The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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the writer, when all the organs of both body and mind were in their free and uncontrolled exercise. I mean the Declaration of Mecklenburg County, of May 19, 1775. A detail of facts with some collateral incidents (observed as above), will rest the matter upon a basis in which the rational mind may justly infer the authenticity and truth of the whole matter.

        In the month of either June or July, 1775, being in Salisbury at a court of Oyer, when the late Governor Martin as Judge, a gentleman, a citizen of Mecklenburg County, arrived in town, then on his way to Philadelphia, where Congress was then in session, as delegate or bearer of said Declaration from said county. His identity and business soon transpired, and as Salisbury was then inhabited by a number who were Loyalists or Tories, (to use the then new phrase) and timid Whigs, who had not embarked in the Revolutionary struggle, the bearer, who was a man of spirit, which he fully manifested in the subsequent struggle, was treated by the above persons as the tool of a precipitous and unenlightened mob, who were rushing headlong into an abyss where Congress had not dared to pass. This intemperance was, however, very suddenly arrested by a gentleman from the same county, who had entered with all his powers into the impending contest, and who offered to rest the propriety and justness of the proceedings, both of Mecklenburg and the delegate, upon a decision by the arm of flesh, with any one inclinable to abide the result. Matters were soon hushed and the Delegate retired to rest, and resumed the journey the next morning.

        In the autumn of the year 1776, the writer being one of the number who composed the college, or academy of the Queen's Museum, lived with a brother, Dr. Ephraim Brevard, into whose possession the letters, orations, and other exercises (usual in such institutions), were handed over for wrapping paper and other uses in his professional line. My curiosity frequently led me to ransack and examine the several contents for aid and assistance in my own task, when I came across a Declaration of Independence by Mecklenburg County. Upon requiring an explanation from the Doctor, he informed me that it was the mass, or rudiments out of which he had, some time before drawn the aforesaid instrument, which had been dispatched to Congress, as before noticed. The whole of the above proceedings then opened to view.

        Being in Philadelphia in the latter part of year 1778, and of the year 1779, till May, during that space Mr. William Sharpe, then of Rowan County, North Carolina State, arrived in that city a delegate from the aforesaid State. The officers and soldiers of the States then generally, and of North Carolina in particular, were extremely straitened, and some almost, (I might safely say altogether) beggared by the depreciation of their pay. The writer took every proper opportunity within his sphere of mixing in these occasional and--(manuscript has here become illegible) companies, when their mutual wants, complaints, privations--their several situations, forsaken and desolate for love of country, for which nakedness and starvation were like to be their final reward.

        Amongst a variety of topics the Declaration of Independence became a subject of remark; the company was large, composed of a number of the higher officers and members of Congress. Amongst the former was, particularly, General Charles Lee--recently plunged into disgrace for misconduct at the battle of Monmouth, and Tom Payne, you may say infidel Tom Payne, if you please,--but to come to the point:

        The Declaration of Independence of Mecklenburg County in the State of North Carolina, somehow floated into notice. In a variety of remarks and observations, which were promiscuously thrown out, Mr. Penn of North Carolina, and some others, (whose names cannot now be recollected), declared themselves highly pleased with the bold and dignified spirit which so enlightened a county of the State he had the honor to represent, had exhibited to the world and furthermore that the bearer of the instrument had conducted himself very judiciously on the occasion by previously opening his business to the delegate of his own State, who assured him that a very short lapse of time would bring all the provinces, or new States into the same situation as Mecklenburg county.

        Dr. Ephraim Brevard was born in Maryland, in the year 1744, was brought to North Carolina in 1746 or 1750, and was sent with his cousin Adlai Osborne on the conclusion of the Indian War in 1760 or 1761 to Prince Edward in Virginia, to a grammar school under a certain William Cupples.

        Adlai Osborne, Ephraim Brevard, and Thomas Polk, went to Princeton College in 1766. Ephraim Brevard and Thomas Reese taught a school for some time in Maryland, which enabled him (Ephraim Brevard) to put himself under Dr. Ramsey, to qualify himself as a physician. They lived for some time in Philadelphia,
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