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Richard Caswell
North Carolina

Gov. Richard Caswell

  • December 20, 1776 - April 20, 1780
  • August 3, 1729
  • November 10, 1789
  • Maryland
  • Married Mary Mackilwean; three children
  • Representative
  • National Guard


RICHARD CASWELL was born in Baltimore County, Maryland on August 3, 1729. His early education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He went on to study law, and eventually established his legal career in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Caswell first entered politics in 1754, serving as a member of the North Carolina Colonial House of Delegates, a position he held seventeen years. He also served as speaker of the house from 1770 to 1771; was a member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1775; and served as a delegate and president of the 1776 state constitutional convention. Caswell, who was a strong supporter of independence, fought in the Revolutionary War. He fought as a North Carolina militia officer at Moore’s Creek Bridge in February 1776, and led the North Carolina militia as a major general at the battle of Camden in August 1780. Caswell first won election to the governorship in 1776, and went on to win reelection annually until 1779. He won reelection to another gubernatorial term in 1785. During his tenure, the state dealt with war related issues, such as raising troops, arms, and provisions. Between his gubernatorial terms, he served as state comptroller in 1782, as well as serving as a member and president of the North Carolina State Senate from 1782 to 1784. In 1787, he secured an appointment to serve as a North Carolina delegate to the convention that framed the U.S. Constitution, however he did not attend. Two years later, he participated in the North Carolina convention that sanctioned the federal constitution. In his last political office, he served as a member and speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons, a position he held in 1789. Governor Richard Caswell passed away on November 10, 1789, and was buried in the family cemetery on his estate near Kinston, North Carolina.


Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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