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sharp-shooter. Nothing was more common than to see her in full pursuit of the bounding stag. The huge antlers that hung round her cabin, or upheld her trusty gun, gave proof of her skill in gunnery;
drained of"; save prooftlers that see her
testified her powers in bee-finding.
Many can testify to her magical art in the mazes of cookerybeing able to get up a pumpkin in as many forms as there are days in the week. She was extensively known and employed for her profound knowledge in the management of all ailments.
But she was most remarkable for her military feats. She professed high-toned ideas of liberty. Not even the marriage knot could restrain her on that subject. Like the wife of Bath," she received over her tongue-scourged husband
“The reins of absolute command,
With all the government of house and land,
And empire o'er his tongue, and o'er his hand." The clouds of war gathered, and burst with a dreadful explosion in this State. Nancy's spirit rose with the tempest. She declared and proved herself a friend to her country, ready to do or die."
All accused of Whiggism had to hide or swing. The lily-livered Mr. Hart was not the last to seek safety in the cane-brake with his neighbours. They kept up a prowling, skulking kind of life, occasionally sallying forth in a sort of predatory style. The Tories at length however, gave Mrs. Hart a call, and in true soldier manner ordered a repast. Nancy soon had the necessary materials for a good feast spread before them. The smoking venison, the hasty hoe-cake, and the fresh honeycomb, were sufficient to have provoked the appetite of a gorged epicure! They simultaneously stacked their arms and seated themselves, when, quick as thought, the dauntless Nancy seized one of the guns, cocked it, and with a blazing oath declared she would blow out the brains of the first mortal that offered to rise, or taste a mouthful! They all knew her character too well to imagine that she would say one thing and do another.
“Go," said she to one of her sons, “and tell the Whigs that I have taken six base Tories.” They sat still, each expecting to be offered up, with doggedly mean countenances, bearing the marks of disappointed revenge, shame, and unappeased hunger.
Whether the incongruity between Nancy's eyes caused each to imagine himself her immediate object, or whether her commanding attitude, stern and ferocious fixture of countenance, overawed them; or the powerful idea of their non-soldierlike conduct unnerved them; or the certainty of death, it is not easy to determine. They were soon relieved, and dealt with according to the rules of the times.
This heroine lived to see her country free. She, however, found game and bees decreasing, and the country becoming old so fast, that she sold out her possessions, in spite of the remonstrances of her husband, and was “among the first of the pioneers who paved the way to the wilds of the West."
The following, from Mrs. Ellet's “ Women of the Revolution,” will be read with interest, although it does not coincide exactly with the Yorkville account :
In this county is a stream, formerly known as “ War-woman's Creek.” Its name was derived from the character of an individual who lived near the entrance of the stream into the river. This person was NANCY HART, a woman ignorant of letters and the civilities of life, but a zealous lover of liberty and the “liberty boys,” as she called the Whigs. She had a husband, whom she denominated sa poor stick," because he did not take a decided and active part with the defenders of his country, although she could not conscientiously charge him with the least partiality towards the Tories. This vulgar and illiterate, but hospitable and valorous female patriot, could boast no share of beauty-a fact she herself would have readily acknowledged, had she ever enjoyed an opportunity of looking in a mirror. She was cross-eyed, with a broad, angular mouth, ungainly in figure, rude in speech, and awkward in manners, but having a woman's heart for her friends, though that of a Catrine Montour for the enemies of her country. She was well known to the Tories, who stood in fear of her revenge for any grievance or aggressive act, though they let pass no opportunity of worrying and annoying her, when they could do so with impunity.
