Analysis:Edmiston's at King's Mountain

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Campbell's Regiment at King's Mountain


In 1923 General William Campbell Edmiston, son of Col William Edmiston recalled that:

My father commanded as a Major at that battle in the regiment commanded by Gen'l. Campbell. I had in the same regiment several uncles to wit, Samuel Edmiston, John Edmiston, Robert Edmiston, Andrew Edmiston, & David Beattie & William Edmiston, the two latter of whom were uncles by marriage. Robert Edmiston, Andrew Edmiston & Cap'n William Edmiston three of my uncles were killed there that day, and John Edmiston was wounded. Deposition by General William Campbell Edmiston, dated 26 July 1823.

This testimony is partially validated by an item reported by Howard V. Jones:

Judge Benjamin Estill wrote to Lyman C. Draper, 21 Aug. 1845, about the Judge's stepfather...Samuel Edmiston. He mentions four brothers and a brother-in-law who were at King's Mountain, of whom three were killed. He goes on to say that Col. William was the eldest of his family, Samuel next.

From GWCE's testimony [1] we know the following participants at King's Mountain, and their fates:

PersonRankUnitFateFamily relation
William Edmiston Major, (later Col.), under Col Campbell (later General)SurvivedHead of Family
Samuel Edmiston PrivateUnder Capt. David Beatie, under Maj. William Edmistonsurvivedbrother of Maj William Edmiston
Robert Edmiston LieutenantUnder Capt. William EdmistonKilled in Actionbrother of Col William Edmiston
Andrew Edmiston Lieutenant or Captainunder Major William EdmistonKilled in Actionbrother of Maj. William Edmiston
William Edmiston CaptainUnder Major William EdmistonKilled in Actionbrotherinlaw of Maj William Edmiston, husband of Elizabeth Edmiston, Overall Relation Unknown
David BeattieCaptain Under Col Campbell Survived bortherinlaw of Col William Edmiston, husband of Mary Edmiston
Robert EdmistonLieutenantUnder Capt. David Beattie under Major Edmistonwounded in the arm.Not mentioned by GWCE, but identified by Moss, 1990; son of Person:William Edmiston (3)

From the above we see that Major Edmiston lost

  • his brother Robert
  • his brother Andrew
  • his brotherinlaw William Edmiston

as well as having his nephew person:Robert Edmondson (6) wounded. All of these men served together in Campbell's unit under the command of Major Edmiston. Of the seven members of the extended Edmiston family, three, Major William Edmiston, his brother Samuel, and his brotherinlaw Captain Davied Beattie, were unwounded.

Descendancy Diagram

Some of the relationships Edmiston described are shown in the following diagram:

Persons of Interest

Person:William Edmondson (7)
person:William Edmiston (5)
Person:Robert Edmiston (5)
Person:Samuel Edmiston (2)
Person:John Edmiston (5)
Person:David Beattie (1)
Person:Robert Edmiston (3)

Some Problems

Note that David Beatie and Captain William Edmiston, are not identified on this diagram. These two individuals each present an interesting problem in Edmiston family history. Since GWCE identifies them as his uncles by marriage, they are presumably the husbands of the of two daughters of John Edmiston: Mary and Elizabeth. David Beattie, who is documented by Source:Moss, 1990 as serving at King's Mountain, is in fact shown as having a wife "Mary". However, Moss indicates she is a cousin, and her maiden name is "Mary Beattie". This seems to contradict GWCE's testimony. Checking Ancestry there are a goodly number of persons tracing their descent from David and Mary, but they consistently give her maiden name as Beattie. In this they may simply be following Moss, or it may be that there is some specific documentation which shows her to be a "Beattie" rather than and Edmondson. (In which case GWCE confused the family relationships.) Perhaps close examination of Moss' sources would shed some light on this problem. Overall, it would seem that GWCE's testimony would carry considerable weight. Since he is a contemporary of the events, and should have been in a position to know the family relationships, it seems more likely that David Beattie's wife was Mary Edmiston, not Mary Beattie.

