“A Bill to Bring Traitors to Trial,” North Carolina, 1782

The Revolutionary War was a civil war, too, especially in the upcountry of North and South Carolina. In 1782, the North Carolina legislature prepared “A Bill to Bring Traitors to Trial.” Among the names of Loyalists branded as traitors is one with Logan ties, Moses Moore (“Moor” in the document), and his son, Benj. Moore (“Moor”).

Despite being one of the signers of the Tryon Resolves in Tryon County, North Carolina, in 1775, Moses Moore ultimately threw in his lot with King and country. In his mind, of course, he was a patriot.

His son, John Moore, was a Loyalist (Tory) leader at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill.

A daughter, Sarah Moore, married Drury Logan. Another daughter, Hester, married Joshua Roberts. Both Drury Logan and Joshua Roberts chose the other side in the Revolution: the Patriot (Whig) side. Much of the Drury Logan profile in Logan Connections consists of his and Joshua Roberts’ efforts (as well as Joseph Lawrence who married Moses Moore’s other daughter, Ann) to work and litigate to protect their father-in-law’s land and other assets from confiscation. This was no doubt a sometimes unpopular path to tread, but Logan and Roberts’ bona fides as Patriots made their efforts acceptable to some at least, but most importantly, acceptable in the eyes of the law.

Benj. Moore, the other “Moor” named in the bill as a traitor, was Moses Moore’s son. We don’t know much about him, but he was said to be dead by 1785.

The Moores were two of the 36 men charged with Revolutionary War treason in Rutherford County, North Carolina, alone.

The Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, also ended confiscation of Loyalist land and property. At that point, the North Carolina legislature passed “An Act of Pardon and Oblivion.”

Moses Moore ended up a refugee in Spanish West Florida, a haven for Loyalists originally engineered by the British King in what was then British West Florida.

Among the other “traitors” singled out from Rutherford County, North Carolina, who have a connection, although tangential, with some of our Logans are the Bickerstaff or Biggerstaff family. The Biggerstaffs, like the four Logan brothers, William, Joseph, John, and Thomas, were a family with split loyalties who fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780. The “Bickerstaffs” named in “A Bill to Bring Traitors to Trial” in 1782 were Samuel, Aaron, and Benjamin. Aaron Biggerstaff, a Tory, fought at Kings Mountain. He was said to be mortally wounded, yet his name is on the list of “traitors.” Benjamin Biggerstaff was a Whig / Patriot, by many accounts, yet family tradition has him switching sides during the war as many did, depending on the fortunes of war and their and their families’ best interest. I believe Samuel Biggerstaff was the father — and a Tory.

In a further example of tangled loyalties, John Moore, Tory commander at Ramsour’s Mill and Moses Moore’s son, was a cousin of the Biggerstaffs.

When the Patriots left Kings Mountain after their stunning victory, Loyalist prisoners in tow, they stopped at the Biggerstaff plantation for a drumhead trial of alleged traitors captured at the battle. The selection of the Biggerstaff location was probably not coincidental. Several Loyalists were hanged there before the summary executions were stopped. It’s possible that some or all of the Logan brothers, except Thomas left wounded on the battlefield, witnessed these hangings.

Our thanks to Joe Logan and Dr. A.B. Pruitt for background sources and information.

Sources: Abstracts of Sales of Confiscated Loyalists Land and Property in North Carolina, Dr. A.B. Pruitt, 1989; “A Bill to Bring Traitors to Trial, 1782,” Grace W. Turner, The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. XXVIII, No. 4, Nov. 2002, pages 420-426, researched by Joe Logan.

 

Rutherford County, North Carolina, tax list, showing William Logan, 1782

William Logan was one of the four Logan brothers who fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780, two years prior to this tax list. His adjacent neighbor, Gabriel Washburn, was, like William Logan, a church official for Buffalo Baptist Church in York County, South Carolina.

Note how slaves are counted in the tax list along with horses and cattle as “things” to be taxed, denying them their humanity.

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Source: North Carolina Digital Collections, State Archives of North Carolina

Letter from Abraham Hardin — who taught John Randolph Logan the “art and science” of surveying — to Lyman C. Draper, author of “Kings Mountain and Its Heroes”

Abraham Hardin (1789-1881) taught John Randolph Logan the “art and science” of surveying. Surveying was an advanced skill that few had at the time; therefore, it could be a lucrative occupation, though a hard one, especially in the early years of settlement and over rough, forested, and marshy ground. Abraham Hardin’s early mentoring of John R. Logan in surveying meant that Logan could later have the means to enter into government service, politics, church leadership, and education. For this reason, Hardin’s autobiographical sketch (below) is of interest.

Hardin was the deacon of Antioch Baptist Church for sixty years. A coffin-maker, Hardin made his and his wife’s coffins himself.

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Transcript: You seem to have some wish to know the place of my nativity and of my Early Life. In answer I would say to you that I was born in Rutherford County NC now Cleaveland County NC on the 22 day of June, 1789, of poor parentage when and where there was no schools so I was deprived of Letters and when I arrive to manhood I had to Labour in the Farm or Shop all day and Read and Study at night with out help except God’s blessings of good health and a retentive memory, and of a determined will. I had to work about five years to purchase a little tract of land & in 1811 I settled down in York County S.C. where I have resided for sixty years past and Served this county to the best of my ability as follows: Served the Church as Deacon & Superintendent of Sunday School for Sixty years, in the same time served the State & County as Civil Magistrate forty-two years, and Eight of that time as Representative  of The County in the State Legislature, also served as Surveyor of Lands Forty years, performed 100s of marriages and adjusting Litigation without Lawsuits, and making Coffins and thus I have Served the Last Two or Three generations according to their day and yet they Call and I am now awaiting the call come home but until I receive that Call I must still serve on.

I would tell you more of the favours conferred on me of sight & hearing and how to preserve the Eye and prevent the sight from receeding [sic] but I have spoken of self so much above that I beg to be excused. I know of nothing more to promote your work as Historian but if any thing does occur worth Notice I will forward it to you. I received your Books at Two different Times for which manafestations [sic] of Kindness I feel greatfull [sic] and wish you success in all your undertakings and I remain yours Truly          Abraham Hardin

Transcribed by Betty Logan