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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Charles McDowell

McD0WELL, Charles, soldier, born in Winchester, Virginia, in 1743; died in Burke county, North Carolina, 21 March, 1815. His father, Joseph, emigrated from Ireland to the United States about 1730, and after a residence of several year's in Pennsylvania settled first in Winchester, Virginia, and subsequently at Quaker Meadows, on Catawba river, North Carolina His family is distinguished from that of his cousin John by the name of the "Quaker Meadow McDowells." Charles was an ardent patriot, and at the beginning of the Revolution was placed in command of an extensive district m western North Carolina. On the British invasion in 1780 he organized troops, fortified posts, and in June of this year attacked the enemy at their works on Paeolet river, compelled their surrender, subsequently gained victories at Musgrove Mill and Cave Creek, but, after the reverses of the colonists at Savannah, Charleston, and Fishing Creek, his army was disbanded, and he resigned his command previous to the battle of King's Mountain. He was state senator in 1782-'8, and a member of the lower house in 1809-'11.--His wife, Grace Greenlee, was noted among the women of the Revolution for her prudence as well as her daring. Her first husband, Captain Bowman, of the patriot army, was killed at the battle of Ramsom's Mill. After her marriage with MeDowell, she aided him in all his patriotic schemes, and while he was secretly manufacturing in a cave the powder that was afterward used at King's Mountain, she made the charcoal in small quantities in her fireplace, carrying it to him at night to prevent detection. After this battle she visited the field, and nursed and tended the soldiers. A party of marauders having plundered her house in the absence of her husband, she collected a few of her neighbors, pursued, and captured them, and at the muzzle of the musket compelled them to return her property. She was the mother of a large family.--Charles's brother, Joseph, soldier, born in Winchester, Virginia, in 1756; died in Burke county, N. ***(2., was familiarly known as " Quaker Meadows Joe," to distinguish him from his cousin of the same name, with whom he is frequently confounded, he served in the campaigns against the frontier Indians previous to the Revolution, and under his brother Charles in all the battles in western North Carolina before that of King's Mountain. In that engagement he commanded the North Carolina militia, with the rank of major. He was in the state house of commons in 1787-'92, was a member of the North Carolina constitutional convention in 1788, and largely instrumental in its rejection of the United States constitution. He was elected to congress in 1792, served till 1799, and was active in opposition to the Federal party. He was boundary commissioner in 1797 for running the line between Tennessee and North Carolina, a general of militia, and the recognized leader of the Republican party in the western counties. A county is named in his honor.--Joseph's son, Joseph J., congressman, born in Burke county, North Carolina, 13 November, 1800; died in Hillsborough, Ohio, 17 January, 1877, was engaged in agriculture during his early life, and removed first to Virginia and subsequently to Ohio. He served in the Ohio legislature in 1832, in 1834 became state senator and general of militia, and the next year was admitted to the bar. He was elected to congress as a Democrat in 1844, and served till 1847.

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