Library to celebrate historic 'Rowan Resolves'

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rowan Public Library
Rowan Public Library is inviting the public to what officials hope will be the first annual Rowan Resolves Day on Saturday, Aug. 8, at 2 p.m.
Jeff Hall, director of the library, said the day marks an important aspect of history.
“The event will commemorate our community’s important participation in the movement that led to the independence of the United States,” Hall said.
“This series of 17 resolutions clearly spelled out the political ideals that our ancestors brought to this part of North Carolina. We hope that this will become an annual observance of our deeply held patriotic traditions.”
The Rowan Resolves, passed by local government in 1774, criticized both the political and economic policies of the British government that threatened to take away colonial liberties.
They were approved by Rowan leaders in response to the harsh measures taken by the British to punish Boston after its famous Tea Party. The resolutions accused the British of acting with “power without right” and included criticism of “the African slave trade” as “injurious to this colony.” The leaders also called upon the people to live within their means and practice local self sufficiency.
“With all the troubles we face, as families, as a county, and as a nation, we think this is a good way to remind ourselves of our origins and our values,” Hall said.
The celebration will be highlighted by the premiere of “The Struggle for Liberty,” the latest installment in A Ramble Through Rowan History, the video series hosted by Dr. Gary R. Freeze of Catawba College.
The video is part one of a study of the county’s history during the American Revolution. Freeze has focused on local involvement in the French and Indian War of the 1750s and the Regulator Movement of the 1760s.
The film is coordinated by Gretchen Beilfuss Witt, director of the Edith M. Clark History Room at RPL, and produced by Paul Canup, a local videographer. Freeze wrote and narrated the text.
“The Struggle for Liberty” is the fourth in a series on county history that is used in the local schools and shown on the local access cable channel. Previous films have looked at the development of the local library, the mysteries surrounding the life of schoolteacher Peter Stewart Ney, and the Great Wagon Road, the road taken by many early settlers to reach Rowan.
The Genealogical Society of Rowan County funded the project.
Freeze, Witt and Canup plan to begin filming the second half of “The Struggle for Liberty” this fall. It will cover Rowan’s experience in the War for Independence, including the weeklong invasion of the county by the British led by Lord Cornwallis. The same army, after leaving Salisbury, began a march that ended with surrender at Yorktown in Virginia.
Freeze will introduce the film with a short talk about the context of the Rowan Resolves in both state and national history. Freeze, who also serves on the board of trustees for the library, hopes to host the event each August in the future.