#10 Insights From an Overflowing Trashcan January 27, 2019

Federal Lands, Closed

One of the signs posted in front of the Greene Monument during the government shutdown in January

Being a student of history, especially American History, at Guilford College, I meant to visit the Guilford Courthouse Battleground long ago. One cold Sunday afternoon in late January I decided to finally visit the battlefield lands. Remnants of snow hung on the branches of the oaks a poplars guarding the heavily wooded entrance to the park, though my eyes darted ahead drawn to the traffic cones inside the battlefield southern parking lot which, in association with bright yellow caution tape, wardened off the area. In my curiosity and my haste to visit the Battlefield, I had forgotten that the park was closed due to the lengthy, record-breaking government shutdown.

Though the park was vacated, it seemed that life went on without the park rangers. Residents from the neighborhood walked their dogs and cars drove into the park’s circular access road, despite the signs posted to traffic barrels persuading visitors to leave the premises. I never thought that a government shutdown could have such a disparate effect on everyday life with the closure of a national military park, and despite the closure, the regular functions of the park continued; however, the absence of the park administrators and the park rangers led to certain issues created by the park goers. For example, many people stopped picking up after their dogs and the trashcans overflowed with trash.

It surprised me how such a little thing like an overflowing trashcan bothered me. I suppose that it since it was my first time at the park that introductory image associated with the shutdown informed my perceptions of the park. It reminded me that despite the altruistic intentions of the park administrators in preserving lands of historical significance within Greensboro, that a small obstruction such as the government shutdown could undo much of their work of preservation. Ultimately, my perceptions of the battleground have grown beyond my initial visit, and I feel that I understand the historical significance of not only the violent history that the park commemorates but also the land that the park preserves.

Changed Perceptions

A view from the far right side of the Greene Monument, the liberty is just visible in the bottom left corner

The historical and biological research that I have conducted and the time that I have spent at the Guilford Courthouse Battleground provided me with an emotional connection to the history tied to the Battleground and the inevitable role that nature plays and will continue to play with the human history of the parklands. I find that I can, too often, become emotionally detached from the historical work that I do, and I feel that connecting human stories to nature better anchors the words and actions of those long dead to the physical world. Within the suburban confines of the Guilford Courthouse Military Park, both the natural and historical remain intertwined, interconnected by their association and preserved. The parklands serve as an example of the role that nature contributes to in evoking the past.

#9 Cultural Landscapes

Restoration of Habitat

An old, moss-covered oak tree that stands directly behind the Greene Monument

Since the distribution of the Guilford Battleground lands to the federal government in the mid-20th century, park administrators and park ranger strove to further restore the parkland’s natural spaces and to maintain and protect the monuments erected by the Guilford Battleground Company. As a means of documenting the change of the battlefield, the park publishes a report regarding the authors of the park’s most recent Cultural Landscape report from 2003, break-down the park into three distinctive zones: the Greene Monument, the meadow known as “Schenck’s field,” and the third being the seemingly indistinctive (or at least within the report) surrounding woodlands.

Deliberate Feeling

In addition to the minimal habitat restoration that has taken place over the last five decades, park administrators have introduced other man-made intrusions to the parklands, including additional paved road, park ranger buildings and park offices, lavatories and paved trails along with other signs and historical markers. The most notable maintenance and planned expansions of maintenance within the Cultural Landscape report surrounds the incorporation of additional parcels of land that were donated to the Military park recently by various benefactors. The lands need to be assessed and properly managed.

One term that recurs throughout the section regarding the donated parcels is “landscape integrity,” which refers to the historical integrity of the land. In other words assessing a parcel’s landscape integrity draws into question the human interferences in the landscape since 1781, when the Battle of Guilford Courthouse took place. Additionally, the term is broken up into different subsections: the setting, the feeling, and the association. I find that the most important aspect defined, in this context at least is what the authors of the report define the feeling. According to the report a historical place should convey “ a sense of the aesthetic or historic character that typified its landscape during the selected period of significance.” The authors also note that “ at Guilford, the park’s landscape generally evokes the essence of the heavily forested, battle-era setting.”

