The Tryon County Patriots of 1775 and Their “Association”


August 11, 2014
by Hershel Parker Also by this Author


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On August 14, 1775 some North Carolina colonial men, possibly as many as four dozen or so, met at the Tryon County courthouse. That is, they crowded into Christian (“Christy”) Mauney’s isolated log house at a country cross roads thirty some miles west of Charlotte. There they drafted and copied into the minutes a document they called “An Association.” That term in patriotic documents of 1774 and 1775 did not identify the signers as having joined a civic group or social club. The meaning, now long obsolete, was a written pledge to carry out an enterprise. At the risk of their fortunes and their lives they were pledging to take up arms against British soldiers in defense of what they saw as their natural rights under the British constitution. The men at Mauney’s resolved that their “Association” should “be Signed by the Inhabitants of Tryon County.” Presumably many signed there at Mauney’s, but the document may have been carried around to encourage other “Inhabitants” to sign it.[1] The document said,

The unprecedented, barbarous & bloody actions Committed by the British Troops on our American Brethren near Boston, on the 19th of April & 20th of May last together with the Hostile opperations & Traiterous Designs now Carrying on by the Tools of Ministerial Vengeance & Despotism for the Subjugating all British America, Sugest to us the painful Necessity of having recourse to Arms, for the preservation of those Rights & Liberties which the principles of our Constitution and the Laws of God Nature & nations have made it our Duty to Defend.—

We therefore the Subscribers freeholders & Inhabitants of Tryon County, do hereby faithfully unite Ourselves under the most Sacred ties of Religion Honor & love to Our Country, firmly to Resist force by force in defence of our Natural Freedom & Constitutional Rights against all Invasions, & at the same time do Solemnly Engage to take up Arms and Risque our lives and fortunes in Maintaining the Freedom of our Country whenever the Wisdom & Council of the Continental Congress or our provincial Convention shall Declare it necessary, & this Engagement we will Continue in & hold Sacred, till a Reconciliation shall take place between Great Britain & America on Constitutional principles, which we most ardently desire. And we do firmly agree to hold all such persons Inimical to the liberties of America, who shall refuse to Subscribe this Association.[2]

These are the “subscribers”—those who inscribed their names or made their mark under “An Association”:[3]


“Traiterous Designs” is often printed as “Treacherous Designs.” Two or three letters near the start of the word are written over, but the word ends with “terous,” and no one has proposed a better reading than “Traiterous.” These patriots did not see themselves as traitors to King George III; to their mind Great Britain by the Intolerable Acts had betrayed what the First Continental Congress called the “English Constitution.” The Tryon document clearly says “19th of April & 20th of May” but I don’t find a battle of May 20. By the “tools of Ministerial vengeance” the Tryon signers meant the agents of the Royal Governor of North Carolina, Josiah Martin, who had taken refuge off shore in the sloop-of-war Cruizer.[4]

From the Cruizer on August 8 Governor Martin had issued a proclamation denouncing the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia for directing “the Committee of the several Towns and Counties of North Carolina” to execute its resolves. The patriots in Charlotte, the seat of Mecklenburg County, had goaded him into this frenzy: “I have . . . seen a most infamous publication in the Cape Fear Mercury, importing to be resolves of a set of people styling themselves a Committee for the County of Mecklenburg, most traitorously declaring the entire dissolution of the laws, government, and constitution of this country, and setting up a system of rules and regulation repugnant to the laws and subversive of His Majesty’s government.” This was Martin’s response to the version of the May 1775 Mecklenburg resolutions that he saw in the newspaper.[5] Martin warned his colony not to heed the rebels’ invitation to assemble in Convention on the 20th of August in Hillsborough. Such a convention would be “subversive of the whole Constitution of this country.” John Green, the Chairman of the Newbern Committee of Safety, mocked Martin’s “enormous proclamation, in length no less than six feet, in breadth three.” It should, Green continued, be burnt “by the common hangman” as “the just reward of treason and rebellion against our happy constitution”—the “English constitution” so fervently idealized by the colonists even as they prepared to take arms against British soldiers.

On July 10, 1775 Samuel Johnston had written from Edenton asking the Committee of Safety of Tryon County to send a five-man or larger delegation to the provincial convention at Hillsborough on August 20. The Tryon “Freeholders” responded on July 26 by selecting as delegates John Walker, Robert Alexander, Joseph Hardin, William Graham, Frederick Hambright and William Kennon. Then on August 14, openly defying the Royal Governor by looking ahead to Hillsborough, the Tryon patriots resolved that their Committee would “meet at the Court House of this County on the 14th Day of September next there to Deliberate on such matters as shall be Recommended by Our Provincial Convention.” The Tryon delegates may have gotten to Hillsborough on time, but others did not, so the Provincial Congress began on August 21, a week after the Tryon signings. Walker and the others carried with them news of their “Association” and their further plans. They had authorized “every Captain or other Officer in their Respective Companies” to “detain and Secure all powder and Lead that may be removing or about to be Removed out of the County.” The gunsmith Daniel McKissick was to apply “to the Council of Safety of Charles Town for 300 weight Gun powder 600 weight Lead, and 600 Gun Flints to be distributed under the direction of this Committee when it shall be Judged necessary.”