On the occasion of an excursion from the British camp at Augusta, a party of Tories penetrated into the interior, and having savagely murdered Colonel Dooly in bed, in his own house, they proceeded up the country for the purpose of perpetrating further atrocities. On their way, a detachment of five of the party diverged to the east, and crossed Broad River, to make discoveries about the neighbourhood, and pay a visit to their old acquaintance, Nancy Hart. On reaching her cabin, they entered it unceremoniously, receiving from her no welcome but a scowl; and informed her 'they had come to know the truth of a story current respecting her, that she had secreted a noted rebel from a company of King's men who were pursuing him, and who, but for her aid, would have caught and hung him. Nancy undauntedly avowed her agency in the fugitive's escape. She told them she had at first heard the tramp of a horse rapidly approaching, and had then seen a horseman coming towards her cabin. As he came nearer, she knew him to be a Whig, and flying from pursuit. She let down the bars a few steps from her cabin, and motioned him to enter, to pass through both doors, front and rear, of her single-roomed house ; to take the swamp, and secure himself as well as he could. She then put up the bars, entered her cabin, closed the doors, and went about her business. Presently some Tories rode up to the bars, and called out boisterously to her. She muffled her head and face, and opening the door, inquired why they disturbed a sick, lone woman. They said they had traced a man they wanted to catch, near her house, and asked if any one on horseback had passed that way. She answered no, but said she saw somebody on a sorrel horse turn out of the path into the woods some two or three hundred yards back. “That must be the fellow," said the Tories; and asking her direction as to the way he took, they turned about and went off. " Well fooled !” said Nancy, “in an opposite course to that of my Whig boy; when, if they had not been so lofty-minded, but had looked on the ground inside the bars, they would have seen his horse's tracks up to that door, as plain as you can see the tracks on this here floor, and out of t’other door down the path to the swamp."
This bold story did not much please the Tory party, but they could not wreak their revenge upon the woman who'thus unscrupulously avowed her daring aid to a rebel, and the cheat she had put upon his pursuers, otherwise than by ordering her to aid and comfort them by giving them something to eat. She replied," I never feed King's men if I can help it; the villains have put it out of my power to feed even my own family and friends, by stealing and killing all my poultry and pigs, except that one old gobbler you see in the yard."
“Well, and that you shall cook for us,” said one, who appeared the head of the party; and raising his musket, he shot down the turkey, which another of the men brought into the house, and handed to Mrs. Hart, to clean and cook without delay. She stormed and swore awhile-for Nancy occasionally swore—but seeming, at last, resolved to make a merit of necessity, began with alacrity the arrangements for cooking, assisted by her daughter, a little girl some ten or twelve years old, and sometimes by one of the soldiers, with whom she seemed in a tolerably good humour, exchanging rude jests with him. The Tories, pleased with her freedom, invited her to partake of the liquor they had brought with them, an invitation which was accepted with witty thanks.
The spring, of which every settlement has one near at hand, was just at the edge of the swamp, and a short distance within it
This rude trumpet was used by the family to give information, by means of a variation of notes, to Mr. Hart, or his neighbours, who might be at work in a field or clearing just beyond the swamp, that the “Britishers” or Tories were about ; that the master was wanted at the cabin, or that he was to “keep close," or "make tracks” for another swamp. Pending the operations of cooking, Mrs. Hart had sent her daughter, Sukey, to the spring for water, with directions to blow the conch in such a way as would inform him that there were Tories in the cabin, and that he should “keep close," with his three neighbours who were with him, till he heard the conch again.
