Samuel Martin

Excerpt from Sketches of Western North Carolina, Cyrus L. Hunter, 1877


Captain Samuel Martin was a native of Ireland, and born in the year 1732. When a young man, he emigrated to America, and first settled in Pennsylvania. After remaining a short time in that State, he joined the great tide of emigration to the southern colonies. He first entered the service as a private in Captain Robert Alexander's company, in June 1776, Colonel Graham's Regiment, and marched to Fort McGaughey, in Rutherford county, and thence across the Blue Ridge Mountains against the Cherokee Indians, who were committing murders and depredations upon the frontier Settlements. In January 1777, he attached himself to the command of Captain William Chronicle, and marched to the relief of the post of Ninety-Six, in Abbeville county, S. C., and after this service he returned to North Carolina.

About the lst of November, 1779, his company was ordered to Charlotte, at that time and place of rendezvous of soldiers for the surrounding counties, and while there he received a special commission of captain, conferred on him by General Rutherford. With his special command be marched with other forces from Charlotte by way of Camden, to the relief of Charleston, and fell in with Col. Hampton, at the Governor's crate, near that city. Finding that place completely invested by the British army, he remained but a short time, and returned to North Carolina with Colonel Graham's regiment, about the 1st of June, 1780.

Being, informed on the night of his arrival at home that the Tories were embodied in strong force at Ramsour's Mill, near the present town of Lincolnton, he immediately raised a small company and joined General Davidson's battalion, General Rutherford commanding, encamped at Colonel Dickson's plantation, three miles northwest of Tuckaseege ford. General Rutherford broke up his encampment at that place, early on the morning of the 20th of June, 1780, then sixteen miles from Ramsour's Mill, and marched with his forces, expecting to unite with Colonel Locke in making a joint attack upon the Tories, but failed to reach the scene of conflict until two hours after the battle. The Tories bad been signally defeated and routed by Colonel Locke and his brave associates, and about fifty made prisoners, among the number a brother of Colonel Moore, the commander of the Tory forces.

Immediately after this battle he received orders from Colonels Johnston and Dickson to proceed with his company to Colonel Moore's residence, six or seven miles west of the present town of Lincolnton, and arrest that Tory leader, but he bad fled with about thirty of his follower's to Camden, S.C., where Cornwall's was then encamped. Soon after this service Captain Martin was ordered to proceed with his company to Rugeley's Mill, in Kershaw county, S.C. Here Colonel Rugeley, the Tory commander, had assembled a considerable force, and fortified his log barn and dwelling house. Colonel Washington, by order of General Morgan, had pursued him with his cavalry, but having no artillery, he resorted to, an ingenious stratagem to capture the post without sacrificing his own men. Accordingly he mounted a pine log fashioned as a cannon, elevated on its own limbs, and placed it in position to command the houses in which the Tories were lodged. Colonel Washington then made a formal demand for immediate surrender. Colonel Rugeley fearing the destructive consequences of the formidable cannon bearing upon his command in the log barn and dwelling house, after a stipulation as to terms, promptly surrendered his whole force, consisting of one hundred and twelve men, without a gun being fired on either side. It was upon the reception of the news of this surrender that Cornwallis wrote to Tarleton, "Rugeley will not be made a Brigadier."

After this successful stratagem, seldom equaled during the war, Captain Martin was ordered to march with his company in pursuit of Colonel Cunningham, (commonly called "Bloody Bill Cunningham") a Tory leader, encamped on Fishing creek, but he fled so rapidly be could not overtake him. During the latter part of August and the whole of September, Captain Martin was rarely at home, and then not remaining for more than two days at a time. About the last week of September be marched with his company by a circuitous route, under Colonel Graham, to the Cowpens. There, he united with Colonels. Campbell, Shelby, Sevier, Cleaveland and other officers and marched with them to King's Mountain. In this battle Captain Martin acted a conspicuous part, was in the thickest of the fight, and lost six of his company. After this battle he continued on active scouting duties wherever his services were needed.

When Cornwallis marched through Lincoln county in pursuit of General Morgan, encumbered with upwards of five hundred prisoners, captured at the Cowpens, he was ordered to harass his advance as much as possible. A short time after Cornwallis crossed the Catawba at Cowan's Ford, he marched as far as Salisbury, when he was ordered by Colonel Dickson to convey some prisoners to Charlotte. Having performed this Service, be proceeded to Guilford Court house, but did not reach that place until after the battle. He then returned home, and was soon after discharged.

In October 1833, Captain Martin, when one hundred and one years old, was granted a pension by the general government. He was a worthy and consistent member of the Associate Reformed Church, and died on the 26th of November, 1836, aged one hundred and four years! He married in Ireland, Margaret McCurdy, who also attained an extreme old age, and both are buried in Goshen grave yard, in Gaston county.