1919 marker placed by the Frederick Hambright Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
1919 marker placed by the Frederick Hambright Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Some of these men probably hoped for a “Reconciliation” with Great Britain even as they signed. Moses Moore’s son John became a Tory leader. By late 1780 James McAfee was protecting a Tory stepson. But Frederick Hambright, William Graham, Robert Alexander, John Dellinger, and Charles McLean fought the British. Others who fought included John Walker and six of his sons, Thomas Espey’s sons Samuel and James, and Jacob Forney’s sons Peter and Abraham. As early as September 14, 1775, several signers formed the Tryon County Militia and prepared to use arms against the British. At a Committee of Safety meeting on January 23, 1776, fifteen signers were selected for various county militia companies. A notable soldier, as it turned out, was Frederick Hambright, one of the heroes of King’s Mountain. Many of the signers remained active in civic affairs. For instance, Andrew Neel was public registrar in 1777, John Walker in 1778 and Thomas Espey in 1779 were coroners, and others held public office after the war. Some of the signers died early, like Major Jacob Costner who drowned in the South Fork of the Catawba River in 1779. Some lived well into the 19th century.

My interest in the Tryon Resolves started with seeing that a signer was Jacob Costner, an uncle (a few times removed) of my mother, Martha Costner. Uncle John Dellinger, a brother of Jacob’s brother Peter Costner’s wife, had signed, along with another Dellinger, George. Uncle Jonathan Price, another signer, was the husband of Aunt Betsy Ewart, a daughter of the Salisbury Committee of Safety member Robert Ewart, twice my GGGGG Grandfather.[6] Then I found a chart that shows Adam Sims as a cousin on my father’s side, kin to “the Sims Intruders” who were twice burned out by soldiers in what became Alabama. Adam Sims was the brother of George Sims, the author of the great 1765 Nutbush Address that inspired the Regulators. Stop while you are ahead, I said! Another genealogical chart may be different! And could the Carpenter (formerly Zimmerman) signers not be kin to my Zimmermans? Frederick Hambright was not kin but a slew of his descendants were my cousins; Jacob Costner’s nephew Michael Rudisill married Jacob Carpenter’s daughter Mary; a Bell cousin soon married a Neel; I am kin to all of the descendants of Jacob Forney’s granddaughter Nancy, who married the son of Aunt Jane Ewart and her husband, Col. James Johnston, and so on. This was all very bemusing, so I kept looking up signers, finding more connections in 19th century and later generations. As my Natchez triple cousin Lois Gore says (just look at her last name), if you are Southern, you are either kin or connected.

But what about Robert Hulclip, who was not traceable, not kin, not connected, not even a neighbor? He was a signer, said historian Joseph Seawell Jones.[7] Others kept copying from Jones.[8] “Robert Hulclip” was memorialized on a bronze monument, even, but no such person had been in Tryon County. Then I found an identification of a brother of the fairly well documented Andrew Heslep as Robert Heslep, who signed “the Tryon Declaration of Right and Independence from British Tyranny as Robert Haislip.”[9] Fair enough—Haselip, Hazelip, Heslip, any spelling went. The editor of Tryon County Documents 1769-1779 had seen Haslep, Heslep, Heslip, and Hislip as she worked with the actual documents, and transcribed the signature on the “Association” as Robert Haselip.[10] How do you go about changing a name on a bronze monument? Will Robert Hulclip, a North Carolina Kilroy, live on in lists of the signers, cheating the Haselips out of the glory of having a signer of the Tryon Resolves in the family?

Wait! How much glory was attached to the signers of the Tryon Resolves, anyhow? In 1834 Jones declared that the Tryon document had been “discovered during the last year [1833?], among the papers of General William Graham of Rutherford, one of the signers.” It had been published, he said, in the “North Carolina Spectator” of May 11, 1834 (or 1833?). Jones apparently based his text and his list of signers on the Spectator, which I have not seen. Naturally, the original transcriber had trouble with many of the signatures. Jones did not try to regularize anomalies such as one “Carpinter” and another “Karbender,” although later historians did. Jones understood the “Association” in its historical context better than later writers, but he was interested in it primarily to support his views on the Mecklenburg Declaration. C. L. Hunter recognized the historical context just as Jones had done: “During the year 1775, the Province of North Carolina, ever in the van of early patriotic movements, formed “Associations” throughout her territory, mainly as tests of patriotism. The county of Cumberland formed an Association on the 20th of June, 1775. The county of Tryon (embracing Lincoln and Rutherford) formed a similar ‘Association’ on the 14th of August following.”[11] Working from “MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State” William L. Saunders gave fresh attention to the document without knowing much about the signers;[12] at last the documents were printed in an official state publication.

