Original Members of the Independent Company
ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF THE INDEPENDENT COMPANY
(Transcriber’s note, some of the names between the two below articles are not
found in one but found in another, keep in mind the two articles are written forty
years apart. In the second article, in 1843, the speaker states he cannot find the
roster which is presented in the article 40 years later.)
Thursday, Sept. 6, 1883
(Correspondence of the Observer)
I have been glancing over some old records of the Independent Company from
August 23, 1794 to January 18, 1817. If time and opportunity permits, I would
be glad to make a synopsis of some of the doings of our ancestors but this I
must defer to some future time or leave to someone better qualified for the
Prefixed to these records is a roster of the company, embracing, probably,
the names of all, or nearly all, the original members. This list extends through
a period of several years, but is evidently very incomplete, as I find many
persons (more, probably, than the names given here) admitted to membership
at various times, and whose names do not appear in it.
Thinking it would be of interest to many of your readers, I have copied the list
of names as they appear in the handwriting of the members.
Fayettesville, August 31, 1883
Jno. R. McCaine(?)
James G. Mask
W. B. Grove
J.S. Pub(?) Puh(?)
John R. Adam
Wm. T. Cole
Thomas C. Blake
W. Waddill, Jr.
(first initial shown as a dash) R. Lee
Joseph E. Douglass
Joseph W. King
John P. Leonard
Thomas R. McCrackan
William E. Troy
John McKay Strong
William Thomas Bain
Benjamin H. Rutland
Joshua E. Lumsden
Jas. H. Hooper
Thomas McD. Reid
John H. Hall
Louis D. Henry
Thoms L. Hybart
Dillon Jordan, Jr.
John M. Allen
September 13, 1843
Oration Delivered Before the Fayetteville Independent Company of Light Infantry
on the Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the Corps, August 23, 1843
By Edward Lee Winslow, Esq.
(Transcriber’s note: This was a long oration, I have condensed it to include
pertinent sections and names of members.
In tracing the history of our ancient and honorable corps—ancient for excepting
two and maybe three—it is the oldest volunteer association in the U.S.,
honorable for its escutcheon is untarnished—time would fail and your patience
be worried were I to entertain too much of the details. There are many incident
connected with your history calculated to excite deep interest and awaken the
most pleasing of associations. Our company has had days of trial, periods of
gloom as well as days of prosperity.
Our association dates as far back as 23rd August, 1793. The early records
of the company were indifferently kept and many have been lost. The particular
reasons for the formation of the corps are not set out in the articles of the
association. It is supposed to have had its origins in the apprehension which
existed at the period of the French Revolution.
The list of those who were present at the formation of the company cannot be
found. The first three names to the articles of the association are Robert
Adam, John Winslow and Robert Cochrane, and the company’s first elected
officers were: Robert Adam, captain; John Winslow, lieutenant; and Robert
Cochrane, ensign. They were first elected for four months but met later and
enlarged to a period of twelve months.
In 1798, Samuel Goodwin was elected ensign. The strength of the company
was then about 27 and Lt. Hawley appears to have been the orderly sergeant.
Ensign Goodwin removed subsequently from this place to Raleigh where he
In 1800, John McMilan was elected ensign. With these changes, the
companies were the same until the 23rd August, 1801.
Captain Adam died at the Sound, near Wilmington, on June 11, 1801. On
the 23rd August, 1801, John Winslow was elected captain; John McMilan,
lieutenant; and Isaac Hawley, ensign.
These gentlemen continued officers of the company until the 23rd August,
1806 and between 1801 and 1806 it appears that many people were admitted
but no muster rolls can be found so the strength of the company cannot be
ascertained. Ensign Hawley resigned in 1806 and died in this place in 1808,
On the 23rd August, 1806, John McMilan was elected captain; John Matthews
lieutenant; and Duncan McRae ensign. In the year (illegible), the company
came near being thrown into the war with Great Britain.
On the 23rd August, 1810, John Matthews was elected captain; Duncan
McRae lieutenant; and William McLennon ensign. Captain McMillan
withdrew from the company in 1810. He had been the commander for four
years; was the secretary of the company in 1796 and his acts were beautifully
kept. He was one of our leading and most experienced merchants—liberal,
hospitable, kind. He died in this place in 1820, a loss to the town.
About this time, the ranks of the company became very thin. Very few
were found on parade admit was a period of gloomy foreboding as to its
existence. Captain Matthews resigned as a member of the company in
1811, having accepted the appointment of judge advocate of the regiment
and die in this place in 1826, a useful and much respected citizen.
Lt. McRae remained a member of the company. No record is found of his
resignation. He continued to be a valuable member of our community.
