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Crye Family and the Revolution

Note this is a very preliminary sketch and is expected to change with further research.  There is information available that has not been examined that will likely help us to address some of the questions raised here.  Also, there has been speculation in the New Letter that William's father John may have been a Tory. What ever his feelings were, if John and family were in Mecklenberg County in 1780 his feelings could have had deadly consequences.  Hopefully some of you have researched this topic and can totally rewrite this part of the web site. 

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Indian Fighting  The Big Picture British Take the War South  After Thought
Kings Mountain

Appendixed Materials
North Carolina  South Carolina  Georgia
Moore's Creek 1776 
Mecklenberg Co. 1780 
       1 Sept 1780 
      2  Oct  1780 
      3  Feb  1781 
Charleston May 1780 
Wofford Iron Works Aug 1780 
King's Mountain Oct 1780
Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, had come to be home for the Crye family and in the mid 1770s it was a hotbed of rebellion and called a hornets nest by the Loyalists.  There is a local tradition that county residents wrote their own Delaration of Independence before Thomas Jefferson penned one.  

As best can be determined by documents now available William Crye served at Prince's Fort and Wofford's Fort in South Carolina and left Colonial military service in 1780.  His family is thought to have been in Mecklenberg County at this time.   However, the military events of 1780 call for a closer examination of what the Crye family and William in particular were experiencing.  


Indian Fighting

After a stent in the Mecklenberg Co. militia William went to South Carolina to enlist. This move was understandable considering the relative military activity in North and Couth Carolina early in the War.  In the National Park Service list below there are no listed engagements in Noth Carolina after the fight at Moore's Creek in 1776 until 1780. There was much more activity between the Loyalists and Partriots in South Carolina early on than in North Carolina. However, The Revolution also constituted another chapter in the struggle between the Native Americans and the Europeans.  In summerizing David Corklin's research Charles Hudson describes the situation: 

"During the American Revolution the Southeastern Indians for the most part remained neutral.  The Cherokees, however, were again angry because British colonists were again encroaching into their territory along the Holston and Nolichukey rivers in North Eastern Tennessee.  In July, 1776, they struck out against the colonists, killing rebel and loyalist alike.  In retaliation, the colonists struck back with a terrible vengence.  An army of several thousand frontiersmen stormed the Cherokee country, burning towns, destroying crops, and killing men, women, and children.  The Cherokees were never the same after this.  So terrible was the destruction, the Creeks could not believe the stories they heard from the Cherokees who sought refugee in their towns."[1] 


The Big Picture

        In the northern colonies the war was dragging on in 1777 the Continentals defeated a British attempt to split the northern colonies and destroyed Burgoyne's amry in the process. Burgoyne was march south through the wilderness and meet up with General Howe at Albany. But Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates.  This victory at Saratoga lead to the alliance with France the proved essential to the eventual American success. 

      However, dispite the victory over Burgoyne things were not going well for the Continentials.  One reason Burgoyne was defeated was that British General Howe did not follow the plan that had been agreed to.  Howe sailed from New York to Maryland then marched northeast and captured the Continental capital at Philadelphia.  The Contenintal Congress fled in panic. Thus Howe left Burgoyne to his fate in the wilderness while he captured the capital. An event that may have been important in Crye history occured during Howe's Pennsylvania Campaign.  After Washington's defeat at Brandywine on Sept. 11, 1777, a detachment of American troops under "Mad" Anthony Wayne were routed at Paoli in Chester County, PA. The numbers are uncertain, but perhaps several hundred Continentals died in a British bayonet charge. 


The British Take the War South


    In the winter of 1777-1778 George Washington's command went to winter quarters at Vally Forge, General Gates, the Hero of saratoga tried to get Congress to promote him to take Washington's place as commander. In December of 1778 the British sent a fleet south and captured Savanah, Georgia beginning a bid to break the stalemate of the war with a campaing in the Southern colonies.  This new British initiative would have important consequences for Cryes in Mecklenberg, Co. North Carolina. 

