North Carolina

Hiram Hulin seeks Justice for his Murdered Sons

The following post appeared a few months ago on Southern Unionist Chronicles . I’ve decided to post it here as well because it relates so closely to my posts on Civil War Unionists from the North Carolina Piedmont. Hiram Hulin, the author of the letter reproduced below, was the father of Jesse, John, and William Hulin, three brothers murdered for their refusal to serve in the Confederate Army. The Hulins lived in Montgomery County, N.C., and were Wesleyan Methodists who opposed slavery as well as secession. They are the topic of chapter 3 of The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies, excerpts of which may be accessed here and here.

Many years ago, historian Bill Auman called my attention to Hiram Hulin’s 1867 letter to Col. M. Cogwell, Commander of the U.S. Post at Fayetteville in Reconstruction North Carolina. Hulin was seeking justice for his sons, who were murdered during the Civil War by Confederate home guard troops.

Vikki Bynum

 September 28, 1867


Permit me to address a line to you in which I ask your opinion of the course proper to be pursued in regard to the arrest and trial of certain persons who in the time of the war murdered my three sons Jesse, John, and William Hulin and also James Atkins who were evading the military service in the Confederate Army; after arresting them they took them before two Justices of the Peace for trial. From the only information which we can get the Justices committed them to jail. They were delivered into the hands of the murderers who were home-guard troops and while on their way to the pretended prison they deliberately shot and beat to death with guns and rocks my three sons and Atkins while tied with their hands and handcuffed together. One Henry Plott now residing in the County of Cabarrus was the officer in command of the s[q]uad of murderers at the time of the murder was committed. Most of the murderers were strangers to the people of the County and their names are entirely unknown to us except one George W. Sigler who now resides quietly in Marshall County, Mississippi. Against him a bill has been found by the Grand-jury of this County. His Post office is Byhala about 16 miles from Holly Springs, Mississippi. I have informed the State Solicitor of his where abouts and nothing is done for his arrest. Permit me to pray you in the name of my departed sons to lend aid of the Military force of the government to arrest and bring to trial the felonious murderer. I beseech you by all the paternal feelings which a father should hold for a son to lend us aid in this matter.

We would earnestly commend that you arrest Henry Plott as so-called Captain in the Confederate Army in command of the murderous squad and that he be held in custody till he reveals the names of the remainder of the murderers. Henry Plott was heard to say soon after the murder “we caught four,” and the question was asked, “what did you do with them?” Answer “we put them up a spout.”  “Did you kill them?” “Yes we did.” All the facts above stated can be proved by the best of testimony.

You will please inform us by your earlyest convenience what course you can take in [this] matter and what it may be necessary for us to do in the premises. With Great respect I am sir

Your Obedient servant

Hiram Hulin

Published in Elizabeth Gregory McPherson, ed. “Letters from North Carolina to Andrew Johnson,” North Carolina Historical Review vol. 28, no. 1 (Jan. 1952): 118-119.

15 replies »

  1. I was interested in this because I am from a neighboring county, and I am very interested in history. Especially because we have the same last names. It was also be interesting to me to find out if we are related. If you could assist me with any information on how to be able to do this would be appreciated as I said previously I am very interested in history and the heritage of my family. I also would be eager to find out if the murderers were brought to justice, that is a very saddening story and for a father to be pleading for justice on behalf of his sons whom were murdered is heart felt. I thank you for your hard work in putting this together.

    Calvin & Patricia Hulin


    • Calvin and Patricia,

      Thank you for your post. The Civil War story of the Hulins is such a tragic story, and I understand your desire to know if you are related. I would imagine you are, at least distantly, since you live in a neighboring county.

      My book, Unruly Women, contains a limited genealogy table of the Hulin family which I will summarize here:

      1. Hiram Hulin (b. 1806)and his brother Orrin (b. 1788) were the sons of Arthur Hulin.

      2. Hiram first married Nancy ?; his second wife was Elizabeth Candace Beaman.

      3. The names of Hiram’s children were Sarah (m. Elisha Moore), Nelson (m. Clarinda Crook), Jesse (m. Caroline Moore), John, William, Eliza, Dias (m. Nancy Moore), Chana (m. Valentine Moore), and James.

      4. Orrin Hulin, who left Mont. Co. before the Civil War, married Elizabeth Reeves. The names of their children were Frances (b. 1821, m. Wm. B. Hurley); Jane, James, John, Thomas, Alexander, O.C., Martha L.

      I hope some of our readers will fill in or correct my information. I have more info on the broader family, and will try and answer any questions you might have.



  2. I am interested in the Hulin family both from a relationship connection and history. My great grandmother was a Hulin but in Cabarrus County. I believe she was the daughter of Robert (born @1793)and Catherine (born @1787) Hulin. I am hoping someone has info on a possible connection. My Kennerly family has connections in that area in the early 1800s as well as my Crowell line, too.

    Thanks for the research and posting of such an interesting story!



    • DR,

      I wish I could help you, but I’m not familiar with this line of Hulins. Perhaps there are Hulin researchers out there who can supply some answers. Good luck,



  3. I know this is a old post, but I would like to say that this story hits home for me. While doing my research, I found that John Hulin, one of the murdered brothers is my great, great, great grandfather. His son was Henry C Hulin, and his son was William Thomas Hulin, who is the father of my mother’s dad, Mont Hulin. I would love to hear more about this story and my family!


  4. Hey Vikki / Derrick, fascinating that Derrick posted this yesterday. Today I found myself randomly doing family research and I stumbled across this story. My great great great great grandfather was Nelson K. Hiram, a son of Hiram Hulin that was not murdered on January 28, 1965 (Jan 28 is my birthday strangely). Interestingly, Nelson apparently served in the “Randolph Hornets” company of the Confederate army for 3 months in 1864. I’m so glad to have found it!


  5. Several people who have inquired here about Hulin genealogy might be interested in the YDNA signature of this colonial VA/NC/SC family, spelled any of ten or more ways. Our “terminal” shared SNP (below R1b-DF27) is FGC15725, and some branches have tested even more specifically than that. We have an active and very successful surname project at FTDNA, that members of the family who have DNA test results from that company may join. I am one of the administrators. By the way, Vikki Bynum and I have been friends and pen pals for more than twenty years.


    • Thanks for providing this information, Richard! And, wow, it’s hard to believe how long we’ve known one another–all because your wife years ago bought you a copy of Unruly Women!



    • Hey Richard, I’m planning on doing a DNA test soon. Do you know much about the products offered by FT? Are the tests that look into either the maternal or paternal lines better than the tests that look into both. The single line tests are more expensive. Also, do you know if some of the other providers can test for FGC15725, or need it be FT? Thanks in advance for your response!


  6. I just cam upon this story doing family research on My great great grandmother was Chana Hulin, the sister to the murdered Hulin boys. I’m just starting my research but find this story fascinating. Thanks for your time in researching this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, John. I spent a good many years researching the Hulins, whose story still fascinates me. Chana is included in their genealogical table in my book Unruly Women. Records indicate she married Valentine Moore, meaning you are descended from another Unionist family as well. Good luck with your research, and I hope you’ll make a return visit to Renegade South.



      • Vikki – I am purchasing two of your books on Amazon to read up on the story of my family.

        I even have a Hurley (Celia Ann Hurley) marrying into my family, marrying a Coggin. So, the three families Hurley, Hulin and Moore are all contained in my genealogy. Getting better every day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, John; I hope you enjoy them! And, of course, I wrote about the Hurleys as well as the Hulins and Moores.



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