Richard Caswell, III, Prov. Gov.

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Richard Caswell

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Hartford, Maryland, United States
Death: Died in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Caswell Memorial Cemetery Kinston Lenoir County North Carolina
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Caswell, Jr., and Christain Caswell
Husband of Sarah Caswell and Mary Caswell
Father of Richard Caswell, Jr.; Anna White; Dallam Caswell; John Caswell; Christian Caswell and 5 others
Brother of William Caswell; Martin Caswell and Samuel Caswell

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Richard Caswell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Caswell

Richard Caswell

Birth: 1729

Death: 1789

North Carolina Governor. Served as the Governor of North Carolina from 1776 to 1780, and 1785 to 1787. Also served as a Delegate to the Continental Congress from North Carolina in 1774, Delegate to the North Carolina State Constitutional Convention in 1776, and Member of the North Carolina State Senate in 1788.


Richard Caswell (August 3, 1729–November 10, 1789) was the first governor of the U.S. State of North Carolina, serving from 1776 to 1780 and from 1784 to 1787.

A lawyer and surveyor by training, Caswell represented North Carolina in the Continental Congress of 1774 and 1775. As a Patriot officer in the American Revolutionary War, Caswell led North Carolina militiamen in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge. In 1780 he was commissioned as a major general of North Carolina troops. At the Battle of Camden, his troops panicked and fled the field, leaving the Continentals behind to suffer defeat.

Caswell was president of the provincial congress that wrote the first North Carolina Constitution in 1776. As the congress adjourned, it elected Caswell as acting governor. He took the oath of office on January 16, 1777. Under the new constitution, the state Legislature ("General Assembly") re-elected him as the first Governor in April 1777. He stepped down in 1780, as the constitution allowed only three consecutive one-year terms. He then assumed command of all of North Carolina's militia, which he commanded at the American defeat at Camden, 16 August 1780.

He served as the state's comptroller and as a member of the North Carolina Senate between his two gubernatorial terms. Caswell was also chosen to be one of North Carolina's delegates to the United States Constitutional Convention of 1787, but he did not attend.

At the time of his death in 1789, he had returned once again to the North Carolina General Assembly, this time serving as Speaker of the Senate.

Caswell County, North Carolina and Fort Caswell were named for him.

CASWELL, Richard, (1729 - 1789)

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CASWELL, Richard, a Delegate from North Carolina; born in Harford (now Baltimore) County, Md., August 3, 1729; moved to North Carolina in 1746; appointed deputy surveyor of the colony in 1750; clerk of the court of Orange County 1752-1754; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1754 and commenced practice in Hillsboro, N.C.; member of the colonial house of delegates 1754-1771, and served as speaker the last two years; commanded the right wing of Governor Tryon’s army at the Battle of Alamance in 1771; served in the Revolutionary Army; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1775; commanded the patriots at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, North Carolina, February 23, 1776; appointed brigadier general of the New Bern District by the Provincial Congress in 1776; delegate to the State constitutional convention and its president in 1776; Governor of North Carolina 1776-1780; commanded the North Carolina troops at the Battle of Camden in 1780; comptroller general in 1782; member of the State senate 1782-1784 and served as speaker; again elected Governor in 1785 and served until 1787; appointed delegate from North Carolina to the convention that framed the Federal Constitution in 1787, but did not attend; member of the State convention at Fayetteville, N.C., that adopted the Federal Constitution in 1789; member and speaker of the State house of commons in 1789 and served until his death in Fayetteville, N.C., November 10, 1789; interment in the family cemetery on his estate near Kinston, Lenoir County, N.C.

Bibliography

Connor, R.D.W. (Robert Digges Wimberly). “Richard Caswell,” in Revolutionary Leaders of North Carolina, 79-101. 1916. Reprint edition, Spartansburg, S. C., Reprint Co., 1971.


ID: I32205  

Name: **Richard Caswell , Brigadier General 1

Sex: M

Birth: 3 AUG 1729 in Joppa, Maryland

Death: 10 NOV 1789 in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Burial: Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina

Note:

Richard Caswell came from Joppa, Maryland when he was age 16. He was made assistant to James McIlwean Surveyor General of North Carolina. He later became an officer in the troop of horse with the Johnston County Militia when Johnston County was formed from Craven County in 1746.

//////////////////////

Richard Caswell was Governor of North Carolina 1784-1787.

//////////////////////

Richard Caswell has been designated

a Patriot by the

Sons of American Revolution

See NSSAR # 100357

SAR Patriot Index Edition III

////////////////////

Richard Caswell has been designated a Patriot by the DAR

Richard Caswell, b 8-3-1729 MD d 11-10-1789 NC m 1) Mary McElwain and 2) Sarah Heritage B Gen CS PS NC

(DAR Patriot Index, Millennium Edition, 2003, Vol. 1, page 471.)

Father: Richard Caswell , Sr. b: in Maryland

Mother: Christian Dallam b: in Maryland

Marriage 1 Mary (Mac Kilwean) McIlwean b: 1732 in Craven County, North Carolina

Married: 21 APR 1752 in Johnston County, North Carolina

Children

Mary Caswell
**William Caswell , Brigadier General b: 24 SEP 1754 in Johnston County, North Carolina

Marriage 2 Sarah Heritage b: 1740 in Craven County, North Carolina

Married: AFT 1752

Children

Richard Caswell , Jr. b: 15 SEP 1759 in Dobbs County, North Carolina
Sarah Caswell b: 26 FEB 1762 in Dobbs County, North Carolina
Winston Caswell b: 7 MAY 1764 in Dobbs County, North Carolina
Anne Caswell b: 4 DEC 1766 in Dobbs County, North Carolina
Dallam (Daelam) Caswell b: 15 JUN 1769 in Dobbs County, North Carolina
John Caswell b: 24 JAN 1772 in Dobbs County, North Carolina
Susannah Caswell b: 16 FEB 1775 in Dobbs County, North Carolina
Christian Caswell b: 7 JAN 1779 in Dobbs County, North Carolina

Sources:

Title: The Heritage of Lenoir County, NC, 1981, Kinston, NC, page 9.

 
Richard Caswell was the first Governor of the independent state of North Carolina. .He was the 

only one ever to serve for six one year terms, and the only one ever from Lenoir (then Dobbs)

County. Caswell was distinguished also among governors of the newly independent states for

having directly participated in the Revolutionary battles.

While serving in the militia with rank of colonel in 1771, Caswell saw action under Governor

Tryon in the Battle of Alamance. Three years later the First Provincial Congress met at New

Bern to name delegates to the First Continental Congress, opening in Philadelphia on

September 5, 1775. In May 1775, while enroute to the Continental Congress, Colonel Caswell

learned of the April 19th battles at Lexington and Concord. By the time he returned to North Carolina,

Colonial Governor Josiah Martin had fled the Royal Palace, Tryon, at New Bern, taking refuge on a

British warship at the mouth of Cape Fear River. Military preparations increased throughout North

Carolina andCaswell was named commander of the militia in one of the six military districts. Then, at the

battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on Feb. 27, 1776, Caswell led some 1,100 Whig troops who

ambushed the Tories, upset British invasion plans and made him a hero of the Revolution.

 

In 1776, after the Provincial Congress enacted the Halifax Resolves, military preparations

escalated and Caswell was promoted to brigadier general of militia. Later he was to command

all North Carolina militia and was to join General Horatio Gates in the unsuccessful action

against Cornwallis at the battle of Camden. In the meantime, Caswell served as chairman of a

group to draft a state constitutuion, which was adopted, following the Declaration of

Independence, by the Continental Congress. General Caswell was chosen and reelected

Governor of North Carolina by the general assemblies of 1777, 1778, and 1779. The

constitution permitted only three successive terms for governor. It was in 1777, his first year as

constututional governor, that Caswell bought Harmony Hall; according to Dr. Charles Holloman,

Caswell occupied Tryon Palace for a brief period, but then moved the government to Kinston,

feeling the palace presented too exposed a target for British warships. Caswell was again

elected N.C. Governor in 1785 and was re-elected for the full legal limit of three successive

terms, serving until 1788. He suffered a fatal paralytic stroke while presiding over the state

senate in the general assembly at Fayetteville in the Fall of 1789. He died on 10 Nov. 1789 and

is believed to be buried at Kinston in what is now Caswell Memorial Park. The park houses the

Caswell museum and Visitors Center Since Caswell left no land or houses and precious

momentoes, his wealth having been sorely depleted as a result of the war, only Harmony Hall

remains as the restored proof of his courage and service to the State and the Nation.

