The Kings Mountain Messenger Chapter was named in honor of Joseph Greer, a famous Revolutionary War soldier who individually took the message of victory over the British at the Battle of Kings Mountain to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia in 1780.
The Kings Mountain Messenger Chapter DAR was organized in l911 and was initially active for thirty years. The records of the chapter, except for a list of the names of original members found filed with the Treasurer’s Book, were unfortunately destroyed by a severe tornado that hit Fayetteville in 1952. The chapter began with 16 members who are believed to have been: Eleanor Malloy Gillespie, Regent; Martha Hancock Lamb (Mrs. Wm. Bonner), 1st Vice Regent; Ella Greer Edmiston (Mrs. Wm. Campbell), 2nd Vice Regent (daughter of Alexander A. Greer and grand-daughter of Joseph Greer); Margaret Gillespie Boyles (Mrs. G.C.), Secretary (daughter of Katherine Greer and grand-daughter of Joseph Greer); Berta Himes Brossard (Mrs. Ernest C.), Registrar; Frances Caldwell (dropped March 4, 1912); Pearl Cartwright Frasa (Mrs. H. Herman) Treasurer; Adaline G. Hancock Jones (Mrs. Massey) Historian; Silena Moore Holman, Chaplin; Minnie Jarvis Ellis (Mrs. Wm. A.), (daughter of Lou Greer, and grand-daughter of Alexander A. Greer, and Great Grand-daughter of Joseph Greer); Lelia Hancock (Mrs. George Malone, Jr.); Fanny Lynn Marsh (Mrs. Earl); Elzie Edmiston McCauley (Mrs. Hershel), (daughter of Alexander A. Greer, and grand-daughter of Joseph Greer); Ruth Sackwell (Mrs. John); Mary Robertson Thornton (Mrs. Mahlon); Frances Weaver Wilson (Mrs. M. G.); Mary Ann Casstevens (Mrs. John Mansfield). The chapter was disbanded in 1941 during the difficult days of World War II.
The chapter was reactivated in l966 and opened with 18 members, increasing its membership to 23 by the end of the first year. The members during that year were: Elizabeth Bessie Ashby (Mrs. Stiles), (Organizing Member); Frances Dean Smith Barry (Mrs. Ben); Rachel Dryden Burras (Mrs. Hugh); Annie Neal Dryden; Hattie Mae Faulkner (Mrs. Vic); Alice Sanders Fleener (Mrs. James); Jacqualine Fleener; Evalyn Holman Frierson (Mrs. A.P.); Josephine McWilliams Graham (Mrs. Eli); Louise Higgins; Lila Motlow Lamb (Mrs. Deimer); Pat Matthews; Helen Patrick Matthews (Mrs. John II); Virginia McRady (Mrs. J.V.); Elizabeth Moores (Mrs. James); Evellyn Elder Sawyers (Mrs. Frank), Regent; Hilda Nichols Smith (Mrs. Hugh); Steger Stevens (Mrs. Robert); Elizabeth Thomison Terry (Mrs. Henry Jr.); Rosa Kate Thomison (Mrs. Tol); Ina Jane Wyatt (Mrs. Morton); Betty Hatcher Young (Mrs. John); and Sarah Buchannan Young (Mrs. Beverly).
The chapter is located in Fayetteville, Lincoln County, Tennessee, which is in southern middle Tennessee. It is a part of the Sequoyah District of the TNDAR. The district is named after the son of Nathaniel Gist who was captured by the Cherokees in 1755 During the time he was captive, he fathered a son who was called Sequoyah by the Indians, but named by his father as George Gist. In his time among the Indians, Sequoyah devised a universal Indian alphabet that embraced the whole Cherokee language. He made several trips to the west in search of lost Cherokees. Sequoyah died searching alone in 1843 near the village of San Fernando, Mexico. He was the only literary person in America to be awarded a pension. It is believed the great trees of California (sequoia gigantic) were named to preserve his memory. A statue of Sequoyah can be found in the Capitol Building of Washington, D.C.
