Celebrating the Fabulous Fourth of July in Historic Edenton!

Happy Independence Day! 

Today in Edenton, we’re celebrating our freedom and proudly remembering the contributions of Edentonians who helped to secure this precious freedom. 

One Edentonian who courageously fought for American independence was Penelope Barker, who was born in Chowan County in 1728.

Penelope Barker and her third husband, Thomas Barker, rose to prominence in the North Carolina colony and were instrumental in both trade and politics. 

In October 1774, tensions had escalated between the colony and Great Britain to the point that Penelope felt she could not remain passively waiting for things to change. 

Instead, she gathered a group of 50 women who were determined to make a statement against the unfair taxation and treatment they endured by the British crown. 

On October 25, 1774, Penelope Barker and these brave women signed their names to the Edenton Resolves, one of the first recorded political demonstrations by women in the colonies. 

They sent their proclamation, boycotting British tea and other goods, directly to London where it garnered attention in the newspapers and even got the attention of the Crown. 

Furthermore, it inspired other groups of women throughout the colonies to take a more direct and outspoken stand for freedom. 

This year will be the 250th Anniversary of what has become known as the Edenton Tea Party, and this Fourth of July we will be celebrating the courageous acts of those colonial women in Edenton! 

Another famous Edentonian we remember and celebrate is colonial leader and delegate to the Continental Congress, Joseph Hewes. 

Born in July 1730 in New Jersey, Hewes relocated his business from Philadelphia to Edenton in early 1775 and quickly advanced as a community leader.

He contributed in many substantial ways that benefited Edenton, including reorganizing the town’s court and tax system; sponsoring local bills to fund construction of the courthouse, church, and academy; and serving on North Carolina’s “Committee of Correspondence” which proposed the establishment of a Continental Congress.

This proposal by the committee was accepted, and Hewes was then appointed as a delegate to the Continental Congress, arriving in Philadelphia in September 1774. 

Though he originally wanted to achieve reconciliation and compromise with Great Britain, by 1776 he acknowledged that “nothing is left now but to fight it out” for American independence.

Joseph Hewes signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and every Fourth of July, that document is publicly read at the Joseph Hewes Memorial on Edenton’s Courthouse Green by the Edenton Tea Party Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

The contributions to American freedom by Penelope Barker, Joseph Hewes, and other Edentonians are part of the history that Edenton lovingly remembers and joyously celebrates on the Fourth of July.

But any time of the year, you can visit Edenton and learn about its role in the American Revolution and other contributions throughout American history. 

You’ll soon see why so many people are proud to call this place their home!

So, why not schedule a visit this summer, book a comfortable room at one of our historic Bed & Breakfasts, and stop by the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center and the Joseph Hewes Memorial on the Courthouse Green. 

We can’t wait to see you soon! 

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