Caswell County Family Tree

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  • ID: I1364
  • Name: Joseph McDowell 1
  • Sex: M
  • Reference Number: 1364
  • FACT: Joe AKA
  • Title: Colonel
  • Birth: 26 FEB 1758 2
  • FACT: Pleasant Gardens AKA
  • Death: 07 MAR 1795
  • Note:
    Joseph McDowell (1758-1795)

    Joseph McDowell (1758-1795)

    Pleasant Gardens

    Pleasant Gardens

    (for larger image, click on photograph)

    Also known as Colonel Joseph McDowell of Pleasant Gardens to distinguish him from his second cousin and brother-in-law Joseph McDowell of Quaker Meadows. The two married sisters, Margaret and Mary Moffett (surname also seen as Moffitt).

    McDowell County, North Carolina, named for him.

    Colonel Joseph McDowell was a Revolutionary War hero who fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain. His house is the last standing home place in North Carolina for which a county was named. In addition to recruiting troops for the Battle at Kings Mountain, Colonel McDowell served in the 3rd U.S. Congress of 1793-95. He served as a North Carolina state legislator in the House of Commons from what was then Burke County, serving in 1787,1788, 1791 and 1792.

    Col McDowell was the son of "Hunting John McDowell, who received a Royal Land Grant from Governor Tryon on December 22, 1767 for 640 acres on the Catawba River a portion of which is the building site for this home. The McDowell House was identified in the 1982 Comprehensive Management Plan for the Overmountain Victory National HistoricTrail as one of only 34 non-federal historical resources directly or indirectly related to the Trail. As such it is eligible for Official certification as a designed site associated with the 330-mile long resource. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail was authorized by Congreee in September of 1980 and commemorates the Campaign of 1780 that led to American Patriot victory at Kings Mountain, South Carolina.

    Ephram McDowell came to America with two nephews, John and Joseph McDowell. John, known as "Hunting John," was the father of Joseph, of the Revolution, who married Mary Moffett. Hunting John McDowell settled at Pleasant Gardens, and his brother, Joseph, settled at Quaker Meadows, and was the father of General Charles McDowell, who was the brother of Colonel Joseph, of the Revolution, known as "Major Joe, of Pleasant Gardens." Colonel Joseph of Quaker Meadows was married to Margaret Moffett, a sister of Mary, who married Major Joe, of Pleasant Gardens.

    Source: N.C. Genealogy-McDowell (Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, North Carolina).

    "Such North Carolina soldiers as Major Joseph McDowell, General Griffith Rutherford, William Davie, and General William Lee Davidson along with their Patriots became both hated and feared by Cornwallis and his British. For months their small bands carried out numerous surprise attacks on English units, upsetting British plans and hampering British movements, often preventing British regiments from getting supplies and from foraging about the countryside. These soldiers of the 'back country' did much to put the fear of the Americans into the Tories in that region, and using methods learned from the Indians, they succeeded in being, if not an actual threat, at least a continuous nuisance to the advancing British forces."

    Source: Western North Carolina: Its Mountains and Its People to 1880, Ora Blackmun (1977) at 115 and 119.

    Joseph "Pleasant Gardens" McDowell (February 25, 1758 - March 7, 1799) was an American lawyer, soldier, and statesman from Morganton, North Carolina.

    His estate was named "Pleasant Gardens", and he was nicknamed "Pleasant Gardens Joe" to distinguish him from his cousin, Joseph "Quaker Meadows" McDowell. The two men are not always clearly distinguished in historical records: both were at the 1780 Battle of Kings Mountain, one as a major leading the Burke County militia, and the other in a subordinate role as a captain. Although "Quaker Meadows" Joe is usually hailed as the Major McDowell who was the hero of the battle, some descendants of "Pleasant Gardens Joe" maintain that it was their ancestor who led the Burke County militia, a claim which, according to the Dictionary of American Biography, is contradicted by contemporary evidence.

    According to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Pleasant Gardens" McDowell was later appointed a North Carolina militia general, and served in the 3rd United States Congress from 1793 to 1795. However, these accomplishments are sometimes credited to Joseph "Quaker Meadows" McDowell, although the Dictionary of American Biography notes that the Congressional directory may be correct.

    McDowell died on March 7, 1799 on his estate in what was Burke County, North Carolina but is now part of McDowell County, North Carolina.

    Source: Joseph (Pleasant Gardens) McDowellWikipedia Article.

    Congressional Biography

    McDowell, Joseph, (cousin of Joseph McDowell [1756-1801]), a Representative from North Carolina; born at ?Pleasant Gardens,? near Morganton, Burke (now McDowell) County, N.C., February 25, 1758; attended schools at Winchester, Va.; served in the Revolutionary Army and was commissioned a major; was subsequently general of militia; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1791 and practiced in Burke, Rowan, and Rutherford Counties, N.C.; member of the state house of commons 1785-1792; elected as an Anti-Administration candidate to the Third Congress (March 4, 1793-March 3, 1795); renominated but declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1794; resumed the practice of law and engaged in agricultural pursuits; member of the commission appointed to settle the boundary line between North Carolina and Tennessee in 1796; died on his estate, ?Pleasant Gardens,? near Morganton, N.C., March 7, 1799; interment at Round Hill on his estate.

    McDowell County was annexed from the Rutherford and Burke Counties two decades before the start of the Civil War. Named in honor of Colonel Joseph McDowell who served in the Revolutionary War and led a company during the Battle of King?s Mountain, the county's communities include Marion (the seat of government), Ashford, Glenwood, Sugar Hill, Nebo, Old Fort, and Little Switzerland. The county seat was established in 1844, and it is named in honor of Francis Marion, the famed ?Swamp Fox? hero. Marion was known for his guerilla war tactics in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War.

    The land on which the house known as Pleasant Gardens was built was purchased in 1768 by ?Hunting John? McDowell. Pleasant Gardens, originally in Rowan County, is now in McDowell County. The county, in fact, when formed in 1842, was named in honor of Joseph McDowell, son of Hunting John and builder of Pleasant Gardens. Joseph McDowell built the federal-style Pleasant Gardens in the late 1780s. The property remained in the McDowell family until 1848. The house is now in disrepair, an ill fit amidst development and a parking lot in Marion. Joseph McDowell, born in 1758, enlisted at age 18 in a militia unit commanded by his cousin Charles McDowell. Also in the unit Charles?s brother Joseph. To distinguish themselves, the cousins used ?of Quaker Meadows? (or simply ?QM?) or ?of Pleasant Gardens? (or ?PG?). McDowell served in Griffith Rutherford?s 1776 campaign against the Cherokee and various Revolutionary engagements. His most significant action was at the Battle of Kings Mountain, where he commanded a company. After the war McDowell studied law and medicine and was admitted to the bar in 1791. He served in the General Assembly, was a delegate to the constitutional conventions, and served on the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina. McDowell died in 1795 and was buried at Round Hill near his father?s original log cabin on the family property.

    Source: North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program.

    William Brittain: Born February 7, 1762 in Orange County, NC. Enlisted there under Col. McCauley as 2nd Sergeant and was at the capture of Hillsborough and the taking of Gov. Burke by the Tories. He removed to Burke County, NC and enlisted there under Col. Joseph McDowell and went into the battle of Cowpens and served a three month tour at the upper Fort near the head of the Catawba River in Burke County under Captain Daniel Smith and Samuel Patton was in this tour with him. He lived in Burke County until about 1789 then moved to Buncombe County, NC. In 1832, age 72 years. His pension papers were witnessed by Nathan Harrison (clergyman), Samuel Davidson, Samuel Patton, William Kimsey (clergyman), and James M. Smith. He is buried near Dula Springs, north of Weaverville, NC.

