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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Charlotte, North Carolina: A Brief History

Charlotte, North Carolina: A Brief HistoryCharlotte, North Carolina: A Brief History by Mary Norton Kratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful book about the history of Charlotte, NC. I have lived in Charlotte now for over 30 years. A lot of the information in the book I already knew, but many facts I did not know. The following quote from the book I thought was fascinating:

As soon as the predominantly Scots-Irish settlers built their early one-room cabins, they moved their modest goods from the wagons, where they had camped in the interim. Their next concern was always a church. Until the families had a building, they convened in an agreed-upon central spot for preaching - a home, a grove of trees or beneath a large, patriarchal oak, their horses hitched to saplings and their lunches tucked under the wagon seats.

The Scots-Irish brought with them the very serious conviction that education makes the man and the family. To that end, a spiritual leader was sought to teach them. Families often settled within several miles of one another in order to attract a preacher. When, and if, he came (for preachers were scarce), he was the exhorter, the academic and catechistic teacher of children and youth, as well as adults; a one-man cultural resource - no small task even for this era of extraordinary men and women. The community fed on interminable sermons, read Scripture as literature and used the Bible to teach reading and writing. In the "Colonial Records of North Carolina," Governor Dobbs reported seeing a group of settlers at Rocky River. "I set out the 17th of June to view my lands," he wrote. He saw between thirty and forty families and

"except two or three was not less than 5 or 6 to ten children in each family, each going barefooted in their shifts in the warm weather, no woman wearing more than a shift and one thin petticoat. They are a colony from Ireland removed from Pennsylvania of what we call Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who with others in the neighboring Tracts settled together in order to have a teacher of their opinion and choice."

To such eager, serious souls as these at Rocky River came Presbyterian Alexander Craighead, a lightning bolt of a man. He was a revivalist (a "Newsider" as they were called), and by preaching civil liberty, he altered the early county as no one else. Some call him the area's "father of independence."


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