The party had become merry over their jug, and sat down to feast upon the slaughtered gobbler. They had cautiously stacked their arms where they were in view, and within reach, and Mrs. Hart, assiduous in her attentions upon the table, and to her guests, occasionally passed between them and their muskets. Water was called for, and as there was none in the cabin-Mrs. Hart having so contrived that--Sukey was again sent to the spring, instructed by her mother to blow the conch so as to call up Mr. Hart and his neighbours immediately. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hart had slipped out one of the pieces of pine which constitutes a "chinking” between the logs of a cabin, and had dexterously put out of the house, through that space, two of the five guns. She was detected in the act of putting out the third. The party sprang to their feet. Quick as thought, Mrs. Hart brought the piece she held to her shoulder, and declared she would kill the first man who approached her. All were terror-struck, for Nancy's obliquity of sight caused each one to imagine her aim was at him. At length one of them made a motion to advance upon her. True to her threat, she fired. He fell dead upon the floor! Instantly seizing another musket, she brought it to the position in readiness to fire again. By this time Sukey had returned from the spring, and taking up the remaining gun, carried it out of the house, saying to her mother, “Daddy and them will soon be here.” This information increased the alarm of the Tories, who understood the necessity of recovering their arms immediately. But each hesitated, in the confident belief that Mrs. Hart had one eye, at least, upon him for a mark. They proposed a general rush. No time was to be lost by the bold woman ; she fired again, and brought down another Tory. Sukey had another musket in readiness, which her mother took, and, post
ing herself in the doorway, called upon the party to “surrender their d d Tory carcasses to a Whig woman.” They agreed to sur
render, and proposed to “shake hands upon the strength of it ;" but the conqueror kept them in their places for a few moments, till her husband and his neighbours came up to the door. They were about to shoot down the Tories, but Mrs. Hart stopped them, saying they had surrendered to her, and, her spirit being up to boiling heat, she swore that “ shooting was too good for them.” This hint was enough. The dead man was dragged out of the house, the wounded Tory and the others were bound, taken out beyond the bars, and hung. The tree upon which they were hung was pointed out, in 1838, by one who lived in those bloody times, and who also showed the spot once occupied by Mrs. Hart's cabin, accompanying the designation with the emphatic remark, “Poor Nancy--she was a honey of a patriot, but the devil of a wife !""
The compiler of this work, during a visit to Elbert, was introduced to Mrs. Wyche, a lady far advanced in years, who was on terms of intimacy with Mrs. Hart. From her he received many anecdotes, among which are the following :-
“ On one occasion, when information as to what was transpiring on the Carolina side of the river was anxiously desired by the troops on the Georgia side, no one could be induced to cross the river to obtain it. Nancy promptly offered to discharge the perilous duty. Alone, the dauntless heroine made her way to the Savannah River; but finding no mode of transport across, she procured a few logs, and, tying them together with a grape-vine, constructed a raft, upon which she crossed, obtained the desired intelligence, returned, and communicated it to the Georgia troops.
On another occasion, having met a Tory on the road, and entering into conversation with him, so as to divert his attention, she seized his gun, and declared that unless he immediately took up the line of march for a fort not far distant, she would shoot him. The dastard was so intimidated, that he actually walked before the brave woman, who delivered him to the commander of the American fort.”
Nancy, with several other women and a number of small children, were once left in a fort, the men having gone some distance, probably for provisions, when the fort was attacked by a party of
Tories and savages. At this critical period, when fear had seized the women and children, to such an extent as to produce an exhibition of indescribable confusion, Mrs. Hart called into action all the energies of her nature. In the fort there was one cannon, and our heroine, after endeavouring in vain to place it in a position so that its fire could reach the enemy, looked about for aid, and discovered a young man hid under a cow-hide; she immediately drew him from his retreat, and threatened him with immediate death unless he instantly assisted her with the cannon. The young man, who well knew that Nancy would carry her threats into execution unless he obeyed, gave her his assistance, and she fired the cannon, which so frightened the enemy that they took to their heels.
Once more, when Augusta was in possession of the British, the American troops in Wilkes, then under the command of Colonel Elijah Clarke, were very anxious to know something of the intentions of the British. Nancy assumed the garments of a man, pushed on to Augusta, went boldly into the British camp, pretending to be crazy, and by this means was enabled to obtain much useful information, which she hastened to lay before the commander, Colonel Clarke, *
CAPTAIN JAMES JACK died in this county, on the 18th of January, 1823, at the age of eighty-four years. He was born in Pennsylvania, from whence he removed to North Carolina, and settled in the town of Charlotte, where he remained until the end of the Revolutionary War, in which he took a decided and active part. At the close of the war he removed to Georgia. In the spring of "75, he was the bearer of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence to Congress. Der kanten
blive performa claims upon the State of North Carolina, for Revolutionary services,
tions were said to have amounted to £7,646, State currency. Colonel Patrick Jack was his son.
Rev. WILLIAM Davis.-This gentleman was a minister of the Baptist Church, and died on the 31st of October, 1831. The following particulars are taken from an excellent book, the “Georgia Baptists," by Rev. Jesse H. Campbell :
* Since this sketch was written, a new county has been formed, named Hart, and we understand it is proposed to call the seat of justice Nancyville.