North Carolina


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Map of North Caronia

Map of the North Carolina Colony in 1770

State Seal of North CarolinaNorth Carolina, STATE OF, was one of the original thirteen States of the Union. Its coasts were discovered, it is supposed, by Cabot (1498) and Verazzani (1524), and later by the people sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh. The first attempt at settlement in that region was made by 108 persons under Ralph Lane, who landed on Roanoke Island in 1585. It was unsuccessful. Other colonies were sent out by Raleigh, and the last one was never heard of afterwards. No other attempts to settle there were made until after the middle of the seventeenth century. As early as 1609 some colonists from Jamestown seated themselves on the Nansemond, near the Dismal Swamp; and in 1622 Porey, secretary of the Virginia colony, penetrated the country with a few friends to the tidewaters of the Chowan.

Early Colonial Settlements

In 1630 Charles I. granted to Sir Robert Heath, his attorney-general, a patent for a domain south of Virginia, 6 of latitude in width, and extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. Heath did not meet his engagements, and the patent was vacated. In March, 1663, Charles II. granted to eight of his rapacious courtiers a charter for the domain granted to Heath. They had begged it from the King under the pretence of a " pious zeal for the propagation of the Gospel among the heathen." These courtiers were the covetous and time-serving premier and historian, the Earl of Clarendon; George Monk, who, for his conspicuous and treacherous services in the restoration of the monarch to the throne of England, had been created Duke of Albemarle ; Lord Craven, the supposed dissolute husband of the Queen of Bohemia; Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury; Sir John Colleton, a corrupt loyalist, who had played his brother, then governor of Virginia (see BERKELEY, SIR WILLIAM), and SIR GEORGE CARTERET, a proprietor of New Jersey - a man " passionate, ignorant, and not too honest." When the petitioners presented their memorial to King Charles, in the garden at Hampton Court, the " merrie monarch," after looking each in the face a moment, burst into loud laughter, in which his audience joined heartily. Then, taking up a little shaggy spaniel with large, meek eyes, and holding it at arm's-length before them, he said, " Good friends, here is a model of piety and sincerity which it might be wholesome for you to copy." Then, tossing it to Clarendon, he said, " There, Hyde, is a worthy prelate; make him archbishop of the domain which I shall give you." With grim satire, Charles introduced into the preamble of the charter a statement that the petitioners, " excited with a laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the Gospel, have begged a certain country in the parts of America not yet cultivated and planted, and only inhabited by some barbarous people who have no knowledge of God."

The grantees were made absolute lords and proprietors of the country, the King reserving to himself and his successors sovereign dominion. They were empowered to enact and publish laws, with the advice and consent of the freemen; to erect courts of judicature, and appoint civil judges, magistrates, and other officers; to erect forts, castles, cities, and towns; to make war, and, in cases of necessity, to exercise martial law; to construct harbors, make ports, and enjoy custodies and subsidies on goods loaded and unloaded, by consent of the freemen. The charter granted freedom in religious worship, and so made Carolina an asylum for the persecuted.

Ten years before, a few Presbyterians from Jamestown, under Roger Green, suffering persecution there, settled on the Chowan, near the site of Edenton. Other NONCONFORMISTS followed. The New England hive of colonists had begun to swarm, and some Puritans appeared in a vessel in the Cape Fear River (1661) and bought lands of the Indians. They were planting the seeds of a colony, when news reached them that Charles II. had given the whole region to eight of his courtiers, and called it "Carolina." Nearly all of the New-Englanders left. Governor Berkeley, of Virginia, was authorized to extend his authority over the few settlers on the Chowan. He organized a separate government instead, calling it Albemarle county " colony, in compliment to one of the proprietors, and appointed William Drummond, a Presbyterian from Scotland (settled in Virginia), governor. Two years later some emigrants came from Barbadoes, bought land of the Indians on the borders of the Cape Fear River, and, near the site of Wilmington, founded a settlement, with Sir John Yeamans as governor. This settlement was also organized into a political community, and called the " Clarendon county " colony, in compliment to one of the proprietors. Yeamans's jurisdiction extended from the Cape Fear to the St. John's River in Florida. This settlement became permanent, and so the foundations of the commonwealth of North Carolina were laid. In 1674 the population was about 4,000. Settlements had been begun farther south, and the proprietors had gorgeous visions of a grand empire in America. The philosopher John Locke and the Earl of Shaftesbury prepared (1669) a scheme of government for the colony, which contemplated a feudal system wholly at variance with the feelings of the settlers, and it was never put into practical operation.

Independence Movement in North Carolina

Refugees from Virginia, involved in Bacon's rebellion (sea BACON, NATHANIEL), fostered a spirit of liberty among the inhabitants of North Carolina, and successful oppression was made difficult, if not impossible. They carried on a feeble trade in Indian corn, tobacco, and fat cattle with New England, whose little coasting-vessels brought in exchange those articles of foreign production which the settlers could not otherwise procure. The English navigation laws interfered with this commerce. In 1677 agents of the government appeared, who demanded a penny on every pound of tobacco sent to New England. The colonists resisted the levy. The tax-gatherer was rude and had frequent personal collisions with the people. Finally, the people, led by John Culpeper, a refugee from South Carolina, seized the governor and the public funds, imprisoned him and six of his councillors, called a new representative Assembly, and appointed a new chief magistrate and judges. For two years the colony was thus free from foreign control.

Then was enforced the political idea of Holland " Taxation without representation is tyranny." In 1683 Seth Sothel appeared in North Carolina as governor. He ruled the colony six years, when his rapacity and corruption could no longer be endured, and he was seized and banished. Perfect quiet was not restored until the Quaker John Archdale came as governor in 1695, when the colony started on a prosperous career. In 1705 Thomas Carey was appointed governor, but was afterwards removed, whereupon he incited a rebellion, and, at the head of an armed force, attacked Edenton, the capital. The insurrection was suppressed (1711) by regular troops from Virginia. In 1709 100 German families, driven from their desolated homes in the palatinates on the Rhine, penetrated the interior of North Carolina. They were led by Count Graffenreidt, and founded settlements along the head-waters of the Neuse and upon the Roanoke, with the count as governor. They had just begun to gather the fruits of their industry, when suddenly, in the night of Oct. 2, 1711, the Tuscarora Indians and others fell upon them like lightning, and before the dawn 130 persons perished by the hatchet and knife. Then along Albemarle Sound the Indians swept, with a torch in one hand and a deadly weapon in the other, and scourged the white people for three days, leaving blood and cinders in their path, when, from drunkenness and exhaustion, they ceased murdering and burning. On the eve of this murderous raid the Indians had made captive Count Graffenreidt and John Lawson, surveyor-general of the province. Lawson was tortured to death, but the count saved his life and gained his liberty by adroitly persuading them that he was the sachem of a tribe of men who had lately come into the country, and were no way connected with the English, or the deeds of which the Indians complained, and he actually made a treaty of peace with the Tuscaroras and Corees. Troops and friendly Indians from South Carolina Came to the relief of the white people, and hostilities ceased; but the Indians, badly treated, made war again, and again help came from South Carolina. The war was ended when 800 Tuscaroras were captured (March, 1713), and the remainder joined their kindred, the Iroquois, in New York.

Carlonias Split into North and South

In 1729 Carolina became a royal province, and was divided permanently into two parts, called, respectively, North and South Carolina. Settlements in the north State gradually increased, and when the disputes between Great Britain and the English-American colonies began the people were much agitated. In 1769 the Assembly of North Carolina denied the right of Parliament to tax the colonists without their consent. In the interior of the colony an insurrectionary movement began, and in 1774 North Carolina sent delegates to the first Continental Congress. Finally an association was formed in Mecklenburg county for its defense; and in May, 1775, they virtually declared themselves independent of Great Britain (see DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE). Alarmed at the state of things, the royal governor (Martin) abdicated, and took refuge on board a man-of-war in the Cape Fear River. A provincial convention assumed the government and organized a body of troops. A State constitution was adopted in a congress at Halifax, December 18, 1776, and the government was administered by a Provincial Congress and a committee of safety until 1777, when Richard Caswell was chosen the first governor of the State.

In the Revolutionary War

The Tories were numerous in North Carolina, where there was a large Scotch population. The Whigs, however, were largely in the majority, and in 1780 they treated their Tory neighbors with unendurable severity. Cornwallis, in command of the British in South Carolina, sent emissaries among them, who advised them to keep quiet until they had gathered their crops in autumn, when the British army would march to their assistance. They were impatient of the severities to which they were exposed, and flew to arms at once. Of two considerable parties that assembled, one was attacked and dispersed at Ramsour's Mills, on the south fork of the Catawba, on June 20, by 500 North Carolina militia, under General Rutherford. The other party succeeded in reaching the British posts. These amounted to about 800 men. Regarding the subjugation of South Carolina as complete, Cornwallis commenced a march into North Carolina early in September, 1780. The main army was to advance by way of Charlotte, Salisbury, and Hillsboro, through the counties where Whigs most abounded. Tarleton was to move up the west bank of the Catawba River with the cavalry and light troops; while Ferguson, with a body of loyalist militia which he had volunteered to embody and organize, was to take a still more westerly route along the eastern foot of the mountain-ranges. Ferguson's corps was annihilated (October 7) in an engagement at KING'S MOUNTAIN; and this so discouraged the Tories and the backwoodsmen that they dispersed and returned home. Cornwallis had then reached Salisbury, where he found the Whigs numerous and intensely hostile. Having relied much on the support of Ferguson, he was amazed and puzzled when he heard of his death and defeat. Alarmed by demonstrations on his front and flanks, Cornwallis commenced a retrograde movement, and did not halt until he reached Wainsboro, South Carolina, October 27, between the Broad and Catawba rivers. Here he remained until called to the pursuit of Greene a few weeks later.

North Carolina in the Civil War

The popular sentiment in North Carolina was with the Union at the breaking out of the Civil War, and great efforts were made by the enemies of the republic to force the State into the Confederacy. Her governor (Ellis) favored the movement, but the loyal people opposed it. The South Carolinians taunted them with cowardice; the Virginia Confederates treated them with coldness; the Alabamians and Mississippians coaxed them by the lips of commissioners. These efforts were in vain. Thereupon the disloyal Secretary of the Interior, acting as commissioner for Mississippi, went back to Washington convinced that the Confederates of North Carolina were but a handful. The legislature, in authorizing a convention, directed the people, when they elected delegates for it, to vote on the question of "Convention" or "No Convention." Of 128 members of the convention elected January 28, 1861, eighty-two were Unionists. The people, however, had voted against a convention.

The legislature appointed delegates to the PEACE CONGRESS, and also appointed commissioners to represent the State in the proposed general convention at Montgomery, Alabama, but with instructions to act only as "mediators to endeavor to bring about a reconciliation." They declared, by resolution, Febraury 4, that if peace negotiations should fail, North Carolina would go with the slave - labor States. They also provided for arming 10,000 volunteers and the reorganization of the militia of that State. Further than this the legislative branch of the government refused to go; and the people, determined to avoid war if possible, kept on in the usual way until the clash of arms at Fort Sumter and the call of the President for 75,000 volunteers filled the people of the State with excitement and alarm. Taking advantage of this state of public feeling, the, legislature authorized a convention, and ordered the election of delegates on May 13. At the same time it gave the governor authority to raise 10,000 men, and the State treasurer the power to issue $500,000 in bills of credit, in denominations as low as 3 cents. It defined the act of treason to be levying war against the State. The convention assembled May 20, and issued an ordinance of secession by a unanimous vote. On the same day the governor issued orders for the enrolment of 30,000 men, and within three weeks not less than 20,000 were under arms. The forts were again seized; also the United States mint at Charlotte. The loyal "North State," placed between Virginia and South Carolina, could not withstand the pressure of the untiring Confederates of those two commonwealths. Satisfied that there was a prevailing Union sentiment in eastern North Carolina, Colonel Hawkins, who had been left to garrison the Hatteras forts, issued a proclamation to the people of that portion of the State, assuring them that the National troops made war only on the enemies of the government, and had come to support the loyal people in upholding the law and the Constitution. A response to this was a convention of the people in the vicinity of Cape Hatteras, Oct. 12, 1861, who professed to be loyal. By resolutions the convention offered the loyalty of its members to the national government. A committee drew up and reported a list of grievances; also a declaration of independence of Confederate rule. A more important convention was held at Hatteras on Nov. 18, in which representatives from forty-five of the counties of North Carolina appeared. That body assumed the functions of a State government, and by a strongly worded ordinance provided for the government of North Carolina in allegiance to the national Constitution. The promise of good was so hopeful that President Lincoln, by proclamation, ordered an election to be held in the 1st Congressional District. C. H. Foster was elected to Congress, but never took a seat. This leaven of loyalty in North Carolina was soon destroyed by the strong arm of Confederate power.

