A Student of History

October 2, 2007

Caswell Honored by NC

Filed under: Early America,NC History — John Maass @ 6:49 am

Back in the late 1700s when North Carolina was still an unsettled wilderness dotted with a few small settlements and its capitol was moving from place to place, Richard Caswell was elected governor a record five times, more than any other in the state’s history. A Revolutionary War hero who walked with Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, Caswell is now known as the “Father of the State.” To honor him as well as recall NC early history, the CSS Neuse/Richard Caswell Memorial State Historic Site in Kinston opened new exhibits on the governor, Revolutionary War hero, and Kinston’s founder on August 17th.

Caswell was born in Harford (now Baltimore) County, Md., August 3, 1729, and moved to North Carolina in 1746.  Appointed deputy surveyor of the colony in 1750 and clerk of the court of Orange County 1752-1754, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1754 in Hillsboro, N.C.  He was a member of the colonial house of delegates 1754-1771, and served as speaker the last two years. Caswell commanded the right wing of Governor Tryon’s army at the Battle of Alamance in 1771.  He served in the state’s militia during the Revolutionary War, was a Member of the Continental Congress in 1774-1775 and commanded the patriots at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, North Carolina, on February 23, 1776.  Was also delegate to the State constitutional convention and its president in 1776; Governor of North Carolina 1776-1780; commanded the North Carolina troops at the Battle of Camden in 1780; comptroller general in 1782; member of the State senate 1782-1784 and served as speaker; again elected Governor in 1785 and served until 1787; appointed delegate from North Carolina to the convention that framed the Federal Constitution in 1787, but did not attend; member of the State convention at Fayetteville, N.C., that adopted the Federal Constitution in 1789; member and speaker of the State house of commons in 1789 and served until his death in Fayetteville, N.C., November 10, 1789; interment in the family cemetery on his estate near Kinston, Lenoir County, N.C. 

For more information contact Guy Smith at (252) 522-2091 or Mary Cook at (919) 733-7862.


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