Biography of Captain Thomas Hemphill

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a ceremony commemorating the service of Captain Thomas Hemphill in the American Revolution. This biography, written by Mrs. Margaret Hemphill Anthony, was included in the program for the service, which was held at Old Siloam Cemetery, near Old Fort, NC, June 13, 1998.

“Thomas Hemphill, a son of James and Susannah Patton Hemphill, was born about 1750 in Pennsylvania, and he died May 4, 1826, in Burke County (now McDowell County), North Carolina. During the American Revolution, he lived in Burke County, North Carolina. In 1776, he furnished wagons for the Cross Creek expedition where the Patriots won a decisive victory over the Loyalists. In January 1780, Hemphill enlisted as a lieutenant in a mounted rifle company under the command of Captain Robert Patton. He was in an engagement at Monck’s Corner. Patton, Hemphill, and others later joined Colonel William Washington and remained at Camden, South Carolina for some time. Then they marched to Cross Creek where they joined the command of Colonel Charles McDowell.

In 1780, Thomas Hemphill became a captain and led his company in the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill, the first Patriot victory after the devastating defeat of the Continental Army at Camden.

After Ramsour’s Mill, Thomas Hemphill joined the McDowells and they were engaged in several skirmishes in South Carolina. Captain Thomas Hemphill was part of the force which defeated the British at King’s Mountain, a battle which many historians consider the turning point of the American Revolution. While he was on his last tour of duty, his home was visited by some of the British troops under Ferguson’s command.

In 1773, Thomas Hemphill married Mary Ann Mackie (Mackey), a daughter of Thomas and Rosannah McEntire Mackie of Burke County, North Carolina. She was born in 1758 and died in September 1804. Both she and Thomas are interred here in the Old Siloam Cemetery, which is approximately three miles east of Old Fort.

Their children include: (1) Martha Hemphill, who married Thomas Young Hemphill McEntire, (2) Mary “Polly” Hemphill, who died young and was never married, (3) James Hemphill, (4) Andrew Hemphill, who married Catherine McDonald, (5) Ann Hemphill, who married Moses Whiteside (some sources say she died young), and (6) Thomas McEntire Hemphill, who first married Malinda Burgin and who secondly married Margaret Hemphill Dysart. Other children may include: (7) Rebecca Hemphill, (8) Rachel Hemphill, who married Foster Whiteside, (9) Ruth Hemphill, who married John Underwood Whiteside, (10) Samuel Hemphill, (11) RosannahHemphill , (12) Jane Hemphill, and (13) Thomas Hemphill.”

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