Friday, August 28, 2009

Maurice N. Corbett




(click on photograph for larger image)


Influential nineteenth century black politician from Caswell County, North Carolina.

Corbett, Maurice N. The Harp of Ethiopia. Nashville: National Baptist Publishing Board, 1914. 1st Edition. Bound in dark red cloth with gilt decoration and printing, the book is clean, straight & tight. Pages are browned and rather fragile, there are two or three pages with tiny edge tears. Light rubbing and wear at the corners and spine ends. On the front endpage, there is an inscription by the author's child, it is unknown whether it was a boy or girl as initials are used for the first name. The inscription reads "To Dr. & Mrs........ of Muskogee, Okla. Complements of .. Corbett, Works of My late Father Maurice H. Corbett of Washington, D.C. This is a very uncommon book, the only one published by this African-American author -- it is a 7,500 line poem on the black man in America. 8" x 5 1/2"; 276 pages.

"The county Republican convention was held in the courthouse on September 23, 1888. The Caswell News three days later reported that James W. Poe (a black) was made chairman, the Rev. A. L. Johnston, secretary, and the Hon. M. N. Corbett, assistant secretary. A caucus was held and votes taken to determine the strength of various candidates for office. On the floor of the convention Wilson Carey was nominated for the House of Representatives by a vote of 14 to 13 for Corbett. Felix Roan was nominated for Register of Deeds and George O. Wilson for county treasurer. An attempt was made to nominate J. T. Donoho for sheriff by acclamation, but failed and no nomination was made. B. S. Graves, the incumbent, was heavily favored, however. The newspaper reported that the convention adjourned in confusion."

Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 261.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Revolutionary War Soldiers: Caswell County, North Carolina

Revolutionary War soldier references in When the Past Refused to Die: A history of Caswell County, North Carolina, 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977), 70-82:

Men of Caswell had belonged to the Militia of Orange County prior to 1777 and many of them were already in active training when the new county was established. To separate these men from those who resided in the now compressed region of Orange County would be a time-consuming task, but in compiling a full roster of Caswell men who saw duty in the American Revolution this might be possible. Enough information exists on men identifiable by residence, however, to understand the role played by typical Revolutionary soldiers from Caswell County. Some time after the war, perhaps in connection with the settlement of land claims of veterans, a list was drawn up of officers and soldiers then residing in Caswell County. Included were:

David Barker, William Berry, Robert Blackwell, Robert Browning, Spill Coleman, Nathaniel Comer, Lewis Corbitt, William Culbertson, John Davis, Major Charles Dixon, Capt. Wynn Dixon, Major Thomas Donoho, Capt. John Graves, Daniel Gwyn, Nathaniel Hart, Berry Hunt, John Ingram, David Johnson, Doct. Lancelot Johnson, Capt. Samuel Johnson, Joshua Kerney, John Kimbrough, James Lea, Capt. Gabriel Lee, Rev. Richard Martin, Robert Martin, John McMullin, Capt. David Mitchell, William Mitchell, William Parker, Col. Robert Parkes, Holoway Pass, John Price, Isaac Rainey, Major John Reed, Capt. William Richmond, Archibald Samuel, George Samuel, Jeremiah Samuel, Col. James Saunders, Major Richard Saunders, William Sawyers, Nathaniel Slade, Thomas Slade, William Slade, Francis Smith, Peter Smith, Jonathan Starkey, Thomas Stephens, William Stephens, John Taylor, James Tuner, John Ware, William Ware, Thomas Wiley, Col. Henry Williams, Col. John Williams, Henry Willis, Jacob Wright

From a list of 12-months recruits from Caswell County to whom clothing was issued on May 24, 1782, further names may be added to the list of Militiamen:

Jesse Ashlock, Archibald Carmichal, Duncan Carmichal, Francis Caton, William Chrisall, John Conaway, Hezekiah Duest, Gabriel Ferral, John Flynn, George Fuller, William Going, Simon Goslin, Thomas Graham, Anthony Hainey, John Hainey, William Jones, William McClammy, Andrew Mcknight, Patrick Mason, William Mooney, Levi Newton, Leonard Parker, James Persons, Peter Provot, Jeptha Rice, James Riddell, Thomas Robinson, Andrew Samuel, Josiah Shoemaker, Thomas Smith, Richard Smithey, Jacob Stillwell, George Summers, William Tanksly, William Thaxton, Thomas Tiffen

From assorted sources there are further references to some of these men as well as to others. Before the March, 1782, county court applications were presented from William Kersey and John Swaynie or Sweaney, both described as militia soldiers who had been wounded in the service of their country and thereby rendered unable to work. On their behalf the court recommended that the General Assembly allow each the sum of €10 per year. In November, 1782, it was demonstrated that Thomas Smith, perhaps the recruit to whom clothing was issued the previous May, had lost a leg and an eye, and the court recommended that he receive support from the General Assembly. In December, 1783, Thomas Tiffin proved his "right to a Military warrant for land." In July, 1785, the court recommended that David Johnston, another militia soldier, be given state aid in view of his loss of an arm "in the service of his Country." Early the following year Kersey was allowed €10 while Johnston was awarded €15. Many years later, before the October court in 1832, Captain John McMullen, Benjamin Long and William Park appeared and proved their eligibility for the benefits of the provisions of an Act of Congress passed the previous June. Another old soldier, who lived to the age of 85 in 1847 indicated in his pension application that he had fought at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in March, 1781; he was John Currie Sr., who had moved to Caswell County at the end of the war. Isaac Griffin, in a pension application in 1833, described service with Caswell militia at the Battle at Lindley's Mill and elsewhere.

Others mentioned: Joshua Adcock; Starling Gunn; Lieutenant Colonel Henry Dixon; Absolom Tatum; Jeremiah Williams; David Mitchell; Hezekiah Rice; Samuel Beesly; and John Rodes.

For more on Starling Gunn see:

Starling Gunn Biography

For more on Lieutenant Colonel Henry Dixon see:

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Dixon Biography

For more on Captain John Herndon Graves see:

Captain John Herndon Graves Biography

Note that the Caswell County Historical Association ("CCHA") retains all rights in the above text and in the book from which it was transcribed. This material may not be republished in any manner without the written consent of the CCHA.

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