James Samuel Ashmore (c.1738 - 1785)

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Birthplace: Lancaster, PA, USA
Death: Died
Managed by: Tamra Lee Hays
Last Updated:

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.

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James Samuel Ashmore's Timeline

1738
1738
Lancaster, PA, USA
1756
November 4, 1756
Age 18
1760
1760
Age 22
1761
1761
Age 23
1762
1762
Age 24
1764
1764
Age 26
1766
1766
Age 28
1769
1769
Age 31
1770
1770
Age 32
1771
1771
Age 33