1902 Encyclopedia > North Carolina

North Carolina




NORTH CAROLINA, one of the original thirteen States that formed the American Union, is situated on the Atlantic seaboard between 33° 50' and 36° 33' N. lat. and between 75° 27' and 84° 20' W. long. It stretches 500 miles east and west across the entire breadth of the Atlantic slope of the Appalachians in a long narrow rudely triangular belt, its western extremity, less than 20 miles wide, resting on the highest plateau and summits of that continental system of mountains, while its eastern end spreads out to a breadth of 200 miles in a low, level, and gently undulating plain on the Atlantic coast, with a curving shore-line of more than 300 miles. Its area is 52,286 square miles, of which 3620 are covered by water.

Physical Features.—The western section is a rugged mountainous plateau; it forms a narrow, irregular, much indented trough, lying between the bifurcating chains of the western and dominant arm of the southern prolonga-tion of the Appalachians,—the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge,—the former being the western boundary of the State. The length of this plateau from north-east to south-west is more than 200 miles, its breadth 15 to 50 miles, and its area nearly 6000 square miles. The Smoky chain has a general elevation of from 5000 to 6000 feet, rising in many summits to 6500 feet and upwards, but is broken down by half a dozen deep water-gaps or canons to the level of 2000 and even 1200 feet. The Blue Ridge, which constitutes the eastern boundary of the plateau, is a very sinuous and angular and straggling mountain chain, with a general elevation of from 3000 to 4000 feet and upwards, a few of its higher summits, about midway in the State, reaching nearly 6000 feet.

These two bounding chains are connected by many north and south cross-chains, of equal elevation with themselves, or greater, and separated by deep valleys. On one of these cross-chains, called the Black Mountains, is Mitchell's Peak, the highest point east of the Mississippi, its altitude being 6688 feet (400 feet above Mount Washington in New Hampshire). The cross-valleys or river-basins have an altitude of from 2000 to 3000 feet, with smaller benches and marginal plateaus of from 3500 to 4000 feet. Seen from the east or Atlantic side, the Blue Ridge appears as a steep, ragged, and broken escarpment, springing suddenly 2000 to 3000 feet above the Piedmont plateau at its base. This plateau has along its western margin an altitude of 1200 to 1500 feet above sea-level, and is mountainous, with high and precipitous spurs projected eastward and southward from the Blue Ridge. A few of these extend in irregular straggling ranges all across the breadth of the Piedmont section, which is 60 to 75 miles wide, and carries an elevation of 1000 feet to its eastern margin.

This middle region of the State is a country of hills and valleys and rolling uplands, its prominent topographical features being a succession of broad-backed swells with eastward or south-eastward trends, constituting the water-sheds between a number of large rivers, which take their rise in the Piedmont or on the flanks of the Blue Ridge, and reach the Atlantic through a system of wide valleys, 300 to 500 feet below the intervening divides. The area of this region is about 20,000 square miles ; its alti-tude, descending gradually from 1000 to about 200 feet, .averages about 650 feet. Eastward, to the sea, lies a great champaign, 100 to 120 miles wide, and 20,000 square miles in area. The surface is generally quite level, but in places' undulating and hilly towards the western border, especially ^near the larger rivers. Towards the coast it is diversified tby numerous and extensive sounds, bays, rivers, lakes, :marshes, swamps, and islands, the whole surface for 50 miles inland from Hatteras and the eastern shore being Hess than 20 feet above sea-level. The sea is walled off ifrom this low-lying territory by a long linear chain of sand-islands or dunes, ranging from 75 to 100 feet and upwards in height, and separated in half a score places by inlets which connect the sounds with the ocean.

