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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Faris, William

by Martin Reidinger, 1986

ca. 1705–3 Jan. 1757?

William Faris, colonial leader and merchant, was born probably in Virginia and settled in the Wilmington, N.C., area in the early 1730s. He conducted business in that town in the partnership of Faris and Lindsay, which operated on Market Street. In 1739 he was named justice of the peace for New Hanover County and commissioner for the town of Wilmington, serving in the former post until shortly before his death and in the latter until 1750. He was elected as Wilmington's first borough representative to the Assembly, taking his seat in the second session of the fourth assembly in July 1740. That fall he was named commissary general for the troops then being raised in North Carolina for the War of Jenkins' Ear. Remaining in the Assembly until September 1745, he served on several committees; in the last two of these years he had an influential role in the Committee on Public Accounts.

On leaving the legislature Faris was named commissioner of roads, bridges, cuts, and waterways for the eastern portion of New Hanover County, and in 1751 was appointed church commissioner for the entire county. A bachelor, he died in Wilmington, leaving much of his estate to complete the building of St. James's Church in that town.


John Cheney, North Carolina Government 1663–1974 (1974).

Mae Blake Graves, Land Grants of New Hanover County (1980).

Ida Brooks Kellam and Elizabeth F. McKoy, St. James Church, Wilmington, North Carolina, Records, vol. 1 (1965).

Donald R. Lennon and Ida Brooks Kellam, The Wilmington Town Book 1743–1778 (1973).

Elizabeth F. McKoy, Early New Hanover County Records (1973).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina (1886).

Alexander M. Walker, ed., New Hanover County Court Minutes 1738–1769 (1958).

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