The Chowanoc and Weapemeoc peoples have gradually abandoned their lands. Some
have become slaves or indentured servants, and others have migrated south to
join the Tuscarora. Only about 500 American Indians remain in the Albemarle
An escaped slave serves as an architect in the construction of a large Tuscarora
Indian fort near the Neuse River.
Anglicans in England grow concerned that their church does not have a
significant presence in North Carolina. The Reverend Daniel Brett becomes the
first Anglican minister to serve in the colony. Brett’s disorderly behavior
causes him to be called “the Monster of the Age.”
The first public library is established at Bath with books sent from England by
the Reverend Thomas Bray.
Settlers begin moving west and south of the Albemarle area.
The Vestry Act divides North Carolina into Anglican parishes and requires all
citizens to pay taxes for the support of Anglican priests. Non-Anglicans (also
called Dissenters) object. The Lords Proprietors reject the act in part because
it does not provide enough funding for the clergy.
December 15: Chowan Parish is organized, followed by Pasquotank and Perquimans
The Vestry Act passes, requiring members of the General Assembly to be members
of the Church of England and to take an oath of allegiance to Queen Anne.
Subsequent governors and assemblymen ignore these requirements.
Parliament passes the Naval Stores Act in an effort to cut British dependence on
foreign sources of tar, pitch, and other commodities badly needed for sailing
ships. The act subsidizes the production of naval stores in the colonies by
paying premiums of four pounds sterling per ton on tar and pitch, and six pounds
per ton on hemp. North Carolina benefits substantially from this act, and the
production of naval stores becomes one of the coastal area’s prime industries.
Charles Griffin, the first schoolteacher in North Carolina, operates a school in
Pasquotank County. He later moves to Edenton and runs a school there for several
years. The only other known school in operation during the Proprietary period is
at Sarum, in Gates County.
Bath becomes the first incorporated town in North Carolina.
Thomas Cary is appointed governor in 1708. Quakers protest his heavy-handed
actions and send John Porter to England to petition for his removal. The
Proprietors agree to remove Cary as governor, but through a complicated chain of
events, he retains his office into 1711. In that year, Edward Hyde becomes
deputy governor and de facto governor. A brief rebellion by Cary’s followers is
put down with the aid of forces from Virginia. Cary is sent to England for trial
but is ultimately released.
Surveyor John Lawson, who began a thousand-mile journey through the colony at
the end of 1700, publishes A New Voyage to Carolina. It describes the
colony’s flora and fauna and its various groups of American Indians. Lawson also
publishes a map of Carolina.
Baron Christoph von Graffenried, a leader of Swiss and German Protestants,
establishes a colony in Bath County. The town, called New Bern, is founded at
the junction of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, displacing an American Indian town
June 8: Tuscarora Indians on the Roanoke and Tar-Pamlico Rivers send a petition
to the government of Pennsylvania protesting the seizure of their lands and
enslavement of their people by Carolina settlers.
Early September: Tuscarora capture surveyor John Lawson, New Bern founder Baron
von Graffenried, and two African slaves. Lawson argues with the chief, Cor Tom,
and is executed. The Indians spare von Graffenried and the slaves.
September 22: The Tuscarora War opens when Catechna Creek Tuscaroras begin
attacking colonial settlements near New Bern and Bath. Tuscarora, Neuse, Bear
River, Machapunga, and other Indians kill more than 130 whites.
October: Virginia refuses to send troops to help the settlers but allocates
£1,000 for assistance.
In a series of uprisings, the Tuscarora attempt to drive away white settlement.
The Tuscarora are upset over the practices of white traders, the capture and
enslavement of Indians by whites, and the continuing encroachment of settlers
onto Tuscarora hunting grounds.
January: South Carolina sends assistance to her sister colony. John Barnwell, a
member of the South Carolina Assembly, leads about 30 whites and some 500
“friendly” Indians, mostly Yamassee, to fight the Tuscarora in North Carolina. A
battle takes place at Narhantes, a Tuscarora fort on the Neuse River. Barnwell’s
troops are victorious but are surprised that many of the Tuscarora’s fiercest
warriors are women, who do not surrender “until most of them are put to the
January 24: Edward Hyde is commissioned as governor. North Carolina and South
Carolina officially become separate colonies.
April: Barnwell’s force, joined by 250 North Carolina militiamen, attacks the
Tuscarora at Fort Hancock on Catechna Creek. After ten days of battle, the
Tuscarora sign a truce, agreeing to stop the war.
Summer: The Tuscarora rise again to fight the Yamassee, who, unsatisfied with
their plunder during earlier battles, remain in the area looting and pillaging.
The Tuscarora also fight against the continued expansion of white settlement.
September 8: Governor Hyde dies of yellow fever, during an outbreak that kills
many white settlers.