    Source: Revolutionary War Pensions.

    The Joseph McDowell House is a historic house and museum located in Marion, North Carolina. It was the home of Colonel Joseph McDowell, the founder and namesake of McDowell County. It is currently undergoing extensive renovations, and is closed to the public.


    The McDowell House was built in 1787, and is one of the oldest surviving frame houses in western North Carolina. Along with the nearby Carson House, it is an important piece of McDowell County history, and is currently in the process of major restoration.

    Built by Colonel Joseph McDowell, an American Revolutionary War hero who fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain. Joseph McDowell was a member of the Overmountain Men, traveling with Col. Charles McDowell?s regiment to the Watauga settlements in September, 1780 and on to Kings Mountain in pursuit of British Major Patrick Ferguson?s Loyalist regime. McDowell County is named in his honor. It is the last standing home place in North Carolina for which a county was named. In addition to fighting at the Battle of Kings Mountain, Colonel McDowell served in the 3rd U.S. Congress of 1793-95. He was a son of "Hunting" John McDowell, who received a Royal Land Grant from Governor Tryon on December 22, 1767 for 640 acres (2.6 km2) on the Catawba River, a portion of which is the site of this home.

    The McDowell House was identified in the 1982 Comprehensive Management Plan for the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail as one of only 34 non-federal historical resources which are directly or indirectly related to the Trail. In early 2008, the home and grounds were purchased and steps are being taken to create a restoration and use plan. Also in 2008, the McDowell House was officially added to the Overmountain Victory Historic Trail.

    Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway

    Construction of the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway was completed in Summer 2010 and Phase I opened to the public in September 2010. Phase I of the Greenway offers a one-mile recreational trail, picnic area, fishing pier, wildlife observation deck, and access to the Little Round Hill Trail. Phase II of the Greenway will extend from the end of Phase I to the McDowell House property and beyond. Upon completion, this historic home will continue to serve to interpret the McDowell family history, the history of McDowell County and provide access to the greenway and canoe launch and nature park area.

    Source: Wikipedia: Joseph McDowell House.

    On May 18, 1795, Revolutionary War veteran Joseph McDowell died in Burke County at the age of 38.
    The only son of ?Hunting John? McDowell, a pioneer of Scotch-Irish descent who arrived in western North Carolina in the mid-1700s, Joseph was born on the family plantation, Pleasant Gardens, in what was then Burke County.

    Because McDowell had a cousin of the same name, he was referred to as ?Pleasant Gardens Joe? so as not to be confused with ?Quaker Meadows Joe.? During the American Revolution, both men enlisted in a military unit under the command of their kinsman Charles McDowell and fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain.

    There are discrepancies as to which Joseph led the troops at Kings Mountain, but it is most likely that Major Joseph McDowell (Pleasant Gardens) was under the command of Colonel Joseph McDowell (Quaker Meadows).

    Following the war McDowell practiced law and served in the state legislature, as a delegate to two Constitutional Conventions and as an early member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina. He married Mary Moffett and they had three children, John, James and Annie. McDowell County is named in his honor.

    Other related resources:

    It?s Revolutionary!, a two-year commemoration of North Carolina?s early history
    The American Revolution, the Reasons Behind the Revolutionary War and the Stamp Act on NCpedia
    North Carolina in the American Revolution from N.C. Historical Publications

    Source: This Day in North Carolina

    Father: John McDowell
    Mother: Anne Edmiston

    Marriage 1 Mary Moffett b: 1768 in Virginia
      1. Has Children James Moffett McDowell b: 22 JUN 1791 in Pleasant Garden, Burke County, North Carolina
      2. Has Children Anne McDowell b: ABT 1792
      3. Has No Children John McDowell

      1. Details: Family and Descendents of William Wallace McDowell & Sarah Lucinda Smith McDowell, Frances Arthur McDowell (Compiler and Editor)
      2. Details: N.C. Genealogy-McDowell (Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, North Carolina)

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