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Hodge Rayburn
(1759 - March 1, 1847)

The following excerpts were taken from:
Genealogy.com. Rayburn Family Genealogy Forum. "This is a Published Rayburn Biography." Posted by Dan Herrin. 2000.


Dan Herrin writes in his posting on Genealogy.com: "I don't know where this came from but it is pages 139-142 titled "XVIII. Hodge Rayburn" If anyone knows what publication this is from, please let me know. I hope this helps somebody."


Hodge Rayburn, variously spelled Rabun, Raborn, and Rayburn, was born in what is now Caldwell County, but then Rowan, in 1759, the month and day not recorded. His father was William Rayburn, who came from Virginia to North Carolina some years prior to the birth of Hodge. Not much is known of the elder Rayburn except that he was said to have been a "buckskin," that is to say, he was a descendant of the celebrated Pocahontas, daughter of Powhatan, the noted Indian king during the early settlement of Virginia. Hodge Rayburn is said to have been a first cousin of Governer Rayburn of Georgia. There is no mention of his mother in the old records.


Hodge Rayburn moved from Burke County to Haywood in 1815, only a few years after Haywood became a county. Although he was old enough near the close of the Revolutionary War, there is no mention of whether or not he was a soldier in that conflict. Educational facilities were inferior at the time he was growing to manhood in his home in Rowan and Burke, but it is known that he was a man of great natural ability, a student of nature if not of books. He became, however, a good talker, and by hard study he was very well educated for a man of his time.


Although he found in Haywood, when he came, men both of wealth and education, he at once became prominent among them. He was fifty six years old when he came to the county and purchased a home near where Clyde is now situated. One account of those time states that he and his big family lived for many years on a large farm four miles in length on Pigeon river including the present site of Clyde. It is also said that he owned a farm on Crabtree creek and lived there for a number of years in a house which he had built from hand-sawed lumber, a house beautiful for symmetry and workmanship for times like those, two stories high and the roof broken or hipped in style, the second story jutting out in front similar to many of the houses of ancient London. It was torn down in 1886.


Although there is no record of Hodge Rayburn's having fought in the Revolution, there is a story that illustrates his bravery and dauntless courage in one of his contacts with British soldiers. His parents were living in Virginia at the time. Knowing the habits of the British soldiers, who were overrunning Virginia, of taking not only the horses and cattle belonging to patriots but also the servants, young Rayburn being in his teens and the only "man" at home, for his father was in the war, concealed the slaves and cattle. When the British soldiers came upon the place, they demanded of Hodge to tell them where the cattle and slaves were. He would not tell. The soldiers hung him up by the neck until he was black in the face. Still he refused to tell. Deciding that the death of the boy would not aid them in finding their booty, they but him down and let him go.


It is pointed out by some of his descendants that the home in which he lived most of the time while in Haywood County was situated near the bend of the river east of the town of Clyde near where J.H. Haynes now lives (1935).


As a public man, Hodge Rayburn was particularly fortunate. He was Sheriff for several years in Burke County, became a state Senator in 1816 from Haywood County, the next year after he came to the county, and for five terms until 1823. Before coming to Haywood he had been a member of the house of representatives from Burke in 1804, and Senator from Burke in 1812 and 1813. In 1828, he moved from Haywood to Buncombe County to live and entered politics there also. In 1835, be became Senator from Buncombe County, and in 1838, for the counties of Buncombe, Haywood and Macon.


In 1838, while in the Senate he sponsored a bill in collaboration with Montreville Patton and Phillip Brittain, representatives from Buncombe County, for the erection of the county of Henderson, in which he was successful, although he was at the time seventy nine years of age. That, however, was his last public office. He retired from office and active life in 1839 and lived for eight years longer on his farm in Buncombe. He died March 1, 1847, of cancer, having reached the ripe old age of eighty eight. He lies buried in what is known as the "Old Cemetary" on the Henry place near the Hominy Baptist Church.


Hodge Rayburn was a man of strong character, decided convictions and noble mind. He was at home with such men in the legislature as Thomas Love, William Welch, John Stephenson, Joseph Chambers, James R. Love, Ninian Edmonston, Benjamin Clark and Joseph Keener, who served in the lower house of the state legislature while he was Senator, and other distinguished men from other counties. Arthur's "History of Western North Carolina" mentions him as a man of influence and standing. The late Albert Siler speaks of Rayburn as one of the most distinguished figures in Western North Carolina during the period from 1815 to 1840.


Hodge Rayburn was twice married, first to a Miss Watkins who became the mother of eleven children, Ichabod, Thomas, Willis, Catherine, who married a Mr. Washburn, Adella, who married John Curtis, Elizabeth, who married John Kimsey, the others dying before reaching the age of maturity. His second marriage was to Araminta Martin, daughter of Benjamin Martin, a hero of the Revolution. By this marriage there were eight children, Mary, known as Polly, who married William Young, of Buncombe County; Nancy, who married Ezekiel Herren, of Buncombe County; Sarah, who married William Culberson, of Buncombe County; Araminta, who married Perrin Joyce, of Buncombe; Howell, who went to Texas to live and died unmarried; and William, who married Obedience McAfee, of Buncombe, and moved to Georgia, and later marrying again there.


One daughter, Mary (Polly) Young, who was the mother of Brigadier General Pinckney Raburn-Young, died in 1899 at the serene old age of eighty eight. She was the nineteenth child of her father.


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