Copyright notice

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.

Is anything in this article factually incorrect? Please submit a comment.

Printer-friendly page
No votes yet

McAuslan, Alexander

by Carole Watterson Troxler, 1991

d. 1793

Alexander McAuslan, merchant and Loyalist, was a native of Scotland who settled in New Bern several years before the American Revolution. He left for a time in 1775 as tensions mounted. In 1777 the Georgia Revolutionaries confiscated a sloop of which he was half owner because it was carrying provisions to the British garrison at St. Augustine, Fla. McAuslan went to New York in 1777 but returned with the British success in the South. From September 1780 to February 1781, he was inspector of North Carolina refugees under Lord Charles Cornwallis. He was named in the North Carolina Confiscation Act of 1779.

By 1784 McAuslan was in New York. From there he went to New Bern (via Newfoundland and the West Indies) to try to collect some of his debts; however, he was mobbed and did not remain long ashore. He settled at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, in 1785 but took no land. In 1787 he petitioned for five hundred acres on the nearby Tusket River where he intended to build a herring fishery. Although the petition was approved, McAuslan did not remain to take the grant. He returned to North Carolina and resumed trading, largely in cloth. The 1790 census shows that he owned three slaves; the female listed probably was his wife but no children are indicated. He died in Chatham County.


Chatham County Estates and Alexander McAuslin [sic ] Estate Papers (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vol. 24 (1905). (accessed September 28, 2014).

Petition of Alexander McAuslan, 1787 (Public Archives of Nova Scotia).

Public Record Office, London, AO 12:37, 13:80.

Origin - location: 


Alexander McAuslan's estate records are filed in Craven County, NC, not Chatham County. His grave is located in New Bern, NC per

A little additional light is available in a Glasgow, Scotland court case against Alexander McAuslan's brothers Robert and Peter and their merchant firm in about 1772. These brother sent Alexander to collect debts in the Carolinas to be able to pay some debts. The relationship of Robert's moving to Newfoundland in 1776 and Alexander's expulsion is unclear. However the evidence suggest that Robert was supplying the British and in the 1780's Robert's businesses in Newfoundland and Glasgow went broke unable to pay debts for insurance on ships. As a result Robert a position of assistant postmaster in Newfoundland was created for Robert.

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at