The Civil War in North Carolina



Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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EARLY GERMAN SETTLERS IN EASTERN CABARRUS COUNTY.

        An Address of Gen. Rufus Barringer, delivered at the Lutheran Commemoration in Concord, N. C., November 10th, 1883.*

        * The reader should remember that many of these remarks were local and personal and understood by the audience only.


        From a variety of causes, so far as I can learn, not a record exists exactly fixing the date of the first German settlement in this section of North Carolina, nor has a single pen told the story of the wanderings of our German fathers nor the part they bore in our early wars.

        Less than five generations have passed away since these German fathers first struck the banks of the Cold Water and Dutch Buffalo Creeks. Yet who, in this large assembly can tell when, whence, why, and how these hardy pioneers came? If direct from Europe, what part? If from or through Pennsylvania, what County? What routes did they travel? When and where was the first settlement made? And especially what were their peculiar characteristics? Did they have any distinct religious creed? Any known political polity? How did they bear themselves in the numerous Indian and other early wars? Especially in the great revolutionary struggle for freedom and independence, what troops did they furnish? What sufferings and losses did they endure, and what sacrifices did they make for the cause? Who were Whigs and who Tories?

        All interesting questions; the very doubt and confusion in which they are shrouded greatly embarrasses one. I shall, therefore, rather seek to excite interest and enquiry into the subject before us than undertake to decide or debate disputed issues. If I should chance to fall into errors of any kind, I will be only too glad to be fully and promptly corrected. My great aim is historic truth.

        Before proceeding to the main enquiries, it is proper to disabuse the popular mind of certain prejudices in regard to the so-called Dutch or Germans, generally, of this country and more particularly as regards the religious faith and fighting, or rather non-resisting tenets, of certain Teutonic sects amongst us.

        It is true that many of the earlier Dutch and German colonists were non-armbearing sectarians, such as the Mennonites in Pennsylvania, the Moravians here in North Carolina, and the Saltzbergers in Georgia. But there were none amongst our Germans. From the days of Braddock's defeat and the advent of Maj. George Washington, down to the last battle under Gen. Robert E. Lee, our Dutch have proved a most pugnacious set.

        Then, again, the first German settlers are constantly confounded with Hessians, who fought against us, and numbers of whom, after the revolution, found an asylum in this country, and were not unwelcome.

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