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Journal of a Lady of Quality
Appendices: - XI. A Group of Provincial Leaders


IN studying the social and political history of North Carolina one is constantly impressed with the close connection that existed between South Carolina and the Cape Fear section of North Carolina, and with the frequent intermarriages that took place among the members of a large group of intimately associated families. The widely spreading branches of one genealogical tree include names from the families of Wright, Rhett, Trott, Izard, Hasell, Smith, Moore, Quince, Dry, Eagles, Allen, Grainger, Howe, and others, many of whom came originally from the southern colony. Representative men from these families formed a strongly united provincial group, that stood at times in outspoken opposition to those in the colony who were of English or Scottish birth—Johnston, Murray, Corbin, Innes, Rutherfurd, and Schaw, newcomers and "foreigners." Though no fixed lines of cleavage can be drawn, and though the antagonisms were manifest only at Certain times and in connection with certain troublesome provincial problems, nevertheless the feeling was always latent, notably between the Brunswick group led by Moore and Dry and those who were the friends and followers of Governor Johnston. The quarrels over the blank patents and the town of Wilmington are well known (N. C. R. IV, v-vi) and Murray facetiously referred to the situation when he spoke of "a Dryness" subsisting "between some certain gentlemen and me until the unhappy differences of the province are reconciled" (Letters of James Murray, Loyalist, p. 42).

Miss Schaw mentions only a few of the leaders of the provincial party, but they play a sufficiently important part in the narrative to call for brief mention here.

Richard Quince.

Richard Quince, the elder, the father of Parker and Richard, Jr., was one of the leading merchants and traders of the colony, doing business at Brunswick under the firm name of Richard Quince & Sons; which later became Parker Quince & Co., doing a considerable up-river business. He was at one time or another a commissioner of the town of Brunswick, chairman of the inferior court of pleas and quarter sessions of Brunswick county, a church warden of St. Philip's, a judge of vice-admiralty, a justice of the peace, a member of the Wilmington Committee of Public Safety, and, with his son Richard, a member of the general committee of the Sons of Liberty. He was an active participant in the Revolution, died in 1778, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Philip's, Brunswick. He was originally from Ramsgate, England, where he had a brother John (who apparently before 1768 came to Wilmington and set up as a merchant there), and where he owned a house, which he retained during his lifetime. He was also a freeman of the Cinque Ports, of which in 1741 "he produced a sufficient testimony" and was therefore excused from jury duty (Brunswick County Court Records, 1737-1741, p. 133). He lived first at "Orton" plantation and later at "Rose Full" on the Northeast, a plantation that he left to his son Parker. The latter and his brother Richard are said to have been "gentlemen of great respectability and devoted Whigs, but quiet and unobtrusive in their characters and never mingled in public life."

William Dry.

William Dry, the collector, was fourth in descent from Robert Dry, or I)rve, who settled in South Carolina about i68o, and his grandfather, father, and himself all bore the same name. William Dry, 1st, married Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin Blake, brother of the famous English admiral, Robert Blake (Sontli Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, V, 109, note 6), and died about the year 1700. He was a planter of influence and property and owned a plantation, "Oak Grove," next north of the present site of the navy yard, Charleston, which he inherited from his father and which he left to his son (ib., XIX, 60-61. The latter, William Dry, 2d, was one of the original grantees of lots in Beaufort Town and acquired a second plantation, two miles above Goose Creek bridge, fronting the highroad, whereon he lived and where his son William Dry, 3d, the collector, was born in 1720. This property he advertised for sale or rent in 1733 and both plantations for sale in 1734 (South Carolina Gazelle, July 28, 1733, February 2, 1734, May 18, 1735), in anticipation of his departure for North Carolina; and he finally left the colony with his family soon after August, 1735. He had married Rebecca, sister of Roger, Maurice, and Nathaniel Moore, and it was undoubtedly through his interest in their Cape Fear project that he joined them in the enterprise. Either before his arrival or immediately after, he bought lots in Brunswick and lived there as a merchant, justice of the peace, and captain of militia until his death, which occurred in 1746 or 1747. His wife survived him about ten years.