No one in the 19th century was even calling the Tryon document a set of “resolves.” After Jones in 1834 and Hunter in 1877 had called attention to the Tryon “Association,” Alfred Nixon in 1910 praised the “bold document” which “a gallant band of patriots” had signed “as early as August 1775.”[13] It was merely “a bold declaration” in a story in the Charlotte Observer on August 24, 1924. Also pretty much lost from sight in the 19th century were two other significant North Carolina documents: the Cumberland (the term Hunter used) or Liberty Point Resolves, which the signers labeled “The Association” (June 20, 1775) and the Halifax Resolves (April 12, 1776), this last indisputably a declaration of independence. Google one of these now and you get links to the others—a linkage, I think, common only in the Age of the Internet, not in 19th and 20th century newspaper articles and book-length histories of North Carolina. “Resolves” was a common late 18th century term, all right, but my scanning of North Carolina histories and newspaper databases has revealed no such term as “Tryon Resolves” until (could this be true? or almost true?) the Age of the Internet, and no such early grouping of the three as the “Liberty Point Resolves, “Tryon Resolves,” and “Halifax Resolves.” Why were these documents all but forgotten in the 19th century? That’s easy: from 1819 on, excitement and ferocious controversy about the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence sucked all the attention away from the others.[14]

Even the families forgot. Take my Costners. Some of the next generations edged southwestward through South Carolina and Georgia, fighting in the Civil War from Mississippi, homesteading in the Panhandle of Oklahoma Territory. By the 20th century my Grandfather Costner knew nothing about his North Carolina ancestors, nothing he ever told his children. None of my recent ancestors knew that any of their folks had been in battle at a place called King’s Mountain until a Costner cousin dug up some news half a century ago. That cousin did not find anything called the “Tryon Resolves.” Even the Costners who stayed in North Carolina forgot, judging from a 1919 history which contains a long article on James A. Costner, the Mount Holly banker; that Costner valued his Great Great Grandfather Jacob because by doing “his full duty as a soldier” he had entitled the banker to membership in the Sons of the American Revolution.[15] That duty consisted of being sheriff of the county – pretty clearly Cousin James could have gotten the Tryon signing into the biographical piece if he had known about it and had taken pride in it. In 1952 Gilbert H. Hendrix gained SAR membership through his descent from Jacob Costner (SAR 74557) by the somewhat confused claim that the Committee of Safety for Tryon County “formed Aug. 14, 1775 was signed by 48 freeholders among whose name appears Jacob Costner. (See pages 239-240 & 242 ‘Our Kin’ a family History).”[16]

Early in the 20th century descendants of Christian Mauney began gathering at the site of the log house where “An Association” was signed. The Charlotte Observer on August 21, 1916, said that over 1000 descendants and friends attended. They heard speeches on the Mauney family, the history of Tryon County, and the shifting names and shapes of counties. But if anyone mentioned “An Association,” the Observer said not a word about it. The Mauneys were holding grand-scale family reunions, not celebrations of the signing of “An Association.” These gatherings bore little resemblance to the many annual celebrations of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence in Charlotte.

It was not historians (all of them male) who most forcefully called attention to the three North Carolina documents that had been neglected in the 19th century. Women, especially members of the Daughters of the Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution, deserve credit for awakening public interest in the Liberty Point Resolves and the Halifax Resolves. The March 20, 1903, Charlotte Observer reported that “a large gathering” in the city hall “including many prominent Fayetteville women” had met to form a “permanent Liberty Point Association.” The Observer on October 10, 1911 reported that the “Liberty Point Monument association, composed of “patriotic women” of Fayetteville, had “accepted the designs of a monument to be erected to the signers of the Liberty Point articles of independence.” The Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch on July 6, 1913, reported: “The Bloomsbury Chapter [of the Daughters of the Revolution] discussed especially ways and means of increasing the fund for the Halifax Resolves tablet to be placed in the rotunda of the Statehouse along with the tablet already there to the Mecklenburg Resolves.” By the mid-1900s the Liberty Point Resolves and the Halifax Resolves were competing for attention with the Mecklenburg documents, but the Tryon “Association” was still neglected. The 1919 plaque on the site of Mauney’s log house at NC State Road 274 five miles north of Bessemer City, erected by descendants of Christian Mauney, chattily identified the spot as the site of Mauney’s home, the “Tryon Court House,” and the camp of Lord Cornwallis’s British Army in January 1781—with not word of the Tryon Resolves. Finally in 1919 the Frederick Hambright Chapter of the DAR placed a bronze plaque on the reverse of the Mauney plaque. The heading read: “Here, in August, 1775, was formulated and signed the Tryon Declaration of Rights and Independence from British Tyranny.”

At last the Tryon patriots were suitably recognized, but not everyone was respectful. In 2012, thieves stole the plaque from Tryon Courthouse Road. An editorial lamented that “Those who commit such an abominable act show no respect for the freedom they enjoy because of the sacrifice of brave patriots who signed the Tryon Resolves.” Fortunately, members of Gastonia’s William Chronicle Chapter of the DAR raised enough money to replace the plaque, and a local monument company installed the new one without charge.[17] Monuments may be vandalized, but thanks to the some 19th century historians, the DAR, and the Internet, the “Tryon Resolves” will not again be forgotten.

