CASWELL, Richard (1729-1789)

CASWELL, RICHARD, a Delegate from North Carolina; born in Harford (now Baltimore) County, Md., August 3, 1729; moved to North Carolina in 1746; appointed deputy surveyor of the colony in 1750; clerk of the court of Orange County 1752-1754; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1754 and commenced practice in Hillsboro, N.C.; member of the colonial house of delegates 1754-1771, and served as speaker the last two years; commanded the right wing of Governor Tryon's army at the Battle of Alamance in 1771; served in the Revolutionary Army; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1775; commanded the patriots at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, North Carolina, February 23, 1776; appointed brigadier general of the New Bern District by the Provincial Congress in 1776; delegate to the State constitutional convention and its president in 1776; Governor of North Carolina 1776-1780; commanded the North Carolina troops at the Battle of Camden in 1780; comptroller general in 1782; member of the State senate 1782-1784 and served as speaker; again elected Governor in 1785 and served until 1787; appointed delegate from North Carolina to the convention that framed the Federal Constitution in 1787, but did not attend; member of the State convention at Fayetteville, N.C., that adopted the Federal Constitution in 1789; member and speaker of the State house of commons in 1789 and served until his death in Fayetteville, N.C., November 10, 1789; interment in the family cemetery on his estate near Kinston, Lenoir County, N.C.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Department, Wilson Library
Chapel Hill, NC
Papers: ca. 1776-1914, 31 items.
The papers primarily include correspondence relating to North Carolina and United States military and political issues of the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary periods.


Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library
Williamsburg, VA
Papers: In the John Page Papers, 1777, 1 item.
A letter from John Page to Richard Caswell written on September 26, 1777. In the letter, John Page writes concerning an agreement between Virginia and North Carolina to combine resources to build new vessels to help defend the coast. John Page also mentions the North Carolina militia and states that George Washington has received reinforcements and that General William Howe has retired from Brandywine at Wilmington.


Copley Press, Inc.
J. S. Copley Library
La Jolla, CA
Papers: In the John Penn Papers, n.d., 1 page.
A letter from John Penn to Richard Caswell.

Papers: In the Jethro Sumner Papers, 1780, approximately 2 pages.
A letter from Jethro Sumner to Governor Richard Caswell written on January 28, 1780. In the letter, Jethro Sumner requests money from Governor Caswell to carry out General Lincoln's orders to apprehend deserters.

Papers: In the William Whipple Papers, 1778, 2 pages.
A letter from William Whipple to Governor Richard Caswell written on November 11, 1778. In the letter, William Whipple writes about great and increasing problems with military food supplies, that Congress has had to learn more about state resources, especially "Flour, Wheat, Rye, Barley, Oats, Corn & Rice, Beef, Pork, working Oxen & Horses, Cyder & Vinegar."


Cornell University
Carl A. Kroch Library
Ithaca, NY
Papers: In Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, 1764-1805, 81 items.
Includes a letter from Richard Caswell to the General Assembly written on May 3, 1777.


Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: In the North Carolina Papers, ca. 1777-1827, approximately 300 items.
Persons represented include Richard Caswell.


Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1777-1787, 20 items.
Includes papers of Richard Caswell.

Papers: In the Nathanael Greene Papers, 1781-1782, 2 volumes.
Correspondents include Richard Caswell. A finding aid is available in the repository.


Library of Virginia
Archives Branch
Richmond, VA
Papers: In the Patrick Henry Papers, 1777-1786, 6 items.
In a letter to Richard Caswell, Patrick Henry comments on possible actions by British forces. These letters are copies of letters held in The Morgan Library, New York, NY.

Papers: In the Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1779, 2 pages.
A letter from Thomas Jefferson to Richard Caswell written on June 30, 1779. In the letter, Thomas Jefferson refers to enclosures which are not present, relevant to galleys and to settlers in the frontier border area between Virginia and North Carolina.


The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts
New York, NY
Papers: 1777, 1 item.
A letter from Richard Caswell to General James Moore written on February 6, 1777. In the letter, Richard Caswell orders General Moore and his troops to join those of General Washington without delay and recommends he increase his regiments to full strength.

Papers: 1781, 1 item.
A letter from Richard Caswell to Major General Greene written on March 3, 1781. In the letter, Richard Caswell writes concerning the need of militia.

Papers: In the Ford Collection, 1787, 1 item.
A letter from Richard Caswell to the Governor of Massachusetts written on January 12, 1787.

Papers: In the Thomas Burke Papers, 1777, 1 item.
A letter from Thomas Burke to Governor Richard Caswell written on July 30, 1777. In the letter, Thomas Burke writes concerning the threatened occupation of Philadelphia by the British.

  • Connor, R.D.W. (Robert Digges Wimberly). "Richard Caswell, " in Revolutionary Leaders of North Carolina, 79-101. 1916. Reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1971.