March 20–23: Another force from South Carolina, consisting of 900 Indians and 33
whites, begins a three-day siege on the Tuscarora stronghold of Fort Neoheroka.
Approximately 950 Tuscarora are killed or captured and sold into slavery,
effectively defeating the tribe and opening the interior of the colony to white
settlement. Although a few renegades fight on until 1715, most surviving
Tuscarora migrate north to rejoin the Iroquois League as its sixth and smallest
A treaty with remaining North Carolina Tuscarora is signed. They are placed on a
reservation along the Pamlico River. The Coree and Machapunga Indians, Tuscarora
allies, settle in Hyde County near Lake Mattamuskeet. The land will be granted
to them in 1727, and a reservation will be established.
An act of assembly declares the Church of England the established church of the
colony and adopts plans to build roads, bridges, ferries, sawmills, and
gristmills throughout the colony.
North Carolina adopts its first slave code, which tries to define the social,
economic, and physical place of enslaved people.
The General Assembly enacts a law denying blacks and Indians the right to vote.
The king will repeal the law in 1737. Some free African Americans will continue
to vote until disfranchisement in 1835.
The few Tuscarora remaining in the colony, led by Tom Blount, are granted land
on the Roanoke River in Bertie County, near present-day Quitsna. The Tuscarora
left their reservation on the Pamlico River because of raids by tribes from the
After British authorities drive them from the Bahamas, pirates transfer their
operations to the Carolina coast. Most notable are Stede Bonnet and Edward Teach
(Blackbeard). Teach locates at Bath, where he boasts that he can be invited into
any home in North Carolina.
Blackbeard seizes English and colonial ships along the coast. When the king
offers to pardon all pirates who surrender and promise to cease their piratical
operations, Teach promptly takes the pardon. Within a few weeks, however, he
returns to his old trade. Bonnet continues to operate off the mouth of the Cape
January: England, France, and Holland form a triple alliance against Spain, and
the resulting war leads to Spanish raids on English colonists in North Carolina.
North Carolina’s first free school, endowed by the Society for the Propagation
of the Gospel, opens at Bath.
November 22: In a battle between British sailors and pirates near Ocracoke
Inlet, Lieutenant Robert Maynard kills Blackbeard.
December 10: Stede Bonnet and 29 fellow pirates, captured earlier off the North
Carolina coast, are hanged at Charlestown, S.C.
Exports of pitch and tar to Great Britain by way of New England are reported at
Charles Eden, governor since 1714, dies. The Town on Queen Anne’s Creek is
incorporated and renamed Edenton in his memory.
Beaufort Town is incorporated.
South Carolina planters settle along the Lower Cape Fear River and begin
developing the rice and naval stores industries. They bring large numbers of
enslaved people and a large, plantation-style slave system.
Brunswick Town is founded. It will be incorporated in 1745.
Roger Moore builds Orton Plantation House on the Lower Cape Fear.
The Cheraw (Saura) Indians incorporate with the Catawba living near present-day
The first Baptist congregation in North Carolina forms as Shiloh Church, in
Surveyors begin determining where the North Carolina–Virginia line will lie.
The “cotton weevil” is reported.
North Carolina becomes a royal colony when King George II purchases shares from
seven of the eight Lords Proprietors. Only Earl Granville refuses to sell.
Between 1743 and 1746, an area equaling one-eighth of the original land grant is
surveyed and marked off as the Granville District, in order to differentiate
between areas of royal and Proprietary control. The district consists of a
60-mile-wide strip along North Carolina’s border with Virginia and contains some
of the most densely settled areas in the colony.
Small quantities of iron are shipped to England.
North Carolina’s population numbers about 35,000, but a new wave of immigration
Virginia ends the ban on importation of North Carolina tobacco.
Cherokee leaders visit London and confer with the king. They pledge friendship
to the English and agree to return runaway slaves and to trade exclusively with
Welsh immigrants living in Pennsylvania come to North Carolina and settle mainly
along the Northeast Cape Fear River (in present-day Pender County), in an area
that becomes known as the Welsh Tract.
Brunswick flourishes, and 42 vessels carrying cargo sail from the port in one
Highland Scots begin immigrating to North Carolina and settling in the Cape Fear
backcountry. Thousands will eventually come to this area.
Saint Thomas Episcopal Church, now the oldest church building in the state, is
constructed in Bath.
The first tobacco market in North Carolina opens in Bellair, Craven County.
Scots-Irish immigrants begin coming to North Carolina in large numbers, settling
mainly in the Piedmont. Most are second-generation colonists moving south down
the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, but a few come
directly from Northern Ireland.
Surveyors begin defining the North Carolina–South Carolina border.
The North Carolina colony establishes an Indian Trade Commission to regulate
trade with native peoples.
