FAMILY OF CAPTAIN BENJAMIN MERRELL AND JEMIMA SMITH
CAPTAIN BENJAMIN MERRILL was born about 1731 in Monmouth/Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and died June 19, 1771 in the yard of the Guilford Co., North Carolina courthouse. He married JEMIMA SMITH before 1748 in New Jersey, daughter of ANDREW SMITH and ANNA MERSHON. She died about 1803 in Rowan County, North Carolina. Per Pat Trask of California, they moved to Rowan County, North Carolina about 1757. He was head of the North Carolina Regulators and was hanged by Governor Tyron in the courtyard of the Guilford County, North Carolina Courthouse for insurrection against the Crown of England. Captain Merrill was a farmer and blacksmith/gunsmith.
BENJAMIN MERRILL AND THE MERRILL FAMILY OF NORTH CAROLINA" BY WILLIAM
ERNEST MERRILL, M.S.
CHAPTER I -
Benjamin Merrill, one of the first North Carolinians to give his life for the
sake of Liberty, was hanged (North Carolina Colonial Records, Vol. S, Pgs
643-648) by the British at the Courthouse in Hillsborough on the 19th day of
descent from Richard Merrill is questionable.) He was a descendant of
Richard Merrill ('Annuals of Staten Island', pgs 105-107 by J.J. Clute) who had
come across form England about 1665 to make a home in the New World.
The freedom loving and adventurous spirit which marked his ancestors as
far back as 1572 was very clearly shown in the life of Benjamin Merrill, for he,
in his turn, left his home in Hopewell, New Jersey to make a journey into a far
and little known southland, where he encountered many hardships and became known
as a courageous and distinguished man. Perhaps
another reason, other than adventure, for his departure from New Jersey was the
fact that his father died without giving him
a plantation as was the custom of that day.
Benjamin's southern journey ended in the Jersey Settlement of Rowan
County, now Davidson County, North Carolina.
This particular part of the old North State was supposed to have been
settled by a group of New Jersey Baptists.
The Merrill plantation was located about two miles east of the Jersey
Church and on the edge of the settlement, which was about five miles south of
the now prosperous little city of Lexington.
Land records (Deed Book 4, pgs. 363-365, Rowan County) show that he
purchased 1042 acres in the Parish of St. Luke on the north side of the Yadkin
River from George Smith on September 9 and 10, 1760.
The old plantation home was surrounded by a grove of beautiful and
majestic oaks and cedars. One old
cedar stands today to mark the old house place.
One writer (Henry Sheets, 'History of the Liberty Baptist Association'
pg. 159) laments the fact that these venerable old trees cannot speak, for they
could tell us much valuable history of the eventful years between 1760 and 1800.
Tradition says that Benjamin was a gunsmith and that a small creek at the
foot of the hill near where his residence stood afforded the power necessary to
operate the simple machinery used in boring out the barrels.
In the evening, he would arrange a barrel for boring, start his crude
machinery and leave it running all night. By
morning, the barrel was ready for the next step in its manufacture.
We know that our
hero was in the Jersey Settlement by 1756, four years before any land deeds were
recorded, for 'on January 24, 1756, Benjamin Merrill and others (were) named to
appear (in court) to show reasons for not going out against the Owens, who it
was thought committed several misdemeanors, etc. (Rowan County Minutes, 1756).
We know further that he was a young married man when he started to North
Carolina. He had married Jemima Smith, the daughter of Andrew Smith
(Andrew Smith's will proved 1794, Liber 25, Folio 114.
Department of State, Hopewell, New Jersey) of Hopewell, New Jersey, and
their second son, John (Pension Records of John Merrill, claim number S.7220,
Veterans Administration, Washington), was born at Hopewell on December 11, 1750.
It is evident that the dangerous and weary trip to North Carolina Came in
the five years between 1751 and 1756."
