What: 11 Jan 1782, Capt. Gholson vs. Col. David Fanning, ambush
Other names: Ghoulson's Farm, Wilcox's Iron Works
Where: 35.55484 -79.28545 Baalam Thompson's Farm (Wilcox's Iron Works)
Maps: [map notes]
Guide to NC Hwy Historical Markers, 9th Ed., 2001. p.50:
- 35.55484,-79.28545, Wilcox Iron Works, Thompson's Farm nearby (Deep River near Gulf NC)
- ACME Mapper.
- National Map
- Confidence: 2 (for Wilcox's Iron Wks.), 1 for ambush at Baalam Thompson's Farm near the iron works)
- 35.684097, -79.636603, Gulf NC (PJO: Wilcox's Iron Wks. was nearby)
- GNIS record for Gulf NC. Note mapping options.
- Confidence: 5 (for Gulf), 2 (for Wilcox's Iron Wks), 1 (for ambush at Baalam Thompson's Farm near the iron works)
- 35.684097, -79.636603, Mount Vernon Springs
- GNIS record for Mount Vernon Springs NC. Note mapping options.
- It may be seen from the following that Wilcox's Iron Works were on the Deep River. The related NC Historical Marker is either in error or is referring to a different Wilcox Iron Works.
It may be seen from the following that Wilcox's Iron Works were on the Deep River. The related NC Historical Marker is either in error or is referring to a different Wilcox Iron Works.
Wilcox Iron Works
Important source of munitions during the American Revolution, operated occasionally since. Furnace was 100 yards southeast.
SR 1176 (Old US 421) at Mount Vernon Springs / 1939
"RANDALL (RANDOLPH) CHEEK of Moore Co., NC":
An interesting reference to the Cheeks appears in a Revolutionary War journal kept by the soldier Sgt. William Seymour, who served in the American army under Gen. Nathaniel Greene. On Apr. 3, 1781, Seymour writes that Greene's army, then en route from Chatham County, NC, to Camden, SC, made camp at a "Mr. CHEEK's plantation." Based on Gen. Greene's route, this must be a reference to either Robert CHEEK or Randolph CHEEK of Cumberland/Moore County. According to Seymour, on March 20th the army had been at Ramsey's Mills on the Deep River (Chatham County). On March 30th, the Horse and Infantry division marched toward Wilcox's Iron Works to have troop horses shod. The Wilcox Iron Works were located in the town of Gulf, on the Deep River about 15 miles south of Ramsey's Mills. If the army continued to follow the Deep River south, they would have easily reached the Cheeks' property by April 3rd, when Sgt. Seymour says that they made camp. On April 4th, 1781, Gen. Greene wrote a letter to Gen. Francis Marion, describing his location as "camp, Deep River". Although Gen. Greene does not mention the Cheeks, his letter does prove that the Cheek plantation referred to by William Seymour was on the Deep River and not in some other location. (Sources: "Journal of the Southern Expedition, 1780-1783, by William Seymour, Sergeant-Major of the Delaware Regiment", Pennslyvania Magazine of History & Biography, Vol. 7 (1883), p.380); "Sketch of Life of Brig. Gen. Francis Marion" by William D. James (1821), Appendix.)
Otho Holland Williams, "A Narrative of the Campaign of 1780":
It proceeded with some celerity, and in fine spirits as far as Wilcox's Iron Works, on Deep River, in the state of North Carolina; but here, on the 6th day of July, the baron found himself under the necessity of halting for want of provisions.
H.L. Landers, The Battle Of Camden South Carolina August 16, 1780, 1929, p.5:
At Hillsboro the troops were retted a few days; then they continued on to the settlement which is now Greensboro and on the 6th of July reached Wilcox's iron works on Deep River, where they were again brought to a halt for want of provisions.
Barefoot, not found.
NBBAS:Four P. 24-26.
Gholson’s Farm, North Carolina
7 January 1782
When Colonel Elijah Isaacs had departed from Cox’s Mill and moved his forces westward David Fanning followed, capturing any stragglers left behind. Isaacs knew of Fanning’s presence and left behind covering forces to ambush any Loyalists that would pursue them. Fanning was not fooled and in turn hunted those men down. He ambushed a party of Whig militia that was left behind, killing two and wounding many more. Fanning continued to pursue Isaac’s men, killing two more of the group.
Captain Charles Gholson was a commander in the Chatham County Militia and was one of men purused by Fanning. Gholson’s militia stopped at a Loyalist house near Salisbury and was in the process of plundering the property when Fanning discovered them. When Gholson learned that Fanning was approaching he fled, but one of his men was left behind and captured. Fanning hanged the prisoner and continued the chase but he was unable to capture Gholson’s force. In retaliation Fanning rode to Gholson’s home and burned the farm. The Loyalists burned two more houses near Gholson’s farm. As a final touch Fanning executed "a man who had been very anxious" to have some of his Loyalists executed.
On his return to Cox’s Mill Fanning captured Captain John Thompson, a "Rebel magistrate." Fanning had Thompson take a message to acting Governor Alexander Martin. The message stated that if the Whigs did not cease their harassment of the Loyalists he would retaliate in kind with more executions.
Fanning learned from Thompson that some of the other Loyalist leaders, Archibald McDugald and Hector McNeil, had taken refuge in South Carolina. Fanning hoped for a peace in North Carolina and offered the Patriot authorities his terms for peace. He demanded that all Loyalists be allowed to return to their homes unmolested. He also wanted the Loyalists to be under no restriction to do anything against the Royal government and to not have to pay any taxes to support the war against the King. Several of the Patriot leaders were supportive of the peace and were tired of all the constant fighting. They took the terms to General Butler.
The killing went on while the negotiations were being settled. One of Fanning’s men, Captain William Lindley, had quit the Loyalist militia and had headed into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Three of his former comrades followed him into the wilderness and hacked him to death with swords. Colonel Fanning found out about the murder and had two of the killers, William White and John Magaherty, hanged from the same tree limb. The third murderer escaped into the wilderness.
On January 11th Fanning was supposed to meet with a party of Whigs at Baalam Thompson’s near the Wilcox Iron Works. Fanning was under a flag of truce to discuss his terms for peace but Captain Gholson and Robert Scoby were waiting in ambush for Fanning to ride by. Thompson warned Fanning and averted a disaster. After this Fanning did not trust the Whigs and no longer considered peace as an option.
Sherman, "Calendar...". Too late for this work. To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".
Jan 1782 listing. Not found.
Submitted by: Patrick O'Kelley.
Confidence level: See above.