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Hargett (Harget), Frederick (Frederic)

by Catherine L. Robinson, 1988; Revised by Jared Dease, Government and Heritage Library, December 2022

ca. 1742–January 1810

Frederick Hargett (or Harget), Revolutionary War captain, planter-enslaver, and lawmaker, was probably born in the area that became Pitt County. The second son of Frederick Hargett, he had only one sibling, Peter Hargett, who married Ann Isler and died in Jones County in October 1797. The Hargetts were descendants of the Palatine colony which settled in New Bern in 1710. Hargett probably attended the school in Rocky Run (now Reed Branch) established by John Martin Franck in 1713. While growing up on a plantation, Hargett learned many trades such as joiner and blacksmith. Sometime before 1769, he moved to Craven County. As a planter-enslaver in Craven and later Jones counties, he owned vast tracts of land and enslaved many people. According to the 1790 Census of North Carolina, Frederic Harget of Jones County enslaved 16 people. 

On 28 Nov. 1776, Hargett was commissioned captain in the Eighth Regiment of the North Carolina Militia. He had previously served as captain of a Craven County militia company in the expedition to Moore's Creek Bridge. His company also marched to the defense of Wilmington in March 1776.

After the Revolution, Hargett was a prominent planter in Jones County, and rose to the rank of brigadier general of the militia of his division. He served in the General Assembly for fifteen years. Elected to the House of Commons in 1779, he became a member of the House Committee of Claims and served many military petitions for land grants. In 1784, Hargett began his ten-year service in the state senate. There he fought corruption of local officials, officiated on the Council of State, and served many petitions of soldiers of the Continental line. He was a member, and eventually became chairman, of the committees of Claims, Propositions and Grievances, and Privileges and Elections. Hargett attended the state constitutional conventions of 1788 and 1789, at which he was an active Anti-Federalist. He was also one of nine commissioners appointed to select the exact site and lay out the capital city of Raleigh.

Noted for his concern about public education in the state, Hargett was named as one of the original trustees of The University of North Carolina. He headed the trustees' committee in choosing New Hope Chapel (now Chapel Hill) as the site of the university. Hargett was active as a trustee for many years. He also donated land for a public school in Onslow County.

The local activities of the Jones County planter-enslaver were numerous. During his lifetime, he served as registrar, justice of the peace, chairman of the county court, and town commissioner of Trenton.

Hargett married Penelope Miller, the sister of Daniel Miller, a Continental soldier. She was the great-grand-daughter of Jacob and Catherine Miller, Palatine colonists. The Hargetts had five sons and three daughters: Frederick, Jr., William, John, Abner, and Daniel (named for Daniel Miller), Philipine Brook, Susannah Westbrook, and Betsy Bryan.


Moses Amis, Historical Raleigh (1913).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1974 (1975).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 11–13, 17–25 (1895–1906).

R. D. W. Connor, A Documentary History of the University of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1953).

Zoe Hargett Gwynn, Abstracts of the Records of Jones County, 1779–1868 (1963).

Ernest Haywood Collection (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill).

Sybil Hyatt, comp., "Hargett-Thompson, Onslow County, North Carolina" (typescript, North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill).

Hugh Talmage Lefler and Albert Ray Newsome, North Carolina: The History of a Southern State (1973).

New Bern Herald, 29 Jan. 1810.

North Carolina Secretary of State, North Carolina Troops in the Continental Line (1884?).

"North Carolina: Morgan District, Burke County - New Bern District, Wayne County​." 1790 Census: Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790. United States Census Bureau. 1790. Accessed December 14, 2022 at:

Fred A. Olds, Abstracts of North Carolina Wills, 1760–1800 (1925).

William C. Pool, "An Economic Interpretation of the Ratification of the Federal Constitution in North Carolina," North Carolina Historical Review 27 (1950).

Treasurer and Comptroller's Papers (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

Additional Resources:

Letter to Frederick Hargett to Richard Caswell. Hargett, Frederick, ca. 1742-1810. August 02, 1777. Volume 11, Page 554, Documenting the American South, UNC Libraries:

Letter from Frederick Hargett to Richard Caswell. Hargett, Frederick, ca. 1742-1810, August 1787. Volume 19, Page 1001, Documenting the American South, UNC Libraries: