what is now Davidson county, in 1813. Rachel married Lewis Beard of Lexington, and is yet living in the State of Mississippi. Margaret Balfour, the sister of Colonel Balfour, who was so
cruelly beaten and trampled on by Fanning and his crew, remained in this country, and during the latter years of her life, resided on the old plantation in Randolph county, with Lewis Beard, who married Tibby's youngest daughter, Rachel Troy. There she died, in 1818, and was laid to rest in the same burying ground, beside, or near to her brother. After she lost her husband, Tibby went to live with her son, John B. Troy, Esq., who is well known in Randolph and in all the adjoining counties, as one of our most upright and useful citizens. There she enjoyed, during the remainder of her life, all the comforts and kind attentions which filial piety could bestow. Many years before her death, she made a profession of religion, and connected herself with the Methodist church. The writer saw her at the house of her son, not long before her death; and although she looked like a woman over whom the waves of affliction and sorrow had passed, she had in her countenance and demeanor, all the calm serenity of a meek and submissive Christian. She continued to adorn her profession, and to enjoy the confidence of all around her, until she was about sixty-five years of age, when she took a dimission from the church on earth, to join the church in heaven. She died on February 22d, 1837, as she had lived, in the peaceful hopes of the gospel, and
sincerely lamented by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
Colonel Balfour's son, Andrew, married Miss Mary Henly, daughter of John Henly, who was a member of the Quaker society; and by her he had nine children-five sons and four daughters, all of whom removed to the West, except Mrs. Eliza Drake, wife of Colonel Drake, now living in Ashboro'. He lived on the old plantation, on Betty McGee's creek, where he died in 1828, and was laid in the same burying ground with his murdered father. Respecting the character and standing of those who have gone to the West, nothing is known to the writer, nor is it known whether they are all yet living; but it may be presumed that the same kind Providence which has done so much for the rest, in this country, will also have them under the wing of his kind protection. The third, and only remaining child of Colonel Balfour, his daughter Margaret, and the only daughter he had by his second wife, married Hudson Hughes, of Salisbury; and had two daughters,--Mary, who married Samuel Reeves, of Salisbury; and Eliza, who died when young. This daughter also, now the widow Margaret, having lost her husband, by a mysterious Providence, was led to spend her last days on the old place, where she died and was laid in the common burial ground. All the family that have yet died, so far as known, have been buried at the old homestead, except Tibby, Mrs. Troy, and 'Squire Troy now says, he has often regretted since, that he did not take his good old mother there, and lay her with the rest. Some of them, after removing to the West, came back on business, or on a visit to their friends, but by the ordering of an all-wise Providence, died before they could get away, and were buried in the same cemetery; and even some who were grafted into the family by marriage, though with other thoughts and places in view, have been made, by a strange over-ruling of circumstances, to end their days at the old mansion, and are now taking their long sleep in the common resting place.
There they are all lying in their lowly beds, around their common ancestor, the patriotic, the heroic, the generous hearted, but unfortunate Colonel Andrew Balfour. What a place for serious reflection and for the undisturbed indulgence of all the pensive and sacred emotions of filial veneration and affection! There are more tender and hallowed associations connected with that little spot on Betty McGee's creek, than with almost any other spot in the whole country. If there is a place in this wide world which seems more sacred and more impressive than all others, it is the final resting place of departed friends, especially when their death had any thing of the martyr character about it, or was attended with circumstances of peculiar solemnity; and the descendants of Colonel Balfour, for generations to come, may not only desire to find their last repose in the same family group, but may love to show their regard for his memory, and to re-invigorate their own sentiments of filial veneration for his name, by visiting the spot where he fell a sacrifice in the cause of freedom, and where his last remains are quietly waiting the sound of Gabriel's trump.
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Scott Vuncannon's Version
" North Carolina Militia (Guilford) Flag
There is a division of opinion among scholars whether this flag was truly carried at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse (March 25, 1781), or the remnant of a later regimental flag. In any event, it was adopted for a time by the North Carolina Militia as their ensign." (from http://www.walika.com/sr.htm - Sons of the Revolution in California)
"The original Betsy Ross
flag was officially adopted by an act of Congress on June 14, 1777. The Congress
stated " ..That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes
red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue
field, representing a new constellation". It is generally believed that
General Washington was instrumental in the design of the flag along with Francis
Hopkins and Betsy Ross."
is an unsubstantiated
reference to a North
Carolina flag of the
Revolutionary War era
(1775-83). It supposedly
was white with a hornet's
nest and the inscription
"May 20, 1775,"
the date on which
citizens in the town of
independence from Great