John "Hunting" McDowell

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John "Hunting" McDowell

Also Known As: "Hunting John McDowell"
Birthplace: Tyrone, , Ireland
Death: Died in Pleasant Gardens, Burke, North Carolina, USA
Place of Burial: Pleasant Garden, Guilford County, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Charles McDowell McDowell; Charles McDowell; Rachel McDowell and Rachell McDowell
Husband of Annie Evans McDowell
Father of Rachel Matilda Carson; Dr. Joseph McDowell, of Pleasant Gardens; Ann Whitson; Anne Eaton; COL Joseph McDowell and 2 others
Brother of (unknown) McDowell; Ann Evans; Rachel Matilda Eagan; Mary Ann McPheeters; Mary Jane McDowell and 5 others

Managed by: Private User
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About John "Hunting" McDowell

"They built and occupied strings of cabins, because the few plank or boards used by them were sawed by hand and the nails driven into them were shaped in a blacksmith's shop. I have seen many old buildings, such as the old houses at Fort Defiance, the Lenoir house and Swan Ponds, where every plank was fastened by a wrought nail with a large round head-sometimes half an inch in diameter. From these houses the lordly old proprietors could in half an hour go to the water or the woods and provide fish, deer or turkeys to meet the whim of the lady of the house. They combined the pleasure of sport with the profit of providing their tables. . .. 'Hunting John' probably died in 1775." (Source: Western North Carolina: A History from 1730-1913, John Preston Arthur (1914) at 70-71.)

Col McDowell was the son of "Hunting" John McDowell, who received a Royal Land Grant from Governor Tryon on December 22, 1767 for 640 acres on the Catawba River a portion of which is the building site for this home. The McDowell House was identified in the 1982 Comprehensive Management Plan for the Overmountain Victory National HistoricTrail as one of only 34 non-federal historical resources directly or indirectly related to the Trail. As such it is eligible for Official certification as a designed site associated with the 330-mile long resource. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail was authorized by Congreee in September of 1980 and commemorates the Campaign of 1780 that led to American Patriot victory at Kings Mountain, South Carolina.

Ephram McDowell came to America with two nephews, John and Joseph McDowell. John, known as "Hunting John," was the father of Joseph, of the Revolution, who married Mary Moffett. Hunting John McDowell settled at Pleasant Gardens, and his brother, Joseph, settled at Quaker Meadows, and was the father of General Charles McDowell, who was the brother of Colonel Joseph, of the Revolution, known as "Major Joe, of Pleasant Gardens." Colonel Joseph of Quaker Meadows was married to Margaret Moffett, a sister of Mary, who married Major Joe, of Pleasant Gardens.

Source: N.C. Genealogy-McDowell (Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, North Carolina). ______________



  1. Details: Family and Descendents of William Wallace McDowell & Sarah Lucinda Smith McDowell, Frances Arthur McDowell (Compiler and Editor)

In 1748, "Hunting" John McDowell received a land grant for property known today as "Pleasant Gardens" including acreage originally located from Swan's Pond (Catawba County) up the Catawba River west to present day Marion and into the region known as Buck Creek. During a hunting expedition with his friend Henry Weidner, the two came upon a lush green valley with thousands upon thousands of acres of virgin forest. During that time, it was customary when settling a dispute to engage in a "friendly" wrestling match. McDowell came out the winner.

"Hunting" John McDowell received two land grants and after establishing residence along the Catawba River of Pleasant Gardens, raised his family. He is noted in Max Dixon's, "The Wautagans" as being instrumental in Jacob Brown's Purchase of one of the last remaining pieces of acreage along the Nolichucky River in Tennessee when he hosted a negotiation with the Cherokee on his farm in North Carolina.

His son, Joseph McDowell, is noted in history as a significant contributor to the "Battle at Kings Mountain". McDowell County is named in his honor. Today, his home stands as one of the few remaining homes in North Carolina still standing and built by its namesake.

The settlement of Old Fort was later established and it had become the westernmost outpost of Colonial civilization at the time. These early pioneers established a close community protected by a series of forts which remained active until the early 19th century. Thus, Old Fort.

In 1793, Colonel John Carson built a plantation house near Buck Creek in the Pleasant Gardens community, which still stands today as the Historic Carson House. He also operated gold mines in the southern part of the county. Colonel Carson was a significant historical figure in the American Revolutionary War.

Marion, the county seat of McDowell County, was planned and built on land selected by the first McDowell County Commissioners on March 14, 1844 at the Historic Carson House. It was not until 1845, however, that the official name of Marion was sanctioned as the county seat by the state legislature. The name of Marion came from Francis Marion, the American Revolutionary War hero, known as the SWAMP FOX and the man upon whom the movie, "The Patriot", was based.

McDowell County is rich in American Civil War History. The movie "Last of the Mohicans" was filmed along the shores of the picturesque Lake James. McDowell County was first formed in 1842 from parts of Burke County and Rutherford County. It was named for Joseph McDowell, a Revolutionary War leader and hero of the Battle of King's Mountain, and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1797 to 1799.

In 1861, parts of McDowell County, Burke County, Caldwell County, Watauga County, and Yancey County were combined to form Mitchell County.


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John "Hunting" McDowell's Timeline

Tyrone, , Ireland
Age 22
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Age 38
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States
February 25, 1758
Age 40
Age 40
Marion, McDowell County, North Carolina, United States
Age 42
Burke County, North Carolina, United States
Age 42
October 18, 1796
Age 78
Pleasant Gardens, Burke, North Carolina, USA
Age 78
Pleasant Garden, Guilford County, North Carolina, United States