The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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offered and declined the nomination for Congress, preferring to pursue the practice of his profession, of which he is alike a pillar and an ornament. He posseses untiring industry, profound learning, and unspotted reputation.

        He has a family likely to be as distinguished as their father for ability, influence and integrity.

        A fearful epidemic appeared in Bertie County, as recorded in Niles' Register, vol. x, 364, which was most fatal among the people, in May, 1816. Some sections, especially Cashie Neck, were nearly depopulated. The statement says that "the most robust constitutions melted before it as wax before a fire."


        With this county are associated many stirring events connected with the war of the Revolution, which attested the patriotism of her sons, and their devotion to liberty.

        The battle of Elizabethtown, fought in July, 1781, was a complete victory of the Whigs, led by Thomas Brown, over the Tories, commanded by Slingsby and Godden. This has been already so fully recorded from authentic documents in the History of North Carolina (II, 36,) that its repetition is unnecessary here. The heroic character of Denny Porterfield is detailed in The Memories of Cross Creek.


        The Highlanders of Scotland, after their defeat at Culloden in 1746, migrated to North Carolina, under the advice of Neill McNiell. They found a resting-place on the banks of Cape Fear, at what has remained the head of navigation on that river to the present time.

        As early as 1762 Cross Creek and Cambellton (now Fayetteville) began to assume importance in a commercial point of view, the fame whereof attracted many from abroad, and amongst others James Porterfield, an Irishman by birth, but who for some years had been a resident of Pennsylvania. Mr. Porterfield had five children--Eleanor, who intermarried with Col. Thomas Owen, the father of Gen. James and the late Gov. John Owen; one son who died in early life; John and James, who for many years were merchants in Fayetteville, and Denny, who is the subject of this brief sketch.

        On the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, the whole family of Porterfields espoused the Whig cause. In the death of James Porterfield, senior, the Whigs lost an able and influential friend. But his widow, animated by the same ardent temperament, made her mansion headquarters for the Whigs of Cross Creek. She was celebrated as an expert cartridge-maker, and frequently spent nights in preparing bullets to be used by the Americans. At that time she lived in the house that has for many years been known as the residence of John McLeran, deceased, and now of his son William.

        Under such a father and mother, and in such times, Denny Porterfield grew to manhood.
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