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Bill Thayer

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History of North Carolina

Histories and Source Documents

North Carolina, one of the Thirteen original States, tends to be viewed by many as a sort of suburb or appendage to Virginia. In this section of my site I'll be bringing online a variety of interesting material that ought to put that to rest.


[image ALT: A small rectangular brick building, with a ground floor and a shingle roof pitched at nearly 45 degrees. We see the front — a small door, bits of decorative brickwork — and the left side, with four tall rectangular windows, closely spaced. Close to the building and parallel to its long side, a wooden picket fence about 1 m high, and on this side of it, on the left edge of the photograph, a young deciduous tree. It is an early-20c photograph of St. Thomas' Church at Bath, NC. The image serves as the icon of my subsite transcribing the Connor-Boyd-Hamilton 'History of North Carolina'.]

In 1919, the Lewis Publishing Company brought out a six-volume History of North Carolina, consisting of one volume each by three noted historians, and a 3‑volume biographical appendix assembled by its staff. I've ignored the appendix, but the other volumes are all now onsite, in full:

The Colonial and Revolutionary Periods (1584‑1783), by R. D. W. Connor.

The Federal Period (1783‑1860), by William K. Boyd.

North Carolina since 1860 (1860‑1919), by J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton.

[ 3/1/12: 1334 pages of print, 135 illustrations ]


[image ALT: A painting of a man with a markedly oval face and a solemn expression. His head appears to be shaven or bald except for a stray lock over the forehead, and is crowned by a large, wide feather pointing behind him. He wears a cotton shirt and over it an elaborate robe with tassels or drawstrings, in which he conceals his left hand; in his right, clenched, he holds a slightly curved hunting knife about 25 cm long, pointing up. He is the 18c North Carolina Cherokee chief Cunne Shote. The image serves as the icon used on this site for my transcription of the book 'Indian Wars in North Carolina 1663‑1763'.]

Enoch Lawrence Lee's Indian Wars in North Carolina 1663‑1763 is a straightforward account of the wars with the native American tribes of the Carolinas and Tennessee: the most important of which were the Tuscarora War, the Yamassee War, and the Cherokee War; and somewhat peripherally, the French and Indian War.

[ 6/9/13: 94 pages of print, 1 photograph, 2 maps ]


[image ALT: A flag-like design in which the field is divided into three portions equal in area: on the viewer's left, a broad vertical field one-third the width of the whole, and on the right the remainder is divided into horizontal halves: centered on these latter halves, a stylized line drawing of two crossed swords, points upward, and below them a small pistol, pointing right. The design, based on the flag of North Carolina, serves as the icon used on this site for my transcription of the book 'The Pirates of Colonial North Carolina'.]

The Pirates of Colonial North Carolina (by Hugh Rankin) provides a background on the general topic of piracy, then tells the tale of many of the buccaneers who made the Colony their base of operations in the "golden age" of piracy in the late 17c and the first quarter of the 18c. Among them Calico Jack Rackham, women pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, Edward Low — and a full chapter each on Stede Bonnet and of course that most infamous epitome of piracy known to us all as Blackbeard.

[ 5/27/13: 72 pages of print, 10 illustrations ]


[image ALT: A flag-like design in which the field is divided into three portions equal in area: on the viewer's left, a broad vertical field one-third the width of the whole, and on the right the remainder is divided into horizontal halves: centered on these latter halves, ring of thirteen five-pointed stars. The design, based on the flag of North Carolina, serves as the icon used on this site for my transcription of the book 'North Carolina in the American Revolution'.]

North Carolina in the American Revolution (also by Hugh Rankin) is a similarly readable chronological account of the events and people of the Revolutionary War as it concerned the state.

[ 8/1/13: 74 pages of print, 21 illustrations ]


[image ALT: A shield of six vertical bars, the upper quarter of the shield being a rectangle bearing thirteen stars; it is surmounted by an eagle with outstretched wings and a riband with an inscription not readable at this scale, and below the shield another somewhat more prominent riband, still not readable, though. It is the seal of the North Carolina Society Daughters of the Revolution, used on my site as the icon for material from the 'North Carolina Booklet'.]

The North Carolina Booklet was a series of monthly publications by the Daughters of the Revolution over a span of about twenty years. The first issues ran to twenty or thirty small pages, almost every month a single article on some topic specific to the State; later issues were longer and included multiple articles. Often written by (or for) amateurs, the articles exhibit the virtues and failings we might expect, but at their best they provide a lively window into State and colonial history: I'll be transcribing a selection of whatever in turn catches my fancy.

[ 3/2/12: 23 articles, 440 pages of print:
1 photograph, 16 drawings & engravings, 5 maps ]

In addition, about a quarter of the other 50‑some books on American history onsite go into some detail, at one point or another, on some facet of North Carolina history. Those with the most are listed below.


[image ALT: A montage of five portraits of 18c men: Daniel Boone, Alexander McGillivray, John Sevier, Richard Henderson, James Robertson.]

Pioneers of the Old Southwest (by Constance Lindsay Skinner), though often about Tennessee and Kentucky, starts with the 17c and 18c colonial migrations to the "Back Country" of North Carolina and traces the early settlements, the Indian wars, the Revolutionary War battle of King's Mountain, and the State of Franklin: almost every chapter covers North Carolina history.


[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of the linked webpage, and serves as the icon on my site for Dumond's book, 'The Secession Movement, 1860‑1861'.]

Dwight Lowell Dumond's The Secession Movement, 1860‑1861 details how the North and South pulled apart. It's far more complex than is presented in school texts, which after all are designed as propaganda; North Carolina's particular path to secession is of course covered, especially in chapters 11 and 12.

And then, squirreled away in the American History Notes section of the site, other North Carolina material, listed here in more or less chronological order:


[image ALT: A close-up of a collection of papers spread out on a table. It is the icon used on this site to represent my American History Notes subsite.]

A Spanish Settlement in Carolina, 1526: a brief, unhappy, unsuccessful venture.

North Carolina in the Revolution: not so patriotic as all that — even Hooper who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Spanish Intrigue in the Old Southwest: the State of Franklin, John Sevier, and the rest of it . . .

The Muscle Shoals Speculation, 1783‑1789

Zebulon B. Vance as War Governor of North Carolina

[ 7/31/13: 5 articles, 90 pages of print ]



[image ALT: A flag, two-thirds of which are taken up by two equal horizontal stripes, and the remaining third, to the left, consists of a field with 'N C' separated by a five-pointed star: above those three characters, a narrow banner bears the date 'May 20th 1775', and below them a similar banner bears the date 'April 12th 1776'. It is the flag of the State of North Carolina.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is the state's flag. The dates in the banners above and below the star are those, respectively, of the much controverted "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence", May 20, 1775, and of the Halifax Resolves, April 12, 1776.


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Site updated: 1 Aug 13