Fayetteville Convention

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Governor Samuel Johnston presided over the Convention

The Fayetteville Convention was a meeting by 271 delegates from North Carolina to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Governor Samuel Johnston presided over the convention. They met in Fayetteville, North Carolina on November 16–23, 1789 to deliberate and determine whether to ratify the Constitution recommended to the states by the General Convention held in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. The delegates ratified the constitution on a vote of 194 to 77, thus making North Carolina the 12th state to ratify the constitution.[1][2][3][4][5]


Market House

The Fayetteville Convention was held at the "State House" in Fayetteville, which was a large brick building built in 1788 in anticipation of Fayetteville becoming the capital of North Carolina. The North Carolina General Assembly did meet in the building in 1789, 1789 and 1793 before moving permanently to Raleigh, North Carolina. The "State House" was destroyed by a large fire in 1831. The Market House was built at the location in 1832.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

Debate and Outcome[edit]

William Richardson Davie
Scene at the signing of the Constitution of the United States, signing is Richard Dobbs Spaight, behind him is William Blount and Hugh Williamson

The previous Hillsborough Convention had decided neither to ratify or reject the Constitution. The Federalists waged a successful campaign in the 1789 elections, which resulted in Anti-Federalists receiving less than one third of the 272 seats at the Fayetteville Convention. One factor leading to this Federalist majority was the majority election of George Washington as President and the resulting stable government, which dispelled Anti-Federalists' fears about unbridled federal power. Influential Federalists controlled most of the North Carolina newspapers and used them to vigorously support ratification of the Constitution to the demise of Anti-Federalists. The introduction of the Bill of Rights also helped to neutralize the Ant-Federalists' objections. Thus, by the time the Hillsborough Convention opened on November 16, the outcome for ratification of the Constitution was almost assured.[1]

As a final compromise, the delegates agreed to present to Congress eight amendments not covered by the proposed Bill of Rights. These amendments included limits on congressional taxing power and on the enlistment terms for soldiers, among other issues. On November 20, William Richardson Davie brought the ratification question to the Convention where it was approved with a vote of 195 to 77. As a result, North Carolina became the twelfth state to approve the U.S. Constitution. After the vote, John Huske of Wilmington led a walkout of 68 Anti-Federalists from the chambers. The convention was adjourned on November 23.[1][12][13]

The following amendments proposed by James Galloway were unanimously approved by the convention on November 23[12]:

  1. "That Congress shall not alter, modify, or interfere in the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, or either of them, except when the Legislature of any State shall neglect, refuse, or be disabled by invasion or rebellion to prescribe the same, or in case when the provision made by the State is so imperfect as that no consequent election is had."
  2. "That Congress shall not, directly or indirectly, either by themselves or through the Judiciary, interfere with any one of the States in the redemption of paper money already emitted and now in circulation, or in liquidating and discharging the public securities of any one of the States; but each and every State shall have the exclusive right of making such laws and regulations for the above purposes, as they shall think proper."
  3. "That the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be ineligible to and incapable of holding any civil office under the authority of the United States during the time for which they shall respectively be elected."
  4. "That the journals of the proceedings of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be published at least once in every year, except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances, or military operations, as in their judgment require secrecy."
  5. "That a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public monies shall be published at least once in every year."
  6. "That no navigation law, or law regulating commerce, shall be passed, without the consent of two-thirds of the members present in both Houses."
  7. "That no soldier shall be enlisted for any longer term than four years, except in time of war, and then for no longer term than the continuance of the war."
  8. "That some tribunal, other than the Senate, be provided for trying impeachments of Senators."


later Gov. Benjamin Smith, Brunswick delegate
William Lenoir, Wilkes delegate
Joseph Graham, Mecklenburg delegate
James Kenan, Duplin delegate
Joseph McDowell, Jr, Burke delegate
John Sevier, Greene delegate
John Baptista Ashe, Halifax delegate
William Blount, Pitt delegate
Joseph Winston, Surry delegate
Benjamin Hawkins, Warren delegate
Hugh Williamson, Tyrrell delegate and signer of the Constitution

There were 271 delegates from 61 counties and six cities/districts of North Carolina. Some counties later became part of the state of Tennessee in 1796. Governor Samuel Johnston from Perquimans County presiding over the convention. Charles Johnson from Chowan County was the vice-president of the Convention. John Hunt and James Taylor were appointed as secretary and assistant secretary, respectively, of the convention. Peter Gooding, James Mulloy, William Murphy, and Nicholas Murphey were appointed as doorkeepers of the convention. [12][14]:

County/City Delegates
Anson County The Hon. Samuel Spencer[15], Esq. Jesse Gilbert, Pleasant May[15], Thomas Wade, David Jameson.
Beaufort County John G. Blount, William Brown, Richard Grist, Alderson Ellison, Silas W. Arnett.
Bertie County John Johnston, Francis Pugh, William Johnston Dawson, David Turner, David Stone.
Brunswick County Benjamin Smith, William E. Lord[15], William Gause, John Hall, Dennis Hawkins.
Bladen County John Cowan, Duncan Stewart[15], Thomas Owen, Joseph Gaitier, Thomas Brown[15].
Burke County Charles McDowall, Joseph McDowall[15], Joseph McDowall, Jun., William E. Erwin, John Carson.
Craven County John Allen, Richard Nixon, Joseph Leech, Thomas Williams[15].
Cumberland County John Ingram, John Hay, William B. Grove, James Moore[15], Robert Adam.
Carteret County John Easton, Malachi Bell, John Fulford, Wallace Styron, John Wallace.
Currituck County William Ferebee, Thomas P. Williams, Samuel Ferebee, Andrew Duke, Spence Hall.
Chowan County Stephen Cabarrus, Charles Johnson, Lemuel Creecy, Edmund Blount. William Righton (late attendee)
Camden County Isaac Gregory, Peter Dauge, Enoch Sawyer, Henry Abbott, Charles Grandy.
Caswell County John Wommack[15], Robert Dickens[15], John Graves[15], Robert Payne, Robert Bowman.
Chatham County Robert Edwards[15], William Vestall, John Thompson, John Ramsay, James Anderson.
Dobbs County Benjamin Sheppard, Nathan Lassiter, Simeon Bright (late attendees)
Duplin County James Pearsall[15], James Gillespie[15], Robert Dickson[15], Lavan Watkins[15], James Kenan[15].
Davidson County
(became part of Tennessee in 1796)
Charles Gerrard, Joel Rice, Robert Ewing, James C. Mountflorence, William Dobbin.
Edgecombe County Etheldred Phillips, Thomas Blount, Jeremiah Hilliard, Etheldred Gray, William Fort.
Franklin County Henry Hill[15], Thomas Sherrod, Jordan Hill, William Lancaster, William Christmas.
Guilford County John Hamilton[15], William Gowdy[15], Richard D. Caldwell[15], Daniel Gillespie[15].
Granville County Elijah Mitchell[15], Thomas Person[15], Thornton Yancey[15], Peter Bennett[15], Edmund Taylor, Jun.
Gates County David Rice, Joseph Riddick, John Baker.
Greene County
(became part of Tennessee in 1796)
John Sevier, Alexander Outlaw, John Allison, George Doherty, James Wilson.
Halifax County Lunsford Long, John B. Ashe, Peter Qualls, John Whitaker, Marmaduke Norfleet.
Hertford County Thomas Wynns, Robert Montgomery, Hardy Murfee, Henry Hill, Henry Baker.
Hyde County John Eborn, James Watson, John Alderson, James Jasper, Michael Peters.
Hawkins County
(became part of Tennessee in 1789)
Nathaniel Henderson, James White, John Hunt. Elijah Chessen (late attendee)
Iredell County Adlai Osborne, Adam Brevard, Musentine Matthews, John Nesbitt (Nisbet), David Caldwell.
Johnston County Samuel Smith, Hardy Bryan, William Bridgers, William Hackney, Matthias Handy.
Jones County Frederick Hargett, Edward Whitty, John H. Bryan, Jacob Johnston.
Lincoln County Joseph Dickson, John Moore, William MacLaine, Robert Alexander[15], John Caruth.
Moore County William Martin[15], Thomas Tyson, Donald M’Intosh[15], Neill M’Leod[15]. Cornelius Doud (late attendee)[15]
Martin County John Stewart, William Williams, Nathan Mayo. Thomas Hunter (late attendee)
Mecklenburg County Zachias Wilson[15], Joseph Douglass[15], Caleb Phifer[15], Joseph Graham, James Porter[15].
Montgomery County William Johnston, James Turner, James Tindall, David Nesbitt, James Crump.
Northampton County John M. Benford, Halcott B. Pride[15], Samuel Tarver, Robert Peebles[15], Samuel Peete.
New Hanover County Timothy Bloodworth[15], John G. Scull[15], John Huske[15], John A. Campbell[15].
Nash County Howell Ellin, Wilson Vick, William S. Marnes, John Bonds, Hardy Griffin.
Onslow County Robert W. Sneed, John Spicer, Daniel Yates, George Mitchell, Edward Ward.
Orange County James Christmass, Alexander Mebane[15], Thomas H. Perkins[15], William F. Strudwick[15], Joseph Hodge[15].
Pasquotank County Edward Everegain, John Swan, Thomas Banks, Devotion Davis.
Perquimans County His Excellency, Samuel Johnston, John Skinner, Joseph Harvey, Benjamin Perry, Ashbury Sutton.
Pitt County William Blount, Shadrick Allen, James Armstrong, Samuel Simpson, Benjamin Bell.
Rowan County George H. Berger[15], Bazel Gaither, John Stokes, Maxwell Chambers, Matthew Lock[15].
Randolph County Zebedee Wood[15], Reuben Wood, Nathan Stedman. William Bailey (late attendee)
Richmond County Edward Williams, Alexander Watson[15], William Robinson[15], Duncan M’Farland[15]. Darby Harragan[15] (late attendee)
Rutherford County William Porter, James Holland, Richard Lewis, William Johnson.
Rockingham County William Bethell[15], James Gallaway[15], Isaac Clarke[15], Abram Phillips[15], John Dabney[15].
Robeson County John Willis, Elias Barnes, Neill Brown, John Cade, Sion Alford.
Surry County Joseph Winston, Gideon Edwards[15], Absalom Bostwick[15], Edward Lovell, George Houser.
Sullivan County
(became part of Tennessee in 1796)
John Rhea, William Nash[15], John Scott[15], Joseph Martin.
Sampson County Richard Clinton[15], James Spiller, James Thompson[15], Hardy Holmes[15], William King[15].
Sumner County
(became part of Tennessee in 1796)
Daniel Smith, David Wilson, Samuel Mason, Edward Douglass, John Overton.
Tennessee County
(became Montgomery County, Tennessee and
Robertson County, Tennessee in 1796)
John Montgomery, John Drew, Thomas Johnston, William Blount[16], Benjamin Menees.
Tyrrell County Thomas Stewart, Hugh Williamson[16], Jeremiah Frazier, Simeon Spruill, Samuel Chesson.
Washington County
(became part of Tennessee in 1796)
Landon Carter, Robert Love, John Blair, William Houston, Andrew Green.
Warren County Benjamin Hawkins, Philemon Hawkins, Solomon Green, Wyatt Hawkins[15], Thomas Christmass[15].
Wayne County Richard M’Kinnie, Burwell Mooring[15], David Cogdell[15], Josiah Jernigan, James Handley.
Wake County Joel Lane, Thomas Hines, Henry Lane, Brittain Sanders[15], William Hayes.
Wilkes County John Brown[15], William Lenoir[15], Joseph Herndon[15], Benjamin Jones[15], William Nall[15].
Town of Salisbury John Steele.
Town of Edenton John Mare.
Town of Hillsboro Samuel Benton.
Town of Newbern Isaac Guion.
Town of Halifax William R. Davie[16].
Town of Wilmington William N. Hill

