Tag Archives: Colorado

Chief’s Daughter Makes Dramatic Contribution to the Revolutionary War

The following is a guest post by my friend John. He’s the descendant of a real American Hero. Gosh, you just can’t beat those clever Revolutionary women with a stick. The British found that out the hard way.

This is the story of my ancestors who played an interesting role in revolutionary history and the local history as well.

                The genealogy of this story is, in itself, interesting enough. The Poindexter family is a direct line to my mothers side of the family, the Matthews. My great grandmother was originally a Poindexter before marriage. And there have been many other cross family tree connections since the early 1700’s. The focus of my story however, begins with Betty Donnaha. She was the daughter of the Indian chief of the Donnaha tribe which was localized around the Yadkin River basin. As a side note, Wake Forest excavated their tribal site and exhumed many remains  and artifacts which are now on display, in fact, my great grandfather X10 is on display in the exhibit. His Daughter Betty Donnaha eventually married Thomas Pledge who had two children, Elizabeth Pledge and Francis Pledge. Where it gets interesting is with Elizabeth, who eventually married Thomas Poindexter.

                Elizabeth and Thomas Poindexter lived together close to their family in Yadkin county, eventually having 12 children total. And when the revolutionary war began Thomas Poindexter served the revolutionary forces as a captain in charge of a regiment of revolutionists. They were critical in the skirmishes around the Yadkin river. Especially in the battle of Shallowford. Since Thomas Poindexter was away with the revolutionary forces Elizabeth was left alone at home with the British being very close by. To aid the war effort Elizabeth began sewing secret messages and military correspondence in her daughters dresses, and then sent them on “errands” through British lines. She did this throughout the conflict and after the war was recognized for her bravery in wartime. Today she is recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution and they have recognized her significance in the revolutionary war in the North Carolina region.

                To be able to trace my family history back so far in North Carolina is a point of pride for much of my family. My grandfather was a historian and he went to great lengths to paint a clearer picture of the influential role that our family has played in the region. From the early family settling in the late 1600’s through my grandfather myself who was influential in establishing several state parks and even more protected land that is local to our home place. And since his passing it has become a point of interest of mine to go through these documents to get a clearer idea of our families history as well. And as a reward I get to come across stories such as the one i just told.

No, I Won’t Live in Defiance, Thank You.

Funny how authors seem to dip from the same cosmic well. They can write completely different novels, never meet each other or share information, yet similarities in the books can be staggering, even shocking. I’ve had this experience with my book, Living in Defiance. But rather than point out some spooky similarities between it and another author’s story, I want to talk about where fact and fiction meet.

Defiance is a fictional town in the San Juan mountain range of Colorado. The history of it is based loosely on the bawdy mining town of Mineral Point. In my story, three good, Christian girls roll into town and shake things up for God.

To my delight, I learned recently that the REAL town of Glenwood Springs, CO used to be named Defiance! And what happened to change the name? Why, a God-fearing, red-blooded American girl rolled into town. That’s what happened.

Sarah Cooper and her husband settled in the encampment of Defiance in 1883. A pair of no-nonsense Iowans, they weren’t thrilled with the name of the town or the behavior of the citizens and worked with the founders to incorporate the settlement into a real municipality. Law and order and churches followed and Sarah pushed to rename Defiance Glenwood Springs, after her hometown of Glenwood, Iowa.

Give an American pioneer woman an inch and she’ll take a mile every time. I love it.