Bowman's Folly in Accomack County, Virginia, was built about 1815 by General John Cropper. Jr., who was born in the house in 1755. His mother was the daughter of Captain Edmund Bowman, who patented the land in 1664. Cropper ordered the old house demolished and built a grander building on a hill during the War of 1812.
John Cropper was born in Virginia in 1746. He was a Captain in the 9th Virginia Regiment at the age of 19, which joined the Northern Army in December 1776. He was soon promoted to Major in the 5th Virginia Regiment and cut to pieces at the Battle of Brandywine. He retreated with those who could march and hid in a thicket until midnight. He then proceeded to Chester with a red handkerchief upon a ramrod for a flag.
His friends were no less astonished than rejoiced to see him and his brave remnant of soldiers, supposing they had fallen or were prisoners.
Cropper was subsequently promoted to the rank of Colonel and commanded the 11th Virginia Regiment until the 30th of November 1782, when he returned to his long-neglected home.
The Attack in the Chesapeake Bay
When Commodore Whaley was attacked by five British barges and was deserted by the three crew members at the commencement of the fight, Colonel Cropper was in the barge with him. The Commodore and half of his men were killed. The Colonel continued to fight, defending himself against three men. When one of the men (a slave) discovered that it was his young master, he cried out— “Save my young master!”
Afterward, Colonel Cropper freed the man and settled him comfortably in Baltimore.
The Colonel was ultimately promoted to the rank of general and resided at Bowman's Folly until January 15, 1812, when he died.
Sources: The Sages and Heroes of the American Revolution by L. Carroll Judson;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Barges ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cropper