Historic Albemarle Timelines
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR 1773-1776
Prior to 1774, North Carolina did not appear to be ripe for revolution. The wealthy Albemarle merchants and planters who had dominated political process in the colonial legislature had more in common with their sovereign across the sea than they did with firebrands in Boston. Dependent on England for manufactured goods, the residents of the Albemarle Region went along with their sister colony’s opposition of English taxation and regulation laws only when war seemed inevitable.
In 1773, when a series of harsh English laws and subsequent violence rocked the northern colonies, Albemarle leaders were quick to join the chorus of voices and actions of protest. Following the Boston Tea Party in December 1773, which resulted in closure of the port of Boston, 47 Albemarle area women met at the home of Elizabeth King in Edenton and affixed their signatures to an “Association,” promising to uphold their patriot position.
Once war broke out in 1775, North Carolina moved towards supporting independence from Britain. Finally, on April 12, 1776, North Carolina authorized her delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence. This was the first official action by a colony calling for independence. The 83 delegates present in Halifax at the Fourth Provincial Congress unanimously adopted the document called the Halifax Resolves.
The Halifax Resolves were important not only because they were the first official action calling for independence, but also because they were not unilateral recommendations. They were instead recommendations directed to all the colonies and their delegates assembled at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
The Albemarle region managed to escape military action during the war, even though Cornwallis marched through the western reaches of the region in 1781 on his way to Yorktown.