The son, 'William Dry, 3d, was fifteen years old when he went with his father to the Cape Fear. He first became prominent in September, 1748, when, at the age of twenty-eight, as captain of the militia, he led the attack (aided by men from Wilmington) on an invading force from two Spanish privateers, which had landed and obtained possession of Brunswick. He became a colonel in 1754, was appointed collector in 1761, was named one of the charter aldermen of Wilmington in 1760, served in the assembly from 1760 to 1762, became a member of the council in 1764 and continued in the latter capacity under Dobbs, Tryon, and Martin, until in July, 1775, he was suspended by Governor Martin on the ground of being disloyal to the crown. He took the side of the Revolution, though he was never particularly active in its behalf; and when the new constitution was adopted, accepted a seat on the revolutionary council.

In February, 1746, Dry married Mary Jane Rhett, granddaughter, through her father, of William Rhett and, through her mother, of Nicholas Trott of South Carolina, and (as the marriage notice states) "a lady of great fortune and merit" (South Carolina Gazelle, February 24, 1746). He had a large plantation, "Belleville," on the north side of the road leading from Wilmington across Eagles Island southward, and at his death left this plantation to his daughter, Sarah, "one of the finest characters in the country," who married Benjamin Smith, later governor of the state and the founder of Smithville (now Southport), who was of the Landgrave Thomas Smith family of South Carolina. He died in 1781, aged sixty-one, and was buried in St. Philip's churchyard. His wife survived him until 179$, when she died at the age of sixty-six. She must have been married at seventeen.

It was at Dry's residence in Brunswick that Josiah Quincy dined in 1773, and so well that he called it "the house of universal hospitality" (Journal, p. 459).

Joseph Eagles.

Richard Eagles, the elder, of a Bristol (England) family, lived in South Carolina until 1735, when he too joined the Cape Fear colony. In South Carolina he owned a house and Store in Charles Town, which he offered for rent in 1733 (South Carolina Gazelle, January 13, 1733), a lot in the town of Dorchester, and a plantation, "Eagles" (on Eagles Creek near Dorchester, South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, XX, 47-48), which he advertised for sale in 1734, with dwelling house, large store, stable, and chaise house (South Carolina Gazette, August 3, 10, 1734). He must have left the colony before August 30, 1735, as at that time he is spoken of as "late of Charles Town, merchant" (ib., August 30, 1735). He married Elizabeth Crichton, a granddaughter of the first William Dry, and so was a cousin by marriage of William Dry, the collector. His son, Richard Eagles, 2d, married Margaret Bugnion, and was the father of Joseph Eagles, mentioned in Miss Schaw's narrative.

Joseph Eagles, who had not "come to the years of eighteen" in 1769, when his father's will was made, cannot have been much more than nineteen or twenty at the time of Miss Schaw's visit. He was not yet "major," as Miss Schaw says, and was under the guardianship of her brother Robert, who had been appointed one of the executors of Richard Eagles's estate. He had been sent to England when but a child, living probably with his father's relatives in Bristol, and had but just returned, thoroughly Anglicized. He did not go back, however, as Miss Schaw thought might be the case, but remained in the colony and married there. His wife was Sarah, surname unknown. He died in 1791, leaving two children, Richard, 3d, and Joseph, 2d, the first of whom died before 1811, and the second in 1827, each without heirs. As only an aunt remained, the wife of Alfred Moore, the disappearance of the family name from the annals of North Carolina is readily accounted for (Brunswick County Records, Conveyances, B, 84, 1,4 327, 341, 368; 'North Carolina Reports, V, 267, 269).

Eagles's plantation, which Miss Schaw visited in so unexpected a way, was called "The Forks" and was inherited from his father, who was living upon it at the time of his death. It was situated a short distance above Old Town Creek, on the road from Brunswick to Schawfield, was bounded on the south by Eagles Creek, and lay a little way below Eagles Island opposite Wilmington—an island that received its name from Joseph's grandfather, who owned land there. The plantation was of considerable size, containing a house, a sawmill, and a gristmill.

Robert Howe.

