General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Thomas Philpot


Thomas Philpot, One of the first pioneers to come to Clay County KY was born on August 17, 1762 in Laurens county Sc (present day Barnwell county Sc). His father, John Philpot had received a land grant in SC for fighting in the French and Indian war. At the age of 19, Philpot joined the Sc militia under the command of Captain Daniel Williams.

 Philpot’s first battle was the siege of Fort Ninety six which lasted 28 days, the longest siege during the Revolutionary war. The British wanted to surrender, but the Sc militia kept capturing the couriers ordering them to do so. Philpot and the Continental army were forced to with draw after more British moved into the region.

 In November 1781 the Revolutionary war was still going on in Sc even after Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1781. Philpot was transferred to Hayes station SC. While at Hayes station Bloody Bill Cunningham, a Tory leader attacked the encampment on November 19, 1781.

Bloody Bill Cunningham had started out being a patriot in the Sc militia in 1775, but after being court-martialed after a trivial offense, Cunningham deserted. In response to Cunningham’s desertion, the Sc militia had Cunningham’s father and brother executed. This event caused Cunningham to become a Tory.  Cunningham tracked his family murderers down and killed them.

 After the battle of Charleston Sc in May 1781, Cunningham killed several patriots who forced the Wives and Children of Tory Families to be brought to the front lines during the battle of Charleston to be used as human shields. Cunningham is also famous for his exploits in the Battle of the Cloud creek fought in Lexington SC on November 17, 1781 where 20 patriots were killed.

  The battle of Hayes Station was fought in Laurens county Sc near the Milton Community on November 19, 1781. 14 patriots were hanged after they surrendered to Cunningham including Captain Hayes of the Sc militia. Hayes was killed with a sword when his rope broke that was being used to hang him. One trivial note about the battle, Cunningham’s favorite horse was killed during the battle and was given full military honors of a British military style funeral and buried on the battle site at Hayes Station, one of the few horses to be given such an honor during the war.

 In 1792, Philpot married Nancy Bates, and had 12 children from this union. By 1837, Philpot had moved to Clay County KY where he applied for his Revolutionary war Pension. On August 6, 1848, Philpot died and was buried in the Philpot family cemetery located in the little Goose Creek community of Manchester KY.

 During the Civil war, one of Philpot’s descendents, Valentine Philpot fought for the Kentucky 7th infantry of the Union army at Perryville KY on October 8, 1862.Perryville was the largest and deadliest Civil war battle fought in KY. Over 4211 Union troops were killed along with 3196 Confederate troops.  This was the Confederacy’s greatest victory in KY.

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