Area history buffs have a wealth of information on the Civil War, but the Revolutionary War is another story.

Area history buffs have a wealth of information on the Civil War, but the Revolutionary War is another story.

Part of that story involves 14 free African-Americans from eastern Craven County who fought on the side of the Colonies in an attempt to gain independence from England.

The Havelock Community Improvement Association and the N.C. Society of the Sons of the American Revolution are scheduled to celebrate that role with a ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Godette Community Center outside Havelock.

“What’s so important about it is what you always hear about around here is the Civil War and slaves,” said Natalie Taylor, a historian and member of the association. “But here, you have 14 free African-Americans who fought for liberty from British rule even when the whole country wasn’t even here.”

She said while some residents may have tangible generational links to the Civil War, those links fade when it comes to the Revolutionary War.

“You know, really and truly, when I start asking folks about it, they can’t go back that far,” Taylor said. “It’s like this Absalom Martin (one of the patriots). There’s not too much information on him, but he had a grandson named Absalom Martin that people can connect up to.”

Besides Martin, the other 13 were: Isaac Carter, John Carter, Joshua Carter, William Dove, John Gregory, James Manley, Simeon Moore, George Perkins, Isaac Perkins, Aaron Spelman, Asa Spelman, Hezekiah Stringer, and Mingo Stringer.

“They were the country’s first veterans,” Taylor said. “They were out there with George Washington.”

Part of the event will include a dedication of a memorial marker honoring the 14 men.

“These families furnished at least 14 of their men to fight for the cause of liberty throughout the Revolution,” said Jim Wood, society state president. “They fought from the battles around New York and New Jersey in the early part of the war, through Valley Forge, where the American Army was truly born, the battles in Pennsylvania, both sieges of Charleston, and the battles of the southern campaigns that ended the war.”

Members of the group also fought in key battles in Eastern North Carolina, including manning the garrison at Fort Hancock at Cape Lookout, which was the only fort constructed in North Carolina during the war for independence, Wood said. 

Many descendants of the 14 men still live in the community and are expected to attend Sunday’s ceremony.

As for Taylor, she is related to at least two of the patriots.

“This stuff is very interesting,” she said. “I think it’s very important to this community. It’s an awakening. Our ancestors were Revolutionary War veterans. They fought for freedom for this country from British rule.”

The event, which will feature local residents in Revolutionary War-era clothing, will also include a presentation of colors by the society’s state color guard. It will include speakers and light refreshments after the program, which is expected to last about an hour.