William Lenoir, Frontier Patriot

William Lenoir, Frontier Patriot

On May 8, 1751, Revolutionary War-era leader William Lenoir was born in Virginia. Lenior first worked as a teacher and founded several schools before he became a surveyor, and moved westward to take advantage of opportunities along the frontier.

Just after his move, the Revolutionary War broke out. Lenoir answered the call to duty, serving in the militia, most notably at the Battle of Kings Mountain, with that service extending until he resigned during the War of 1812.

In addition to his military service and success as a planter, Lenoir was very active in government. He was appointed justice of peace and served in both houses of the state legislature for nearly two decades. As a delegate to the state ratifying conventions of 1788 and 1789, Lenoir voted against the U.S. Constitution because it did not include a bill of rights.

Lenoir went on to unsuccessfully run for governor and both houses of Congress before his death in 1839. Lenoir County, the town of Lenoir and Lenoir Hall at UNC, where he was one of the first trustees, are all named in his honor.

His home, Fort Defiance, is a now a popular privately-run historic site in Caldwell County.

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