NEGLECTED HISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA" BY WILLIAM EDWARDS FITCH, M.D., PAGES
One of the most
amusing incidents of Tyron's Campaign occurred on June 1, 1771, just after the
army crossed Abbott's Creek and went into the camp on Benjamin Merrill's
plantation, a valuable tract of well cultivated land in the Jersey settlement,
near the Yadkin River. The horses
belonging to the army had been turned loose at night to graze, each animal
having a bell tied to its neck to aid in finding any which might stray.
In the immediate neighborhood was the residence, gardens and grounds of
Benjamin Merrill, a planter, who owned and took a great deal of pride in an
extensive apiary which was located in the gardens.
A foraging party from Tyron's army were attempting to steal honey from
this place, and in the darkness, several beehives were overturned and the bees
began stinging both men and horses. The
horses thereupon began to run pell-mell at a full gallop around and through the
camp, ringing several hundred discordant bells, the sound of which made the
night hideous. The sentinels,
guards and pickets fired off their pieces, and the cry "Stand your
arms" rung throughout the camp. Tyron
no doubt thought all the regulators in the world had suddenly swooped down upon
him. However, in the cause of the
tumult was soon ascertained and quiet was restored.
(State Records of North Carolina, Vol. 19, p. 849).
Captain Messer, who,
as you remember, was captured just after the Battle of Alamance, along with the
poor unfortunate few, who was hanged on the battlefield without trial by jury or
by court martial, was to have been hanged the following day, but owing to a very
affecting incident already noted, he was reserved for the Hillsborough fete,
June 19, 1771.
Merrill, of the Jersey settlements, near Salisbury, was another of the
unfortunate victims of Tyron's brutal tyranny.
He was on his way to join the Regulators at Alamance with a company of
more than 300 men, when he intercepted General Hugh Waddell and forced him to
flee to Salisbury, after taking most of his command prisoners.
Captain Merrill was within one day's march of the Alamance when he heard
the cannonading, and soon afterwards heard of the victory of the Governor's
(Tyron's) army. He is said to have
regretted that he was not present with his men to have bled with those who
fought for liberty.
After hearing of the
defeat of his comrades, he disbanded his men and returned home.
He was taken prisoner (State Records of N.C., Vol. 19, p. 849) by a detachment
under Colonel Fanning, and brought to Tyron's army, encamped at the "Jersey
Settlement Camp", on Saturday, June 1, 1771; put in chains with the other
prisoners, and dragged through the country to Hillsborough, where with his life
he paid the forfeit. In this trying
situation, he gave his friends satisfactory evidence that he was prepared to
die, for he not only professed his faith in Christ, his hope of heaven, and his
willingness to go, but sang a psalm very devoutly, like the Covenanters in the
grass market in Edinburgh, and died like a Christian and Soldier. On being permitted to speak just before the execution, he
said that fifteen years before, he had been converted, but had back-slidden, yet
now felt that he was freely forgiven and that he would not change places with
any ones on the grounds. In
conclusion, he referred feelingly to his wife and eight children, saying,
"I entreat that no reflection be cast upon them on my account" and
requested that some part of his estate be spared for the widow and the
fatherless. It is said that one of
Tyron's soldiers was heard to declare that if all men went to the gallows with a
character such as Captain Merrill's "hanging would be an honorable
If Captain Merrill
with his 300 men had reached the Alamance the day before the battle, the
Regulators would have had a commanding officer and the result might have been
quite different from what it was. These
men might have been rash, but they were not cowards; they may have been
imprudent, but they were suffering under wrong and outrage, and the withholding
of justice and the proper excise of the law.
"And if oppression and extortion will make a wise man mad,"
then ten years of oppression and extortion which these men suffered would have
proved them fit for subjection had they been submissive.
Governor Tyron with
his own hand fired the first shot at the Battle of Alamance, which killed Robert
Thompson, the first to die at Alamance, Thursday, May 16, 1771.
It was here that the first blood was shed for American freedom and
independence; it was here that the British first met the Americans - The
Regulators, on the battlefield. The Battle of Almance, not the Battle of Lexington was the
first battle of the Revolutionary War.
THESE ACCOUNTS WERE
SENT TO ME BY PAT TRASK OF CALIFORNIA
PAGE 529 -
...In the last letter I received from Mr. Tyron relative to the affairs of North
Carolina, and which is dated from New York, he expresses a wish that the
plantation and estate of Benjamin Merrill, a Captain of the Militia, and who was
one of the six rebels executed on the 19th of June may be granted to a wife and
eight children he left behind him, and I have it in command from the King to
signify to you His Majesty's pleasure, that you do accordingly take the proper
measures that whatever property belonging to that unhappy person became
forfeited to the Crown by his Conviction, should be regranted to his Widow and
FROM INFO RECEIVED
OF LINDA MCCREARY OF ALABAMA
A gunsmith and
deacon of Baptist church in Rowan Co. Purchased
1042 acres in St. Luke Parish - his plantation was about 5 miles south of
Lexington, NC - there is a monument to Capt. Ben. Merrell in the courthouse
square in Lexington, NC
COLONIAL RECORDS OF NORTH CAROLINA BY WILLIAM L. SAUNDERS, SECRETARY OF STATE,
VOL. VIII - 1769 TO 1771
From Ms. Records in the Office of the Secretary of State.
Whereas, I am
informed that many Persons who have been concerned in the late Rebellion are
desirous of submitting themselves to Government, I do therefore give notice that
every Person who will come in, either to mine or General Waddell's Camp, lay
down their Arms, take the Oath of Allegiance, and promise to pay all Taxes that
are now due or may hereafter become due by them respectively,
and submit to the Laws of this Country, shall have His Majesty's most
gracious and free pardon for all Treasons Insurrections and Rebellions done or
committed on or before the 16th Inst., provided they make their submission
aforesaid on or before the 10th of June next.
The following Persons are however excepted from the Benefit of this
Proclamation, Viz. All the Outlaws, the prisoners in Camp, and the undernamed
persons, Samuel Jones, Joshua Teague, Samuel Waggoner, Simon Dunn, Jr., Abraham
Creson, Benjamin Merrill, James Wilkerson, Sr., Edward Smith, John Bumpass,
Joseph Boring, William Rankin, William Robeson, John Winkler and John Wilcox.
Given under my Hand
and the Great Seal of the said Province at Kaiway Camp this 31st May A. Dom.
Wm. Tyron, God Save
pp. 617-618 From Ms.
Records in Office of Secretary of State
Whereas I am
informed that many Persons who have been concerned in the late Rebellion are
desirous of submitting themselves to Government, I do therefore give Notice that
every Person who will come in either to mine or General Waddell's Camp, lay down
their Arms, take the Oath of Allegiance and promise to pay all Taxes that are
now due or may hereafter become due by them respectively and submit to the Laws
of this Country shall have His Majesty's most Gracious and Free Pardon for all
Treasons, Insurrections and Rebellions done or committed on or before the
Sixteenth of May last.
make their submission aforesaid on or before the Tenth of July next; the
following Persons are however excepted from the Benefit of this Proclamation,
Viz., all the Outlaws, the Prisoners, all those concerned in blowing up General
Waddell's Ammunition in Mecklenburg County, and the under named Persons to wit,
Samuel Jones, Joshua Teague, Samuel Waggoner, Simon Dunn, Jr., Abraham Creson,
Benjamin Merrill, James Wilkerson Sen., Edward Smith, John Bumpass, Joseph
Boring, William Rankin, William Robeson, John Winkler, John Wilcox, Jacob Felker
and Thomas Person.
Given under my
Hand and the Great Seal of the Province, this eleventh day of June A. Dom. 1771.
(Signed) Wm. Tyron, God save the King.
p. 639 - If the
foregoing Letter contains the Truth of Facts, what a Pity it is that Benevolus
in his Harangue in the Massachusetts Gazette last Thursday, has been so
impolitic as to couple Tyron and H---n or rather that his glorious Triumvirate
should consist of Bernard, H--- and Tyron.
from North Carolina we are informed, that Captain Benjamin Merrill, who was
lately executed for high Treason in opposing the Career of Governor Tyron, died
in the most heroic Manner, his Children being around him and animating him at
the Place of his Execution. He
declared that he died in Peace with his Maker, and in the Cause of his oppressed
Countrymen; and that he would not exchange Conditions with even the Governor
has been addressed in New York, with all the expression of Court Sincerity.
In answer to
your Petition, I am to acquaint you that I have ever been attentive to the true
interest of this Country, and to that of every Individual residing within it;
lament the fatal necessity to which you have reduced me, by withdrawing
yourselves from the Mercy of the Crown and the Laws of your Country, to require
you who are assembled as Regulators, to lay down your Arms, surrender up the
outlawed Ringleaders, and submit yourselves to the Laws of your Country, and
then rest on the lenity and mercy of Government: By accepting Terms in one Hour from the delivery of this
Dispatch you will prevent effusion of Blood, as you are at this Time in a state
of War and Rebellion against your King, your Country and your Laws.
observable that the Governor does not vouchsafe, even at so critical a time,
when the effusion of Blood might have been prevented, and the honor of the
government saved by it, to give them the least encouragement, that he would hear
their petitions or redress their grievances; but on the contrary, if the
following article from the Philadelphia Papers may be credited, he fired upon
them with his artillery in breach of his own Terms:
Extract of a
Letter from the back parts of North Carolina, May 26.
Governor Tyron had been as fond of checking the officers of government for their
unheard of oppressions to the poor back inhabitants, as he was of shooting these
unhappy people, Carolina would not now have felt the horrors of her children
murdering one another. He pretended
to give the oppressed people two hours to consider, whether they would fight or
surrender, but as soon as their chief men got into a consultation, he began with
a dreadful fire on them, from his artillery, with grape-shot, which did great
Court of Oyer and Terminer, for the Tryal of the Regulators in the Back Country,
began in Hillsborough the 30th of May, and continued to the 20th of this Instant
June; during which, Twelve were tryed, and condemned for High Treason.
The Governor was pleased to suspend the Execution of Six, till his
Majesty's Pleasure be known; the other Six were executed on Wednesday, the 19th
Inst. at Hillsborough. Among these
last, the most distinguished was Benjamin Merrill, who had been a Captain of the
Militia in Rowan County.
When the Chief
Justice passed Sentence, he concluded in the following manner:
"I must now
close my afflicting Duty, by pronouncing upon you the awful Sentence of the Law;
which is, that you Benjamin Merrill, be carried to the Place from whence you
came, that you be drawn from thence to the Place of Execution, where you are to
be hanged by the Neck; that you be cut down while yet alive, that your Bowels be
taken out and burnt before your Face, that your Head be cut off, your Body
divided into Four Quarters, and this to be at his Majesty's Disposal; and the
Lord have Mercy on your Soul."
