Hesitant Wilmingtonians risked ostracism by Patriots

“In spring 1775, the entire committee of safety in Wilmington, North Carolina, visited each family to request that the head of household sign a paper in support of the [Continental] Association or to state his motives for refusing. Few felt they could deny their signature when their neighbors were watching on their doorstep.

“Eleven Wilmingtonians nevertheless refused; these dissenters were effectively ostracized and called out in the Cape-Fear Mercury, an outlet specially founded for such purposes.”

— From Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth” by Holger Hoock (2017)


Loyalist found a fate (slightly) preferable to being hanged

“As both Patriots and Loyalists recognized the war in the South as particularly violent, predictably, each side blamed the other. Among the most notorious rebels was Colonel Benjamin ‘Bull Dog’ Cleveland, who terrorized Loyalists in the Yadkin country. When [British Major Patrick] Ferguson‘s proclamation just before Kings Mountain men­tioned the rebels ‘murdering an unarmed son before the aged fa­ther, and afterwards lopped off his arms,’ he was referring to an infamous incident involving the ‘Bull Dog.’

“In another instance, Cleveland’s men broke out two Loyalists from a prison, stood one of them ‘on a log, put the noose around his neck, threw the end of the rope over a tree limb, fastened it, and kicked the log out from under him.’ Cleveland then gave the second Loyalist a choice: he, too, would be hanged, unless he cut off his own ears. The man grabbed a knife, sliced off his ears, and was let go.”

— From Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth” by Holger Hoock (2017)

Cleveland County is named for the ‘Bull Dog.’