Francis Locke, Revolutionary soldier, farmer, trader, and carpenter, was born in Northern Ireland, the son of John and Elizabeth Locke who moved to Lancaster County, PA., when Francis and his brother, Matthew, were young. Francis was still living in Lancaster County in 1738. The older Locke died in 1744, his widow married John Brandon, and about 1752 the family moved to Anson (now Rowan, formed from Anson in 1753) County, NC. In 1753 Francis purchased 640 acres from his stepfather and established his home four miles west of Salisbury on the Lincolnton road. He and Matthew began dealing in skins and operated a fleet of wagons from the frontier of the colony to Salisbury, Salem, and Charles Town, SC., in a profitable trade that netted them a comfortable living.
Whether Locke had previous military training in PA. is not known, but in 1759 Governor Arthur Dobbs commissioned him an ensign under Captain Griffith Rutherford in the Rowan regiment commanded by Colonel Adlai Osborn. By 1764 he was interested in politics, and the best way to attain office in those times was to become a tavern owner. In that year he was licensed to operate an ordinary at his dwelling house; there he could meet and entertain his countrymen and become a familiar figure. Although it was unlawful for a tavern owner to be appointed sheriff, the highest local office in the colony, Locke was recommended to Governor Dobbs by the county court as the best candidate for that office. He was appointed and served a year and a half (1765-1766).
Locke's term as sheriff fell during the Regulators' rising against abuse in government and improper taxes. It was the worst possible time to be sheriff, for it was his duty to collect taxes while also keeping the peace. In this undertaking Locke was not successful. He was able to collect taxes from only about 1,000 of the 3,043 taxables and had to explain to the satisfaction of the county court why this was so. He pointed out that he had done his utmost to collect taxes but had been violently opposed. In one instance, he explained, when he seized a certain sorrel gelding from James Dunlap in lieu of taxes, fifteen of Dunlap's friends came to his aid and rescued the gelding from Locke.
Between his political and military service, Locke worked as a carpenter and as a planter. Tax returns for 1768 reveal that he owned four slaves. Unsullied by his experience as sheriff, Locke held the confidence of the next royal governor who appointed him coroner in 1773. The county court also relied on Locke to lay out roads, build bridges, and keep the jail in repair.
With the coming of the Revolution, Francis Locke came to the attention of the Provincial Congress. On 9 Sept. 1775 he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the minutemen of Rowan County under Colonel Griffith Rutherford. Assuming his new duties, Locke was almost immediately involved in the "Snow Campaign" in up-country South Carolina when North Carolina helped to quell an uprising there. In April 1776 the Provincial Congress promoted him to colonel in the First Regiment of the Rowan militia. That spring, when the Cherokee took up arms against the back settlers, Locke and his men accompanied Rutherford on a expedition against them. The campaign succeeded in laying waste the Indians' towns and suppressing any further threat from them. During 1777 and 1778 Locke was busy keeping an eye on the Tories in the state, as there was little other activity in the South at that time. In 1779, However, he was under the command of General John Ashe when they were sent to Georgia to fight the British, who had recently taken Savannah. Against the remonstrance's of Ashe, General Benjamin Lincoln pushed forward his troops at Briar Creek, where they were surprised and defeated by Genera. Augustine Provost. After the battle Colonel Locke was a member of the court-martial to examine that disastrous affair.
Locke and his Rowan militia moved towards Charles Town and scouted for the American army, but they did not participate directly in the Battle of Charles Town which resulted in the city's capitulation. Next, Locke was called upon to disperse a gathering of Tories in Lincoln County under Colonel John Moore in 1780. With 400 militiamen from Rowan, Mecklenburg, and Lincoln counties assembled at Mountain Creek, Locke marched on the night of 19 June some eighteen miles towards Ramsour's Mill. The next morning he made a sudden attack on the enemy and after a fierce engagement routed the Tories in a battle that lasted about an hour and a half. Each side lost about 150 men, and only about 300 of Moore's soldiers were able to join the British in South Carolina. this significant victory threw the Tories in western North Carolina into confusion. The Loyalist Samuel Bryan collected 800 men in the forks of the Yadkin and made his move. He led them down the Yadkin River into South Carolina with Locke and General Rutherford close on their heels.
