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Samuel Bryan, large landowner along the Yadkin River, raised a Tory force of 800 men in the region. At the first muster after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Pearson refused to join the Tory ranks. The crowd decided that a fistfight between Pearson and Bryan would determine the side on which the company would fight. Pearson won and became the leader of the "Fork company for Liberty."

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