Historian David Morgan states:
Cornelius Harnett, son of a controversial political figure by the same name, was born April 20 1723, probably in Chowan County. From 1726 [when Harnett was 3 years old] to 1750 Cornelius Harnett lived in Brunswick Town on the Cape Fear. In the latter year he moved eighteen miles north to Wilmington . . . . 1
Historian R. D. W. Connor explained why Cornelius Harnett’s father, also named Cornelius Harnett, originally came to and afterwards left Chowan County:
Bred a merchant in Dublin, Harnett left his native land in the early part of the eigthteenth century and coming to the New World in search of fortune settled at Edenton, in North Carolina, some time prior to 1711. There he seems to have prospered. He married Mary Holt, daughter of Obadiah Holt, of a prominent colonial family, entered upon extensive tracts of land, estimated in value at 7,000 pounds sterling. Allying himself with George Burrington, who had been removed from office, he became involved in Burrington’s silly quarrel with Governor Everard upon whom they made an outrageous assault. The grand jury promptly returned indictments against both, but Burrington’s influence was strong enough to prevent the humiliation of trial and conviction, and after several continuances a nol. pros. was entered in each case. In the meantime, perhaps because of this incident, Harnett had left Chowan and moved to the Cape Fear, settling at Brunswick 2.
1. Morgan, David T. “Cornelius Harnett: Revolutionary Leader and Delegate to the Continental Congress.” The North Carolina Historical Review LXIX.3 (1972): 231-241. Print.
2. Connor, R. D. W. CORNELIUS HARNETT: AN ESSAY IN NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY. Raleigh, N. C.: Edwards and Broughton Printing Company, 1909. 1-209. Print (& Web, digitized after copyright expired by Google at http://books.google.com/. pp. 17-18. For additional information on how to access this digital version, see reference to this book under menu item “Resources/Books“.