About this Web site
This Web site is about American and North Carolina Patriot Cornelius Harnett (1723-1781). The drawing below illustrates the price paid by Harnett for his courageous acts of leadership before and during the American Revolution.
For many years Sam Hummel, a co-sponsor of and contributor to this Web site, has promoted a renewed interest in the remarkable leadership that led to Harnett’s capture, imprisonment and death. The acts for which Harnett earned the title “Pride of The Cape Fear” are the same acts for which the British declared him to be an outlaw. Sam argues that Cornelius Harnett should not be forgotten. He and his wife Anne have commissioned an oil painting based on the above drawing by illustrator Don Long. The oil version has been expanded to include the eleven year old boy who, at age 80, described the scene that inspired the drawing. His name was Dr. Arman DeRossette. For more detail, see the article under the menu item “Historically Important Events” entitled “The Price of Leadership .”
Glenn Hood of the Lillington Rotary Club, also a co-sponsor and contributor to this Web site, has been a leader in promoting an awareness of Cornelius Harnett. In recent years at the “Cornelius Harnett Gala”, a fund raising event that began in 1985 by the Lillington Rotary Club, Glenn Hood has presented a PowerPoint with captions about important contributions that Cornelius Harnett made on behalf of North Carolina to the American Revolution. The annual fundraising event, in addition to supporting many worthwhile charities, has stimulated a renewed interest in Cornelius Harnett. You are invited to review the two minute PowerPoint video by Glenn Hood under the menu item “Resources.”
A primary objective of this web site is to locate and publish summaries and references to publications written by professional historians about Cornelius Harnett, the events in which and the people with whom he was involved. An important historical find made by sponsor Glenn Hood is entitled CORNELIUS HARNETT: AN ESSAY IN NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY by R. D. W. Connor that was digitized by Google after the copyright expired. The detailed directions for accessing the Web site for Connor’s Essay, appear under the menu item Resources/Books. Glenn has also located a digital version of an address by Dr. Alphonzo Smith entitled “Our Debt to Cornelius Harnett” accessible at this Web site under Resources/Addresses. Under Resources you may find other primary sources for information summarized in this Web site.
“Historically Important Events” is a section that begins with a “Chronology of the American Revolution,” a timeline of events beginning with the French and Indian War (1754-1763) and ending with the death of Cornelius Harnett (April 28, 1781). This is an attempt to put the events in which Harnett was involved in context with those involving the nation. Under “Historically Important Events” you will find a series of articles illustrating why Harnett was declared “The Pride of the Cape Fear” in North Carolina and an “Outlaw” in Britain. These include articles about his confrontation with Governor Tryon over attempted Stamp Act enforcement in the then royal North Carolina capitol at Brunswick in 1766; his role in bringing disgrace to Governor Josiah Martin in 1775 at Fort Johnston; his role as commander in chief at the time of the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge; and his leadership role in promoting independence from Britain. Toward the end, as his health declined, he played a significant role as founding father of this nation. For all of these services to his state and nation in the making, he paid a price for his leadership as illustrated in the drawing above.
Biographical information about each of the historians identified will be listed under “Resources“, a process that is far from complete. The sponsors of this site hope that current professional historians will add further information about Harnett’s actions that took place before and during the American Revolution.
There are numerous items in the “Image Gallery“. Many are commemorative items. An important commemorative is the “Cornelius Harnett Memorial Display”. It also includes historical markers, historical sites and other significant images.
Under the heading “Contemporaries” will be biographical sketches of leaders involved in significant historical events with or affecting Cornelius Harnett. In 2012 Ed McCormick, a co-sponsor of this Web site, became aware that the “North Carolina History Project” allows all entries, to include biographical sketches, to be used by the public free of charge as long as credit to the source is properly given. The “North Carolina History Project” is owned by the John Locke Foundation. It is an outstanding service that this site is using to furnish biographical sketches of historians cited in this Web site.
The heading “Projects” will contain both completed and pending projects to promote the memory of Cornelius Harnett. The “Cornelius Harnett Memorial Display’, one of the images mentioned above, was completed in April 2012 and was the first of a series of planned projects to be completed. It is located on the second floor of the Harnett County Courthouse in Lillington, North Carolina. Funding for this project included the sponsors of this Web site and the Rotary Club of Lillington, the organization that donated the display to the County of Harnett.