next follows an accounting of the events leading up to the trial from
which I will excerpt..."Thus they marched till they crossed the Alamance
Run, in Orange County, on the 16th of May, 1771, without any opposition:
There the 4,000 rebels met them, and sent James Hunter and Benjamin
Merril with a petition to the Governor, and orders to treat with his Honour for
peace: To which the Governor
answered by his Aid de Camp, that the people must come in, deliver up their
arms, pay off their taxes, swear to be subject to all laws of their country, and
deliver such men as he should name to be put to death, otherwise there would be
bloodshed in one hour and ten minutes. Before
the expiration of the time the Aid de Camp returned, and asked if they wanted
more time; they answered, Yes: He
then promised to get them two hours more, which gave the people great hopes of
an accommodation. They army, during
this, was marching up, and the people moved off to give them room; and as soon
as the Aid de Camp returned, a field piece was fired in the midst of the people,
which killed one man, and frightened 3,700 from off the ground, leaving only 300
to settle the matter, who returned the fire briskly for some time, when the Governor
hung out a flag, and beat a parley; but they, knowing nothing of the mode of
war, continued their fire, on which the Governor concluded that they were
determined to give no quarter, and again fired on them, which continued about
two hours and a quarter, when Hunter and his men fled, and left the field to the
Governor. How many of the country
were killed is uncertain; however, this we know, that there are but thirty
missing: Some say there was but
nine killed, and that the Governor lost a great number of men; how that matter
is, time only must show. The
Governor took some prisoners, of whom he hanged seven:
The first man was hanged in the camp, because Mr. Famming said he helped
pull down his house, when in fact the poor man was not there at the time. Benjamin Merril was one of the number hanged; a man in
general esteem for his honesty, integrity, piety, and moral good life.
The Governor now calls in the inhabitants by proclamation, declaring that
the King's pardon shall be given to all that come in:
They immediately go in and comply therewith.
He then proceeds, on the 21st of May, (the day that their accounts by
their bonds, was to have been settled) to the houses of those people that
entered into bonds as above, and destroyed everything that was in his power to
destroy by fire and sword, then marched his army back, with orders to punish all
such as should be so hardy as to complain; and thus his Honour returned
victorious to his place at Newbern."
"O that my head
was water and my eyes a fountain of tears,
pp. 648-651 (from
Tyron's Letter Book - Letter from Governor Tyron to Earl Hillsborough, New York,
1st August 1771. I will again
excerpt from it as the text is lengthy.)
...On the ninth of
June I returned with the army through the western part of Orange county to
Hillsborough, where the Judges were waiting, at an especial Court of Oyer and
Terminer to try the prisoners taken in battle, twelve of whom were capitally
convicted as traitors, and two acquitted, Of which twelve six were executed the
19th of June near the Town of Hillsborough, and by the solicitation of the
officers of the army, I suspended the execution of the other six till His
Majesty's pleasure should be known, as soon as I can transmit their names I
shall solicit on their behalf, having in the nurry of obedience to comply with
his Majesty's commands to repair to this Government, left many papers at Newbern
for Governor Martin relative to this service, which I now find I stand in need
of. The executions being over, on
the 20th the army marched to the southward and as I had received the 13th of
June (by one of the Judges) your Lordships dispatch, requiring me to take upon
me without loss of time the government of New York, I left the army early on the
20th arrived the 24th at Newbern, and on the 30th embarked with my family for
this country. Benjamin Merril a
Captn of militia, at the hour of execution left it in charge to the officers to
solicit me to petition his Majesty to grant his plantation and estate to his
wife and eight children. He died
under a thorough conviction of his crime and the justice of his sentence and
addressed himself to the spectators to take warning by his suffering:
His Majesty's indulgence to this request, would, I am persuaded, be
dutifully and affectionately received by his unhappy widow and
pp. 654-657 -
Reprinted From Morgan Edwards' Ms. History
of The Baptists in North Carolina* NOTE:
Morgan Edwards made a tour through North Carolina in 1772, gathering the
material for his history of the Baptists in the province.
The extracts given are reprinted from Benedict's "General History of
the Baptist Denomination in America" edition of 1813.
Benedict printed from Morgan Edwards' works in manuscript. - EDITOR
Virginia Southward is North Carolina, a poor and unhappy province where
superiors make complaints of the people, and the people of their superiors,
which complaints if just, shows the body politic to be like that of Israel in
the house of Isaiah "from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head
without any soundness, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores." These complaints rose to hostilities at Alamance Creek May
16th 1771, where about 6,000 appeared in arms and fought each other 4,000
Regulators killing three Tyronians and 2,000 (Tyronians) killing twelve
Regulators besides lodging in the trees an increditable number of balls which
the hunters have since picked out and killed more deer and turkies than they
killed of their antagonists.
remarkable things may be said of the church (Sandy Creek Church) worthy a place
in Gille's...It began with 16 souls (1755) and in a short time increased to 606
spreading its branches to Deep River and Abbots Creek which branches are gone to
other provinces and most of the members of this church have followed them;
insomuch that in 17 years it is reduced from 606 to 14 souls.