SOURCES: Harmony Hall LH 08288-6 Lenoir Community College

History of Lenoir County by Charles Holloman

  • *******************************************************************************************
  • Note-Richard Caswell and his second wife Sarah raisedtheir grandson Richard William after

Caswell's son (by first wife Mary Mcllwean) William's death (Jan.6, 1785) and wife Gatsey's

death(1785) They also raised Sarah Richard, dau. of his son Richard,jr (d.Dec. 27,1784). and

Mary McIlwean Mary married Benejah White shortly after Gov. Caswell's death (c.1790) so it is

unclear where Sarah Richard was by 1790 census.. They also reared Richard Francis

McIlwean and his 2 sisters Sarah and Elizabeth, children of his daughter Sarah (d.1787) and

her husband John Sturgis McIlwean(d.(d.1788). In addition, he appears to have taken in William

 

and Elizabeth Lovick,nephew & niece of his wife Sarah Sarah also took in Benjamin John

Caswell(b.c1793) following John Caswell's death in 1795.

SOURCE: 1790 census- Sarah Caswell has two males over 16, two boys under 16, and 3

females (including herself) and 21 slaves.

  • *******************************************************************************************

Copy obtained from the North Carolina Archives. Submitted by Clair Hadley

WILL OF GOVERNOR RICHARD CASWELL

In THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I, Richard Caswell, of Dobbs County in the State of North

Carolina, Do this second day of July, in the Year of our Lord, one thousand, Seven hundred and

eighty seven, make and declare this to be my last Will and Testament as the one I made on the

death of my dearly beloved son, William Caswell, will not suit with my present circumstances. I

declare the and all former Wills and Testaments by me made, null and void, holding this and

this only for firm and effectual, which is as follows:

First, I reserve for the use of a burying ground for all those of my family and Connections who

may choose to bury their Relations and friends there, one half acre of land where the Bones of

my dear father and Mother lie, at a place called the Hill, to be laid out East, West, North and

South so as to leave those Bones near the center of the said half Acre of Ground, and I also

reserve in like manner, one half Acre of Land where the Bones of beloved wife (and) son,

William, now lie near the red house, to be laid out in the same manner and for the same

purpose as the above half Acre is directed; and these two half Acres to be reserved for the

uses afores'd forever. And its likewise my Will that those who wish to bury their Dead at either

of the said places and coming with in the meaning of the description above, shall always have

liberty of Egress, Ingress and regress to, at and from the said respective burying grounds to

bury the dead or repair or raise an enclosure to the same,

Secondly, to prevent any kind of Dispute which might arise between my Brother Martin Caswell,

or his heirs or Assigns With those claimings under me, I declare all the land comprised within

his Title from Samuel Caswell of the Title to Samuel

Caswell or Nathaniel Bird, I have no claim to, notwithstanding my patent may be of a Younger

date, than the Deed I granted to Nathaniel Bird for the same.

Thirdly, Whereas my Brother, Samuel Caswell, in his life time and myself, agreed for two

hundred acres of Land whereon he lived, immediately before his death, which was to begin at

Mackilwean's (corner) next to the river, near Mrs. Skiners dwelling and run up Mackilweans to

Dosiers out corner, then with his line to the flat branch near the end of Mr. Caosts field, then

with the side of the said Flat and land down to where a small branch empties into the said Flat

branch, which runs through Kellings old field, then a direct line to the mouth of the Cypres Gut.

Then down the river a small distance to Boxes corner, then with his line out to my corner and

then to the Beginning, which included part of Dosiers, Kellings, Boxes and my own former

claims, for three hundred pounds and notwithstanding a very small part of that Sum was paid

me in my said Brother's life time, and knowing it would very much distress his family was I to

require the remainder, therefore, I leave the use of the Land aforesaid with the plantation and

appurtenances to my sister, Eleanor Caswell, the widow of said Brother, until her son, Shine

Caswell, arrives to the age of twenty one Years, at which time I give and devise the same to

him, the said Shine Caswell, his heirs and Assigns for ever.

Fourthly, I give to my Grandson, Richard William Caswell, a Negro boy named Boson, and his

assigns forever.

