Thomas Person, who died in November, 1799, at the home of his sister, Mrs. Tom Taylor, in Franklin County, was a native of Granville. He was distinguished for his enterprise, his devotion to the cause of liberty, the foe of oppression, and the friend of the down trodden and persecuted.
He sympathized deeply with the Regulators, suffering from the oppressive measures of the public officers. I find in the journals of the Colonial Assembly in the Public Records, in London, as follows:
"1770, December 6, Mr. Husbands presented a petition of the in habitants of Orange County, complaining of sundry grievances; and praying for relief.
"Mr. Person presented a
petition from the inhabitants of Bute County, complaining of the many
For this independent course General Person received severe treatment from General Tryon; and was for a time confined in prison, and at other times in prison bounds or on his parole. When on parole, he boarded at the house of Rev. Mr. Micklejohn, who preached in Hillsboro. Soon after the battle of Alamance, six of the Regulators were hanged by order of Tryon, in sight of the Court House.
At one time his life was in eminent peril from the choleric Tryon, who in 1771 issued his proclamation offering pardon to those who would come in and take the oath of allegiance to the King, except Thomas Person, and some others.
The reverend divine, on one occasion, in regard to his prisoner, is said to have dodged the truth, or clearly equivocated. It was suspected that the general had broken his parole by passing the bounds of Hillsboro. In fact he had much money and bonds at his home at Goshen, exposed to marauders and thieves. With the connivance of his friend, at night, he mounted his fleet mare, rode to Goshen, secured his valuables in a brick kiln, and returned by dawn of day to Hillsboro. The officers of Tryon demanded of the parson: "If General Person had not left his prison bonds the night before." "I supped and breakfasted with the general," was the delphic reply.
The University Magazine, IV., 250, says:
"A faithful biographical sketch of the Reverend George Micklejohn is greatly to be desired. He resided in Hillsboro before and many years after the revolution. On the first attempt at organization of the university in 1794, he among others was named for the presidency."
Bishop Meade in his work "Old Churches, Ministers and Families in Virginia" states that "the successor of the Reverend John Cameron, (father of Judge Duncan Cameron) as the rector of Cumberland Parish in Virginia, at his death 1815, was the Reverend John Micklejohn, but not as the regular minister. He was then at an advanced age, and probably died there."
But severe as his trials were, General Person was ready to take up arms in 1774, for the cause of the people and against the powers of royalty.
He was a member from Granville, in 1774, of the first colonial assembly that met at New Berne, in open defiance of the royal governor. He was also a member of the provincial congress that met at Halifax, April 15, 1776, and again on November 12th following, which body formed the constitution, and with Cornelius Harnett and others was appointed one of the council of state. This proves the confidence entertained for his patriotism and integrity.
He was elected to the first legislature under the constitution (1777,) and continued in the service of the people, enjoying their regard
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