The cause of this dispersion was the abuse of power which too much
prevailed in the province and caused the inhabitants at last to rise in arms and
fight for their privileges; but being routed May 16th 1771 they despaired of
seeing better times and therefore quitted the province.
It is said that 1,500 families departed since the battle of Alamance and
to my knowledge a great many more are only waiting to dispose of their
plantations in order to follow them. This
is to me an argument that their grievances were real and their oppression great,
notwithstanding all that has been said to the contrary.
is said to have represented the 'Regulators as a faction of Quakers and Baptists
who aimed at overturning the church of England.'
If the Governor said as here suggested he must be misinformed for I made
it my business to inquire into the matter and can aver that among 4,000
Regulators there were but 7 of the denomination of Baptists; and these were
expelled from the societies they belonged unto, in consequence of the resolve of
the Baptist Association held at Sandy Creek the Second Saturday in Oct. 1769,
"If any of our members shall take up arms against the legal authority or
aid and abet them that do so, he shall be excommunicated," &c.
When this was known abroad, one of the four chiefs of the Regulators with
an armed company broke into the assembly and demanded if there were such a
resolve entered into by the Association? The
answer was evasive, for they were in bodily fear.
This checked the design much; and the author of the Impartial Relation is
obligated to own, page 16, "There (in Sandy Creek) the scheme met with some
opposition on account that it was too hot and rash and in some things not legal,
" &c. One of the seven
Baptists by the name of Merrill was executed; and he, at the point of death, did
not justify his conduct, but bitterly condemned it and blamed two men (of very
different religion) for deceiving him into the rebellion.
speech at the gallows was as follows:
here exposed to the world as a criminal. My
life will soon be a change. God is
my comforter and supporter. I am
condemned to die for opposing Government. All you that are present take warning
by my miserable end when I shall be hung up as a spectacle before you.
My first seducers were Hunter and Gelaspie.
They had often solicited me, telling that a settlement only was contended
for with regard to publick officers who they said had oppressed the people; and
that unless these measures were taken there would be no remedy or redressed
hereafter. Thus they pressed me on by
assuring me the disputes (as they called them) then existing might be settled
without shedding of blood. I
considered this unhappy affair and thought possibly that contentions in the
country might be brought to some determination without injury to any, and in
this mind I joined the Regulation. After
I had entered under the banner of the Regulators I was ever after pressed to be
made a leading man among them, and was one of the number who opposed Colonel
Waddell with his troops; information prevailing that the Governor was on his
march to lay waste the country and destroy its inhabitants, which I now find to
be false, and propagated to screen old offenders from justice. As to my private life, I do not know of any particular charge
against me. I received, by the
grace of God, a change fifteen years ago; but have, since that time, been a backslider;
yet Providence, which is my chief security, has been pleased to give me comfort,
under these evils, in my last hour; and altho' the halter is now round my neck,
believe me, I would not change stations with any man on the ground.
All you, who think you stand, take heed lest ye fall.
I would be glad to say a few words more to you before I die.
In a few moments, I shall leave a widow and ten children; I entreat that
no reflection may be cast upon them on my account; and if possible, shall deem
it as a bounty, should you, gentlemen petition the Governor and Council, that
some part of my estate may be spared for the widow and fatherless; it will be an
act of charity, for I have forfeited the whole, by the laws of God and man.'
