Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fierce Patriot of the American Revolutionary War: Colonel James Dougan

The North Carolina Militia probably dressed like these men, but they could load and shoot three times a minute.
There were five Dougan brothers living in North Carolina Colony when the American Revolution began. Four of them served with American forces.  Many of our ancestors came from southern England, but the Dougans were what we call Scots-Irish, although they called themselves Anglo-Irish, their ancestors having left the Scottish lowlands for northern Ireland probably in Elizabethan times or when Cromwell was in power in the 17th century.  It's possible the Dougans had originated in Ireland and became Protestant, but since the name is found in the Scottish lowlands, I'll assume this particular family was originally Scot. On their mother, Mary Kerr's side, these five brothers were descended from Border Scottish, who had always been a warlike people. Both sides of this family would have spoken English, not Gaelic, although when their families settled in Pennsylvania, the Quakers had difficulty understanding their lilting cadence. They came not as indentured servants, but paid their way in large groups, most Anglo-Irish arriving between 1717 and 1776.

When the Anglo-Irish began arriving in Philadelphia in 1717, a Philadelphia Quaker named Jonathan Dickinson complained that the streets of the his city were teeming with "a swarm of people . . . strangers to our Laws and Customs, and even to our language." The new immigrants dressed in outlandish ways. The men were tall and lean, with hard, weather-beaten faces. They wore felt hats, loose sackcloth shirts close-belted at the waist, baggy trousers, thick yarn stockings and wooden shoes "shod like horses feet with iron." The young women startled Quaker Philadelphians by the sensuous appearance of their full bodices, tight waists, bare legs and skirts as scandalously short as an English under-shift. The older women came ashore in long dresses of a curious cut. Some buried their faces in full-sided bonnets; others folded handkerchiefs over their heads in quaint and foreign patterns.  Quoted from Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer, p 605-6.

A further word about the Borderers and the Anglo-Irish who immigrated to America during the 18th century.  They were poor, but proud. And that fierce and stubborn pride became a cultural fact of high importance in the American region they came to dominate - the western backcountry of the colonies and the expanding frontier. Years later a Borderer descendant was heard to pray, "Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn." They were mostly Presbyterian and their variant golden rule was "Do unto others as they threaten to do unto you." They were clannish, carried knives and guns and didn't trust the government.

The Quakers found these new immigrants so disconcerting and prone to violence, they encouraged them to settle in the "back parts" of Pennsylvania Colony, hoping to make them a frontier buffer between themselves and the Indians. As stated in my previous blog, the immigrant Dougans settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, before emigrating south to Guilford County (later Randolph County),North Carolina. 
Randolph County, North Carolina ,where the Dougans lived, still part of Guilford County in 1776.

Now we'll turn to our 5th great-grandfather, James Dougan (1754-1837). Below is a summary of his application for a Revolutionary War pension, which was granted subsequent to his death in Winchester, Franklin County, Tennessee.

 James Dougan S3306, Franklin County, West Tennessee #26596, $201.66/year, issued 19 March 1834. James Dougan aged 80 years last January states: I was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on 6 January1754, according to a copy of the family record which is in my possession. In 1776 I was a resident of Guilford County, North Carolina, and volunteered for three months as an ensign under Capt. John Collier in an operation against the Cherokee Indians. The regiment was organized at Guilford court house and was commanded by Colonel Martin. We marched through Salisbury and met with other troops at the mulberry fields on the Catawba, commanded by Colonel Griffith Rutherford, and crossed the Blue Ridge, marching against Indian Towns on the headwaters of the Tennessee River. We remained several weeks, marching from town to town, destroying towns and their growing crops. The Indians having fled, we remained in Indian Country several weeks, marching from town to town, eating up and destroying the Indian crops. After performing this service, I returned home, having served a full term of three months, for which I got a discharge.
Catawba River, North Carolina

 [Note: The Cherokee Nation followed Great Britain's order to attack settlers on the southern frontier, and struck first. Virginia and South Carolina raised militias, and North Carolina sent Rutherford with 2400 militia to scour the Oconaluftee and Tuckasegge river valleys, and the headwaters of the Little Tennessee and Hiwassee. Not long after leaving Fort McGahey on July 23, Rutherford's militia, accompanied by a large contingent of Catawba warriors, encountered an ambush by the Cherokee at the Battle of Cowee Gap in what is now western North Carolina. After defeating the attackers, he proceeded to a designated rendezvous with the South Carolina militia (which had also been sweeping through Cherokee towns). Rutherford's militia traversed Swannanoa Gap in the Blue Ridge on September 1, and reached the outskirts of the Out, Valley, and Middle Towns on September 14, where they started burning towns and crops. In all, Williamson, Pickens, and Rutherford destroyed more than 50 towns, burned the houses and food stores, destroyed the orchards, slaughtered livestock, and killed hundreds of Cherokee. They sold captives into slavery, and of these many were transported to the Caribbean.]
James Dougan's summary continues: In 1777 I again volunteered to serve another three months as an Ensign under Capt. Robert Bell. We rendezvoused at Salisbury, where the regiment was commanded by Francis Locke and marched to Camden, South Carolina, where we remained until our three-month term of service expired and I was discharged. All troops were commanded by General Rutherford. [Biography of General Griffith Rutherford, another immigrant from Northern Ireland HERE]

 In 1779 James Dougan volunteered for five months and served as Lieutenant, serving under Capt. Enoch Davis in Col. Locke's Regiment, General Rutherford's Brigade:We rendezvoused at Salisbury and marched to Purrysburg, South Carolina, then the headquarters of the American Army Commanded by General John Ashe.  
Purrysburg is in Jasper County, South Carolina

