Patton formed the Committee of Safety for this section, with very full powers. They held their meetings at the Red Hill, on the Salisbury road, and were truly "a terror unto evil doers," and "a defense to those who did well." He died near Concord, on the banks of the Irish Buffalo.
John Query was also one of this Convention, a native of Scotland, came this country and settled on Clear Creek, in this county. He was a man of good estate and of literary tastes. He left one son, Cyrus, who died in this county some few years ago.
Of John Phifer, one of this immortal band of worthies--a sketch has already been presented. (See page 96.)
David Reese, another signer, was of Scotch-Irish descent, a native of Pennsylvania, who settled near Poplar Tent. He was an extensive land-owner on Coddle Creek. He had three sons and three daughters. One of his sons was educated at Princeton--studied for the ministry, and died at Pendleton, South Carolina. One of his daughters married Hon. William Sharpe, whose biography we have given. She was the grandmother of Judge David F. and Hon. Joseph P. Caldwell.
George Reese, one of his grandsons, lived at West Point, Troop County, Georgia.
Zaccheus Wilson was one of this band of patriots. He was much esteemed for his worth and patriotism. He was a member of the convention that met at Hillsboro in 1788, to deliberate on the Federal Constitution.
We have now in a rapid manner attempted to gather up the fleeting traditions that patriotism and affection, have preserved of these immortal men--who declared the independence of the Colony of North Carolina, on May 20, 1775, more than a year in advance of the Declaration of Congress at Philadelphia.
Both papers are equally true and authentic. The one is the unanimous declaration of thirteen States, pledged to mutual support and co-operation; the other without any prompting or hope of support made equally as bold and daring a declaration. The one challenges our admiration, the other our veneration. Both are immortal. If the one was destined to become the Savior of the Country, the other was its forerunner, for it was truly as "the voice of one crying in the wilderness, preparing the way, and making the paths straight."
To the memory of Rev. Alexander Craighead, whose influence in this behalf was greater, possibly, than that of any other one man, the following is written:
"This eminent divine belonged
to a race distinguished for their love of liberty. He was the son of Rev. Thomas
Craighead, who came to New England in 1715, and the grandson of Rev. Robert
Craighead of Dublin, Ireland, one of the thirteen ministers who constituted the
Presbytery of Lagan; he became one of the subject of a most unrelenting
persecution; was compelled to preach in barns and administer the holy sacrament
at night. The death of Charles I. only dissuaded them from emigration to America
as far back as 1649, but the
But, although the arbitrary counsels of James I. were defeated and the Crown secured to William of Orange, yet the warfare waged upon them in Ulster, suppressed Protestant worship and the ministers were compelled to flee for the time. On their return to their former parishes they took every occasion to express their loyalty and devotion to the Crown, nevertheless they became the objects of unfriendliness on the part of the Established Church, and in their desire to seek freedom in religious matters, such a vast emigration to Pennsylvania took place as to become a subject of investigation on the part of
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