The man bore
an excellent character, insomuch that one of his enemies was heard to say,
"That if all went to the gallows with Capt. Merrill's character, hanging
would be an honourable death.' All
pitied him and lamed the wicked Hunter, Gelaspie, Howell, Husband, Butler, and
others who deceived and seduced him. Upwards
of 70 bills were found at the time, but Merrill was the only Baptist found among
the number. The four principals in
the Regulation are well known to be of other religious denominations.
I thought it
necessary to say so much, lest the Governor's words should in time make the
North Carolina Regulation another Muster Tragedy."
OF TENN. BRANCH OF MERRELL FAMILY
Merrell married Jemima Smith, daughter of Andrew Smith of Hopewell, NJ.
He moved with his young family to the Jersey Settlement of Rowan Co, NC -
now Davidson Co. The governor of NC
from 1765-1771 was William Tryon. The
government was dominated by the eastern aristocracy and the people of the
western part of the state suffered from excessive taxes and dishonest officials.
The people appealed to the Governor for relief but were ignored.
Finally the farmers could endure no more and organized a group called the
Regulators in Orange Co. They hoped to bring about a more moderate system of taxation.
They met at Maddock's Mill near Hillsborough on April 4, 1767 and vowed
to against the abuse of power of the King's men.
Tryon took every opportunity to throw the Regulator leaders into prison.
The clashes between the two groups went on for some time.
Finally Gov. Tryon decided to put down the Regulators for good.
They were told not to assemble again and to disband.
Tryon assembled 1,100 men at Alamance Creek in Orange Co. on May 14,
1771. When the news spread of
Tryon's army, about 2,000 patriots of this area organized and assembled about
5-6 miles west of Tryon's camp. Few of these men had guns, and they hoped Tryon would listen
to their complaints and help settle their grievances. On May 15th, they sent a message to Tryon asking him for
consideration of their grievances. He
promised to answer by noon the next day. The
next day Tryon marched his men to within a half mile of the Regulator's camp and
sent them a message to disband, go home and obey the King.
The Regulators knew they could no longer expect help from Tryon, nor
could they agree to obey unjust laws and corrupt officials.
Tryon gave the order to fire and the battle lasted about two hours.
The Regulators had few arms and soon dispersed to escape capture and
death. When Tryon returned to
Hillsborough, he sentenced 6 of the leaders to be hung on the 19th of June 1771.
These were the first American lives given in the cause of freedom from
tyranny on American soil. Long
before the actual Revolution, these men dreamed of freedom and were willing to
buy it with their lives if necessary. Benjamin
Merrill was a Capt. of the Rowan Co. Militia prior to the Regulator movement.
He was also one of the victims of Tryon's greed and tyranny.
On his way to join the Regulators at Alamance with about 300 men, he
intercepted Gen. Waddell and took most of Waddell's men prisoners.
They didn't get to Alamance in time so he disbanded his men and went
home. He was later taken prisoner
by Col. Fanning and take with the other prisoners to Hillsborough where on 19
June 1771 he was hanged. 12 men
were tried for high treason, but Tryon suspended the execution of 6 of them
until he heard from the King.
OF WILLS AND ESTATES RECORDS OF ROWAN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA 1753-1805 AND TAX
LISTS OF 1759 AND 1778" BY MRS. STAHLE LINN, JR., C.G. 1980
JEMIMA (x) BUTNER. 7 May 1801. No probate.
date. Eldest son Samuel Meril to
have 14 pounds which I paid for improvements whereon Smith Meril now lives, also
27 pounds I paid in taking up judgment against him. Sons: John
Meril, Charles Meril, William Meril and Elijah Meril.
Son Andrew Meril to have negro boy James. Son Jonathan Meril to have negro boy David.
Dau. Nancy to have negro woman Hagar.
Dau. Elliner to have negro girl Rose.
Exrs: sons Andrew and
Jonathan Meril. Wit: Thomas Durham,
CHILDREN OF CAPTAIN BENJAMIN MERRELL AND JEMIMA SMITH
Anna (Nancy) Merrell
Penelope (Elline) Merrell
© L.L. Kight 2004