Photograph taken near the top of the paved trail leading down into what is known as the “Schenck field”

Construction, Development, Progress

The borders of the historic military parklands are clearly visible from the paved road that roughly travels the perimeter of the park. Modern suburb neighborhoods border the historical parklands, comfy ranch-style houses with backyard playgrounds stand in contrast to the solemn, wooded battlefield behind. A clear border exists between modern residences and historical wilderness though issues regarding where the park ends and the modern world begins didn’t exist around the time of the American Revolution. A specific feeling of the authentic, historical wilderness was the de facto state of the land under European settlement in the 1780s. The need for influential men of the 19th century to commemorate the past, clothing it in impressive bronze statues. Eventually, this formed into the stewards of the 21st century, concerned with the evocation of historical authenticity within the landscape of the battlefield, such a slow but welcomed change in the evolution of land management at the Guilford Battleground parklands.

#6 Examining a Photograph

The Bronze Face of Liberty

The Liberty statue directly in front of the statue of General Nathaniel Greene at the Military Park

The above photograph, I took on the 24th of February 2019. It had been raining for the previous three days and the ground was thoroughly soaked and on my last visit the previous Sunday it had been raining too though not nearly as hard. As I cautiously drove around the perimeter of the parklands to the centralized site of the monuments the rain began to let up and I thought it might finally a good opportunity to take photographs had arisen. Lulled into a false sense of security by the short absence of rain, I exited my car and trotted to the granite steps of the Greene monument and just as I raised my camera for the first picture the rains started again.

Cold droplets irritatingly tickled the back of my neck as the shutter of my camera lense began to flash. I moved quickly and deliberately not thinking clearly about the composition of the photograph I took. I have not had any training in photography and while I care a great deal about taking photographs, my lack of education and training often seeps through into the photograph itself; however, by sheer luck or by some strange providence I finally captured a beautiful photograph. I might brag but the composition, while accidental is striking. The eyes of liberty gaze leftward and down almost solemnly, while three vertical streaks of rain race down each of her cheeks. In her right hand, a shield emblemized with the American eagle shows the dense droplets of falling rain while the whiley brown shades of tree trunks dance in the background.

Which Liberties Exactly

The symbol of “lady liberty,” as seen in the statue at the Guilford Courthouse memorial site, remains a common symbol of American unity in the political climate of American in the tail end of the 19th century, appearing in historical sites including confederate monuments, governmental buildings, and other various battlegrounds commemorating other American wars. She might guard different memorials sit with other metallic though feminine faces but she represents the vision of liberty from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her designers, sculptors, and casters long dead and the world that upheld certain tenets of American freedoms have changed along with the world.

The visage of the freedoms idolized by Americans over one hundred years ago is largely not what Americans consider such liberty to be today. The monuments and preserved historical sites stand as memorials to their creators and organizers just as much as they stand as memorials, for example, to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse or any other historical place or period in America. Currently, the federal government claims stewardship over the Guilford Battleground and with the responsibility for the preservation of the historic parklands including the numerous monuments within the property. Time changes values, perspectives, though many historic sites under federal and state governments currently face no threats and will likely remain as pillars of the idolized past.

#4 Beyond the Borders of History

Contemporary Conceptions of the American Revolution

The southern entrance to the Guilford Courthouse Military Park

I recall fifth grade where I was first taught about the American Revolution, the heroic generals, the Founders, and the battles. I idolized and romanticized the past like many children. My views regarding history have certainly molded and remolded as I have grown, especially my views regarding the 18th century; however, few people study life in the 18th century aside from historians and historical battle reenactors. The common perception of 18th America largely stems from surface level misconceptions and popularizations. The perception of the past to changes as time soldiers on, though it remains vitally important not to judge the actions of those in history to the social standards of the present. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Americans remembered the past by preserving land and human historical lands that hold historical significance.

Dotted across the American countryside lie monuments, statues, signs, plaques and historic sites set aside by federal or state governments or even private historic preservations, much like the founding of the Guilford Battleground Company and the preservation of the Guilford Courthouse Battleground. Historical sites exist as a form of communion with the past for Americans today, and also as a way for Americans to confront nature.  Many families simply treat historical parks and sites as an attraction and educational tool for children, which was one of the ways that I kindled a love for history, but nature too plays a large part in illustrating history within one’s mind.

An Alter to Violence

Schenck and Morehead both raised in the Antebellum South, experienced and likely participated in a culture of violence both likely before and during their involvement in the American Civil War. The glorification and commemoration of war became their collective objective. Schenck and Morehead envisioned a massive monument to General Nathaniel Greene, leader of the combined American armed forces during the latter half of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. The monument defied previous 19th-century monuments erected in commemoration of the American Revolution by its sheer size alone.

