The following information is from the North Carolina Historical & Genealogical Register
Affidavits Relating to Loyalists and Tories During the Revolution
We copy from the originals in a package of papers in the Court House at Edenton, N. C’., marked “Affidavits respecting the Tories during the Revolution” the following items. We give them just as they are names and all. We have refrained from publishing any items where persons were charged with infractions of the “Criminal Law,” but political opinions and acts constitute the history of a country in an eminently high degree, and certain information which the public have a right to know and of which they should be informed. We copy from the originals.
Affidavit of William Hyman
“William Hyman being sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God, Deposeth as follows (to-wit) that James Sharard asked him if he could keep a secret and after awhile he took a Book and put it into the Deponent’s hand & he the said Sharrard said to this deponent you shall keep this close & not reveal it to any but such as I shall Teach you, then he the Sharard read the Constitution, & this Dept. objected to some articles in sd Constitution but swore as follows (to-wit) that he this Dept. should Defend & protect all drafted, Distres’d or opprest persons or them that are called Tories as we think ourselves fully able and if the King conquered the Country that we shall save Our Estates & that the said Sharard told him that it would be necessary for each man to provide himself with half a pound of powder & Lead and this Dept. further sayth that the Scheme was to drop it being discovered and this Dept. further sayth that Sharard informed that Luallen had used many Endeavors before he brought him in the scheme & that Mr. Sharard had Represented the State Oath to this Dept. in a very Dredfull light contrary to what he now finds it & further this Dept. sayeth not.
Sworn to before me the 4th July, 1777.John Everett.
Affidavit of Benjamin Harrison
July 16h, 1777. Benjamin Harrison, son, of Thomas being brought before us Justices for the County aforesaid being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God deposeth & saieth, that at his Father’s house Daniel Legate asked him if he would swear to keep a secret, which he this deponent agreed to & Legate swore him, & then read the Constiution to him, which he wanted this Deponent to swear to, but this deponent objected as he could not read it himself, then as an inducement to this Deponent to take the second Oath he mentioned that several Considerable People were concerned in it particularly Stewart, Sherrard, Lewhellen & Hayes in Martin. County, Wm. Brimage, Peleg Balote & one Brogden in Bertie, beside some people in this County. Upon this Deponent refusing to stand by & support the Constitution, the said Legate then requested him to take an Oath to keep it Secret which this Deponent Did. The said Legate read to him a third Oath the purport of which was that. under any injunctions of inviolable secrecy that they would protect any persons being Draughted or pressed to go to War against there will., that they should not he suffered to go but should be relieved there was several other matters in the Oath which this Deponent cannot recollect & this Deponent further saith that. he heard Legate say that he General How had a hint of matters carrying on by the Assoceators before that time.
This Deponent further saith that he refused to take the third Oath & then Legate swore him again to secrecy. This Deponent further saitli that Legate informed him that William Brimnage was swore as a Senior Warden & further this Deponent saith not.
Benjamin Harrison Principal 100£
Jonathan Davies Security 100£ for appearance at the next Court of Oyer & Terminer to be held at Edenton.
Sworn & acknowledged before us Arch’d Corrie, .J. P., Chas. Johnson.
Affidavit of William Durrance
July 14 1777. William Durrance Came before its Justices assigned to keep the Peace in said County and being’ duly sworn upon the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God Deposeth & Sayeth that on or about the First day of July inst. that, Dan’l Leggett came to him the said William Durrance to his own house, and in the light of said Day Called the said Durrance out, and ask’d him if he was willing, to stand up for the Protestant Religion, when said Durrarice reply’d he was, Leggett told him that before he could let him into the affair he must swear to keep it secret, but said Durrance Refus’d to swear till he knew what he was to swear to, upon which they parted & said Dunrance saw Leggett no more until they met at Wheat Reaping at Jonathan Davis’s in said County, when said Durrance was induced by persuasion & the example of others who were there & then swore to Take the Oath which was administered to him by said Leggett. the purport of which was to stand by a Constitution which he then showed to him & not Divulge the same while the Society subsisted and further this Deponent sayeth not.
William X Durrance
William Durrance Principal bound 100£
John Everet, son of Thomas, security 100£
That the above Durrance shall appear at the first. Court of Oyer & Terminer to be held for the District of Edenton.
Sworn and acknowledged before us.Arch’d Corrie, J. P.,Chas. Johnson.
Affidavit of James Harrison.
July 14, 1777. James Harrison came before us Justices for the County aforesaid, & being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God Deposeth & saith that about a fortnight ago he met with Daniel Legate upon a Path going to Thomas Harrison, that the said Legate read to him a paper which he called a religious Constitution, he then asked him if he would swear to stand to that Constitution, Harrison agreed to it, Legate then swore him to stand to it so long as the Society lasted & further this deponent saith not.
James X Harrison.
James Harrison Principle bound for 100£
Clement Crook Security for 50£
The above James Harrison to appear at the Court of Oyer & Terminer to be held at Edenton for the District, against Daniel Legate if taken.
Sworn & acknowledged before us. Arch’d Corrie, .J. P.Chas.. Johnson.
July 16, 1777. James Harrison being again called on to give a further Testimony & being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God Deposeth and Saith, that the first oath that he took was administered to him by Thomas Harrison (Son of John). This Deponent further saith that being at Thos Harrison’s Sd Plantation, he was in company with Daniel Legate, when he heard him say that General Howe was to befriend him and such as him, Legate said that they were to oppose a Draught likewise that he expected the Magazine at Halifax was to be taken possession of, he likewise told this Deponent that a certain James Hays was a Principal man in the Association & rode about the country to prevail on people to join.”
James X Harrison
Sworn before us. Arch’d Corrie, J. P., Chas. Johnson.
Affidavit of Thomas Harrison.
July 14, 1777. Thomas Harrison (son of John) came before us, Justices for the County aforesaid & being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God Deposeth & Saith that Daniel Legate came to him about a fornight ago in his Cornfield & asked him if he would join a Constitution to support their religion to which Harrison agreed if there was no harm in it, Legate then swore him to be true to the Constitution, Legate likewise told Harrison that fourteen members of the Assembly had agreed to introduce Poppery & in particular mentioned Wylie Jones & Whitmell Hill being forward in doing it & further saith not.
Thos. X Harrison
Sworn before us. Arch’d Corrie, J. P., Chas. Johnson.
July 14, 1777. Thomas Harrison (son of John) being again called on to give a further Testimony declareth & saith that the last or third oath administered by Daniel Legett mentioned that they were to oppose a draught & protect deserters, the people of Martin & Pitt were to go & take possession of the Magazine at Hallifax to secure the Arms and Ammunition for what purpose he cannot tell. That the Society extended from this County to New Georgia, that it expected General Howe was by this time acquainted with their Constitution. Leggett likewise informed him that about half of the 5th Regiment of Continental Forces raised in this State were Friends to their Cause, that James Sherrard, — Lewhellen & James Hays were the principals concerned in Martin County, he says he. likewise thinks Legett informed him that Samuel Black was one of their Society. Leggett likewise informed him that the above James Hays of Martin travelled some thousand Miles endeavoring to get as many people to Associate as possible. This Deponent saith that he was present when James Harrison took the third Oath & he believes all that were concerned took the third oath.
Thomas X Harrison
Affidavit of Thomas Harrison.
July 14, 1777. This Day Thomas Harrison, Senr., came before us Justices for the County aforesaid & made oath on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God & Deposeth & Sayeth that about the 1st July last Daniel Legato took him into his own Garden & asked him if he had not heard that some of the leading men of the Country wanted to introduce the Roman Religion, he told me he had heard the report, on which Legate asked him if he was willing to stand by the Protestant religion, he answered he would, he (Legate) asked him if he could keep a Secret, Harrison told him he could. Legate then said he must first swear before he could tell, Harrison told him he could keep it without if there was not any harm, Legate said he would not inform him without first Swearing. Harrison then agreed to Swear. Legate then swore him on the Prayer book to the following effect, not to reveel what he should disclose to him. He then showed him a form of a religions Constiution, in which Harrison thought there was no harm. Legate then swore him again to stand by the Constitution as long as the Society lasted & further this Deponent saith not.
Thos. Harrison Senr.
Sworn before us. Arch’d Corrie, J. P., Chas. Johnson.
A second affidavit to be referred to.
