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William Henry Foote, 1794-1869
Sketches of North Carolina, Historical and Biographical, Illustrative of the Principles of a Portion of Her Early Settlers
New York: Robert Carter, 1846.


Sketches of North Carolina, Historical and Biographical (1846) is a history of early Presbyterianism in North Carolina that emphasizes the role denomination played during the Revolutionary War. The work also touches on the development of the Presbyterian Church in what is now Northern Ireland and the early emigration from North Carolina to Tennessee. Foote's chapters are arranged topically rather than chronologically, and thus there is some overlap among chapters. The table of contents provides a valuable summary of topics covered by each chapter. Although Foote's work draws upon important documentary evidence (and in some instances quotes original primary sources that no longer exist, including Hugh McAden's diary of 1755-56), Foote's sketches are largely based on the memories and family stories of the Presbyterians he visited on his travels around the state from 1838 to 1845. As such, Sketches of North Carolina is unreliable in places and includes legends that were important to the people he knew (such as the story of the reputed "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence"), but that are perhaps not widely accepted as historical truth.

Kevin Cherry

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