Fifthly, I give to my Grandson, Richard Francis Mackilwean, a Negro boy named Daniel, and to

his Assigns forever.

Sixthly, if Jonathan Morris chooses to take the land whereon old Jack lives, which I bought at

the vendue of Richard Caswell, Junr's estate at the price I gave for it, I desire that the Title may

be made to him for the same,

Seventhly. Whereas I purchased at the Vendue of the Estate of my Son, Richard Caswell, one

Lot and half a Lot of Land in Kinston, with the house wherein Mrs. Caswell now lives and the

 

appurtenances, one Negro Woman named Sarah, one Negro girl named Sall, one Negro boy

named Charles, and one Negro boy named Jim, which Lot and Half and premises with the said

Negroes, I leave the use of to my Daughter in Law, Mary Caswell, until my Niece, Sarah

Caswell, her daughter, arrives to the age of eighteen Years, if my said Daughter should so long

live, and at that period or at the time of my said Daughters Death, if it should happen before my

said granddaughter arrives to the age aforesaid, I give, devise and bequeath the said Lot, half

Lot, an premises with the said negroes, to my said Grand Daughter, her heirs and Assigns

forever, to be delivered over to her free of any charges or incumbrances on account of the

maintenance and support of my said grand Daughter. And as it is uncertain into whose hands

she may fall, or it may so happen that she may fall into distress unless provided for by me, I

therefore desire the Executors of this will in such case to find her reasonable and decent

support, in cloathing and board, and attend to her Schooling and Education, which they shall

themselves pay to those who may be intitled to receive the expenses of the same, without its

going through other hands, and shall be a charge against my Estate, which support in the case

aforesaid, I direct shall be made and continued to her until she arrives at the age of eighteen

years or marries.

Eighthly, and, as I have heretofore virtually given to my daughter, Anna Fonvielle, the land I

hold on the east side of the Atkin branch form the road down to the river and down the same to

the mouth of the Cypress gut, bounded by the lines form thence of the Land herein given to

Shine Caswell, and John Coasts lines and my own lines to the road, and then with the road to

the Beginning, including all the land I claim adjoining the Atkin and Neuse, below the road, is

what is called the Walnut Hill and contains about three hundred acres. I have also verbally

given to my said daughter, Anne, Negroes Peter and his wife Barbara, and Doll, these verbal

gifts I now confirm to the said Anna Fonveille, her heirs and Assigns forever.

Ninthly, Whereas I am engaged to pay very considerable sums of money of account of

purchases made of my dear son, Richard's estate, and as the articles then purchased will by no

means bring a sum sufficient, and as I cannot now discriminate what of my property may be

best to dispose of, to raise money sufficient to pat all my debts, I hereby direct the Executors

hereof or such of them as may be acting at the time it may become necessary to dispose of

such part of my real or personal estate, as he or they Judge necessary and on such terms, I

think twelve months credit will be best, may appear most for the advantage of my Estate and I

hereby empower such Executor or Executors or acting Executor to make Legal and authentic

conveyances to the purchasers for the same.

Tenthly, After my debts are paid and the expenses of my household, and schooling of my

children, with every other incidental charge so as a fair and just inventory of the remainder of

my estate can be made, of both real and personal property, I require my Executors or acting

Executor to return such inventory with his or their account of the whole transactions relative to

my estate, to my friends Spyers Singleton, Robert White, John Heritage, Jesse Cobb, Francis

Childs, Simon Bright, Joshua Croom, Benjamin Caswell and John Coart, or the majority of them

or of the Survivors of them, and I request such majority, will arrange the personal estate into

five equal divisions or parts as near as may be, of which parts, I give my wife, Sarah Caswell,

one, which I request she may be allowed to choose, at the same time, I request such majority

of my friends may set apart for my said wife, in lieu of her dower of my Lands, as she may

choose to live on, and such part I leave her the use of during her natural life; the other four

remaining parts of my personal property, I request may be drawn for by my three sons, Winston,

Dallam, and John, and Susannah, and such lot I give to the respective drawers, his or her heirs

and Assigns forever.

Lastly, I nominate and appoint my said Sons, Winston, Dallam, and John Caswell, Executors of

this my Last Will and Testament, that is to say, Winston to act alone until Dallam arrives at

twenty one Years of age, then those two to Act until John arrives to the age of twenty one, after

which the whole to act as Executors until the business is compleat, and I appoint my good

friend James Glasgow, in trust to advise and direct the due Execution hereof, which I beg he

will attend to.