A bronze statue of Joseph M. Morehead which stands near the statue of General Greene just right of the parking lot

The Greene monument looms over the main quad, though Greene’s statue isn’t the only one within the main courtyard. Below the bronze visage of Greene on horseback stands a bronze statue of a female with laurels in one hand and a shield in the other, symbolizing liberty. Around the two striking statues sit granite steps and platforms embossed with bronze inscriptions of quotes from Greene, General George Washington, and  those commemorating the statues; however, the main site for statues at the Guilford Battleground does not just consist of statutes regarding the Revolution. There are more statues portraying the founders, the members and the contributors to the Guilford Battleground Company than there are statues honoring the battle. Substantial statues of both David Schenck and Joseph M. Morehead stand at the perimeter of the central meadow easily marked by signs and informational plaques along the darkly paved path snaking around the green mound and into the wet woods and leaf soaked ground.

#8 Nature Remembers

Traumatic Percussions

American Artillery reenactors explaining the use of a 18th century cannon the nearby spectators

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse now occurs around the same time each year, emulating the date in which the original battle occurred, so long as it falls on a weekend so that for accessibility. The Battle itself has been reenacted each year for approximately the last fifty years. With the coming of each reenactment, administrators and park rangers prepare for the reenactor’s arrival. As previously stated the reenactment and the various reenactor encampments spread across both Greensboro’s Country Park and the National Military Parklands, though the Battle itself takes place on an empty field in the forest lawn cemetery.

Since the reenactment takes place on park lands, the nature of the modern world surrounds those reliving the past. For many reenactors, the thrill of reenacting derives from truly believing as if one was living in the past and each reenactor I spoke to regarding these moments cited the nature around them as a catalyst to theses “pristine moments.” Reenactment of the American Revolution does not always center around the act of battle itself, though many reenactors are drawn to the hobby for their interest in military history and their longing to relive the battles of generations past.

The pristine moments that many reenactors chase, both male and female, often reside on the battlefield. The wafting and obstructing scent of gunpowder hanging in the air as opposing armies face each other, while volleys of fake musket fire ring in the reenactors’s ears. One aspect of reenacting that draws a considerable crowd is the cannon-fire. The percussion of the cannons sending disruptive soundwaves to nearby neighborhoods but also disrupting the nature around them, as nearby crows dart into the sky startled by the traumatic thud and flash of gunpowder fluttering at their wings.

Smoke from British cannons firing obscured from the woods behind the reenactment battlefield

Humanity’s obsession with bringing the past back to life forces the nature within these historical places to relive the violent events of the past. With each shot from a cannon, the ground shutters much like it did over two hundred years ago. The cannon percussions echoing the percussions of cannons long rusted away, felt by the same grounds, thought the cannons during the actual battle were utilized to far more violent ends.

Whispers of Mass Graves

After the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, the armies involved moved Northward, skirmishing and evading each other all the way to Yorktown, Virginia. The armies left the wounded and the dead in Guilford. The Quakers and other citizens in the surrounding community cared for the wounded and buried the dead. Within the Guilford Battlefield itself, it is estimated that multiple mass graves exist, guarded by the equanimity of time and by the secrecy of administrators at the park. The decomposed bones of soldiers that served in the battle are now apart of nature, remembering the violence of the past through now resting beneath the dirt and leaves hidden in a grove of poplar trees.

#7 An Old Man’s War March 16-17, 2019

[The 2019 reenactment of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse occurred not on the national military parklands but in the neighboring Greensboro Country Park and Forest Lawn Cemetery. Additionally, some of the encampments of the reenactors and some of the reenactment events happened on historic battlefield lands just not the battle reenactment itself.]

From Rememberance to Reenactment

Just as the public grew enamored with monumentalizing the overgrown woods and farmlands where once battles of the American Revolution occurred, so too did the American public become fascinated with reenacting the battles in which their ancestors fought, around the time of America’s bicentennial. Beginning in the early 1960s, hobbyists across the United States crafted clothing and equipment, reproducing the 18th and 19th century. Still today, many passionate hobbyists reenact the battles of the American Revolution dressed as soldiers and citizens from the 18th century.

