Tarheel Founding Fathers

Tarheel Founding Fathers: Richard Caswell

We'll start this year's chapter out by correcting some bad history:

Richard Caswell acted as the colony’s surveyor for only a brief time before he decided to pursue law. From 1752-54, Richard Caswell clerked for the court of Orange County, while simultaneously studying law. In 1754 he was admitted to the bar and immediately set up a law practice in Hillsboro, North Carolina. Richard Caswell gained popularity and respect during his public tenure as the deputy surveyor, he was chosen to serve his colony again when asked to participate in the North Carolina Colonial Assembly in 1754. In that assembly, he served for twenty years. In the early years of his political career, Caswell was loyal to the King of England and aligned himself with royal Governor William Tryon and later Josiah Martin.

However, by 1771, when Caswell retired from the Colonial Assembly, his political views had taken a drastic turn and Caswell viewed King George’s rule as unjust in North Carolina. Upon his retirement from the Colonial Assembly he became an active member in the colonial militia, fighting in the Battle of Alamance, on May 16, 1771. Caswell later returned to the colonial militia...

Caswell fought for the Crown in the Battle of Alamance. The author of this sad excuse for a historical accounting (published by the John Locke Foundation) apparently didn't understand that "Colonial" referred to the Crown Colony under the rule of "Governor" Tryon. And Caswell was not just an "active member" of said Militia, he was a Colonel who led around a third of the force that brutally put down the Regulators fighting against the Crown at the Battle of Alamance:

Tarheel Founding Fathers: Willie Jones

Willie (pronounced Wylie) Jones was the son of a wealthy crown agent, and at the young age of 12 was sent to England to attend Eton, like his father before him. And like a few of our other Founding Fathers, was loyal to Governor Tryon and assisted in the crackdown on the Regulators:

As might be expected from his heritage, he was identified during these early years with the royal governors, William Tryon and Josiah Martin, and their clique. He marched with Tryon's colonial militia to Orange County and was appointed Tryon's aide-de-camp on 15 May 1771, the day before Tryon's victory over the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance. Several days later Captain Jones was sent to raid the plantation of Herman Husband, a leading Regulator. When Tryon left North Carolina to become governor of New York, Jones "publicly lamented his removal . . . as a calamity to the province." As a further indication of his allegiance to the royal clique, he was appointed, on Governor Martin recommendation, to His Majesty's Council of the Province of North Carolina on 9 Mar. 1774.

But that loyalty soon frayed, and Willie joined the cause of liberty, adding his sharp intellect to mix. In his (brief) one year career in the Continental Congress, his grasp of the military situation and his determination to make sure it succeeded contributed greatly to the cause:

Tarheel Founding Fathers: Abner Nash

North Carolina's 2nd post-colonial Governor spent most of his adult life representing his constituents, and his last breath was taken on the floor of the Continental Congress in 1786, at the ripe old age of 46. Not an outspoken man, but he was a true patriot, who spent many sleepless nights worrying about the safety and well-being of both the militia volunteers and civilians caught in the middle of our struggle for independence.

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