Thomas Harrison, Senr., being called upon to Give a further Testimony Declareth and sayeth that on Friday the fourth inst. He was at his son’s Wheat. Field when William Brimage, Esq., of Bertie Ccounty came there & called this Deponent to come to him, when be ask’d this Deponent where Leggett was, when this Deponent answered he did not know but he might be at his House. Upon which the said Brimage and this Deponent went to the House where they found said Leggett when the said Brimage called Daniel Leggett out and a little time afterwards called out this Deponent when all three, that is to say the said Briniage Leggett & this Deponent went into the Woods adjacent to the house of this Deponent where the said Daniel Leggett administered the oaths & the said Brimage to k the oaths of secrecy & for opposing Draughts, &c.. which were administered to the members of this Conspiracy. Immediately after which the said Leggett & this Deponent went to his son’s Wheatfield & the. said Brirnage went hack to the house of this Deponent where he had left his horse to get him & directly followed the said Leggett & this Deponent back to said Whieatfleld and at the corner of the Fence of said Field met Mr. Sam’l Black, of this County, when the said Brimage & Black called to said Leggett & this Deponent. who went to them & soon after the said Brimage, Black, Leggett & this Deponent went together into the Woods joining said Field, when the aforesaid Oaths were administered by said Leggett & taken by said Black, then the said Leggett proposed to said Brimage to act. as Senior Warden for this Society in Bertie County, which the said Brimage complied with & was sworn into said office by said Leggett, which office of Senior Warden this Deponent understood & believed to be for the Purpose of Gaining & Swearing in members to this Association & Conspiracy In the county of Bertie which office said Leggett Performed in this County and further this Deponent sayeth that at the time & place where Sam’l Black took said oaths John Stewart of Martin County was present, but did not then take the oaths tho this Deponent believes he had before taken them as none were suffered to be Present at the Swearing of any Members but such as were before sworn in members of this Association and conspiracy and more especially as the said Stewart came at first with said Brimage to his sons wheatfieid and went from thence with the said Brimage & this Deponent to the House of this Deponent and from thence with said Leggett, Brimage & this Deponent into the Woods adjacent to the House of this Deponent and was there present when said Briniage took the oaths aforesaid as well as afterwards when the said Black took the oaths aforesaid and further this Deponent, sayeth that upon the said Brimages being sworn in to act as Sen’r Warden in Bertie County for the Purposes aforesaid the said Brimage ask’d the said Daniel Leggett for a copy of their Constitution and also for a copy of the oaths aforesaid to enable him to Act in his office of Sen’r Warden, which copys said Leggett promised to send to him the said Brimage but said Black would call for them next morning & would take care of them & send or deliver them to said Brimmage, and he accordingly came the next morning to the House of this deponent whereby said Leggett’s order they were delivered Folded up by this deponent to said Black and Further this Deponent sayeth not.
Sworn before us Justices assigned to keep the Peace for said County the day and year first above written.Chas. Johnson, Areh’d Corrie, J. P., Robt. Davison, Thos. Mackey.
The above Thos. Harrison, Senr, being admitted as Evidence for the State ho acknowledges himself bound in the sum of 160£ current money for his appearance at next Court of Oyer & Terminer to be held for the District of Edenton.
Affidavit of James Harrison, Jr.
July 15, 1777. James Harrison (son of James harrison) came before us Justices assigned to keep the Pence for said County who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God Deposeth and sayeth that about a Fortnight ago being in Thomas Harrison Cornfield Daniel Leggett swore him to secrecy & gave him the first Token or Word of this Society & then Swore him again & gave the second Token & Word. The Purport of the second Oath was to keep the Senior Wardens name secret which was his the said Leggetts and further this Deponent saith not.
James Harrison, Jun.
Sworn before us.Arch’d Corrie, J. P.,Chas. Johnson.
Affidavit of Bird Land.
July 16, 1777. Bird Land was brought. before us Justices assigned to keep the Peace for this county who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God deposeth & saith that being at Jonathan Davises Wheat Reaping John Garrett & Daniel Legate came there from John Stewarts & told this Deponent & Severall others that. if they swore to Secrecy he would tell them something, but this deponent objected unless McGarrett would join them upon which Garrett agreed and put his hand on the Book with him when he was swore to Secrecy & the Constitution & further this deponent saith not.
Bird X Land.
Bird Land Principal 100£
Isham Webb Security 100£
for appearance at the next Court of Oyer & Terinimer to he held at Edenton.
Sworn and acknowledged before usArch’d Corrie, J.P.Chas. Johnson
Affidavit of Thomas Stubbs, Senr.
July 14, 1777. This day came before us Justices, &c. , Thomas Stubbs, Senr., & being sworn & saith that Thomas Harrison (son of John) met him on a road about a fortnight agoe & the said Thomas Stubbs having heard of this Association used every persuasive means to dissuade the said Thomas Harrison from being concerned in the same & the said Thomas Harrison signified to him or supposed that if there was a Junction from this all the way to New Georgia might not they be able to do something & supposed that if a Petition was sent to the General Howe would he not befriend them & know his friends from his foes & that the said Harrison wished he had never been born as there would be a world of Blood shed and further this Deponent sayeth not.
Thomas Stubbs, Senr.
Sworn before us Arch’d Corrie, J.P.Chas. Johnson
Aflidavit of Michael Ward.
July 9th, 1777. This day Michael Ward was brought before the Subscribers suspicioned of being concerned in a Treasonable Conspiracy agt this State who being duly sworn doth say some time past he was sworn to secrecy by Absalom Leggett who gave him some signs, & c., how to know the Brethren bye & c., & tell’d him he must appear before Daniel Leggett (his son) for further Instructions, that some time after went with John Garrett, of Tyrrell Co., to Peleg Belotes where he was again sworn by sd Daniel Leggett (John Garrett being present then sworn) and was privy to the plot, that Garrett told this Deponent he would not take the State Oath, that this Clubb was to oppose a Draught in this Province & stand up for the King, and to protect all Deserters and further Saith not.
Michael X Ward
Sworn the day above beforeThos. PughPeter Clifton
Affidavit of John Stewart.
July 19, 1777. John Stewart being called upon to give evidence of a certain religious Society, &c., declarcth & sayeth that. on or about the 1st of this instant he this deponent going to Tar River on Business on his return was informed that Daniel Leggett had been to his house & informed the Deponent’s wife that he Daniel Leggett wanted to see this Deponent on Business & desired he might come down to Thomas Harrison, Senr., on his return the second or third day after this Deponent came home he went to the house of Thomas Harrison, Senr., where this Deponent Saw Daniel Leggett when the sd Deponent was called out of Doors by sd Leggett. He began his Discourse by saying that we was like to have a great fall in our Religion as the sd Leggett. understood that sundry of the Members of Congress had damned the Being of a God & thought it would be very Necessary for the people of the Country to form themselves into a Society for the support of Religion, then he the said Daniel Leggett pulled out a paper & read something all of which this Deponent Does not remember but that it related principally to religion after reading some time he the said Daniel Leggett, asked the Deponent how he liked it, he the Deponent answered he liked it well enough. He this Deponent sayeth that the said Leggett told him that some of the members of Congress was in it and that some of the Justices of Martin County was members in the sd Society & particularly mentioned Jas. Sherrod and that they intended to have Ministers in the Society after it grew a little older, this Deponent told the said Leggett if they would have ministers he would freely subscribe five pounds to it. Then he said Legget tendered this Deponent an Oath which this Deponent refused to take as he said he intended out of the county in a short time did not choose to be concerned in any Society, the said Deponent mentioned he was going to Mr. Sam’l Black’s for a Augy the said Leggett asked this Deponent if Mr. Samuel Black would not make a good Member, this Deponent answered he thought he would, then the said Daniel Leggett desired the said Deponent to inform Mr. Black of the sd Society which he thus Deponent said he would but the said Leggett told this Deponent there was a token to learnt before the said Black must be sent & that thus Deponent must swear him, to Secrecy of said Leggett’s name when the said Leggett Learnt this Deponent for that purpose. Then this Deponent went to Mr. Black’s & Did as the said Leggett had learnt him on which Mr. Black told this Deponent he would go to Said Leggett; a few days after the said Samuel Black came to this Deponent’s house & brought with him Mr. Win. Brimage, the sd Black told this Deponent that he had brought Mr. Brimage to get informed of the Society which this deponent had mentioned to said Black, which he this Deponent told him knew neither head nor tail of it; but that this Deponent was going down to Colo. Stevens Lees in the morning if they would stay at this house that night he would call with him in the morning at Harrison’s to see Leggett after swearing Brimage not to mention Leggetts name as before ordered by the said Leggett upon which this Deponent, Black & Brimmage set off. Black calling at Jonathan Davises, this Deponent & Brimmage kept on to Harrison’s house where they found sd Leggett: The sd Leggett, Brimmage & Thos. Harrison went a little way into the wood while this Deponent went to cut a whip, after coming up to Mr. Brimmage, he Mr. Brimmage and this Deponent went on to the Road where they met with Mr. Sam’l Black coming where he this Deponent left. Mr. Black & Mr. Brimmage proceded to Colo. Stevens Lees, the next day, on this Deponents return he met with sd Black at Capt. Everetts Muster when this Deponent asked said Mr. Sam’l Black how he liked the paper Mr. Black asked this Deponent if he had thought anything more of it & this Deponent told him he had not upon which the said Black told this Deponent the he had read it twice and that he did not like it the last time as he thought he could Discover something the might mean Bad onit and that he had an Intention to declare it. This Deponent told him if he thought anything Bad was meant, he might disclose it upon which this Deponent & said Samuel Black parted & further this Deponent sayeth not.
Daniel Leggett to Gov. Richard Caswell. These with speed.
DECEMBER 4th, 1777.
May it please your Most Noble Excellency & your Noble Council, Tho’ I dare not Approach you in person Nor Dare I Do it with these inconsiderate lines without Shame & Confusion of face. But Relying upon your Mercy & goodness I Send this paper as an humble advocate to plead in Some Measure that So it May abate the Severity of your Just Displeasure & Appease that Stroke of Justice that I have incurred upon Myself by My horrid transgression & folly that I have unadvisedly fell into. Wherefore if A Returning prodigal, a true and unfeigned penitent May find Mercy in these circumstances I unfeignedly beg it at your hands. I hope it may please you for your honnorus Sakes & for the Sake of him that hath promised A blessedness to the Merciful to Look in a way of pity upon one that earnestly Desires Nothing More than to he Number’d with your Subjects, though unworthy at present, I hope to find all my Superiors to Whom I think Myself happy that I have to address Myself to in this Manner, to he endued with so Much Compassion & tenderness to forgive One that is truly Sensible & penitent that I can think My Self happy upon every Remembrance of the same & Not willing to Affect one that is Convicted in his own Conscience. Wherefore if Should please your Excellency & to whom I have to petition to Grant Me My Liberty & the Oportunity to make manifest what I have promised by a Ready Compliance to your Laws and Commands I Should think My Self happy Nevertheless in All things Submitting to your Excellency’s Disposal I Must remain as I have Made myself miserable without your Assistance which I rely upon your excellency’s honor for in requital of which I promise to spend the remaining part of my time in obedants to your Commands it being all that I am able to offer with My prayers and Supplication to God for your Success & happy Continuance if it Does Not please your excellency to Admit of My being alltogether at Liberty, I should be very thankful to be admitted to bale until the Cort ensuing at Edenton, the winter being very cold & I being Destitute of my Necessarys that My Life Depends upon your Honor I hope that what I was put in for last was not unbalable tho’ indeed it is too bad I having but Little to say for My self More than I was Not in this unhappy affair at the first till I was seduced by others and never being acquainted with the general plan at all was Set on to Do More than I hope I shall ever be gilty of any more if it should please your honour to Let this Pass. But Use all Means that in my power. to Suppress all that should in any ways endeavour to hurt the present Government. Wherefore if it should be to my opertunity & I should be any ways faulty to my promise I would Submit to the Most strictest that Malice could inflict therefore with all Submission I beg you would determine & Despose of me as you see Convenient, in expectation, of which I Remain Sir, Most unworthest of your subjects.
The above was found on the Public Road and sent on by Thos. Respass, Jr.
Examination of Peleg Belote in the County Court of Bertie at the Court begun and held for the said County the 12th day of August, 1777, present the Worshipful Thomas Pugh. James Campbell and Jonathan Jacocks, Esquires, Justices of the said Court and among others assigned to keep the Peace of the said County.
The said Peleg Belote being brought before the Court declared that in a conversation with one Absalom Legate about the first of June last, they discussed about a Report which was then prevalent among some People, that there was a design to impose a new Religion on the People, and Compel them to worship Images, and that they both expressed a very strong disapprobation of such a design; that the said Legate endeavored to persuade him, the said Belote, to go to a Sermon which was shortly to be preached near Sherrad’s, in Martin County, and the said Belote did accordingly go to Sherrard’s House in company with the said Legate and his son; that they found one Rawlins at Sherrard’s house; that after a private conversation which he observed between the said Legate and Rawlins, Rawlins asked him to walk, and they two being alone together, after some conversation relative to the worship of Images, Rawlins asked the said Belote if he could keep a secret The said Belote answering in the affirmative, Rawlins asked him if he would be willing to swear he could, and pulled a book out of his pocket which he tendered to Belote, and Belote then kissed the Book, promising to keep secret what Rawlins should tell him; that Rawlins then told him a good many had concluded to support the Church of England, and if he would swear to keep secret all that he should hear that Man read or tell him, he would mention the Person’s name, and refer him to him for further information; that the said Belote having agained kissed the book in ratification of a promise of this kind (believed by him to be swearing), Rawlins told him Sherrard was the Man, and gave him a stick with three notches which he said he was to show Sherrard, but he need not be particular as to any circumstances concerning it, as he would be there, otherwise it would have been necessary to do it in private; that nothing more passed on the subject this evening, but the next morning before Breakfast Sherrard asked Rawlins to take a walk, and Rawlins nodded to the said Belote to follow him; that they went in to the Barn, and Belote delivered the stick to Sherrard; that Sherrard then asked him “what that was for”; that Belote being at a loss for the answer Rawlins asked him if he had forgot already and desired him to speak after him, which he did some words that served to denote a concurrence in the Confederacy; that Sherrard then stepped and picked up a Sugar box which seemed to be concealed in a private part of the barn and took out a paper which he read very low, as if he had been afraid of being overheard, the place being very publick and that the time when the People were going to the Preaching; that the substance of the Paper was to the best of the “is Belote’s recollection an Engagement to support the Religion they had been used to, to decide disputes arising among the subscribers by arbitration. t’ oppose draughts (as he believed) and protect Men being draughted from being obliged to serve. Soon after they went out and Sherrard mentioned there was one thing he had forgot, which was that Belote should get half a pound of powder and two pounds of lead; and that he recollects no further particulars concerning the above agreement than what he has before received, but that they were to put in Money to support poor people in distress and employ a Reader.
Peleg X Belote
Taken in open Court.
Test: John Johnston.
Affidavits of Willilam Skiles, John Allen and William Berket.
William Skiles on oath, doth say that he heard Absalom Leggett say he would not go if he was draughted and further Questions refused to answer, but on a small deliberation s’d Skiles gave the following testimony, viz.: That Absalom Leggett informed him that a considerable number of persons in Bute, Edgecombe and Martin County had agreed to oppose a Draught and if any person draughted should consent to go in the Army, they would shoot him on the spot, and further that James Sherod & Capt. Bell were concerned in the scheem that Leggett had often urged him to join the s’d party and that he understood James Sherrard had in his keeping articles of agreement entered into by said parties. That sd Leggett administered an oath to him, purport of which is as follows: That you shall defend and protect all Draughted & distressed persons or them that are called tories as far as lies in your power, & that he swore him to keep the Matter Secret and likewise informed him that there was a sign or token observed amongst them, which was this (a friend to the party present), a short stick with three notches on it, on the person receiving of it, asks the other why he gives them that stick, the other answers, for a sign. Says the other, a sign of what, (answer), a sign of a word, have you the word? I have, give it me. I will letter with you. Answer, begin first says B, 2d E, first T, 2d H, first U, 2d E (be true). Said Skiles further declareth that sd Leggett informed him that the strongest party would seize first on the Several Magazines and that Peleg Belote informed him on his expressing great uneasiness at Joining said party that there was no danger. Leggett informed him that the scheem took its rise in Virginia & was forwarded to Lewellen on Coneter from whence it had extended to South Carolinas Haw River & in short to all the Southern part of the Continent; that he understood Capt. Bogg approved the scheem highly to Sherrard, but was rather fearful of its success; that the scheem was handed to Loo Allen about the first of March; further Leggett told him it was allowed on all hands that the King would Conquer the Country and if there party held together when the Gentlemen was taken there party & and the King’s Soldiers should shear there Estates & that there was several persons constantly and Daily riding to encrease there numbers. They have a further sign, viz.: In falling into Company or meeting with any person on pointing or Rubbing their forefinger of the left hand over the right arm, nose or chin or any part of their body the other person being of their party, will ask him what he points at, (answers) a secret, have you that secret. I have Give it me. I did not get it so how shall I get it. I will Letter and half it with you begin, first says I, the other N, the first R, the other I, lastly he inform’d if the matter was discovered they would Rise & kill the gentleman in the Night, that he could not do it himself, but there was Many that would; that Leggett told him some time past that he understood that Coil Buncombe was about to Remove out of the County and was going to sell off his Estate and that he had a great Inclination to go down and take his Shear of it by taking some of his horses, &c., and further sayeth not.
(Signed.) W. Skiles
John Allen deposeth that on a certain day he was in company with Absalom Leggett who enquired of him the sd Allen what prospect there was of the peoples succeeding should they attempt to oppose this State in its present measures (of to that purpose) who answerd and give reasons why it would not.
William Burket deposeth that on the 16th day of June he went to see Absalom Leggett with intent to enquire of said Leggett how he might be initiated into a new Club the sd Leggett askt him if he thought lie could Keep a secret, he said he could Leggett told him he would give him a sign to carry to James Shearrard or Daniel Leggett either, which sign was a stick with three notches cut on it, & that he would be askt what that stick was for, his reply was sign, a sign of what, of a word do you know that word I do give it me, I will Letter it with you and further that the sd Leggett told him that he heard that Coll Buncombe was going to leave the County & that he was too busy or he would go over and git some of his fine horses as he heard he had many of them and that they ought to be stopt.
Examination of William Skyles, and others
Windsor, July 1, 1777. At a Court held this day for the purpose of Enquiring into Sundry Suspicions agt the persons below mentioned.
John Brogdon was called & on his oath doth say William Brogdon called & Sworn — John Skyles.
William Skyles on his oath doth say, that he heard Absolam Legett say that Hays would not Go if he was Drafted & to further Questions refused to Answer, On a small Deliberation sd Wm. Skiles gave the following Testimony, viz: that Absalom Leggett informed him that a considerable number of persons in Bute, Edgecombe and Martin Counties had agreed to oppose a Draught, and if any person draughted should consent to go, in the Army, they would shoot him on the spot and further that Jas. Sherrard and Capt. Bell were concerned in the Scheme, that Leggett had often urged him to join the sd. Party and that he understood Jas. Sherrard had in his keeping certain articles of agreement entered into by sd Party, that sd Leggett had administered an oath to him purport of which is as follows that you shall defend and protect all draughted, distressed on oppressed persons or them that are called Tories as far as is in your power, and that lie swore him to keep the matter secret and likewise informed him that there was a Sign or Token observed amongst them which was this, a Friend of the party presents a small stick with three Notches cut in it, on which the person receiving asks the other, why he gave him that stick, the other answers for a Sign, says the other a sign of what, answer a sign of the Word have you that Word, I have, give it to me, I will but will letter it with you. Answer Begin, first says B Second E, first T, second R, first U, and second E. Sd William Skyles further declares that sd Leggett informed him that the strongest party would seize first on the several Magazines and that Peleg Belote informed him on his expressing great Uneasiness at joining sd Party, that there was no danger; Leggett informed him that the Scheme took its rise in Virginia and thence was forwarded to Luellan, froth whence it had extended to South Carolina, Haw River and in short all the Southern part of the Continent That he understood Capt. Bogg approved the scheme highly to Sherrard but was rather fearful of its success; that the scheme was handed to Luellan about the first of March, farther Leggett told him, it was allowed on all hands that the King would conquer the Country and if their party held together, when the Gentlemen were taken, their party and the King’s Soldiers should share their Estates and there were several persons constantly and daily riding to increase their number, they have a further sign (viz.) On falling in company or meeting with any person, or pointing & rubbing the Fore-finger of the left hand over your Right Arm, “Nose or Chin, or any part of their Body, the other person being of their party, will ask him, what he points at. Answer: A Secret, have you that secret. I have, give it to me, I did not get it so, how shall I get it, I will letter and halve it with you; begin, first says I, the other N, the first R, the other I; lastly he informed him if the matter was discovered they would rise and kill the Gentlemen in the Night, that he could not do it himself, but there were many that would. That sd Leggett told him some time past that he had understood Col. Buncombe was about to remove out of the Country and was going to sell off his Estate &c., and that he had a great Inclination to go down & take his share of it, by taking some of his Horses &c.
John Hodge on his Oath deposeth & Sayeth, that William Tyler came to his house & Told him that there was a Thing in hand which he wanted to see him about, after that some time, Peter Tyler came to the said liodge’s house and offer’d to Disclose a secret to him, sd Hodge then asked him what that secret was, Tyler Deny’d Telling him Except lie would agree to qualify, he then Told him he would not qualify to anything without first knowing what it was, some time after this Solo Pippen and James Rollins came to this Deponent and said Rollins offer’d him a Secret, after Deliberating and Taking the advise of his neighbours, this Deponent agreed to Qualify & sd Rollins Gave him a book and lie Qualified himself, after he was Qualified Rollins told a Long Storey the purport of which this Depon’t Cannot Recollect, but this Deponent says it was of Little account but then Qualified him to keep secret a Persons name, to-wit, John Lewelling the said Lewelling afterward showed this Deponent the secret, which was an Instrument of Writeing, Call’d by said Lewelling a Constitution & this Deponent understood by Thomas Hurst that Rollins was the man who invented that Constitution & That Lewelling Told him he was to Aid & assist all Drafted or Distressed persons or those called Torys to the utmost of his power and that this Deponent must Get Half a Pound of powder and Two pounds of Shott for Cob Pugh. Paid. B. E. T. Be true. B. E. B. A. w. r. c. & Further this Deponent Sayeth not.
John X Hodge
July the 4th, 1777. Sworn before me.
Solomon Pippin being First Sworn Deposeth & Sayeth, that James Rollins Came to him & offer’d him a secret & that this Deponent asked him what it was & he Refused disclosing except this Deponent would Qualifie which he Refused but afterwards was Introduced by the persons mentioned in aforesaid Deposition & Further Sayth that the Deposition of John Hodge is Truth and this Deponent was present & heard the words & Further this Deponent sayeth not.
Solomon X Pippin
The 4th July. 1777, Sworn before me.
State of North Carolina,
Chowan County, Ss. Personally appeared Daniel Leggett who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist, Deposeth & says, that he went from Bertie to Martin County, to the House of John Collins, where he stayed all night being Saturday the seventh day of June, from thence he went the next morning to James Sherrod to a meeting where one Rawlings was to preach, the said Rawlings took this Deponent out on one side and asked this Deponent what he thought of the times who answered he did not know, but that they were very bad, the said Rawlings asked this Deponent if he did not think they were in great danger of loosing their Religion, that it was reported that Thirteen or Fourteen persons in the Provincial Congress had objected the Trinity, the said Rawlings asked the Deponent if he did not think it would be a good Thing if the People were to join in a Society to support their religion, who answered he thought it would, the said Rawlings then asked this deponent if he would Join in such an undertaking who replied he thought he could, the said Rawlings then asked this Deponent if such a thing was on hand, if he would not swear to keep a Secret, he replied he thought he could keep a secret, he then asked this Deponent if he would swear, who said he thought he could, the said Rawlings having a book in his pocket swore this deponent to secrecy, he then told this deponent there was such a thing in hand, that they had formed Constitutions as a Guide to go by, that there was a Man appointed to keep them, and provided I would swear to keep his name secret & all he should read or say to this deponent Secret, he would give this deponent a sign to go to him that he might know he was and that he had been qualified in order to go to him, after this deponent had been Qualified Rawlings then told him James Sherrod had the Constitution and Oath, and was called Senior Warden, the said Rawlings gave this deponent a stick with three notches in it to carry to Sherrod, who by that knew, this deponent had been sworn twice, that when this deponent gave Sherrod the stick, he asked him what he gave it for, who said for a sign, he Sherrod said a sign of what, this deponent said a sign of a Word, he Sherrod said have you that, deponent answered I have, he Sherrod said give it to me, deponent said he would letter it with him, he said begin, deponent said B. Sherrod said E. I said T, he said R, deponent said U, Sherrod E, then Sherrod read the Constitution to this deponent, who then swore this deponent and gave him the other sign, and this deponent says that since the scheme of the Association has been discovered he wandered about from place to place and has been supplied with victuals by Josiah Harrison and further he says not.
The Examination of Lemuel Hyman,
In the County Court of Bertie
on the Twelfth Day of August, 1777
The above mentioned Lemuel Hyman being brought into Court on an accusation of being concerned in a Conspiracy against the State, Voluntarily offered to depose on oath all he knew concerning it: and being sworn, he accordingly declared that in a conversation which he had with John Garrett, of Tyrell County, wherein they spoke upon the subject of Disturbances prevailing in the Country & being willing to be informed of the nature of them the said Garrett told him if he would take on oath to “keep secret” he would inform him, that thereupon he took the said oath, and the said Garrett then told him he was to be true, and desired him to apply further to Daniel Legate; and the said Garrett then gave him a stick with three notches, and mentioned some words he was to letter with the said Legate, both which were intended as signs for the said Legate to know lie had been partly informed of this affair & had taken the above oath, that he thereupon applied to the said Legate, who swore him to keep true what lie was to tell him until it was to be known, that he thereupon told him he was to support Men for refusing the oath that he should be obliged to take, viz: “that the King never had, had not now, nor should have any authority or Government over the Country,” or words to that effect and that he was to prevent Men’s being prest or carried away from their Wives and Children,” but the said Legate did not explain to him what he meant by lien’s being so prest or carried away, that the said Legate told him they were to assemble Meeting (Understood by this Deponent to be a Reading) but mentioned no time or place; and he the Deponent, should know further when he saw him again; but he has never seen the said Legate since and knows no more concerning the above Transaction or anything relating thereto, than what he has above related, to the best of his Recollection & Belief.
Signed and Sworn by the above named Samuel Hyman.
Bertie Co. August Court 1777.
Sworn to in open Court by the above mentioned Lemuel Hyman.
Test: John Johnston, C. C. Tyrrell County,
July 15th, 1777. Arrnel Holles being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, Deposeth and Saith, that he was at a Reaping at Jonathan Davises about three weeks agoe. John Garrett took him to assist him to mend his bridle & walked with him some Distance from the House, when Mr. John Garrett told him that 14 members of the Assembly wanted to introduce the Romish religion, Garrett then asked him if he would stand up for his Religion, he said he would, Garrett then asked him if he would take an Oath, he told him he would, Garrett then swore him to secrecy, Garret then told him to go to Daniel Legate, which he accordingly did, then Legate swore him again to be true to his Religion & Country & further this Deponent saith not.
Arrnel X Holles
Arrnel Holles Principle bound in the sum of £100.
John Everet (son of Thomas) Security in the sum of £100 for the said Armel Holles to appear at the first Court of Oyer and Terminer to be held for the District of Edenton.
Sworn and acknowledged before us.
Arch’d Corrie, .J. P.,
James Rawlins, of Martin County, fleeing from thence to Mattimuskeet, being there apprehended on a Report that he had a hand in a Conspiracy carried on against the State of North Carolina, Deposeth and Saith:
That about the time of Laying the Constitution of Government (as well as he can remember) a General Muster was held, at Plymouth, the Court House of said Martin County, on or about the 28th day of March last past, when John Lewelling & John Carter, Both of that County, going home in Company with the sd Rawlins (told him, one or both), that the Country was Like to become subject to popery, for which reason Lewelling sd there ware a Necessity of Indeavoring to seek relief and had thought on Means proper, and hop’d for a Blessing on the Indeavour he, the sd Lewelling, said there must be an Instrument of Writing Drawn to which people Might agree under oath and Related something of the form and some few Days after ye sd John Lewelling and his son William came to the house of ad Rawlins and the sd Jno. Lewelling further declared the form which contained much writing and also the form of an oath of Complianceall of which John Lewelling sd to the said Deponent if he would Take the Trouble to write down he should be well satisfy’d. (But sd Rawlins refused, but agreed in hope of a Reward to assist him.) And that then his son should Coppy from the same which he also did as he the sd Wm. Lewelling Told sd Dpo. that he had wrote some for Martin, Edgecombe, Halifax and think he sd for Bartee and Teril. He also heard James Sherod say he had wrote some and likewise John Lewelling. Now after Many had come into this Society, as it was Term’d, they became known to each other by word and sign; and some time after John Lewelling told sd Deponent that if they could destroy Whitmel Hill, Colonel Williams, Thomas Hunter, Nathan Mayo, Colonel Salter and one Taylor, that then the Country would soon be settled In Behalf of the King this being proposed by John Lewelling, seem’d to be approv’d off by several others, But not yet put in practice as the Dep’t knows off. After this John Lewelling Told the Deponent it would be a good scheeme to Git some Body to Diseffect the negroes and thought David Taylor would do it and Give out an oration of their Rising would draw the soldiers out of Halifax, whilst he and Company could seize the Governor and Magazene, (At this time the Govenor was expected at Halifax) but hearing the Governor was not to Come at the appointed time it was Dropt for that time, but that scheeme became not public to Many, the Dept. believes, for when he objected against it John Lewelling said if he Divulg’d anything, Death was the portion to him or any one else. Another scheeme was to go to General Howe. John Lewelling with the Deponent agreed if he would go with him to do for him what ever he Could to advance him as also the Deponent expected to see his father and friends, but going as far as Scotland Neck, returned Back and in a few days something of the matter Became Discovered, (Though William Mayo had sworn something of the matter before but all seem’d Quiet at the Time.) When John Lewelling persuaded the Deponent to flee and not to be taken by any means; accordingly he fled from home the 5th day of July.
It is certain none of these vile proceedings were Incerted in their writings; but very Repugnant to them, some of the Express words in their writings were those to Govern their Lives and actions By the Just Laws of Morality and by the Scriptures of old and New Testament, to which they were sworn, which caused Many to be Cald in the proceedings of Cruelty, I believe altho first proposed by John Lewelling.
Sworn before me this 10th August, 1777.
From James Rawlins to the Worshipful Justices of New Bern
Some days past, George Wainwright, from Martin County, a Great Friend to John Lewelling, was here. I expect to endeavour to hear some News by his short stay of what I had Related, and I knowing the Great Influence Capt. Lewelling has over that Neighborhood have Great Reason to fear he will make any attempts to invalidate my Testimony, and though no other person but myself could have discovered the Beginning of the Scheeme, unless himself. Yet I will acquaint you of some Evidence as yet I believe unknown, that may be Material. Richard Taylor, Sr., a near neighbour to Capt. Lewelling, told me in private that Lewelling had Told him if he could git but ten Men to Joyn him he would fall to work and kill them every one, speaking of Whitmel Hill and others that had threaten’d him as a Tory. This Richard Taylor told me Long since the Seheeme was begun; also James Mayo, Captain, had threatened Mr. Lewelling. To take him up for a Tory for which Reason Mr. Lewelling Desired Peter Tyler and myself to waylay sd Mayo on the Road to kill him, but when I told him I could not he persuaded, Peter Tyler and lent him his Gun and told him Tarry till he sent him victuals, which Tyler did, but saw Mayo not. This may be prov’d by Tyler and Myself. Again a few days before I made My Escape, Mr. Lewelling said to me it would be no Damage if he were Taken to swear that a Traveling Man brought the writings to My house and that I and that Travelling man Carried the same to his house, by which Means the Beginning would not be Discovered, so that I being a poor man have Reason to fear. his power and Influence over others to My hurt, as all the friends or power I have is to declare the Truth and Humbly Crave pardon for having had any hand in sd plot or Scheme, testifying whatever shall Come to my Memory I will make known about the matter.
Examination of John Clifton taken in the County Court of Bertie at the Court held on the 12th day of August, 1777, present the Worshipful Thomas Pugh, David Standley and Jonathan Jacocks, Esqs., Justices of the said Court and assigned among others, to keep the peace of said County.
The said John Clifton being called before the Court, declared that some time about the middle of May last, being on his return to Anson County, which was the ordinary place of his Residence, from the County of Bertie, he had occasion to call on a certain William Tyler, of Martin County, about private business and accordingly did call at the house of said William Tyler, and did not find him at home; that he then proceded on his Journey, but as a little further distance stopped at the house of John Staten, who was an old acquaintance of his, and whom he had seen for several years; that the said Staten accompanied him a little way on the road out of compliment and in order to show him a path he was to take to carry him to the Main Road, they then being out of it and which it was difficult to find; that before they quite reached this path, they met the above mentioned William Tyler, with whom the said John Clifton spoke aside for some time about the private business above alluded to, and it being necessary to look at some papers concerning it, the said Tyler and the said John Clifton returned to the said Tyler’s house and the said Staten with them; that being come there, after their private business had been discoursed of, the said Tyler spoke to the said John Clifton (they two being private) concerning a secret of which the said John Clifton was at that time entirely ignorant and said, that Staten would accompany him to one James Rawlins, who could inform him of it; that the said Staten, upon their return to him, told him he would go with him to Rawlins’, it being late, and that there he would be in the main road, that nothing had then passed in the presence of the said Staten concerning the secret, though the said John Clifton understood from Rawlins that Staten was acquainted with it that upon their arrival at Rawlins’, the said Staten told him that Tyler had been speaking to the said John Clifton of the secret known between them and that he had as good acquaint him with it; that the said Rawlins then took the said Clifton out, carrying a book with him, and told him before he mentioned anything of it, he must take an oath of Secrecy; that the said Clifton then told Rawlins he did not like to swear before he knew what it was for; that the said Rawlins declared it was only to employ a Reader, and he then took the oath, the substance of which was “to keep secret all he had or was to communicate;” that the said Rawlins then made him acquainted with a sign which had been agreed upon by the Parties in this business and which was as follows: A person possessed of the secret was to have a stick with three notches; upon being asked what that was for, he was to answer “A sign”; upon it being enquired “What sign,” he was to reply, “The sign of a secret.” The enquiry being still continued in these words. “Have you that secret?” the possessor of the stick was to answer, “I have;” that the words “be true” were then to be lettered between them; that this was all which was at that time communicated to the said Clifton, and the said Rawlins told him he should know more from one Lewellin (who lived at a little distance) the next day; that accordingly the next day the said Rawlins, Staten and Clifton, went to see Lewellin, it being settled by Rawlins before they set off, that Staten and Clifton were to wait at a School-house about half a mile from Rawlins’ house, while Rawlins should go and bring Lewellin to them; that the said Staten and Clifton waited at the School-house, and some time after Rawlins returned, accompanied by the said Llewellin and his son, all three having guns (the said Rawlins having brought his gun from home with him): that the said Llewellin brought two papers with him, one of which contained an oath, which the said Clifton was to take, the other purporting an agreement to employ a Reader, and for each Man who subscribed is to pay ten shillings a year for that purpose, one half of which to be paid at Easter, the other at Whitsuntide, and also to support King George, and he further understood (but whether from the paper or the information of the said Rawlins & Staten he does not recollect) that the Business of this Engagement was to oppose Draughts and to be ready, when they had an opportunity, to join any of the King’s forces that might come to assist them; that he was also informed each Man was to be provided with half a pound of powder and two pounds of lead; and the said Llewellin & Rawlins declared, they would shoot any Man who divulged the secret; that the purport of the above oath, to the best of his recollection, was to support the terms of the Engagement above specified; that the said Rawlins & Staten gave the above mentioned Paper to the said Clifton, and desired him to get what subscriptions he could to it and to gain over all in his power; that the said Staten then asked them how many they had engaged in that business, to which it was replied, there were not many yet, but it would grow fast; that the said Clifton soon after left them, and disapproving of their purpose, had a great desire to reveal it, but was afraid to do so on account ofthe oath he had taken; that he never perused the paper but once afterand burnt it the next day; that he never showed it to any Person whatever, or attempted to influence any one to join in the Association; that on the twenty-third day of July, following (to the best of his recollection) he went to his Brother’s, Mr. Peter Clifton, in Bertie County, and gave him information of the above circumstances, and the next day together with his Brother waited on Thomas Pugh, Esquire, one of the Justices of the said Court and made oath to the same before him.
