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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Cabarrus Black Boys

Plaque placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.The Cabarrus Black Boys were nine young men from Rowan and Mecklenburg (later Cabarrus) Counties who took part in an infamous raid against a royal governmental military convoy during the Regulator Movement in North Carolina in the years before the American Revolution. On 9 May 1771 Gen. Hugh Waddell left Salisbury en route to Hillsborough to assist Governor William Tryon in quelling the Regulator uprising. After crossing the Yadkin River, Waddell's militia encountered a numerically superior body of Regulators and began to fall back to Salisbury. A small band of Regulators, disguised as Indians, attacked a convoy that was carrying gunpowder from South Carolina to Waddell. The group burned two powder wagons as well as destroyed some blankets, leggings, kettles, and other supplies.

The men involved in this episode were either blackened by their Indian disguises or by the powder as they emptied it from kegs, and the name "Black Boys of Cabarrus" was applied to them at a later time. By a proclamation of 11 June 1771, Tryon offered amnesty to certain categories of Regulators, but this did not apply to those who were involved in blowing up Waddell's gunpowder. James Ashmore, who lived near the site, swore under oath that the Cabarrus Black Boys, in addition to himself, were Robert Caruthers, Benjamin Cockran, Robert Davis, Joshua Hadley, James White Jr., John White Jr., William White, and another William White, identified as the "son of the Widow White."



William S. Powell, James K. Huhta, and Thomas J. Farnham, eds., The Regulators in North Carolina: A Documentary History, 1759-1776 (1971).

Additional Resources:

Barefoot, Daniel W. "The Southern Piedmont Tour." Touring North Carolina's Revolutionary War Sites. Winston-Salem, N.C.: John F. Blair. 1998. p. 162-163. (accessed October 31, 2012).

Kent, Scotti. It Happened in North Carolina. Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot. 2000. p.16. (accessed October 31, 2012).

Image Credits:

"Photograph, Accession #: H.19XX.424.8." 1926-1930. North Carolina Museum of History.

Origin - location: 



James Ashmore was my 5th great grandfather. I have him living in Logan county Kentucky after the war and also in Chatham county North Carolina. I have him living in Chatham county when he died at the age of 43.


I am wondering what information is available on the family of Benjamin Cockran (Cochran). I believe he is my great-uncle, but I have some confusion regarding the siblings in what I believe is his family. I do know that my Cochran line descends from the Cochrans that lived during this time in Mecklenburg/Cabarrus. At one point, I was told they were not all related, and I do not know the point of entry of my Cochran family into the United States from Ireland (originally from Ayrshire, Scotland). I appreciate any information anybody may have. Thank you!


Looking to see if you are also related to Thomas Weeks of Perquimans County from late 17th century. I was drawn in while researching from "MsAmericanPie""


I am a member of the Ashmore family. I am a descendent of James Ashmore. Information may be found on he and Joshua Hadley by searching out the Quaker records. Joshua Hadley was a Step son to Fredrick Ashmore and a half brother to James Ashmore. Very interesting history. I thank you for this sight and for the information. I found one sight that say James and Joshua Hadley were cowards.....I do not believe this for a second. All I have know were brave people but did not fight a fight that they did not believe in. They are smart people, with a quit disposition, that you do not want to make angry. Again, Thank you for the information you have put together!
Long live our freedom!


I would love any information on the White Family. I believe I descend from John White. I have many John Whites in the family but could only got back to 1880's. After that to many John Hills to search through to find the correct link.

Thank you


Hi Christinia,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia.

NCpedia doesn't have any additional genealogical information on John White.  If you're still looking for family history information, I'm including a link to the Genealogy resources page at the NC Government & Heritage Library --  Please visit this page for information and tips on conducting family history research.

The Government & Heritage Library is open Monday to Saturday and is open to public for researching North Carolina history and family history. You may also want to visit your local public library that may provide access to online genealogy databases.

I hope this helps!

Good luck and best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


I am a descendant of Robert Carruthers (son of Hugh Carruthers and Sarah Purviance) who married a Margaret White. I believe that Robert (b. 1750) is one of the 'Black Boys' and that his wife Margaret (b. 1771) is the daughter of James White (b. 1747) according to info gathered on the internet.

It seems that this Margaret may have married a McClung rather that Robert Carruthers???

Can you help? Was the 'black boy' Robert Carruthers some other Carruthers?

Ralph Greenwood


Thank you for using NCpedia, and for sending us your question. I have sent you and email to connect you with Reference Services at the State Library of North Carolina's Government & Heritage Library. They can help you with your inquiry.


Michelle Underhill, Government & Heritage Library


I believe I am a direct descendant of James Ashmore, he would be my 5th Great Grandfather, if this is the same James Ashmore that was married to Elizabeth Balch. Elizabeth had a brother named Hezekiah Balch who would later preach at Poplar, and eventually became a co-author and signor of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. I there any information about what later became of James Ashmore?

Thank you,

Jarrod Ashmore


Jarrod, I am also a dependent of James Ashmore. My maternal grandfather was James Howard Ashmore. The Ashmore family moved to the Victoria area of Texas sometime after the Revolutionary War. Off hand I don't remember exact dates, but if you are interested, email me a and I will send you what I have.

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