He held the office of postmaster for many years. Subsequent he was
cashier of one of our banks; was remarkable for his strict integrity with
which he held those trusts; and he closed his earthly career in 1837.
On Aug. 23, 1810, John Winslow was elected captain, William Barry Grove
was elected lieutenant and John Eccles elected ensign.
Transcriber’s note—we cut to the period of the War of 1812………
Information reached the executive of the state that the fleet of the enemy
hovered on the coast of North Carolina, and that they had effected a landing.
Orders were issued to draft a body of militia for the defense of the coast
and the town of Wilmington.
The Independent Company held a meeting and resolved that their quota
of the draft should be furnished by hiring substitutes and the expense
being divided equally among the members. They tendered their services
to Brigadier General Davis and from him they received orders to march
to Wilmington and they left on July 21, 1813.
The number who left for Wilmington was 37. I give you the list of their
names, fellow soldiers, which it becomes you to preserve and hand
down with the records of the corporation:
Lt. Wm. Barry Grove
Ensign John Eccles
1st Sgt. John Smith
2nd Sgt. John Kennedy
3rd Sgt. John Husket
1st Corp. John R. Adam
2nd Corp. Charles P. Mallett
3rd Corp. James Baker
Joseph W. King
Cyrus P. Tillingham
And John L. Hadley, who volunteered on the occasion
Some few of the members were absent from home when the company
concluded to march. Those who did not go were:
John H. Wright
Wm. H. Bewen
They were, for reasons entirely satisfactory, excused from attending the
company on this expedition and such was the feeling and deep regret
with some of these, that, it has often been said as the boat carrying their
companies in arms left the landing, tears were observed to flow.
The captain of the company at this period was absent from home on
business of a public nature. While in the city of New York, a townsman,
one who was a brother soldier and had been ensign of the company,
William McLennan, was confined to a sick bed and required the attention
of a friend, without whose aid he would never again have been cheered with
the sight of his friends and the comforts of home. These charges were
greatly and cheerfully afforded; and their arrival at Fayetteville was thus
delayed until after the company returned from service to which they were
unexpectedly called. Ensign McLennan died soon after, the victim of
consumption. He was a practical and useful man and his loss was
deplored by the community.
The command of the company devolved upon Lt. Grove. He was not so
skilled in military affairs as Ensign Eccles but with that generosity of
character, anxious only for the reputation and comfort of the corporation,
understanding well the duties of eth march and camp, he threw upon
himself the responsibility of command. The company remained in
Wilmington until the 14th of August, partaking of the well known hospitality
and kindness of the citizens of the township, mainly that of Robert Cochrane.
Mr. Cochrane’s name was the third to the articles of the association and he
was the first ensign of the company. He had changed residences from this
place to Wilmington some years previous. He died in May of 1842.
A large number of militia of this part of the state were collected at Wilmington
and some were stationed on the coast. The executive of the state was there
and the Independent Company acted as his bodyguard. The enemy made no
landing but the troops were kept in readiness. Having received an order from
General Brown on the 15th August, they commenced their trip home and
reached Fayetteville on the 19th, having been absent 29 days.
In 1816, John Leonard was elected ensign; the other commissioned
officers remained the same. On the 23rd Aug., 1816, Lt. Grove tendered
his resignation; the company refused to accept it. The ranks of the
company were, about this period, very full.
On the 23rd Aug., 1817, the same commissioned officers were elected
except John W. Wright was chosen as second lieutenant in place of John
Smith and John R. Adam ensign in place of John Leonard.
Lt. Smith died in 1826(?—very faded, not sure), beloved by his fellow soldiers
and regretted by all and Ensign Leonard retired from the company in 1818
and is a resident of the town.
In 1818 Lt. Grove died having held the post of first lieutenant from the time of
his appointment in 1811.
On the 23rd Aug., 1818 John W. Wright was elected second lieutenant to
supply the vacancy occasioned by the death of Lt. Grove and James
Townes was elected ensign in place of John R. Adam, elected third lieutenant.
With these changes, the commissioned officers were the same.
On the 23rd August, 1819, Captain Winslow and Lt. Eccles tendered their
resignations. John W. Wright was elected captain, John R. Adam 1st
lieutenant, James Townes 2nd lieutenant, James Baker 3rd lieutenant, and
Wm. Broadfoot ensign.
Captain Winslow was first elected in 1801 and remained in the command
until Aug. 23, 1806. He was elected again in August of 1811 and resigned
in 1819. He died in this place November 30, 1820.
Lt. Eccles lived among us for many years, commanding the respect of the
community. He died on Sept. 20, 1833, one of our oldest and most respected
Isaac Hammonds, for more than a score of years, had been one of the
musicians. At last, time touched Isaac and when he had breath to fill his
fife no longer, he himself ceased to breathe. On his death bed, he begged
them to lay him and his fife on the bank of the stream opposite Cool Spring.
