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Mary (Hooks) Slocumb

Women's Monument at Moores Creek National Battlefield
Mary Hooks Slocumb
DAR Mary Slocumb Chapter, Mooresville, NC (Daughters of the American Revolution)

Thomas Hooks: 1730-1803 (Father of Mary Hooks Slocumb)
HOOKS, Thomas Sr., Private, NC Militia
Soldier was born about 1729 and died about 1800. He married Susanna
Belotte about 1750. Issue was 1-Thomas married Mary Slocumb in 1784, 2-
Hillery, 3-David who married Susana Dickson, 4-Susana McGowen, 5-
William 1753, 6-Mary Slocumb who married Ezekiel Slocumb, 7-Lavina
Slocumb, 8-Fanny Walkins, Whitmel Hooks dec’d, and 9-Charles Hooks.
Soldier is listed in Pierce’s Register and in Duplin Co. in 1784-6
state Census. Soldier died in 1803.

Petticoats, Remarkable North Carolina Women, Scotti Kent

A Short History of the Slocums, Slocumbs and Slocombs

The Women of the American Revolution, Volume 1
By Elizabeth Fries Ellet
Who was Mary Slocumb? She was born on February 10, 1760, in Bertie
County, and was the daughter of Thomas Hooks. When she was very young, her
parents moved to Duplin County, and settled on a plantation six miles east
of Faison. She married Ezekiel Slocumb of Wayne County, who was born in
1760. She died at the age of 76 on March 6, 1836. Mary Slocumb had the
following brothers and sisters: William, Thomas, Hillary, David, Charles,
Susannah, Fannie (Watkins) and Leonia. The Honorable Charles Hooks was a
member of the new Congress. Ezekiel and Mary Slocumb’s oldest son, Jesse,
was also a member of Congress.

Mary (Hooks) Slocumb was born in North Carolina in 1760
In 1776 Mary Hooks, called Polly by her family and friends, married Ezekiel Slocumb. The couple lived in Wayne County. Polly became famous after a story about her spread across the state. Here is the tale of Polly Slocumb’s ride.

On February 25, 1776, Polly watched Ezekiel ride off to fight with the Patriots in the Revolutionary War. The next night she dreamed that her husband was bleeding, maybe dead, on the battlefield. She woke up, jumped out of bed, and got dressed. She left her young son, Jesse, with a servant and rode her horse thirty miles (some versions of the story say up to sixty miles) to the battle at Moore’s Creek Bridge.

By dawn Polly was halfway to the battlefield. Soon she could hear the gunfire. She arrived just as the fighting ended. Polly spotted an injured soldier wrapped in Ezekiel’s coat. When she washed the blood off his face, she discovered that the man was not her husband but one of his friends! She realized that he was the man in her dream. Polly was relieved to find Ezekiel alive. He left with his fellow soldiers to another battle. She stayed and spent the day caring for twenty wounded men on the battlefield. That night she rode home to her son.

The North Carolina Museum of History has a gourd dipper that Polly supposedly used to take water to the hurt soldiers that day. Some people think that objects such as the gourd dipper prove that a legend is true.

Weekly Standard Newspaper, Aug 31, 1859, MARY SLOCUMB


An anecdote, communicated of Mrs. Slocumb, is strikingly illustrative of
her resolution and strength of will. The occurrence took place at a time
when the whole country was roused by the march of the British and loyalists
from the Cape Fear country, to the royal standard at Wilmington. The veteran
Donald McDonald issued his proclamation at Cross Creek, in February, 1776,
and having assembled his Highlanders, marched across rivers and through
forests, in haste to join Governor Martin and Sir Henry Clinton, who were
already at Cape Fear. But while he had eluded the pursuit of Moore, the
patriots of Newbern and Wilmington Districts were not idle. It was a time of
noble enterprise, and gloriously did leaders and people come forward to meet
the emergency. The gallant Richard Caswell called his neighbors hastily
together; and they came at his call as readily as the clans of the Scotch
mountains mustered at the signal of the burning cross. The whole country
rose in mass; scarce a man able to walk was left in the Neuse region. The
united regiments of Colonels Lillington and Caswell encountered McDonald at
Moore's creek, where, on the twenty-seventh, was fought one of the bloodiest
battles of the Revolution. Col. Slocumb's recollections of this bravely
contested field were too vivid to be dimmed by the lapse of years. He was
accustomed to dwell but lightly on the gallant part borne by himself in that
memorable action, but he gave abundant praise to his associates; and well
did they deserve the tribute. "And," he would, "my wife was there!" She was
indeed; but the story is best told in her own words:--
"The men left on Sunday morning. More than eighty went from this house
with my husband; I looked at them well, and I could see that every man had
mischief in him. I know a coward as soon as I set my eyes upon him. The
Tories more than once tried to frighten me, but they always showed coward at
the bare insinuation that our troops were about.
"Well, they got off in high spirits; every man stepping high and light.
And I slept soundly and quietly that night, and worked hard all the next day
but I kept thinking where they had got to--how far; where and how many of
the regulars and Tories they would meet; and I could not keep myself from
the study. I went to bed at the usual time, but still continued to study. As
I lay, whether waking or sleeping I know not, I had a dream; yet it was not
all a dream. (She used the words, unconsciously, of the poet who was not
then in being.) I saw distinctly a body wrapt in my husband's guard-cloak,
bloody, dead; and the others dead and wounded on the ground about him. I saw
them plainly and distinctly. I uttered a cry, and sprang to my feet on the
floor; and so strong was the impression on my mind, that I rushed in the
direction the vision appeared, and came up against the side of the house.
The fire in the room gave little light, and I gazed in every direction to
catch another glimpse of the scene. I raised the light; everything was still
and quiet. My child was sleeping, but my woman was awakened by my crying out
or jumping on the floor. If ever I felt fear, it was at that moment. Seated
on the bed, I reflected a few moments, and said aloud: 'I must go to him.' I
told the woman I could not sleep and would ride down the road. She appeared
in great alarm: but I merely told her to lock the door after me, and look
after the child. I went to the stable, saddled my mare--as fleet and easy a
nag as ever travelled--and in one minute we were tearing down the road at
full speed. The cool night seemed after a mile or two's gallop to bring
reflection with it, and I asked myself where I was going, and for what
Again and again I was tempted to turn back; but I was soon ten miles from
home, and my mind became stronger every mile I rode. I should find my
husband dead or dying, was as firmly my presentment and conviction as any
fact of my life. When day broke, I was some thirty miles from home. I knew
the general route our little army expected to take, and had followed them
without hesitation. About sunrise I came upon a group of women and children,
standing and sitting by the road side, each one of them showing the same
anxiety of mind I felt. Stopping a few minutes, I inquired if the battle had
been fought. They knew nothing, but were assembled on the road to catch
intelligence. They thought Caswell had taken the right of the Wilmington
road, and gone towards the north-west (Cape Fear.) Again was I skimming over
the ground , through a country thinly settled, and very poor and swampy; but
neither my own spirits nor my beautiful nag's failed in the least. We
followed the well-marked trail of the troops.
"The sun must have been well up, say eight or nine o'clock, when I heard a
sound like thunder, which I knew must be cannon. It was the first time I
ever heard a cannon. I stopped still, when presently the cannon thundered
again. The battle was then fighting. What a fool! my husband could not be
dead last night, and the battle only fighting now! Still as I am so near, I
will go and see how they come out. So away we went again, faster than ever;
and I soon found by the noise of the guns that I was near the fight. Again I
stopped. I could hear muskets, I could hear rifles, and I could hear
shouting. I spoke to my mare and dashed on in the direction of the firing
and the shouts, now louder then ever. The blind path I had been following
brought me into the Wilmington road leading to Moore's Creek Bridge, a few
hundred yards below the bridge. A few yards from the road, under a cluster
of trees, were lying perhaps twenty men. They were the wounded. I knew the
spot; the very trees; and the position of the men I knew as if I had seen it
a thousand times. I had seen it all night! I saw it all at once; but in an
instant my whole soul was centered in one spot; for there, wrapped in his
bloody-guard-cloak, was my husband's body! How I passed the few yards from
my saddle to the place I never knew. I remember uncovering his head and
seeing a face clothed with gore from a dreadful wound across the temple. I
put my hand on the bloody face; 'twas warm, and an unknown voice begged for
water. A small camp-kettle was lying near, and a stream of water was close
by. I brought it, poured some in his mouth, and washed his face; and
behold--it was Frank Cogdell. He soon revived and could speak. I was washing
the wound in his head. Said he. 'It is not that; it is that hole in my leg
that is killing me.'
A puddle of blood was standing on the ground about his feet. I took his
knife, cut away his trousers and stocking, and found the blood came from a
shot-hole through and through the fleshy part of his leg. I looked about and
could see nothing that looked as if it would do for dressing wounds but some
heart-leaves. I gathered a handful and bound them tight to the holes, and
the bleeding stopped. I then went to the others, and --Doctor! I dressed the
wounds of many a brave fellow who did good fighting long after that day! I
had not inquired for my husband; but while I was busy Caswell came up. He
appeared very much surprised to see me, and was, with his hat in his hand,
about to pay some compliment; but I interrupted him by asking: 'Where is my
"Where he ought to be, madam, in pursuit of the enemy. but pray.' said he,
'how came you here?'
"'Oh, I thought,' replied I, 'you would need nurses as well as soldiers.
See! I have already dressed many of these good fellows; and here is one
--going to Frank and lifting him up with my arm under his head so that he
could drink some more water--'would have died before any of you men could
have helped him.'
"'I believe you,' said Frank. Just then I looked up, and my husband, as
bloody as a butcher, and as muddy as a ditcher, * stood before me.
"'Why, Mary!' he exclaimed, 'what are you doing there? Hugging Frank
Cogdell, the greatest reprobate in the army?'
"'I don't care,' I cried. 'Frank is a brave fellow, a good soldier, and a
true friend to Congress."
"'True, true, every word of it!' said Caswell, 'You are right, madam!'
with the lowest possible bow.
"I would not tell my husband what brought me there. I was so happy, and so
were all. It was a glorious victory; I came just at the height of the
enjoyment. I knew my husband was surprised, but I could see he was not
displeased with me. It was night again before our excitement had at all
subsided. Many prisoners were brought in, and among them some very obnoxious
but the worst of the Tories were not taken prisoners. they were, for the
most part, left in the woods and swamps wherever they were overtaken. I
begged for some of the poor prisoners, and Caswell readily told me none

-----(this next statement is an endnote inserted between this paragraph)

*It was his company that forded the creek, and penetrating the swamp, made
the furious charge on the British left and rear which decided the fate of
the day.

should be hurt but such as had been guilty of murder and house burning. In the middle of the night I again mounted my mare and started for home. Caswell and my husband wanted me to stay till next morning, and they would send a party with me. But no; I wanted to see my child, and I told them they could send no party who could keep up with me. What a happy ride I had back! and with what joy did I embrace my child as he ran to meet me!"--Godey's Lady's Book.

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