In open Court. Test:
John Johnston, C. C.
Martin County—Thomas Best being sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God, Deposeth and saith:
That John Lewelling said Nathan Mayo was a very Busy Body & he believed was put there to watch and that * * * * would get killed and that it was a general Taulk that James Mayo was to be killed because he was a man that was very peticular in atacting any that was to be the enemies to the State; and that he, the sd Best, went to James Sherod to Borrow Money to Enable them to go to General How for John Lewelling & James Rawlings was to go and Wm. Tyler was to go if they Could stay while be had a Chance to go. But Mr. Sherrod did not help him to money for that purpose, and the Night after old Tylor was Taken they were at the Gord patch when they heard the Report of a gun at a Considerable Distance, when James Rawlings said he had a Devilish Mistrust, it was at James Mayo, for there was such a Taulk in the company as killing him for going after them, at the same time Isaac Barbree, David Tailer, Hardy Counsell and James Rogers went from the Company towards Nathan Mayo, as he thote to try what they could spy out, and James Hais said if they were to Bid Isaac Barbree to shoot James Mayo he would do it, and further this Deponent saith not.
Given under my hand this 9th September, 1777.
Test: Nathan Mayo, J. P.
Hyde County Mattamuskeet
One Friday, August 1777, I understood by Report that a certain James Rawlins was one of the Heads amongst the Tories and that he was expected to pass by the settlement of Mattamuskeet, or to call there about the next day, and. as I was Resolved to apprehend him if possible, and keeping a watch out for him, spired a small sail off in the Sound. I fitted out in a Boat with four men along with me, came up with said sail and found it to be the same James Rawlina with his family, upon which I apprehended him and Caried him Before a Majistrate which took the Deposition of the said James Rawlins, August 6, 1777.
Sworn to before me. Aug. 9, 1777.
Pitt County-William May, Juner, says on oath, that on or about the 20th and last of May past, a certain William Tylor, of Martin County, did propose on oath to sd May and that he would on takeing the oath, he, the sd Tylor, wood inform him something of importance as a Secret that after he, sd May, had taken the oath the sd Tylor inform’d That he shood stand Ready to keep out popish Religion, if we Could and that the said Tylor did alow that Gentlemen was trying to Bring in popish Religion and that if there was a draft to unite & stand together & Not Turn out nor go in Croop time; and that the sd Tylor said he Thought themselves sofishantly strong to Take any man away that shood be drafted and to oppose any power that shood ofeer the State oath, and those that was sworn in was to Join and stand by each other if the State oath shood be offerd and that if any one was Confined or Imprisoned that the oathers was to Return them.
Sworn Before Me June 19th, 1777.
Robt. Salter, J. P.
Martin County-William Wallace being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, Deposeth and says:
The Night on or about ye 20th of June past, when a body of men met a certain place caled the goard patch in order to take William May out of the custody of Wm. Robinson & Mr. Salter, of Pitt County, by force of Arms if they could not get him sd Mayo without, John Lewelling told sd Wallace as soon as they got a Little stronger they would Confine some of the great men. The next time the sd Lewelling Came to sd Wallace He told him old Tylor was taken with all the papers in his pocket, the said Wallace asked what he would do about it; sd Lewelling answered, we must Try and git them if we can; sd Wallace answered, what if we can’t git them; the sd Lewdling said if we can’t git them without we must kill some of them.
And further sd Wallace saith it was ordered to git half a pound of powder & two pounds of Led accordingly. There was a quantity of powder brought to the gourd patch for that purpose by one Molon Davidson, which he, sd Wallace, saith he understood sd Davidson got. from one Sutherland, in Tarborough, and further This Deponent saith not.
Given under my hand this 8th day of September, 1777.
Test: Nathan Mayo, J. P.
HYDE COUNTY, Mattamuskeet.
One Friday, August 1777, I hunderstood By Report that a certain James Rawlins was one of the Heads amongst the Tories and that he was Expected to pass by the Settlement of Mattamuskeet or to Call there about the next Day and as I was Resolved to apprehend him if possible and keeping a watch out for him spied a small sail off in the Sound I fitted out in a boat with four men along with me. Came up with said Saile and found it to be the same Jas. Rawlins with his family upon which I apprehended him and Caned him Before a Magistrate which took the Deposition of the said James Rawlins,
August 6th, 1777. Abram Jones
Sworn to before me this 9th August, 1777.
Affidavit of Wm. May
Pitt County—William May, Juner, says on oath that on or about the 20th and last of May past a Certain William Tylor of Martin County, did propose an oath to sd. May, and that he would on taking the oath he sd Tylor wood inform him something of Importance as a Secret; that After he sd May had taken the oath, the sd. Tylor informed That he shood stand Ready to Keep out popish Religion if we Could, and that the sd. Taylor did alow that Gentlemen was trying to Bring in popish Religion and that if there was a Draft to unite & stand together & not turn out nor go in Croop time. And that the sd. Tylor said he Thought themselves sofishantly strong to Take any man away that shoed be Drafted and to oppose Any power that shood ofeur the State oath and these that was sworn in was to Join and stand by each oather if the State oath shood be offered and that if any one was Confiend or Titiprisond that the oathers was to Return them.
Sworn Before Me June 19, 1777.
Robe’t Salter, J. P.
Affidavit of William Howard
July 15, 1777. William Howard being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, Deposeth and Sayeth that lie was at Jonathan Davises wheat reaping, when John Garrett spoke to this Deponent & ask’d hun if lie would stand up for his Religion. This Deponent said be would, upon which the said Garrett swore him & gave him the usual Token to early to Leggett, which lie did & was swore by said Leggett to support their Constitution & Religion and that both oaths were administered to this Deponent in and Near the said Jonathan Davis’s apple orchard, and Further this Deponent sayeth not.
William X Howard
William Howard, principal, £100.
Benjamin Howard, Security £100, for appearance at the next
Court of Oyer & Terminer to be held at Edenton.
Sworn & acknowledged before us.
Arch. Corrie, J. P.
Chas. Johnson, J. P.
John Buttrey being Sworn Concerning a Certain Conspiracy, say that Rich’d Faggans came to him and swore him to keep a secret and told him that he wanted to geet Every Body of one mind and after that he administered another Oath to him that he must keep Secritt the names of the heads of Persons consearned, which he said was John Lewelling, James Sherrod and Daniel Leggett, and if he was amind to Go further in to it he must Go to Daniel Leggett and Carry a sign which was a stick with three notches, and if he Liked the Constitution he was at Liberty to inform himself further, &c.
Salvinas Buttrey Being Called on Concerning a Certain Conspiracy, sayeth Rich’d Fagans Told him the sd Buttrey he would put him in a way if he would Take an Oath of Secrecy not to take the oath of Government or Oath to the State, for it was very Bad and would ruin his Sole or for sware himself, and further this Deponent sayeth that if they offered to make him take the State Oath that they would a number Gitt together and have a Quarrill amid there would be an End to it, &c.
William Jordain Being Call’d to Give Testimony Consearning a Certain Conspiracy, sayeth that Rich’d Fagan swore him to keep a Secritt and to Go to William Collins to see the Constitution, and William Collins and Rich’d Fagan Wanted to make an Offeer of him a Solliseter to Take in Others which he this Deponent refused, and they told him that Sundry Others was in, and that they when called on was to assist Each other to Oppose the measures of Government and that this Scheeme had been Carieing on ever since Last March, &c.
David Taylor being sworn on the Holy Evangelist, declared as follows viz: that Jas. Rollins informed him (if a secret Scheme against time State, for that the Congress had given up the Country to the French to, be governed them, and then Popery would come into the Country, but that they would not oppose them, except they opposed their party, informed him that Will. Tyler &, William Luellan were in the Scheme and that he this Deponant sayeth that Rollins told him, if the King overcome the country that they would all keep their own Estates & not be hurt, and further this this deponant sayeth not.
