Tag Archives: American Revolution

New Digital Collection: The General Assembly Session Records


Session of November-December, 1768: Lower House Papers, messages to and from Governor Tryon. Available online through the NC Digital Collections.

The General Assembly Session Records collection is now available online via the North Carolina Digital Collections. This collection features records of early North Carolina state legislatures from the State Archives of North Carolina. The documents consist of bills and resolutions, petitions, committee reports, messages from the governor, legislative messages, tally sheets, election certificates, resignations, and other material related to the work of each session of the General Assembly. The physical collection includes items from 1709 through 1999, but the digital collection will focus on the earliest materials. This digital collection is currently in progress, and more items will be added as they are digitized. Check back for future updates on the status of this project.

While the first official assembly was said to occur around 1665, it wasn’t until 1776 that the first state constitution was ratified by the “representatives of the freemen” and the General Assembly was given full legislative power as well as the authority to choose all state executive and judicial officers. Several amendments have been made to the state’s constitution over time, which has altered the powers and structure of the General Assembly.

For more information on the history of the North Carolina General Assembly, please check out these NCpedia pages developed by the State Library:

Other resources:

For more information on the General Assembly Session Records collection, please search our MARS catalog. Another digital collection of interest includes the Federal State and Constitutional Materials, which highlight North Carolina government’s role in the ratification of federal amendments and its own internal efforts to protect the rights of its citizens dating back to the Declaration of Rights in 1776.


Liberty or Death! Finding Revolutionary War Era Sources at the State Archives of North Carolina


On October 8, 2016, join the staff of the State Archives for a day-long educational opportunity focused on researching in Revolutionary War era records at the State Archives of North Carolina. The event will last from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm, include talks on six different record series and an overview, have a catered lunch break and be held in the auditorium of the library and archives building at 109 East Jones Street.

Registration by mail until September 23, 2016.  The registration fee is $20.00 for the general public and $18.00 for members of the Friends of the Archives.

The lectures are part of National Archives week and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources It’s Revolutionary! programming.

For registration flyers and more information contact the Archives at 919-807-7310.


Registration form

State Library and Archives Building — Auditorium

109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Saturday, October 8, 2016

9:00 am — 9:30 am

Check-in:  Coffee and snacks by The Friends of the Archives, Inc.

9:30 am — 9:35 am


9:35 am —10:00 am

Revolutionary War North Carolina overview: Vann Evans

10:00 am — 10:45 am

County Records: Josh Hager

10:45 am — 11:00 am

Break: Sponsored by The Friends of the Archives, Inc.

11:00 am —11:45 am

Secretary of State and General Assembly Session Records: Doug Brown

11:45 am — 12:30 pm

Treasurer and Comptroller’s Records: Alison Thurman

12:30 pm —1:30 pm

Lunch catered by Pharaoh’s at the Museum

1:30 pm — 2:15 pm

Military Collection: Matthew Peek

2:15 pm — 3:00 pm

Private Collections: Debbi Blake

3:00 pm — 3:30 pm

English and British Archives: Vann Evans

3:30 pm — 3:45 pm

Questions and finis



Exhibit about North Carolina’s Revolutionary Politics and Signers of the Declaration of Independence

[This blog post was written by Donna Kelly, Head of the Special Collections Section.]

The Surry County Committee of Safety journal which reads both "Liberty or Death" and "God Save the King"

The Surry County Committee of Safety journal not only condemned British policies, but also declared loyalty to the Crown. To illustrate this paradox, the words “Liberty or Death” were printed in a circle surrounding “God Save the King.” From the State Archives of North Carolina (Secretary of State Records, Committees of Safety, MARS Id: 12.112).

A one-day special exhibit of documents from the State Archives will be displayed at Tryon Palace on Saturday, June 4, 2016. It focuses on North Carolina’s revolutionary politics and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Among significant documents to be displayed are Josiah Martin’s speech denouncing the Second Provincial Congress, the General Assembly’s response, an excerpt from a Surry County committee of safety journal, and a letter delivering news of America’s newfound status as an independent state. Also included is a document signed by all three delegates, just over a month after they signed the Declaration of Independence.

