The Capital of this County was in 1753, called Childs, after the Attorney General of the Colony, and in 1765, its name was changed to Hillsboro', by Governor Tryon, in honor of his illustrious patron the Earl of Hillsboro', to whom in a despatch, Tryon predicted its early prosperity and renown. His own name, and the name of his accomplished wife and sister still give locality to its streets. It is a lovely, healthful and a finished place; has not grown much, but is about the same as it was a century ago. It has been always distinguished for the intellectual and social qualities of its hospitable inhabitants. The centre of stirring events in our early struggles for liberty, its citizens were leaders in the war of the Regulation. Here the Royal standard was displayed by Cornwallis and here he rested, gathering strength to give battle at Guilford Court House. It was here the Governor of the State (Burke) was seized and carried to Charleston by Fanning. It was here the Convention met in 1788, to consider the Constitution, which was rejected by that body.*
* "One cause of its rejection
by this Convention was a letter of Mr. Jefferson, which was read in the
Convention; that while the most philosophic of our statesmen were desirous that
nine states should ratify, and thus secure the new government, still he
recommended that four should reject, and thus insure the proposed amendments."
It is distinguished still as the home of those giants in intellect of the State Distinguished too for the eloquence and piety of its clergy, as also for learning and ability of its Bar, the excellence and perfection of its schools and the morality and decorum of its citizens.
* "One cause of its rejection by this Convention was a letter of Mr. Jefferson, which was read in the Convention; that while the most philosophic of our statesmen were desirous that nine states should ratify, and thus secure the new government, still he recommended that four should reject, and thus insure the proposed amendments." Moore XVI.
Its resident citizens of anti-revolutionary history were Edmund Fanning, Ralph McNair, James Hogg, Francis Nash, Thomas Burke, Governors Caswell and Nash, William Hooper and Judge Moore; names all connected with many interesting events, before, during and subsequent to the Revolution. During the Revolution President Monroe, Gov. Rutledge of South Carolina, Col. Williams of King's Mountain, Generals Gates and Smallwood, Col. Lee, Lord Cornwallis, Col. Wilson Webster, Col. Tarleton and others, were sojourners during a brief period.
Henry E. Cotten, Esq., some years ago published in the Southern Literary Messenger a sketch of the history of this town. But it has disappeared from our libraries, and we have made frequent ineffectual efforts to obtain a copy from Richmond. This on a more extended scale is a tribute eminently due from a grateful population to their illustrious dead.
Uni. Mag. (1861.) X., 374.
The early history of the men of Orange County proves the sturdy spirit of her son in opposing unlawful power.
The troubles as to taxes and extortions by the Crown Officers, which began as early as 1771, culminating in the battle of Alamance, have already been alluded to. (See page 1.) The chief cause of their troubles was the conduct of Edmund Fanning, (born 1737, died 1818,) who was the son of Col. Phineas Fanning, born in Connecticut. He was an accomplished scholar, a graduate of Yale, (in 1757,) which college conferred on him the degree of LL. D. in 1803.
He studied law and settled in Hillsboro' in 1763; and was appointed Clerk of the Court and Register of the County. He was elected a member of the Colonial Assembly. By his thirst for wealth, his exorbitant charges for fees, and his intemperate zeal in regard to the unfortunate regulators, he became odious to the people; in so much that they burnt his house, which stood where the Masonic Hall now is
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