[FEATURED IMAGE: Tryon County sign. Source: The Unreconstructed Tarheel]


[1] The first signer, John Walker, seems to have arrived late. Someone using such evidence as the records of chain-bearing neighbors, the Tryon County Record of Deeds, and the first two or three United States censuses might trace out a route a horseman might have taken in rounding up signatures.

[2] “Minutes of the Proceedings of Committee Tryon County 1775,” State Archives of North Carolina. A comprehensive study is Kathy Gunter Sullivan, Tryon County Documents 1769-1779: A North Carolina County (Forest City, North Carolina: Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County, 2000).

[3] Images courtesy State Archives of North Carolina. The only image of the signatures previously available on the Internet is a spliced together and re-photographed list in two columns, but not the original two columns on each of two pages.

[4] I have checked many newspapers in America’s Historical Newspapers and GenealogyBank, especially, but rely mainly on the chronologically arranged Documenting the American South / Colonial and State Records of North Carolina,

[5]. What set off Governor Martin’s hysterical fulminations was the printing in the Cape Fear Mercury of the May 1775 Mecklenburg County resolutions which contained a near-enough declaration of independence.

[6] My GGGG Grandfather Peter Costner (brother not only of Jacob but of Thomas, a King’s Mountain man) died at Ramsour’s Mill, June 20, 1780. A German speaker under a German King, he may simply have been confused about which side he was with. The less said the better; he is actor Kevin Costner’s GGGGG Grandfather. In the 1877 Sketches of Western North Carolina, Historical and Biographical, C. L. Hunter devoted pages 174-184 to “Colonel James Johnston,” a hero of King’s Mountain. A paragraph on page 180 is devoted to the family of Johnston’s wife, Jane Ewart. Hunter identified her father, Robert Ewart, as “one of the Committee of Safety for the ‘Salisbury District,’ which included Rowan, Mecklenburg and other western counties.” He itemized the “marriage connections of other members of the Ewart family” and concluded with this rousing sentence: “At the battle of King’s Mountain Robert Ewart, James Ewart, Robert Knox, Joseph Jack, Thomas Bell, Jonathan Price, Abram Forney, Peter Forney, and other brave spirits, were in the company commanded by Colonel James Johnston, and performed a conspicuous part in achieving the glorious victory on that occasion.” Honesty requires me to disclose that at ninety, in his pension application, my GGGG Grandfather Robert Knox (husband of Mary Ewart) says that he missed the battle at King’s Mountain because Colonel Johnston had sent him away on some business. My GGGG Grandfather Thomas Bell (husband of Rachel Ewart) died just too soon to apply for his pension. Joseph Jack’s wife was Margaret Ewart and Jonathan Price’s was Betsy Ewart. C. L. Hunter himself was the son of the great Revolutionary patriot, minister, and historian Humphrey Hunter, and Sketches was a family book to a significant extent, as shown by the pages on the Johnston family and also the Forney family (184-203). C. L. Hunter married Sophia Forney, a granddaughter of the signer Jacob Forney, so his children were first cousins of the children of Sophia’s sister Nancy and William Johnston (the son of Col. James Johnston and Jane Ewart). Robert Ewart was the great grandfather of William Johnston’s children, and Jacob Forney was the great grandfather of William Johnston’s children as well as Hunter’s children. This will be perfectly clear to any Southerner.

[7] Joseph Seawell Jones, A Defence of the Revolutionary History of the State of North Carolina from the Aspersions of Mr. Jefferson (Boston: Charles Bowen; Raleigh: Turner and Hughes, 1834), 180-192. Jones sets the Tryon “Association” in context, showing that it was a response to Samuel Johnston’s July 10 invitation to the Hillsborough convention. He changes the order of the signers’ names and does not list James McIntyre.

[8] William L. Saunders, The Colonial Records of North Carolina Vol. 10 (Raleigh: Josephus Daniels, 1890) has “Hulclip” and does not have James McIntyre; Alfred Nixon The History of Lincoln County (Lincolnton[?]: North Carolina Society, Daughters of the Revolution, 1910) has Hulclip and also has McIntyre. William L. Sherrill in his 1935 Annals of Lincoln County in the Lincolnton Lincoln Times has “Hulchip” instead of “Hulclip,” and has McIntyre. Perhaps you can read “McIntyre” on the illustration, second page, first column, next to the bottom, below “Jacob Castner” and “Robert Haselip” and above James Buchanan. William Lee Anderson III takes his list, including “Hulclip” and “McIntyre,” from Clarence W. Griffin, The History of Old Tryon and Rutherford Counties (Asheville: Miller, 1937). See Anderson’s 2009-2010 Lincoln County Men at Kings Mountain,

[9] Billie Heslep Barton in GenForum at, May 27, 2000.

[10] Sullivan, Tryon County Documents.

