James Samuel Ashmore

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James Samuel Ashmore

Birthplace: Lancaster County, Province of Pennsylvania
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Ashmore and Margery Hadley
Husband of Elizabeth Ashmore
Father of Joshua Ashmore; Hezekiah Ashmore; Rhoda Hadden; Margaret Henderson; William Ashmore and 6 others
Brother of Rebecca Ashmore; Elizabeth Ashmore; Margaret Ashmore and William Ashmore
Half brother of Joshua Hadley

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About James Samuel Ashmore

Mecklenburg County 1771

James' map

Mecklenburg County, 1771 May 23rd, 2011 by Tamra Dear Family and Friends,

Here is a case of everything turning out for the best.

In 1771, James Ashmore was in his mid-30s, a husband and father of 7 with another on the way. He, along with his half-brother Joshua Hadley, his brother-in-law Hezekiah James Balch, and his father-in-law, James Balch had migrated from northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania sometime after 1761.

The political climate in North Carolina was hot. The Regulators were active, and Presbyterian ministers were stirring up rebellion against the fees and regulations imposed by the British. In 1768, James’ cousin, Walter Ashmore, signed the Regulators’ Advertisement No. 9, a petition from the Regulators concerning public fees. James’ brother-in-law, Rev. Hezekiah James Balch, preaching at the Rocky River and Poplar Tent congregations, followed in the footsteps of Reverend Alexander Craighead who was adamantly anti-British.

On May 2, 1771, James and a group of eight friends intercepted and blew up a shipment of gunpowder that was intended to be used to quell the Regulators and their rebellion. Two weeks later, on May 16, 1771, the Battle of Alamance ended the War of Regulation. On June 11, 1771, Governor Tryon issued an amnesty proclamation that did not include the captured combatants in the Battle of Alamance nor the men involved in burning General Waddell’s gunpowder. It was a tense time. Some of the captured Regulators had already been tried and executed.

Here I can imagine James’ wife Elizabeth saying something like, “You are NOT going to leave me a widow with 8 children. Get yourself over there and see what you can work out.”

For whatever reason, on June 22, 1771, James Ashmore decided to turn himself in and ask for a pardon for the nine men. However, at the same time that he was requesting a pardon, he was naming names. His deposition is here. When the pardons were not granted, but their names were known, things became, shall we say, uncomfortable. In November 1771, the community asked again for the men to be pardoned, but the pardon was rejected and the men went into hiding until 1775 when the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was signed. Reverend Hezekiah James Balch was one of the first signers.

James and Elizabeth made their way to Georgia where the ‘fractious’ Samuel Ashmore was born in 1775. After a brief stay there, they moved on to Tennessee where James’ youngest son, Amos, was born. So had James not turned himself in, he might have been caught and executed. Had he been caught and executed, Samuel would not have been born; had Samuel never been born, we wouldn’t be here today. So, just as my mother-in-law says – everything always turns out for the best.

Today the group known as the Cabarrus Black Boys (a term I take issue with because they weren’t black, they weren’t boys, and Cabarrus County didn’t exist until 1792) are considered to be heroes of the American Revolution. Here is an historic marker and fountain (with the wrong date) to prove it.

For a more detailed account of the entire episode, see The Cabarrus Black Boys – A Noisy Night in 1771.

The Gunpowder Incident James Ashmore, along with Joshua Hadley (according to the author of "Sketches of Western North Carolina Historical and Biographical" by Cyrus L. Hunter 1877, states that James Ashmore & Joshua Hadley were half brothers), Robert Caruthers, Robert Davis, Benjamin Cochran, John White, James White, William White, Jun.(brothers) and William White (cousin) son of widow White, were involved in destroying the ammunition on May 2,1771 the information can be found in the Colonial Records of North Carolina Vol. 9 and the London Rolls. The group became known as the "Black Boys of Cabarrus", protesting the unreasonable taxes being imposed upon the people. They sought relief from Governor, but getting no help, burned a gun powder train that was on its way to General Waddell, which was to be used against them. Ashmore gave a deposition asking for a pardon for the above nine men 22, June, 1771. Council meeting 27, Nov 1771 request for pardon sent to His Majesty.

The Regulators About 1763, the citizens of western North Carolina in the Hillsborough District, heretofore peaceful and happy, began to feel "basic economic, social and religious differences of the East (NC), which promoted sectional rivalry and conflict." (Lefler, Orange County 1752-1952) The principal conflict centered upon the domination of the Eastern planter aristocracy and the lack of representation in the government branches. Those who resisted the official extortion and inequitable taxes came to be known as "Regulators", 1767-1771, declaring their own war with many acts of mischief and defiance. Walter Ashmore had signed a protest as early as 1768 (NC Colonial Records v 7 p 935) James Ashmore?s official part in the War of the Regulators may be found in the NC Colonial Records v 8 pp 622/3:

James Ashmore?s Testimony June 22, 1771: James Ashmore swears before Thos Polk as follows: "North Carolina, Mecklenburg County. The deposition of James Ashmore, of full age, who being voluntarily sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, voluntarily deposeth and saith that he, this deponent, with a number of other persons, was convened at Andrew Logan?s old plantation in consequence of an advertisement (set up by one James McCaul as it was said), when and where this Deponent was accosted by one James White, Junior, to know whether this Deponent thought it any harm to burn the powder then carrying through the county aforesaid, to the army then under the command of General Hugh Waddell, to which this deponent made answer that according to the reports passing of the Governor and his officers, that he did not think the bare burning of the powder any harm, and that then this deponent went home and the day following, between the hours of ten and eleven o?clock in the forenoon, this deponent quit work on his plantation and went to look for his horses. When about three-quarters of a mile from his house, this deponent was met by six men, disguised, in the road, who in appearance resembled Indians, but after some persuasion, consented in part and then went home with his horses and after returned with Joshua Hadley to a place about half a mile from this deponent?s house, where were assembled with himself nine persons, to-wit., James White, Junior, John White, Junior, William White, Robert Caruthers, Robert Davis, Benjamin Cochran, Joshua Hadley and William White, son of widow White, who all went thence disguised to Captain Phifer?s old muster ground where they found and stopped the waggons and enquired for the powder that was carrying to General Waddell. When in the waggon belonging to Col. Alexander they found the powder and took it out of the waggons, broke open the hogsheads and kegs that contained the powder, and set the same on fire and destroyed some blankets, leggins, kettles, and other things, and then dispersed soon after, having at this deponent first joining of them sworn him to secrecy as they informed who they all before, and further his deponent sayeth not.

James Ashmore James Ashmore?s activity was pardoned at the New Bern Council on 27 November 1771 by Governor Tryon. James left the political hotbed; on 25 September 1771 James and Elizabeth sold their land to Hezekaih James Balch and moved to Georgia. On 7 June 1774 James and Elizabeth received a land grant of 150 acres in St. Paul?s Parish (GA Folio 1077). On 1 February 1775 James and Elizabeth of Mecklenburg NC deeded the St. Paul?s Parish land to Robert Neilson and the money was received for them by Francis Ashmore.

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James Samuel Ashmore's Timeline

Lancaster County, Province of Pennsylvania
November 4, 1756
Age 18
Age 22
Age 23
Age 24
Age 26
Age 28
March 29, 1768
Age 30
Mecklenburg County, Province of North Carolina
Age 32
Age 32
Mecklenburg County, Province of North Carolina