Angelica Nott

Mrs. Angelica Nott, widow of the late Judge Nott, of South Carolina, remembers some illustrative incidents which occurred in the section where she resided with her aunt, Mrs. Potter, near the Grindal Shoal, a little south of Pacolet River. The whig population in this portion of the State were exposed during part of 1780 and 1781 to incredible hardships. The breezes of fortune which had fanned into life the expiring embers of opposition to English tyranny, had been so variable that the wavering hopes of the people were often trembling on the verge of extinction. The reverses of the British arms had exasperated the loyalists, and embittered the enmity felt towards the stubborn people who refused to be conquered. Such was the state of feeling when the destiny of the South was committed to the hands of a soldier of consummate genius, in whom the trust of all was implicitly placed.

When Tarleton was on his march against Morgan, just before their encounter at the Cowpens, a party of loyalists came to the place where Mrs. Potter lived, and committed some depredations. They burned the straw covering from a rude hut, in which the family lodged, while a relative ill of the smallpox occupied the house. Mrs. Potter and her children had built this lodge of rails, for their temporary accommodation. The soldiers attempted to take off her wedding ring, which, as it had been worn for years, became imbedded under the skin, in the effort to force it from her finger. They swore it should be cut off, but finally desisted from the attempt. On the same march, Tarleton encamped at the house of John Beckham, whose wife was the sister of Colonel Henderson of the continental army. Mrs. Beckham saw for the first time this renowned officer while standing in her yard, and ordering his men to catch her poultry for supper. She spoke civilly to him, and hastened to prepare supper for him and his suite, as if they had been honored guests. When about to leave in the morning, he ordered the house to be burnt, after being given up to pillage, but on her remonstrance, recalled the order. All her bedding was taken, except one quilt, which soon shared the same fate. At another time Mrs. Beckham went to Granby, eighty miles distant, for a bushel of salt, which she brought home on the saddle under her. The guinea appropriated for the purchase was concealed in the hair braided on the top of her head.

Mrs. Potter was visited by the famous tory, Colonel Cunningham, commonly called "Bloody Bill Cunningham," on one occasion, with a party of two hundred and fifty men. They arrived after dark; and as green corn happened to be in season, encamped by one of her fields, fed their horses with the corn, built fires with the rails, and roasted the ears for themselves. At that time, the family lived chiefly on roasted corn, without bread, meat, or salt. Hickory ashes were used, with a small quantity of salt, for preserving beef when it could be had. Leather shoes were replaced by woollen rags sewed round the feet; and of beds or bedding none were left. The beds were generally ripped open by the depredators, the feathers scattered, and the ticking used for tent-cloths. The looms were robbed of cloth found in them; and hence the women of the country resorted to various expedients to manufacture clothing, and preserve it for their own use and that of their friends. A family residing on the Pacolet built a loom between four trees in the forest, and wove in fair weather, covering the loom and web with cow-hides when it rained.

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