BOSTWICK, Robert Montrose

bostwickRobert Montrose BOSTWICK was born near Charlotte, N.C., January 21, 1834, the youngest child and fifth son of William Merida and Caroline (Graham) BOSTWICK. Their family consisted of five sons and two daughters. William was born in South Carolina, and as he died while his children were quite small but little is known of the Bostwick connection. He married Miss GRAHAM  near Charlotte, Mecklenburg Co., N.C. She was a daughter of Gen. George GRAHAM, who was born December, 1757, in Chester County, Penn. He was a son of James GRAHAM (great-grandfather to H. M.), who at the age of eighteen came from the north of Carlington Bay, County Down, Ireland, about the year 1733. According to a family tradition James was a descendant of a close kinsman and follower of the fortunes and disasters of the celebrated Montrose who took a conspicuous part in the civil wars of Scotland during the reign of Charles I. When the English Army prevailed in Scotland Montrose fled to Holland, and his adherents (among whom was a clan of the Grahams) passed over into the North of Ireland, where many of the descendants now reside. James GRAHAM died, leaving his widow with several young children. She moved to Mecklenburg County, N.C., when George was but ten years of age.

He received such education as was common to the youth of that period. The college at Charlotte, now known as the Davidson College, was in its zenith. George attended the first public meetings held in Charlotte, at the beginning of the Revolutionary war. He was too young to have a voice in the councils, but was deeply interested. He was in attendance May 20, 1775, when independence was declared, an official copy of which was sent to Congress by Capt. James JACK. In the summer and autumn of 1776 George served under command of Gen. RUTHERFORD, in the campaign against the Cherokee Indians. While in the Nation he was one of the party selected to pursue Scott and Hicks, two British traders, who lived there and were believed to have instigated the Indians to war. The early part of 1780 he served in a campaign as lieutenant, under Maj. John SHARPE, of Tennessee, who was his captain. They had the entrenchments made and the abates placed before Charleston ere the town was besieged. Their term of service expired and they were relieved by another detachment of militia only two days prior to the time the city was invested. After Buford’s defeat, when Mecklenburg became the frontier and the men were almost continually under arms, Lieut. George GRAHAM was present at every call of his superiors.

He was under Gen. RUTHERFORD’S command at the battle of Ramsoms, August 6, 1780. He was lieutenant of a company under command of Capt. James KNOX, at the battle of Hanging Rock. He had command of a detachment of infantry who accompanied Col. DAVIS’ cavalry in the attack on a party of Tories at Nahub’s plantation at Naxhaw a few days previous to the arrival of the British at Charlotte. When they entered that place on the 26th of September, 1780, Capt. James THOMSON, George GRAHAM and others went with Gen. DAVIDSON and the artillery of Phifer’s. Finding in a day or two, that the enemy was not advancing and probably would continue in that place for some time, they, by their general’s permission returned. Being well acquainted with the country, collected a party numbering fourteen, and October 3 defeated Maj. DOYLE, who commanded a foraging party of upward of 500 at McIntyre’s, on the Beatties Ford road. After Tarleton’s defeat, when Lord Cornwallis was pursuing Gen. MORGAN, George GRAHAM joined our cavalry as a volunteer on February 1, 1781; was in the battle of Cowan’s Ford, where Gen. DAVIDSON met his death. In the spring of same year George was appointed adjutant of a regiment called State troops, raised by South Carolina for the period of ten months, and under command of Gen. SUMTER. While in this service, George was in numerous skirmishes with the British and Tories. He was at the taking of Orangeburg, and with the State troops and Washington cavalry when they were detached to attend the movements of Lord Rawdon when on his way to relieve Ninety-six. Three or four days before he arrived at that place and when Gen. GREENE retired, he covered his retreat. In the military department, shortly after the Revolutionary war, George Graham was appointed major of the First Regiment of Mecklenburg troops, and afterward rose through the different offices until he was promoted to rank of major-general of the Fourth Division of both Carolinas’ militia, which he held until 1825.

In 1784 he was united in marriage to Miss CATHAY, by whom he had two sons and three daughters. One son died when young, and the other after reaching manhood. The eldest daughter, Mary GRAHAM, married George CARUTH. The second daughter wedded William Merida BOSTWICK, the third daughter became the wife of William McCREE, of Mecklenburg, N.C. Mrs. GRAHAM died in 1798, and George afterward married Mrs. William POTTS, of Providence. There was no issue.

In 1786 Mr. GRAHAM was elected sheriff of Mecklenburg County, and continued in that office until 1794. The following year he was elected senator, to represent the county in the General Assembly. He was re-elected annually, almost without opposition until 1801, when he received the appointment of clerk of the supreme court, retaining that office until 1825, when failing health forced him to resign. The best evidence of the high opinion entertained for this worthy man’s integrity, patriotism and honor, was the varied and responsible offices of trust which he was for so many years called upon to fill. He discharged his numerous and laborious duties with distinction, fidelity and satisfaction to all. He was a brother of Gen. Joseph GRAHAM, who was the father of William A. GRAHAM, governor at one time of North Carolina, and afterward candidate for Vice-President of the United States on the ticket with Winfield Scott. Mrs. Stonewall Jackson was the daughter of Mr. Morrison, a Presbyterian minister of eminence, and the granddaughter of Gen. Joseph GRAHAM.

