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Taking a Closer Look at Mecklenburg, NC: Thomas Polk


"The Resolves were a bold set of anti-British resolutions, adopted on May 31, 1775, at a meeting in Charlotte organized by Thomas Polk and they helped to fire a spirit of independence."
(Source: Mecklenburg Resolves | NCpedia)

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story gives us this brief biography of Thomas Polk:

"In 1755, surveyor Thomas Polk (1732-1794) built his home where two Indian trading paths met. Many years later this crossroads would become the Square, the intersection of Charlotte's busy Trade and Tryon streets. Polk married Susannah Spratt, whose family was one of the first to make their way through the wilderness to what would become Charlotte Town. With Abraham Alexander and John Frohock, Polk bought 360 acres of land from Britain's Lord Augustus Selwyn. The land lay where the future downtown Charlotte would flourish.

"In the 1770s, conflicts grew between settlers and the British rulers who wanted to maintain control over the colonies. Thomas Polk became commander of the local army, called a militia. He was one of 27 men who signed controversial documents in 1775 that pronounced the county's freedom from British rule. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the Mecklenburg Resolves would remain the source of controversy for many years.

"When President George Washington visited Charlotte in 1791, he dined at the home of Thomas Polk."

Let's see if we can take a closer look at this man who played such an important part in North Carolina and American history:

NCpedia gives us some insight into his early years:

"Thomas Polk, revolutionary officer, planter, and politician, was the great-grandson of Robert Bruce Polk, an immigrant from Northern Ireland who settled in Maryland sometime before 1687. Thomas was born to William and Margaret Taylor Polk around 1732 in Cumberland County, Pa., to which his father had moved from Maryland. In 1753, along with two of his brothers, Thomas moved to Anson County, N.C. Two years later he married Susanna Spratt, and they became the parents of eight children: Thomas, William, Ezekiel, Charles, Margaret, Mary, Martha, and James."

And Wikipedia tells us:

"Polk was among the residents and officials of Mecklenburg County who drafted and adopted the Mecklenburg Resolves on May 31, 1775, which called for a reorganization of colonial government and declared laws enforced by the Crown null and void."
The website Carolana.com has an indepth account of Col. Polk's military history:

Thomas Polk
  • Colonel over the Mecklenburg County Regiment of Militia - 1775
  • Colonel over the 2nd Battalion of Salisbury District Minutemen - 1775-1776
  • Colonel over the 4th NC Regiment - 1776-1778
  • Commissary General for the NC Continental Line - 1780
"On September 9, 1775, the NC Provincial Congress appointed Thomas Polk as Colonel/Commandant over the Mecklenburg County Regiment of Militia. Col. Thomas Polk led his regiment at the battle of the Great Cane Brake, SC (12/22/1775) and in the infamous Snow Campaign, SC (12/23-12/30/1775).

"On December 21, 1775, the NC Provincial Congress created the 2nd Battalion of Salisbury District Minutemen and appointed Thomas Polk as Colonel/Commandant while he was still in South Carolina on active duty against Loyalists. He led the 2nd Battalion of Salisbury District Minutemen in the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776. All Minutemen regiments were disbanded on April 10, 1776.

"On April 15, 1776, the NC Provincial Congress appointed Thomas Polk as Colonel/Commandant over the newly-created 4th NC Regiment (NC Continental Line). He led the 4th NC Regiment against British forces at the skirmish known as Fort George on Bald Head Island on September 6, 1776. He led his regiment at the battles of Brandywine Creek, PA (9/11/1777) and Germantown, PA (10/4/1777).

"Due to dwindling numbers of troops, the 4th NC Regiment was folded into the 2nd NC Regiment on June 1, 1778, and Col. Thomas Polk was sent home to recruit new men and refill the ranks of the Continental Line. He resigned his commission on June 26, 1778 and retired from active duty to resume civilian life.

.................

"Thomas Polk was a delegate to the Colonial Assembly from 1766 to 1771. Gov. William Tryon appointed him as a Captain of Militia during the War of Regulation. Thomas Polk participated in the NC/SC state line survey of 1772."
(Source: The Patriot Leaders in North Carolina - Thomas Polk (carolana.com))

You may also want to read Thomas Polk's biography at Find-a-Grave: Gen Thomas Polk (1730-1794) - Find a Grave Memorial.

While I haven't been able to find a church affiliation for Thomas Polk, I have read that his father was of Scots-Irish descent and it seems likely he would have raised Thomas and his other children with a Presbyterian background and a strong belief in the God of the Bible. 

Thomas Polk left a wonderful legacy of freedom and liberty for his descendents, as well as for all of us. We owe him a great deal of respect and gratitude for the sacrifices he and his family made before, during and after our War for Independence.

May the good Lord bless his name and memory. Amen. 






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