Leading up to the American Revolution, tensions were growing between the British government and the American colonies. At a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia an economic boycott against Great Britain was instituted and local committees of safety were set up to enforce it. In North Carolina, Provincial Congresses were held despite their denunciation by the royal governor, Josiah Martin. He dissolved the General Assembly on April 8, 1775, hoping to quell growing resistance to British rule, but he was unsuccessful.

Fifth page of the Halifax Resolves

The fifth page of the Halifax Resolves reads: “Resolved that the delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be impowered to concur with the other delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency . . .” From the State Archives of North Carolina (Secretary of State Records, Provincial Conventions and Congresses, MARS Id: 12.114).

After the violence at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts in April of 1775, and later the Patriot victory at Moore’s Creek Bridge in February of 1776, it became a foregone conclusion that any reconciliation between Great Britain and America was futile. As a result, the Halifax Resolves were adopted by the Fourth Provincial Congress on April 12, 1776, marking the first official action by a colony to declare independence. This date appears on the North Carolina state flag.

On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted that the American colonies were independent states. On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It was signed by William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and John Penn, delegates from North Carolina.

For more details see http://www.tryonpalace.org/events/it%E2%80%99s-revolutionary-documents-state-archives-north-carolina.


Stamp Act Rebellion Documents from 1760s on Exhibit Feb. 18 at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

[This blog post comes from the Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources – you can find other news related to NC Natural and Cultural Resources here.]

Small image with a skull and crossbones and the words This is the Place to affix the STAMPA precursor to the Revolutionary War, the Stamp Act Rebellion of 1765 at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson resulted from anger and resentment directed toward the British Crown. Unfair taxes and regulation led to the Stamp Act Resistance, the first successful armed rebellion against British authority in America.

Original, rare documents from the period will be exhibited Feb. 18, by the State Archives at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources before they go on loan to Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site for the 250th Anniversary of Stamp Act Resistance in North Carolina on February 20.

Documents exhibited include articles from the “North Carolina Gazette” of 1765, articles from the “London Chronicle” of 1766, and a document signed by all North Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence. The exhibit will be open February 18 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the DNCR building at 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh.

The document exhibition and event at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson are part of the DNCR’s It’s Revolutionary! commemoration of early North Carolina history.

The State Archives and 2016 Exhibit Partnerships

[This blog post was written by Sarah Koonts, Director of Archives and Records for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

One of the exciting things about working in a department with great art, historical, library, and natural resources is the opportunity to create lively, dimensional, and enhanced programming for the public. The State Archives is pleased to announce that in 2016 we are partnering with the State Historic Sites Division and other divisions to exhibit some valuable and unique items from our collections at selected sites across the state. With a focus on early state history we are celebrating It’s Revolutionary! and other events with materials related to North Carolina’s original state constitutions, federal constitution, and Revolutionary War. We’ll update this blog, our Facebook page, and the ncculture.com calendar to reflect these special exhibitions.

Close-up of a portion of the Nov. 20, 1765 issue of the North Carolina Gazette

Portion of the Nov. 20, 1765 issue of the North Carolina Gazette.

Join us for the inaugural exhibit on February 20 at Brunswick Town State Historic Site for their program on the 250th anniversary of Stamp Act resistance in North Carolina. Archival documents featured in this one-day exhibit include one signed by North Carolina’s signers of the Declaration of Independence; a North Carolina Gazette newspaper from November 20, 1765 that includes the iconic skull and cross bones stamp used to signify defiance of the Stamp Act; a London Chronicle newspaper of March 18, 1766 featuring an article about the Wilmington area resistance to the Stamp Act; and a February 11, 1768 letter from the Assembly of Massachusetts to the North Carolina General Assembly urging unity among the colonies in response to what they considered unjust economic policies of Great Britain toward America.

