Edenton History FAQs



From its very beginning to the time when freedom from England was finally achieved Edenton was a hot-bed and center of continuous revolt and resistance to the Crown.

August 22, 1774, when a mass meeting of citizens, presided over by Daniel Earle, rector of St. Paul's Church, gathered at the court house, publicly denounced the unjust imposition of taxes and prosecutions and condemned the Boston Port Act, openly declaring that "the cause of Boston was the cause of us all."

The famous Edenton Tea Party occurred on October 25, 1774 when 51 ladies of the town met and openly resolved not to drink tea nor wear any cloth from England until the tax acts were repealed. The site of the Edenton Tea Party is marked by a Colonial teapot mounted on a Revolutionary cannon.

A month or more prior to the Continental Congress's Declaration of Independence, the Vestry of St. Paul's Church, in a written document called "The Test," added an ecclesiastical note of protest: "We, the subscribers, professing our allegiance to the King and acknowledging the constitutional executive power of Government, do solemnly profess, testify and declare that we do absolutely believe that neither the Parliament of Great Britain nor any member of a constituent branch thereof, have a right to impose taxes upon these colonies to regulate the internal policy thereof; that all attempts by fraud or force to establish and exercise such claims and powers are violations of the peace and security of the people and ought to be resisted to the utmost, and that the people of this Province, singly and collectively, are bound by the Acts and Resolutions of the Continental and Provincial Congresses, because in both they are freely represented by persons chosen by themselves. And we do solemnly and sincerely promise and engage under the sanction of Virtue, Honor and the Sacred Love of Liberty and our Country, to maintain and support all and every the Acts, Resolutions and Regulations of the said Contintental and Provincial Congresses to the utmost of our power and ability."

Joseph Hewes, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a citizen of Edenton, a large ship-owner and merchant, who carried on a great trade with England and the West Indies. War meant a tremendous financial sacrifice to Hewes but, true patriot that he was, he signed the Declaration and put his entire fleet at the disposal of the Continental forces. To Hewes the Nation is indebted for the brilliant services of John Paul Jones. Hewes who was Secretary of the Naval Affairs Committee of the Continental Congress and virtually the first Secretary of the Navy, was directly responsible for the elevation of Jones to his position in the new Navy.

Hugh Williamson, celebrated physician, was another worthy son of Edenton during the Revolution. Dr. Williamson, at his own expense, fitted out ships with supplies for the American Army, was Surgeon-General of the State Colonial troops and rounded out a brilliant career by signing the Constitution of the United States in 1787.

Samuel Johnston of Edenton was another nationally known patriot during these stirring times. He was a leader in the movement for freedom and was the first United States Senator from North Carolina.

James Iredell, brother-in-law of Governor Johnston, was the political leader of this community for many years. After distinguished services to his country otherwise he was appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States. His opinions were famous in the field of jurisprudence and he was considered one of the outstanding jurists of his time.

During the Civil War, Edenton sent several units to fight for the southern cause. Among these was its famous Edenton Bell Battery, whose field pieces were cast from the town bells. The Edenton Bell Battery was organized in 1862 by Captain William Badham and was engaged in many battles throughout the war, finally surrendering to Sherman in 1865.

"Beverly Hall", the old State Bank from 1811 to 1836, is now used as a residence. Its huge secret vault, encased in steel, and its key, weighing two pounds, are reminders of the cumbersome banking equipment of an older day.

The Revolutionary cannon brought from France and are now mounted on Edenton's "Battery" at the foot of the Courthouse Green.

Source: http://hal.dcr.state.nc.us/nc/ncsites/edenton.htm 10/95