America’s war for independence was not born overnight. Discontent over British rule fomented and grew over time. And, much like most rebellions, it had its origins at local, grass root levels.
As early as 1774, while local counties were selecting delegates for new Provincial Congress, many of their Committees of Safety would publish documents known as “resolves” or “associations.” These were intended to state the positions of their delegates on loyalty to the Crown and the emerging American Republic.
While, at first, professing allegiance to King George, they also outlined what they believed to be unfair practices of Parliament. As time went on, the “resolves” changed their tone, inserting conditions to their loyalty and asserting certain rights as free citizens. After the battles at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, the Mecklenburg Resolves were published which outright denied the authority of Parliament and the king… the first time any colonial committee had done so. More counties quickly followed suit.
In July of 1775, the Pitt County Committee of Safety produced a set of resolves at Martinborough NC. In it they pledged to follow the directives of the Continental Congress to resist “the several arbitrary illegal acts of Parliament.” One of the signers of this document was Henry Ellis, my 6th great-granduncle. His name is included on the plaque commemorating the document which currently hangs in the Pitt County Courthouse.
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