Paul Revere of the South
Source: The Jack Jouett Story
Through the course of history the fate of a nation can hinge on the courageous act of one. Captain Jack Jouett was one such man and is among our nation's greatest Revolutionary War heroes.
Early June 1781, the Revolution was going badly for the American Patriots. British General Cornwallis decided to send trusted British officer Colonel Banastre Tarleton, "Bloody Tarleton," to surprise and capture the Virginia Governor, Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, and the Virginia legislators who had withdrawn to Charlottesville, Virginia in the wake of Benedict Arnold's raids on Richmond.
Noted patriots among them were Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Harrison, and Thomas Nelson. Daniel Boone, representing the Western territory of Virginia, later to become Kentucky, was also in attendance.
On June 3, 1781, at the Cuckoo Tavern in Louisa, Jack Jouett, a 27 year old Militia Captain, spotted 180 British Dragoons and 70 mounted infantrymen. Quickly he realized that the British were headed to Charlottesville to capture the Virginia legislators assembled there and Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Realizing the dire results of such a capture and that he was the only one to prevent it, he quickly saddled and mounted his trusted horse and with a grim determination began a journey that would become legendary.
Riding all night through briars, bruised and tattered, Jouett covered the forty mile distance to arrive at dawn on June 4 at Monticello to warn Thomas Jefferson.
He then rode on to Swan Tavern, owned by his father in Charlottesville, where most of the legislators were staying. The young Captain arrived in advance of the British enabling the legislators to escape.
Jouett's all-night ride has been termed one of the most important and colorful exploits of the Revolution. Of such importance was Jouett's feat that some historians believe that had Jefferson and the other distinguished leaders been captured, it might well have spelled the end of the Revolution.
A grateful Virginia Assembly and Governor later presented to the daring young hero an elegant brace of pistols and a fine jeweled sword.It's no wonder, then, that Jack Jouett has been called the "Paul Revere of the South." Yet, amazingly, few people have ever heard of him.
The Caswell County connection is Matthew Jouett II, who was the uncle of the John (Jack) Jouett who made the ride described above.
The following is from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 326 (Article #406 "Matthew Jouett II" by Elizabeth Anthony Faller):
Matthew Jouett II was a prominent Colonial Settler of Caswell County, North Carolina, coming there when it was still part of Orange County. He was the son of Matthew Jouett I and Susanna Moore (or Price) Jouett of Hanover, Louisa and Albermarle Counties, Virginia -- being of Huguenot ancestry._______________
Matthew Jouett II was a Soldier in the French and Indian War. Being of an old and influential family of Virginia, he was prominent in the affairs of Louisa County as was his father before him. He was married before 1762 to Sarah and by 1770 they had settled on land on Crooked Branch of Country Line Creek and had land on the Waters of Country Line Creek in what became Caswell County. He had Colonial North Carolina Militia Service during the War of the Regulators. Matthew Jouett was the first Clerk in Col. Richard Henderson's Transylvania Company. He joined the Expeditions into Kentucky in 1775. He and his wife Sarah gave material aid during the Revolutionary War as well as his Military Service as a Sgt. Major.
He owned over 900 acres of land in Caswell County. The Estate Inventory after his death in 1779 proved his Plantation was extensive -- comprised of everything needed to live -- almost a small community. His death was tragic to his young family and a great loss to his community. . . .
Sarah Jouett received a Pay Voucher #131 for her Services to the Patriots during the Revolutionary War. After 1782 she married her second husband John Brown. On March 11, 1799 Sarah Jouett Brown filed in the April 1799 Caswell County Court to receive her dower rights from the Estate of her deceased husband John Brown. Sarah Jouett Brown died sometime after 1800.
For more on Jack Jouett and his famous artist son, Matthew Harris Jouett, see:
Jack Jouett Wikipedia Article