 

In testimony of the premises, I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal, the day and year first

herein written, contained on five sides.

R. Caswell (Seal)

Executed in presence of us, who have subscribed our names as Witnesses in presence of the

Testator, and of each other:

Simon Bright

James Bright

A codicil to the foregoing last will and Testament of Richard Caswell, made and executed the

same day of the will and is to be considered as a part of the same, that is to say, I give to my

son, Winston Caswell, Negroes Venus and Diamond, and to his Assigns for ever, to be

appraised in like manner and by the persons named in my will, and the value deducted from his

one fourth part, with my sons, Dallam, John, and Daughter Susannah. It is further my will, that

in case of the death of any of my now living children, to wit, Winston, Anne, Dallam, John, and

Susannah, before marriage, arriving at lawful age or legally disposing of any of the property,

herein given then that such property shall go to my surviving children and their heirs and

Assigns, to hold forever.

Witness my hand and seal which is affixed to the string which binds these two sheets together.

 

R. Caswell (Seal)

Executed in presence of:

Simon Bright

James Bright

State of North Carolina, Dobbs County January Court 1790

Then was the within Last Will and Testament of Richard Caswell, deceas'd, exhibited into Court

and proved by the oaths of Simon Bright and James Bright, the only Subscribing witnesses

thereto, who swore that they saw the Testator sign, seal, publish and declare the dame to be

and contain his last Will and Testament, and that they also saw him Sigh and Seal the Codicil

thereto, and acknowledged it to be a part of his Will; and to the best of their knowledge, he was

at that time of perfect mind and memory. At the same time, Winston Caswell, one of the

Executors therein named appeared and Qualified as such. Ordered that Letters Testamentary

issue accordingly.

Test. W. Caswell, Cler.

(Official Seal)

Copy of Original Will, filed in the office of the Secretary of State

  • ********************************************************************************************
    • NOTE-By 1828 William Croom was in possession of most or all of Gov. Richard Caswell's

properties.

:

WILL of WILLIAM CROOM - June 2, 1828 From original at the NC Archives, Raleigh, NC.

Abstracted and contributed by Guy Potts

.In the name of God, Amen, I, William Croom of NEWINGTON, Lenoir County,North Carolina,at

the home of George Whitfield on my way to Florida, do on this 2nd day of June inthe year of our

Lord one thousandeight hundred and twenty eight, make and declare this instrument of writing,

written on one sheet of paper, to be my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following ,

viz.1st. I give to my beloved wife Elizabeth Croom for and during the termof her natural life my

NEWINGTON PLANTATION and lands adjoining called the RED HILL plantation,containing in

the whole about twelvehundred acres....3rd. I give to my son Bryan Croom in Florida, all

thenegroes I have then in his possession,also Jacob and John, in the possession of Joshua St.

Byrd, and all my right of lands in Florida. Also twothousand dollars to be paid him out of the

sales of my estate to aid him in purchasing more lands in Florida, to him, his heirs and assigns

forever.....5th. I give to my son William Croom my TOWER HILL plantation, beginning at Neuse

 

River, ..6th. I give to my two daughters Anne and Eliza Croom all my lands below Tower Hill

lands,

given to William, including the Collier, MCILWEAN PLACEwhere Wingate now lives(**I think

Wingate must be related to the Isaac Wingate who married Martin's daughter Mary) and the

Stonington lands where David Evans lives to be equally divided by three competent

commissioners chosen bymy Executors for that purpose, to them, their heirs and assigns

forever.." **NOTE-other former Caswell lands are also mentioned.This Bryan is probably the

Bryan lost in the wreck??? and perhaps the William is the one who married Sarah R. Caswell

  • ******************************************************************************************

Mrs. W.T. Hines of 207 East King Street has in her possession a list of the persons buried

in the Caswell graveyard which was given to her by Mrs. Sue Bond, granddaughter of

Dallam Caswell, son of Richard Caswell, on April 2, 1914.

