The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        Robert owned much land near the Harrisburg Depot, in Cabarrus county, and is buried at the Spear graveyard, near Rocky River Church.

        James lived in the Clear Creek country. He was the great-grandfather of Dr. Jno B. Harris and William A. Harris. Others came to the State in 1741. Some of the descendants of Robert are still living. The late William Shakespeare Harris of Davidson College, was the grandson or the youngest brother of this family.

        Robert Irwin was a prominent politician and an active member of this meeting of May 20, 1775. He was with Sumter in August, 1780, at the battle of Hanging Rock, and his military reputation was high. He was a General in the State militia. He was popular with all classes, and was a Member of the Provincial Congress, from Mecklenburg, at Halifax, October, 1776, with Waighstill Avery, Hezekiah Alexander and Zacheus Wilson, as colleagues, which body formed the first State Constitution. He was a delegate to both conventions (the first at Hillsboro, and the second at Fayetteville,) which considered the Federal Constitution (the first rejecting, the latter approving) with General Joseph Graham as a colleague. He was long a Senator in the Legislature from Mecklenburg, (from 1778 to 1783,-1797 to 1800.) He was an exemplary elder of the Presbyterian Church.

        He died, leaving seven children, and lies buried in Steel Creek churchyard. One of his daughters married Washington Morrison; another daughter married McDowell--the father of Robert Irwin McDowell, Esq., who now resides in Charlotte. General Irwin married a second time, Miss Barry of Hopewell.

        William Kennon, whose name appears among the Mecklenburg men as one of the Convention of May 20, 1775, was active, intelligent and zealous. He was Chairman of the Committee of Safety of Rowan county, in 1774, whose records have been preserved and published. He resided in Salisbury, was a practicing lawyer, and with his brother-in-law, Mr. Willis, Adlai Osborne, and Samuel Spencer, seized John Dunn, also a lawyer, "as a person dangerous to liberty," and sent him to South Carolina. He was a Member of the First Provincial Congress that met in direct opposition to the Royal Government at New Berne in August, 1774, and was appointed Commissary to the First Regiment in 1776.

        Matthew McClure was also one of this band of heroes. He was born in Ireland, came to Mecklenburg quite young, settled six miles below Davidson College; died in 1808. The Kerns are his wife's relatives.

        Neil Morrison was a member of this Convention. He has three grandchildren now living, James H. Morrison and Mrs. Margaret Wilson, now residing in Mecklenburg county and Mrs. Margaret Osborne of Corinth, Mississippi.

        Benjamin Patton, another signer, was a man of iron firmness and indomitable courage. Descended from the stern Covenanters, he had their inflexibility of purpose, and their purity of principle. He was elected to the Provincial Congress in 1774, a stirring epoch in the history of the State, for it was already in open contempt of the royal power in North Carolina.

        The Governor fulminated a furious proclamation declaring the meeting as against legal authority and in open defiance of the Royal Government. The Council was summoned on this occasion; the Governor laid before them the alarming condition of affairs. But this Council, either alarmed at the threatening aspect of affairs, or tinctured themselves with the independent spirit of the times, declared that the powers of the Executive were exhausted; and "that nothing could be done."

        Tradition states that such was the zeal of Mr. Patton, that when he could not get a horse, or any conveyance, that he walked from Charlotte to New Berne, rather than not join these patriots, determined on liberty or death. He lived in that part of Mecklenburg which is now Cabarrus. John Paul Barringer, Martin Phifer, and Benjamin
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