North Carolina Statehood: Cornelius Harnett Masonic First Day Cover 1989 25-cent #2347
|August 18, 2012||Posted by Lars under 1980s, Masonic, U.S. History|
Champion of Liberty & Freemason–First to Read Declaration of Independence in North Carolina
Cornelius Harnett (note misspelling in the cachet) was as ardent a Mason as he was a patriot and champion of liberty. His untiring challenges to British rule include fighting at the forefront of resisting the Stamp Act of 1765. Harnett then quickly became chairman of the Sons of Liberty, which arose from that struggle.
From there, Harnett was involved in virtually every level in North Carolina’s liberty movement, including leading a group that burned Fort Johnston at the mouth of Cape Fear River. Harnett continued on being instrumental in all aspects of military planning.
It is then in 1776 that he is credited with being the first to read the Declaration of Independence in North Carolina. This was followed by his being elected to the Continental Congress, where he served for three years.
Captured in British Invasion
Harnett was captured during the British invasion of Wilmington, NC in 1781. Prison took its toll and his health quickly declined. He was paroled, only to die just a short time afterward.