During the mid-20th century there was certainly a shift between monumentalizing the past like Schenck and Morehead strove to accomplish, and the need for Americans to relive the past. Even now, the controversial issue of Civil War monuments divided this nation though little attention has been drawn to the monuments of the American Revolution. Like the Revolution itself, these monuments seem also a thing of the past. Reenactors strive to bring the past back to life by living as though in the 18th century during events on the weekends, reenacting as a spectacle for the American public. I see it as the evolution of honoring the past in the 21st Century.

Simulated Violence in a Cemetery

For the Battle of Guilford Courthouse reenactment the encampments are held in Country Park and on the National Park lands while the battle itself is held in the Forest Lawn Cemetery. It strikes me as ironic that contemporary hobbyists dressed as soldiers in the 18th century reenact a 200 year old battle in a cemetery. Since the Battleground is in part owned by the federal government, reenactments are forbidden from taking place on federally owned land (aside from a few exceptions including the Gettysburg reenactment).

Playing Hessian

British “Red Coat” reenactors practicing drills in near the lake in Country Park

My observance of the reenactment, aside from my considerable interest and entertainment, resulted from a film that I made regarding the reenactors participating in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse who portrayed the Hessian Regiment von Bose. (During the American Revolution, Hessians were German soldiers fighting for the British military). In my time spent with the Hessian reenactors, I encountered nearly a dozen of them, two of which were approximately my age. I noticed a common thread between the reenactors. Many of the reenactors got involved because of an interest in their family ancestry and participated with their families, something that really struck me as intriguing. null

#3 From the Coffers of a Confederate Solicitor

Sacred Ground Abandoned

Shortly After the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, residents fled the surrounding area, due to the death, decay, and damaged land. In 1785, the North Carolina assembly chartered a new town, Martinsville, which laid where the old courthouse stood. The new residents cleared the forests surrounding the battlefield, nearly 1,000 acres, for subsistence farming and it seemed that the battle had been forgotten. As the decades slowly turned, Martinsville declined, leaving the farmland where the battle occurred in ragged disrepair. As the nearby city of Greensboro grew into the old borders of Martinsville, the battlefield seemingly sifted into the patchwork of farms and homesteads.

To some residents of Greensboro and the surrounding area, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse had not been forgotten. In 1857, a committee of private citizens known as the Greene Monument Association sought to erect a bronze monument of American General Nathaniel Greene on battlefield land owned by the city; however, the committee’s efforts were interrupted by the outbreak of the American Civil War.

https://www.ncpedia.org/history/usrevolution/guilford-courthouse

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/guco/adhi/adhi1.htm

Reconstruction and Construction

Over the course of the American Civil War, much of the American South was left in ruin including the upper Piedmont and Guilford County. As a result of the Confederacy’s defeat, land was redistributed, including much of the land in Greensboro, where the Battle of Guilford Courthouse occurred, leaving the land where the battleground took place in disparate hands. In 1876, the centennial of the Declaration of Independence, the period after the Civil War, known as Reconstruction, came to a close. The celebration of the centennial morphed into an opportunity to ideologically bond North and South under the rhetoric of American victory in the American Revolution citing it as a “common heritage.”

The American Congress appropriated a quarter-million dollars toward the establishment of Revolutionary War monuments across the East-Coast in commemoration of the Revolution.  The resurgence in American nationalism did not stop with the celebration of the Centennial, the monuments took time and required the monetary support of not just Congress but also the support of the American public, which was readily available.

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/guco/adhi/adhi1.htm

From Confederates to Founders

Above is a plaque posted at the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park explaining the founding of the military park and the Guilford Battleground Company.

When the Southern states seceded from the American Union, men of prominence within their community rose to either military or governmental status within the Confederacy. After the war, many of the men within the Confederacy retained their status and their wealth. David Schenck served as a Confederate fundraiser and solicitor during the war and is the primary founder of the Guilford Courthouse Military Park, the other founder being former Confederate Officer Joseph M. Morehead.

“Out of a population of 3000 people in Greensboro I could not find a half dozen persons who could point out to me the scene of the battle.”

David Schenck

Both Schenck and Morehead, founded the Guilford Battleground Company, in the 1880s, in order to buy back the land where the battle took place. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, the company gained traction and constructed a massive monument in commemerrance of General Nathanael Greene at the center of the Battlefield. Eventually, the company turned over the land to the federal government, who turned the battleground into a national military park, which is open to the public to this day.

https://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/00523/ https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/guco/adhi/adhi1.htmnull

#2 A Defeat on Ragged Earth

A Revolutionary Community in the Backcountry

In Guilford County, former regulators rallied to the call of a new revolution. At the start of the American Revolution (1775-1776) it is estimated that a mere one third of American Colonists supported the Revolution, though in the backcountry those demographics were likely skewed more toward rebellion. The North Carolina Backcountry, it seemed, unleashed into a breeding ground for revolutionaries. By 1775, many North Carolinians sought outright independence from British rule.

