Image by jimmywayne via Flickr
I would like to add before I begin with Robert Adams that it is important to not just look for the names of your ancestors in reference materials, but to read as much of the book as you can. For instance, the other day I picked up Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches by Ruth Hairston Early. In her book she speaks about Conrad Speece. He was a poet and writer at the beginning of the 19th century. On page 40 she mentions Augustine Leftwich, One of Speece's few intimates was Augustine Leftwich through whose assistance the poems were printed. At the death of Leftwich's beautiful first wife, Speece wrote a touching poem to her memory.
This is the gravemarker I found at the Ward Cemetery at Brights, Virginia. It says Sacred to the memory of Mildred A. Leftwich consort of Augustine Leftwich. Could this be the beautiful lady that the poem was written about so many years ago. I believe that it is. Mildred was the daughter of John and Tabitha Walden Ward. If you remember, John Ward was the son of William Ward and Mildred Adams and Mildred Adams was the sister of Robert Adams. This would have been Robert Adams' niece. Mildred Adams Ward Leftwich died at the very young age of 23. I looked everywhere on the computer for this poem, but to no avail. However, another trip to the Ward cemetery is now necessary because I believe the long inscription on the marker is the poem. I will find out when I go again.
So how thrilling is that. I'm just a romantic at heart, but I believe that most genealogist have to be little romantic.
The years 1750 through 1820 were rough and woolly times for Virginians. I have been searching for more evidence of Robert Adams and the times in which he lived. I found the book The Life and Adventures of Wilburn Waters The Famous Hunter and Trapper of White Top Mountain by Charles B. Coale. There is no mention of Robert Adams or Charles Lynch. But they were close associates with General Campbell and Colonel Preston. On page 116 through 118, I found some information that you might find informative and interesting. I will be paraphrasing some of the material.
Sometime during the Spring 1780 on a quiet Sabbath, General Campbell and his wife and several of their neighbors were returning from Sunday service at the nearby Presbyterian Church. They were discussing the matters of the day and especially a notorious Tory. He was known to steal horses, post notices about defying King George and threatening the life and limb of Patriots. And just as they crested the hill they saw a rider and it was the Tory they had been discussing. General Preston immediately handed over his baby to his wife. (He had been riding and holding the child) and took off after the Tory. The Tory immediately wheeled around and was pursued at rapid pace by General Preston and another of Preston's company by the name of Thompson. As they reached the branch at the base of the hill, General Preston was close to catching the Tory. The Tory plunged into the river. General Preston leaped into the River, grasped the Tory's holsters and threw them into the stream and then dragged him from his horse into the water.
Then Mr. Thompson arrived and they held what may be termed a drum court right on the banks of the river. The Tory was no coward and admitted to all that he had done and in less than ten minutes he was dangling by the halter from the limb of a sycamore.
Now that is what you call frontier justice.
Still from the same book page 117 and 118, there is a small article about Squire John McCulloch, who fought alongside his father at the Battle of Kings Mountain. His father was killed at the battle right by his side. General Francis Preston sent his only son Thomas to speak to Squire McCulloch and to write out his impression of the battle. He wrote a written statement and handed it to Thomas. Thomas asked him if he didn't feel frightened and his reply was, "Well, Tom, I don't remember exactly how I felt, but if I wasn't frightened, I was mightily excited. I kept my bullets in my mouth so as to load quick, and when the fight was over there was one left, and I had chawed it till it was as flat as a ninepence. I don't know whether it was fear or excitement-may be, a little of both." The Battle of King's Mountain was in October of 1780 just a few months after the above incident with the Tory. Colonel Preston and General Campbell fought at King's Mountain with men from the Virginia Militia.
According to Maude Clement and other historians, Charles Lynch, Adams, Calloway and militia never put a man to his death, but rather hung him by his thumbs. Do you believe this? I haven't found anything to the contrary.
The Statutes at Large Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia Volume XI page 134, 1782
An act to indemnify certain persons in suppressing a conspiracy against this state.
I. WHEREAS divers evil disposed persons in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty, formed a conspiracy and did actually attempt to levy war against the Commonwealth; and it is represented to the present general assembly, that William Preston, Robert Adams, junior, James Calloway, and Charles Lynch, and other faithful citizens, aided by detachments of volunteers from different parts of the state did, by timely and effectual measures, suppress such conspiracy; And whereas the measures taken for that purpose may not be strictly warranted by law, although justifiable from the imminence of the danger;
II. Be it therefore enacted, That the said William Preston, Robert Adams, junior, James Calloway and Charles Lynch, and all other persons whatsoever, concerned in suppressing the said conspiracy, or in advising, issuing, or executing any orders, or measures taken for that purpose, stand indemnified and exonerated of and from all pains, penalties, prosecutions, actions, suits, and damages, on account thereof. And that if any indictment, prosecution, action, or suit, shall be laid or brought against them, or any of them, for any act or thing done therein, the defendant, or defendants may plead in bar, or the general issue and give this act in evidence.
Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches Embracing the History of Campbell County, Virginia, 1782-1926