b.3 Aug 1729 Harford, Maryland, United States
d.10 Nov 1789 Fayetteville, Cumberland, North Carolina, United States
Facts and Events
Richard Caswell (August 3, 1729 – November 10, 1789) was born in Harford County, Maryland. He was the first and fifth governor of the U.S. State of North Carolina, serving from 1776 to 1780 and from 1784 to 1787.
A lawyer and surveyor by training, Caswell represented North Carolina in the Continental Congress of 1774 and 1775. As a Patriot officer in the American Revolutionary War, Caswell led North Carolina militiamen in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge. In 1780 he was also commissioned as a major general of North Carolina troops. At the Battle of Camden, his troops panicked and fled the field, leaving the Continentals behind to suffer defeat.
Caswell was president of the provincial congress that wrote the first North Carolina Constitution in 1776. As the congress adjourned, it elected Caswell as acting governor. He took the oath of office on January 16, 1777. Under the new constitution, the state Legislature ("General Assembly") re-elected him as the first Governor in April 1777. He stepped down in 1780, as the constitution allowed only three consecutive one-year terms. He then assumed command of all of North Carolina's militia, which he commanded at the American defeat at Camden, 16 August 1780.
He served as the state's comptroller and as a member of the North Carolina Senate between his two gubernatorial terms. Caswell was also chosen to be one of North Carolina's delegates to the United States Constitutional Convention of 1787, but he did not attend.