Robert Howe was born in North Carolina in 1730, the third son of Job Howe, or Hows, as the name appears to have been spelt originally. His grandfather (also a Job—there were three of the name) came with the Moores from South Carolina, and Robert, through his grandmother, Mary Moore, sister of Roger, Maurice, and Nathaniel, was related to the Moores, Drys, and others among the first settlers. He was sent to England early, returning in 1748, and soon began to play his part in the history of the colony. He became a justice of the peace in 1756, was appointed captain at Fort Johnston in 1765, succeeding Dalrymple, was superseded by Collet in 1767, but resumed the post on Collet's return to England in 1769, and was finally supplanted on Collet's return in 1773. He was for a time a baron of the court of exchequer and became a member of the assembly as early as 1760. He married Sarah Grange, daughter of Thomas Grange, "a respectable planter on the Upper Cape Fear River" (North Carolina Booklet, VII, 169), but was separated from her in 1772 and never remarried. His political and military career after 1772 is too well known to need rehearsal here.

Howe's personality and character have been variously interpreted according to the point of view. Miss Schaw expressed the opinion common in loyalist circles. Governor Martin, while acknowledging that Howe was a "man of lively parts and good understanding," charged him with "misapplication of the public money" and with endeavoring "to establish a new reputation by patriotism." Quincy, a northerner, thought better of him, as "a most happy compound of the man of sense, the sword, the senate, and the buck. A truly surprising character." No one has ever questioned his ability, energy, or devotion to the revolutionary cause, but it may be that the "relation of his past life and adventures" (did we but have it) would be to us, as it was to Quincy, "moving and ravishing." "He was," adds the latter, "formed by nature and his education to shine in the senate and the field—in the company of the philosopher and the libertine—a favorite of the man of sense and the female world. He has faults and vices— but alas who is without them." This duality of character may explain the unpleasant impression of Howe which Miss Schaw received. Howe's opposition to Martin and his later military activity and influence stamp him as a leader of men and a determined, obstinate fighter, but certain incidents of his life and his later court-martial— though he was unanimously acquitted—seem to point to flaws in his character that have never been fully explained.

Flowe's father had estates on the Sound and a plantation at Howe's Point below Brunswick. The latter, containing a large three-story frame building on a stone or brick foundation, became Robert's residence and was largely destroyed by the British on May 12, 1776. Howe died in 1786, at the age of fifty-six.

James Moore.

James Moore, colonel and major general, was grandson of James Moore, who emigrated from Ireland to Charles Town, was governor there under the proprietors, and died in 1706. His father was Maurice Moore, the pioneer and the third husband of the widow Swann, who was his mother. He was born in New Hanover precinct in 1737 and spent his early years inconspicuously, probably on his father's plantation at Rocky Point—at least until 1761 when the property was sold to John Rutherfurd. lie was appointed a justice of the peace in 1759 and a colonel of militia before 1765. He took part in Tryon's campaign against the Regulators, as colonel of "all the artillery and artillery company of volunteers," with Robert Schaw as lieutenant colonel, and was present at the battle of Alamance, which ended in the defeat of the Regulators in 1771.

James Moore was one of the best types of those who conscientiously opposed the royal government in America, and from the time of the Stamp Act until his early death he was generous and high-minded in his efforts to promote the cause of the Revolution. He was appointed, September 1, 1775, colonel of the first regiment of Continental troops raised by authority of the Convention, and in February, 1776, was already in the field, prepared to oppose Brigadier General Macdonald, who, at the head of the Highlanders, serving under the royal standard, was marching on Wilmington. He was in command of the campaign which culminated in the battle of Moore's Creek bridge, and took part in the manuvres preliminary to the battle, but through no fault of his own had no actual part in the fighting that followed. As soon as the battle was over, he directed the movement of the troops and vigorously pressed on the pursuit (Connor, History of North Carolina, I, 373, 385-387). As Noble says, "Moore planned the whole campaign, provided for every contingency, and drove the enemy into the hands of two brave colonels [Caswell and Lillington, each at the head of a provincial regiment] who had taken their stand at Moore's Creek, The success of the American arms is entirely due to his foresight, energy, and skill" (North Carolina Booklet, XI).

Moore served in the American army less than a year, dying of fever at Wilmington, January 15, 1777. His loss was deeply felt, for friends and foes alike spoke well of James Moore. Miss Schaw's comments on both Robert Howe and James Moore show the shrewdness of her judgment.


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