Henderson Walker

President and Acting Deputy Governor of Carolina Province 1699 to 1703

1699-1703 Henderson Walker, was President of the Executive Council and Acting Deputy Governor for the Carolina Province, governing the region "north and east of the Cape Feare," after the death of Deputy Governor Thomas Harvey.

Henderson Walker, Acting Deputy Governor of North Carolina, was born in North Carolina in 1660. He died near Edenton, North Carolina, 14 April, 1704.

He adopted the profession of law, and became a Justice of the General Court and President of the Executive Council, introducing many judicial reforms.

From 1699 until about a year before his death he was the "de facto" governor of North Carolina, assuming that post by virtue of his office as President of the Executive Council, and not under any appointment as deputy by the governor at Charles Town.

George Bancroft says of his rule, "While England was engaged in world-wide wars, here the inhabitants multiplied and spread in the enjoyment of peace amid liberty."

The stone that marks Walker's grave also records that "North Carolina, during his administration, enjoyed tranquillity."

During the early period of its existence Albemarle County was administered by governors and presidents who were independent of those in Charles Town. Not until the appointment of Philip Ludwell in 1691 was the executive power in all the "counties," or really in the two provinces, united in one.

Under Ludwell and his successors, until 1712, the northern settlements were administered by deputy governors, who, with one exception, were the immediate appointees of the governors resident at Charles Town. At the beginning of that period the two parts of the province began to be known respectively as North and South Carolina.

On the death of Deputy Governor Thomas Harvey, in 1699, Henderson Walker was elected President of the Executive Council. By virtue of that office he became Acting Governor, and continued such till about a year before his death in 1704. The appointment of deputy governors was then resumed, and continued until 1712.

Then Colonel Thomas Pollock was elected President of the Executive Council, and brought the province to the close of the Tuscarora War. Pollock was again President of the Executive Council for a brief time in 1722. But, with that exception, North Carolina had distinct governors of its own ever after 1712.

During the presidency of Henderson Walker, after considerable effort, the Anglicans secured in 1701 an Assembly which passed an Act for the establishment of the Anglican Church in North Carolina. It provided for the laying out of parishes, the building of churches, and the support of ministers by a public levy on all tithables. The original Act has not been preserved.

Active steps were at once taken for the execution of the measure, long before it was submitted to the Lords Proprietors or received their assent. The dissenters meanwhile were roused to activity by its passage, and prepared to change the majority in the Assembly and secure its repeal. But before they had an opportunity to act, the Lords Proprietors repealed the measure on the ground that the sum of £30, which was designated in the act as the yearly maintenance of each minister, was too small.

The Anglicans of North Carolina had been almost entirely passive until 1699, when Henderson Walker took office as Acting Deputy Governor of the province. Walker was an aggressive churchman, and under his leadership the church party, by "a great deal of care and management," secured control of the House of Burgesses.

In 1701, an Act was passed establishing the Angilcan Church and authorizing the levy of a poll-tax for the support of the clergy, and under its provisions three churches were built, but the next Assembly was controlled by the Quakers and their allies, and shortly afterwards the establishment Act was disallowed by the Lords Proprietors.

For the next twelve years there was a constant conflict between churchmen and dissenters, culminating in the petty civil war known as the Cary Rebellion. The Vestry Act of 1715 settled the issue nominally in favor of the establishment, but the results attained were small, and many years later a governor of the province complained to the Assembly that there were "but two places where divine service is regularly performed."

In 1699, a zealous friend of the Church of England, Henderson Walker, became the "de facto" governor of North Carolina. In 1700, he persuaded the House of Burgesses to pass a Vestry Act establishing the Church of England (Anglican) as the colony's official church, to be supported by taxes to be levied upon the colonists.

At almost the same time Queen Anne came to the throne, thus necessitating the renewing of various oaths of loyalty by the colony's officials and Assemblymen. The Quakers, unable to swear to an oath (a tenet of their faith), offered to affirm as they had done in the past.

The friends of Anglican establishment now in power, however, refused to accept this as sufficient, thereby barring all Quakers from public office in the colony. On these and similar issues the colony quickly split into two parties - the Church party, which supported the establishment, and the Quaker party which opposed it. Matters went from bad to worse, and politics became increasingly bitter as time went on.

Click Here for what is currently known about the Executive Council under President Henderson Walker.
<< Last Governor - Thomas Harvey  

Next Governor - Robert Daniell >>


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved