Benjamin Cleveland

Painting of Benjamin Cleveland on horseback

Don Troiani's painting of Benjamin Cleveland, titled "War Prize." Wikimedia Commons.

(1738–1806)  Born in Virginia, Cleveland grew up uneducated and developed into a frontiersman lifestyle of gambling, horse-racing, carousing, drinking, and fighting.  His marraige to Mary Graves helped to reform his wild life, and he made a reluctant attempt at farming.

Cleveland served with the NC Militia in the American Revolution and the Cherokee Uprising.  The combined forces of North Carolina and South Carolina completely destroyed several Cherokee towns. Cleveland fought and won in the Battle of Kings Mountain, which was the climax of the frontier civil war and the turning point of the war in the South.

When the Revolution finally closed, Cleveland migrated into the Oconee where he served as an associate judge of the court of Pendleton County for many years. Before his death, he became so unwieldy in size, gradually attaining the enormous weight of 450 pounds. He died quietly while sitting at his breakfast table.