In the 1960’s descendants of John Allen (1749-1826) donated the family cabin to the state of North Carolina with the stipulation that it be placed at the Alamance Battleground Historic Park. As I was researching that cabin & the connection to my family, I also found there was a connection to that battleground as well.
First, the Alamance Battleground. What happened on this site? What battle is commemorated here? According to the Friends of the Alamance Battleground website <alamancebattleground.org>, “The Battle of Alamance was fought on Thursday, May 16, 1771. It pitted two groups of North Carolinians against each other. There were approximately 2,000 backcountry farmers called Regulators and around 1,000 militia troops (citizen soldiers) under the command of Royal Governor William Tryon involved in the two-hour battle.”
From what I have found on the internet, the Regulators were a group of farmers in the inland Piedmont region of North Carolina. The website, ExploreSouthernHistory.com, states that the Regulators were opposing increased taxes & “oppressive government officials.” There were apparently “arbitrary seizures” of property & possessions by these government officials. They were also angry about not being able to “meet with their representatives or to petition for redress of their grievances.” Sounds a little similar to the “taxation without representation” argument that came up with the American Revolution. I also read that the Regulators were upset that laws and regulations that were made to benefit the coastal farmers didn’t equally benefit the inland farmers. While the Regulator movement initially tried peaceful means like petitions & appeals to the government, when they couldn’t get help, they eventually became more disruptive. Governor William Tryon was the regional representative of the English government.
According to the above mentioned websites, the Regulators were defeated in about two hours on that day in May, 1771 at Alamance Creek. Even though they outnumbered the militia, they were no match for the superior military resources of the militia. The Regulators did not have military leadership and many men fled before the battle began. Six of the captured Regulators were later hanged. After this battle, there was continued retribution toward the Regulators, with homes and farms burned and men arrested. Many Regulators fled to other regions of the country.
It is said that the Regulator movement “planted the seeds of the American Revolution.” However, many Regulators are said to have been Loyalists in the Revolution. They wanted representatives to hear and address their grievances, but not a total break with England. Also, some of the militia fought on the side of the Revolution.
So, now that we know the basics of what happened at the Alamance Battleground, how does that connect to the Allen family? Why would their house fit into this setting? In one sense, John Allen would have been an example of the Piedmont farmer who was represented by the Regulators. He no doubt was aware of what the Regulators were fighting for. I do not know if he joined the cause.
One of the leaders of the Regulator movement, though, was Herman Husband (1724-1795). According to findagrave.com, he was a spokesman & negotiator for the cause. He briefly represented the Piedmont in the legislature, was expelled on a false charge of libel and arrested, then released. His book about the Regulator movement, An Impartial Relation of the First Rise and Cause of the Recent Differences, published in 1770 is currently available in reprint. Due to his Quaker beliefs, Husband reportedly fled before the fighting at the battle at Alamance. Herman Husband’s third wife was Amy Allen (ca1743-1829), who was the daughter of John Allen (1721-1754) & Phebe Scarlet Allen (ca1721-1815) & sister to John Allen (1749-1826), who owned the house that was moved to the battleground. So here is somewhat of a connection between the Allen family and the battleground, even though Herman Husband did not participate in the battle.
Another connection is Harmon Cox (ca1723-1813). He was a member of the Regulators. He reportedly hosted meetings of the group at his mill-house in the region. He was present at the battle at Alamance. His powder horn is on display at the battleground. A photo of this powder horn can be found on the ExploreSouthernHistory.com site. He was captured and found guilty of treason, sentenced to hang, but was pardoned by Governor Tryon. Harmon’s daughter was Hannah (1751-1823), who married Samuel Allen (1751-1834), the son of John Allen (1721-1754) & Phebe Scarlet Allen (ca1721-1815). Incidentally, Samuel and Hannah are direct line ancestors of mine as mentioned in the previous post.
So, John Allen’s siblings were directly connected to the Regulator movement. His sister, Amy, was married to Herman Husband and his brother, Samuel, was married Hannah, the daughter of Harmon Cox. I guess it does make sense that the Allen house would find a fitting home at the Alamance battleground site.
© MJM 2021