Not to be confused with the Regulators before them, who rebelled against a select few corrupt colonial officials in North Carolina, this new rebellion sought cross-colonial, self-determined sovereignty. On May 19, 1775, revolutionary officials in the city of Charlottetown (known today as Charlotte), North Carolina published the Mecklenburg Resolves, otherwise known as the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, a direct response to the battles of Lexington and Concord; the Resolves stood as a call to action.

https://northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/guilford-county-1771/

Treading Through A Hornets Nest

During the British Southern Campaign in the American Revolution (1780-1782), the British plowed through an incredulous South, capturing cities and farms alike. The American Continental Army experienced defeat after defeat by British General Cornwallis, though as the campaign dragged along, the tides of battle shifted to the Americans, the turning point being the Battle of Kings Mountain in October 1780, where under-organized American Militias overwhelmingly defeated the British.

During the winter of 1780, the tattered British Army marched northward, toward an unwelcoming populace. The support that the British Army once received from the colonists seemed to have evaporated. One British officer remarked that the march through the North Carolina Backcountry was akin to “treading through a hornet’s nest.” During Cornwallis’s march, he engaged Continental General Nathaniel Greene, who evaded and deplenished Cornwallis’s Army culminating in a climactic confrontation.

https://www.ncpedia.org/history/usrevolution/guilford-courthouse

Long, Obstinate and Bloody

Image result for battle of guilford courthouse
Above is water color created by Don Troiani in celebration of the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence.

https://www.ncpedia.org/history/usrevolution/guilford-courthouse

On March 15, 1781, Cornwallis and Greene’s armies met on patches of woods and farmland surrounding the Guilford County Courthouse. Greene’s Army was composed of approximately 4,400 militiamen, largely hailing from Virginia and North Carolina. Cornwallis’s army consisted of 2,000 men, who, by the battle at Guilford were starving and destitute; at first it seemed the revolutionaries’ war of attrition succeeded. Ultimately, at the end of the two-hour skirmish, Cornwallis’s men defeated Greene’s army in a display of costly warfare, ending in one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution.

https://www.ncpedia.org/history/usrevolution/guilford-courthouse

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/revolutionary-war/battles/guilford-court-house

Another Such Victory Shall Ruin Us

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse stands as the beginning of the end of the American Revolution. Around the time of the battle, a British official remarked that “another such victory would ruin the British army,” which was a sentiment that rung true. Cornwallis’s army continued to push northward, culminating in his entrapment and surrender at Yorktown by General George Washington in the Fall of 1781. The Battle of Guilford Courthouse immortalized General Greene as a Revolutionary hero, despite the fact that he lost the battle.

https://www.ncpedia.org/history/usrevolution/guilford-courthouse

#5 Deer on Hallowed Ground February 17, 2019

The Backwoods of Greensboro

Photo by Dylan Mask

I was driving with my mother along the winding roads of the Guilford Courthouse Battleground , covered by a canopy of wet, bare trees. The mechanical, gentle   scraping of the windshield wipers distracted me from the dampened woods outside. I stopped the car every so often to get out and take a few pictures, but my mind seemed to match the mechanical flash of my camera’s shutter, quickly moving from one thing to the next.

I saw a picturesque creek flowing away from the road and into the fog. I pulled over and slowly traversed down the damp, leaf-laden hill to take some photos. When I got to the bottom, I saw a different perspective of the creek, a drainage pipe and a milky-gray pool of water, a far less picturesque visage than from the road. Likely runoff from the road or surrounding neighborhood, the milky pool represents a Wizard of OZ looking behind the curtain moment.

As I trudged up the moistened hill, I noticed that we were on the edge of the park. Behind me was a residential neighborhood, while in front of me was woods for as far as I could see, a tainted enclave of natural space in the middle of Greensboro. I find myself more and more frustrated while attempting to immerse myself in natural spaces, finding human intrusions into the natural landscape to be irritating, a cynical sentiment that I hope to overcome.