[11] Hunter, Sketches of Western North Carolina, 239. Hunter listed some of the signers, especially those who had served in the Revolution. Among them were the two Dellingers and Jacob Costner. There was only a neighborly and political connection between the Costner family and the Ewarts, Johnstons, and Prices until the Costners in Mississippi a century later began marrying Knox-Bell double descendants of Robert Ewart. As far as I know, Hunter himself had no family connection to Jacob Costner or the Dellingers.

[12] Saunders, The Colonial Records of North Carolina.

[13] Nixon, The History of Lincoln County, 119.

[14] Anyone studying the contexts of “Tryon Resolves” has to spend days reading 18th, 19th and 20th century newspaper stories on the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. The removal of Governor Martin’s Cape Fear Mercury from the British archives on August 15, 1837, by Andrew Stevenson, the American Minister, and its subsequent disappearance! Peter Force’s discovery in 1839! George Bancroft’s new discovery in 1848! Big 1875 centennial articles in the New York Herald and the New York Tribune! The discovery in 1904 of Traugott Bagge’s contemporary diary, written in German! Dozens of articles and chapters of books celebrating or denouncing the “Mec Dec.” A hardnosed, skeptical Melville scholar, I accept that the declaration as produced in 1819 (or late 1818, it seems) was a reconstruction, not a piece of paper preserved from 1775. Nevertheless, I am convinced, not least by Bagge’s diary, that there was a Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. I believe the affidavits of eye-witnesses mustered in the 1820s and 1830s. I do not believe that James Jack rode to Philadelphia carrying anything less than a Mecklenburg declaration of independence, and I see every reason to believe that the North Carolina delegates at the Continental Congress absolutely did not want it discussed openly for fear that timid delegates from other colonies would pack up and go home. Jack would not have lied in his affidavit. Most of the eye-witnesses were upstanding Presbyterians—a fact that oddly has been used to suggest that they banded together in deceit. At work, still, is the prejudiced ignorance of historians of the Revolution who write as if everything happened in the mid-Atlantic and North. Representative is Gordon S. Wood, who in The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1992) makes breathtakingly ignorant comments on North Carolina, but only a few. “Tryon,” man or county, is not in his index. The North Carolina patriots of 1775 risked their fortunes and lives in support of their “Brethren near Boston” after news of April 19th reached them, whether or not it was the arrival of that news that triggered the declaration.

[15] History of North Carolina: Volume IV, North Carolina Biography (Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1919), 349.

[16] This was Laban Miles Hoffman’s Our Kin: Being a History of the Hoffman, Rhyne, Costner, Rudisill, Best, Hovis, Hoyle, Wills, Shetley, Jenkins, Holland, Hambright, Gaston, Withers, Cansler, Clemmer and Lineberger Families, published privately by Daniel E. Rhyne, Laban L. Jenkins, and L. M. Hoffman, 1915. Hoffman’s information about the events of August 14, 1775, came from Hunter’s Sketches. The written notes in it in Hoffman’s hand are from the copy in the possession of his daughter, whose married name was Mrs. W. K. Mauney.

[17] Gaston Gazette, July 24, 2013.



  • Thomas Espy’s other son John (twin of James) also fought. This is recorded in his Revolutionary War pension file.

  • Editors–thank you for publishing this just in time for the anniversary of the Tryon County “An Association”! 1775-2014!

    1. Mr Parker first off Thank you for your informative information. I am looking for information on Andrew Costner (1774-1867) son of Thomas Costner. Wondering if you may have any info? My records have him as father of John L Chostner

      Any info is greatly appreciated
      Thank you
      Greg Chostner

      1. Greg, Andrew as a son of Thomas Costner (the King’s Mountain Thomas Costner) is not listed in Hoffman’s OUR KIN. Hoffman has Thomas marrying Jennie Lowe. and he had children with a Catherine according to his 1832 Law pension application (no Andrew named), and was step father to the John Fronebarger who was old enough to have served with him in the Revolution. As an old man Thomas is living next to Fronebargers. I did a quick look in the censuses but did not find your Andrew Costner or Chostner. There are many who were given that ancestral first name, including my uncle Andrew Costner who died in 2001.
        Now, in the 1930s Eudora Welty herself took a photograph of Thomas Costner’s store in Banner, Mississippi . . . .

        1. Thank You Mr Parker,
          I have Thomas Costner with potentially 4 wifes
          1st Mary Marguarite Peggy Barringer married circa 1771
          2nd Catherine P Costner married circa 1784/1785
          3rd Jennie Lowe married circa 1809
          4th Jane Jennie Lowe married circa 1809
          Believe 3 and 4 to be the same as marrige dates are the same and names.
          I have Andrew being born of Thomas and Jennie/Jane, although believe her to be step mother possibily, also have Andrew married to Sallie Smith (b10/14/1767- d?)

          Also have Thomas’s step son as a David Stiff Costner, though through research this morning have found John Fronebarger as son of Mary Barringer and William Fronebarger, and step son of Thomas through pension documents.

          Again Thank you for your quick response and info.
          The joys of reseaching family of 200 plus years ago, at least we are lucky enough to have some info. and records unlike some in this world.


