1861 Secession Ordinance Signers

COUNTY DELEGATES WHO WERE SIGNATORS OF THE PARCHMENT ORDINANCE OF SECESSION, HOUSE OF COMMONS, Raleigh, North Carolina on 21 May 1861 [the only online source that accurately identifies the 120 county delegates who signed the parchment copy of North Carolina's Ordinance of Secession].

Researched by: oldnorthstateskeptic

Posted: 19 April 2011

On 21 May 1861 at the North Carolina Secession Convention, House of Commons, Raleigh, NC. One hundred and fifteen county delegates had unanimously voted for secession on the previous day of 20 May 1861. It would have been highly probably, in most civil wars, crossed culturally and throughout history, that if they lost the war, these men would have faced a firing squad or worse. No one seems to have anticipated that, if civil war occurred and they lost, their fate would be totally out of their control and rest, completely, with the President and Congress of the United States.

Listed below are the one hundred and twenty county delegates who signed the parchment ordinance of secession on 21 March 1861. They appear on the same page, in the same order, with the same marks of punctuation, spelling and capitalization as contained in the Convention record (full citation provided to North Carolina Secession Convention researchers, upon request):

all correspondence to:
oldnorthstateskeptic@gmx.com

W. N. Edwards, Pres. of the
Con’tion and Del. of Warren

ALAMANCE COUNTY,
Thomas Ruffin,
Giles Mebane,

ALEXANDER
A. C. Stewart

ANSON,
Albert Myers,
James A. Leak,

ASHE, [does not mention that Alleghany County was also represented by J. E. Foster]
J. E. Foster,

BEAUFORT,
W. J. Ellison,
E. J. Warren,

BERTIE
S. B. Spruill,
James Bond,

BLADEN
T. D. McDowell,

BRUNSWICK,
T. D. Meares,

BUNCOMBE,
N. W. Woodfin,

BURKE,
J. C. McDowell,

CABARRUS,
C. Phifer,

CALDWELL,
E. W. Jones,

CAMDEN,
D. D. Ferebee,

CARTERET,
C. R. Thomas,

CASWELL,
Bedford Brown,
J. A. Graves,

CATAWBA,
P. C. Henkel,

CHATHAM,
J. H. Headen,
J. Manning, jr.,
L. J. Merritt,

CHOWAN,
Rich’d Dillard,

CLEVELAND,
W. J. T. Miller,
J. W. Tracy,

COLUMBUS,
Richard Wooten,

CRAVEN,
Geo. Green,
J. D. Whitford,

CUMBERLAND,
W. Winslow,
D. McNeill,

CURRITUCK,
H. M. Shaw,

CHEROKEE,
A. T. Davidson,

DAVIDSON,
B. A. Kittrell,
B. C. Douthit,

DAVIE,
Robert Sprouse,

DUPLIN,
W. J. Houston,
J. T. Rhodes,

EDGECOMBE, [does not mention that Battle & Howard also represented Wilson County as well at the Convention]
W. S. Battle,
G. Howard, jr.,

FORSYTHE,
T. J. Wilson,
R. L. Patterson,

FRANKLIN,
A D. Williams,

GASTON,
S. X. Johnston,

GATES
A J. Walton

GRANVILLE,
A. W. Venable,
T. L. Hargrove,
S. S. Royster,

GREEN,
W. A. Darden, Jr.,

GUILFORD,
J. A. Gilmer,
R. P. Dick,
Ralph Gorrell,

HALIFAX,
Rich. H. Smith,
L. W. Batchelor,

HYDE,
Ed L. Mann,

HARNETT,
A. S. McNeill,

HAYWOOD,
W. Hicks,

HENDERSON
W. M. Shipp,

HERTFORD,
Kenneth Rayner,

IREDELL
A. Mitchell,
T. A. Allison,

JACKSON
W. H. Thomas,

JOHNSTON,
C. B. Saunders,
W. A. Smith,

JONES
Will. Foy,

LENIOR
J. C. Washington,

LINCOLN
W. Lander

MACON
C. D. Smith,

MADISON,
J. A. McDowell,

MARTIN
Asa Biggs,

McDOWELL,
J. H. Greenlee,

MECKLENBURG,
J. W. Osborne
W. Johnston,

MONTGOMERY,
S. H. Christian,

MOORE,
H. Turner,

NASH,
A. H. Arrington,

NEW HANOVER
W. S. Ashe,
R. H. Cowan,

NORTHAMPTON,
D. A. Barnes,
J. M. Moody,

ONSLOW,
E. W. Ward,

ORANGE,
W. A, Graham,
John Berry,

PASQUOTANK,
R. K. Speed,

PERQUIMONS
J. S. Cannon,

PERSON,
J. W. Cunningham,

PITT,
F. B. Satterthwaite,
B. Grimes,

RANDOLPH,
W. J. Long,
A. G. Foster,

RICHMOND,
W. F. Leak,

ROBESON,
J. C. Southerland, [surname spelled Sutherland]
J. C. Fuller,

ROCKINGHAM,
D. S. Reid,
E. T. Brodnax,

ROWAN,
Burton Craig,
H. C. Jones,

RUTHERFORD, [does not mention that Carson & Durham also represented Polk County at the Convention]
J. H. Carson
M. Durham,

