Southern Colonies > Province of North Carolina

Province of North Carolina

Background

In 1769 the assembly declared against the right of Britain to tax North Carolina while unrepresented in parliament, and was accordingly dissolved by Gov. Tryon. North Carolina sent representatives to the first continental congress, September, 1774, and united in adopting the declaration of colonial rights. An association for the defence of those rights was formed in Mecklenburg co., which in May, 1775, formally renounced allegiance to the crown, and published a declaration of independence; but this feeling was not general, and counter-combinations were formed to sustain the royal authority.

Alarmed at the threatening state of affairs, Gov. Martin retired on board a man-of-war in Cape Fear river, July 17, 1775. A convention was held, Aug. 20, which authorized the raising of three regiments of troops, which were subsequently increased to five, and taken into pay by congress. A proclamation was issued by Gov. Martin from on board ship forbidding their meeting, which the convention denounced as scandalous and scurrilous, and ordered it to be burned by the hangman. The loyalists were quite strong, especially among the “regulators” and highlanders.

A body of 1,500 loyalists, under McDonald and McLeod, who had been commissioned by Martin, attempted to reach the coast and join Gen. Clinton, but were met by the patriots under Caswell and Moore, and routed with the loss of McLeod and 850 prisoners, including McDonald. In April, 1776, the North Carolina convention authorized their delegates to unite with the other colonies in a declaration of independence.

North Carolina ordered four more regiments to be raised, and the loyal highlanders and regulators to be disarmed. In December, 1776, the province adopted a state constitution, and elected Richard Caswell as governor. The colony furnished her quota of men, but, beyond the partisan warfare between the patriots and loyalists, was not the scene of important military operations till 1780. The battle of Guilford Court House, fought March 15, 1781, between Gen. Greene and Cornwallis, was the chief event of the war within this state.

Thirteen Colonies

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

The American Cyclopædia (1879)