The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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nominate candidates for the legislature. Speeches were made by Samuel P. Hill, Bedford Brown, and others. A large number attended, among them was Stephens. At night he was missing, and search was made. The next morning, in one of the rooms in the basement of the court house, the dead body of Stephens was found. The jury of inquest reported "the death of John W. Stephens was caused by a small rope drawn around his neck in a noose, and by three stabs with a pocket knife, two in the throat, the other stab on the left of the breast bone, penetrating the cavity of the chest, inflicted by the hands of some persons unknown; of which wound the said John W. Stephens died, on May 21st, 1870, between the hours of four and seven o'clock, p. m." Various surmises have been made as to the persons and motives of this mysterious murder. But no positive evidence was elicited, and perhaps it is only when the secrets of all hearts are known, will the facts be ascertained.


        THERE lived in this county during the revolutionary war, one of the most daring and desperate tories that those dangerous times produced, by the name of David Fanning. He was born about 1754, in Wake County, and in 1778 moved to Chatham. The occupation of Wilmington by the British troops afforded an opportunity for his nefarious depredations. One of the earliest sufferers was Charles Shearing, of Deep River, to whose house he went at night, and shot him dead as he fled. His energy and desperation were appreciated by the British authorities, and he was made colonel of the loyal militia, and Major Craig, at Wilmington, presented him with a uniform and pistols.

        One of his earliest successes was the capture of Colonel Philip Alston, at his house. In July, 1784, he entered Campbellton, now Fayetteville, and carried off Colonel Ennett, Captain Winslow, and others. On September 12th, following, he, with a troop, entered Hillsboro' and seized the Governor (Burke,) and other prominent whigs, and carried them to Wilmington as prison ers of war.

        I attempted, in the history of North Carolina, to give a brief sketch of this noted marauder under the head of Chatham County. Since writing this, I have been so fortunate as to find in manuscript, an auto-biography written by Fanning himself, which is very lengthy and minute; this has already been published. He was a refugee after the war closed, and died in St. Johns, Province of New Brunswick, in 1825.

        Charles Manly, born 1795, died 1871, late Governor of North Carolina, was a native of this county.

        His father, Basil Manly, was born and raised in St. Mary's County, Maryland. He removed to North Carolina before the revolution, and settled in Bladen County. He was a bold and active partizan officer, holding the commission of captain during that war.

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