The American Revolution in North Carolina

Gilbert Town

October 1780


Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Gillespie (SC)
Loyalist Cdr:

Capt. James Dunlap
Killed:

0
Killed:

0
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

1
Captured:

0
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Rutherford County
Present County:

Rutherford County

At this point in time the official county seat for the newly-established Rutherford County (1779), Gilbert Town was located a few miles north and east of today's Rutherfordton.


Loyalist Capt. James Dunlap had been wounded at the skirmish at Cane Creek in September and was recovering at the home of Mrs. Gilbert. As Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis was leaving Charlotte, two or three South Carolinians rode up to find Capt. Dunlap.

Capt. Gillespie was allegedly in the Spartan Regiment (SC) [not found by this Author], and he found out that Capt. Dunlap was in Mrs. Gilbert's home. She let the South Carolinians in - thinking that they must be Loyalists with some important information for Capt. Dunlap.

Capt. Gillespie quickly informed her that he and his men were there to kill Capt. James Dunlap because he had put some of their friends to death, and had abducted Mary McRea, the fiancée of Capt. Gillespie. Dunlap had kept Mary McRea in hopes that she would yield to his wishes. It was said that she died of a broken heart instead.

Capt. Gillespie mounted the stairs and approached Capt. Dunlap as he lay in his bed.

"Where is Mary McRea," he demanded.

"In heaven," was Dunlap's reply.

Capt. Gillespie then shot James Dunlap through the body, leaving him for dead, and rode away. Dunlap did not die. He was concealed by his friends and taken to the fort of Ninety-Six in South Carolina.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Capt. Gillespie - SC Spartan Regiment, with two or three friends  Capt. James Dunlap, at the home of Mrs. Gilbert
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© 2009 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved