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Biographical Sketches
Ashe / Alleghany County, North Carolina


Martin Gambill was born in Culpepper County, Virginia, on May 29, 1750, son of Henry Gambill and Mary (Davenport) Gambill. Just prior to the Revolutionary War, Martin and his brother John and possibly another brother, William, migrated South, settling on Roaring River in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Martin Gambill was soon thereafter inducted into service under Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, who was head of the Patriots in the Yadkin Valley.

After the Patriot surrender at Charleston, South Carolina, the British Army under Lord Cornwallis made its way toward Charlotte, North Carolina, where it planned to put an end to the Patriot uprising in the Carolinas. Colonel Cleveland dispatched Captain Gambill with a request for help to the men living in the Holston Valley of Virginia. Captain Gambill carried the message approximately one hundred miles on horseback across country dangerously infested with Tories.

Enroute Captain Gambill stopped at Captain Enoch Osborne's homestead on New River to borrow a horse. Family legend relates "that Enoch took his horse loose from the plow and loaned it to him to go on with the message." On his return to the Yadkin Valley, he found that Cleveland had been wounded, and that he had been selected to lead Cleveland's "Company of Men" in the battle of Kings Mountain. 

In that Patriot victory over British forces led by Colonel Patrick Ferguson, Captain Gambill was shot in the arm, leaving him partially disabled. After the war, Martin and his wife, Nancy (Nall) Gambill, made their home on the South Fork of New River in what later became Ashe County. He served as Justice of the Peace, Sheriff, Tax Collector, and Representative to the North Carolina Legislature. 

He died November 20, 1812, survived by his wife and his children:

Thursa, married James McMillan; William, married Cynthia Cox, daughter of Captain John Cox; Jesse; Jeremiah, married Kathy Hardin; Robert; Martin J.; and Narcessa. 

--- Jessie Gambill Cox

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


This page was last updated July 27, 2007.