Lord Cornwallis, according to his custom, took
During this time, as might be expected, a number
Here we will take General
|The remains of this historic area is now under the waters of the Randleman Dam. This was the road that passed by the old mill, and the home of Martha and Capt William Bell.|
‘He is not; but thought it better to go to his friends, than to stay and fall into the hands of his enemies.’
“Sir, you posses the power, and, of course, will do as you please without my consent; but, after using our mill, do you intend to burn it before you leave?"
A few years ago, two or three aged men, who still recollected the scenes of the revolution, and who, from having lived all the time in her neighborhood, had been well acquainted with Mrs. Bell from the time she took that name until her death, related to me several additional facts, all of which were about as illustrative of her character as the above,and some of which were, on other accounts, even more interesting and important to the patriot or the historian.
His lordship soon opened the back door and stood in it for some minutes, looking up the road, and then returned to his seat leaving it open. She went and shut it, but, after a few minutes, he opened it again and did as before.
He was evidently in trouble and restless, for he could not remain, for five minutes at a time, in the same position;for he was sometimes sitting, sometimes walking across the floor, and appeared to be in a deep study.
After shutting the door again he told her that he wanted that door to stand open, and, when she asked him for the reason, he said he didn’t know but General Greene might be coming down the road. Why, sir,’ said she, “I thought you told me a little while ago that you had annihilated his army, and that he could do you no more harm.’
On this, his lordship heaved a sigh and replied: “Well, madam, to tell you the truth, I never saw such fighting since God made me, and another such victory would annihilate me.” If a few hundred Whigs, at that juncture, had promptly and resolutely offered their services to General Greene, as would be done now in a similar case, so that he could have attacked the enemy again with sufficient numbers, there can be no doubt that the whole army would have surrendered with very little resistance, and an almost bloodless victory would have been gained.For it is well known, or has been all along believed, that their ammunition was becoming scarce,that their money chest was getting low, and they were encumbered with a great many wounded officers and men.
They took her grain,cattle, provisions, and whatever else they wanted, so far as I have learned, without compensation, and without any care for the distress it might occasion her family.
Cornwallis treated her with courtesy and, no doubt, tried to prevent any unnecessary depredations on her property; but he could not be everywhere, and soldiers are not apt to inform on each other. She could sometimes hear the soldiers and subaltern officers at a distance cursing her for a rebel and uttering their denunciations; but all this she could bear in view of the certain and glorious triumph which she anticipated.
Confident of ultimate success, she could neither be bribed nor frightened into an abandonment of her principles; and if her life had been at stake, she would have maintained her dignity and her firmness to the last.
|The pipe protrudes from what was the root cellar of the plantation home of Martha and Capt. Bell.|
|This is the rock outcropping where the British Redcoat fell to his death from his horse, right below the front of the Bell house that faced Muddy Creek.|
The latter of which articles she had taken over the river and hid among some rocks where it was supposed no body would ever think of looking, or could find it without a guide. The money she hid under a large rock about the house.
This was all in specie—mostly In guineas and half Jos, and this being of more value than any thing else that they would be likely to get, was the object of her greatest solicitude. This she had hid under a large rock which formed the bottom step to the door.
The rock was so large that she could just pry up one side of it; and, having made a small hole in the ground in which she deposited her treasure, she let the rock down again in its former position. Then she did not expect that the army or any portion of it would be so near to the house; but to her great surprise they were all the time passing over it.
It had been for some time a common expedient with the people over the country, especially with the Whigs, to hide their treasure under rocks or to bury it in the ground, and, as she was well aware the British had not only learned this fact from the Tories, but how to search for it. By some means or other, accident or design,the rock would probably be removed; and then all her cash, the earnings of a laborious practice for years, would not only be lost to her, but would go to feed and clothe her mortal enemies.
By a woman of her spirit, this could not be borne with patience; and she was resolved that it should not be lost without an effort to place it out of danger. For this purpose, she went deliberately into the camp, under the pretext of making some request, or of lodging a complaint for misdemeanors on the part of the soldiers; and, having transacted that matter, whatever it was, she walked about in a careless manner, as if to gratify an idle curiosity, in looking at the tents, until they all became engaged in some other way, and their attention was turned to something else. Then, going up to the place, she raised a side of the rock, took out her money, and returned into the house, without attracting their notice, or exciting the least suspicion.
|North Wall of Bells Mill.|