The American Revolution in North Carolina

Matthew Locke

Colonel in the Rowan County Regiment of Militia - 1775-1783
Brigadier General (Pro Tempore) over the Salisbury District Brigade of Militia - 1779

Matthew Locke is identified in numerous Pension Applications of former NC Militiamen of the 1830s as a full Colonel in the Rowan County Regiment of Militia as early as 1775 and as late as 1783. Other available records indicate that he was Paymaster for either the Rowan County Regiment of Militia or the overall Salisbury District Brigade of Militia under Brig. Gen. Griffith Rutherford in 1776.

In April of 1776, the NC Provincial Congress began authorizing many North Carolina counties to have "two colonels" to lead the county Militias. Each county implemented this approach in different ways. In some counties, one Colonel led the troops, while the second Colonel managed the provisioning of foodstuffs and equipment. In other counties, one Colonel led the men for half of each month, while the second Colonel led the man for the other half of the month. In yet other counties, one Colonel went with the troops if they were needed outside of the county, while the second Colonel oversaw the Militiamen left behind. There were other variations as well.

The available North Carolina records do not provide any details of Matthew Locke being appointed as a Colonel. There are mentions of him being a "Commissary or a Contractor for provisions" but they are silent on any official rank, at least to my knowledge. Many men given these appointments were also given the rank of Colonel.

Col. Matthew Locke, alongside Col. Francis Locke (his brother), led the 1st Rowan County Regiment of Militia under Brig. Gen. Griffith Rutherford in his Cherokee Expedition of 1776 on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

While Brig. Gen. Griffith Rutherford was in South Carolina for the Purrysburg, SC expedition in early 1779, Matthew Locke was named a Brigadier General (Pro Tempore) over the Salisbury District Brigade of Militia, those troops not with Rutherford in South Carolina. This position was only for a few months.

Matthew Locke was born in 1730 and died on September 7, 1801 in Rowan County, NC. He first married Mary Brandon around 1749. He married a second time to the widow Elizabeth Towers Gostelowe in 1798.

Matthew Locke was elected to the Third Provincial Congress of August 1775 in Hillsborough, the Fourth Provincial Congress of April 1776 in Halifax, and the Fifth Provincial Congress of November 1776 in Halifax. In 1777, he was elected to the House of Representatives, a position he was re-elected to until 1781. In 1781 and 1782, he was elected to the NC Senate. He was re-elected to the House of Commons from 1783 to 1792. In 1792, he was elected as a US Representative, a position he held until 1799.

In 1789, Matthew Locke was a delegate to the 1789 state Constitutional Convention, which called to consider ratification of the United States Constitution; he voted against ratification.


Click Here for a short biography of Matthew Locke as provided by Wikipedia.com.


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