SAMPSON,
R. A. Moseley,
Thos. Bunting,

STANLY,
E. Hearne,

STOKES,
Jno. Hill,

SURRY,
T. V. Hamlin,

TYRRELL,
Eli Spruill,

UNION,
H. M. Houston,

WAKE,
Geo. E. Badger,
Kemp P. Battle,
Wm W. Holden,

WARREN,
F. A. Thornton,

WASHINGTON,
W. S. Pettigrew,

WATAUGA,
J. W. Councill,

WAYNE,
G. V. Strong,
E. A. Thompson,

WILKES,
Jas. Calloway,
P. Eller,

YADKIN,
R. F. Armfield,

YANCEY,
M. A. Penland,

W. L. Stelle, Richomd co.,
Secretary

L. C. Edwards, Granville
Asst. Sec’ty

SOURCE: Convention record, 4pp.

Page 1 – 15 Delegates

Page 2 – 40 Delegates

Page 3 – 46 Delegates

Page 4 – 19 Delegates

TOTAL: 120 Signers of the North Carolina Ordinance of Secession

THE ORDINANCE OF SECESSION, PASSED BY THE COUNTY DELEGATES ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE CONVENTION, WAS NOT SUBMITTED TO THE LEGAL VOTERS OF NORTH CAROLINA FOR THEIR APPROVAL. The adjoining states of Virginia and Tennessee did submit the issue of secession to the legal voters in their state and the final decision was made by popular vote. North Carolina did not match their higher standard of democracy. Thus, while the county delegates, listed above, were elected as representatives from their respective counties their fear, as convention delegates, of secession being rejected by North Carolina voters, in a popular referendum, based in part on such voters having rejected holding a secession convention in February, 1861, placed upon their own shoulders the primary responsibility for secession. In other words, these 120 men bear the heaviest weight for the outcomes of their final decision to secede, join the Confederate experiment in governance and fight a war of rebellion.

When the Ordinance to join the Confederacy was on the floor at the 1861 Secession the following amendment was proposed and rejected:

“Mr. Dick (of Guilford County) offered the following amendment to the ordinance of Mr. Meares : “And this ordinance to be in full force and effect when ratified by the legal voters of this State, at an election to be held; the day and manner of holding said election to be fixed and provided for by this Convention.”

On this question the ayes and noes were ordered, on motion of Mr. Dick (of Guilford County), and resulted as follows
:
Ayes—Messrs. Allison, Armfield, Berry, Bond, Calloway, Cannon, Councill, Davidson, Dick, Douthitt, Eller, Ellison, Ferebee, Foster of Randolph, Gilmer, Graham, Headen, Jones of Caldwell, Kittrell, Long, Mann, Manning, Merritt, Mitchell, Sanders, Smith of Johnston, Smith of Macon, Speed, Sprouse, Spruill of Bertie, Thomas of Carteret, Warren, Woodfin and Wilson—34.

Noes—Mr. President, and Messrs. Arrington (of Nash County), Ashe, Barnes, Battle of Edgecombe, Biggs, Brodnax, Brown, Bunting, Carson, Cowan, Craige, Cunningham, Darden, Durham, Foster of Ashe, Henkel, Hicks, Hill, Houston of Duplin, Houston of Union, Howard, Johnston of Gaston, Johnston of Mecklenburg, Lander, Leak, McDowell of Bladen, McDowell of Burke, McDowell of Madison, McNeill of Cumberland, McNeill of Harnett, Meares, Miller, Moody, Moseley, Myers, Osborne, Penland, Pettigrew, Rayner, Reid, Rhodes, Royster, Ruffin, Satterthwaite, Shaw, Shipp, Smith of Halifax, Spruill of Tyrrell, Stewart, Strong, Sutherland, Thomas of Jackson, Thompson, Thornton, Tracy, Turner, Venable, Walton, Ward, Washington, Whitford, Winslow and Wooten—72.”

from; THE JOURNAL OF THE STATE CONVENTION

Thus, the Convention’s county delegates rejected the submission of whether or not North Carolina should join the Confederacy to the legal voters of the state by a vote of 72 voting “NO” and 34 voting “YES.” In summary, of the 120 county delegates, not a single delegate proposed to submit the Ordinance of Secession,passed on the first day of the convention by 117 delegates and signed on the second day by 120 county delegates, to the legal voters of the State of North Carolina, the process employed in Virginia and Tennessee. Also, on the motion to submit the question of whether to join the Confederacy or not to the people of the state, it was rejected by a vote of 72 to 34.

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