The British consolidated their control over Georgia in 1779 and they won a decisive victory by breaking a combined French-Contenintal attempt to retake Savannah late in the year.  The British then carried the main iniative of the war to South Carolina. On May 12, 1780 with the British captured Charlestown, South Carolina. The disasterous loss of Charlestown was followed by the slaughter of most of the remaining regular Continental at Waxhau a few days later.  

Only irregular units such as those of Francis Marion and Thomas Sumpter maintained a Continental presence in the colony. 


Gate's Defeat at Camdon

To meet the crisis in the South  Congress sent Horatio Gates, the Hero of Saratoga.  Gates blundered his mission at Camdon, SC on August 16, 1780 where his army was defeated by a smaller British force.  Deleware still remembers the extremely high losses suffered by the Deleware Continental line at Camdon.  Not only did Gates cause the loss of a second Continental army in South Carolina he was a coward who abandonded his command and fled on horseback to Charlotte, in Mecklenberg, Co. North Carolina.  There he was relieved of his command. 

After his overwhelming success at Camdon, the British commander Cornwallis moved to pacify western South Carolina.  The fighting at Wofford's Iron works, near Spartanberg, South Carolina took place in September of 1780.  Cornwalis also carried the campaign to North Carolina by occuping Mecklenberg, County, in the fall of 1780

The country side was in turmoil and death by ambush common.  Personal grudges were cloaked in geo-political agenda and Loyalists and Patriots were murdered in their homes by hidden assailants.  

In 1780 fighting broke out in many parts of North Carolina with three battles occuring in Mecklenberg County in the late winter of 1780 and January of 1781.  By the summer of 1780 the British and Loyalists in the Deep South thought they might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  


American Victory At Kings Mountain 
Oct. 7th, 1780

But everything began to turn around in early October of 1780 as mountaineers and backwoods men came together from Virginia to Georgia and defeated a force of British and Loyalists who were on their way to join Lord Cornwallis in Mecklenberg County.  This battle at Kings Mountain (Oct 7, 1780) on the border of North and South Carolina was a turning point.  With the reinforcing column butchered patriots began to lashout at Corwallis' army in Mecklenberg County. As Cornwallis left Mecklenberg County new units of the regular colonial army under the command of Nathanial Green came south and harried the British command throughout its retreat northward into Virginia. Cornwallis' withdrawl from Mecklenberg County, North Carolina in 1781 was the begining of the campaign that terminated in the victory of the unified French-Colonial forces at Yorktown.  


After Thought

William Crye is reported to have served under Sumter and Gate and as having left the service in 1780. He returned to Mecklenberg County sometime after leaving service. What ever happened to William if he served under Heratio Gate in South Carolina it was probably a pleasant experience. 

The surviving records may never let us know what exactly was happening to the Crye family in 1780 and the final years of the Revolution.  However, one thing seems clear -- if William left military service in South Carolina units in 1780 and returned to Mecklenberg Co. North Carolina it was not a case of a weary veteran coming come to a well deserved welcome and rest.  Rather it was much more likely a case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire. 

Here is a topic waiting to be explored and written up if only the documents survive. 

[1] Charles Hudson 
1982 The Southeastern Indians The University of Tennessee Press p. 443 


Prepared by the 
American Battlefield Protection Program, National Park Service


North Carolina (37) 

