Benjamin Cleveland

"Col. Benjamin Cleveland was born May 16, 1738....Before leaving Virginia he married, in Orange County, Mary Graves, daughter of a gentleman of some fortune, who later came with his own family and that of his son-in-law to North Carolina. (1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, pp. 69, 70.)

" 1772 he set out with a party of four companions, five men in all, to Kentucky.  These men were set upon by a large band of Cherokee Indians, who robbed them of all their belongings, guns included, and ordered them to return to the place from whence they came.  After a painful journey the half-famished hunters finally succeeded in reaching the settlement of the white race once more.  Cleveland later returned to the Cherokee country for the purpose of recovering his horse, and accomplished that object with the help of some friendly Indians furnished him by Big Bear, a chief of the Cherokee nation. (1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, p.70.)

"The County Wilkes was formed in 1777, chiefly through the instrumentality of Capt. Cleveland, and he was made colonel of the militia forces of the new county in Aug. 1778.  In 1778 Col. Cleveland represented Wilkes in the North Carolina House of Commons, and was State Senator therefrom in 1779.  In this county he was also Presiding Justice of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. (1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. V, pp. 70, 7l.)

"'Old Round About,' as Cleveland was familiarly known (taking that sobriquet from his plantation of the same name), probably had a hand in hanging more Tories than any other man in America.  Though this may be an unenviable distinction, he had to deal with about as unscrupulous a set of ruffians as ever infested any land--men who murdered peaceable inhabitants, burnt dwellings, stole horses, and committed about every other act in the catalogue of crime....(1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. V,  p. 71.)

"The battle in which Cleveland gained his greatest renown was that fought at King's Mountain on the 7th of October 1780.  The rendezvous preparatory to this ever-memorable engagement was at Quaker Meadows, a plantation owned by the McDowell family in Burke County, near the present town of Morganton....The battle of King's Mountain was fortunately a great and overwhelming victory for the Americans; and among all the desperate fighters there engaged not one showed more personal courage than Col. Cleveland. (1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. V, p. 72.)

"After the victory at King's Mountain more than thirty Tories were condemned to death, and nine were executed--the others being reprieved.  The executions here alluded to were...punishments for past crimes--house-burnings, outrages against women, desertions and betrayals, assassinations of non-combatants. These measures were also in retaliation for past British cruelties--a few days before this eleven Americans having been hanged at Ninety-Six in South Carolina....The Battle of King's Mountain restored comparative order to western North Carolina, yet there was more fighting to be done, and Col. Cleveland as usual bore more than his share, serving under Gen. Griffith Rutherford. (1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. V, p.72.)

"By Chapter 9 of the Laws of 1840-41 a county was formed out of Lincoln and Rutherford and named for Col. Cleveland. (1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. V., p.73.)




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