FORD THE PACHOLET
A Revolutionary War Historical Fiction Novel Culminating in the Pivotal Battle of Cowpens
Ford the Pacholet Video Trailer
Ford the Pacholet is a historically accurate tale about events surrounding Lem Farnandis, a troubled teenager from Grindall Shoals, South Carolina, during the American Revolution. His family was constantly nagging him about his chores. His community was divided politically, sometimes violently, into Whigs (Patriot sympathizers) and Tories (Loyalists to the King). His father, Henry, a successful local merchant, tried to remain neutral. Still, King George III’s taxes on molasses, sugar, iron, tea, paper money, and much more were eroding Henry’s profits. From what Lem had seen, the whole world revolved around power and control. At the age of thirteen, he had neither.
Lem’s plight worsened when a Loyalist spy calling himself “Tyger” ambushed Lem and locked him in the local tavern’s cellar. His fellow prisoners were two Continental Army scouts and a native Catawba Indian girl about his age. From them, Lem discovered that Whig families were being rounded up. Apparently, the girl’s family had been captured while traveling the Lower Cherokee Trader’s Path to visit mountain relatives. The four devised an escape plan. If it succeeded, Lem could help prevent hundreds of Patriot deaths and hopefully save his family and the Catawbas from the clutches of British Commander “Bloody Ban” Tarleton.
"FORD THE PACHOLET is a meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated history of the stirring events leading up to the pivotal Battle of Cowpens, told through the eyes of a local boy simply trying to survive and protect those he holds dear. Richly evocative of the time when the patriots of South Carolina—the site of more Revolutionary War battles and skirmishes than any of the other thirteen colonies—stood up to Bloody Banastre Tarleton and set our nation on the road to liberty. Not to be missed!"
~K.G. McAbee, award-winning author of CABBAGES AND KINGS, GILBERT AND THE CLOCKWORK PIRATES, and co-author with J.A. Johnson of THE NEREUS PROJECT trilogy.
Lexile® Measure: 910L
7th grade + readers
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FORD THE PACHOLET meets your classroom standards for 8th Graders and more! HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:
South Carolina middle school teachers may view their standards on Page 77 of the South Carolina Social Studies College and Career-Ready Standards. KEY CONCEPTS Revolution and Identity Standard 2.
A masterful look at life and war in Revolutionary War South Carolina, as seen through the eyes of a thirteen year old boy.
Ford the Pacholet is a historically accurate tale set during the American Revolution about Lem Farnandis, a troubled teenager from Grindall Shoals, South Carolina. Divided politically, sometimes violently, into Whigs (Patriot sympathizers) and Tories (Loyalists to the King), his community struggled to survive. His father, Henry, a successful local merchant, tried to remain neutral. Still, King George III’s taxes on molasses, sugar, iron, tea, paper money, and more were eroding Henry’s profits. From what Lem had seen, the whole world revolved around power and control. At the age of thirteen, he had neither.
Caught between the hammer and anvil of two opposing armies, the Grindall community could not escape the horrors of war. Lem became embroiled in the conflict with Amadahy, an Indian girl about his age, Major Joseph McJunkin, who carried a secret message for General Dan Morgan of the Patriot forces, and James Park, the major’s aide-de-camp. Morgan must be warned of an impending surprise attack by the British Legion under Bloody Ban Tarleton. Otherwise, many Patriot soldiers would die. At the pivotal Battle of Cowpens, Lem reached manhood and learned the ramifications of wielding power.
While there are many works of historical fiction concerning the American Revolution, there’s been a lack of novels that deal with the war in the Southern states. Author Richard C. Meehan, Jr. has done much to correct this oversight.
Ford The Pacholet is a detailed look at life in Revolutionary War era South Carolina, just prior to the pivotal Battle of Cowpens. We first meet our protagonist, Lemuel Farnandis, as he starts his chores on his thirteenth birthday. Lem, while making deliveries from his father’s store, is captured by British raiders, who imprison him in the basement of a local tavern. When caught, Lem is able to steal a vital message from the pocket of his captor. Also imprisoned is a teenaged Indian girl, Amadahy, and two American soldiers. Realizing the importance of the message Lem obtained, as it contains the British military plans, they manage to escape and get it to General Dan Morgan. During the events that follow, which include the Battle of Cowpens, Lem quickly grows into manhood.
The author brilliantly looks at the divisions of the day, where few, such as Lem’s father, were neutral, though it was not easy to maintain that political stance, especially when the area surrounding Lem’s hometown was beset by British marauders. The havoc and cruelties reaped upon the patriots were heartbreaking to read.
Mr. Meehan writes in the dialect of the day (a glossary is provided) which, along with his vivid descriptions of the Southern locale, really made me feel as if I were living Lem’s adventures. There is so much detail presented in the narrative, but it never slows the story down. The description of the Battle of Cowpens was easy to follow, especially with the provided maps.
For those who have issues with violence, some of the descriptions of the casualties incurred during the battle may be a trigger.
Ford The Pacholet deservedly won the Southeastern Writers Award in 2021 for young peoples fiction. But I would make the case that it’s appropriate for adults as well, as it not only provides a glimpse into a fascinating way of life that no longer exists, but helps to fill in a huge gap in Revolutionary War fiction.
Dark thoughts stewed in Lemuel Alston Farnandis’ mind about turning thirteen this unlucky thirteenth day of January, Year of our Lord seventeen eighty-one. Nearly a man in the eyes of the Grindall, South Carolina community, why was he still treated as a bantling by his parents and siblings? Why did he still have the mundane daily task of making deliveries for his father? Driving a mule wagon was a child’s job!
While bringing cracked corn to Mr. Christopher Coleman up at Christie’s Tavern, Lem was captured by the notorious Loyalist, Captain Patrick “Tyger” Moore. The captain feared Lem would spread the word that Tories were spying on General Daniel Morgan’s Patriot encampment nearby. So, the brigand locked the boy in the tavern’s cellar for safekeeping. What a ruination of Lem’s coming-of-age birthday dinner!
Others had also been captured and incarcerated in the cellar. Lem met Amadahy, a Catawba Indian girl about his age, Major Joseph McJunkin, a stalwart fellow carrying an important message for General Dan, and James Park, the major’s aide-de-camp. The two soldiers were captured fording the Pacholet to warn General Dan of the approaching British forces led by Banastre “Bloody Ban” Tarleton. The Grindall community was caught between the hammer and anvil of two opposing armies, with no way to escape the horrors to come.
Together the captives formed a plan and implemented a successful escape. Lem and Amadahy ran for the Continental Army camp to warn General Morgan of the impending surprise attack. Meanwhile, McJunkin and Park lead the Tories on a divisionary chase through the backwoods. Both groups succeeded, making the Battle of Cowpens a resounding defeat of Tarleton’s forces. It was a pivotal battle of the American Revolution. Lem reached manhood amid the chaos of war and learned the ramifications of having power and control.