The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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a retreat, Colonel Mebane rushed before the retreating party, stopped them and turned the defeat into victory. Towards the close of the battle ammunition becoming scarce, he passed along the line bare headed, carrying powder in his hat and distributing it among the men, urging them to continue the fight. He was afterwards, with his Regiment on the Cape Fear, fighting the Tories. But he was notified that his services were needed in the northern part of the State and he set out, accompanied only by his servant. On his return he came upon a noted Tory and horse thief, Henry Hightower, who was armed with a British musket. Fearless of the consequences Mebane pursued him; when within striking distance and with his arm uplifted, Hightower suddenly wheeled and shot him dead. He was the model of a soldier, brave, fearless, of active and commanding presence.

        Alexander Mebane was the statesman of the family, born in Pennsylvania, 26th of November, 1744. He was a member of the Provincial Congress at Halifax, 16th December 1776, that formed the State constitution, and of the convention at Hillsboro' which rejected the constitution of the United States. He was a member of the Legislature from Orange County, from 1783 to 1793 and in the latter year was elected a member of the United States (3rd) Congress and re-elected, but died before taking his seat on 5th of July, 1795. He was distinguished for sound practical sense, stern integrity and indomitable firmness. He was married, first to Mary Armstrong, of Orange County; second, to Miss Claypole, of Philadelphia.

        He left several children, James, William and Dr John A. Mebane, of Greensboro'. His son, James Mebane, inherited his father's talents as a statesman, was one of the first students who entered the University and the founder of the Dialectic Society, which perpetuates his memory by his life-size portrait that may still be seen in their hall. He was a member of the Legislature in 1808,-'9, '10, '11, '22, '23 and '28. In 1821 he was elected Speaker of the House.

        He married Elizabeth, the only child of William Kinchen, by which union he had six children, five sons and one daughter. Among these is Giles Mebane, the faithful and able Senator in the Legislature (1877-78) from Orange, Person and Caswell. Kinchen, an older son, was a Presbyterian clergyman. The younger sons were James and Lemuel.

        Dr. Alexander Wood Mebane, a son of William, was born in this County, liberally educated, graduated in Philadelphia and settled in Bertie County on the Chowan river, where he became one of the successful and enterprising men of that section. He was a man of unblemished reputation, faithful to every duty, active and energetic in every good work and enterprise. These qualities and abilities were duly appreciated, for in 1829 and 1830, he was elected member of the House of Commons and in 1833, '34, '35, and 36, he was in the Senate; and in 1848 he was a candidate for Elector on the Cass ticket in opposition to Kenneth Rayner. This was his last public service.

        He married Mary Howe, a lady of fine estate, by whom he had several children, one of whom was the wife of the Hon. John Pool. Grandison and Howe were brothers; Mary Frances and Mrs. Jordan were sisters of Dr. Mebane.

        Colonel John Mebane, son of Alexander Mebane, senior, and brother of Alexander Mebane, junior, resided in Chatham. He was a member of the Legislature from 1790 to 1811. About the close of the war of '76 he married Mrs. Sarah, widow of William Kinchen, by whom he had two children, John Briggs Mebane, who was a member of the Legislature in 1813; and Mr. Thomas Hall, of Rockingham County.

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