I have recently found some evidence concerning the Turners of mixed race who lived in what is now Robeson Co. (previously Bladen Co.) and Richmond Co., NC, and Marlboro Co., SC. In the 1770's and 1780's, these men including a James Turner, a John Turner, a Moses Turner, a Thomas Turner and an Aaron Turner lived in what is now Scotland County at the border between Richmond and Robeson on Leith's Creek and Gum Swamp. (See Richmond Co., NC land entries as abstracted by Dr. A.B. Pruitt). Apparently, they were a rough and tumble crowd, much feared by their neighbors during the Revolutionary War, as they had sided with the Loyalists.
These two passages come from the first volume of Rev. Eli W. Caruthers 1776, SOME REVOLUTIONARY INCIDENTS, published in 1854 and 1856. He interviewed many individuals about happenings during the Revolution in central N.C. and collected original documents. He gives extensive attention to the Tories and the civil war between adherents of the King and patriots in North Carolina.
"Near three hundred men, under Colonel Peter Robison of Bladen county, in passing through the country had halted at Stuart's, now McPherson's mill creek, to take breakfast, when Colonel McNeill, with all his force, came upon them so suddenly, that they had no time to rally, and were scattered forthwith. How many, if any of the Whigs were killed, I have not learned; but John Turner and Daniel Campbell, two of McNeill's men were killed on the ground; and Dougald McFarland, another of the Tories, was, soon after, found dead near the place. Matthew Watson, a Tory, took young Archibald McKizic by surprise and held him a prisoner; and one story is that, being an acquaintance, and knowing that Turner, a mulatto, would kill him on sight, he gave him a chance to escape...."
"...It was Wade's intention (a rebel officer) to scour the whole country and put every man of them to the sword. They were therefore greatly relieved in their feelings when his revenge seemed to be satisfied, and when he began to turn his course toward home. He turned down through the upper end of Robeson county and passed through the lower side of Richmond, by the Rockdale mills (i.e. modern Scotland Co.), into the Peedee country.
At the Rockdale mills, there lived some free mulattoes by the name of Turner, who were Tories and very wicked. The troops engaged in this expedition, having been disbanded, and Captain Culp having gone home, some of these mulattoes followed him to his own house, called him out at night, and accused him of whipping one of their brothers. He refused at first to come out, and they threatened to burn the house; but still he refused, until they began to apply the fire; then he came out between two young men, one on each side, holding them by the arms, and begging for his life; but the Turners told the young men that, If they did not wish to share the same fate with Culp, they must leave him. They did so; and he was Immediately shot down in his own yard. It is said that they not only murdered him, but his family also, and then burned his house, which stood about a mile below Hunt's Bluff. Old Major Pouncey's wife was Culp's daughter...."
I don't like to think it true, but I can't help coming to the conclusion that my ancestor Moses Turner and perhaps his brother Thomas Turner were among those men who murdered Captain Culp that day. Doubtless, they felt justified in taking their revenge on those white men who had treated them with such cruelty in the past. The best way to survive was to spread terror among those who hated them and, if they were guilty of this crime, it seems all the more amazing to me that they would have gone unpunished for it and remained in the community. The only way this could have happened was that people feared them too much to attempt to bring them to justice. And they were not alone among the mixed blood people of Robeson and Richmond county in joining the Loyalist cause. Capt. Thomas Gibson's Company of Col. Robert Gray's Regiment, Georgetown, SC Pee Dee Militia including three Lockleers, two Skippers and two Revels. Bishop Gregg tells several stories about mulattoes among the Tories in his HISTORY OF THE OLD CHERAWS.