Photo by Dylan Mask

Deer on the Fringes

A herd of Whitetail Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, spotted in the Northwestern corner of the Military Park on Sunday February 17th. Photo by Dylan Mask

Sometimes, it astounds me how much a little and seemingly insignificant moment can change my perspective. I can recall countless times when seeing a blue heron in the pond, a hummingbird at the feeder or a peregrine falcon perched upon telephone lines lifted my outlook on what otherwise was a horrible day. I had such an experience while driving through the battlegrounds parkland; as I was slowly driving, I glimpsed a herd of deer out of the corner of my eye.

If it wasn’t for the unmistakable flash of white, the herd would have folded unnoticed into the rest of their brown and wet surroundings. I shouted with frightened excitability “DEER!” and slammed my foot on the brakes, nearly giving my mother, entrenched in her smartphone, a heart attack. I lifted the emergency break, grabbed my camera, and with a suppressed excitement I exited my car, inching across the asphalt as the deer lifted their heads from the underbrush. I giddily took a few photos while I still had the deers’ attention.

Seeing the deer enlivened me with an excitement that I hadn’t felt in quite some time. It made me think removed from myself about the people who lived on that land during the 18th century, about the lives that they lived, about how their relationship to deer, in that situation was different than mine. I was a photo-happy observer; the people living there were predators, and the deer were food.

#1 Erosion, Only Time Brings

Pre-Colombian History in the Upper-Piedmont

Town Creek Indian Mound, a North Carolina State Historic Site near Uwharrie National Forest https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/town-creek-indian-mound

During the end of the last Ice-Age (10,000-8,000 B.C) the glacial wall receded, warming the climate, which allowed lush forests to replace ice and snow. Nomadic peoples, known broadly as Paleo-Indians, who once roamed the sparse glacial landscapes moved less frequently in seasonal camps (8,000-1,000 B.C. ). As time progressed (1,000 B.C.-A.D. 1550), their cultures morphed and the native peoples settled permanently, establishing agrarian societies. Multiple tribes settled in what is now North Carolina’s Upper-Piedmont, including the Catawba, the Cheraw, and the Keyauwee. Tribes in the piedmont culled forests, actively managing the landscape, and inhabiting a natural world far different from the one Europeans first encountered.

https://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/american-indian/handouts/nc-prehistory

European Involvement in the Upper Piedmont

After the arrival of Europeans in North Carolina (around 1520), countless natives died as the result of the introduction of foreign illnesses, much like the rest of the continent, desomating entire communities, and in some cases entire cultures. As a result, the landscape regressed as forest grew back untamed.  As European, particularly English, settlement increased (1680-1750), settlers inched westward, sparking countless conflicts with native tribes, these skirmishes are known broadly as the North Carolina Indian Wars (1663-1763). Amid the conflict, around 1750, Scotch-Irish, Germans, English and Welsh settled in the Upper Piedmont, known then as the Backcountry. The rampant, dense forests quickly became a patchwork of settlements and farmland.

A map Virginia, Maryland, Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina. Drawn by Joshua Fry & Peter Jefferson in 1751. The above section of the map only includes part f North Carolina, including what would become Guilford County. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/map_item.pl

The Regulator Movement

In 1764, outcry poured against unfair taxation and governmental corruption toward the royal governor of North Carolina, William Tryon. A majority of the dissidents hailed from the upper-piedmont and came to be known as Regulators; the Regulator Movement irreparably shaped the political landscape of colonial North Carolina. Ravenous mobs attacked despised colonial officials, and Regulator militias organized. In May of 1771, tensions culminated during a parlay West of Hillsborough into a two-hour skirmish known as the Battle of Alamance. The skirmish resulted in a defeat for the Regulators, twelve of the leaders were tried for treason and swiftly executed, while many more were pardoned by King George III.

https://www.ncpedia.org/history/colonial/regulator-movement

The Founding of Guilford County

During the chaos of the Regulator Movement, Guilford County was founded. In 1771, named after Francis North, the first Earl of Guilford, the North Carolina Colonial Legislature created Guilford County to assert tighter governmental control over the Upper-Piedmont. In 1774, the colonial government built the county’s first courthouse and jail, centralizing power within the county; however, as more colonists migrated to the Upper-Piedmont a new rebellion brewed, not just concerning corruption in North Carolina but surrounding representation and ultimately an independence from the British crown itself.

https://northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/guilford-county-1771/