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.
Date posted: January 26, 2015