The following graves are on the list:

Richard Caswell, born August 3, 1729, died November 10, 1789; Susan Caswell Gatlin,

died March 5, 1843 at 67 years of age; Sarah C. Reavis, daughter of John and S. Gatlin,

died March 24, 1838, age 23 years; Lewis C. Desmond, born April 19, 1812, died

October 24, 1868. Joshua Desmond, born November 26, 1827, (epitaph reads "Here lies a

good man"); Eliza W., wife of Lewis Demond, born September 1804, died September,

1844 (granddaughter Richard Caswell); Mary E. Fonville, daughter of Lewis and Eliza

Desmond, born July 25, 1823, died April 18, 1900; John Gatlin, died June 20, 1830, age

67 years; Walter Davenport, a native of Connecticut, died 1832, age 32 years; Mary

Catherine, wife of J. Chestnut and great granddaughter of Richard Caswell, died February

23, 1854, age 24 years; Mary McIIwain, first wife of Richard Caswell;William Caswell;

Dallam Caswell and Holland Caswell West, daughter of Dallam Caswell and wife of

William B. West.

The list notes the unmarked graves of several children. Indisputable evidence as to the

people buried in the several remaining graves has never been secured. Governor

Caswell's grave was marked by the Masons in 1908. "Until then the only marker was one

erected by nature--a giant oak tree, still standing."

(The article had to have been printed in the newspaper prior to 1958, because there is a

handwritten notation stating that Mrs. Waitman Thompson Hines (Leone Hardy) died

December 4, 1958.)

 
 

Richard married (1) Mary MCILWEAN on 21 Apr 1752. Mary was born in 1732.

They had the following children:

2 F i. stillborn daughter CASWELL was born on 15 Sep 1753.

+ 3 M ii. Gen. (Rev. War) William CASWELL was born on 24 Sep

1754 and died on 6 Jan 1785.

 

Richard also married (2) Sarah HERITTAGE, daughter of William HERITTAGE and Susannah

MOORE, on 20 Jun 1758. Sarah was born in 1740. She died in 1794.

 

SOURCE: 1790 census- Sarah Herittage Caswell has two males over 16, two boys under 16,

and 3 females (including herself) and 21 slaves.

  • Note-Richard Caswell(died 1789) and his second wife Sarah took in their grandson Richard

William after Caswell's son (by first wife Mary Mcllwean) William'sdeath (Jan.6, 1785) and wife

Gatsey's death(1785). They also raised Sarah Richard, dau. of his son Richard,jr (d.Dec. 27,

1784) and wife Mary McIlwean.Mary remarried Benejah White by 1788.

They also reared Richard Francis McIlwean(b.1784) and his 2 sisters Sarah and Elizabeth,

children ofhis daughter Sarah (d.1787) and her husband John Sturgis McIlwean(d.(d.1788). In

 

addition, he appears to have taken in William and Elizabeth Lovick,nephew & niece of his wife

Sarah. They were the children of Sarah's sister Ann and George P. Lovick.

 
 

Richard and Sarah had the following children:

+ 4 M iii. Richard CASWELL Jr. was born on 15 Sep 1759 and

died in 1784.

+ 5 F iv. Sarah CASWELL was born on 26 Feb 1762 and died in

1786.

+ 6 M v. Winston CASWELL was born on 7 May 1764 and died in 1799.

+ 7 F vi. Anna CASWELL was born on 4 Dec 1766.

+ 8 M vii. Dallam CASWELL was born on 15 Jun 1769 and died in

1834.

+ 9 M viii. John CASWELL was born on 24 Jan 1772 and died on

14 Apr 1795.

+ 10 F ix. Susannah CASWELL was born on 16 Feb 1775.

11 F x. Christian CASWELL was born on 7 Jan 1779. She died at

birth.

 
 Team unearths casket, leather piece at Caswell site

Comments 0 | Recommend 1

May 15, 2008 10:04 AM

Jon Dawson

Staff Writer

A team of archeologists Wednesday unearthed what is believed to be the grave shaft of Richard Caswell.

The diggers have been searching for Caswell's grave at the Caswell Historic Site on West Vernon Avenue this year. The hope is to honor North Carolina's first governor with a marker there, if Caswell is indeed buried there.

On Wednesday, all the team found was the remnants of a casket and a piece of leather.

Charles Ewen of the East Carolina University Department of Anthropology said the piece of the leather may be the remains of a Masonic apron. Caswell at one time was Grand Master of the North Carolina Masons.