Sworn before me the 4th day of June, 1777.John Everitt
Joseph Taylor being sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, Deposeth & sayeth as follows, to-wit.: James Rollins swore him to keep Secret, that the intent of the Secret was to keep popery out of our Land — if the popish Religion was brought in the Land that they were to take up Arms to oppose them that brought it, he further sayth that John Luellen & Wm. Tyler was on the Scheme, and if any man should be Drafted in Crop time—and further this Deponent sayth not.
Sworn before me the 4th day of June, 1777.John Everitt.
John Wheatley being sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, Deposeth & sayth as follows, to-wit: That James Sharrard asked him if he could keep a secret and after awhile he took a Book and put it into this Deponent’s hand and he the sd Sharrard said to this Deponent, you shall keep this close and not reveal it to any but such as I shall Teach you, then the sd Sharrard Read the Constitution, and this Dep’t objected to some articles in sd. Constitution, but swore as follows, to-wit: That he this Deponent should Defend and protect all Draughted, Distressed or Opprest persons or them that are Called Tories if We think ourselves fully able, and if the King Conquered the Country, that we shall save our Estates and that the sd. Sherrod told him that it would be Nesary for Each man to provide himself with Half of a Pound of Powder and Lead and this Deponent further sayeth that the Sceeme was to Drop it being Discovered, and this Deponent further Sayeth that Sherrod informed him that Leweling had up many Indeavours before he Brought him in the Sceeme and that Mr. Sherrod had Represented the State oath to this Deponent in a very Dreadfull Light Contrary to What he now finds it and further this Deponent sayeth not.
Sworn before me this 4th Day of July, 1777.William Slade, J. P.
N.B — Shrard told this Dep’t that he would be glad the neighbors would go down to Court and lie believes the intent was to relieve any person that should be Imprisoned or Distressed. Nathan Hathaway being sworn on the holy Avangelists of Almighty God, deposeth & sayth tht as follows (to-wit), that John Carter swore him to keep John Luallen’s name a Secret and that John Carter. give him a stick with three notches, which stick he was to carry to the sd John Luallen, and the meaning of that stick was to let Luallen know that he was Enterd into their Society to support the Old & New Testament and that John Carter told him that the French was coming in & that the Gentry was joining them to bring in the popish Religion, this Deponent sayth that when he Delivered the stick to John Luallen he asked him what he gave him that for, this Depon’t answered for a sign. The sd. Luallen asked him if he had got that sign—this Depo’t answered, I have. He said then, give it me. This Dep’t answered B, he sd E, the Dep’t said T, he said R, the Dep’t sd U, he sd E, this Dep’t then sd be true, he answer’d I hope you will. Then the sd Luallen Read to this Dep’t what he called a Constitution, & after that this Dep’t told him he could not join in it & then left him —this Dep’t sayeth that John Carter told him James Sharrard was in the Scheme and that James Sharard handed him a Book and told him he might swear if he would or not, this Dep’t then swore that he was to join with him if the people was Drafted, & they should find themselves able to oppose those that Drafted them, and further this Dep’t sayth not.
Sworn before me the 4th July, 1777.John Everitt.
N. B.—This Deponent further sayth that he heard Carter say that he got no Powder & shot at Halifax.
Martin County-William Wallace being sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God, Deposeth & saith:
The Night on or about ye 20th of June past, when a body of men meet a Certain placed Called the goard patch in order to take William May out of the Custody of Wm. Roberson & Mr. Salter of Pitt County, by force of Arms if they could not get them sd Mays without, John Lewelling told sd Wallace as soon as they got a Little Stronger they would confine some of the grait men. The next time the sd Lewelling came to sd Wallace He told him old Tylor was taken with all the papers in his pocket. The said Wallace asked what he would do about it, sd Lewelling answered we must Try and git them if we can, sd Wallace answered what if we can get them. Sd Lewelling said if we Can’t got them without we must kill some of them. And further sd Wallace saith it was ordered to git half a pound of powder & two pounds of Led accordingly. There was a quantity of powder brought the goard patch for that purpose by One Molon Davidson, which he sd Wallace saith in understood sd Davidson got from one Sutherland in Tarborough and further this Deponent saith not.
Given under my hand this 8th Day of September, 1777.
Test: Nathan Mayo, J. P.
Affidavit of Sampson Taylor
North Carolina State,
Martin County, July ye 14th, 1777. This day came before me Sampson Taylor and made oath on ye holy Evangelist of Almighty God that on Saterday ye 12th of this instant, that he ye deponent was at ye house of Merit Gamon and James Raise came there and he ye depon’t. asked ye sd Raise what news, ye sd Raise said Good News, for he had been outward and that ye Scotch and Tores ware Imbodying and that they Intended to have Governor Caswell’s head or body in about 3 or 4 weeks and that would be Good news for him.
Sampson X Taylor.
Affidavit of Henry Culpeper
Henry Culpeper being sworn in the holy Avangelists of Almighty God, Deposeth and sayeth:
That he was at the I House of Joint Lewelling in the County of Martin on a Sunday & he, this Deponent, was in the yard & that the sd Lewelling came to him & seem’d to be angry and said to this Deponent that he believed they should he obliged to kill all the heads of the Country and it must be done in the night and then every man must return to his own home, this Deponent further sayth that he was at the in house it the sd Lewelling at another time and the said Lewelling said that the matter might be done without spilling blood, this Deponent asked how, amid he said by confining the heads of the County and if How should come round to Carolina, Deliver them up to him. and further this Deponent sayth not.
Henry X Culpeper
Sworn before me time 3d Sep’r, 1777.Blake B. Wiggins.
Affidavit of Daniel Austin
Daniel Austin being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth and saith that on Monday morning last William Brimage and a Person who afterwards called himself Campbell, and said he was a Liertenant of man of War, came to the House of this deponent Father’s when the Lieutenant asked this deponent to go out and look for one John Smith, which he did, and could not find him. Mr. William Brimage then asked this Deponent if he would be hired to carry him to Roanoke Island, which he told him he would, he then asked his Father how much it was worth to go to Roanoke Island, who answered Ten Dollars. William Brimage said that sum was too much, and asked this deponent what. he would take who answered Eight dollars. John Smith at. this time was come from Francis Rawlinson’s and said he had hired a Boat there, but if this deponent’s Boat was ready he should have a chance and agreed to give him Eight Dollars, which was the sum he was to give for the one he had engaged, this deponent then went to his Brother to get him to go with him and brought the Boat to his Father’s Landing. After Breakfast they set off with the said Boat and William Brimage, John Smith & the Lieutenant in her, on their Passage Campbell asked them if they would go down to New Inlet, he wanted to see it, this Deponent and his Brother was much against going down, the Lieutenant then called up Mr. William Brimage who whispered with him, but what they said this deponent does not know, the said William Brimage & the Lieutenant then told this deponent and his Brother that if they would carry them to New Inlet they would pay them to their asking. John Smith wanted to keep on to Roanoke Island, the place agreed for, the Lieutenant and William Brimage insisted to go to New Inlet, they then put the Boat. about and went down New Inlet and landed on the Beach, they hauled the Boat up out of the way of the Tide. Mr. Brimage asked if any house was near. This Deponent told there was none nigher than Body’s Island. He then asked the Lieutenant if he would take a walk and look at the Bar, lie then turned about and took out a Handkerchief with two Pistols in it, and walked after this deponent, who turned and met him and asked him if lie intended to hurt him. lie untied his Handkerchief and took out his Pistols and told this deponent he must have his Boat for he must make his Escape. This deponent then told his Brother they were Prisoners and begged they might not be hurt. William Brimage and John Smith replied they should not be hurt, Mr. Brimage declaring lie would Perish on the Beach before they should be hurt. John Smith begged that in case the Boat was taken, if this deponent would let him go home with him which he agreed to, the Lieutenant then said they must go to an Island to Ballast the Boat. They went to an Island, and this deponent then asked the Lieutenant if he would put him & his Brother across on the Beach, as they might be able to get hom, which he refused, and said he must keep them that night. William Brimage, John Smith and the Lieutenant persuaded this deponent and his Brother to carry them to Currituck & told them they should have the Boat again to carry them back and they would give them all the Money they had. They agreed to go and set off.
Mr. William Briniage and John Smith told this deponent that they had done no harm, but being suspected Tories, had come away, as they would not take the oath. A squall rising in the West, this deponent asked him if they would go on shore. Accordingly they went on shore on Dolbey’s Point, hauled up the Boat and took a Walk on the beach. Mr. Brimage was afraid to Walk the beach, being apprehensive they might be seen and found out, they then went back to the boat pushed off and set sail and went a small distance. The Wheater looked very Dismal and they went on shore again. They went a small distance from the Boat and sat down. Setting there some time this deponent whispered his Brother to take the Boat and make his escape and that this deponent would rum away, which accordingly, they did, and further this deponent says not.
Sworn to this 30th July, 1777, before Rob. Smith, Willm. Bennett, Chas. Bondfield.