In Lord Charles Cornwallis's first invasion of North Carolina in 1780, Locke served as the eyes for the American army, keeping between Cornwallis and Colonel Patrick Ferguson who was then in Burke County. Locke's troops served as a "force in being" held in readiness to attack Ferguson should he move towards Charlotte. Ferguson was decisively defeated at Kings Mountain, and Cornwallis retreated back into South Carolina.
Locke was not called upon again until the second British invasion of the state early in 1781. In the retreat of General Nathaniel Greene and his American army across the state. Locke was instrumental in helping to delay the advance of Cornwallis. After leaving Salisbury, Cornwallis, unable to cross the Yadkin River at Trading Ford nearby, chose a northern route to the upper fords of the Yadkin. On his advance, Locke and his one hundred Rowan militiamen had stationed themselves at a bridge across Grants Creek (some historians say Second Creek) near Salisbury. The van of Cornwallis's army, seeing Locke's troops engaged in destroying the bridge, attacked but were repelled. Colonel Banastre Tarleton dispatched his soldiers up and down the stream and came in behind Locke. The Americans fled but only one man in Locke's force was wounded. Following this skirmish Locke was placed under the command of General Andrew Pickens, who dogged Cornwallis's march through the state and hampered his movements until the Battle of Guilford Court House in March 1781. Locke did not participate in that engagement but remained as a bulwark to the backcountry in the event the British moved in that direction. Cornwallis chose instead to march to Wilmington and then to Yorktown, where the was ended. Locke remained in the army until 8 Nov. 1784, when he resigned his commission.
As an officer Locke earned the confidence of the people he served. Even the harassed Moravians spoke of him as being friendly when he requisitioned stores from their dwindling supplies in 1781. After his resignation from the army he retired to his plantation. In 1794 the Rowan court appointed Locke to succeed William Sharpe as attorney for the state. He died two years later and was buried in Thyatira Presbyterian Church cemetery, where his grave is marked by a simple stone bearing his name.
Locke married Ann Brandon, and they were the parents of four sons and three daughters. One son, John, was a officer in the Revolution; a daughter, Margaret, married George Gibson and after his death married Richard Armstrong. another son, Matthew; married Nancy Brandon, while another, Francis, became a superior court judge from 1803 to 1813 and afterwards was elected to Congress. The other children were Ann, Mary Locke, and William. William married Elizabeth Marshal and moved to KY.
Hope this helps someone, found it in Mercer Co. public library. Dianna Ison mison@searn
SOURCE: Steve Belk, "The Locke Family" 1977 (manuscript, Rowan Public Library, Salisbury; Walter Clark, ed., State Records of NC vols. 14-15, 19, 23 and several others.)
E:186. FRANCIS LOCKE. 27 June 1796. Wife Anna to have home plantation, negro man Scipio and wench Rose and her two children Charity and Adam, my riding chair, at her death all of this to my son Francis who also gets 2/3 of the home plantation and a 160 acre entry, my negro fellow Lott and the boy Tom. Sons William and Matthew to divide Longs place with William to have also a small strip of land adjoinging Mr. Palmer, some 70 or 80 acres. Matthew also to have my negro wenches Charity and Rachel. Dau. Anne to have my negro boy Jack. Daus: Marry Penny and Elizabeth Armstrong. Son-in-law, George Gibson. Keppy's tract and my part of the tract on Crane Creek to be sold. Exrs: sons John and Francis Locke. Wit: Matthew Locke, Robert Stuart.
Research by: Mary Jane Steinhagen,firstname.lastname@example.org Elaine Oakes, email@example.com John E. Abernathy, Jr. JEAorMHA@aol.com has resulted in the following findings.
The administrative bond of John Lock (no e) found at the Lancaster Historical Society Library, Lancaster, PA given below was signed by Francis Lock (no e). It is noted that the Orphans Court Record 1742-1749, Index L Intestate, gives only the following: "Locke, John 1744 (Bond at Lancaster County Historical Society)." The bond was in an ordinary manilla folder with loose papers, including correspondence from researchers, at the Historical Society Library. The administrative bond and inventory are missing from the court house. The inventory is not complete and too difficult to include in this posting. Copies of both can be obtained by writing to: Lancaster County Historical Society, 230 North President Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603
Administration Bond of Elizabeth & Francis Lock, 1744, John Lock, deceased. "Know all men by these proposals that we Elizabeth Lock widow & Francis Lock, Thomas McGuire & McNeely, Yeoman, all of the County of Lancaster and province of Pennsylvania are held & firmly bound unto Peter Evans Register General for the probate of will & granting Lic.? of Administration in & for the said province & the Counties of New Castle Kent Sussex on Delaware in the sum of one hundred & thirty pounds lawful money of this province to be paid to the sd Peter Evans his lawfull attorney Executors Administor assigns to which payment well & truly to be made we bind our selves our heirs Executors & administrators legally & severally firmly by these presents sealed with our seals & dated this thirtieth day of October an Dom 1744. The condition of the above obligation is such that if the above bound Elizabeth Lock & Francis Lock administrators of all & singular the goods chattels rights & credits of John Lock aforsd - deceased do make or cause to be made a true & perfect inventory of all & singular the goods rights chattels & credits of the sd decd which have or shal come to the hands possession or knowledge of the said Elizabeth & Francis or into the hands or possession of any other person or persons for them and the same so made do exhibit or cause to be exhibited into the Register Generals office in Lancaster County on or before the thirtieth day of November next and the same goods chattels and credits of the said deceased at the time of his death or which at any time after that come to the hands or possession of the said Elizabeth and Francis or into the hands or possession of any other person or persons for them do well and truly administer according to law and further do make or cause to made a true and just account calculation or reckoning of the sd administration on or before the thirthieth day of October which will be in the year of our Lord 1745 and all the rest and residue of the goods chattels & credits which shal be found remaining on the sd administrators audit? (or acc't?) the same being first examined & allowed by the Orphans Court of the said County shal deliver & pay to such person or persons - Respectively as the said court by its Decree or Sentence shal limit and appoint and if it shal hereafter appear that any last Will & Testament was made by the said deceased and the Executor or Executors therein named shal exhibit the same into the Registors office making request to have it allowed & approved accordingly If the Said Elizabeth & Francis Lock - being thereunto required shal render & deliverup the sd letters of administration approbation of such Testament being first had & made in the said office Then this Obligation to be Void or Effects be & remain in full force & virtue. Eliz a O Lock Sealed & Delivered in the presence of } Francis Lock James Wright Jno? Wright Thomas McGuire"
(Someone may have signed for Elizabeth and the O may her mark although there is no notation that it is her mark. There is a space between Eliz and the a and the a is higher meaning an abbreviation of Elizabeth rather than Eliza. Her name was obviously Elizabeth since that is what was in the text. Words with ? after them indicate that the text was difficult to read, could not be positively identified, and that what is given is our best guess).
The administrative bond proves that Elizabeth, the widow of John Lock, did not marry John Brandon until after 13 Oct 1744. It is likely that they married before going to NC but no record of the marriage has been found.
The signature of Francis Lock who signed the administrative bond of John Lock is the same as the signature on Rowan Co., NC, records for the marriage of : 1. his daughter, Margaret Lock to George Gibson, 2. his sister Elizabeth Lock to John Johnston, and, 3. Agness Lock to Jacob Nichols.
It is worth noting that besides Francis Lock, Jacob Nichols signed the document for John Johnston's marriage to Elizabeth Lock and that John Johnston signed the document for Jacob Nichols marriage to Agness Lock, that George Lock signed both documents, and the date of both was 17 May 1762. None of the Lock signatures had an "e".
The following related info is provided. Marriages of Rowan Co., NC, 1753-1868, by Rev. Brent Holcomb, gives: p 151 George Gibson & Margaret Lock, 17 May 1780; Francis Lock, bondsman; p 211 John Johnston & Elizabeth Lock, 17 may 1762: Francis Lock, George Lock, bondsman; and, p 298 Jacob Nichols and Agness Lock, 17 may 1762; Francis Lock, George Lock, bondsmen; John Johnston, witness.