Rivers and Drainage.—The features above described give the main outlines of the drainage system, the Blue Ridge being obviously the chief factor. The streams which rise east of that chain empty into the Atlantic, either directly .through the territory of this State or by crossing also that of South Carolina; those which rise west of it seek the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico, partly by way of the Tennessee, many of whose chief affluents have cut their way in a north-westerly course across the mountain plateau and through the Smoky range, and partly by way of the Ohio, leaving the plateau in a north-easterly direction and reaching that river by the Kanawha through Virginia. Several of the most considerable rivers take their rise in the midland region. The numerous rivers of the eastern section, as they approach the sounds and the sea, broaden into bays of 2, 3, and 5 miles width, through which the movement of the tide is felt to a distance of 50 and 60 miles inland, and many of them are navigable for more than a hundred miles to the lower falls near the western border of the alluvial region.

Climate.—In climate North Carolina resembles France and Italy. The position of the eastern end on the Atlantic and its projection southward beyond the parallel of 34°, together with the near approach of the Gulf Stream, give this part of the State a sub-tropical climate, its isotherm (66°) being that of the southern half of the Gulf States and of Nicolosi in Sicily, while the great elevation and inland recession of the western section bring its climate to that of the cold temperate zone, the isotherm for the higher plateaus (51°) being that of New England and Upper Canada. The average annual mean temperature of the State is 59°; for the eastern region it is 61°, for the middle 58°, and for the mountainous region 52°. The summer temperature is, for the State 77°, and for the several regions respectively 79°, 77°, 70°; and the winter temper-ature, 43° for the State, and for the regions named 46°, 44°, 38°. During a recent winter of unusual severity the thermometer several times indicated 30° and 40° below zero in Michigan and New England, while in North Carolina 10° above zero was reached but once. The aver-age of the minimum temperature for the State is 15°, for the middle region 13°, and for the west 8°; a record of 10° is rarely made east of the Blue Ridge, or of 0° west of it. The mean annual rainfall is nearly double that of England and France, the average for the State being 52 inches, and for the east, middle, and west respectively 60, 45, 58 inches. This precipitation is distributed nearly uniformly through the different seasons, with a slight pre-ponderance in the amount of summer rain and a corre-spondingly less quantity in the autumn. Notwithstanding this large amount of rainfall, the tables of humidity show that the climate is as dry as that of France; and the cultivation of the vine, cotton, silk, &c, furnishes the strongest practical proof of the fact. The prevalent winds are westerly, south-west winds being more common in the east, north-west winds in the middle, and west winds in the mountain region. The rain-bearing winds are mostly from the west and south-west, but the winter rains often come from the north-east. Situated westward of the track of the Atlantic cyclones, and sheltered by high mountains and by distance from the western tornado, the State enjoys almost complete immunity from these destructive visita-tions. The climate is favourable to human health, except in limited malarial tracts in the lowlands on some of the rivers. The death-rate for this State is less than the aver-age for the United States, and one of the two areas where consumption is unknown is found here.

Geology.—The geological structure of the State is very simple; the formations are arranged quite regularly in zones parallel to the Appalachian axis and the Atlantic coast, and belong almost entirely to two horizons, the Archaean (or Azoic) and the Tertiary. The rocks of the several subdivisions of the former, the Laurentian, Montal-ban, Huronian, &c, occupy the western and middle regions and succeed each other in broad terranes, consisting of granites, gneisses, and schists, separated by narrow belts of quartzites, limestones, sandstones, and slates. The dip of these rocks is almost uniformly eastward and generally at a high angle. Across the middle of the State lies an exten-sive zone, 20 to 40 miles wide, of the Archaean slates, with a predominance of chlorite and felsite slates, schists, clay slates, and shales, with steep westerly dips. This is succeeded in the region of Raleigh by another terrane of gneisses and schists about 20 miles wide, inclined eastward at high angles and disappearing southward and eastward under the Tertiary formation, and giving place in turn, farther eastward, to an equal breadth of slates and felsites, (with occasional bosses of granite), which are only seen where they have been uncovered in the beds and bluffs of the larger rivers. The whole eastern region is mantled over with a thin covering of Tertiary rocks. These consist of sands, gravels, and clays, and of shingle beds and earths rudely stratified, towards the western border. The thick-ness of this formation ranges from a few feet to 25 and 50 feet, occasionally reaching 100 and 200 feet. Through-out the eastern and larger part of the division, in the ravines and in the beds and banks of the streams, are numerous outcrops of Middle Tertiary marls, Lower Ter-tiary shell-limestones, and coarse chalk beds. And in the southern half of this section, in the river beds and near the water-line of their banks, the Cretaceous formation appears in beds of half-compacted greensand, occasionally filled with shells. Overlying the Tertiary are sporadic patches of Quaternary clays, gravels, and shingle beds, the latter chiefly near the great channel ways of the rivers, where they sometimes reach a thickness of 30 and 50 feet. The Mesozoic formation is represented by two long narrow trough-like terranes of Triassic sandstones, conglomerates, clay slates, and shales, with bituminous coal. One of these, 5 to 6 miles wide with a south-easterly dip of 10° to 20°, enters the State from South Carolina a few miles west of the Pedee river and, passing within 10 miles (west) of Raleigh, disappears within 15 miles of the Virginia line; the other, about 40 miles long and 2 to 4 miles wide, lies along the valley of the Dan river, nearly east and west in direction and near the Virginia line. These beds have a north-westerly dip of 30° to 70°. The rocks of these two belts have a thickness of several thousand feet and are evidently the remnant fringes of a broad, flat anticlinal which has suffered extensive erosion. These two outcrops converge in the direction of the Richmond coal-beds, and were no doubt once continuous with them and with the Mesozoic of New Jersey and Connecticut. The former of these belts carries a 6-foot seam of bituminous, the other a 3-foot seam of semi-bituminous coal. Both are of good quality, but have been little worked. The Palaeozoic rocks are entirely wanting, and the Primordial cross the State line from Ten-nessee only in a few places along the Smoky Mountains.





Minerals.—In consequence of the wide distribution of the older rocks there is a notable abundance and variety of minerals. More than 180 species have been discovered, some of great rarity; and one of them has recently yielded to science two new metallic chemical elements. Nearly a score different species of gems have been found, including the diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald, beryl, lazulite, amethyst, garnet, agate, and zircon. There occur also many minerals having special applications in the use-ful arts, viz., mica, corundum, asbestos, baryte, chromic iron, garnet, zircon, kaolin, black oxide of manganese, talc, pyrophyllite, &c. Mica is found in large veins or dykes in all the terranes of Montalban gneisses, but the most extensive and valuable mines are found in the mountain region, where workable veins are numerous and extensive and the sheets of mica of unusual size and excellence. Corundum is about as widely distributed as mica, and occurs in the same series of rocks, as well as in some of the slate belts. The chief sources of supply of both corun-dum and mica for the arts, in the United States and in Europe, are the deposits of the mountains of this State. In this region are also numerous beds of white and variously-coloured marbles. Building stones of every variety are found in nearly all the sections, and whetstone, millstone, and grindstone grits, as well as potter's clay and fire-clay ; and in the seaboard section are immense beds of peat. Iron, copper, and gold ores are coextensive with the outcrops of the metamorphic rocks. Several parallel ranges of magnetic and haematite iron-ore beds cross the State in a north-east direction, in both the middle and the mountain regions. These ores are of a high grade and are in great demand at the Bessemer furnaces in Pennsyl-vania and elsewhere. Beds of limonite are numerous and extensive in all parts of the State. Blackband ore is associated with the coal, and spathic ore occurs as the gangue of several copper and gold mines in the middle region. Iron for domestic consumption has been manu-factured for a hundred years in the middle region and half as long in the other sections. Gold occurs in both placers and veins from Halifax county on the upper margin of the eastern champaign, within 110 miles of the sea-coast, through all the intermediate sections to Cherokee county in the extreme south-west. The more extensive and pro-ductive deposits are found in the midland region in the southern half of the great slate belt, and in the central part of the Piedmont region among the foot hills and spurs of the mountains. These placers consist of coarse shingle in the beds of the streams and the bordering level bottoms; climbing the slopes and benches of the hills adjacent, they pass insensibly from half-stratified shingle, gravel, and sand beds into unstratified earths with mingled fragments of stone. These deposits cover several hundred square miles of territory, and are of Quaternary or more recent age. Compared with those of California, they are of very slight thickness, generally not above 5 or 10 to 20 feet, and only occasionally reaching 40 and 50 feet. The most important and valuable vein mines are also found in the midland region. One of these, the Gold Hill mine near Salisbury, has been wrought to a depth of 750 feet, and its total produce exceeds two million dollars of bullion. In the same section are several noted silver mines,—_ Silver Hill, Silver Valley, and others. Many of the gold veins of the midland region carry also copper ores, and there are numerous copper veins in various parts of the middle and western regions. The more common ore is chal-copyrite, but there are also important lodes of grey copper.

