Thomas Cary and Tumult of the Proprietary Period

A 1708 proclamation concerning Cary. Image from the State Archives.On July 17, 1711Thomas Cary was exiled from Carolina after a failed uprising that is now known as Cary’s Rebellion.

With support from the Anglican establishment that dominated the colony’s political scene at the time, Cary was appointed Governor of the Province of Carolina in 1705.

While the Quakers sent a representative to England to convince the Lords Proprietors to oust Cary, he tapped William Glover as his deputy and left to pursue business interests in South Carolina. Glover, supported by residents of Albemarle region, was elected chief executive in 1707.

Edward Hyde, who replaced Cary as governor, tried unsuccessfully to capture Cary, and Cary retaliated by instigating a rebellion that was put down by royal marines dispatched from Virginia. Cary was taken back to England, and held for a year before being released without further punishment.

Cary had a change of heart in 1708 and switched his allegiances to the Quakers, who, along with the residents of Bath, saw him as a better alternative to Glover. Cary and his supporters regained control of the government and remained in power until 1711 when Hyde arrived in North Carolina, claiming the governorship of the colony and calling for Cary’s arrest.

Hyde sent a force to capture Cary at his home, but was unsuccessful. Cary retaliated by outfitting a ship and sailing into the Albemarle Sound with intent of overthrowing the government. Royal marines dispatched from Virginia put down the rebellion, and Cary was taken back to England, where he was held for a year before being released without further punishment.

He returned to Bath where he died a few years later.

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