Last weekend, I went camping at King’s Mountain National Park with my son and lots of cousins. It was a beautiful two days and we hiked on the gorgeous trail around the Revolutionary War battlefield. While hiking, I noticed a new marker, placed there just a few days before, memorializing three African Americans who fought at the battle: Esaias Bowman, John Broddy and Andrew Ferguson. When I got home I looked into these three soldiers and found some interesting information, but I found the most interesting one was Andrew Ferguson (1765-1855).
There are two applications that I examined on Fold3, one for a pension and one for bounty land.From his pension/ bounty applications Ferguson acknowledges that he is colored and born of a free father and free mother. Andrew states that he and his father, Andrew Perley, were from Dinwiddie County, Virginia and were captured by the British who whipped them with a “cat o’ nine tails”. They both escaped and joined Nathanael Greene’s regiment, who were in the county at the time. Father and son participated in a good portion of the battles of the southern theater. Andrew Ferguson relates that he was wounded at Camden in the leg but was able to fight at Ninety-Six, Kings Mountain, Pacolet River, Musgrove’s Mill, Eutaw Springs, Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse. It was at Guilford Courthouse where he was seriously wounded in the head and Doctor John Sidney placed a silver plate in the fracture. Andrew was discharged shortly after Cornwallis’ defeat at Yorktown.
The bounty letter also mentions that he was in the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania and in the pension application there is a reference to the notorious Tory, Bill Cunningham, also known as bloody Bill Cunningham (for the massacres of patriot militia he perpetrated in South Carolina). He shot and killed an American near Andrew, then escaped.
Andrew Ferguson was given a small pension and would move to Monroe County, Indiana sometime after 1820. Both he and his wife were very poor and the first pension letter was in 1838 when he was 73. The bounty letter was in 1851. Then he wrote another one in 1855 when he was supposedly 90 years old! He finally received his bounty for 160 acres in 1856, but by then he and his wife had already died without heirs.