Ewen also said the casket piece found was the bottom of the burial object.

Other groups involved with the dig include the ECU Maritime History program, the Queen Anne's Revenge Conservation Lab and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Along with anthropologists and archeologists, Wednesday's event was attended by descendants of Caswell. Susan Hoffman of Virginia is a fifth-great-granddaughter of Caswell.

"I think it's about time," Hoffman said. "We want to honor him place a marker, but we can't do that if we don't know where he is."

Edward Williams of Raleigh is a fourth great-grandson of Caswell.

"The idea is to come up with an exact location so we can give him a proper burial," Williams said. "We'd like to erect a monument, but then you have to figure out who's going to pay for it."

Investigators will be looking for remnants of 18th century clothing or coffin hardware of the time. If any skeletal remains are found then DNA may be compared to that of Caswell's descendants.


Jon Dawson can be reached at (252) 559-1083 or jdawson@freedomenc.com. Check out Jon's blog at http://jdawson.encblogs.com.

-------------------- Mary married Governor Richard CASWELL, son of Richard CASWELL Sr. and Christian DALLAM, on 21 Apr 1752. Richard was born on 3 Aug 1729 in Joppa, Md. (Mulberry Point). He died on 10 Nov 1789 in Fayetteville, NC and was buried in Kinston, NC.


Richard Caswell was the first Governor of the independent state of North Carolina. .He was the only one ever to serve for six one year terms, and the only one ever from Lenoir (then Dobbs) County. Caswell was distinguished also among governors of the newly independent states for having directly participated in the Revolutionary battles.

While serving in the militia with rank of colonel in 1771, Caswell saw action under Governor Tryon in the Battle of Alamance. Three years later the First Provincial Congress met at New Bern to name delegates to the First Continental Congress, opening in Philadelphia on September 5, 1775. In May 1775, while enroute to the Continental Congress, Colonel Caswell learned of the April 19th battles at Lexington and Concord. By the time he returned to North Carolina, Colonial Governor Josiah Martin had fled the Royal Palace, Tryon, at New Bern, taking refuge on a British warship at themouth of Cape Fear River. Military preparations increased throughout North Carolina and Caswell was named commander of the militia in one of the six military districts. Then, at the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on Feb. 27, 1776, Caswell led some 1,100 Whig troops who ambushed the Tories, upset British invasion plans and made him a hero of the Revolution.


In 1776, after the Provincial Congress enacted the Halifax Resolves, military preparations escalated and Caswell was promoted to brigadier general of militia. Later he was to command all North Carolina militia and was to join General Horatio Gates in the unsuccessful action against Cornwallis at the battle of Camden. In the meantime, Caswell served as chairman of a group to draft a state constitutuion, which was adopted, following the Declaration of Independence, by the Continental Congress. General Caswell was chosen and reelected Governor of North Carolina by the general assemblies of 1777, 1778, and 1779. The constitution permitted only three successive terms for governor. It was in 1777, his first year as constututional governor, that Caswell bought Harmony Hall; according to Dr. Charles Holloman, Caswell occupied Tryon Palace for a brief period, but then moved the government to Kinston, feeling the palace presented too exposed a target for British warships. Caswell was again elected N.C. Governor in 1785 and was re-elected for the full legal limit of three successive terms, serving until 1788. He suffered a fatal paralytic stroke while presiding over the state senate in the general assembly at Fayetteville in the Fall of 1789. He died on 10 Nov. 1789 and is believed to be buried at Kinston in what is now Caswell Memorial Park. The park houses the Caswell museum and Visitors Center Since Caswell left no land or houses and precious momentoes, his wealth having been sorely depleted as a result of the war, only Harmony Hall remains as the restored proof of his courage and service to the State and the Nation. SOURCES: Harmony Hall LH 08288-6 Lenoir Community College

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~paday/dobbers/mcilwean.htm

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Richard Caswell, III, Prov. Gov.'s Timeline

1729
August 3, 1729
Hartford, Maryland, United States
1753
September 15, 1753
Age 24
1754
September 24, 1754
Age 25
1759
September 15, 1759
Age 30
1762
February 26, 1762
Age 32
1764
May 7, 1764
Age 34
1766
1766
Age 36
1769
June 15, 1769
Age 39
1772
January 24, 1772
Age 42
1775
February 16, 1775
Age 45