About two miles north of Savannah, Georgia,
in August 1779, two patriots dramatically rescued a desperate group of Americans held prisoner behind British lines. Now legendary,
this Revolutionary War incident was recounted by Parson Mason Locke Weems, who also popularized the fabricated tale of George
Washington and the cherry tree. Although scholars have not been able to verify Weem’s account of the rescue, it appears
to be essentially accurate.
This story involves General Francis Marion and two of his scouts.
Known as the “Swamp Fox,” Marion commanded guerrilla operations in South Carolina throughout the Revolutionary War. The scouts – William Jasper, who
had previously distinguished himself at the Battle of Fort Moultrie, and John Newton – observed a group of about 10
American prisoners while visiting Jasper’s brother, a loyalist encamped with the British forces. The Americans were
about to be sent downriver for trial at Savannah and probable
execution. Sergeants Jasper and Newton were said to have been
particularly moved by the plight of a young man accompanied by his grief-stricken wife and child. The two scouts – who
were dressed in civilian attire and trained to move through the woods undetected to gather information and intercept British
patrols – hid and followed the party as it headed to Savannah.
Without arms, they waited at a watering hole in hopes of waylaying the British escort. As the guards rested their guns, Jasper
and Newton, overpowered them, took the muskets and freed the
There are many very good Web Sites with information about Newton County, Missouri. Instead of attempting
to duplicate this information, I am including links to these sites as I locate them. I hope the information will
be of assistance to you with your search. When possible, all genealogical information should be confirmed with official
USGenWeb Welcome to Newton County
Newton County Tourism Council
Missouri County Maps and Atlases
2000 Plat Maps of Newton County, Mo.
NEWTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The History of Newton County
History of the Frisco
TIMELINE OF THE CIVIL WAR IN NEWTON COUNTY, MISSOURI
NEOSHO AFTER THE CIVIL WAR