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Why did Cornelius Harnett establish Harnett County?

Gail Calloway
StarNews
Cornelius Harnett lies in the churchyard at St. James Episcopal Church. Photo by Si Cantwell

Cornelius Harnett lies in the churchyard at St. James Episcopal Church. Photo by Si Cantwell

Wilmington statesman Cornelius Harnett did not establish Harnett county, it was named to honor him and his importance in history.

Born in 1723, Harnett grew up in Wilmington. He was a town commissioner, justice of the peace, and served in the N.C. General Assembly. He was chairman of the Sons of Liberty, a leader in the Stamp Act Resistance and a member of the Continental Congress from1777 until 1779.

The British captured him in Wilmington in 1781. Imprisonment caused a rapid decline in his health and he died that same year. He is buried at St. James Episcopal Church.

In 1855 Cumberland County donated land to establish a new county. The name Harnett was chosen to honor Cornelius Harnett for his statesmanship during the Revolutionary War time.

RELATED LINKS:

Who was Cornelius Harnett?

Where and when did most of the original settlers in Wilmington come from?

 

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