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Cabarrus Black Boys

Plaque placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.The Cabarrus Black Boys were nine young men from Rowan and Mecklenburg (later Cabarrus) Counties who took part in an infamous raid against a royal governmental military convoy during the Regulator Movement in North Carolina in the years before the American Revolution. On 9 May 1771 Gen. Hugh Waddell left Salisbury en route to Hillsborough to assist Governor William Tryon in quelling the Regulator uprising. After crossing the Yadkin River, Waddell's militia encountered a numerically superior body of Regulators and began to fall back to Salisbury. A small band of Regulators, disguised as Indians, attacked a convoy that was carrying gunpowder from South Carolina to Waddell. The group burned two powder wagons as well as destroyed some blankets, leggings, kettles, and other supplies.

The men involved in this episode were either blackened by their Indian disguises or by the powder as they emptied it from kegs, and the name "Black Boys of Cabarrus" was applied to them at a later time. By a proclamation of 11 June 1771, Tryon offered amnesty to certain categories of Regulators, but this did not apply to those who were involved in blowing up Waddell's gunpowder. James Ashmore, who lived near the site, swore under oath that the Cabarrus Black Boys, in addition to himself, were Robert Caruthers, Benjamin Cockran, Robert Davis, Joshua Hadley, James White Jr., John White Jr., William White, and another William White, identified as the "son of the Widow White."



William S. Powell, James K. Huhta, and Thomas J. Farnham, eds., The Regulators in North Carolina: A Documentary History, 1759-1776 (1971).

Additional Resources:

Barefoot, Daniel W. "The Southern Piedmont Tour." Touring North Carolina's Revolutionary War Sites. Winston-Salem, N.C.: John F. Blair. 1998. p. 162-163. (accessed October 31, 2012).

Kent, Scotti. It Happened in North Carolina. Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot. 2000. p.16. (accessed October 31, 2012).

Image Credits:

"Photograph, Accession #: H.19XX.424.8." 1926-1930. North Carolina Museum of History.

Origin - location: 



I am a descendant of Robert Carruthers (son of Hugh Carruthers and Sarah Purviance) who married a Margaret White. I believe that Robert (b. 1750) is one of the 'Black Boys' and that his wife Margaret (b. 1771) is the daughter of James White (b. 1747) according to info gathered on the internet.

It seems that this Margaret may have married a McClung rather that Robert Carruthers???

Can you help? Was the 'black boy' Robert Carruthers some other Carruthers?

Ralph Greenwood


Thank you for using NCpedia, and for sending us your question. I have sent you and email to connect you with Reference Services at the State Library of North Carolina's Government & Heritage Library. They can help you with your inquiry.


Michelle Underhill, Government & Heritage Library


I believe I am a direct descendant of James Ashmore, he would be my 5th Great Grandfather, if this is the same James Ashmore that was married to Elizabeth Balch. Elizabeth had a brother named Hezekiah Balch who would later preach at Poplar, and eventually became a co-author and signor of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. I there any information about what later became of James Ashmore?

Thank you,

Jarrod Ashmore


Hi Jarrod,

I have not been able to find anything definitive on James Ashmore’s history after the events involved in the Regulator incident for which he has been recorded in history.

I suspect that someone has probably done genealogical work on him but I do not find anything that has documentary sources associated with it.  If you are interested in researching your own family history and relationship to James Ashmore, please visit the N.C. Government & Heritage Library website’s Genealogy Research page at  You’ll find helpful information as well information about the library’s collections and services and contact information.  If you are in North Carolina, the library is located at 109 E. Jones Street and is open to researchers Monday through Friday 9-5 and on Saturdays from 9-2.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


I, too am a descendant. John White is my 6th great- grandfather. I very much enjoyed the article. It gave me such pride.
Thank you.


enjoyed finding article on the "Black Boys" of Cabarrus County.
I am a descendant, they were 5th or 6th generation, my grandfather was 7th generation White surname, have some of same documentation in family history, thank you


Hi Kenny,

Thanks for visiting this entry and sharing your connection with us!

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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