Except from King's Mountain and It's Heroes, Lyman C Draper, LL.D, 1881

Samuel Martin was born in Ireland in 1732, where he married Margaret McCurdy, and migrated to Pennsylvania. While there, he served in the old French and Indian war, removing to North Carolina, he served on the Snow campaign in 1775; on the frontiers in 1776; and went to the relief of Charleston in 1779-80. In June, 1780, he was made Captain, serving under Rutherford; and was at the capture of Rugeley 's Tories, and at King's Mountain. In 1781, he opposed Cornwallis at Cowan's Ford, and afterwards served awhile under General Pickens; and then commanded a company under Colonel William Polk at Eutaw Springs. Surviving his companion, he died in Gaston County, November twenty-sixth, 1836, at the great age of one hundred and four years.

Samuel Martin


Most of my information comes from the Revolutionary War Pension files of Samuel Martin. Additionally, there are a couple of books on North Carolina History that contain references to him. These include the Kings Mountain Men and History of Tryon County.

The following information is from his application to increase the amount of his Revolutionary War Pension, dated 1833.

Declaration of Samuel Martin dated May 13, 1833, aged listed as 99 years.

During the Siege of Charleston, went with my wagon and team under command of Col. Hambright of Tryon, (now Lincoln) County and after the surrender of Charleston, General Rutherford gave him commission of Captain.

Marched thence to Camden - where we lay some time - thence to Tryon Co, NC in the fall of same year (1780), was in Battle of King's Mountain. This service was 6 months as Capt.

After this received commission as Capt from Governor Martin of NC, and was kept employed during remainder of the war ranging the County of Tryon for the suppression of tories. Was on my way with my company to the Battle of Ramseurs Mill in Tryon, but owing to accident the attack was made before we got there. I was then with General Rutherford, reached there after the defeat of the tories. I took many tories, among them a brother of the celebrated tory Col Moore.

Marched in pursuit of Cornwallis, to harrass his trains in crossing the Catawba River. Was under the command of Col Wm Graham of Tryon County. Col Campbell commanded at King's Mountain, Col Graham having left before the action, the command of the regiment devolving on Jsoeph Dixon. Graham's commission was taken away on account of his conduct on that occasion.

Signed Samuel Martin…

Statement by Andy Barry, 13 May 1833

I volunteered as private in declarant's company just before the Battle of Ramseurs Mill in Tryon County (now Lincoln) and continued subject to his command until after the Battle of King's Mountain in which I was under his command. He commanded about 20 men, 6 of whom fell. He was recognized as Capt until the end of the war. I have known him from boyhood, and have all the time lived in his neighborhood.

Statement by Samuel Caldwell, 13 May 1833

Was with Capt Martin at Battle of King's Mountain and many other places in Lincoln County. He was recognized as Capt from that time to the close of war. Have lived as neighbor to him ever since I was a small boy.

Amended Declaration - October 7, 1833 - Samuel Martin

Was first drafted and marched under Capt Robert Alexander in June 1777 or 1778, as private, served 2 months to McCaugh's Fort after Indians in the mountains.

Volunteered in the January afterwards under Capt Cronicle and marched to near 96, called the Snowy Campaign for 1 month as a private.

Was commissioned as Capt soon after commencement of War by Governor Martin, the seal of which commission has been forwarded to the war department, but did not serve as Capt for the first two tours.

About 1st of Nov 1779, set out from Charlotte, NC as Capt under Col Hambright, under a special duplicate commission given him by General Rutherford, having command of a special company. Marched by Camden, fell in with Col Hampton at the Governor's gate, near Charleston, SC and remained about there until the surrender of Charleston. Then marched by the cross roads in York or Lancaster Dist, SC at times in company with Col Graham and arrived home in Tryon about the 1st of June 1780, having served this time 7 months.

Immediately after, collected a small company and marched to Ramseur's Mill, out about a month.

Immediately after, under orders of Col Johnson and Dickson went with his cavalry in pursuit of the tory John Moore and returned about middle of July, out 1 month.

Then marched his company to Ringby's Mill in Kershaw Dist, SC where they fell in with Col Washington, and they mounted a pirre cannon and took the tory picket, out about 1/2 month.

Then marched to Fishing Creek in pursuit of the tory officer Cunningham, out about 10 days in pursuit, the middle of August. During the latter part of August and to Ocotber, at the time of the battle of Camden (Gates defeat) and the march of Cornwallis towards Charlotte was out constantly, not being at home two days at a time. Late in September marching a circuitious route to Gilberttown, under Col Graham, where fell in with Col Campbell and Shelby, and marched to Battle of King's Mountain where I commanded 20 men, 4 of whom were killed on the ground and 2 died shortly after.

Lord Cornwallis was then in Charlotte and I was scouting in various parts of Tryon and Mecklenberg counties. Cornwallis continued in the adjacent counties and border of SC until the Battle of Cowpens, Jan 17, 1781 and there wre many tories and soldiers all about, and I continued until we went in pursuit of Cornwallis on his way to Guilford in the winter of 1781. From Salisbury I was ordered to guard some prisoners back to Charlotte and did not overtake the main army until after the battle was fought in March. Returned to Tryon County on about 1st of April, making a tour of 7 1/2 months.

Service in all - 19 months and 25 days. I am too old and infirm to give a more particular detail.