Moore's Creek (Moore's Creek Bridge), Pender County, NC 2/27/1776 

Ramsour's (Ramseur's or Ramsur's) Mill, NC 6/20/1780 

Fight at Colson's, Stanly County, NC 7/1780 

Cedar Springs, NC 7/13/1780 

Earles Ford, NC 7/15/1780 

Cane Creek, NC 9/12/1780 

Waxhaw (Walkup, Wauchope, Belk Farm), Union County, NC 9/20/1780 

Wahab's Plantation, NC 9/21/1780 

Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC 9/26/1780 

McIntyre Cabin Site [Skirmish], Mecklenburg County, NC 10/3/1780 

Shallow Ford, Forsyth County/Yadkin County, NC 10/14/1780 

Ramsour's (Ramseur's or Ramsur's) Mill, Lincoln County, NC 1/25/1781 

Cowan's Ford, Mecklenburg County, NC 2/1/1781 

Wilmington, NC 2/1/1781 

Torrence's (Tarrant's) Tavern, Iredell County, NC 2/1-2/1781 

Trading Ford on the Yadkin, Rowan County, NC 2/3/1781 

Shallow Ford (Cornwallis' Army Crosses), Yadkin County, NC 2/7-8/1781 

Summerfield (Bruce's Crossroads) [Skirmish], Guilford County, NC 2/13/1781 

Pyle's Defeat, Alamance County, NC 2/23/1781 

Haw River, NC 2/25/1781 

High Rock Ford [Continental Encampment], Rockingham County, NC 2/27-3/12/1781 

Clapp's Mill, Alamance County, NC 3/2/1781 

Wetzall's (Weitzel's) Mills, Guilford County, NC 3/6/1781 

New Garden Meeting House [Skirmish], Guilford County, NC 3/15/1781 

Guilford Court House, Guilford County, NC 3/15/1781 

Hillsborough, Alamance County, NC 4/25/1781 

Halifax, Halifax County, NC 5/1781 

Peacock's Bridge, Wilson County, NC 5/1781 

Swift Creek/Fishing Creek, Nash County, NC 5/7/1781 

Pittsboro [Loyalist Raid], Chatham County, 7/1781 

Alston House (House in the Horseshoe), Moore County, NC 8/1781(?) 

Rockfish, Duplin County, NC 8/2/1781 

Elizabethtown, Bladen County, NC 8/27/1781 

McPhaul's Mill, Hoke County, NC 9/1/1781 

Hillsborough [Tory Raid], Orange County, NC 9/12/1781 

Lindley's Mill (Cane Creek or Hillsboro), Alamance County, NC 9/13/1781 

Raft Swamp, Robeson County, NC 10/15/1781 


South Carolina (67)  

