Lenoir County Colonial Commission Records (2006–2007, undated) pertaining to events and activities honoring and celebrating the life and accomplishments of landowner, Revolutionary War general, and six term governor of North Carolina, Richard Caswell, held in Kinston, N.C., 12–19 August 2007; also including newspaper clippings, programs of events, correspondence, financial records, printed materials, digital materials, drafts, and documents regarding the publication of Clayton Brown Alexander's 1930 PhD dissertation, which was a biography of Richard Caswell, entitled "First Patriots and the Best of Men: Richard Caswell in Public Life," which was edited by W. Keats Sparrow.
Richard Caswell was born in Harford (now Baltimore) County, Md., on 3 August 1729. He moved to North Carolina in 1746. He was appointed deputy surveyor of the colony in 1750 and clerk of the court of Orange County 1752-1754. Caswell studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1754 and commenced practice in Hillsboro, N.C. He served as a member of the colonial house of delegates 1754–1771, and served as speaker the last two years. Caswell commanded the right wing of Colonial Governor William Tryon's army at the Battle of Alamance in 1771, and later served as an officer in the Revolutionary Army. He was elected a member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1775. Caswell commanded the patriots at the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, North Carolina, on 23 February 1776, and was appointed brigadier general of the New Bern District by the Provincial Congress in 1776. He was delegate to the state constitutional convention and its president in 1776. Caswell was chosen as the first Governor of the State of North Carolina from 1776 to 1780. He commanded the North Carolina troops at the Battle of Camden in 1780. He was comptroller general in 1782, and was a member of the state senate 1782–1784 and served as speaker. Caswell was again elected governor in 1785 and served until 1787. The state appointed him as a delegate from North Carolina to the convention that framed the Federal Constitution in 1787, but he did not attend. He served as a member of the state convention at Fayetteville, N.C., that adopted the Federal Constitution in 1789. He was a member and speaker of the state house of commons in 1789 and served until his death by stroke in Fayetteville, N.C., 10 November 1789. Caswell was buried in the family cemetery on his estate near Kinston, Lenoir County, N.C.
The Lenoir County Colonial Commission Records are arranged in original order. The first folder contains newspaper clippings, programs of events and correspondence relating to the celebration of Richard Caswell in Kinston, North Carolina, from 12 to 19 August 2007. The events were organized by the Lenoir County Colonial Commission under the auspices of the Historical Preservation Group. Keats Sparrow was dean emeritus of Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University and was chairman of the Lenoir County Colonial Commission for the commemorative week. The second folder contains correspondence and documents regarding the biography of Richard Caswell by W. Keats Sparrow, including the "penultimate" draft of the book, and a compact disc of the final product. The oversized folder consists of newspaper clippings relating to both the biography and the celebration.
The folder "Kinston, North Carolina, Caswell Celebration, June–August 2007" holds articles from local newspapers, programs and email correspondence relating to the week long celebration, 12–19 August 2007, in Kinston, N.C., to honor Richard Caswell, the first Governor of the State of North Carolina. The Caswell celebration included a memorial service, wreath-laying ceremony at the Lenoir County Courthouse and at the Caswell family cemetery, a mock funeral, lectures, speeches, re-enactments, biography release, concerts and musical tributes, re-opening of the Caswell Museum, a "visit" from Caswell and other living history tributes. Schedules of events, clippings of newspaper articles relating to events, programs for events and correspondence about events are included in this folder. "A Hero among Masons" is a pamphlet included that details Richard Caswell's involvement and legacy among colonial Masons. The Heritage Genealogical Society organized the Order of Caswell Descendents to find individuals who could prove their lineage to Caswell.
Caswell Biography Documents, 2006–2007, contains documents regarding the biography of Richard Caswell by W. Keats Sparrow, released 13 August 2007 at the Kinston Arts Council. The biography is an edited and updated version of Clayton Brown Alexander's 1930 PhD dissertation titled "The Public Life of Richard Caswell." The new title was made "The First of Patriots and Best of Men": Richard Caswell in Public Life. The book's publishing was supported by grants from the prestigious North Caroliniana Society of Chapel Hill and from Mrs. Nancy Cobb Lilly of Raleigh and by a loan from the North Carolina Federation of Historical Societies. Correspondence from the North Carolina Collection at the University of Chapel Hill acknowledges the gift of the biography from Keats Sparrow. An invitation to and a program from the book release are included. There is email correspondence between Dr. Sparrow and Jo Huettl about receiving funding for the book. A memorandum of agreement details a grant from the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies. Appreciation and congratulation from previous living governors Robert W. Scott, James E. Holshouser, James B. Hunt Jr., James G. Martin, and Michael F. Easley to the Lenoir County Colonial Commission are expressed in a letter. A letter of gift from the North Caroliniana Society includes a copy of the check for $1000. Email correspondence between Nancy Lilly, H. G. Jones, Keats Sparrow, Bob Anthony, and Jo Huettl involves details about the content and funding of the biography. There is an original copy of the order form for the book. An unbounded printer's mock-up of the book is included. Quotes, estimates and receipts from the publishing company are included. The penultimate draft of the Richard Caswell Biography is on a cd-rom.
Oversized Material, 9–14 August 2007, includes oversized newspaper articles about the Caswell events and biography.
Gift of Jo Ann Huettl
Encoded by Mark Custer, December 17, 2007; Preliminary inventory by Cheryl Funderburk, 10/9/2007; final inventory by Ben Talton, 4/18/2012; revised by Jonathan Dembo, 11/26/2012; encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 11/27/2012
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Richard Caswell Papers, #145-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Richard Caswell Collection (#1117), Special Collections Department, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.