Joseph Greer is known as the Kings Mountain Messenger for his personal delivery of the message to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia of the victory over the British at the Battle of Kings Mountain, South Carolina, fought on October 7, 1780. His claim to fame as the Kings Mountain Messenger came at the conclusion of the Battle of Kings Mountain when he was dispatched by Col. John Sevier to carry the message of victory to George Washington and the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. It took him some thirty days on foot and horse while enduring the wilds of the country, the threat of hostile Indians, and the snow and rain of a severe winter to arrive with musket and compass on November 7, 1780 at the session of Congress, a 600 mile trip. It is said that the Indians shot his horse from under him and on one occasion was hiding inside a hollow log while the Indians sat on it. His entry to the Congress was restrained because he was unknown, however he pushed his 6 foot 7 inch frontiersman stature through the door and delivered his message to a stunned and disbelieving Congress. Seeing his size and courage, they were heard to say “with men of his size and strength, no wonder the frontier patriots won.”
Joseph Greer was the second son of Andrew and Ruth Greer who came from Gaughwaugher, Londonderry County, Ireland in 1750. They settled in the vicinity of Philadelphia. Andrew and Ruth had 3 sons and 2 daughters. They were Alexander 1752-1810, Joseph 1754-1831, Andrew II 1756- , Jane 1758- , and Ruth 1760-1831. Andrew’s first wife, Ruth Kincaid, died about 1761.
Andrew’s second wife was Mary Vance of a renowned family of North Carolina. She bore him 3 sons and 3 daughters. They were Margery Johnson 1768- , Thomas 1770- , John 1775- , twins David and Vance (birth date unknown), and Mary Vance (Polly) 1786- . Therefore Joseph was one of eleven children including one set of twins. Interestingly, later Joseph also had 11 children, including one set of twins.
Joseph Greer was born at Philadelphia on August 8, 1754. In his early years, Joseph moved with his parents to Staunton, Virginia, and his father traded with the Indians in lower Virginia and western North Carolina, areas which later became eastern Tennessee. In about 1766, at the age of 12, the family moved to the Watauga River area. It is known that his father, Joseph, and his brothers, Alexander and Andrew II, along with John Sevier were among forty defenders of Fort Watauga in 1769 who defeated some 300 Indians. The conflict was in the vicinity of the Town of Elizabethton.
Joseph’s first marriage was to the widow Carter of Knoxville in 1792. They had no children. Living in Knoxville, they owned a store until 1804 when his wife died and he moved to Lincoln County, Tennessee. He was a big buyer and seller of land, the first of which was acquired by grant of 2,566 acres with a warrant from North Carolina for his services during the war. This land was located south of the Elk River near Fayetteville, Lincoln County, Tennessee.
After marrying his second wife, Mary Ann Harmon of Kentucky in 1810 they settled and raised their family at Hannah’s Gap in the area of Petersburg. They had 6 sons and 5 daughters. They were: Joseph H. 1811-1858; Margaret Ruth 1813-1854; Eliza Joe 1815-1887; Alexander A. 1817-1883; Katherine Sarah 1820-1854; Jane Caroline 1821-1874; twins John Jacob 1824-1912 and Thomas Vance 1824-1917; Jefferson 1826- ; Julia Eglantine 1828- ; and George Wilson 1830-1850. Joseph had 38 grandchildren.
Joseph Greer died in 1831 of pneumonia at the age of 77. He became ill after traveling through a winter storm getting home from a trading trip to see his new-born son, George. After his death some 7000 acres were distributed by will to his heirs.
Joseph Greer’s grave can be found in a pasture field of his old home place which is located about 4 miles east of the Town of Petersburg, Tennessee, about a thousand yards north of state highway 129 near the intersection of Bledsoe Road and Three Hundred Dollar Road. His wife, Mary Ann and their last son, George, are buried next to him. The inscription on his crypt reads:
Here lies the body of Joseph Greer.
He was, while living, and example of
every virtue, distinguished for his
benevolence and humanity. He
died on the 23rd day of February
1831, in the 77th year of his age,
lamented by all who knew him.
