The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

Bookmark and Share

drama in which men and guns are subordinate appendages. He was a member of the Provincial Congress in November 1776, which met at Halifax, and formed the constitution of the state; and was the first speaker of the first House of Commons that ever sat in the state. He was speaker in the senate in 1779, and was elected governor at that session and served till 1781. In 1782 and '83, he represented Jones County. He was elected a member of the Continental Congress in 1781, in which he served till 1786. He died at New York while attending congress, December 2d, 1786.

        He married the widow of Governor Dobbs. He was the brother of General Francis Nash, and the father of Frederick Nash, late Judge of supreme court of North Carolina, sketches of whom may be found in the record of Orange County.

        Richard Dobbs Spaight, of North Carolina, born March 25th, 1758, died September 6th, 1802.

        He was born, lived and died in the town of New Berne. His family was distinguished in the early history of the country. His father was the secretary and clerk of the crown;*

        * Extract from Colonial Records in Rolls office, London; "Richard Spaight appointed secretary and clerk of the Crown."--"The general assembly prefer charges against Governor Dobbs, among them, that he had appointed his nephew, Richard Spaight, a paymaster in the army."

an office in dignity next to that of the governor. His mother was the sister of Arthur Dobbs, governor of the province from 1754 to 1766. He lost his parents at an early age. Blest with a sound mind in a sound body, his education was of the highest order. He was sent to Ireland, when only nine years of age, where he pursued his academic studies, his education being completed at the university of Glasgow. He returned to his native country in 1778, and found it involved in the fearful struggles of the revolutionary war, his immediate section was the scene of fierce and bloody conflict. His chivalrous temper caused him to volunteer his services to his country, and he was engaged in the disastrous battle of Camden, South Carolina, August 16th, 1780, as aid-de-camp to Governor Caswell. Although brave and enthusiastic, there were fields other than those of war, more suited to his genius, where his services and talents could be as beneficial to country's welfare and liberty, and in which men and arms are demanded, but not the most important elements of success. His countrymen appreciated this fact, and the next year, he was elected a member of the general assembly from the borough of New Berne, and re-elected in 1782 and 1783. By the latter body, he was elected a member of the Continental Congress, (which met at Annapolis on the 13th December, 1783,) with Benjamin Hawkins and Hugh Williamson as colleagues. The war had ended, and he witnessed the resignation by General Washington to that congress of his commission as commander - in - chief. The appreciation of the character and patriotism of Mr. Spaight, was evinced by being selected as one of "the committee of states;" in whom all the powers of the new government, (executive, legislative and judicial) were vested. When the convention was called to form the Constitution of the United States, which met at Philadelphia, (on May 14th, 1787,) he was elected a member. His name, with that of William Blount and Hugh Williamson, is appended to the constitution. He was a member of the state convention which met at Hillsboro, on July 21st, 1788, to consider the Federal Constitution, and advocated with all his energies its adoption. In this he was aided by such distinguished names as Samuel Johnston, James Iredell, William R. Davie, John Steele, Stephen Cabarrus and others.

        But the active opposition of Willie Jones, David Caldwell, Elisha Battle, C. Dowd, Griffith Rutherford, and others, caused its rejection,
Page 133 of 471
Index - Contents
Featured Books & CD-ROMS