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Biographical Sketches
Ashe / Alleghany County, North Carolina

CAPTAIN MARTIN GAMBILL

Martin Gambill was the son of Henry and Mary Davenport Gambill and was born in Culpepper, Virginia on May 29, 1750 and died in Ashe County, North Carolina on November 20, 1812. He came to North Carolina in 1768 to join the forces of the Revolution. His father gave him a spirited young stallion, Major, when he left his home at Culpepper. 

While participating in the Revolution in West Tennessee and North Carolina, he took a message to Colonel William Campbell at Seven Mile Ford in Virginia to bring the troops from Seven Mile Ford to King's Mountain. Colonel Campbell was wounded as they approached King's Mountain and he placed Martin, who had served as Sargeant, Ensign, First Lieutenant, and Captain at 29 years old, in charge of the troops from Seven Mile Ford. Martin was wounded in the approach of the Battle at King's Mountain. 

His records are at Montgomery and Grayson Counties in Virginia and in the Rowan, Surry, Wilkes and Ashe Counties in North Carolina, N.C. Archives, the military archives in Washington, D.C. and N.C. Veteran land grants in Tennessee and filed in Rogersville, Hawkins County, Tennessee. He participated in the skirmish against the Tories at "Old Fields" in Ashe County. This was the only pitched battle fought in Ashe County during the American Revolutionary War. 

He married Nancy Nall, daughter of Captain William Nall, on September 23, 1777. Nancy enjoyed riding old Major. Captain Nall gave Martin a young stallion, a son of Major. They rode to live in what is now Ashe County to their future homesite where Martin lived until his death. He was buried in his backyard in what is now the Gambill Cemetery. Martin acquired considerable acreage and a good portion of this land has never been owned outside the family descendants and is now the Martin Gambill Farm Inc. 

He and Nancy had the following children:

Thursa, married James McMillan; William, married Cynthia Cox; Jesse; Jeremiah, married Kathy Hardin; Robert; Martin J.; and Narcessa. After Ashe County was formed in 1799, Martin was elected the first Tax Collector and Sheriff of Ashe County in 1806. The bonds on each office was 2000#. His bond was signed by John Cox and Jesse Reeves. He was the first elected State Senator from Ashe County in 1810 and was a Senator until his death. He was interested in education and it is written that he built the first building for schools in this part of the county where he lived. His daughter, Thursa, taught at this school. 

--- J. Gwyn Gambill

(biographical sketch from The Heritage of Ashe County, North Carolina) 

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This page was last updated July 27, 2007.