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The Rowan County Committee of Safety was one of the 18 Committees of Safety in North Carolina authorized by the Continental Congress and endorsed by the Second North Carolina Provincial Congress and the North Carolina Assembly. It was established in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1774. Meeting minutes from 1774 to 1776 have survived and are available through a digital collection. The Rowan County Committee of Safety was instrumental in banning trade with Britain and preparing for the American Revolution. One of its major achievements was the Rowan Resolves.[1][2]

Contents

Formation of Committees of SafetyEdit

The demand for independence came from local grassroots organizations called "Committees of Safety". The First Continental Congress had urged their creation in 1774. By 1775, they had become counter-governments that gradually replaced royal authority and took control of local governments. They regulated the economy, politics, morality, and militia of their individual communities. After December 1776 they came under the control of a more powerful central authority, the North Carolina Council of Safety.[3]

Members and recordsEdit

The following persons constituted the original Committee: James McCay, Andrew Neal, George Cathy, Alexander Dobbin, Francis McKon, Matthew Locke, Maxwell Chambers, Henry Harmon, Abraham Denton, William Lee Davidson, Samuel Young, John Brevard, William Kennon, George Henry Barger, Robert Bell, John Bickerstaff, John Couden, John Lewis Beard, John Nisbet, Charles McDowell, Robert Blackburn, Christopher Beckman, William Sharp, John Johnson, Morgan Bryan.[1]

Additional members included: Colonel Hugh Montgomery.

The surviving records show that the committee met on the following dates:

  • September 23, 1774
  • November 02, 1774 - November 03, 1774
  • June 01, 1775
  • July 08, 1775
  • July 15, 1775
  • August 01, 1775
  • September 20, 1775 - September 25, 1775
  • October 17, 1775 - October 18, 1775
  • November 07, 1775 - November 09, 1775
  • November 10, 1775 - November 11, 1775
  • February 06, 1776 - February 08, 1776
  • May 07, 1776 - May 08, 1776
  • August 07, 1776
  • August 22, 1776

Other surviving records include:

  • Instructions to the Salisbury Jail keeper concerning the imprisonment of John Auston (July 13, 1776)[4]
  • Address from the Rowan County Committee of Safety to the county militias (June 1775)

The instruction to the Salisbury jail keeper were from Griffith Rutherford and instructed the jailer: "John Auston, late of Tryon County, is charged of being an Enemy To Ammerican Liberty, & also Refuses to take the oath Proscribed by the Counsel of Safety of this Provance. These are therefore to Command You to Take the said Auston Into youre Possession, & him safely keep in youre Gole Till Furder Orders (sic)." Griffith Rutherford was commander of the Rowan County Regiment and Salisbury District Brigade of the North Carolina Militia.

Officers of the committee included:

The Committees of Safety were authorized by the North Carolina Provincial Congress to appoint officers of the militia and minutemen when officers needed replacing.[12]

First censusEdit

In 1775, the Continental Congress ordered that a census of North Carolina be taken. However, the only surviving complete records are those from Pitt County. The Rowan County Committee of Safety reported a summary of the census of Rowan County that was presented in their October 1775 minutes. The Companies referred to in this census were most likely captains in the Rowan County Regiment of the North Carolina militia, which had just been established in August 1775.[13]

Pursuant to Resolve of last Congress the Number of Souls in Rowan County appears as followeth—(sic, directly from minutes)

Companies—Names Males, 16 to 50 Above 50, Under 16 Women, White Females, Children Male Slaves Taxable Female Slaves Taxable Slaves Not Taxable
Capt. Knox 165 209 169 142 33 32 66
Capt. Dickson 76 105 77 91 15 16 29
Capt. Davidson (up River) 71 129 74 104 12 9 5
Capt. McConrys 5 123 77 99 10 10 9
Snow & Rocky Creeks 27 47 34 33 1 1 2
Total (2107) 344 613 431 469 71 68 111

Committees in other countiesEdit

There were 32 counties in North Carolina by 1774. Eighteen of the counties had Committees of Safety, according to NCPedia. There are records of Committees of Safety in the following counties[14]:

  1. Anson County[14]
  2. Bladen County[15]
  3. Brunswick County[1]
  4. Chowan County, Edenton District[16][17]
  5. Craven County (New Bern District)[18][14]
  6. Duplin County[1]
  7. Granville County[14]
  8. Halifax County[19]
  9. Johnston County[14]
  10. Mecklenburg County[20]
  11. Northampton[14]
  12. Orange County[2][21]
  13. Pitt County (Martinboro)[20][16]
  14. Rowan County (Salisbury District)[22]
  15. Surry County[23]
  16. Tryon County[20]
  17. Wilimington District, Wilmington, Wilmington-New Hannover County[2][1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Colonial and State Records Documenting the Rowan County (N.C.) Committee of Safety". Retrieved February 15, 2019., original publications from 1775 to 1776, The University Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sponsors Documenting the American South, and the texts and materials come primarily from its southern holdings. The UNC University Library is committed to the long-term availability of these collections and their online records. An editorial board guides development of this digital library.
  2. ^ a b c Carmen Miner Smith (2006). "Committees of Safety". NCPedia. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Watson, Alan D; "The Committees of Safety and the Coming of the American Revolution in North Carolina, 1774-1776," North Carolina Historical Review, April 1996, Vol. 73 Issue 2, pp. 131–155
  4. ^ "Instructions to the Salisbury Jail keeper concerning the imprisonment of John Auston, Rowan County (N.C.). Committee of Safety"., July 13, 1776, Volume 10, Page 667}}
  5. ^ "Minutes of the Rowan County Committee of Safety, Rowan County (N.C.)., Committee of Safety, September 23, 1774, Volume 09, Pages 1072-1075".
  6. ^ "Minutes of the Rowan County Committee of Safety, Rowan County (N.C.). Committee of Safety, June 01, 1775, Volume 10, Pages 9-10".
  7. ^ "Minutes of the Rowan County Committee of Safety, Rowan County (N.C.). Committee of Safety, August 01, 1775, Volume 10, Pages 134-137".
  8. ^ Cashion, Jerry C. (1994). "William Sharpe". NCPedia. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  9. ^ D. W. Adams (1991). "Adlai Osborne". NCPedia. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  10. ^ "Minutes of the Rowan County Committee of Safety, Rowan County (N.C.). Committee of Safety, November 02, 1774 - November 03, 1774, Volume 09, Pages 1079-1080".
  11. ^ "Minutes of the Rowan County Committee of Safety, Rowan County (N.C.). Committee of Safety, September 20, 1775 - September 25, 1775, Volume 10, Pages 252-254".
  12. ^ "Minutes of the Provincial Congress of North Carolina, North Carolina. Provincial Congress, August 20, 1775 - September 10, 1775, Volume 10, Pages 164-220". DOcSouth. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, Minutes of the Rowan County Committee of Safety, Rowan County (N.C.). Committee of Safety, October 17, 1775 - October 18, 1775, Volume 10, Pages 279-282". 1775. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Whitaker, Bessie Lewis (1908). "The Provincial Council and Committees of Safety in North Carolina" (PDF). Chapel Hill University Press.
  15. ^ "Minutes of the Bladen, Brunswick, Duplin, and Wilmington-New Hanover County Committees of Safety, Wilmington (N.C.). Committee of Safety, May 20, 1775 - May 21, 1775, Volume 10, Pages 24-29". DocSouth. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  16. ^ a b A North Carolina History Online Resource (2018). "The Committees of Safety". NCPedia. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  17. ^ John Burke O'Donnell Jr. (1988). "Miles Harvey". NCPedia.
  18. ^ Carraway, Gertrude S. (1991). "Joseph Leech". NCPedia.
  19. ^ Rankin, Hugh F. (1988). "James Hogan". NCPedia. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c David A. Norris (2006). "Prevolutionary Resolves". NCPedia. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  21. ^ Stokes, Durward T. (1994). "Nathaniel Rochester". NCPedia. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  22. ^ see all references in this article
  23. ^ Hendricks, J. Edwin (1996). "Joseph Winston". NCPedia. Retrieved February 15, 2019.