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William "Billy" Sharpe (December 13, 1742 – July 1, 1818) was a lawyer, politician, American Revolution patriot, and a delegate to the Continental Congress from Rowan County, North Carolina, which became Iredell County in 1788.[1][2][3]

William Sharpe
William Sharpe Road Marker M-45a.jpg
North Carolina State Highway Marker M-45, William Sharpe 1742-1818
William Sharpe

(1742-12-13)December 13, 1742
Died(1818-07-01)July 1, 1818
Resting placeSnow Creek Methodist Church Cemetery, Statesville, North Carolina
Occupationpolitician, lawyer
Known forCreator of the 1773 map of the Fourth Creek Congregation, patriotic service in the American Revolution, member of the Continental Congress, representative to the North Carolina legislature
Spouse(s)Catherine Ruth (Reese) Sharpe (1744-1826)
  • Thomas Sharpe, Jr. (father)
  • Elizabeth (Gillespie) Sharpe (mother)
Military career
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchNorth Carolina militia
Years of service1776-1781
UnitSalisbury District Brigade
Commands held2nd Rowan County Regiment (1776-1777), Burke County Regiment (1777-1781)
Battles/warsCherokee Expedition 1776

Early lifeEdit

Sharpe was born in Rock Church, Cecil County, Maryland, in 1742. He was the son of Thomas Sharp, Jr, and his wife, Elizabeth, of Maryland. He pursued classical studies and law. He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in 1763. He married Catherine Reese in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on May 31, 1768. He moved to Rowan County, North Carolina in late 1768 or 1769. He lived in the area of Rowan County that became Iredell County in 1788.[3][4]


Map of the Fourth Creek Congregation created by WIlliam Sharpe in 1773

William Sharpe was a member of the Fourth Creek Congregation in Rowan County, North Carolina (near what became Statesville, North Carolina in 1789) and created a map of the church members in 1773.[5]

Sharpe was a member of the North Carolina Provincial Congress in 1775. Prior to the onset of the American Revolutionary War, he served on the Rowan County Committee of Safety.[6]

During the war, he was an aide to General Griffith Rutherford of the Salisbury District Brigade in the Indian campaign in 1776. William was one of four commissioners appointed by Governor Caswell to form a treaty with the Indians in 1777. William served as Colonel commanding the 2nd Rowan County Regiment of the North Carolina militia from 1776-1777. When the 2nd Rowan County Regiment became the Burke County Regiment of militia, he served as its commander from 1777 to 1781. (Note there was another Captain William Sharpe, who served in the Rowan County Regiment from 1780 to 1781. The relation to Colonel William Sharpe is not known.)[7][8]

Sharpe served as a delegate to the North Carolina constitutional convention in Halifax in 1776, and helped to frame the first constitution of the State. He was later appointed in 1779 as a delegate to the Continental Congress, 1779–1781, and elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1781 and 1782.[6]

Sharpe placed the first bill before the legislature of North Carolina to propose a publicly supported university in the state. This bill failed, but was taken up at the next seating of the legislature and was promoted by one of the state's Revolutionary War leaders General William Richardson Davie. It subsequently passed in 1789, creating the University of North Carolina.[6]

He died near Statesville, North Carolina on July 6, 1818 and is interred in Snow Creek Burying Ground.[6]


  1. ^ Rumple, Jethro (2005). A History of Rowan County, North Carolina. Heritage Books. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-7884-1203-5.
  2. ^ Biography of William Sharpe on Wikitree, including sourcing, accessed Jan 28, 2018
  3. ^ a b Cashion, Jerry C. (1994). "NCPedia biography of William Billy Sharpe". Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  4. ^ A biographical congressional directory, 1774 to 1903 : The Continental Congress: September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, inclusive. The United States Congress: the First Congress to the Fifty-seventh Congress, March 4, 1903, inclusive. Compiled under authority of Congress by O. M. Enyart; Hathi Trust digital copy
  5. ^ Map of Fourth Creek Congregation, [Iredell County, North Carolina]; North Carolina State Archives, Date Published: 1847; Date Depicted: 1773; Creator: Individual, Sharpe, William, Link
  6. ^ a b c d Powell, William S., ed. (1994). "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography Vol V, P-s". University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  7. ^ Lewis, J.D. "The American Revolution in North Carolina, Captain William Sharpe". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "The American Revolution in North Carolina, Colonel William Sharpe". Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  • Wikitree biography of William Sharpe, accessed February 14, 2018
  • "William Sharpe Road Marker-45". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  • Wheeler, John Hill (1806-1882) (1884). Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians., Call number CR970 W56r c. 2 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), William Sharpe