“Once at the High Rock 20 days …”
On Memorial Day (May 27th) I went to see the historical marker for High Rock Ford, which is in Rockingham County, North Carolina, very close to the border with Caswell County.
I went there for one simple reason: My 4th great grandfather, Andrew Hughes (1755-1843), testified in his federal pension application that he was “twice in scouting parties, once at the High Rock 20 days and once to prevent the Tories from joining Wallace [Cornwallis] …”.
In other words, my ancestor had played a small role in the military campaign that culminated in the Battle at Guilford Courthouse, which some historians cite as the beginning of the end for the British/Loyalist side in the Revolutionary War. I believe that the High Rock he referred to was High Rock Ford, so I wanted to see the place.
High Rock Ford is about nine miles west of the Stony Creek area of Caswell County, which is where I believe Andrew Hughes lived in the 1770s and 1780s, before he bought land in the old Ninety-Six/Pendleton district of South Carolina in 1787 and settled there.
When I stood on the High Rock Road bridge and looked at High Rock Ford, it was easy to see why this ford was an important crossing for both sides in the maneuvers leading up to the Battle at Guilford Courthouse. It’s the only spot for miles around where an army on foot could cross.
It was also easy, in that setting, for me to imagine that I felt my ancestor’s presence.