Coastal Operations

General Burnside, when called to the Army of the Potomac, Nov. 10, 1862, left Gen. J. G. Foster in command of the National troops in eastern North Carolina. That region had barely sufficient National troops to hold the territory against the attempts of the Confederates to repossess it. These attempts were frequently made. The little garrison at the village of Washington, on the Pamlico River, were surprised by Confederate cavalry at early dawn on September 5, who swept through the village almost unopposed. They were supported by two Confederate gunboats on the river. The garrison, after a sharp street-fight for nearly three hours, expelled the assailants, killing 33 and wounding 100. The Nationals lost 8 killed and 36 wounded. Foster was reinforced later, and deter-mined to strike some aggressive blows that might intimidate his antagonists. Early in November he made an incursion in the interior and liberated several hundred slaves. With a larger force he set out from Newbern, December 11, to strike and break up the railway at Goldsboro that connected Richmond with the Carolinas, and form a junction with the National forces at Suffolk and Norfolk. His passage of a large creek was disputed by General Evans and 2,000 Confederates, with three pieces of artillery. They were routed, and Foster passed on, skirmishing heavily. When near Kinston he encountered (December 14) about 6,000 Confederates, well posted, and, after a sharp fight, they were driven across the river, firing the bridge behind them. The flames were put out, and 400 of the fugitives were captured. Foster pushed on towards Goldsboro, and near that place was checked by a large Confederate force under General G. W. Smith. Foster destroyed the railroad bridge over the Neuse, 6 miles of the railway, and a half-finished ironclad gunboat, returning to Newbern at the end of eight days with a loss of 507 men, of whom 90 were killed. The Confederate loss was near 900, full one-half of whom were prisoners.

In the winter of 1863 Foster sent out raiding expeditions, liberating many slaves. The raids aroused General D. H. Hill, who concentrated a considerable force. He attacked Newbern with twenty guns, but was repulsed, when he marched on Little Washington, and on March 30 began a siege of the place. He planted heavy cannon at commanding points and cut off the supplies of the garrison of 1,200 men. General Spinola attempted to raise the siege, but failed. The transport Escort, bearing one of Spinola's regiments, accompained by General Palmer and others, ran the gantlet of batteries and sharpshooters and carried supplies and troops to the beleaguered garrison. At the middle of April, Hill, expecting an expedition against him, abandoned the siege and fled. In May an expedition, led by Colonel J. R. Jones, attacked the Confederates 8 miles from Kinston, capturing their entrenchments, with 165 prisoners. They were afterwards attacked (May 23) by the Confederates, but repulsed their assailants. Colonel Jones was killed. Near the end of the month General E. A. Potter led a cavalry expedition, which destroyed much property at Tarboro and other places. The country was aroused by this raid, and Potter was compelled to fight very frequently with Confederates sent against him. Yet his loss during his entire raid did not exceed twenty-five men. Soon afterwards (July) Foster's department was enlarged, including lower Virginia, and, leaving General Palmer in command at Newbern, he made his head-quarters at Fort Monroe.

General Johnston Surrender


Early in 1865 Fort Fisher was captured, and General Sherman made his victorious march through the State, which ended in the surrender of Johnston's army in May. W. W. Holden was appointed provisional governor of the State, May 29, 1865, and a convention of delegates, assembled at Raleigh, adopted resolutions (October 2) declaring the ordinance of secession null, abolishing slavery, and repudiating the State debt created in aid of the Confederate cause. A new legislature was elected, which ratified the amendment to the national Constitution abolishing slavery. The new government of North Carolina did not meet the approval of Congress; nor were the representatives of the State admitted to that body. In 1867 a military government for the State was instituted, and measures were taken for a reorganization of the civil government. In the election that followed colored people voted for the first time, when 60,000 of their votes were cast. In January, 1868, a convention adopted a new constitution which was ratified by the people in April. It was approved by Congress, and North Carolina was declared, in June, to be entitled to representation in that body. On July 11 the President proclaimed that North Carolina had resumed its place in the Union. The Fifteenth Amendment to the national Constitution was ratified March 4, 1869, by a large majority. During that year and the next the State was much disturbed by the outrages committed by the KU-KLUX KLAN. Governor Holden declared martial law in two counties; and for this articles of impeachment were preferred against him, and he was removed from office. Population in 1890, 1,617,947; in 1900, 1,893,810.



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