The Constitution of the United States was drawn up at a convention which met in Philadelphia from May until September in 1787. It was a result of many compromises and many of those who signed it had doubts about some of its provisions. The constitution was then submitted to the individual states for ratification. It was to go into effect after two-thirds (9) of the 13 states ratified (accepted) it.
North Carolina called for the election of delegates to a convention. The convention met in Hillsborough from July 21st to August 4th, 1788. The Honorable Samuel Johnston, Governor of NC, was elected President of the convention. Johnston was a nephew of Mrs. Thomas Kenan of Duplin County.
There was much debate in the convention. The Federalists favored ratification and the Anti-Federalist were opposed its acceptance. Opposition arose because there was no Bill of Rights in the Constitution and there was fear that the Federal Government would be too powerful and would be unresponsive to the will of the people.
The Hillsborough Convention was made up of 270 of the leading citizens of the state. The convention voted against ratification 169 to 101.
The delegates from Wayne County were Dr. Andrew Bass of Waynesborough, James
Handley, Richard McKinne, Burwell Mooring, and William Taylor.
The delegates from Duplin County were William Dickson, James Gillespie, James Kenan, Francis Oliver, and Charles Wood.
The delegates from Sampson County were Richard Clinton, David Dodd, Hardy Holmes, Lewis Holmes, and Curtis Ivey.
All the delegates from these three counties voted against acceptance of the Constitution.
By the summer of 1788, the U.S. Constitution was ratified by two-thirds of the states but not yet in NC. In 1789, North Carolina called another ratification convention to meet in Fayetteville from November 16th to November 23rd, 1789.
For the second convention, the delegates from Wayne County were David Cogdell, James Handley, Josiah Jernigan, Richard McKinne, and Burwell Mooring. Jernigan, Handley and McKinne voted for ratification; Cogdell, and Mooring voted against it.
The delegates from Duplin County were Robert Dickson, James Gillespie, James Kenan, James Pearsall, and Levin Watkins. All the delegates from Duplin voted against ratification.
The delegates from Sampson were Richard Clinton, Hardy Holmes, William King,
James Spiller, and Capt. James Thomson. All the delegates from Sampson voted against ratification except James Spiller.
Ratification was finally passed at the Fayetteville Convention by a vote of 914 to 77, with most of the delegates from Duplin and Sampson voting against it.
* Reprinted with permission of the Mount Olive Tribune