James Tate, schoolmaster and clergyman, went to Wilmington, N.C., from Ireland in 1760 and opened the first classical school in North Carolina under Presbyterian influence. He initially resided in a tenement on Front Street but later bought a house on the south side of Princess between Front and Second. Tate also owned a tract known as the Four Mile House located near the Race Ground.
The Reverend Mr. Tate never affiliated himself with one congregation. Instead, he preached anywhere people were desirous of the gospel. He was especially active in the area around Black and South Rivers. In the struggle between Great Britain and the colonies Tate served as a member of the Wilmington Committee of Safety in 1775. In October of the same year he became chaplain to the First North Carolina Regiment and later to the Fourth regiment. It was in this capacity that he served with the American troops at Germantown in 1777. Being a staunch Whig, he found it necessary to move from Wilmington to the Hawfields section of Orange County, where he continued his preaching and teaching.
After the war Tate returned to Wilmington, where he opposed the confiscation of Tory property and ratification of the new Federal Constitution. He was particularly distressed that there was to be no mint in each state of the new nation. Tate died a bachelor. It is probable that he had relatives in the Wilmington area as well as in Orange County. However, he only mentioned one, George Lawson, in his will.
William Henry Foote, Sketches of North Carolina: Historical and Biographical (1846).
Edgar W. Knight, Public Education in the South (1922).
Donald Lennon and Ida Brooks Kellam, Wilmington Town Book, 1743–1778 (1973).
Elizabeth McKoy, Early New Hanover County Records (1973).
Griffith J. McRee, Life and Correspondence of James Iredell, 2 vols. (1857–58).
New Hanover County Wills, vol. 5 (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).
William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 10 (1890).
Documenting the American South: Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. "Letter from James Tate to Richard Caswell Tate, James, d. 1795 May 20, 1786 Volume 22, Page 784." Documenting the American South. https://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/document/csr22-0603 (accessed June 26, 2014).
Documenting the American South: Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. "Letter from the Wilmington Committee of Safety to Samuel Johnston Wilmington (N.C.). Committee of Safety July 13, 1775 Volume 10, Pages 91-92." Documenting the American South. https://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/document/csr10-0041 (accessed June 26, 2014).
Documenting the American South: Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. "Memorial from James Tate et al. concerning the confiscation of property Tate, James, d. 1795; Toomer, Henry, 1738-1799; Campbell, Samuel, d. ca. 1790; Wilkinson, William, d. 1780; Hogg, Robert, d. 1780; Hooper, George, ca. 1744-1821; Et Al. 1780 Volume 15, Pages 203-205." Documenting the American South. https://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/document/csr15-0151 (accessed June 26, 2014).
Documenting the American South: Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. "Minutes of the Wilmington Committee of Safety Wilmington (N.C.). Committee of Safety February 13, 1775 Volume 09, Page 1126." Documenting the American South. https://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/document/csr09-0351 (accessed June 26, 2014).
1 January 1996 | Stephens, H. Kenneth, II