Note: This from a man approximately 101 years old, providing details over 50 years old. I only wish my memory was that good.

Capt Samuel Caldwell - October 24th, 1833

Was informed and believes Samuel Martin acted as Capt of militia at siege of Charleston. Deponent marched to Gilberttown (now Rutherford) where he found Colonels Shelby and Campbell. Capt Martin was there and marched to King's Mountain and there commanded a company. In consequence of "Lord Wallace" army being in the neighborhood the militia was constantly out. Deponent was frequently with Capt Martin frequently on other tours and believes he served his country as he stated. Deponent has known him ever since.

Cases cited:

Wm Young of Adair County, Ky about 1832, Pension No 7350

Served from Rowan County, separated from Tryon by a narrow part of Iredell.

After leaving the Battle of Ramseur's Mill, 3rd of May 1780, enlisted for 10 months under Capt Samuel Martin, commanded by Col Wm Polk, in the line of General Sumter, to Couganee Fort, and there put under Capt "Snipes". Pensioned for 2 years service, on allegations of 26 months service of a similar kind. Declaration made August 10, 1832.

Wm Young of Henry County, Tenn about 1832, Pension No 19122

Declaration made September 7, 1832.

In 1781 marched under Capt Davidson, who became supernummary, and we were then put under command of Capt Martin who was commanded by Col Polk under General Sumter and were employed as a party of horseman, reconnoitering the British near 96 and give information to General Sumter. Were defeated at Juniper Springs and reassembled on the Couganee near Friday's fort.

Wheeler's Hitory of North Carolina for Lincoln County (formed from Tryon)

Battle of Ramseur's Mill fought June 20th, 1780. The militia assembled on the 12th under General Rutherford. The cavalry, 65 in all, were equipped as Dragoons under Major Davy and formed in 2 troops under Capt Simmons and Martin. Incidents of detail until after the battle, same as described by Martin. The cavalry pursued the tories after the battle.

Crossing the Catawba Feburary 1, 1781. General Davidson of NC killed by a tory and NC militia put under command of General Pickens of SC pursued the British north through NC. Col Graham's men's time being out, they returned and crossed the Yadkin near 14th. The cavalry not specifically mentioned.

Affidavits provided in conjunction to the Revolutionary War Pension application of Samuel Martin.

Samuel Martin was born in Ireland in 1732, came to Pennsylvannia, date not shown, thence to Tryon County, North Carolina.

While a resident of Tryon (later Lincoln) County, North Carolina, Samuel Martin enlisted in June 1777, served two months as a Private in Captain Robert Alexande's North Carolina Company and went to McCongham Fort against the Indians; he enlisted the following January and served one month as private in Captain Cromisle's North Carolina Company; he was commissioned Captain and served from November 1, 1779, seven months in Colonel Hambright's North Carolina Reggiment, during which period he was in the battle of Biggin's Church and in the seige and surrender of Charleston; immediately following, he served two months and 10 days against the Tories in Tryon County; he srved from August, 1780, seven and one-half months under Colonels Graham and Shelby and was in the battle of King's Mountain; he served from April 17, 1781, ten months as captain in Colonel William Polk's South Carolina Regiment and was inn the battle of Rutaw Springss. It was stated that Samuel Martin served also through Braddock's War.

Samuel Martin was allowed pension on his applicatiion executed May 13, 18333, at which time he resided in Lincoln County, North Carolina, where he had lived ever since the Revolutionary War.

Samuel Martin died November 26, 1836, in Lincolnn (that part later called Gaston) County, North Carolina, at the home of his son, George Martin, and wife, Martha. In 1854, George Martin was living in Dallas, Gaston County, North Carolina, aged more than 70 years, and was then the soldier's only surviving child. His wife, Martha, was aged more than 69 in 1857 and still a resident of Gaston County, North Carolina. The other children who survived their father, Captain Samuel Martin, were William Martin, Jane Hanna, Margaret Kerr, Thomas and Joseph Martin. The name of Samuel Martin's wife is not given. In November 1854 it was stated that Margaret Kerr, Thomas Martin and Joseph Martin had died within the last year.

In 1854, one James M. Hanna, resident of Gaston County, North Carolina stated that he had known the family of Captain Samuel Martin for 30 years and was present at his death which he recorded in the family bible. One W. D. Hanna was in Gaston County in 1854, their relationship to the family is not shown.

Jane Martin, granddaughter of Captain Samuel Martin, was in Lincoln County, North Carolina, in 1833.

William M. Kerr, grandson of Captain Samuel Martin, was living in Dallas, Gaston County, North Carolina, in 1856, and William Martin another grandson of said captain, was born and reared in Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, and in 1855, had been an itinerant Methodist Epsicopal minister about 28 years. In 1856, he was in Spartenburg District, South Carolina.

One John Taylor was a relative of Captain Samuel Martin and their births were only one month apart; degree of relationship no shown.

Above taken from a letter to Mrs Roy Hill, Asheveille, North Carolina from the National Archives, reference Samuel Martin S.9003, dated September 9, 1936.

Copywright 1997, 1998, 1999, Tom Martin, All rights reserved