          1. Greg – The Costner family ties in with lines myself and several others are researching. I had Thomas Costner (abt 1746-1835) married to Mary Barringer in 1771 in Lincoln County, NC and then married to Catherine (?) in 1784 in Lincoln County, NC. I believe he had a son, Thomas, that married Nancy Lowe 12/12/1809 in Lincoln County, NC. Other names were are researching are GIBSON, FRONEBARGER, HUFFSTETLER, JENKINS, DELLINGER, all out of Lincoln and Gaston Counties in NC moving to Sevier and Blount Counties in TN in the early 1800’s.

  • Mr Parker: Thank you for providing the signature pages for the Tryon Resolves. I have tried a number of time over the years to discover if there was a signature page in the NC Archives. I always suspected that there was, but I was told numerous times by the archives that there was not. For those of us with ancestors who signed the Resolves, this is a wonderful gift!

    1. I’m 5 great granddaughter of John Wells – -signed next to Costner — I am also descendant of the Barringers of NC. – -my mother’s name.

      Both John Wells, my father and my mother are descendants of William the Lion of Scotland and several English and French kings — and are related to several American Presidents – vis the de Ros, Wells, Manners families and the current royal family of Britain- my mother and father are actually blood relatives — – 20 some generations back. (I am the author of “A Game Called Salisbury” under my Barringer Wells name

  • Mr Hill, I wanted the pages mainly because some words were transcribed in different ways and I wanted a closer look. I was astounded to see that the signatures as shown on Internet sites were chopped up and slapped together in a very misleading way, so I was doubly glad to receive such a good copy of the original! Thanks to Todd and Don for reproducing the pages so sharply.

    1. PS. I understand John Wells’ house is still standing not far from the Battleground near the SC border in Cleveland County. My father grew up near there.

      1. Susan, if you write on David Fanning few people rush up to talk about their ancestor but if you write on 40-some signers of the Tryon Association you are celebrating the ancestors of tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of now living patriots, many of them still residing in the Charlotte area. Maybe it’s time to enlarge the family celebrations (like the Mauney gathering) into a “Descendants of Signers” reunion, maybe advertised online in the May 20th Society that has sprung up around Scott Syfert and his terrific book. We have a notable anniversary just around the corner, 2025.

  • Wonder if the “20 May 1775” date could be the “skirmish” at Leavitt farm on Grape Island, one of the Boston Harbor islands. The date is about right and it was the next action around Boston following Lex & Concord. At the time the date could have been interpreted as 20 May since one of the primary newspaper sources was taken from a letter written 26 May 1775 and stated it occurred “…last Sabbath…”. 20 May would have been the previous Saturday. “Off by a day” is painfully common.


    MARY was born 12/11/1748. She married PETER KRAUS COSTNER in UNK, 1767. Mary Madgaline Dellinger [Spouse of Peter Costner] was widowed on June 20, 1780, the date their youngest child, Catherine was born. Peter died that day from wounds received at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill on that day.

    The 1790 census of Lincoln Co. NC shows:

    Costner, Mary — 2 for number of free white males and head of household. — 1 for number of free white males under 16 years of age. — 5 for number of free white females and head of household. — 0 for number of all other free persons in the household. — 0 for number of slaves.
    MARY died 06/06/1839 at 90 years of age. Died June the 6th 1839, aged 90 yrs, 6 months & 25 days–this is the inscription on her tombstone at Kizer Cemetery in Carroll Co GA.
    Her body was interred 06/1839 in KIZER CEMETERY, CROSS PLAINS, CARROLL COUNTY, GA.

    Mary Madgaline (spelling as given in other documents) Dellinger is my GGGGG grandmother. her daughter, Mary Barbara Costner, married my GGGG grandfather, Moses Wilson, both also buried at Kizer Cemetery, Cross Plains, Carroll County, Georgia.

    1. I’m probably a lot older than you. She is only my GGGG Grandmother. I did not know she lived so long and did not know she died in Georgia. Thanks. Have you looked at Peter’s Estate Papers? Her brother Henry Dellinger helped her. You know the story of what killed Henry’s stuck up second wife? See my gmail address above.

        1. Cousin Jerry, please use my gmail address in an earlier post. We can share information about the Dellingers and Costners.

  • Thank you for this informative article. My grandfather is John Walker, the first signer. I hope I’ll be able to view this document one day. I see where you say Walker may have arrived late. From where does that information come?

  • Scott, This week I met online a cousin of yours (and mine) who lives in Raleigh, like you a descendant of John Walker but kin to me in other ways. I may have misread the line about someone serving “as Deputy Chairman in the absence of Col. Walker.” I thought it meant he was tardy but maybe that applies to when Walker would be gone to Hillsborough for the provincial convention starting August 20, 1775. Walker certainly signed first, when time to sign came round. “Signed by” (just before his name) may be an interpolation. It does not look to me like the hand that copied out the Association ending in the previous line. I have a photocopy, and Kathy Gunter Sullivan in TRYON COUNTY DOCUMENTS 1769-1779 worked from still more documents in the North Carolina Archives: Secretary of State’s Papers, S. S. 305. What was on the Internet prior to the publication of this article was a much rearranged set of signatures. You would need a good statistician even to estimate how many of us descendants of these signers are alive today!

