Another important document in North Carolina’s American Revolution history is the Liberty Point Resolves. This was also known in history as “The Cumberland Association,” which was a resolution signed by fifty residents of Cumberland County in eastern North Carolina, where present-day Fayetteville and Fort Bragg are located. On June 20th, 1775, after the Mecklenburg Declaration [*see note at right], a group of Patriots gathered to form a group known simply as “The Association” at Lewis Barge’s tavern in Cross Creek. They signed a document, protesting the actions of Great Britain, following the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19th, 1775. The signers expressed the hope that hostilities could be reconciled, however, they vowed, if necessary, they would “go forth and be ready to sacrifice their lives and fortunes to secure her freedom and safety.”
These resolves were not a declaration of independence as separation from Great Britain would not become commonplace until July 4th, 1776 with the United States’ Declaration of Independence. This would cause a divide within Cumberland County between the Loyalists and the Patriots. The Loyalists comprised a considerable portion of the population of the county including the Highland Scots who had immigrated there in 1739. They were staunchly loyal to the British Crown, among them the famous Scottish heroine, Flora MacDonald, who was a member of the Clan MacDonald of Sleat, and best known for helping Charles Edward Stuart evade government troops after the Battle of Culloden, Scotland, on April 16th, 1746. This was the last confrontation of the Jacobite uprising. She and her husband had come to North Carolina in 1773, and their continued support of the Crown caused them to lose all their lands, forcing them to return to Scotland.
The Liberty Resolves read as follows:
At a general meeting of the several Committees of the District of Wilmington, held at the Court-House in Wilmington, Tuesday, the 20th June, 1775
Resolved, That the following Association stand as the Association of this Committee, and that it be recommended to the inhabitants of this District to sign the same as speedily as possible.
The actual commencement of hostilities against the Continent by the British Troops, in the bloody scene on the nineteenth of April last, near Boston; the increase of arbitrary impositions, from a wicked and despotic Ministry; and the dread of instigated insurrections in the Colonies, are causes sufficient to drive an oppressed People to the use of arms: We, therefore, the subscribers of Cumberland County, holding ourselves bound by that most sacred of all obligations, the duty of good citizens towards an injured Country, and thoroughly convinced that under our distressed circumstances we shall be justified before you in resisting force by force; do unite ourselves under every tie of religion and honor, and associate as a band in her defense against every foe; hereby solemnly engaging, that whenever our Continental or Provincial Councils shall decree it necessary, we will go forth and be ready to sacrifice our lives and fortunes to secure her freedom and safety. This obligation to continue in full force until, a reconciliation shall take place between Great Britain and America, upon constitutional principles, an event we most ardently desire. And we will hold all those persons inimical to the liberty of the Colonies who shall refuse to subscribe to this Association; and we will in all things follow the advice of our General Committee, respecting the purposes aforesaid, the preservation of peace and good order, and the safety of individual and private property.
The organizer of the group, Robert Rowan, signed first. Others who signed included families who had a major impact on the Cape Fear region from that time forward, including: Barge, Powell, Evans, Elwell, Green, Carver, Council, Gee, Blocker, Hollingsworth. This event is remembered with a memorial in present-day Fayetteville, near the corner of Bow, and Person Streets.
The following is a list of the signers:
As before with the other documents discussed, one can only imagine what it took to state the following: (We) “do unite ourselves under every tie of religion and honor, and associate as a band in her defense against every foe” and “will go forth and be ready to sacrifice our lives and fortunes to secure her freedom and safety.”