Soils.—The soils of the eastern region are transported sands, gravels, and clays, of Tertiary and Quaternary origin, the assorted detritus of the abraded hills of the metamorphic rocks in the midland country to the westward. The upland soils of the region (the com-mon characteristic cotton soils) are generally sands and loams of moderate fertility, with here and there considerable areas in long narrow ridges or oval patches called pine barrens, that are very sandy and sterile. Between these, on the benches and lower levels, stretch wide and fertile alluvial tracts, especially along the borders of the streams and the shores of the sounds and bays. On the flatfish swells between the lower reaches of the great bay-like rivers and around the margins of the lakes, as well as along the borders of many of the creeks, are extensive tracts of swampy lands with a black peaty soil of great depth and inexhaustible fertility. These soils resemble those of the prairies of the north-western States, but contain a larger percentage of organic matter, and are more productive and more durable, producing 50 to 60 bushels of corn (maize) "to the acre for a hundred years in succession without rotation and 'without manure. In the middle and western regions of the State the soils are of every variety of texture and composition and of every grade of fertility. They may be generally described as clayey, sandy, and gravelly loams ; but there is a considerable proportion _of clay soils, not only in the alluvions of the numerous creek and river bottoms, which are commonly of this description, but on the uplands as well; these are the more productive and durable. There are no prairie lands in the State, and the highest and ruggedest _mountains are covered with soil and forests to their summits.

Forests. —The whole area of the State was originally forest-covered, •and about two-thirds of it is still in the primitive condition, except that the woods are much denser in consequence of the cessation of the annual burnings by which the Indians kept down the brush and preserved them in an open park-like condition. The great variety of soils, together with the wide range of climate, gives rise to a remarkably rich and varied flora. While the higher mountains •of the western section are covered with forests of spruces and firs and other trees common to Canada and the lake States, the seaboard section borrows from the Gulf States their live oak and long-leaf pine, their magnolias and palmettos. Of twenty-two -species of oak found in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, nineteen occur here; of eight pines, all are found in _one section or another; of five maples, all: of nine hickories, six; of seven magnolias, all; of five birches, three; and so on. And nearly •every one of the twenty kinds of timber used in New York ship-yards is found here. There are three well-marked and broadly--distinguished forest regions in the State, corresponding to the three geographical divisions. Pines, chiefly the species australis and teeda, •constitute the characteristic feature of the eastern forests, giving place in the lower swampy tracts, especially in the seaboard section, to the cypress and juniper. Oaks predominate in the middle and western regions, but the mountain forests contain oak, chestnut, 'hemlock, and white pine. The oaks, however, are also found in -some of their species as a subordinate constituent of the forests throughout the eastern region, and several species of pine (chiefly P. mitis) are frequently mingled with the oaks to the western ex-tremity of the State. The chestnut (Castanea vesca) is very abun-dant, and, reaching a diameter of 8 to 10 feet and a height of 80 .and 100 feet, often constitutes extensive forests throughout the mountains. The poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) is found in all the sections, but is most abundant in the western, where it equals the chestnut in dimensions. Hickories are distributed throughout the State wherever the soil is above average quality. This, timber _exceeds all the others in weight and strength. The total number •of species of trees found in the State is 112, and there are just twice as many of shrubs, many of them 20 feet and upwards in height, which together give these forests everywhere an aspect of _wonderful richness and variety, '' comparing favourably with almost any portion of the tropics." Among the trees are many valuable and popular cabinet woods, such as the walnut, holly, cherry, ash, _cedar, birds-eye-maple, sycamore, &c. These forests are rapidly increasing in value as those of the northern States disappear and .as the demand for timber increases.

