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Cornelius Harnett and William Sharpe letter

 Collection — Folder: S0593
Identifier: S0593

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a letter sent to North Carolina Governor Richard Caswell by Cornelius Harnett and William Sharpe while they served in the Continental Congress during the U.S. Revolutionary War. Dated November 4, 1779, Harnett and Sharpe relate information about a memorial (petition) presented to the Congress by the Indiana Company regarding land claims. There had been a dispute between share holders of the Indiana Company and Virginia as to who had the legal right to sell land located south of the Ohio River in what is now West Virginia. The Indiana Company's petition asserted that the Congress had jurisdiction over the land, but Virginia claimed it had jurisdiction and North Carolina supported Virginia's claim.


  • 1779/11/04


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Cornelius Harnett was born on April 20, 1723 in Chowan County, North Carolina. After moving to Wilmington, North Carolina, he engaged in the mercantile business and became involved in local politics. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1779. Harnett was captured by the British in January, 1781 and died as a prisoner on April 28, 1781. Harnett County, North Carolina is named in his honor.

William Sharpe was born in Rock Church, Cecil County, Maryland on December 13, 1742. He was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in 1763, later moving to Rowan County. Sharpe helped frame the first constitution of the State and was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1779 to 1781. He died on July 1, 1818.

Richard Caswell was born in Harford County, Maryland on August 3, 1729. He moved to North Carolina in 1746, was admitted to the bar in 1754, and began practicing law in Hillsboro, North Carolina. Caswell was a member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776; was Governor of North Carolina from 1776 to 1780 and again from 1785 to 1787; he commanded troops in several battles during the Revolutionary War; and he was a delegate to the convention that framed the Federal Constitution in 1787. Caswell died on November 10, 1789.


U.S. Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 1774-2005: The Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788 and the Congress of the United States, from the First Through the One Hundred Eighth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 2005, Inclusive. Edited by Andrew R. Dodge and Betty K. Koed. Washington D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 2005.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Guy Morrison Walker on 1919/06/02.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2016/12/12 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2016/12/12 by Laura Eliason.
Cornelius Harnett and William Sharpe letter
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.