Eleven years before the American Revolution broke out, Europeans in the western half of colonial North Carolina—today’s Piedmont and Foothills—were upset with the province’s government. They were angered by tax policies they felt favored the eastern half; unfair court fees and land practices; and corrupt county officials. They called themselves “Regulators,” petitioned the governor for redress, and slowly became more violent. When a court refused to meet in Hillsborough due to a Regulator attack the prior September, Royal Gov. William Tryon marched a volunteer army from New Bern toward Salisbury in May 1771. The Royal militia defeated the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance near today’s Burlington, and brought some of the leaders back to Hillsborough for trial (see “Tryon’s March”).
This tour covers the key sites of the Regulators movement, a preview of the American Revolution involving many names that become famous during the war. Regulator leaders lived or gathered in this region.
Also visited on this tour are several of the most significant locations of the Loyalist vs. Patriot civil war known as the “Tory War”; army encampments; the kidnapping and failed rescue of a state governor; and a daring escape.