The Tracy Family History
Photo by John Plyler
This photo of the mass grave was taken in 1989 right "...after Hurricane Hugh tore Lancaster County up." The photo was taken before the fence was erected. The old stone fence that surrounds the grave has been there a long time.
I would like to introduce to you Hendrik Booraem, researcher, historian, and author of many books, both biographies and histories.
There are as many books on the American Revolutionary War as there are grains of sand on the seashore. Quite a few give details on even the most minor incidents of the war. This is not the case on the Battle of Waxhaws.
I found it very hard work finding information on the battle. No book has ever been written, and what else has been covered by historians has been scattered over the years. Some historians are not even aware of this battle. Those that are, usually give it only scant mention in just one line, a paragraph at the most. It took a great deal of research to come up with this story. The information is there, just scattered all over the place in hard to find sources. What I am attempting to do is bring it all together.
Fortunately, with the Internet today, one can get quite a bit of information. However, you can not get everything in just one site. It will take some searching. These sources did not exist when I started my research.
Because this battle is so important to our Wallace cousins, and to fill in a gap of history, I have gone into considerable detail.
I have been in correspondence with historian Rik Booraem in Pennsylvania. He is a native South Carolinian, but moved to the North a few years ago. He has recently written a book, Young Hickory, about Andrew Jackson. His first chapter was on 13-year-old “Andy” and how his life was shaped by Waxhaws. The publisher did not want to include the story so he was gracious enough to let me look at it. I consider Rix to be the authority on this battle.
He has been most helpful with providing me with information and advice on this chapter. We are all indebted to Rix Booraem.
It has been widely reported, and repeated, by historians and genealogists, that six weeks after the battle, the story of Adam Wallace's heroic death was told in the Maryland Gazette, issue of 18 July 1780. This was a Patriot newspaper. However, Rik Booraem tried to find the original newspaper story without results. The story does not appear in the Maryland Gazette.
Neander Woods, published in 1905, says that an account of the death of Adam Wallace was published in Lexington's "The Rockbridge News." However, the author fails to give the date of publication. All we know is that the story was published sometime after Adam's death and the publication of this genealogy book in 1905.
Eventually, Rix Booraem finds the article in The Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser. (See previous chapter 41.) The Library of Congress, Washington DC., has an original copy that you can read. The document is located in the library’s 18th Century Collection of American newspapers, Box 8, Folder 13. The newspaper (Journal) is double sided. You may obtain a photocopy of the entire newspaper from the University of Maryland through your local library from the Interlibrary Loan System (ILL). Have your library order from Marylandia & Rare Books Dept., University of Maryland Libraries, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Order the 18 July 1780 issue. At the same time order the 25 July 1780 issue, which has the British notification of the battle. Also, order the 4 July 1780 issue, which gives Tarleton’s surrender terms offered to and refused by Colonel Buford. All three issues were provided by my library’s standard Interlibrary Loan fee of $5.00, and were mailed to my house.
I would highly recommend that you spend a few dollars and get copies of these newspapers. They make for fascinating reading.
Explanation: This was a Patriot newspaper. However, reading some of the articles one gets the impression that it is a British, or Tory, newspaper. This is because of the nature of journalism of the time. Articles were commonly reprinted from other newspapers, be it friend or foe. It is interesting to read the full newspaper to get a feeling for the times. For example, two men were executed for murdering a tax collector. That is what happens when you have taxation without representation.
There are many ads offering rewards for runaway slaves. Ingrates!
Adam Wallace Poem
by William Cumming, of Shettlestown, Glasgow, Scotland
The eminent genealogists William Harris Miller (one of our cousins) hand wrote two scrolls for the mother of Cousin Scott Hosier, Jr., some 79 years ago. One scroll is on the Woods pedigree and the other on the Wallace. One scroll is approximately eighteen inches by ten feet; the other is longer.
On the Wallace scroll there is a poem honoring the death of Adam Wallace.
Rev. Neander Woods tells us that after the publication of the death of Adam Wallace in The Rockbridge News, the story then made its way to Scotland. William Cumming read the story and penned the following poem. I have contacted the library experts in Scotland and they have no records of this poet. Nor do they have a record of the man in Shettlestown. This does not mean he did not live there, just that he was not a published poet; nor did he show up on any records.
