Similar to the earlier, explorer-naturalist John Lawson, William Bartram traveled and detailed most his 1770s trek throughout the southern colonial wilderness and what would become known as North Carolina. His descriptive Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida was published in 1791. The account became an important account of the early American South. Born in 1739, Bartram died in Bladen County in 1823.
As the oldest courthouse in North Carolina, the historic Chowan County Courthouse was constructed in 1767 in Edenton. Joseph Hewes, Samuel Johnston, and other important North Carolina Patriots used the courthouse during the 1770s and 1780s. With the Cupola and Barker House, the Chowan County Courthouse remains an important historical structure and popular attraction in Edenton. Today, the courthouse is the oldest government building in use in the state.
One of the largest and most ornate buildings in colonial North Carolina, the Tryon Palace was built in the late 1760s at the behest of its namesake, Royal Governor William Tryon. John Hawks was the architect, and the government assembly chambers and the house were dedicated on December 5, 1770. Increased taxes to pay for the palace’s construction angered many Piedmont colonists. After the American Revolution, the palace burnt down in a fire in 1798. In 1959, after efforts to restore the site, Tryon Palace opened as the state’s first historic site.
Josiah Martin, the last royal governor of North Carolina, was born in Ireland in 1737. Due to his family’s connection to the British crown, Martin replaced Governor Tryon in 1771 as royal governor of North Carolina. Martin assumed a difficult position because Patriot colonists in North Carolina had long resented overwhelming British taxation and the War of Regulation remained fresh in the colonist’s minds. In May 1775, Martin fled the Tryon Palace in New Bern, and he joined Lord Cornwallis in his efforts to regain control of the North Carolina colony.
The Tuscarora, one of the most prominent tribes of eastern North Carolina at the time of European settlement, were a well-developed tribe that spoke a derivative of the Iroquoian language. The tribe established communities on the Roanoke, Tar, and Neuse Rivers, growing crops such as corn, picked berries and nuts. They also hunted big game such as deer and bears. Despite the tribe’s size and numerous warriors, the Tuscarora War (1711-1713) led to the migration of the tribe to New York and the near vanishing of the tribe from North Carolina.
William Tryon, one of the most notorious royal governors of North Carolina, was born in England in 1729. Although he did not receive a formal education, Tryon’s family was well-esteemed, and his wife’s friendship with Lord Hillsborough led to his appointment as lieutenant governor of North Carolina in 1764. Tryon encountered heavy rebellion during the Regulator Movement and he was later relocated to serve as governor of the New York colony. He died on January 27, 1788, in England.
Willie Mangum, born in 1792 in Durham County, served as a North Carolina Senator for nearly 20 years. Mangum studied at the University of North Carolina in 1815, and was admitted to the state bar in 1817. In 1823, Mangum was elected to the national House of Representatives, and in 1830 he became a N.C. Senator. During President John Tyler’s tenure, Mangum served as the Senate president pro tempore.
The first successful machine gun, known as the Gatling gun was invented by North Carolina native Richard J. Gatling in 1862. The gun saw limited use in the Civil War because the original model proved ineffective but once Gatling perfected his machine gun, the United States Army purchased 100 guns in 1866. Although the patent was eventually purchased by Colt’s Armory, the more developed guns built by Nordenfeldt and Maxim gun manufacturers outlasted the Gatling machine gun.
Americans more often than not discuss the meaning of the Constitution through the lens of Supreme Court decisions and the famous Federalist essays of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. That is only part of the story, and in the case of the Supreme Court, a subjective and politically tainted chapter.
The site of the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina, Wachovia, or Wachau, was the 100,000 acre tract in present-day Forsyth County. The name Wachovia was derived from Der Wachau, the name of Count Zinzendorf’s estate where the early Moravians lived in Eastern Europe. Today, most may associate the land name with the former Wachovia Corporation.