The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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monument which bears this inscription--

                         Beneath this marble
                         are the mortal remains of
                         Hezekiah James Balch,

         first pastor of Poplar Tent Congregation, and one of the original members of the Orange Presbytery. He was licensed a preacher of the Everlasting Gospel of the Presbytery of Donegal in 1766, and rested from his labours in A. D. 1776; having been Pastor of the United Congregations of Poplar Tent and Rocky River about seven years.

        He was distinguished as one of a Committee of three who prepared the Declaration of Independence; and his eloquence, the more effectual from his acknowledged wisdom, purity of motive, and dignity of character, contributed much to the unanimous adoption of that instrument on 20th May, 1775.

        Yet there are some few of modern times who alleged that no such convention ever occurred.


        The ancestor of this large family, Martin Phifer, (or Pfifer,) was a native of Switzerland, and emigrated to America; went first to Pennsylvania, and afterwards came to North Carolina, with the current of German, Irish and Scotch, and settled in the then Mecklenburg County. He was much respected for his industry, frugality, and sound sense. He was elected in 1777 a member of the Legislature from Mecklenburg, with Waightstill Avery as a colleague in the Commons, and John McKnitt Alexander in the Senate. He married Margaret Blackwelder. He died in 1789, leaving three sons.

        For the Genealogy of the Phifer Family, see Appendix.

        The genealogical table has been carefully compiled, and it is believed to be accurate. It embraces three generations and can be extended. It presents the members of a large family, many of whom are distinguished for their services and talents, and all for their sterling virtues and exemplary characters. The services of John Phifer, son of Martin and Margaret Blackwelder, in the war of the Revolution, and in the Councils of the State, deserve a perpetual remembrance; as also those of General John Phifer, (son of Martin and Betsy Locke.) He was a useful man, of decision of character, patriotic and enterprising. He often represented Cabarrus in the Legislature from 1803 to 1815, and wielded great influence in public affairs. He was an educated man; graduated at the University in 1799, and died on the 18th October, 1845, near Concord.*

        * Much of the material of the sketch Phifers has been gathered from correspondence, and from an excellent article in North Carolina University Magazine (Vol. V., p. 418, November, 1856,) entitled A. memoir of Colonel John Phifer.


        John Paul Barringer, (or as he wrote his name, Paul Barringer,) the founder of the family in North Carolina, was born in Wurtemburg, in Germany, on 4th of June, 1721. He settled first in Pennsylvania, and afterwards in Cabarrus, then Mecklenburg, about 1750.

        When the Revolution broke out, he took a decided stand with the oppressed people of his State, and from his devotion to their cause, he suffered severely, for he was taken prisoner by the Tories, and carried to South Carolina.

        He was elected a member of the Legislature, the first from Cabarrus after its division from Mecklenburg in 1793, and was a prominent and influential citizen to the day of his death, which occurred on 1st January, 1807. He married, first, Ann Elizabeth Iseman; and second, Catherine Blackwelder, by whom he had several children, viz:

        Daniel L. Barringer, born in Mecklenburg County, October 1st, 1788, studied law, and settled at Raleigh. He was elected a member of the House of Commons from Wake County, 1813-'19-'21; and a member of Congress from 1826 to 1835.

        He removed to Tennessee, and was one of the Presidential electors in 1844, voting for Mr. Clay. He was the Speaker of the House of Representatives of that State. He married
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