We do not know when the poem was penned. It had to be after the battle on 29 May 1780 and before Rev Neander Woods book was published in 1905. The poem can only be understood in historical perspective. It is possible that this is not the complete poem.
When Scotland's patriot hero led
Fierce gleamed among the English foe
His ponderous falcion bright.
Where'r the dreaded weapon flashed
There was the deadliest of the fray:
And England's stoutest sons had fallen
Who victory covered the day.
The centuries have passed since then,
But near our fortress of the North
The Wallace monument to-day,
Looks out upon the Forth,-
Looks over Scotland's proudest fields-
Sterling and Bannockburn, adored;
And treasures in the noble walls
The time worn Wallace sword.
Of Scotland's kin, full many a one
In fair Virginia's old domain,
Had found the freedom, which, also,
They sought at home in vain,
For on their land had fall awhile
The hated tyrant's evil power,
And thus they pressed on foreign shore,
Through freedom's darkest hour,
But when the call to arms arose,
And Britian would her sons enslave,
She met in those Virginia Scots
A phalanx of the brave.
And one there was at Waxhaw's fight,
Who to the tyrant would not yield,
Who bore the name of Wallace, which,
He died upon the field.
He nobly faced the British foe,
Like the ancestors of his race;
And gave his life for freedom's cause,
Nor sought in flight, disgrace.
The sword he bore now lies with men,
Who well can prize the honored blade,
For they have marched to many a field,
In Stonewall's old brigade;
Old veterans of the Southern cause,
Descendants of our Wallace rare,
That same old blade links Sterling here
With Waxhaw over there,
And in their honored roll of fame,
We'd twine our Wallace name with thee;
Blen Scottish with Virginia wreath-
Rockbridge and Ellerslie.
Major Michael Wallace born Ellerslie, Virginia, June 8, 1753; married June 8, 1771, "...the day of his majority." As the family Bible records it…"Major W. was a man of large stature and extraordinary physical strength. He also was active in the cause of the colonies in 1776…In 1781 he was captain of the Albemarle co. Militia…" A letter from Dr. James Wallace, May, 1778, shows that Major Michael "w.'s" home was destroyed by fire during that month. …His brother, Col. Gustavus, wrote him at the time to take possession of his whole estate and live in it free of rent, "...as long a it shall suit you…”
A letter, written by Major w., in 1775, to his brother Gustavus, then in Scotland is headed…Ellerslie, May 14, 1775--Dear Brother; ends with "I am Dr. Gusty your affectionate & well wishing brother, Mich Wallace." (It is a letter, which tells of the early military maneuverings of the war. Although the letter is interesting, this is not the point I want to make.)
What this story shows is that our people, most of whom we do not even know about, were in the war. We still had people in Scotland and it can be assumed were frequently visited. I further assume that we had people going back and forth between the two countries. We must have had a lot of relatives in both countries at the time of the war and probably still do today.
ELLERSLIE FARM, "County home of the late Thomas J Wallace near Bunceton, MO. (1905)
Banastre is an unusual name. It comes from
the English name Bannister, abbreviated Bannis. There are two given meanings for
this name: One who made and sold baskets. (I think not.) One who fought with a
crossbow. (I think so.)
The Green Dragoon: The Lives of Banastre Tarleton and Mary Robinson, by Robert D. Bass. 489 pages. This is the biography on Tarleton. The author spent 15 years working on the book, which included 16 months in the field in Europe.
Banastre Tarleton, A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of North America (published in London, 1787). Written by Tarleton himself. Tarleton's observations immediately after the battle differ considerably from his recollections years later. This book is probably available in reprint. Obviously, it is for those of us who are more scholarly and wish to dig into the campaigns of Tarleton more thoroughly. I was fortunate to do some research where I live in Sacramento. Available to me is the California State Library, where I actually read part of this story from an original 1787 edition.
My family history web site has 79 chapters. If you would like to know more about the other chapters then go to my
Home Page www.thetracyfamilyhistory.net