Newton County Patriot Fights in the American Revolution
The July 4th holiday brings my thoughts to our county Patriot that fought for the Independence of America. In 1759 Thomas Charles Holmes was born in Wayne County, South Carolina. The boy born into British America, comprising the colonial territories, would grow up to fight in the American Revolution.
Even though turmoil and unrest increased, many did not want to join the fight and leave their families and property unprotected. The Holmes family faced these difficult decisions as talk of war spread.
South Carolina had many Loyalists to the Crown as well as Patriots. These brave Patriots were the first from the southern states to bear arms against the British.
At the age of 16 Thomas Charles headed his horse to the state regiment headquarters in Charleston South Carolina in the summer of 1775 where he enlisted.
Patriot Holmes’ 1855 war pension application reveals evidence of having served as an express rider his whole service in the Revolutionary War. Patriot Holmes had the honor of serving in the Continental Army commanded by Col. C. Pickney serving under Francis Marion’s “Swamp Fox” South Carolina 1st Regiment and 2nd Regiment.
A direct excerpt from Thomas Charles’ decedent, Judy Taylor Kimball of her book, Thomas Charles Holmes ”Goldies Legacy”, describes an express rider as the following on page 22, paragraph 2;
Men who served as express riders were known to be trusted soldiers and skilled riders.
Commanding officers generally selected men small in stature so their weight would not
burden their horse. Their mission was to deliver orders, intelligence, and commissions to
and from the commanding field officers, often requiring long distance travel (up to 15-20
miles a day) in unfamiliar territory and frequently behind enemy lines.
Express riders often were behind enemy lines. If captured Thomas Charles would have been tried for treason to The Crown.
In paragraph three Judy tells of Thomas Charles’ testimony of delivering mail pouches from field locations in South Carolina to Generals Washington, Green and Marion.
Patriot Holmes included details of service on his pension application statements as well as information told to sons, family members and friends regarding his eight years of military service. Some accounts of battles, skirmishes and raids are:
Entered the service of the United States under General Marion.
Served under Capt. Ben Harrison and Governor Caswell.
Was wounded in the knee in the battle of the Slippery Bridge in North Carolina. Known as Moore’s Creek Bridge.
Four South Carolina battles and skirmishes were the Battle of the Tearcoat Swamp, the Battle of Fort Sullivan, the Battle of Eutaw Springs, and the skirmish at White’s Plantation (sometimes known as White’s bridge).
Was at the taking of Ft. Scott and was with Marion at a fight on the Big Pee Dee River
Eight years fighting found the Patriots victorious of which our Newton County Patriot was a vital part. Bringing to fruition our beloved Declaration of Independence.
As you celebrate your Independence Day think of a Carolina boy turned Patriot hero in his own right that helped make you free.
When and why did Thomas Charles Homes come to Newton County? Future writings will tell.
References: Family Search
Loyalists, Fence-sitters, and Patriots, https://www.ushistory.org/us/11b.asp
The American Revolution in South Carolina,
Author Judy Taylor Kimball, Author, book Thomas Charles Holmes, Goldies Legacy and phone conversations.
American Revolution in South Carolina – Digital Collections, University of South Carolina
~ By Terri Woods, Historical Clerk Newton County History Center