Affidavit of Cornelius Austin
Cornelnis Austin being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth & saith that this deponent was in a Boat with his Brother Daniel Austin, and they took in Mr. William Brimage and a Person that said he was a Lieutenant of a Man of War, who called himself Campbell. & one John Smith of Betrtie County that they went peaceably and quietly to New Inlet. There the Lientenant insisted on going to take a view of the Inlet, which this deponent would not agree to, but the Lieutenant insisted upon to go and said he both must and will see New Inlet; this deponent then told him he would go where he pleased with his own Boat. Mr. William Brimage was at that time laying down in the Boat and this deponent thinks he was asleep. The Lieutenant waked him up and they whispered together, but what they said this deponent does not know. Then they, the said Lieutenant & Mr. Brimage, insisted to go down to New Inlet. According they put the Boat about and went to the Inlet, and Landed on the northern side of the Point and went on shore. The first thing this deponent saw after he got on shore was the Lieutenant with a pair of Pistols in his hands, and his Brother begging for God’s sake not to take his life; that said John Smith And this deponent had some talk, who told this deponent that he would lose his right arm before he would see him hurt or wronged, nor his Boat taken from him. Then this deponent said to the said Smith, Will you stand by me if I attempt to take the Lieutenant. Immediately this deponent went to take him and fetched a step or two towards the Lieutenant. The said Smith came after him and begged this deponent would not do any thing of that kind, as the said Smith said the Lieutenant was a blooded minded Fellow and was afraid he would kill some of them. Upon that he desisted; that he & his Brother was taken Prisoners at the place by the Lieutenant and obliged to agree to carry them to Currituck Inlet and Land them there on the Beach that they might make their escape along the Cape, as this deponent understood to be the Capes of Virginia, then they proceeded to an Island of Marsh to Ballast the Boat and to wait until a squall which was then rising was over. In the meantime Mr. William Brimage and John Smith undertook to see the Boat safe, returned to this deponent & his Brother, they then proceeded on their way to Currituck until they came up with Roanoak Island. Then it grew dark & squally. They were obliged to put ashore at Dolbey’s Point and took a walk a small distance on the Beach. William Brimage then was afraid they should be discovered by some Person and proposed to go back to the Boat, which they accordingly. They put off and went a little further, & went on shore again and hauled the Boat a small distance in the sand and took shelter under a tree and was there some time, his Brother whispered to him to take the Boat and rum off with her, which he did, and further this deponent says it says that it was much against the will of the said John Smith to go to New Inlet. He wanted to proceed to Roanoak Island where they were first bound, & further this deponent says not.
Sworn to before us this 30th July, 1777. Rob. Smith,Willm. Bennett,Chas. Bondfield.
Affidavit of John Smith
John Smith, of Bertie County, Blacksmith, being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, Deposeth & says that being at Occacock Island, he then met with William Brimage, who asked this deponent what news. He replied he was surprised to see him there, as he had heard before he left home that he was in Halifax Gaol; that the said Brimage told him as the times were Troublesome he had come away that he might not take the oath prescribed by the last Assembly. The said Brimage told this deponent he waited to go to sea along with Mr. Telfair, but that Mr. Telfair refused to let him and said he should not go with him if he would give him five hundred Guineas, and further he says not.
Sworn to before us this 31st July, 1777.Chas. Bondfield, J. P.
Affidavit of John Collins
John Collins on oath, sayeth that oil a Certain day he see James Sharrod going by his Plantation when he was at work, in which lie seemed to be very much Cast. down. Mr. Collins asked Sharrard what was the matter; had he been sick. he answered, no. What then is time matter sd Collins I have heard dreadfid news which Gave me so much uneasiness I Could not Take my rest. What is time matter and what have you heard. I was at my Brother John’s and see Lewelling and he tell me that they were Inginerall Concluding to make an End to all time heads of the County. Collins said for God sake take off that Evil Intent, Quash it if you can. Sharrard answered he would if it was in his Power, for if I had ever known they had had such in Evil Intention I would never had any Concerns with them. This is the second time he had been to him and Sharrard answered swered he would Goe again signifying to Endeavor to Quash this Design.
Further the said Collins sayeth that on a Certain Time he, the said Collins and Sharrod went over to Winsor in Which time said Sharrod was accused of Purchasing Gun Powder, he sayeth that he was in Mr. Sharrod’s Company the whole Time and that the said Sharrod did not buy any Gun Powder or Bring any with him only 2-3/4 lb. of Gun Powder which the said Collins Purchased half a pound which Sharrod had of said Two Pounds and three Quarters and sayeth that there was no more Powder Gott or Purchased at any other Time which said Powder was for William Highsmith, John Horton and John Persey and for himself, and further sayeth not.
Sworn to before me this 5th day of July, 1777.
Affidavit of Mary Walker
July 15, 1777. Personally appeared before its, Justices assigned to keep the Peace in said County, Mary Walker, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, made oath to the following Information, that is to say: That about three weeks ago this Deponent was at the House of Thomas Harrison, Senr., where she heard a Certain Stephen Burgess say that it was no matter if the King’s Forces were to come & put them all to the sword, for it was what they deserved, meaning the People of this State, as this deponent believed, and further this Deponent sayeth not.
Mary X Walker
Sworn before us.
Arch’d Corrie, J. P.
Affidavit of Elizabeth Ward
July 15th, 1777. Personally appeared before us, Justices assigned to keep the peace in said County, Elizabeth Ward, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, made oath to the following information, that is to say, that about three weeks agoe this Deponent was at the House of Thomas harrison, Senr., where she heard a Certain Stephen Burgess say that if the King was to put us all to the Sword it was no more than what we all might expect, & furthermore this Deponent saith not.
Sworn before us. Arch’d Corrie, J. P.
Memorandum: That on this Twentieth day of July 1779, James Knott, of the County of Bertie and State of North Carolina, and Zedekiah Stone, Esq., of the County and State aforesaid, personally come before me, William Benson, one of the Justices for said County, and acknowledged themselves as to be indebted to his Excellency, Richard Caswell, Esq. Governor of the State aforesaid, for the time being or to his successors, in the sum if One Thousand pounds, to he levied of their good & Chattels. Lands & Tenements respectively, to the use of him, the said Governor, or his Successor, upon condition, That if the said James Knott shall personally appear at the next Superior Court to he held at Edenton in for the District of Edenton to do and receive what shall be then and there enjoined by the said Court and that he do not depart without leave if the said Court, and that in the meantime to be of the good behavior. Then this Recognizance to be void or else to, remain in force.
James Knott, [Seal.]
Acknowledged before me. Zed’h Stone. [Seal.]Will. Benson, .Jnstice.
James Knott, Als.,
The State of North Carolina: And the said James Knott, by Jasper Charlton, his attorney, for Plea to the Seire Facias as issued against him by James Iredell, Esq., I., Attorney General for the State and in I Discharge of the Recognizance entered into by him at Edenton November Superior Court, 1779, for his appearance at the next ensuing Court in May, 1780, saith that after the November Court, 1779 hw was drafted into the service and never came home till during the sitting of May Court, when lie was so sick, fatigued and his Feet so much bruised as not to be able to walk.
That he was in Charles Town during a good Time of the siege, required the approbation of his Officers and behaved in such a manner as to acquit him of the least Degree of Suspicion of being an enemy to his country or to Toryism. That the said James Knott would have attended at. November Court, 1780, but that his Attorney above named, who was likewise his bail, and lay at the Point of Death himself, informed him that from the daily Danger apprehended at Edenton of the enemy lie expected no Court would be held, or if any merely to continue all Business depending therein, and that in May Court, 1781, he was preparing and would have attended, but no Court was then held, and that he is now attending at this Court, November 1781, to answer to any Matter or offence the State may charge him with. That since his first being drafted he has been a second time drafted and served under General Gregory until discharged without Blame or censure.
Sworn before me this 30th October, 1781.Sam’l Spencer.
State of North Carolina, Agt.,
Jasper Charlton: And the before named Jasper bail for the within named James Knott’s appearance at Edenton May Superior Court, 1780, in Pleading in Discharge of his Recognizance entered into in Nnovember, 1770, alledgeth and saith that what is contained in the annexed Plea of the said James Knott is in all Respects just and true, and further the said Jasper saith that in May Court, 1780, he would have pleaded the incapacity of the said James Knott’s attendance, but he knew * * * thereof until his Return to his own House. But that during * * * a Court had been formed in November, 1780, to which the said James Knott and Jasper Charlton’s Scire Facias were returnable, he was intending to attend, and actually had set off several miles thither at the Peril of his Life and against the Advice of all his Friends partly to exonerate the James and himself as his Bail of the Penalty of their several Recognizances, but found when he got within a few miles of Edenton the said Court had broke up and that at the Time prescribed by Law for holding the Superior Court in May, 1781, he attended and the said James would also have attended to have discharged themselves of their Recognizances aforesaid, but no Court was held on account of the Confusion and Danger there prevailing in the State and the said Jasper is now in Court. for the above purpose as to himself.”
Not signed or dated.
This concludes all the papers so far found relating to the conspiracy against the State, on the part of the Tories in this section of North Carolina.