State House (Arms seized), Charleston, SC 4/21/1775 

Fort Charlotte (captured), McCormick County, SC 7/12/1775 

Fort Johnson (captured), Charleston, SC 9/15/1775 

Mine Creek (Ammunition seized), Saluda County, SC 11/3/1775 

Hog Island Channel, Saluda County, SC 11/11-12/1775 

Ninety-Six (Savage's Old Field), Greenwood County, SC 11/19-21/1775 

Sullivan's Island (Pest House), Charleston County, SC 12/19/1775 

Cane Brake (Great Cane Brake or Reedy River), SC 12/22/1775 

Fort Moultrie (Sullivan's Island), SC 6/28/1776 

Breach Inlet, Charleston County, SC 6/28/1776 

Rayborn Creek (Lindley's Fort?), SC 7/15/1776 

Essenecca Town (Seneca?), SC 8/1/1776 

Tugaloo River, Oconee County, SC 8/10/1776 

The Ring Fight, Oconee County, SC 8/12/1776 

Tamassee, Oconee County, SC 8/12/1776 

Beaufort (Port Royal Island), SC 2/3/1779 

Cherokee Ford, SC 2/14/1779 

Perrysburg, SC 4/29/1779 

Charleston Neck, SC 5/11-12/1779 

Stono Ferry, SC 6/20/1779 

Ocaysalio of James Island, SC 2/11-14/1780 

Oohey River, SC 2/26/1780 

British Fleet Crosses Charleston Bay, SC 3/20/1780 

Siege of Charleston, SC 3/29/1780-5/12/1780 

Eight British Frigates Cross Charleston Bay, SC 4/8/1780 

Moncks Corner, SC 4/14/1780 

Sortie from Charleston, SC 4/23-24/1780 

Lenud's Ferry, SC 5/6/1780 

Fort Moultrie, SC 5/7/1780 

Surrender of Charleston, SC 5/12/1780 

Waxhaws (Buford's Massacre), SC 5/29/1780 

Cedar Springs, Spartanburg, SC 7/12/1780 

Williamson's Plantation (Brattenville; Huck's Defeat), York County, SC 7/12/1780 

Pacolet River, SC 7/14/1780 

Rocky Mount, SC 7/30/1780 

Thickety Fort (Fort Anderson), SC 7/30/1780 

Green Springs, SC 8/1/1780 

Hanging Rock, SC 8/6/1780 

Wofford's Iron Works, Spartanburg, SC 8/8/1780  

Little Lynches Creek, SC 8/11/1780 

Wateree Ferry, SC 8/15/1780 

Camden, SC 8/16/1780 

Gum Swamp, SC 8/16/1780 

Catawba Ford, SC 8/18/1780 

Fishing Creek, SC 8/18/1780 

Musgrove's Mills, SC 8/18/1780 

Great Savannah (Nelson's Ferry), SC 8/20/1780 

Kings Mountain, SC 10/7/1780  

Tearcoat Swamp, SC 10/26/1780 

Fish Dam Ford (Broad River), SC 11/9/1780 

Broad River, SC 11/12/1780 

Black Stocks (Tyger River), SC 11/20/1780 

Rugeley's Mills, SC 12/4/1780 

Williamson's Plantation, SC 12/27/1780 

Cowpens, SC 1/17/1781 

Georgetown, SC 1/24/1781 

Fort Balfour, SC 4/12/1781 

Fort Watson, SC 4/15/1781 - 4/23/1781 

Four Holes, SC 4/15/1781 

Hobkirk's Hill, SC 4/25/1781 

Camden, SC 5/10/1781 

Orangeburg, SC 5/11/1781 

Fort Motte, SC 5/12/1781 

Friday's Ferry, SC 5/14/1781 

Fort Granby, SC 5/15/1781 

Ninety-Six (Siege of), SC 5/21/1781 - 6/19/1781 

Silver Bluff-Fort Galphin, SC 5/21/1781 

Biggin Church (Biggin Bridge), Berkeley County, SC 7/16/1781 

Quinby's Bridge (Quinby's Plantation), Berkeley County, SC 7/17/1781 

Parker's Ferry, SC 8/30/1781 

Eutaw Springs, SC 9/8/1781 

Dorchester, Dorchester County SC 12/1/1781 

Dorchester, Dorchester County, SC 1/14/1782 

Dorchester, Dorchester County, SC 4/21/1782 

James Island, SC 7/1-31/1782 

Combahee Ferry, SC 8/27/1782 

Johns Island, SC 11/4/1782 

Charleston (Evacuated by British), SC 12/14/1782 


Georgia (32)  

Hutchinson's Island, GA 3/7/1776 

Augusta, GA 1/29/1777 

Fort McIntosh, GA 2/2-4/1777 

Beard's Bluff Fort, GA 12/1777 

Fort Barrington (captured by Tories), GA 3/13/1778 

HICHENBROOKE and REBECCA captured, Frederica, GA 4/19/1778 

Alligator Bridge, GA 6/30/1778 

Spencer's Hill (Bulltown Swamp), GA 11/19/1778 

Medway Church (Bulltown Swamp?), GA 11/24/1778 

Savannah (Brewton Hill), GA 12/29/1778 

Burke County Jail (Skirmish), GA 1/1779 

Fort Morris (Sunbury), GA 1/6-9/1779 

Augusta (Occupied by British), GA 1/29/1779 

Carr's Fort, GA 2/10/1779 

Kettle Creek, GA 2/14/1779 

Briar Creek, GA 3/1-3/1779 

Hickory Hill, GA 6/28/1779 

Savannah (Siege of), GA 9/23/1779 - 10/20/1779 

Savannah (Assault on), GA 10/9/1779 

Ogeechee Ferry, GA 4/4/1780 

Cherokee Hill, near Savannah, GA 5/8/1780 

Forts Grierson and Cornwallis (Augusta), GA 9/14-18/1780 

White House, GA 9/15/1780 

Augusta-Fort Cornwallis, GA 5/24/1781 

Augusta-Forts Cornwallis and Grierson (Siege of), GA 5/21/1781- 6/5/1781 

Ogeechee Ferry (Skirmish), GA 11/2/1781 

Cuthbert's Sawmill (Skirmish), GA 2/13/1782 

Long Swamp Creek, GA 2-3/?/1782 

Ogeechee Road, near Savannah, GA 5/21/1782 

Near Sharon, GA 5/24/1782 

Ebenezer, GA 6/23/1782 

Savannah (Evacuated by British), GA 7/11/1782