From: Subject: RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Family Tree Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 06:59:33 -0800

Family Tree

Entries: 12585     Updated: 2009-03-11=20 00:07:08 UTC (Wed)    Contact: Dee Finney and Joe Mason at

Research done by John Gillion

He that planteth a tree is the servant of God,
He  provideth a kindness for many generations,
And faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.
-- Henry van Dyke

  • ID: I2055
  • Name: Robert Henry
  • Given Name: Robert
  • Surname: Henry
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 10 Feb 1765 in Tryon Co., North Carolina 1
  • Death: 6 Feb 1863 in Clay Co., North Carolina 1
  • Burial: Robert Henry Cemetery, Tusquittee, Clay Co., North Carolina
  • Event: Photo
  • Note:

    Robert Henry at 94 years of age.

  • Event: Autograph 1837

  • Robert Henry's signature from an 1837 bond issued as  part of the administration of the estate of his brother,  John Henry.

  • Event: Military Service Oct 1780 Kings Mountain,  Lincoln Co., North Carolina 2
  • Event: Grave Marker
  • Note:
    Robert Henry Born April 1765 Died 6 Feb 1863 Pioneer, Surveyor, Lawyer, Physician He was also the first school master  of Buncomb County and "Undoubtable" the last of the heroes of Kings = Mountain. Edward Bumcomb Chapter.

    Julia (born 10 Feb 1765 - died 1863), a slave belonging to Robert Henry, was buried next to him. She would not take her freedom when it was given to her. She stayed to serve Robert Henry. Julia was known in the Tusquittee area for her good Christian character.
  • Census: 1840 Cherokee Co., North Carolina
  • Note: Living alone, male 60-70
  • Event: Biographical Note
  • Note:

    In the office of the Secretary of  State in Raleigh,. there is a record of a land grant to Thomas Henry  for 168 acres located on the east side of the South Fork of the Catawba,  dated September 26,. 1766. Twelve years prior to this time, on February 28, 1754,. one had been issued to a William Henry down near the confluence of the South Fork and the Catawba, From the two families to  which these grants were made sprang the several Gaston County Revolutionary heroes of that name. It is known that Robert Henry was a son of Thomas Henry, who also saw Revolutionary service. One record states that Robert was born in Tryon County on February 10, 1765, another that he was born in Rowan County in a rail pen. It could easily have been in what was then Tryon County on the South Fork grant, for often lands were settled and entries made long before grants were issued.

    His father was from North Ireland and had instilled in his son that patriotism so characteristic of the Scotch-Irish., Robert was one of Major Chronicle's "South Fork boys," and though only sixteen at the time, he displayed such heroism at King's Mountain as to cover himself with undying glory. Near the beginning of the engagement, Major Chronicle was killed. Lieutenant Colonel Hambright, now leading the Gaston County men, pressed on and fought with great determination. Before reaching  the top of the hill, several of their number were killed by rifle balls. Then the enemy charged bayonet. Robert Henry had placed himself behind a log lying across a hollow and was firing from that position. While he was in the act of cocking his gun, a bayonet glanced along the barrel, passed through one of his hands, and penetrated his thigh. Henry, in the mix-up, he shot the Tory. He could not tell how it happened, but supposed that he must have touched the trigger and discharged his rifle. Evidently the ball cut a main artery of his antagonist,. as he bled profusely. Henry fell with the Tory to the ground, completely transfixed. Through a mist of powder smoke he saw many of his friends and neighbors, not more than a gun's length ahead of the Tory bayonets. He saw them fire with deadly effect upon their pursuers and retire to the bottom of the hill, quickly reloading and in turn chasing their enemies up the mountain. William Caldwell, another "South Fork boy," seeing Henry's predicament, pulled the bayonet out of his thigh... but finding it still fast in his hand gave the wounded hand a kick with his boot which loosed the instrument from its hold.

    Near the end of the battle, Henry, making his way to a branch to quench his thirst, met Colonel Graham on his large black horse, accompanied by. David Dicky After he had started home, he heard the firing and could not resist the temptation to return and take part in the battle. In this he was disappointed, for the fighting was over before he reached the scene. A little girl, Sarah, Colonel Graham's only child, was born that night.

    On Saturday evening, after the battle, Robert Henry was taken part of the way to his home on the South Fork. He was taken the remainder of the way on Sunday. Hugh Ewing and Andrew Berry, two of his near neighbors and friends, acted as his escorts, They left him, going on to their own homes for the night. Returning early Monday morning they found him much improved, owing to the effects of a poultice of  wet, warm ashes which his mother had applied to his wounds.

    While Ewing and Berry were still at the Henry home, several Tories, styling themselves as neutrals, called to learn the news of the battle. Ewing and Berry told them that Ferguson was really killed and his army defeated and taken prisoners. They were certain because they saw him after he was dead. Even the wounded Henry was carried to take a look at him. They told of the meeting near Gilbert Town when between six and seven  hundred went on ahead, leaving as many or more footmen to follow, and of the surrounding and defeat of Ferguson. The Tories were slow to believe that so few could have accomplished so much, but Ewing and Berry responded, "We are all of us blue hens' chickens - real fighters and no mistake." The Tories, not believing what they were told, said, "There must have been over four thousand in all. We see what you are about - that your aim is to catch Lord Cornwallis napping."

    The above conversation took place not more than two hours after sunrise on Monday, October 9th. The Tories then quickly took their departure. Swimming a horse across the swollen Catawba by the side of a canoe, they hastened to give Cornwallis his first news of Ferguson's defeat.

    It was accounts such as these, largely exaggerated by the fear-stricken Tories, which so alarmed the British commander that he sent out Tarleton to aid  Ferguson, if still alive, and which finally induced his Lordship to depart from Charlotte with all his army.

    Robert Henry was at Cowan's Ford and was near General William Davidson when he was killed. After the Revolution, Henry became a surveyor. In 1795 he surveyed and  made a plot of Matthew Leeper's land on the west bank of the Catawba. This  was a part of the James Leeper grant. Another part was sold by James Leeper, a son of the pioneer, to Isaac Henry about the beginning of the nineteenth century. The home site of Isaac was one of the most beautiful along the river. The building has long since fallen into decay, but the loveliness of the spot on a bluff overlooking the stream remains unsurpassed. The place is still known as the Henry lands.

    NOTE: Margaret Henry, daughter of Thomas Henry, was married to James Leeper III, Isaac Henry was son of Thomas Henry.

    Not until after the Revolution did the white occupation of North Carolina extend beyond the Blue Ridge. Subsequent to that time, among the first to cross and settle in the new county of Buncombe were General Charles McDowell, Colonel David Vance, grandfather of Zebulon B.Vance, and private Robert = Henry. Doubtless as a reward for their service at King's Mountain, they were appointed to run and mark the line between North Carolina and Tennessee. McDowell and Vance, were commissioners, and Henry was the surveyor, While on this work, Henry wrote the narrative of his own recollections and experiences at King's Mountain and Cowan's Ford. McDowell and Vance also wrote theirs and left them in the care of Henry. After his death, his son, William L. Henry, entrusted the manuscripts to the late Dr. J. F. E. Hanly, who sent them to Dr. Lyman C.. Draper of Wisconsin.  On the facts contained therein was largely based his Draper's "King's Mountain and its Heroes," published in 1880. This publication has been frequently drawn upon for incidents of the battle. After he completed his work as surveyor on the Tennessee-North Carolina line, Robert Henry studied law and was licensed to practice in July, 1802. He developed into a very able man and left his impress upon Buncombe County and Western North Carolina, where he spent his later years. He died on January 6, 1863, aged 98 years. He was the last of the heroes of King's Mountain.

    To him we are indebted for the preservation and part authorship of the most graphic and detailed account of the battles of King's Mountain and Cowan's Ford which now exist. On page 97 of  John Preston Arthur's "History of Western North Carolina" is a  picture of Robert Henry from a daguerrotype made in his 94th  year.

  • Event: Biographical Note
  • Note:
    Mr. Henry was born in a rail pen, in then Rowan,  now Iredell County, North Carolina, January 10th, 1765. Full of  patriotism though young, he shared in the trials and perils of the Revolution, and in due time recovered from the severe wounds he received at  King's Mountain. In 1795, he was one of the party who ran the boundary line between North Carolina and Tennessee. He subsequently studied law, and practiced his profession many years in Buncombe County. He served in the House of Commons in 1833 and 1834. He was a clear and forcible public speaker and his memory deserves to be held in grateful  remembrance for preserving the narrative of the King's Mountain campaign and  battle, so frequently cited in this work. He died in the new County of Clay, North Carolina, January 6th, 1863, within four days of attaining the patriarchal age of ninety-eight years and he was undoubtedly the last of the heroes of King's Mountain.

    "Robert Henry lived in the vicinity of Tuckaseage Ford, on the Catawba River, which is about ten miles below Cowan's Ford, when Cornwallis crossed at the latter ford. He lived on the West side of the river in Lincoln County. For many years, he owned the White Sulphur Springs about five miles South west of Asheville. It was a popular resort in the summer for the wealthy planters from the South and was the scene of much gayety and pleasure. Mr. Henry died in Clay County, the extreme Western county of the  State, bordering on Georgia and Tennessee. I have myself heard my grandfather Michael Schenck, of Lincolnton, N. C. speak of Mr. Henry as 'a great land lawyer'. His practice as a surveyor, no doubt, making him formidable in such suits."
  • Event: Biographical Note
  • Note:
    Pioneer led historical life (by Lois Tomas, Staff Writer)

    One day Robert Henry, of Tusquittee was walking about as was his custom. As he crossed a small rushing creek flowing down the mountain into Tusquittee Creek, he dropped his compass into the  water. From that point on, the creek in which Robert Henry lost his compass became known as Compass Creek. This is according to the North Carolina Gazetteer, a book about the origin of place names throughout the state. The naming of Compass Creek was not the extent of Robert Henry's  accomplishments. The Revoluntionary War hero lived 98 years and amassed a number of historic achievements. Robert Henry is buried in a field in upper Tusquittee, not too far from Compass Creek. According to the weathered tombstone that marks his grave, he was born April 1765 and died February 1863.

    Henry reportedly predicted the exact time of his death according to his grandson, E.L. Henry. In an account of the prediction in a 1965 edition of an Asheville newspaper, E.L. writes that "grandsire", as Robert Henry was called by his grandchildren,  refused to let his cousin and neighbor George Marstellar borrow some of his slaves.

    E.L., who was 10, told Marstellar, "Grandsire said for me to come and tell you that you cannot have one of his Negroes  tomorrow because he will die at two o'clock today and they will be busy  burying him."

    Robert Henry, who was described as tall and thin with stooping shoulders and coarse features, was considered very healthy.

    E.L. said his grandfather ate a hearty dinner, talked for a while, and laid down on a bearskin spread on the floor.  When two o'clock arrived, his grandchildren remarked that Robert Henry  was still alive.

    Robert Henry directed his family to stretch out his body and in a moment he was dead.

    Robert Henry was born to Thomas Henry and Martha Isabella Shields. His father was of Scotch-Irish lineage, born in northern Ireland.

    Thomas and Martha had seven children, five sons and two daughters. Robert, the third youngest, was born in a rail pen near the present day town of  Tryon.

    Settlers would protect their cattle from wild animals by building a split-rail wooden fence. This was known as a rail pen.

    When Robert Henry was very young, he was bitten by a rabid fox. His father was said to be so worried about his son having a fit and doing harm to his family, that he took Robert along with him. It was on one of these journeys away from home that placed Robert at a pivotal even in American history.

    Thomas Henry actively supported the drive for American Independence. He took part in a historic meeting in Charlotte,  NC in which the Mecklenburg Declaration was read and ratified for the first time.

    Robert Henry awoke from a nap in time to hear talk about "declaring for liberty" and "passing resolutions of freedom."  The day was May 19, 1775.

    Robert Henry was called to service to the new nation of the United States when he fought in the battle of King's Mountain. This is considered one of the most important battles fought in the Revolutionary War. A victory by the Americans here turned = the tide of the war in the south.

    In a narrative written about the battle, Robert Henry described the battle from his perspective

    "We then advanced up the hill close to the Tory lines," Henry wrote. "There was a log across the hollow that I took my stand by. Stepping one step back, I was safe from British fire. I there remained until the British charged with Bayonets."
    Henry had stepped back and was cocking his gun when one of the British soldiers thrust a bayonet along the barrel of Henry's gun, into his hand and thigh.

    The bayonet blade was pulled from Henry's thigh but remained dangling from his hand. A fellow soldier kicked it loose, causing excruciating pain. The British soldier who had wounded him lay dead, killed from the blast of Henry's weapon.

    Henry was one of the first to move into the Swannanoa Settlements, coming around 1783. The first schoolmaster west of  the Blue Ridge line, Henry taught at Union Hill Academy.

    He became a surveyor by trade. In 1799, he was one of two surveyors hired to determine the Tennessee - North Carolina border. The boundaries drawn by Henry have never been contested.

    This venture drew Henry into the practice of law. When admitted into the practice, he became the first lawyer to live in the western part of the state.

    He gained a reputation for defending criminals, apparently successfully, as a colleague stated. Henry also studied medicine, becoming a physician.

    In 1809, Henry married Dorcas Bell Love, the daughter of Col. Love, who helped found Waynesville. Henry was 46 and his  bride was 12. Dorcas bore six children.

    Henry moved to Clay County in 1859. He was divorced. At the time of the 1860 census, he reported his age as 94.

    Henry is described in many accounts as being an eccentric, a man that would rather walk then ride his horses. He emulated the ways of the Cherokee instead of the ways of the white.

    It is said Henry preferred 'low company' and was fond of whiskey. He disliked shoes, always wore moccasins and was given to mispronunciations of words.

    He owned slaves, many of whom are buried near him in graves marked by an unadorned stone. One of these is Julia, reportedly a woman of Christian faith and values. Henry gave her freedom and built a home for her near the ridge in Tusquittee that bears  her name.

    Henry was one of the first white settlers in Clay County. It is said in the course of his life, he lived through the terms of the first 16 presidents of the United States. He died while Jefferson Davis served as head of the Confederate States.

    Henry also saw the creation of the county of Clay in 1861.

    In 1928, the Clay County News suggested a day in the summer be set aside to pay tribute to Robert Henry. Nothing came of that effort, with the exception of a poem written by R. E. Crawford. "Among the whispering pines, a lonely grave there be. They whisper day and night, "Honor to Bob Henry." Note: Thanks  to Don Taylor of Canton, NC, the great great grandson of Robert Henry, for his help in providing articles and photographs."
  • _UID: C85054FBDAAC48A4BA45CB5528AAAE5AD229
  • Change Date: 7 Jan 2006 at 07:46

    Father: Thomas Henry b: Abt 1719 in Northern Ireland
    Mother: Isabella b: Abt 1728

    Marriage 1 Dorcas Bell Love b: Abt 1797
    • Married: 1809
    • Change Date: 20 May 2004

    1. Media: Letter
      Abbrev: Hardy, Dr. J. F. E.
      Title: Letter to Dr. J. F. E. Hardy from William L. Henry
      Author: William L. Henry
      Text: To Dr. J. F. E. Hardy.
      Asheville, N. C.

      My Dear Sir and Kind Friend;
      I send you the MS of my father, ROBERT HENRY. He was born in Tryon (now Lincoln) county, N. C. in a roll pen, 10th February, 1765; was a lawyer and surveyor by profession; was one of the first settlers in Buncombe county; taught School on Swannanoa, the first school taught in Buncombe county. He died in Clay county,  N. C February 6th, 1863; wanting but four days of being 98 years old. THOMAS HENRY, his father, died soon after the Revolution, of rheumatism contracted during the war. THOMAS HENRY was from the North of Ireland.
      I do not want this manuscript lost, as you see it is in ROBERT HENRY'S own hand, and a little relic. If not used, I should like it should be returned to.

      WM. L. HENRY
      Buncombe County, N. C.
    2. Media: History
      Abbrev: History of Lincoln  County
    3. Abbrev: History of Gaston County
      Title: History of Gaston County
      Author: Minnie Stowe Puett (1871-1945)
      Publication:  Call Number : F262.G2 P8 1998 Publisher : Charlotte, N.C. : Laney-Smith ; Belmont, N.C. : Distributed by Daniel Jonathan Stowe Foundation,  1998.

      Description : 222 p. : ill. (some col.), map ; 24 cm. Notes : Originally published: Charlotte, N.C. : Observer Print. House, 1939.
      Map of Gaston county on back endpapers.
      Includes index.
      ISBN : 0962448885 DBCN : ABR-2797
      Page: pp20 135-141
      Quality: 3
      Date: 9 Sep 2002
    4. Abbrev: Kings Mountain and Its Heroes
      Title: Kings = Mountain and Its Heroes
      Author: Lyman C. Draper, LL. D.
      Publication: Originally published in 1881, reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD.

  • WARNING: Please read my disclaimer. Information posted here is for purposes of family collaboration.
    Data may be unproven, incomplete, or incorrect. You = must rely=20 on your own research! Feedback is = welcomed!




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