A bronze plaque was placed at his grave site about 1930. The plaque was stolen and his crypt desecrated. In 2004 the plaque reappeared and for preservation, security, and historic recognition it is now prominently located on the Lincoln Courthouse lawn in Fayetteville, Tennessee. The plaque reads:
JOSEPH GREER CARRIED
THE MESSAGE OF THE
VICTORY AT KINGS
MOUNTAIN TO THE
THEREBY TURNING THE
TIDE OF THE REVOLUTION
Joseph Greer, the Kings Mountain Messenger, was truly a hero of the Revolution for Freedom for delivering the message of an unknown victory to a down hearted Congress that turned the tide of the war for independence against the British.
The Battle of Kings Mountain of the American Revolution was fought on October 7, 1780 in York County, South Carolina, which is near Gastonia, North Carolina. It took place on a small, narrow, isolated plateau that rose some 150 feet above the surrounding areas of forested slopes and ravines that led to the nearly treeless summit. The Kings Mountain battle was the beginning of the successful end to the Revolution for Independence that began on April 19, 1775 at Lexington and Concord. For the most part American Patriots fought American Loyalists troops to determine their destiny in this battle.
The British under General Lord Cornwallis and Major Patrick Ferguson recruited a thousand American Loyalist Tories and trained them to fight in European open-field tactics (which would prove to be a big mistake at Kings Mountain). Cornwallis, who was mounting an invasion of North Carolina, ordered Ferguson and his Loyalists to move north into western North Carolina. Ferguson sent a message to the over-mountain back-water patriots in the Watauga settlements threatening “that if they did not desist from their opposition to the British arms, and take protection under his standard, he would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay their country waste with fire and sword.” The threat proved to be his undoing.
Enraged, Isaac Shelby and John Sevier organized a force to go east over the mountains and strike Ferguson before he had a chance to get to them. Quick to join them were Col. Charles McDowell, leader of 160 North Carolina Whigs and Col. William Campbell commander of 400 riflemen from the east side mountains of Virginia. These 1000 riflemen met at the appointed gathering place, Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River on September 25, 1780. They took three days crossing the Blue Ridge and at Quaker Meadows were joined by an additional 350 Whigs under Col. Benjamin Cleveland and Col. Joseph Winston. At this point Campbell was given overall command. On October 6th after days of exhausting travel they were joined at Cowpens by Col. James Williams and 400 South Carolinians. Learning that Ferguson was only 30 miles away at Kings Mountain, they chose 900 of their best men and horses and made their way there overnight.
Surrounding the mountain with Campbell and Shelby on the interior and Sevier on the right flank and Cleveland on the left flank, they moved toward the summit and the battle began at about three p.m. on the afternoon of October 7, 1780. A number of bayonet charges were made by Ferguson but were repelled by the sharpshooters of Shelby and Campbell. Meanwhile Sevier and Cleveland were gaining a foothold on the summit. As the net now was closing in on Ferguson, he was shot and killed and the fight went out of his remaining soldiers. Of the British Tory troops, 157 were killed, 163 were severely wounded and 698 were captured. The Patriots lost only 28 killed and 62 wounded. The Battle of Kings Mountain lasted only about one hour.
The site of the battle is now the 3,950 acre Kings Mountain National Military Park which celebrated its 225th Anniversary of the historic battle on October 7, 2005. Congress established the National Military Park in 1931.
Research and Credits
The forgoing information was gleaned through the cooperation, advisement, and writings of many people including but not limited to: Published records of the National Society DAR; Tennessee Society DAR; Sequoyah District TSDAR; Kings Mountain Messenger Chapter records and its members of the year 2005; writings of Mark Whitaker, a descendant of Joseph Greer; findings in the Public Library of Fayetteville-Lincoln County TN; the Public Records of Lincoln County, Tennessee; the Staff and Publications of the Kings Mountain National Military Park; the Genealogical Society of Lincoln County; and people having historical and genealogical creditability of Lincoln County; and Bettye M. Silvey, Chapter Regent 2004-2006.