Regulator James Few Hanged

Regulators Hanged: After the Regulators were defeated at Alamance. May 16, 1771. Six of their number were hanged. 1/4 mile east. June 19, 1771.On May 17, 1771, James Few was hanged,

Few, a carpenter from Orange County, was part of the Regulator Movement, a colonial rebellion that predated the American Revolution. Fed up with corrupt officials, the Regulators took on royal Gov. William Tryon and his forces at the Battle of Alamance, where they were defeated. Few was taken prisoner after the battle, and Tryon had him executed without a trial.

Why exactly he was executed is a matter of debate. Tryon claimed Few was hanged to satisfy his troops’ thirst for Regulator blood after the battle, though others claim that corrupt Hillsborough official Edmund Fanning demanded Few’s death for his role in destroying Fanning’s house the previous year. Still others say Few was driven mad by Fanning’s transgressions with Few’s fiancé.

Whatever the reason, after the battle, Tryon’s forces destroyed the Few’s family farm. The family moved to Georgia, where James’ brother, William Few, Jr. became a member of the Continental Congress, a U.S. senator and a judge.

After the Battle of Alamance, the Regulator movement largely dissipated, with most of its leaders either going into hiding or moving away.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.