Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, July 4, 1776, our country proclaimed its freedom from England and I thought it fitting to relate another family story about my 5G Grandfather, William Murrill and his slave, Tony and an action they were involved in during our Revolutionary War.
This event was passed down through the family and recorded in the diary of my 3G Uncle, James Buckner “Buck” Barry, and later copyrighted and published as “Buck Barry, Texas Ranger And Frontiersman”. I have used family history and this book as my references.
William and Tony had participated in the capture of three Tory, (Colonials who supported the British), soldiers who had been guilty of killing two Whig troops, (North Carolina Militia), namely Franks and Blackshear. The Tories had killed the two just before peace was made, were then captured, court-martialed and sentenced to hang. Some of the Militia soldiers thought it wrong to hang them after peace was declared, so an express was sent to Gen. Nathaniel Green, commander of the district. His reply was to hang them if they could not get a Whig girl to marry them under the gallows!
Two of the three captured Tories were engaged to Whig girls and just before the hanging, the two girls stepped out and saved their betrothed’s necks. The third Tory couldn’t get a Whig girl to marry him, and as the story is told, was hanged on the same gallows that his two friends were married under.
The two Tories, married under the gallows, happened to live on a farm adjoining Buck Barry’s father’s farm and Buck reports that, on occasion, when he was young, he saw these two lucky men.
Times were tough back then, when you had to fight your neighbors and your own countrymen!