Thomas Robeson, Patriot Leader at Moore’s Creek Bridge

Thomas Robeson Historical Marker

On January 11, 1740, Revolutionary War colonel and state legislator Thomas Robeson was born in Bladen County.

Robeson first entered politics as a member of the Third Provincial Congress, held at Hillsborough in August 1775. During that session he was appointed colonel of the Bladen militia. He served in the Fourth Provincial Congress at Halifax the following year and was a member of the first Assembly at New Bern in 1777.

Leading the Bladen militia was not an easy task. A large number of loyal Scots had settled in the Sandhills region, meaning that the Tories, those loyal to the British crown, greatly outnumbered patriots. In 1775, Robeson and his men joined forces with local patriots, known as Whigs, and defeated General Donald McDonald and his Scottish Loyalist militia at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge. When the Tories regained ground in the region in 1781, Robeson led between 60 and 70 men against several hundred British at Elizabethtown.

After the Revolution, Robeson served in the state legislature. He died in May 1785, and is buried near Tar Heel in Bladen County. In 1787, Robeson County was formed out of western Bladen County, and named in his honor.

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