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Cavanagh, John C. (2006). "Convention of 1789". NCPedia. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  2. ^ "Fayetteville Convention of 1789". North Carolina History.org. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  3. ^ John C. Cavanaugh, Decision at Fayetteville (Raleigh, 1989)
  4. ^ William Price, Jr., "’There Ought to Be a Bill of Rights’: North Carolina Enters a New Nation," in The Bill of Rights and the States, ed. Patrick T. Conley and John Kaminski (Lanham, Maryland, 1992)
  5. ^ Louise Irby Trenholme, The Ratification of the Federal Constitution in North Carolina (Columbia, Missouri, 1932)
  6. ^ "Old Town Hall, Marker I-14". Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  7. ^ Parker, Roy Jr. (January 1, 1990). Cumberland County: A Brief History. North Carolina Office of Archives and History.CS1 maint: Date and year (link)
  8. ^ Cavanagh (April 1, 1989). Decision at Fayetteville: North Carolina Ratification Convention and General Assembly of 1789. Historical Pubns Section.
  9. ^ Johnson, Lucile Miller (1978). Hometown Heritage, Fayetteville, North Carolina. Colonel Robert Rowan Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
  10. ^ Powell, William S., ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of North Carolina.
  11. ^ "Unknown". (Raleigh) News and Observer. April 4, 1989.
  12. ^ a b c "Minutes of the North Carolina Constitutional Convention at Fayetteville". Documenting the South. 1789. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  13. ^ Note: final vote quoted from minutes vice NCPedia article
  14. ^ Connor, R.D.D. (1913). A Manual of North Carolina (PDF). Raleigh: North Carolina Historical Commission. p. 863-. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw Voted Nay to adopting the Constitution
  16. ^ a b c Framer of the U.S. Constitution