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Samuel McDowell Tate
(Unknown - between 1830 and 1840)

The following excerpts were taken from:
Phifer, Edward W. Jr. "Burke: The History of a North Carolina County." 1972.

Walton, Col. Thomas George. "Sketches of the Pioneer in Burke County History." 1894.


Samuel McDowell Tate was part of a very prestigious and wealthy family that held roots in Burke County for quite sometime. He also held family ties with previous and future Burke County Sheriffs, as a nephew to Sheriff Hugh Tate (1806-1808) and first cousin to Sheriff and Col. Samuel Caldwell Tate (1829-1830.) Although bearing the same name of the famous Colonel Samuel McDowell Tate who led the famous Sixth NC Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, the Burke County Sheriff was actually his uncle.


Samuel McDowell Tate was the son of David Tate, Sr. and either his first wife, Ann Elizabeth McCall or his second wife, Christian Wakefield. His paternal grandfather was Samuel "Rock" Tate of Ireland (please see Hugh Tate's biography for further information regarding Samuel M. Tate's family). His brother, David Tate, Jr. married his first cousin, Susan M. Tate (daughter of Samuel Tate) and became the father of the famous Col. Samuel McDowell Tate, who Morganton owes much of its history. Sheriff Tate's father, David Tate, Sr. moved to Burke County around 1790 and became a fairly prominent citizen. He served as a major in the State militia and represented Burke County in the North Carolina House of Commons in 1801, 1802, 1803 and 1807, and in the State Senate in 1810, 1811, 1814 and 1818.


In 1831, following cessation of his duties as Sheriff (1824-1829) an advertisement announced that Samuel M. Tate and his brother Colonel David Tate, Jr., were the operaters of a round-trip, twice weekly post coach line between Salem and Greenville, South Carolina. His other brothers, Dr. James Harvey Tate and Robert Washington Tate operated a post coach line between Morganton and Asheville. Each of the 4-horse post coach lines contracted with the US Government to haul mail over these routes. The Asheville line connected with the "Great Western Line," and joined with the Salem-Greenville line in Morganton, NC, as well as joining in Washington, D.C. This was said to be the most direct line from Washington, DC to New Orleans. The Asheville to Morganton line took 12 hours, while the Salem to Greenville 196 mile ride took 3.5 days. Passengers could travel both routes for 6 and a quarter cents per mile, unless one was a regular traveler, in which he/she could travel for 5 cents.


Records indicate that Sheriff Samuel McDowell Tate died a bachelor sometime between 1830 and 1840.