Monday, May 16, 2011


My libertarian roots run deep. On both sides of my family, rebels from Ireland or England were sent to America to get rid of them. Below are two of my favorite stories about my ancestors who fought against prevailing governments, one of which was fighting the British in North Carolina before the Revolutionary War:


My great grandfather, John Robert Green (1844-1926), was born near Atlanta, Georgia in 1844. He was the only one of three brothers to survive the civil war, as a corporal in the 14th Alabama Infantry (His father had moved the family to Talledega County, Alabama before the Civil War).

Here's a portrait of John Robert Green:

John Robert married Nancy Ann Elizabeth McLeroy after the war, and had a dozen children. When Nancy was killed in a buggy accident, John Robert married her younger sister, Susanna Dexanna (Dixie Ann) McLeroy, and had another half dozen children, including my grandfather, Frank Green. Apparently my father's full given name, J R Green, was inspired by John Robert Green, who fought for the Confederate States of America.

Here's a picture of Dixie Ann McLeroy, my great grandmother, at age 16:


My mother, Oma Austin Green, was born in Spencer, North Carolina in 1909. Her father, Caesar Austin, worked for the railroad during the Great Depression and therefore her family was better off than many others. Childhood rumors that we were related to Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas, turned out not to be true, although I was born in Texas.

Accounts of my great-great-great-great grandfather Bryant Austin (1755-1832) were written by several people, including the following paragraphs by Gayle Austin:


Bryant Austin and Miss Osborn settled on Rocky River, in what is now Stanly County, NC., just above the Coble Mill. He lived there during the Revolutionary War and was among the Regulators who Governor Tryon refused to pardon. Bryant fled from Hillsboro and settled in the wilds of Stanly (then Anson) County. Tryon's officers went to his home to arrest him, but he offered them a barrel of brandy if they would go on and say nothing about him. They backed their cart up to his cellar door and he rolled the barrel of brandy into their cart and they went on their way rejoicing, and left him to be the ancestor of a large and influential family. ("The Austin Family of Stanly and Union Counties of North Carolina" by D. Nance, published in "Austins of America" August 1987, page 232.)


Gayle B. Austin, 3838 Margaret Wallace Road, Matthews, North Carolina, 28105 has written a history of Bryant and it is in the Historical Society, Wadesboro, NC.


Governor Tryon was the appointed Governor of North Carolina, and in 1771 was advised by the governor's council to call out the militia and march against the rebel farmers called "Regulators". Tryon ordered General Hugh Wadell to approach Hillsborough (northwest of Raleigh in today's Orange County) by way of Salisbury (north of Charlotte, in Rowan County) but Wadell's force of 284 men was repulsed by a large body of Regulators (I'm sure that Bryant was in this group). Intending to go to Wadell's aid, Tryon and his force of 1000 men left Hillsborough on May 11, 1771, and on the way rested at Alamance Creek (Alamance County is just east of Greensboro, NC). Just five miles away was the army of the Regulators, 2000 strong. The battle of Alamance began on May 16, after the Regulators rejected Tryon's demand that they disperse peacefully. The Regulators, ill equipped, were no match for Tryon's militia, and were defeated. Tryon took 15 prisoners, seven of whom were executed later. Many regulators escaped and moved on to other frontier areas of North Carolina and beyond; those who stayed were offered pardons in exchange for pledging an oath of allegiance to the royal government. ( Website of the Encyclopedia Britannica)


Bryant was a Regulator prior to the Revolution and had some part in the Battle of Alamance in 1771. A warrant was issued for his arrest under the authority of the royal governor, and he fled to the wilds of Stanly County. When the officers finally found him, Bryant bribed them with a barrel of brandy, and he was left in peace. Other Austins were active in the Revolution, including Bryant's brother, John, and Charles' and Mary's son, John.

He migrated via Wake & Johnson counties of North Carolina and settled in what is now Stanly Co, North Carolina where he is buried.

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