Ney-sayers keep their theory alive

What was it about Peter Stewart Ney, believed by some to be a fugitive Napoleonic marshal passing as a Rowan County schoolmaster, that inspired such fascination? Has any other North Carolinian ever been the subject of so many biographies, however questionable? They just keep coming, from “Historic Doubts as to the Execution of Marshal Ney” (1895) to “Marshal Ney Before and After Execution” (1929) to “Marshal Ney: A Double Life” (1937) to “Napoleon’s Traitor: The Masons and Marshal Ney’s Mysterious Escape” (1989) to “Execution Denied: The Story of Marshal Ney, Napoleon’s ‘Bravest of the Brave’ ” (2004).

The Dictionary of North Carolina Biography avoids using the word “hoax” but concludes bluntly “He was not… the marshal.”

One thought on “Ney-sayers keep their theory alive”

  1. Davidson College has a large collection of Ney materials. See the Davidson College Archives blog on the subject here:

    Rowan Public Library in Salisbury has the materials from the Ney Memorial Association, including the architectural plans for his brick-covered tomb located at Third Creek Presbyterian Church.

    As an aside, Ney taught one of my ancestors (briefly) at a school connected with Unity Presbyterian Church right across the Catawba River from Davidson College, near where my parents still live.

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