The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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Legislature to the Colonelcy, taking his horses from his carriage three miles from the Court House, then situated near the mouth of Scuppernong River, at Mrs. Bateman's, and the populace bearing him upon their shoulders to and from the Court House. When his friend, Cullen Pollock, for siding with the Loyalists, was tarred, feathered, and shot at through his windows, his carriage thrown over the dock, etc., so indignant was Colonel Buncombe that he buckled on his arms, took his body servant with him, manned a boat and went to Edenton, and dared the man or set of men who were at the head of the assault to show themselves. The instigator was Nat. Allen, who, though regarded at the time as a Hotspur, thinking with Falstaff that "discretion was the better part of valor," secreted himself in his house until the Colonel had left town. Their object undoubtedly was to drive Mr. Pollock away and confiscate his estate. Buncombe County, in selecting a name for their County, duly appreciated the memory and eminent military services of Colonel Buncombe, and did themselves great credit.

        As an illustration of his proverbial hospitality, he often entertained most sumptuously a great many friends after the true style of a West India gentleman, his table being spread with the richest viands, which palled not on the most fastidious epicurean taste; his door-latch was always hanging on the outside, and when he had gentlemen at his house whose company he particularly appreciated, to prevent their leaving he had the bridge taken up and hid in the swamp till he was willing they should leave. On his gatepost, according to tradition, and the fact is mentioned in "Jones' Defense of North Carolina," was inscribed this distich--

                         "Welcome all
                         To Buncombe Hall."

        Noble generosity, hospitality unparalleled! His particular associates and friends were Cullen Pollock, Dr. Lenox, Judge Iredell, Gov. Johnston, Mr. Ria, of Norfolk, Mr. Donaldson, of Petersburg, Va., and others. And for such a voluntary sacrifice of life and fortune in the cause of his adopted country did he, during his life, or have his heirs since his immolation upon the altar of that country, received at her hands anything like fair indemnification or even adequate compensation. All history tells us of the "ingratitude of Republics." It has become merged into a political aphorism. What a shameful commentary this upon the text deduced from the preceding notes. Another instance of his giving succor to the oppressed, against an infuriate majority, may be found in the case of poor Davidson, a Tory, who, when his life was in jeopardy from the Republicans, found a refuge in the carriage of Colonel Buncombe, who carried him to his house and thus protected him from lawless violence. His reward is not of earth, but of heaven, for military prowess and chivalric valor on the "tented field," and for gentlemanly deportment and urbanity of manner in private life have been permitted to pass away, by an ungrateful country, without its suitable and merited requital. "Sic transit gloria mundi."

                         "Oh! pity if thy holy tear
                         Immortal decks the wing of time;
                         'Tis when the soldier's honor'd bier
                         Demands the glitt'ring drop sublime.
                         For who from busy life removed
                         Such glorious, dang'rous toil has prov'd,
                         As he who, on the embattled plain,
                         Dies bravely fighting, or nobly slain?"

        One of his daughters married Dr. Goelet, of Washington; another, Mr. Clark, of Bertie County.

        Colonel Buncombe was distinguished for his undaunted courage, his martial appearance, and his open, unstinted hospitality; worthy is his name preserved in one of the most lovely Counties of our State.

        The Pettigrew family is of French origin, but at an early period branches settled in both Scotland and Ireland. James Pettigrew, of the Irish branch, was an officer in King James' army, at the battle of the Boyne, (1690) between William and James II. He emigrated to America in 1740,*

        * For many facts and much of this sketch, see Memorial of J. Johnston Pettigrew, Brigadier General in Confederate army, by W. H. Trescott, Charleston, 1870.

and rested for awhile in Pennsylvania; then went to Virginia, thence to North Carolina, and finally settled in Abbeville, South Carolina, where he lived to a good old age. When he removed from North Carolina he left his third son, Charles, who had been born in Pennsylvania in 1743. This gentleman's early education was, in part, conducted by the Rev. Mr. Waddle, (Wirt's famous "Blind Preacher,") and in 1773 he was made Master of the Public School at Edenton by Governor Martin. In 1775 he went to England to be admitted to holy orders, and was ordained by the Bishop of London. He returned to North Carolina and devoted himself to his field of labor. For years he was Rector of the Church at Edenton. He married Mary, daughter of Col. John Blount, and thus became connected
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