Sketches of North Carolina, Historical and Biographical, Illustrative of the Principles of a Portion of Her Early Settlers. by William Henry Foote (1846)




IN the year 1759 a town was established by the legislature of the province of North Carolina, on the Eno, a branch of the Neuse, near its head waters, in the county of Orange, which might have received its name, Hillsborough, from the beautiful eminences by which it is surrounded, as well as from the Earl of Hillsborough, Secretary of State for American affairs, from whom it is called. Its first name was Childsborough, in honor of the Attorney-General; but the change speedily took place on account of the odium attached to the attorney for his exorbitant fees.

This little village, the county seat of Orange, has claims upon our attention, for events enacted within its precincts and its neighborhood, in times gone by. It was the seat of the first provincial congress in North Carolina, 1775;—the head-quarters of Gates after his sad defeat at Camden;—and of his adversary, Lord Cornwallis, on his invasion of Carolina in his pursuit of Greene (the residence of his Lordship, then one of the most sightly buildings in the village, is now kept as a tavern of no splendid appearance);—but more particularly noted as the place of the first outbreaking of those discontents, which had shown themselves in complaints and remonstrances, but here assumed form and consistence, first heard of in Orange and Granville, and ultimately spreading over all that section of the State west of a line drawn from the point of entrance of the Roanoke, from Virginia, to the point of egress of the Yadkin to South Carolina;—discontents, and complaints, and outbreakings, that eventuated in the first blood shed in Carolina, in the contest of freedom of opinion and property with the tyranny and misrule of the British government: and the first contest that had any appearance of a regular predetermined battle, in the provinces in North America.

This spirit of discontent was at first confined to that part of the province granted and set off to Lord Granville, which was bounded by the Virginia line on the north, by the line of latitude

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