In addition, watch for the announcement of a new collection added to the North Carolina Digital Collections that will include the state constitution of 1776, Declaration of Rights, state constitution of 1868, as well as amendments to the 1868 constitution. This online collection also will contain images of North Carolina’s recorded copy of the federal constitution, as well as our copies of federal constitutional amendments.

We hope you will be as excited as we are to view some of the documents that capture the sentiment of a people who united against the status quo to help found a new nation. I hope the resources of the State Archives enhance the learning experience for in-person and online visitors alike.

New Collection in North Carolina Digital Collections

Good news for American Revolutionary War researchers and enthusiasts, a new collection has just been added to the North Carolina Digital Collections.

The new collection is called Governors’ Papers, Historical, and contains early North Carolina Governors’ correspondence, beginning in April 1777. We are introducing this collection with correspondence of North Carolina’s first two Governors, Richard Caswell and Abner Nash.

Richard Caswell was the first Governor of North Carolina under the United States Constitution of 1776. His first administration began in April 1777 and he was subsequently re-elected for three consecutive one year terms, the amount allowable under the Constitution at the time. For more information about Governor Caswell and his time as Governor of North Carolina see the online finding aid or read this article at the State Library’s NCPedia.

North Carolina’s second Governor was Abner Nash. His term as governor was from April 1780 through June 25, 1781. His term in office was a difficult time for the Southern states during the American Revolution. The British had gained a strong foothold in the South and depleted many of the state’s resources. For more about Abner Nash and his term as Governor of North Carolina see the online finding aid or read the article on him at NCPedia.

While compiling the metadata that is included in the Historical Governors’ papers digital collection, I was amazed at the historical significance that these documents have. The majority of these letters pertain to the founding of the United States government and the war effort during the American Revolution, including documents from the Continental Congress. There are many letters written by or to very prominent historical figures, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and John Adams just to name a few. There are also many letters from prominent North Carolina historical figures. I have included a list of many of these individuals and an accompanying NCpedia links at the end of this post for your perusal.

The addition of these documents to our online collection will enable educators, researchers and history lovers throughout our state to easily utilize primary source documents to teach and learn more about the American Revolution and the foundation of our government.

The NCpedia biographies of prominent North Carolinians found in the papers of Governors Caswell and Nash are listed below.
Ashe, John: http://ncpedia.org/biography/ashe-john
Ashe, Samuel: http://ncpedia.org/biography/ashe-samuel
Avery, Waighstill: http://ncpedia.org/biography/avery-waightstill
Blount, Jacob: http://ncpedia.org/biography/blount-jacob
Burke, Thomas: http://ncpedia.org/biography/burke-thomas
Clark, Thomas: http://ncpedia.org/biography/clark-thomas
Cornell, Samuel: http://ncpedia.org/biography/cornell-samuel
Cray, William, Sr.: http://ncpedia.org/biography/cray-william-sr
Davidson, William Lee,: http://ncpedia.org/biography/davidson-william-lee
Dry, William: http://ncpedia.org/biography/dry-william-iii
Gilchrist, Thomas: http://ncpedia.org/biography/gilchrist-thomas (Good story that goes with his name and this document)
Gillespie, James: http://ncpedia.org/biography/gillespie-james
Gorrell, Ralph: http://ncpedia.org/biography/gorrell-ralph
Gregory, Isaac: http://ncpedia.org/biography/gregory-isaac
Harget, Fredrick: http://ncpedia.org/biography/hargett-or-harget
Hinton, John: http://ncpedia.org/biography/hinton-john
Hooper, William: http://ncpedia.org/biography/hooper-william
Houston, William Churchill: http://ncpedia.org/biography/houston-william-churchill
Howe, Robert: http://ncpedia.org/biography/howe-robert
Iredell, James: http://ncpedia.org/biography/iredell-james-sr
Irwin, Henry: http://ncpedia.org/biography/irwin-henry
Jarvis, Thomas: http://ncpedia.org/biography/governors/jarvis-thomas
Johnston, William: http://ncpedia.org/biography/johnston-william
Jones, Allen: http://ncpedia.org/biography/jones-allen