The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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many yet residing in Edenton. How proud may they be of so glowing a record!

        The patriotism of the men was equalled by the self denial of the women.

        There was brought from Gibraltar, many years ago, a lovely painting of "a meeting of the ladies of Edenton destroying the tea, their favorite beverage, when taxed by the English Parliament." I saw this picture in the hands of Mr. Manning in 1830.

        The following record is from Force's American Archives:

        "As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that affects the peace and happiness of our county, and as it has been thought necessary for the public good to enter into several particular resolves by a meeting of the deputies of the whole province, it is a duty we owe, not only to ourselves, but to our near and dear relations, to do everything as far as lies in our power to testify to our sincere adherence to the same; we, therefore, do subscribe this paper as a witness to our fixed intention and solemn determination."

        Signed by fifty-six ladies of Edenton, North Carolina, October 25th, 1774.

        There are but few sections of the states in in which have resided men more illustrious for ability, or who have written their names more indelibly in the history of their country.

        Among the first of these is Samuel Johnston; born 1733, died 1816. He was a native of Dundee, Scotland, the son of John Johnston and Helen Serymsour. His father in 1736, followed Gabriel Johnston, who was his brother, and who was in 1834 the governor of the province of North Carolina, and after whom Johnstone County is called. He died July 17th, 1752.

        He was a Scotchman by birth, a man of liberal views, and a physician by profession. He married Penelope, the only child of Governor Eden, and his grandson, William Johnstone Dawson, distinguished for his acquirements and talents, in 1793 represented the Edenton district in congress, and with Willie Jones, Joseph McDowell, Thomas Blount and James Martin, was on the committee in 1791 to fix a permanent place for the seat of government. He died in 1798; an event universally regretted.

        John, his brother, was appointed surveyor-general of the province, and settled in Onslow County, whilst the subject of this sketch was yet an infant. His advantages of education were the best the country afforded. He studied law in Edenton, under Thomas Barker, and resided at Hays, near Edenton. When only nineteen he was appointed one of the clerks of the superior court for the district, and afterwards deputy naval officer for the port.

        Although holding this position, he was the ardent and unflinching advocate of the rights of the people.

        In 1773, he was appointed with Caswell, Harnett and Hooper a committee of correspondence with the other colonies on the subject of the conduct of England towards the colonies.

        In a dispatch from Governor Martin to the Earl of Dartmouth, of September 1st, 1774, he thus speaks of the influence and the character of Mr. Johnston:

        "I have known the general assembly to sacrifice everything to a faction.

        "Four of them, namely Currituck, Perquimons, Pasquotank and Chowan, send each five members; Tyrell, Bertie and Martin send eight, besides one for Edenton. These are always led by a man or two. They are now absolutely under the guidance of a Mr. Johnstone, who is deputy naval officer, and was one of the clerks of the superior courts while they existed in the province, who, under the prejudices of a New England education, is by no means a friend of the government, having taken a foremost part in all the late opposition, joined with the Southern interest, which at present supports a Mr. Ashe.

        "Your lordship will not be surprised to hear that the people of this province have followed the example of the rest of the continent in
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