Somewhat more problematical is the identification of William Edmiston as an uncle by marriage. If David Beattie's wife is Mary Edmiston, then William Edmiston's wife is presumably the remaining daughter Elizabeth. At issue though, is the identity of the parents of her husband William Edmiston. This was discussed in an article by John Rison Jones from Vol 14(4) of the "Edmondson Family Association Bulletin". Jones is quoted as saying in that article:

Information about the Captain is hazy. For more than a century, he has been confused with Col William Edmiston. There are few substantial facts upon which one can base a definitive biography. The Captain's sword is in the Tennessee War Museum but there is evidence that the sword if of later origin. We suspect that he was b about 1750; we know that he married Elizabeth Edmiston, the dau of John Edmiston and Margaret Unknown. As a result of that marriage, Capt William and his brother-in-law, Col William, become even more confused. Any other relationship between the 2 families has yet to be established.[2]

Moss, 1990:76 tells us that Captain William (not to be confused with Maj. William Edmondson", later known as Col. William Edmiston) "and two of his brothers" were killed at King's Mountain. The other Edmiston's killed that day were Robert and Samuel; they are otherwise identified as the brothers of Col. William Edmiston, so could not be the brothers of Captain William Edmiston. Captain William would, however, have been Col. Edmiston's brotherinlaw. [3]

Who then, is Captain William Edmondson, and how is he related to Major William Edmondson (other than through his marriage to Maj. Edmondson's sister Elizabeth? One possibility is that he is Person:William Edmiston (3) son of Person:Robert Edmiston (2). That would make him a cousin of Major William Edmiston. That seems generally consistent with the known facts, with the exception of the fact that we know that Person:William Edmiston (3) survived until 1787 when he wrote his will. Its possible that he was was fatally wounded at King's Mountain, but did not succumb to his wounds until 1787/88. That would explain how GWCE could describing as being killed at King's Mountain, but his will not written until 1787. That COULD be the explanation, but that is only speculative. On the other hand, there's evidence in Washington County of a William Edmiston dying in the fall of 1780 or early winter of 1781. In a court record for for 15 May 1781 a "William Edmiston, deceased" is replaced as the administrator of the estate of one Robert Reagh. It seems likely that the William Edmiston mentioned in this record is in fact the one killed at King's Mountain the previous October.

The following land record also seems relevant to this quesiton:

Page 138 - Thomas Edmondson, Jr., heir of William Edmondson, decd...359 ac...commissioners certificate...on a branch of the south fork of Holstein River and on the north side of said river...Beginning corner to Samuel Robinsons land...corner to Adam Morrows land in a valley and leaving Robinsons land...on Samuel Kithearts line...on Thomas Edmondson, Sr's line...January 2, 1783 - Thomas Edmondson, heir of William Edmondson, decd...400 ac on the head of the long branch running into the south fork of Holstein River, includes improvements, actual settlement made in 1776...August 17, 1781

This shows a William Edmondson deceased by August 1781. Again, this would seem to be a reference to Captain William Edmondson who died at King's Mountain, and precludes the possibility that he lived on for several years dying of his wounds c1788/89. Therefore, he is not William (3).

So, if Captain William Edmondson can not be William (3), who is he? Another possibility is that he is descended from Person:William Edmondson (16), brother of John (2) and Robert (2) who settled on Borden's grant about 1740. WIlliam 16 did have a son William who could be of about the right age to be William (17). Whether he is or not remains to be determined. Its possible, that William (17) is in fact a grandson of William 16, either through son William, John, or Robert who are identified in William (16)'s will.

  1. General William Campbell Edmiston. His father named him after his commanded at King's Mountain, General William Campbell.
  2. Extracted 12 March 2009 from "Dogwoods and Bluebonnets", a family tree posted on
  3. Moss does not seem to be aware of GWCE's testimony, as he cites nothing from the Campbell-Preston papers where this item is said to reside. It might also be present as a copy in the Draper MSC, and Moss does cite items in this latter work. Additional work is needed to see if the items from the Draper MSC cited by Moss do in fact include the GWCE's testimony.