  • Thanks Hershel.

    Though I am familiar with John Walker to an extent, as he was involved in many important events in the colonial era, the events surrounding the Tryon Resolves aren’t necessarily that familiar to me.

  • One of my direct ancestors is Thomas Beatty. the name has been spelled different ways over the years. Beattie, Batty, and my gg grandmother spelled it Baty. I really enjoyed finding this gem that he signed. I haven’t researched the background of the other signers but a few of those surnames appear in my family tree. Most of my ancestors were from the same part of North Carolina and settled in Tenessee or Georgia and then Arkansas.

    1. Sandra,
      Are you a descendant of Archibald and Margaret Graham and if so, through which of their children? I descend from Archibald Graham Jr. who married Jane Beatty, dau. of Thomas Beatty. Would like to exchange information with others in this line.

  • It’s important to keep these and other stories alive for our grandchildren and future generations. Having recently discovered that Jacob Forney Sr is my GGGGG grandfather, what a difference it that knowlege would have made in my US history classes. Thanks to all the “scribes” who have made genealogy research so easy for us to do online.

  • I am not a Forney but the descendants of Peter Forney’s daughter Nancy are cousins of mine because her husband William Johnston was the son of Jane Ewart and Col. James Johnston. Jane was the daughter of the Committee of Safety and King’s Mountain man, Robert Ewart. Cousin Will was the brother-in-law of the great historian of western NC, Cyrus Hunter. Old Abraham Forney in the 25 October 1844 Raleigh REGISTER remembered his father, Jacob Forney’s consulting with Robert Ewart (“a good Whig”) and Major John Davidson during the war and said how near they lived to each other. Jacob was the Forney stripped of all his possessions in and out of the house by Cornwallis. This JAR article was reprinted (by permission) in an expanded version in the Gaston-Lincoln Genealogical Society’s Footprints in Time (December 2014), 154-174. Last week on August 13, 2016 there was a meeting at the National Costner Reunion in Dallas, NC. The invitation said: “The group will be going to the Tryon Resolves Ceremony from 10-10:45 am. Also the George Adam Kastner Bible will be on display at the Gaston County Museum.”
    This article has pleased a lot of cousins, and there are a lot of us! Ask Scott Syfert how many descendants of the Tryon Signers he knows!

  • Mr. Parker, Thank you for writing this article. I’ve been looking for information on this subject for several years. My 4th great grandfather is Valentine Mauney. He and Christian Mauney were brothers. Valentine’s name is on the page to the left, second column, 6th name from the bottom. I am surprised the quality of this document is so good. Where did you find it? Also, I’m going to be in South and North Carolina in January 2017, and would like to visit the sites where the markers are. Could you provide location or coordinates.
    Thank you,
    Kay Hamilton

    1. Hello. I too am a descendent of Valentine Mauney. I’ve just come upon this article with fantastic links and information.

  • . “During colonial times, this was where people came to resolve disputes, where men and boys trained for the colonial militia, where the Tryon Resolves were signed and where Cornwallis camped as he moved through the Carolinas,” said John Russell, a member of the Gaston County Historic Preservation Commission. “This is one [of the], if not the most important historical site in the Western Piedmont.”
    The foregoing lines are from a 2002 article which I can send to you. This historical site, so praised by John Russell, is Christian Mauney’s log house. That should fill you with pride!
    I don’t want to clutter this site, so please
    contact me at he***********@sb*******.net
    and I will send you information and make sure you have local contacts.
    The image is at the State Archives of North Carolina. Kathy Gunter Sullivan reproduced it, not as clearly as in JAR, in TRYON COUNTY DOCUMENTS 1769-1779 (2000). Kathy was the first to get the images reproduced properly, not the altered way the signatures had appeared on the Internet. I ordered the pages with the signatures from the NC State Archives and was overjoyed to receive the clear images which JAR reproduced so well.
    The Gaston-Lincoln Genealogical Society reprinted (with the permission of JAR) a longer version of this Tryon Association article that has more on the signers. You will want to see it. I will put you in touch people on the ground in Bessemer City or Gastonia.

  • Mr Parker,

    Thank you for providing this article! I’m interested in seeing more information on the signers and was wondering if anyone had done a short bio on each that is available online or in print. Such a follow-up would be helpful for those descendents doing research.

    I specifically would like to know about Joseph Kuykendall’s lineage. I am a descendent of Joseph Hardin. He and his brother, Benjamin were signers. Their sister, Sarah, married Frederick Hambright. I’m guessing there is a lot of interrelatedness like this among the Tryon Association signers.

    Col. Joseph Hardin’s daughter, Margaret, married Adam R Kuykendall. They are my 4th great grandparents. I’m thinking the signer, Joseph Kuykendall, is either a brother or cousin of my Adam Kuykendall but I have no info on him.

