The Regulator Movement

Last weekend I drove to Siler City, North Carolina to attend a lecture on The Regulator Movement of Chatham County, North Carolina, given by Mr. John H. Emerson. The lecture was sponsored by the Chatham County Historical Society and took place at the Rives Chapel Church in Siler City, North Carolina.  Tours of the church and the nearby Old Tick Creek cemetery, where the Regulator James Emerson was buried, were given prior to the lecture.  I did not make it to the church in time for the cemetery tour, however I made it inside the hall in time to get a good seat. I think attendance was higher than they expected because the organizers had to set up more chairs. The lecture itself ran for just about an hour. The Chatham County Historical Society had some books and pamphlets on a table at the back of the room that we could visit after the lecture. Another gentleman also had some weapons on display for us to look at.

The Regulator Movement is said to be the precursor and possibly even the first battle of the American Revolutionary War.  What started out as a peaceful movement enacted to change the policies governing land and property taxation and to rid the colony of corrupt politicans, ended in a gun fight at the Battle of Alamance Creek.

I decided to attend this lecture for a couple of reasons: My ancestor, Henry Williams, was living in nearby Caswell County, NC during this time (1766-1771) and was believed to have been in the Caswell County Militia. I think he may have had some involvement in the Regulator Movement. There’s been some confusion about his involvement in the Revolutionary War (see previous post here) and I was hoping to clear it up by learning about his possible role in the Regulator Movement.

I also wanted to have any excuse to drive out that way. Siler City is on the outskirts of Randolph County, North Carolina. My Godwin family settled in Randolph County in 1800 in the small community of Seagrove. Seagrove is about a 20 minute drive West of Siler City. A few weeks ago I took my first trip out to Randolph County to visit the Genealogy room in the Randolph County public library located in downtown Asheboro. You can read about my visit on my other blog here. I hope to make more trips out there to take in more of the scenery.

I did not learn any new information about my ancestor, Henry Williams, believed to have been an officer in the Revolutionary War.  There was a copy of William Powell’s book, The Regulators in North Carolina: A documentary history, 1759-1766 on one of the tables.  I did not find any mention of my ancestory, Henry Williams, in it. This was not surprising as I had already read much of the book in 2006 when I wrote a paper on the Regulator Movement for my North Carolina History Class.

A Mr. Brooks Gilbert opened up his family home, originally owned and  occupied by Isaac Brooks, also a Regulator, to the lecture attendees.  His home is located at 1958 Ike Brooks Rd, which was just a quick turn off of the Rives Chapel Church Road in Siler City. Isaac Brooks was a descendant of John and Susan Brooks, whose descendants meet every August in Siler City for a huge family reunion.  I have yet to find a connection between this Brooks family and my own of Caswell County, North Carolina, however I believe both families came from the same part of Virginia prior to their migration to North Carolina.  This Brooks family even has a highway named after them!  More to come about my visit to Isaac Brooks’ House.