Simpson History



David Hart

David Hart

David, brother of Thomas and Nathaniel Hart, and fourth son of Thomas Hart of Hanover County, Virginia and Susanna Rice, was born about the year 1732. With his mother and other members of the family he removed from Hanover County, Virginia, to Orange County, North Carolina, about 1757. In 1758 and again in 1760 he was appointed by the Governor's Council a justice of the peace for Orange County. On August 6, 1759, he received a crown grant for 292 acres in Orange County, located on a branch of Hosrsley's Creek. On March 3, 1779, he was granted by the State of North Carolina '640 acres on both sides of Hart's Hillsborough road and the waters of Country Line Creek, adjoining Israel Barker, Wm. Mitchell, George Simms, and his own land,' and on October 13, 1783, he was granted two tracts of 640 acres each: one 'on the waters of Country Line Creek - adjoining Edward Hogard, Geo. Oldham, and his own land,' the other on the main ridge between the waters of Crooked branch and Stony creek, adjoining his own land [and] the lands of William Mitchell, Moses Oldham, and George Simms.'

Captain David Hart took an active part in the suppression and defeat of the Regulators. He commanded a company of the Orange Regiment of Militia, which originally numbered 39 and, during the course of the campaign of 1771 which ended in the defeat of the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance, May 16, 1771, was recruited up to a strength of 49. Their pay for the campaign at 40 shillings each was 98 pounds. In February, 1773, David Hart presented to the North Carolina House of Commons claims for 15.4.10 pounds. On the campaign David Hart's company was furnished 245 rations; and on the return to Hillsborough 68 rations.

When the Transylvania Company was organized, January 6, 1775, there were nine shareholders, David Hart and Leonard Henley Bullock each holding only a half share, or one-sixteenth interest. In the spring of 1776, David Hart went to Kentucky and spent some time there with his brother, Nathaniel, near Boonesborough; and assisted, along with Nathaniel, in the rescue of Elizabeth and Frances Callaway and Jemima Boone who had been kidnapped by the Indians, July 7, 1776. Not long afterwards he returned to his home on Country Line Creek, near the residence of his brother, the Red House, in Caswell County. On March 10, 1778, he sold to William Gooch 262 acres of land, the tract on Horsley's Creek for which he had obtained a Crown grant on August 6, 1759. During the American Revolution he was a leader in his section, served as justice of the peace and road overseer, and as assessor and tax collector for Caswell and St. David's districts in 1779 and 1781 respectively. On June 22, 1779, he, James Sanders, and Stephen Moore were appointed commissioners for collecting Tory property, agreeable to an Act of Assembly, Halifax, February 12, 1779. On June 20, 1780, he John Williams, and John Campbell were appointed Commissioners to dispose of Tory Property for Caswell County.

In the early part of 1781, when Cornwallis was approaching the neighborhood of his home, David Hart raised and was chosen lieutenant colonel of a regiment of light horse. This regiment joined the American force under Colonel Henry [Light-Horse Harry] Lee and took part in the surprise and virtual massacre of some 200 Tories under the command of Colonel John Pyle, with headquarters at the home of one Holt. Hart also commanded his regiment at the Battle of Guilford Court House, March 15, 1781, and he and his men fought bravely. Writing to Nathaniel Hart almost seven months after this battle, Thomas Hart gives a concise account of the military activities of their brother David.

'I have recd two letters from Col. David both short and chiefly on the subjects of his Military Exploits for you must know that after the enemy had crossed the Yatkin [Yadkin] and on their march to his neighborhood himself and many others turn'd out as volenters and form'd themselves into Regimt. of Light Horse over whom Wm. Moore was appointed Col. and himself Lieut. Col. Join'd the army whish [whilst] the enemy were in Hillsbo. were at the ingagme. or rather the Massacreing of the Tories at Holts and after in the Ingagement at Guilford where they both behav'd with gallentry and acquired some share of honor I would suppose from his letters to me that he has not experienced any great loss by the Enemy.'

In compensation for his services in the settlement of Kentucky and in the military engagements above mentioned he secured several valuable tracts of land. On December 21 1779, at Boonesborough, David Hart secured from the Virginia land court the issuance of a certificate for 1,400 acres of land 'lying on the waters of Silver raising a crop of corn in the country in the year 1776.' On July 11, 1788, he received from the State of North Carolina a military grant of 274 acres on the waters of Goose Creek in Sumner County; and on April 18, 1789, a military grant also from North Carolina, of 2,250 acres on the north side of Big Hatcher River in the Western District. Writing to his brother Nathaniel in 'Transylvania', in March, 1780, David Hart 9in part0, says: 

'I received Yours of the 9th Feby. with my Certificate for Settlement and Preemption [on Silver Creek] and am much pleased to hear you have laid it to so good advantage...I could fain have been with you this spring but could not make it convenient I have not sold my land yet but still hope to get a markett for it time enough to be out this somer I have gott a thousand acre warrent and must beg of you to get it located to the best advantage either by giving part of the warrent on a sufficiant sum of money. I have sent you six or seven hundred pounds which you will dispose of to best advantage.'

David Hart's intention to visit Kentucky again was never realized. He settled down to a prosperous and uneventful career at his home on County Line Creek and there resided with his family until his death about the year 1791. One of the most distinguished of his descendants was his grandson, Archibald Dixon, lieutenant governor of Kentucky, United States Senator, succeeding Henry Clay in 1852, and author of the famous Kansas-Nebraska bill."(Henderson)


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