Our research has found two Locks, Agness and William, who have apparently not been identified and who have not been shown in previous research. Agness is possibly a widow or daughter of an unknown Lock, who may be related to George and Francis Lock. Since Francis and George Lock, sons of John Lock b abt 1695, signed her marriage bond there is also the possibility of Agness being another daughter of this John Lock. Her husband, Jacob Nichols died in Iredell Co. before 15 May 1797. On that date the Pleas & Quarter Sessions Court ordered to issue to Agnes Nichols, Joshua Nichols, & John Nichols on the estate of Jacob Nichols, Esq. deceased and to lay off & let a part of one year's provision for Agness Nichols wife & relict of Jacob Nichols.
There is an unidentified William Locke on the 1757 Rowan County Tax List. (Web address ftp://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/nc/rowan/taxlists/tax1759.txt). There is a possibility of him being a prior husband of Agness, or, he could be related to John Lock, b abt 1695, possibly even another son, but this is merely speculation.
Known children of John Lock were Francis b abt 1722, John born abt 1728, George b abt 1729, Matthew b abt 1730, Margaret b abt 1731, and Elizabeth b abt 1742. These dates are approximate but even so there is a large gap between Margaret and Elizabeth and there could have been other children.
Again we emphasize that these are only speculations and should be considered as such. They are offered in hopes that others might have further information and assist in the research.
Francis Lock, the son of John who signed the administrative bond was probably the oldest son, born about 1722 rather than 1732 as some state. If born in 1722 he would have been 21 or 22 and of legal age to sign it, whereas he would have been only 11 or 12 if born in 1732 and younger than two or three other brothers. If the others were older and of age, it would seem they would have signed the bond rather than Francis.
The following info shows that there is uncertainty regarding his birth date of Francis and that the administrative bond is probably the most reliable source found to date for estimating it. Although Francis died in 1796, a marker for his grave was placed later after the death of his son, Francis, who in his will dated 20 Nov 1820 stated: "12thly It is my will & desire that a marble slab be purchased and placed over the grave of my father and mother, one for my brother Matthew & wife, Francis and Alexander Penny, my sister Anne and myself with such inscriptions on each as my Executor may think proper and to be paid out of the sale aforesaid or any other monies he may have devised from my estate."
There is a military marker and an obelisk in Thyatira Cemetery, near Salisbury, Rowan Co., NC, with inscription "Col. Francis Locke, N. C. Mil. Rev. War" next to the tombstone for Francis Lock which was probably placed there in response to the son's will and desire. However there are NO DATES ON EITHER. Apparently the executor did not know the dates, did not feel they were important, or for some other reason did not have them included. John Scott and John Giles were the executors.
Lookin' for Lockes', Nov 94, gives - Col. Francis Locke retired to his plantation in Rowan Co., NC in 1784. It has been said that he is buried in Thyatira Cemetery, but this is disputed. The late John P. Gibson of Concord, a great-grandson of Locke, stated that "the burial was in the Carriker Springs section nine miles from Concord on the Salisbury Road and no one seems able to locate the grave."
The lack of a date on the tombstone or other proof, leaves the administrative bond as probably the most reliable source for estimating Francis' birth, i. e., abt 1722. It is acknowledged that some books give a later date but none provide a source. If other researchers have proof for his birth date it would be welcomed.
We hope the above is helpful to other Locke researchers, especially descendants of Francis, and that it will aid in finding the answer to Franicis' date of birth, who Agness Lock and William Lock are, and other questions.
Mary Jane, Elaine, and John.
More About Francis Locke, Col: Date born 2: 1733, Northern Ireland.1444 Burial 1: 1796, North Carolina, Salisbury, Buried in the family homestead. Burial 2: Reportedly buried in Carricker Springs, NC.1445 Family: "This is where we begin....".1446 Migration 1: England>North Carolina. Migration 2: 1738, Living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.1447 Migration 3: 1752, Moved to Anson, now Rowan County, NC.1447 Military 1: He was a distinguished soldier and hero of the Battle of Ramsour's Mill where he, with 400 men, defeated the Tories..1448 Military 2: "He made a brilliant record both in the Revolutionary War and in private life.".1448 Occupation: Soldier, Farmer, Trader, Carpenter.1449 Residence: 1753, 4 miles west of Salisbury on the Lincolnton Road (640 acres purchased from his stepfather).1450
More About Francis Locke, Col and Margaret "Anne" Brandon: Marriage: 17531451
Children of Francis Locke, Col and Margaret "Anne" Brandon are: