To Know Such Liberty began as a simple genealogy project for relatives and friends of Arthur Hood and Ruby White, who lived in Lenoir, North Carolina from the turn of the 20th century to the late 1980s. But along the way, it became much more than that a collection of stories, legends, and historical accounts of hundreds of related families who came to colonial America during the 17th and 18th centuries, often fleeing religious, economic, or political oppression in search of freedom in the New World. They included early English settlers of Jamestown, early Dutch settlers of New York, early Puritan settlers of New England, and Catholic settlers of Maryland. Some came from famous and prosperous families back in England, Scotland, or Ireland. Others came as dirt-poor farmers, refugees, or indentured servants. But once they arrived in America, many of the old distinctions of Old Europe were forgotten or left behind. As these ancestors began to congregate in Virginia and western North Carolina during the 1700s, they produced noteworthy Patriots such as Gen. Thomas Sumter, the Carolina Gamecock, and James Madison, father of the Constitution and a future president of the United States. Other notable ancestors and relatives of the Hood-White family include governors, U.S. Senators, members of Congress and state legislatures, Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and John Bell Hood, business leaders, poets, journalists, ministers, educators, and the King himself, Elvis Presley (whose grandmother was a Hood). This book will be of great interest to members of the Hood, Bristol, Suddreth, Kincaid, White, Moody, Maltba, and Coffey families, who each get their own chapters. But anyone who enjoys learning more about American history will appreciate such stories as: * The tale of John Tully, one of America's first publishers, who took on the Puritan authorities of his day to defend the celebration of Christmas. * The tale of Thomas Jefferson's Baptist neighbors at Monticello, who influenced his views on religious liberty. * The tale of the Isbell brothers, who formed one of the largest family contingents at the critical Revolutionary War battle of Kings Mountain. * The tale of "Crooked Neck John" Kincaid, an elderly Patriot who survived two attempted hangings by British allies during the Revolutionary War. * The tale of John Pleasants, an early defender of religious liberty in Virginia, and his grandson John Pleasants III, who helped found the abolition movement. * The tale of William Pendley, a young man beaten to death for daring to criticize the early colonial government of Maryland. * The tale of two Scotch-Irish families, one headed by a poor farmer, the other by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland himself, whose descendents met and married in America. * The tale of he Bigamist's Tunnel, which supposedly connected the houses of John Barlow's two wives in Burke County, North Carolina. * The tale of Robert McCall, Irish immigrant to North Carolina, successful planter, father of 20, veteran of Kings Mountain and Cowpens, and talented liar. There are many, many such stories in To Know Such Liberty. Its title comes from a famous poem, "To Althea From Prison," by the Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace another Hood-White relative. "Stone walls do not a prison make," he wrote, "nor iron bars a cage." To Know Such Liberty is more than a family history. It is a celebration of American freedom in all its forms.
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