(Transcriber’s note, Cool had been a rendezvous point for the company.) He
said: “I shall hear the drum and fife of the company every parade day when
the men throng at the spring and the sound will gladden me in the long sleep
in the tomb.” And they dug his grave where he desired. No stone was placed
to mark the spot over which volley after volley told the last military honors
which were paid to a comrade. Cool Spring and Cross Creek have of late
become neglected. They are seldom visited.
At a session of the legislature in 1819, an act was passed organizing a
corps of artillery in Fayetteville. This corps was raised mainly by Col.
Stevens who was an experienced officer and during his residence here
had the regard of all who knew him. He died in the fatal Fall of 1822.
The battalion continued for some years after his death. The companies
composing the battalion have long since been disbanded and with the
formation of the Corps of Fayetteville Riflemen, the Independent Company
has been the only volunteer associations.
From 1819, the commander of the company was distinguished by the
title of major and the other commissioned officers, as captains.
On the 23rd August, 1821, James Townes was elected first captain in
place of John R. Adam; James Baker second captain; Wm. Broadfoot
3rd captain; and Robert Strange 4th captain.
In the year 1821, Captain Townes resigned from the company and
subsequently he left the state of North Carolina and is now a resident
On the 23rd August, 1822, Robert Strange was elected first captain;
James Baker, second captain; Wm. Broadfoot third captain; and James
Hooper, fourth captain. At this time, Captain Adam resigned and
subsequently removed from this place and died in the West Indies.
Captain Baker and Captain Broadfoot about this year, retired from the
company. The former still has his residence in this town; the latter some
years ago, retired from North Carolina and is now in Mississippi.
On the 23rd August, 1823, Major Wright resigned his office and Captain
Strange was elected in his place; James H. Hooper was elected first
captain; Mr. Strong was elected second captain; (illegible) third captain;
Robert McIntyre, fourth captain.
In March, of 1825, the company had the honor of acting as bodyguard to
the great Lafayette who visited our town that year.
Major Strange continued in command until 1826.
From 1826 to 1828 the records are very defective. Captain Hooper
succeeded Major Strange. He died in this place in June of 1841.
On the 23rd August, 1828, Captain Strong was elected major; Wm. L.
Hawley, first captain; Robert McIntyre, second captain; E.L. Winslow,
third captain; Robert T. Goodwin, fourth captain.
On the 23rd August, 1829, Major Strong resigned, leaving no change in
the prosperity of the corps. Captain Hawley was elected major; Robert
McIntyre, first captain; Robert T. Goodwin, second captain; Dillon Jordan,
Jr., third captain; Henry McLean, fourth captain.
Captain McIntyre resigned in 1832 and died in December, 1834 and was
buried with the usual mark of respect by the company. Major Hawley
continued in command of the company until his death in June of 1834.
The commissioned officers during his command were the last named
except Wm. J. Anderson was elected fourth captain in 1832; and Wm.
F. Strange, on the promotion of Captain Anderson, was elected fourth
captain in 1833. Captain Anderson resigned in April of 1834 and on the
promotion of Captain Strange, Sgt. Munn was elected fourth captain.
Captain Jordan resigned in 1822, having been appointed adjutant of the
regiment; and subsequently removed from Fayetteville to Florida where
he now resides.
On the 23d August, 1834, Captain Goodwin was elected major; Henry
McLean first captain; Wm. F. Strange, second captain; John Munn, third
captain; Benjamin W. Robinson, fourth captain.
Captain Robertson resigned in 1835. On the 23rd August, 1835, the same
commissioned officers were elected; Thomas Cochrane being elected fourth
captain to supply the vacancy of Captain Robinson.
On the 29th April, 1837, Major Goodwin and Captains Strange and Munn
resigned. The two first have since changed their residences from our town.
An election was held in May of 1837 to fill these vacancies; Captain McLean
was elected major; Corcoran first captain; John H. Cook second captain;
Archibald McLean third captain; and Alfred McKathan fourth captain.
In February, 1838, John H. Cook was elected captain to fill the vacancy
occasioned by the death of Captain Cochrane who met his fate in a land of
strangers away from his home and friends. A. McLean, Jr., was elected
second captain; A.A. McKathan, third captain; A.M. Campbell, fourth aptain.
In February, 1842, Major McLean resigned.
The present commissioned officers are John H. Cook, major; Archibald McLean,
first captain; A.A. McKethan, second captain; A.M. Campbell, third captain;
James Sundy, fourth captain. They were elected in February of 1842.
Transcribed by Christine Spencer August 2008
Back to North Carolina Military Page