Population.—In 1790, at the first United States census, the population was 390,000. In 1860, the year before the beginning of the Civil War, it had risen to 992,622, of whom 361,522 were •coloured. In 1870 it was 1,071,361, an increase during this decade •ofless than 8 per cent. Inl880 it was 1,399,750 (531,277 coloured, =and 1230 Indians). The foreign-born population numbered but 3742. The increase during the ten years 1870-80 was 30 • 6 per cent.; the number of persons to the square mile was 29. The people of this 'State are among the most rural in the United States. The largest city does not contain 20,000 people, and only four exceed 4000, viz., Wilmington, 17,350 ; Raleigh, 9265 ; Charlotte, 7094 ; New Berne, 6443.

Industries.—Agricultural pursuits engage three-fourths of the in-habitants, cotton and rice being staple products of the east, and bay, live stock, buckwheat, and other north-temperate zone products, of the mountain region ; in one section or another may be found -every agricultural product grown between the great lakes and the Oulf, except the orange. Indian corn occupies the largest acreage, and this and the other cereals are common to all sections. Cotton is raised in two-thirds of the counties. It is the chief market crop of the eastern and of the southern half of the middle region. The limit of cotton culture has extended northward 20 to 50 miles in the last fifteen years, and the produce has increased nearly threefold. In the northern half of the middle and Piedmont districts tobacco •replaces cotton as the market crop. Within ten years its culture has extended into a large portion of the mountain region. The northern tier of counties, next to the Virginia border, is known as the Bright Tobacco Belt,—the larger part of the yellow or gold-leaf tobacco of commerce being produced in this narrow zone. This crop tias also largely increased in the last ten years. The cultivation of the vine is also increasing in all sections of the State. Accord-ing to Humboldt's thermal criteria the whole State lies within the zone most favourable to this industry. His conclusions are con-firmed by experience in every part of the State, and by the fact that several of the most popular grapes have originated here, such as the Catawba, Isabella, and Scuppernong.

The following table gives the principal crops and their relative amounts at the two last enumerations :—
1S70. 1S80.
Indian corn 18,454,215 28,019,889 bushels.
Wheat 2,859,879 3,397.893 .,
Oats 3,220,106 3,S3S,068 „
Eye 352,006 285.100 „
Potatoes, Irish..... 738,803 722,773
., sweet 3,071,840 4,576,148
Rice 2,059,281 5,609,191 pounds.
Tobacco 11,150,087 26,986,213 ,

Cotton 144,935 389,598 bales.
The total number of farms in 1880 was 157,609 ; the average size 142 acres.

Mining and other Industries. —These, although of very subordinate interest, have long given occupation to a small portion of the popu-lation. Gold was first discovered in 1819, and between that date and 1850 hundreds of gold and copper mines were opened in the middle and western sections, and many thousands of the population were occupied in these industries. The total product of the gold mines between those dates is estimated at about $10,000,000. In the last few years mining industries have received a new impulse. Iron ores are mined on a considerable scale for export, many new gold and copper mines have been opened, and the amount of the output of the various mining industries is increasing very notably. Mica mining began fifteen years ago in the mountain region, and has grown to considerable importance, much the larger part of this material found in commerce being produced here. The annual yield is about 40,000 lb, and is continually increasing.

The fisheries of the eastern rivers and sounds are large and profit-able, and give employment to several thousand people. And in this region the getting of lumber, both in the pine forests and in the cypress and juniper swamps, has been an important source of profit since its first settlement.

The manufactures of North Carolina occupy a very subordinate place, and are mainly domestic and auxiliary to the one dominant agricultural interest. The value of the total annual output, as given by the census of 1880, is 120,095,037. Of this sum $2,554,482 is derived from the manufacture of cotton goods, $2,215,154 from that of tobacco, $1,758,488 from turpentine and tar.

Railroads and Waterways. — In ten years the number of miles of railroad has been nearly doubled and is now within a few score miles of 2000. There are 1000 miles of waterways open to steamboat navigation, including rivers, bays, sounds, and canals, forming a nexus of lines of communication extending over the whole eastern and seaboard region and connecting with the various ports along the coast from Wilmington to Norfolk in Virginia.

Government, Taxes, Education.—The executive power is vested in a governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, auditor, trea-surer, superintendent of public instruction, and attorney-general, who are elected by ballot and hold office four years. The legisla-tive power is vested in a general assembly, which consists of a senate of 50 members and a house of representatives of 120 members, who are elected for two years and hold biennial sessions. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, superior courts, and courts of justices of the peace. The supreme court consists of a chief justice and two associate justices. The State is divided into nine judicial districts, and there is one superior court judge to each. The judges of the supreme and superior courts are elected by popular vote for a term of eight years. The justices of the peace, who administer the law in the counties, are appointed by the legislature. A capitation tax,which may not exceed $2, is levied for the support of a system of education. Other State taxes are levied ad valorem, and amount at present to 25 cents on each $100 worth of property, and this on a very low valuation. The public debt is $5,706,616. The total assessed valuation of property is $156,100,202; the real value is about $300,000,000. A system of public schools is established by law and supported by funds derived from State taxes, and increased by county and municipal levies. The schools are required to be kept open four months in the year. The receipts of the school fund for 1880 were $553,464.





History.—The coast of North Carolina was the scene of the first effort of the English to colonize America. In the years 1585 to 1587 Sir Walter Raleigh despatched hither five fleets in succession, and planted three small colonies, which disappeared one after the other and left no trace. In consequence of these failures, due in large measure to the peculiar conformation of this difficult coast and the want of good harbourage, the next expedition, twenty years later, was directed to strike the coast farther north, about the mouth of the James river, where the first permanent settlement was effected ; and no further attempt at direct colonization from Europe was made for three quarters of a century. Thus, instead of being the first of the American colonies in point of time, the colony of Carolina came very near being the last. The southern bound-ary of the colony of Virginia was the parallel of 36° 30 N. lat., although the whole continent was still called by that name, and all trhe country south of this limit to the Gulf was granted by Charles II. in 1663 and 1666 to a company of English noblemen styled the lords proprietors, with full powers of colonization and government. In this territory, called Carolina in compliment to the royal grantor, the colony of Carolina was planted by them under a new form of colonial government called the proprietary government, consist-ing of a governor appointed by themselves, a legislative assembly elected by the freeholders, and a council of twelve, six appointed by the governor and six by the assembly. Colonists were eagerly solicited for the new "plantations" by liberal grants of lands, and by a guarantee of full religious liberty and of exemption from taxa-tion except with the consent of the legislature. These favourable terms were so much in contrast with the state of things in some of the other colonies, especially in Virginia, where tithes were rigor-ously exacted for the support of the Established Church, dissent punished as a crime, and laws enacted which allowed only the alternatives of conformity oi enforced exile, that the new colony soon received a large accession of Quakers and other Dissenters. In 1669 the first legislative assembly met, and a new- and remarkably liberal government was successfully organized. The next year an attempt was made to introduce a new system of government and form of social order called the Fundamental Constitutions, drawn up by the celebrated philosopher John Locke at the request of the lords pro-prietors ; but this and several subsequent attempts were so stoutly resisted by the colonists that the absurd and tyrannous scheme was formally abandoned in 1693. And so strong was the spirit of liberty that one of the lords proprietors who had been sent over as governor was deposed and exiled for extortion, and another governor with his council was imprisoned for misgovernment and infringement of the guaranteed rights of the colony, a new governor and legislature elected, and the government carried on for two years by the colonists themselves. In 1729 the proprietary was replaced by the royal authority, the form of government remaining unchanged. At this date also the territory of Carolina was formally divided into the two colonies of North and South Carolina. The population at this time, estimated at 13,000, was mostly limited to the seaboard region, within 50 miles of the coast. Ten years later a great tide of emigra-tion set in upon the interior and midland country, both from the "older settlements to the north, especially from Virginia and Pennsyl-vania, and from the British Islands and the continent of Europe ; so that in less than forty years the population wanted little of 300,000, and at the beginning of the revolution of 1776 a continuous chain of settlements extended from the sea-coast to the mountains. The new-comers were generally of the best class of immigrants, Scotch, Scotch-Irish, English, Swiss, Germans, and Dutch. They were Presbyterians, Moravians, Lutherans, Huguenots, and Quakers. Devoted to liberty and impatient of tyranny and of privilege, these people were attracted to the colony not alone or chiefly by the fame of its broad and fertile " mesopotamias " and its salubrious climate, but above all else by the liberal and popular form of its govern-ment, especially by its freedom of religion. "When attempts were made, as they frequently were, in violation of guaranteed rights, to establish the English Church and collect church rates, they were everywhere met with stubborn and not always passive resistance. The execution of the famous Stamp Act in 1766 was forcibly re-sisted, and the royal vessel bringing the obnoxious papers was not even allowed to enter port. Extortion practised by the officers of the crown in some of the interior counties led to repeated remon-strances and appeals for redress to the governor and afterwards to parliament, and finally ended in 1771 in insurrection and open war. The controversy culminated in the battle of Alamance, in which the recusants were defeated by Governor Tryon. And thus, in one way and another, a spirit of suspicion or resentment, of irri-tation or open hostility, was constantly kept alive in the colony. This spirit found expression in the famous Mecklenburg resolu-tions adopted by the Scotch-Irish settlers about Charlotte in May 1775, in which " all laws and commissions by authority of king and parliament" are declared to be annulled and vacated, and a new government was organized for the county recognizing only the authority of the provincial congress. Thus North Carolina was fully ripe for measures of open and combined resistance when move-ments were begun towards a union of the colonies for this purpose, and was the first of all the colonies to instruct its delegates to the continental congress to vote for formal independence of the British crown. Early in 1776 the militia of the colony met and defeated on the lower Cape Fear river a body of 1500 British troops under skilful officers, directed by the royal governor and supported by a British fleet of thirty sail off the port of "Wilmington. The colony furnished its full quota of troops to the continental armies north and south, and lost most heavily in the fall of Charleston. But beyond this, situated far from the seat of war and weakened by the pressure of several recent settlements of adherents of the British crown, the colony did not bear a conspicuous part in the revolution until in the later campaigns, during the closing years of the war, its territory became the theatre of the conflict. The defeat and capture of an important detachment of Cornwallis's army under Ferguson at King's Mountain in 1780 by a sudden gathering of untrained backwoodsmen and hunters, chiefly from the mountain settlements, checked the victorious march of the British ; and a similar volunteer gathering of her yeomanry from all the surrounding region at the battle of Guilford Court House in 1781 contributed largely to give the victory of Cornwallis the character of a defeat, and forced his speedy retreat to the coast and ultimately to Yorktown for the final catastrophe.

On the formation of the Federal Union, North Carolina, having had abundant and long experience of usurpation and misgovernment, did not make haste to enter the new compact, but moved with slow and cautious steps, and was one of the last of the colonies to adopt the constitution. At the breaking out of the war between the States in 1861, North Carolina, strongly averse to secession, sought by every means to avert the conflict, remaining unmoved after all the surrounding States had seceded, and was forced into the struggle last of all the Southern States, and when there remained only the alternative of a choice of sides. Being near the seat of war and yet for the most part outside of it,, the State contributed more largely to the commissary supplies of the Confederacy, and also sent into the field a larger number of troops and lost more men in battle than any other State, her soldiers having a conspicuous share-in all the great battles from Bull Bun to Petersburg. Since the close of the war, which left her utterly bankrupt, North Carolina has entered on a career of prosperity unexampled in her previous history. Population has increased far more rapidly than at any previous peilod, the number of miles of railroad has been doubled, the area of land under cultivation enlarged, agriculture improved in its methods and results, and industries diversified to an extent and with a rapidity never known before. (W. C. K.)


Footnotes

See Dr Cooper, in "Forests and Forest Trees of North America,"Smith-sonian Report, 1858.




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