    If anyone has information on this Joseph Kuykendall, I’d love to hear it!

    John McBride

  • Thank you for bringing light of day to this important historical document and its signers. I read with pride that one of the signers was a Haselip. I am a descendant of Laban Haislip (Haselip). Laban was from Maryland and lived to Granville County and Johnston County, NC after his service in the Revolutionary War before moving westward to Tennessee. I will search to find a lineage connection to the signer, Robert Haselip.
    With much appreciation,
    Renee Black

  • My husband is a descendant of John Wells, 1741, and we are trying to learn of his roots. He had a brother named James. Anyone with information, we would really appreciated.

    1. Jeannine, I am also a direct descendant of John Wells. I have some good info on him and his ancestors. His father’s name is Joseph, and then there was Thomas Jr and Thomas Sr. Someone made a mistake on Geni leaving out one of the Thomas’s and I don’t know if they’ve fixed that, but I found another descendant who has a lot more info, and you can trace John back to the Lord Welles of England, one of whom married Maud de Ros who, if the info is correct, is a descendant of Robert de Ros of Magna Charta fame and a descendant of William the Lion of Scotland via his mistress, Isabel. De Ros is related to many of the US presidents and many of the British and some other royals. I’ll get you the link to some of this info tomorrow.

      Below is from Roots Web, which has most of his descendants listed. — he had an aunt Named Rachel Wells who married a Wright – she was a Quaker Minister, living near Chapel Hill for a while – there is more to that story.

      “John’s gravestone reads “In memory of John Wells who departed this life, March 4, 1819, age 78 yrs. Adieu all both far and near, farewell my wife and children dear, for my immortal soul is now fled, I now lie numbered with the dead.” Next to John is an unmarked space. it is probably the grave of his wife Britter who died before 6-20-1826.

      John is listed on the DAR Patriot Index – Centennial Edition as: John Wells, born 1741, died 3-4-1819, in North Carolina, married Britter, Patriotic Service in North Carolina, Signer of Tyron Co Declaration of Independence.

      The home of John Wells still stands today. It is listed in the Cleveland Co. Heritage Book, 1892 as, John Wells Home, built 1780. The home of John Wells, pioneer and Revolutionary soldier, now covered with boarding, was built of hand-hewn logs in 1780. It was under construction during the Battle of Kings Mountain and the wounded from the battle were carried there for medical treatment. His marker in the Wells cemetery located nearby bears the following inscription “In memory of John Wells, who departed this life March the 4, 1819, aged 78 years” The home and cemetery are located about four miles south of King Mountain in the Dixon community in the southeast section of Cleveland County. From the house the site of the Battle of Kings Mountain can be seen. It is the oldest occupied house in Cleveland County.”

    2. yes James was one of his brothers – there were many – seems to have been a Wells tradition. This say that Rachel – the Quaker minister was his sister, not his aunt, but sometime there are mistakes.

      Son of Joseph Wells, Sr. and Margaret Wells 
      Brother of Rachel Wright; Levi Wells; Charity Wright; Joseph Wells, Jr.; Margaret Wells; Mary Wells; Isaac Wells; James Wells; Elizabeth Wells; Frances Wells; Robert Wells; William Wells and Thomas Wells 

  • Each year at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia NC We Celebrate the Signing of the Tryon Resolves. It happens at 1 PM to 5 PM on the Sunday after Aug 14th. It will be on the Museum’s Calendar during the Month of Aug. The 18th Century Village outside the Museum is open to the Public. Each visitor will be able to find out how many of their ancestors signed this important document . Hope to see everyone at the Museum next Aug The coordinator of the event is Susanna Simmons at the Schiele Museum Thanks Greg Payseur

  • I learned about the Tyron Resolves while attending a Cowart/Neel family reunion in Louisiana during June this year. My grandmother was a Neel and the cemetery beside the church where the reunion was held, has as far back as my GGGG grandfather buried there. My 2nd cousin is the family historian, and was very informative concerning the Neel history. My GGGGG grandfather Joseph Neel and his brother Andrew are both signers of this document.

    Thank you for writing this article! It has peaked my interest, and I am now planning to make the trip to Gastonia NC to visit the Schiele Museum for the Signing Celebration next year.

  • I just wanted to thank you for the article. I recently moved into the area. The monument is a few miles from my house. Oddly, I’m not from NC, but I am a direct descendant of Jacob Costner.

  • Grateful for this web page. My family line descended from William Whiteside, and his son Davis Whiteside. Note that on the plaque the name Davis Whiteside is misspelled as “Whitesides.” Where as William’s last name is correctly spelled with no added “s.” We held onto “Davis” in naming our sons for several generations that ended with my father, Davis Gilbert Whiteside, now deceased. We believe he had the last “Y” DNA descended from the eldest son to eldest son going back to Davis Whiteside, signer of the Tryon Resolve. My father’s DNA is included with the Whiteside DNA Project and available for family ancestry matching.

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