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Olivia's Genealogy Site: John Cade and Lowry-  Revolution Period

This Web page is based on research of records known to be valid from  State records,  Federal records, manuscripts, and private papers. These records are Genealogical and Biographical Record by William Curry Harllee


A Genealogical and Biographical Record

By William Curry Harllee

Volume II Searcy and Pfaff

931 Lafayette St.

New Orleans, La., 1935

 John Cade was the head of a family in Robeson County, North Carolina in 1790 and owned 17 slaves.   Only one other person in Robeson County owned more slaves at that time with 21.

 The following are some extracts from a letter from Mrs. Caroline Heizer (Fulmore) McTyer, a grand-daughter of John Cade written about 1899 to her nephew Zachariah T. Fulmore, great grand-son of John Cade:

 “After the Revolution one of my uncles Steven Cade was ambushed and shot by the Tories.  Dr. Robert Adair dressed his wound.

 “Do you remember of ever hearing about the fine race horses grandfather Cade had?  One night Tories stole one of them.  When he discovered it, he had a mulatto man that attended his horses by the name of Lowery followed after then and captured the horse.  Crossing Big Pee Dee River and the Tories in pursuit he delivered him, grandfather paying him handsomely.

 “Well, after that my grandfather carried my grandmother and his three daughters to Virginia until the country was more  quiet.

 “He had Lowery and family to occupy the house.  The Tories went one night and cut his head off……


 “There were many  Tories in that part of N.C.  (Robeson County).  Strangely enough, the then lately arrived Highlanders from Scotland were generally Tories; they had lately taken the oath of loyalty to the British king as a condition of their migration and settlement in N.C.  The earlier Highlander settlers were generally Revolutionists.  Thus arose factional strife even among kinsman.

 This factional division continued until the beginning of the Confederate War which obliterated the old Whig-Tory dissension and created a  solidarity for the common cause of defense of the Southland.

 Many of the most reputable and respected present families of Robeson Co. are descended from those  who were loyalists during the Revolution and belonged to the “Tory” faction after the Revolution…….The Whig-Tory armed factional strife continued for a number of years after the Revolutionary War was over.” 


 “The Lowery (mentioned above) was of a caste of people called Croatans whom the first white settlers  in what is now Robeson Co. found there, and whose origin nobody knows.  They have the characteristics of a mixed breed of white people and Indians and are supposed to be the descendants of Raleigh’s “lost colony,” but they were illiterate and have no records nor traditions of their origin.

 The Lowery family became notorious as leaders of an outlaw gang of depredators during and after the Confederate War.  They considered themselves maltreated by the authorities whom they resisted, hiding out in armed groups, killing many people whom they considered as their enemies, and committing many robberies. 

The scattered settlements of the Croatans in the western part of Robeson Co. around the present town of Pembroke were locally called Scuffletown, in times not long past.  They were, and still are, a caste unto themselves; they mingle neither with negroes nor white people.  This writer, in his youth, lived in South Carolina near this North Carolina Croatan settlement and knew many Croatans.

 The law did not regard these Croatans as the legal owners of the lands upon which they lived.  A chain of title from the British sovereign was necessary for legal ownership.  We see in the old records many allusions to the purchase of “improvements.”  This was the method of satisfying those who occupied the land without English titles.  The earlier white settlers occupied lands without the formality of English titles.  Their “improvements” are often mentioned in old records.  The ownership and title to the land vested in the person a patent for the land from the British or provincial authorities.

 John Cades race track was about a mile N.E. of Ashpole Church in front of what was later the residence of Zachariah  Fulmore.  The branch there is still called Race Track Branch.”


 “During the Revolutionary War, Col. John Cade who resided in Robeson County, N.C. owned and prized very highly two very famous race horses named Whirly Gig and Pike.  Whirly Gig had won in several interstate horse racing contests.

 Horse racing in that day was the principal sport of prominent people and Col. Cade prized very highly these two magnificent horses.  In securing the services of the best jockey the country over he chose one Lowry, a young mixed breed Indian from Scuffletown, N.C.

Now at this time, right after the Revolutionary War, the country was very demoralized.  Bands of robbers know as Tories went about robbing and causing great trouble.

 One morning when Lowry came to Col. Cade’s house—Col. Cade told him that Whirly Gig had been stolen from the stables.  Great excitement was felt throughout the neighborhood, and finally Col. Cade offered Lowry or anybody $100.00 in gold if he could fine Whirly Gig.

 Lowry began the search immediately.  He finally came to and crossed the Pee Dee river, hot on the trail.  About a day’s journey on foot across this river he came to an old abandoned field and saw the men he was looking for, with the horses near by grazing about the field.  He jumped down behind a log and lay quite still.  In a few moments Lowry gave a low whistle that Whirly Gig recognized immediately.  He raised his head, gradually walked closer to Lowry.  When he was close enough Lowry jumped on Whirly Gig’s back and was away across the field like an arrow.

 The robbers gave chase.  The shots poured thick and fast around Lowry but he bent low over Whirly Gig.  Whirly Gig seemed to know that this was indeed a race for the life of Lowry.  They came safely to the Pee Dee River, crossed, and Lowry was offered any amount from the robbers if he would only give up the wonderful horse and go on back, but he would not listen.

 He raced on home to Col. Wade’s house, delivered Whirly Gig and received the $100.00 in gold after the most famous race they had ever run together.

 Years afterwards Lowry still lived on Col. Wade’s plantation with his family.  One night these Tories went to his house and called him out.  He went to the door and was shot down on sight.




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