NC MRF History Tour - August 27, 2005

Battle of Elizabethtown

The fifth of five scheduled NC MRF History Tours for 2005 was held on August 27th. The tour started in Garner, NC and traveled to Tory Hole Park where the Battle of Elizabethtown took place in 1781. Ten riders toured this historic battlefield. Riders from the Raleigh CBA, Chatham CBA, and Heartland Wings, along with several independent riders attended.

At the start, Bruce Harris, our Tour Director told the riders about what they would see at the Tory Hole to give the riders a primer on the historical significance of our ride destination. Before we departed, Bruce reviewed the proposed route and held a brief safety meeting. The 82 mile ride to the Tory Hole was beautiful. Highway 242 is a beautiful country road and we all really enjoyed the trip. Once at Tory Hole Park, Bruce gave us a narrative about the freedom fighters (Whigs) who planned and executed a raid on the Tories stationed in Elizabethtown. The Tories were the soldiers who were loyal to King George. From there we rode a short distance to the actual Tory Hole and saw where 400+ Tories were attacked by 71 very battle savvy Whigs. The Whigs managed to make themselves appear to be over 1000 soldiers, scaring the Tories into retreating by jumping into a ravine (Tory Hole) and scurrying off into the woods. After viewing the Tory Hole, we all headed to the Front Porch Restaurant for a country buffet that is unmatched anywhere.

The weather was clear and we all had a safe ride. We made new friends, had a good meal, and learned more about North Carolina's history.

A total of $115 was raised for the MRF. $25 in memberships and $90 in donations were collected. A $90 Freedom Fighter donation was made to the MRF this afternoon online and that donation will go directly towards our fight at the federal level for fair motorcycle related legislation.

During the tour,
Don Starkey joined the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. Don understands the importance of protecting the things he loves. Riding our motorcycles is important to all of us and Don has shown his love for motorcycling by joining an organization that is completely focused on preserving our riding freedoms.

To view the MRF's legislative agenda, go HERE. If you are not already a MRF member, please consider joining. The MRF is completely focused on supporting street motorcycling.
Join online HERE

During the lunch stop, David Williams was honored with a certificate thanking him for his support of the MRF. David was the only North Carolina rider to attend all five of the History Tours this year. David also joined the MRF and made a Freedom Fighter donation on every tour.

We would like to thank long-time MRF Individual Sustaining Member Bruce Harris for his dedication to the MRF, his time and effort in organizing and planning these History Tours, and his enthusiasm for creating fun, alternate riding opportunities for North Carolina's riders. During the lunch stop, Bruce was awarded a certificate to thank him. Bruce had spent literally hundreds of hours in learning the history behind these sites, creating professional ride maps, and testing the routes before each tour. Since Bruce is very detailed oriented, he made each tour enjoyable.

This was the fifth and final NC MRF History Tour of 2005. Please watch for next year's NC MRF History Tour schedule. During the five 2005 Tours, 10 riders joined the MRF and a total of $535 was raised for the MRF. A special thanks goes out to all the riders who supported the MRF in 2005.

Story of The Battle of Elizabethtown

During the American Revolution, irregular warfare was being waged in the backcountry of North Carolina by groups of citizen-soldiers: the Whigs (revolutionists/patriots/rebels/freedom fighters), and the Tories--who were still loyal to the King of England.

The Tories, had driven the Whigs from their homes and even out of the county. They ravaged the county in every direction, insulting and plundering the most respectable families, burning private dwellings and destroying a great amount of valuable property.

It was only a little band of patriots (Whigs) that struck the blow of liberty at Elizabethtown. The scantly clothed and half perished patriots set out on their march toward Elizabethtown, under a hot sun in August of 1781. The next day they arrived on the east bank of the Cape Fear River. They had not eaten anything except berries and had only stopped to catch a few hours of sleep while their horses grazed.

Colonel Thomas Robeson, the commander of the Whigs, knew that everything depended upon the success of this battle. He was unwilling to risk his 71 men against 400+ Tory enemies until he found out the exact situation in the opposing camp.

As in many great events in history, a woman was to play an important part in the Battle of Elizabethtown. Sallie Salter, of one of the most influential families in the Cape Fear section of Bladen County, volunteered to enter the Tory Camp as a spy. Fetching a basket of eggs and socks to sell, she walked down to the ferry and called to the sentry on the other side to row her over. After some delay, he complied with her request and she entered the camp and sold her eggs - all the while collecting as much information as possible. It never entered the minds of the Tories that she was a spy. Returning safely with the needed information, Colonel Robeson could now begin planning the battle. The smallest details were reviewed over and over, until each man knew what part he was to perform.
Around midnight, the Whigs marched to a point about one mile below the Tories, where they all crossed the Cape Fear River successfully.

Colonel Robeson formed his troops and led them into battle. Advancing rapidly and keeping up a well directed fire until they were soon in the midst of the enemy. Colonel Robeson and six of his Whig officers took a central position. The main body of men rushed to a point at a distance on his right - fired and reloaded with almost inconceivable rapidity and then rushed to a point on his left and repeated the procedure. They repeated this procedure many times, until the Tories were convinced they were being attacked by a thousand men or more.

Most of the Tory officers were killed or badly wounded and, after their leaders fell, men scattered in every direction. A great number of them jumped into a deep ravine which has since become to be known as the Tory Hole, and there, they met their defeat, and the Tory power was broken.

The effects of this battle were substantial. The Tories held a great number of patriot prisoners at Elizabethtown, who regained their freedom after the battle. Perhaps more importantly, the guns, ammunition and provisions stockpiled by the Tories became property of the rebels (Whigs), materials desperately needed in the war effort at the time. After Elizabethtown, Tories were never again much of a problem in Bladen County.

The ravine (Tory Hole) runs from the main street of Elizabethtown to the Cape Fear River. The citizens of Elizabethtown built a recreation center at the Tory Hole site, for the enjoyment of their residents, visitors and tourists.

Join the MRF online HERE

Join the MRF online HERE