During our stay at this place, our detachment under command of Ebert was cut off from the army at the Savannah River. We engaged in battle at Brier Creek, in eastern Georgia, in which the Americans were defeated.  Afterward, I joined a detachment that engaged a group of the enemy marauding along the Savannah River, which we defeated in battle. Captain Wilson had command of troops at the battle and later of a picket guard at the White House [headquarters?] where we remained, performing camp and garrison duties. After my discharge I returned home with William Gray, a private. [Battle of Brier Creek HERE]
Battle of Briers Creek was in Screven County, Georgia
In 1780, now a Major in the militia of newly-created Randolph County (out of Guilford Co.), North Carolina, Dougan volunteered to serve for three months in Collier's Regiment: We rendezvoused at Salisbury and then marched into South Carolina. The [militia] brigade was under the command of General [Caswell] and General Horatio Gates was at Rugeley's Mills. The enemy's headquarters under General Cornwallis was at Camden.  The two armies met about equidistant between these two camps. [The Battle of Camden]  The American army being defeated, it dispersed and I returned home. 

The Battle of Camden was in Kershaw County, S.C.

 General [Caswell] having orders for the troops to reassemble, I rendezvoused at Hillsboro [North Carolina] under this officer. I served in the neighborhood and in Rowan County, watching the motions of the enemy and guarding the county until my term of service was over and I was regularly discharged.

The Battle of Camden on 18 August 1780 was the worst defeat for the Americans in the Revolution and we should be truly glad our 5th great-grandfather survived it, else we wouldn't be here. James Dougan was a major, but we don't know how many men he actually commanded in the battle. Holding its ground until after the Virginia militia fled, the North Carolina militia suffered 63 killed, and 82 wounded and captured by the British. Was our ancestor heroic? I expect he was. He also must have had a fast horse to escape Tarleton's cavalry that harried the escaping Americans. Read about the Battle of Camden HERE 

Here is the summary of Colonel James Dougan's military service on the website Patriot Leaders in North Carolina:

1776, James Dougan was commissioned as an Ensign under Capt. John Collier and Col. James Martin in the Guilford County Regiment of Militia. This unit marched with Brig. Gen. Griffith Rutherford in the Cherokee Expedition of August to November of 1776.
1777, James Dougan was an Ensign under Capt. Robert Bell and Col. James Martin in the Guilford County Regiment of Militia.
In October of 1778, James Dougan was commissioned as a Lieutenant under Capt. Enoch Davis and Lt. Colonel John Peasley in the Guilford County Regiment of Militia, both attached to Col. Francis Locke of the Rowan County Regiment of Militia during the Purrysburg, SC expedition. This unit participated in the battle of Briar Creek, GA on 3/3/1779. This unit returned home in April of 1779.
On 2/2/1779, the NC General Assembly created Randolph County out of Guilford County. When Lt. James Dougan returned home from the Purrysburg, SC expedition he was now living in Randolph County. It is entirely probable that he was commissioned as a Captain in the Randolph County Regiment of Militia in 1779 or 1780, but there is no record of it, nor does he mention it in his later federal pension application.
1780, James Dougan was commissioned as a Major under Col. John Collier in the Randolph County Regiment of Militia, and both officers participated in the battles of Little Lynches Creek, SC (8/11/1780) and Camden, SC (8/16/1780).
In the 1Q of 1781, James Dougan was commissioned as a Lt. Colonel under Col. John Collier in the Randolph County Regiment of Militia. Lt. Col. James Dougan led the Randolph County Regiment of Militia at the battles of Guilford Court House (3/15/1781) and Raft Swamp (10/15/1781).
On 5/12/1782, Col. John Collier resigned and soon thereafter James Dougan was commissioned as a full Colonel in the Randolph County, alongside Col. Edward Sharpe. Col. James Dougan resigned in early 1783, and he was replaced by Col. Thomas Dougan, his brother.
 In James's pension application, his brother, the Rev. Robert Dougan of Franklin County, aged 69 the following December, vouched for him. Micah Taul and James Keith vouched for both the Dougans' reputations and character. On 16 March 1834 John B. Forester, Congressman, certified that he was acquainted with James and Rev. Robert Dougan and vouched for them.
Our 5th great-grandfather's signature on his pension application, age 80
In 1780, either before or after the Battle of Camden, James Dougan married Hannah Sharp (b. 1760 Somerset County, Pennsylvania - d. 1831 Franklin Co., Tennessee). They married in Randolph County, North Carolina. He had purchased in 1779 an additional 100 acres "on the south side of Deep River adjoining his own deeded land."  In 1784 James Dougan was a county commissioner, assisting in deciding where to build a courthouse (its first court session held in 1786) in what became the town of Johnsonville, platted on 600 acres owned by his brother Thomas Dougan. In 1788 James was granted a war bounty of 3000 acres on the Obion River in western Tennessee (unsettled by whites).  By the 1790 census, he and Hannah already had five sons and two daughters. In 1791 they left North Carolina for what I think was Sumner County, Tennessee, where they lived three years. His brother Robert married there and they seemed to move about as a clan.
Sumner County, Tennessee

They removed to Logan County, Kentucky, where their house and goods burned, including James's military discharges. 
Logan County, Kenucky, just above Sumner Co. Tennessee

About 1806 or 1807 they settled in what became Franklin County, Tennessee. 
Franklin County, Tennessee, established in 1808
 Because James Dougan had died 10 Feb. 1837, in Winchester, Franklin County, Tennessee, a 26 July 1838 Note in the pension file shows that payment was made to Mary Noe, a child of James Dougan, for $210.66.

I'll write about his brothers' services in the American Revolution in my next blog and how so many of the Dougans moved as a clan to that war bounty land in western Tennessee and then up to Indiana.

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