The subject of this sketch, Robert Montrose BOSTWICK, emigrated with his Barents from Mecklenburg County, N.C., in 1837, to Marshall County, Miss., where he resided until a few years after the death of his parents, which occurred about 1839 and 1840. He began the study of medicine under the instruction of his brother-in-law, Dr. N.C. WHITLOW, when about the age of nineteen. He attended the medical lectures at the University of Louisville, Ky., the fall and winter of 1855-56 and 1856-57, graduating in the spring of the latter year. For about one year he practiced his profession in North Mississippi, then located at Hickory Valley, Hardeman Co., Tenn., where he had an extensive practice until the beginning of the late civil war. He entered the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Senior Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers, under command of Gen. Preston SMITH. Dr. BOSTWICK acted as assistant surgeon until 1864, at which time he received his commission for the same, and remained in that capacity until the close of the war. He was wounded at Lovejoy Station, Ga. After the restoration of peace he resumed his practice at Saulsbury, of which place he is still an esteemed citizen.

January 21, 1869, he was united in wedlock to Mrs. Fannie Guy OATES, who by her former marriage had two sons: William Leroy and Martin Guy Oates. To Mr. and Mrs. Bostwick one son and three daughters were born: Robert Graham, whose birth occurred March 26, 1870; Marie Louise, born October 9, 1873; Luta Paulina, born September 11, 1876, and Fannie Guy, born March 9, 1878, died February 9, 1887. Dr. BOSTWICK has been most successful in his practice, receiving an extensive and lucrative patronage. He is universally popular and recognized as one of the most skillful and eminent practitioners in the county. He is an active and consistent member of the Presbyterian Church (Old School). He is prominently connected with the Masonic fraternity, K. of H. and also with the K. & L. of H. He is a Democrat and self-made man. Mrs. BOSTWICK is the third daughter of Martin Winston GUY (dec’d), who inherited Scotch-Irish blood from his mother and English from his father, whose ancestors first settled in Pennsylvania. The mother’s maiden name was Esther SHARPE. Martin was born July 25, 1803, in Statesville, Iredell Co., N.C. He was the third son of Dr. Joseph A. GUY, who emigrated from North Carolina to Franklin County, Ala., which was then known as the Cherokee Nation. Here the Doctor died. He was a prominent physician and surgeon of his time. His wife survived him several years, dying at the advanced age of eighty-two.

Their family consisted of five sons and four daughters. Martin W. GUY married Hester Ann HARDY December 9, 1829, near Tuscumbia, Franklin Co., Ala. To them were born three sons and four daughters. of whom only two are living, and are residents of the State. Mrs. Hester (Hardy) GUY died August 15, 1847, at the age of thirty-two years. Six of her children were living at that time. Her mother’s maiden name was SHEPPARD, a lady of English origin. Martin W., while a resident of Alabama, was for a numbers of years Sheriff of Franklin County; it was a responsible and lucrative position, and he filled it with fidelity to his country and distinction to himself. He left the office with a reputation for integrity which has been equaled by few of his successors, and surpassed by none. In 1836 he moved to Hardeman County, Tenn., and purchased land from an Indian whose name was Isaac LOVE. Mr. GUY was one of the pioneers. By his industry and enterprise contributed greatly to the development of the country. His occupation was that of a farmer, which calling he followed until infirmities and advanced age rendered him unable to discharge the numerous and active duties of an agricultural life. He was always in sympathy with the tillers of the soil, by whom he was highly regarded. He succeeded in amassing a very comfortable estate from the natural resources of the farm. He was reared by a Christian mother, who imparted to him the teachings of the Old School Presbyterian Church, of which she was a devout member, and which has been the prevailing religious sentiment of the family. Politically he was a Whig, and supporter of John Bell when he was presidential candidate in 1860.

Mr. GUY was a strong Union man, strenuously opposed to the secession of the States. Believing it to be his duty to his country, posterity and himself, he firmly adhered to his convictions, though ever in sympathy with the unfortunate people of the South. He was a patriot more than a partisan. Living as he did in a section which was continually disputed ground between the contending armies, finding his property greatly damaged and his life endangered, he sought refuge within the limits of the city of Memphis, where he remained until the termination of the war. He then returned to his farm. He was one of the twelve chosen men who composed the first United States grand jury of the Federal court, which assembled in Memphis. This body was instructed to find a true bill against Gen. N. B. Forrest for treason against the Government. Col. Guy opposed this proceeding with all the vehemence of his nature. He was denounced by Judge Trigg as a traitor. The Colonel asked the privilege of being allowed to write his defense against the charge The request was granted, and the paper read before the Federal court, giving in detail his reasons. He then begged to be relieved and was, after receiving strong terms of condemnation from the judge, who in subsequent years realized his own error and as an honorable and just man, asked pardon of Col. Guy, assuring him of the high regard for him and his decision. The Colonel died in Memphis, April 21, 1885, in his eighty-second year. The article of defense above mentioned, and which had been carefully preserved for twenty years, was found after his death among his papers, with the special request that it should be published in the Memphis Appeal.


Transcribed by David Donahue

Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.