Mail is first carried regularly through North Carolina on the post road that
runs from Boston to Charlestown, S.C.
A smallpox epidemic decimates the Indian population in North Carolina,
especially in the eastern part of the colony. The epidemic decreases the number
of Cherokee by 50 percent.
The Reverend George Whitefield, a Methodist missionary and one of the earliest
circuit-riding preachers, makes his first foray into North Carolina.
England calls on the colonies to support a war against the Spanish in South
America. North Carolina sends four companies of 100 men each. They participate
in a failed attack on a Spanish fort at Cartagena, Colombia. Many are killed or
die of disease, and only 25 of the 400 men return to the colony. The Spanish
attack shipping off the North Carolina coast for the next eight years.
Waxhaw Indians, decimated by smallpox, abandon their lands in present-day Union
County and join the Catawba. The vacated lands are taken up by German, English,
Scottish, and Welsh immigrants.
Aaron Moses witnesses a will, becoming the first Jewish person on record in
The privilege of performing marriage ceremonies is restricted to clergy of the
Anglican Church and, in lieu of such, any lawful magistrates.
A law is enacted requiring newly freed slaves to leave North Carolina within six
Physician and naturalist John Brickell lists the colony’s religious groups,
including Quakers, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, and “many
Assembly delegates choose New Bern as the colonial capital and vote for equal
representation among the counties. Delegates from the Albemarle region, absent
because of bad weather, protest these decisions. Many people in their districts
refuse to pay taxes for several years.
April 20: The first liquor control law adopted by the colonial assembly levies a
fine on any tavern keeper who allows a person “to get drunk in his home on the
A new wave of Highlanders begins arriving in North Carolina after the failed
revolt in Scotland in 1746. Forced from their Scottish homelands, these
immigrants settle mainly in the Cape Fear Valley.
During King George’s War, the Spanish attack Beaufort and Brunswick. In the
so-called Spanish Alarm, they sack settlements before local militia can drive
People of German descent begin migrating in large numbers from Pennsylvania and
resettle throughout the western Piedmont.
James Davis installs North Carolina’s first printing press in New Bern. His
first publications are government documents.
Squire Boone settles with his family, including his son Daniel, near present-day
Armed conflicts arise between the Cherokee and colonists, who continue to expand
areas of settlement further into the western part of the colony.
James Davis begins publishing the North Carolina Gazette, the colony’s
first newspaper, in New Bern. He also prints North Carolina’s first book,
A Collection of All the Public Acts of
Assembly, of the Province of North Carolina, Now in Force and Use.
The first monthly meeting of Friends (Quakers) in central North Carolina begins
in Alamance County.
Orange County is established in an area of heavy immigration. It encompasses all
or parts of the present-day counties of Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham,
Guilford, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, and Wake. Its county seat,
Hillsborough, will become known as the “capital of the backwoods.”
Moravians from Pennsylvania purchase a 100,000-acre tract in present-day Forsyth
County from Earl Granville. They name the area Wachovia, which means “peaceful
valley.” They establish the settlement of Bethabara in November.
The colony reports exports of pitch, tar, and turpentine at 84,012 barrels.
The French and Indian War is fought between England and France all along the
frontier of North America. North Carolina troops serve both in North Carolina
and in other colonies.
Salisbury is founded as the county seat of Rowan County, created from Anson
County in 1753 to accommodate increasing numbers of German and Scots-Irish
settlers in the area.
The Reverend Shubal Stearns leads a group of 15 Separate Baptists from
Connecticut to Orange County and establishes Sandy Creek Baptist Church, the
“mother of Southern Baptist churches.”
The Indian population in eastern North Carolina is estimated at around 356. Most
of these are Tuscarora who have not moved north.
The colonial governor approves a proposal to establish an Indian academy in
present-day Sampson County.
October 14: The assembly awards a contract for the first postal service to James
Davis, public printer. Davis is authorized to “forward public dispatches to all
parts of the province.”
Fort Dobbs, built near Statesville to house settlers during times of war, is
completed. The Moravians build a fort around the village of Bethabara.
North Carolina militia and Cherokee assist the British military in campaigns
against the French and Shawnee Indians. The Cherokee decide to change sides
after receiving ill treatment by the English, and they return home, where they
eventually attack North Carolina colonists.
The Moravians establish Bethania in present-day Forsyth County.
The French and Indian War intensifies as the Cherokee raid the western Piedmont.
Refugees crowd into the fort at Bethabara. Typhus kills many refugees and
A second smallpox epidemic devastates the Catawba tribe, reducing the population
An act of assembly permits North Carolinians serving against Indian allies of
the French to enslave captives.
February: Cherokee attack Fort Dobbs and white settlements near Bethabara and
along the Yadkin and Dan Rivers.
June: An army of British regulars and American militia under Colonel Archibald
Montgomerie destroys Cherokee villages and saves the Fort Prince George garrison
in South Carolina but is defeated by the Cherokee at Echoe.
August: Cherokee capture Fort Loudoun in Tennessee and massacre the garrison.
June: An army of British regulars, American militia, and Catawba and Chickasaw
Indians under Colonel James Grant defeats the Cherokee and destroys 15 villages,
ending Cherokee resistance.
December: The Cherokee sign a treaty ending their war with the American
King George III issues a proclamation that demarcates the western edge of
settlement. This “proclamation line” through western North Carolina is meant to
separate the Native Americans and the colonists.
A group of white men from Edgecombe, Granville, and Northampton Counties
petitions the General Assembly to repeal a 1723 law that heavily taxes free
African Americans upon marriage. The petitioners state that the tax leaves
blacks and mixed-race people “greatly impoverished and many of them rendered
unable to support themselves and families with the common necessaries of life.”
February: The Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years’ War in Europe and the French
and Indian War in North America.
The New Bern Academy, chartered by the assembly, opens. The academy receives
support from the church and a provisional tax: in return for the tax revenue,
the school will educate 10 poor children without charge. The academy will
operate until it is incorporated into the New Bern public school system in the
1920s. It is the oldest public-supported educational institution in North
Parliament passes the Stamp Act. It requires that paper items such as licenses,
playing cards, wallpaper, newspapers, pamphlets, and almanacs be stamped with a
tax. Colonial assemblies protest.
October: Two public protests over the Stamp Act take place in Wilmington. After
November 1, with no stamped paper available, ships cannot clear North Carolina,
and newspapers cease publication. Governor Tryon reports that “all Civil
Government is now at a stand.”
The Moravians establish Salem in present-day Forsyth County.
The North Carolina Assembly appropriates £5,000 for the construction of a
governor’s mansion in New Bern. Previously, the seat of government has not been
permanent but has moved up and down the coast with the governor. The assembly,
controlled by wealthy coastal landowners, chooses New Bern over Hillsborough,
the site preferred by residents of the backcountry.
February: North Carolina “Sons of Liberty” offer armed resistance to the Stamp
Act at Brunswick. They coerce officials to reopen the port.
March: The Stamp Act is repealed.
The Reverend David Caldwell opens a school, later known as Caldwell’s Log
College, in present-day Guilford County. The school, which serves as an academy,
a junior college, and a theological seminary, becomes the most important one in
the colony. It is coeducational and eventually instructs approximately 50 to 60
students per year.
Construction of the governor’s residence at New Bern begins under the direction
of Governor William Tryon. It becomes known as Tryon’s Palace because of its
Chowan County Courthouse, now the oldest standing courthouse in the state, is
constructed in Edenton.
Parliament passes the Townshend Act, which imposes duties on imported glass,
paper, lead, pigments, and tea. Calls to boycott these goods circulate
throughout the colonies.
March 15: Andrew Jackson, the future seventh president of the United States, is
born in or near Union County. The precise place of his birth is in dispute.
Farmers in Orange County organize the Regulator movement, which spreads to
surrounding counties. The movement protests excessive taxation and abuses by
public officials. Edmund Fanning is considered the most corrupt official. Herman
Husband and William Butler lead the protest. Over the next two years, the
Regulator movement gains strength in the Piedmont.
A committee of the assembly votes to join other colonies in a “nonimportation
association” and to vow that after January 1770, no “slaves, wine, nor goods of
British manufacture” will come into the colony.
Tryon’s Palace is completed in New Bern.
Regulators storm the Hillsborough Superior Court and assault several public
officials, including Edmund Fanning. The assembly passes reform measures
designed to address some of the Regulators’ concerns. It also passes the
Johnston Riot Act, authorizing the governor to put down the Regulators by
military force if necessary.
Iron is being mined and ironworks are established on Troublesome Creek, in
present-day Rockingham County.
The assembly charters Queen’s College in Charlotte as the colony’s first
full-fledged college. A bill to collect taxes to support the college passes, and
classes begin before the colony learns that King George III refuses to approve
the charter. The Crown does not approve of the college because most of the
pupils will be Presbyterians or Dissenters of some sort rather than members of
the Church of England.
May 16: North Carolina militiamen under the command of Governor Tryon defeat the
Regulators at the Battle of Alamance in Orange County, ending the Regulator
Joseph Pilmoor preaches the first Methodist sermon in the colony at Currituck
Approximately 4,000 Highland Scots arrive to settle along the Cape Fear River,
bringing the total Scottish population in the colony to 20,000.
September 25: Frontiersman Daniel Boone leaves his Yadkin River home to begin
December 16: The Boston Tea Party takes place in Massachusetts.
Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald, who helped Prince Charles Edward Stuart
(Bonnie Prince Charlie) escape from British forces in 1746, immigrates to North
Carolina. In accord with her forced oath to the Crown, she remains a staunch
Loyalist during the Revolutionary War. Her husband is captured by Patriots early
in the war, and she returns to Scotland in 1779.
August: The First Provincial Congress meets in New Bern. It adopts a resolution
criticizing the acts and policies of the British government. In addition, the
members adopt a nonimportation and nonexportation agreement and elect delegates
to the First Continental Congress.
August 4: Rowan County freeholders adopt resolutions opposing Crown taxes and
duties, favoring restrictions on imports from Great Britain, and objecting to
the “African trade.”
September–October: The First Continental Congress issues a “Declaration of
Rights and Grievances” against Great Britain.
October 25: The Edenton Tea Party takes place at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth
King. The 51 women in attendance resolve to support American independence.
North Carolina has a population estimated at 250,000, making it the fourth most
populous mainland British colony. Between 10 and 30 percent of the backcountry
population is of German descent, and most other white settlers in the region are
Scots-Irish. Eastern North Carolina is populated mostly by English colonists and
enslaved African Americans.
The Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (now Elizabethton, Tenn.), between Richard
Henderson of the Transylvania Company and the Cherokee people, is signed. It
opens for settlement the area from the Ohio River south to the Watauga
settlement. The Shawnee people, who inhabit the lands, refuse to accept the
terms of the treaty.
April 8: Royal governor Josiah Martin dissolves the last North Carolina colonial
April 19: The first battles of the American Revolution take place at Lexington
and Concord in Massachusetts.
May 24: Governor Martin goes from the capital at New Bern to Fort Johnson on the
Cape Fear River for safety.
May 31: A committee of citizens from Mecklenburg County meets at the courthouse
in Charlotte and adopts the Mecklenburg Declaration. The declaration protests
acts of the British government, voids all British authority in the colony until
abuses are corrected, and calls for the election of military officers by the
June 19: Patriots burn Fort Johnson on the Cape Fear, and Governor Martin
escapes to a British warship.
August 24: The North Carolina Provincial Congress declares that the people of
the colony will pay their due proportion of the expenses of training a
Continental army. The delegates appoint a committee to devise a system of
government for the province.
November–December: Virginia’s royal governor, the earl of Dunmore, calls upon
slaves, indentured servants, and other Loyalists to assist in suppressing the
rebellion of American colonists. Hundreds of African Americans from Virginia and
North Carolina join his Royal Ethiopian Regiment. At the Battle of Great Bridge,
Virginia and North Carolina colonials defeat Dunmore’s forces.
The first German Baptist (Dunker) congregation in the state forms near Muddy
Creek in present-day Forsyth County.
The Coharie, Catawba, and ancestors of the Lumbee join the Patriot cause; the
Cherokee decide to support the British.
Washington, N.C., becomes the first town in the United States named for George
Washington. Laid out in 1771, it was originally called Forks of the Tar River.
It will be incorporated in 1782.
The Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers) denounces slavery and appoints a
committee to aid Friends in emancipating their slaves. Forty slaves are freed,
but the courts declare them still enslaved and resell them.
The British recruit enslaved and free African Americans along the North Carolina
coast to form the Black Pioneers and Guides, a regiment of guides and laborers.
This unit serves throughout the Revolutionary War.
February 27: North Carolina Patriots defeat North Carolina Highland Scots
Loyalists at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge. The victory emboldens the
Patriots and prevents the Loyalists from reaching Wilmington, the site of a
planned rendezvous with a British naval expedition.
April 12: In the Halifax Resolves, the North Carolina Provincial Congress,
meeting at Halifax, authorizes North Carolina delegates to attend the
Continental Congress to “concur in independency.”
April 24: The Provincial Congress orders that a saltworks be established in
Carteret County for use in the cause of independence.
May–June: Cherokee village councils discuss going to war against the American
colonists. The Cherokee decide to fight, knowing that the consequences are
enormous. However, the Cherokee are fighting to protect the existence of their
society, so they ignore the overwhelming odds against them.
June: White settlements in Watauga and South Carolina are raided by the
Cherokee, allies of the British, who have promised to protect the Indians from
encroachments by colonial borders.
July 29–November: General Griffith Rutherford with 2,400 men invades Cherokee
country, destroying 32 towns and villages. Rutherford is joined by Colonel
Andrew Williamson with South Carolina troops and Colonel William Christian with
Virginians. This expedition breaks the power of the Cherokee and forces them to
sue for peace.
August 2: North Carolina’s Continental Congress representatives, Joseph Hewes,
William Hooper, and John Penn, sign the Declaration of Independence.
December 18: The Provincial Congress adopts the first North Carolina state
constitution and elects Richard Caswell as governor.
Halifax, Hillsborough, Fayetteville, Smithfield, and Tarboro serve at various
times as the state’s capital.
North Carolina recognizes settlements in what is
now Tennessee as Washington County, and in 1783 Davidson County, including
present-day Nashville, is formed in the Cumberland River valley.
The first paper mill in the state is built in Hillsborough to help reduce the
paper shortage brought on by the war.
April: An exodus of British sympathizers (mostly Highland Scots) to England,
Scotland, Canada, Nova Scotia, Florida, and the West Indies follows the
enactment of punitive laws by the assembly.
June–September: Some 90 men from Martin, Bertie, and Tyrrell Counties form a
conspiracy under the leadership of John Lewelling to resist North Carolina’s
militia draft and loyalty oath. The conspirators, some of them Loyalists, fear
that an independent state would lead to increased secularization of government,
the weakening of the Anglican Church, and increased influences from overseas
French-Catholic powers. The conspiracy is broken when Lewelling’s plans to start
a slave rebellion become known.
July 20: By the Treaty of Long Island of Holston, the Cherokee cede territory
east of the Blue Ridge and along the Watauga, Nolichucky, Upper Holston, and New
Rivers (the area east of present-day Kingsport and Greenville, Tenn.).
October 4: Brigadier General Francis Nash is mortally wounded while leading the
North Carolina Brigade at the Battle of Germantown, Pa.
A list of blacks in the Continental army shows that 58 African Americans served
in the North Carolina Brigade. According to some historians, at times as much as
one-tenth of George Washington’s Continental army consisted of African American
April 24: North Carolina ratifies the Articles of Confederation.
June 29: North Carolina Continentals in General Washington’s American army fight
in the Battle of Monmouth, N.J.
November 15: The Continental Congress adopts the Article of Confederation,
uniting the colonies in the war against Great Britain and toward a unified
December: North Carolina Continentals begin a harsh winter encampment as part of
General George Washington’s army at Valley Forge, Pa. They remain there until
December: African American John Chavis from Halifax County joins the Fifth
Virginia Regiment of the Continental army. Chavis remains in the army for three
years and will go on to become a prominent teacher and minister. In 1832 Chavis
will write to Senator Willie P. Mangum: “Tell them if I am Black I am free born
American & a revolutionary soldier & therefore ought not to be thrown out of the
scale of notice.”
November: North Carolina Continentals are transferred from Washington’s army to
General Benjamin Lincoln’s American army at Charlestown, S.C. They arrive there
in March 1780.
May 12: The British capture Charlestown, S.C., and a large American army. Among
those who surrender are 815 Continental troops and 600 militia from North
Carolina. Loyalists across the backcountry are emboldened as the British army
approaches North Carolina, and significant Loyalist groups form in Anson, Rowan,
Tryon, and Surry counties. Local Patriot forces defeat most of them, but 800 men
under the command of Samuel Bryan reach the main British army.
June 20: In the Battle of Ramseur’s Mill, near present-day Lincolnton, North
Carolina Patriots defeat North Carolina Loyalists who are attempting to join
British commander Lord Cornwallis’s approaching army.
July: North Carolina partisans defeat Loyalists in three small battles in the
western Piedmont of North and South Carolina.
August 16: The new American commander of the South, General Horatio Gates, and
his army, including 1,200 North Carolina militia, are surprised and defeated at
the Battle of Camden, S.C. North Carolina general Griffith Rutherford is
captured, and 400 North Carolinians are killed.
September: The town of Charlotte defends itself against approaching British
troops. The ferocity of resistance causes Cornwallis to call the area a
October 7: Americans defeat Loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain, just
south of the North Carolina–South Carolina border. This battle ends Cornwallis’s
first invasion of North Carolina.
December 2: General Nathanael Greene takes command of the American army at
North Carolina enacts legislation that provides lands in present-day Tennessee
to Revolutionary War veterans.
Bishop Francis Asbury preaches Methodism throughout the state.
January–February: After a futile chase across North Carolina, known as the Race
to the Dan, Cornwallis does not catch the American army led by Greene.
Cornwallis occupies Hillsborough, hoping that local Loyalists will join him, but
January–November: British troops occupy Wilmington. From there British and
Loyalists conduct raids into the countryside. Cornelius Harnett, a signer of the
Declaration of Independence, is captured, and New Bern is raided.
January 17: A British force under Colonel Banastre Tarleton attacks Americans
under General Daniel Morgan at Cowpens, S.C., but is badly defeated.
February 25: En route to join Cornwallis’s army near Burlington, a force of some
400 Loyalists led by Colonel John Pyle is massacred by Patriots. This event
becomes known as Pyle’s Hacking Match.
March 15: The largest armed conflict in North Carolina during the war, the
Battle of Guilford Courthouse, results in a costly narrow victory for
Cornwallis’s British troops. Cornwallis retreats to Cross Creek (present-day
Fayetteville) and then to Wilmington. His army marches north and occupies
Halifax briefly before moving into Virginia.
May–June: A bloody civil war between Loyalists and Whigs erupts in eastern and
central North Carolina. It becomes known as the Tory War. Loyalist successes
during the confrontations end with the British evacuation of Wilmington later in
September 12: Loyalist troops under the leadership of David Fanning capture
Governor Thomas Burke at Hillsborough and set out to take him to Wilmington.
September 13: Whig forces attack Fanning’s army in an attempt to free Governor
Burke and other prisoners. The Battle of Lindley’s Mill, which results from this
attack, is one of the largest military engagements in North Carolina during the
war. Fanning is injured, but his column continues. Burke is given over to the
British, who imprison him at Charlestown, S.C.
October: North Carolina militia under General Rutherford sweep through the Cape
Fear region clearing out Tory opposition. As they reach Wilmington, the British
abandon the city.
October 19: Cornwallis surrenders a large British force at Yorktown, Va.,
effectively ending large-scale hostilities. North Carolina Loyalists are among
those who surrender.
May: David Fanning escapes from North Carolina, marking the end of the Tory War
in the state.
November: The British evacuate Charlestown. With them go more than 800 North
Carolina Loyalist soldiers (some will later be joined by their families) and
perhaps as many as 5,000 African Americans, many of them runaway slaves from
North and South Carolina. Some of the Loyalists go to England, but most disperse
to other British possessions, including Florida, Bermuda, Jamaica, Nova Scotia,
New Brunswick, and Ontario.
Despite the Indian treaty of 1777 fixing the boundary at the foot of the Blue
Ridge, the assembly declares lands open for settlement as far west as the Pigeon
The North Carolina General Assembly passes the Act of Pardon and Oblivion,
offering amnesty to some North Carolinians who remained loyal to Britain during
the Revolution. Many notable Loyalists, such as David Fanning, do not receive
amnesty. The state continues to sell confiscated Loyalist property until 1790.
Cross Creek, which merged with Campbellton in 1778, is renamed Fayetteville in
honor of the marquis de Lafayette, a French general who helped Americans win the
June 18: Governor Alexander Martin proclaims July 4 “a day of Solemn
Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” This is the earliest known proclamation of the
observance of July 4 as Independence Day.
September 3: Great Britain and the United States sign a treaty that officially
ends the American Revolution and recognizes the independence of the former
Methodist circuit riders, or traveling preachers, cover the North Carolina
backcountry. Some Methodists are “Republican Methodists” who denounce slavery,
and many circuit riders bar slaveholders from communion.
The State of Franklin secedes from western North Carolina, but Congress refuses
to recognize it. Statehood by Franklin collapses.
April 19: The first North Carolina conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church
takes place in Louisburg.
November 28: By the Treaty of Hopewell, S.C., the Cherokee cede additional
territory reaching to a line east of present-day Marshall, Asheville, and
Henderson. They also cede a strip along the south bank of the Cumberland River
in present-day middle Tennessee. The treaty delineates the boundaries of
December 29: The General Assembly enacts a law requiring free and enslaved
African Americans to wear badges in the towns of Edenton, Fayetteville,
Washington, and Wilmington. A slave must wear a leaden or pewter badge in a
conspicuous place. A free black must wear a cloth badge on his or her left
shoulder with the word free in capital letters.
In Bayard v. Singleton, Elizabeth Bayard attempts to recover property
confiscated because her father was a Loyalist. Spyers Singleton has purchased
the property from the state. Judges declare the Confiscation Act, passed by the
General Assembly during the American Revolution, unconstitutional. The decision
is the first in the United States to declare an act passed by a legislature as
contrary to a written constitution.
The banjo, an African musical instrument, is first mentioned in a journal by a
visitor to Tarboro.
After a period of study in Salisbury, Andrew Jackson, future seventh president
of the United States, is admitted to the bar in Rowan County.
September 17: William Blount, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and Hugh Williamson sign
the United States Constitution for North Carolina.
North Carolina lawyers Andrew Jackson and Colonel Waightstill Avery engage in a
duel in Jonesboro, now in Tennessee. Neither man is injured, and they leave the
field as friends.
The assembly encourages ironworks by offering 3,000 acres of vacant land for
each set of works placed in operation.
August 2: Delegates to the constitutional convention at Hillsborough,
unsatisfied with the document’s lack of a bill of rights to ensure personal
freedoms, protest by choosing to neither ratify nor reject the United States
August 15: The assembly orders the state capital located within 10 miles of
Isaac Hunter’s plantation in Wake County.
August 26: An iron mine and forge operate in Lincoln County.
November: The Synod of the Carolinas of the Presbyterian Church forms at Centre
Church in Iredell County.
John Wallace and John Gray Blount establish a “lightering” complex at Ocracoke
Inlet. It includes warehouses, docks, a gristmill, a chandlery, and a
lighthouse—the first on the coast. The area will become known as Shell Castle
Island and Harbor.
November 21: The convention at Fayetteville votes to accept the United States
Constitution, which now contains the Bill of Rights, making North Carolina the
12th state to ratify.
December 11: The state’s first university, called for under the 1776
constitution, is chartered.
December 22: North Carolina’s western lands are ceded to the United States,
forming what will become the state of Tennessee.
The federal government takes the first census of the United States.
North Carolina Census Data
Free white persons 288,204
All other free persons 4,975
Henry Evans, a free black shoemaker and Methodist minister, is credited with
starting the Methodist church in Fayetteville.
The Dismal Swamp Canal, designed to connect the Chesapeake Bay with the
Albemarle Sound, is chartered.
February 10: President George Washington appoints North Carolinian James Iredell
a justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Wilmington exports about 3,000 hogsheads of flaxseed. Flax and hemp are
important in the economy of backcountry farms.
April–June: George Washington visits several North Carolina towns on his
July 2: The Cherokee sign the Treaty of Holston, by which they cede a 100-mile
tract of land in exchange for goods and an annuity of $1,000.
Joel Lane sells 1,000 acres of land on his Wake County plantation as the site of
North Carolina’s new capital. The city is named Raleigh after Sir Walter
Approximately 1,200 African Americans living in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,
many formerly from the Carolinas, resettle in Sierra Leone, Africa. Former North
Carolina slave Thomas Peters leads the party. Peters left his Wilmington-area
plantation in 1776 to join the Black Pioneers and eventually attained the rank
of sergeant in the regiment.
Eli Whitney invents the first commercially successful cotton gin near Savannah,
Ga. The cotton gin eventually changes the agricultural face of North Carolina by
making cotton a profitable cash crop.
Work begins on the Dismal Swamp Canal, which will link South Mills in Camden
County with waterways in Virginia. Constructed with slave labor, the canal is
the oldest man-made waterway in the United States.
April 22: President George Washington issues a proclamation of neutrality to
keep the United States out of war between France and Great Britain, establishing
a policy of noninterference in European conflicts.
August: A group of dissenters from the Methodist Episcopal Church, led by North
Carolinian James O’Kelly, forms the southern Christian Church in Surry County,
Va. The denomination will evolve into the present-day United Church of Christ.
December 30: The General Assembly convenes for the first time at the new State
House in Raleigh.
January 15: The University of North Carolina opens its doors in Chapel Hill. It
is the first state university in the nation to open for students.
November 2: James Knox Polk, future 11th president of the United States, is born
John Fulenwider founds the High Shoals Ironworks in present-day Gaston County.
The Bald Head Lighthouse, the state’s first permanent lighthouse, is erected in
Brunswick County. In 1817 it will be replaced by the current structure, which
will operate until 1935.
The Buncombe County Courthouse and the village around it are renamed Asheville
in honor of Governor Samuel Ashe.
Because of an aversion to increased taxation, public lotteries, authorized by
the assembly, are a popular way of raising funds for academies, churches,
bridges, canals, and other public works. Between 1797 and 1825, the state
lotteries raise $150,000 for educational purposes alone.
North Carolina–born William Blount, a United States senator from Tennessee,
becomes the only member of Congress to be impeached by the House. He is
impeached for conspiring with the British to launch a military expedition of
frontiersmen and Indians to help Great Britain take New Orleans, La., and
Florida away from Spain. The Senate expels Blount and later dismisses the
The General Assembly takes a stand against the Alien and Sedition Acts, which
allow the federal government to jail or deport individuals who speak out against
the president or Congress.
October 2: By the Treaty of Tellico, the Cherokee cede a triangular area with
its points near Indian Gap, east of present-day Brevard, and southeast of
Gold is discovered on John Reed’s farm in Cabarrus County, starting North
Carolina’s gold rush. North Carolina becomes the primary supplier of gold for
the United States until 1849.
Joseph Rice kills the last bison, or buffalo, seen in the Asheville area.
May 20–June 28: The North Carolina–Tennessee boundary is first surveyed.
December: North Carolinian Alfred Moore is appointed a justice of the United
States Supreme Court.
December 16: The North Carolina Medical Society holds its first meeting in
Raleigh. The organization will continue until 1804.
Visit Us On FaceBook!
President Barack Obama's
Allred Family Info
Carolina Allreds in the 1750's
Allreds in the