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Biography of Captain John Mattocks

Captain John Mattocks was one of the brave soldiers who fell at King’s Mountain. He belonged to a family who resided a few miles below Armstrong’s Ford, on the south fork of the Catawba river, at what is now known as the “Alison old place.” There were three brothers and two sisters, Sallie and Barbara. The whole family, men and women, had the reputation of being “”uncommonly stout”.” John and Charles Mattocks were staunch Whigs, ever ready to engage in any enterprise in defence of the freedom of their country, but Edward Mattocks (commonly called Ned Mattocks) was a Tory. All of the brothers were at the battle of King’s Mountain, in which Captain Charles Mattocks was killed early in the action when pressing forward with undaunted courage against the enemy. Among the severely wounded, was Ned Mattocks, the Tory brother. After the battle and signal victory, Charles Mattocks, fearing his brother might be hung with some others who suffered this penalty on the next day, kindly interceded in his behalf, took him home and nursed him carefully until he recovered of his wound. It is said, this “extraction of blood” so effectually performed by some one of the gallant Whigs on that occasion, completely “cured” Ned Mattocks of “Toryism” and caused him never afterward to unite with the enemies of his country. The whole surviving family a few years after the war moved to Georgia, where they have descendants at the present time.

Major Chronicle, Captain Mattocks, William Rabb and John Boyd, all from the same South Fork neighborhood, are buried in a common grave at the foot of the mountain.

A plain head-stone of dark slate rock, commemorates the hallowed spot with the following inscription:


“Who were killed here fighting in defence of America, On the 7th of October, 1780.”

Many fragmentary but interesting incidents connected with the battle of King’s Mountain have come down to our own time and unfortunately, many others have been buried in oblivion. The following incident was related to the author by a grandson of a brave soldier in that battle. Moses and James Henry both actively participated in that hotly contested engagement.

A few days after the battle, as James Henry was passing through the woods near the scene of conflict, he found a very fine horse, handsomely equipped with an elegant saddle, the reins of the bridle being broken. The horse and equipments were, as he supposed, the property of an officer. He took the horse home with him, considerably elated with his good luck; but his mother met him at the gate, and immediately inquired whose horse it was he had in charge, he replied, he supposed it belonged to some British officer. “James,” said the mother, “turn it loose and drive it off from the place, for I will not have the hands of my household stained with British plunder.”

The incident illustrates the noble Christian spirit which actuated our good mothers of the Revolutionary period.

The other brother, Moses Henry, evinced great bravery in the same engagement, and was mortally wounded. He was taken to the hospital in Charlotte, and was attentively waited upon by Dr. William McLean until he died. His widow, with several others under similar bereavement, was granted a liberal allowance by the county court of Lincoln. Moses Henry is the grandfather of Col. Moses Henry Hand, a worthy citizen of Gaston county, N.C.

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