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A Soldier of the Revolution: Joseph Winston and the Surry Backcountry of North Carolina

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A Soldier of the Revolution: Joseph Winston and the Surry Backcountry of North Carolina
Downey, Jerry C.
Surry County was carved from the backcountry of North Carolina in 1771. On the eve of the American Revolution, Surry was a remote region whose settlers were concerned primarily with forging an existence from the semi-wilderness. The wealthier among them like Joseph Winston were involved in acquiring and speculating in the abundant western lands. Land hunger brought the frontiersmen into conflict with the Indians to the west. Surry County was slower than the older tidewater counties to the east in opposing British authority. However, in the fall of 1775 Joseph Winston and other backcountry Whigs emulated their eastern compatriots. They took the initiative in seizing power by instituting a committee system of government and purging the colonial militia. The Whigs used the committee system and the new militia to control the citizenry and convert them to the patriot cause. Many people either remained loyal to the crown or tried to steer a neutral course in the struggle, and the Surry backcountry became an region of bitter internecine strife, as Whigs and Tories struggled for supremacy. It is the intent of this thesis to demonstrate that Joseph Winston made a variety of important contributions to the Revolution in Surry County. His contributions to government were threefold: he was a member of the Surry Committee of Safety, a delegate to the Provincial Congress, and an assemblyman under the new state constitution. He was also an entry-taker in the revolutionary land office, a recruiter to fulfill North Carolina's commitment of troops in the Continental army, and a treaty commissioner to the Cherokee. He made his most notable contribution, however, as a field officer in the Whig militia. He served this role with distinction, pursuing local bands of loyalist militia, taking part in the brief, destructive Cherokee War of 1776, and fighting in the decisive battles of King's Mountain and Guilford Court House. In all of these roles, Joseph Winston operated within a highly structured system to bring the Revolution to Surry County.
This digitized thesis replaces the circulating bound copy. It is not openly accessible off-campus.
North Carolina
Revolutionary War
American Revolution
Colonial North Carolina
Joseph Winston
Surry County
2015-07-09T20:28:34Z (accessioned)
2015-07-09T20:28:34Z (available)
1989 (issued)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/57204 (uri)

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