William O’Neal and John O’Neal and the War of Regulation
aka “The Regulators”
In 1764, several thousand people from western North Carolina were extremely dissatisfied with North Carolina officials whom they considered cruel, arbitrary, tyrannical and corrupt. Taxes were collected by local sheriffs supported by the courts; the sheriffs and courts had sole control over their local regions. Many of the officers were deemed to be very greedy and often would band together with other local officials for their own personal gain. Men like Harmon Husband and Benjamin Merrill have been recorded in history as prominent leaders of this movement. This brief web page is intended to present some basic information about William O’Neal and John O’Neal, who were also active with the Regulator Movement.
William O’Neal was active in the Regulators, and was serving in the NC Militia at the time that the movement began. After the Regulator movement, he fought at the battle of Almance, went on to become a Colonel in the Revolutionary forces, and housed wounded soldiers at his home in Orange County, NC while marching his troops throughout North Carolina and sourthern Virginia fighting the British Army.
birth date: 1738
birth location: Culpeper County, Virginia
death date: 1797
death location: Orange County, North Carolina
married: Elizabeth Stoever
children: Joseph O’Neal, Mary O’Neal Perkins, possibly 2 other sons
Connection to Guilford County: Owned land in Guilford County, NC and in Orange County, NC
County of Residence prior to Guilford: Culpeper County, Virginia
Timeline for William O’Neal
"Whereas through the exactions and extortions of several officers of Orange, we have involved ourselves in many difficulties and by means of reports, false spread, the condition has arose to a great extremity and being desirous to submit ourselves to the clemency of your excellence, and to lay aside all method of redress of our grievances, but by a due course of law, and beg that your excellence will forgive all our past offenses by your gracious proclamation, that peace and tranquility may be restored again, to all the inhabitants of this province, and confiding in your assistance and favor to execute the laws against said exactions and extortions and conclude.2
I do not as of yet know much about John O’Neal. John was part of the Regulator movement and was thrown in jail along with Harmon Husband in 1768 by Gov. William Tryon. A story persists that this John O’Neal fled North Carolina shortly after 1768, fearing for his life. I’ve seen several accounts that he fled to Georgia and served in the Revolution from the colony of Georgia, but I don’t (as of yet) have reliable documentation to prove this.
birth date: Probably 1745 or Before
birth location: Unknown
death date: Unknown
death location: Unknown, but possibly Georgia
married: Unknown, possibly Sarah Bridgers
children: Unknown, possibly Micajah, Zachariah, Isham, Moses, Samuel
connection to Guilford County: Unknown
Timeline for John O’Neal
It was decided at a council to issue such Proclamation as the petitioners requested. Signed 3 Oct 1768 by Governor Tryon, it read in part, "I do, therefore, out of a compassion for the misguided multitude, being much more inclined to prevent than punish crimes of so high a nature by and with the unanimous advice and consent of his Majesty's Council issue this proclamation granting unto them His Majesty's most gracious pardon for the several outrageous acts by them committed at any time before the day of the date thereof, except Jame Hunter, Ninion Hamilton, Peter Craven, Isaac Jackson, Harmon Husband, Matthew Moffit, Christopher Nation, Solomon Cross and John O'Neal, of which all officers of Justice and others concerned therein are to take notice" on 1 Oct 1768 at Hillsboro, NC 2
== End Notes ==
1 – Colonial Records of North Carolina excerpted at: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/nc/orange/military/revwar/regulatr.txt, contributed to Rootsweb by Louise Overton
2 – Colonial Records of North Carolina. Collected and Edited by William L. Saunders, Secretary of State. Raleigh, NC. P M Hale, Publisher to the State of NC. 1886.
3 - The Winning of the West by President Theodore Rosevelt. Volume 2, Chapter X – The Holston Settlements to the End of the Revolution – 1781-83, page 309.
Published: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York & London. Copyright 1889, The Knickerbocker Press. 1912 Edition.
More sources can be found in my Rootsweb Worldconnect entries for William O’Neal at this link.
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