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Captain William Sharpe was born on the 13th of December, 1742, and was the eldest son of Thomas Sharpe, of Cecil county, Maryland. At the age of twenty-one he came to North Carolina and settled in Mecklenburg county, where he married a daughter of David Reese, one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. He was a lawyer by profession and had a large practice. Soon after his marriage he moved to the western part of Rowan county (now Iredell) and took an active and decided stand for liberty. The Journal of the “Committee of Safety” for Rowan county, from 1774 to 1776, presents a noble record of his activity and influence.
He was a member from Rowan county to the Provincial Congress which met at Newbern in April, 1775; and also of the Congress at Hillsboro, in August, 1775. In November, 1776, he was a member of the Convention at Halifax which formed our first State Constitution. He acted as aid to General Rutherford in his campaign against the Cherokee Indians in 1776. In 1777 he was appointed with Waightstill Avery, Joseph Winston and Robert Laneer to form a treaty with the same tribe of Indians.
In 1779 he was appointed a member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, and served until 1782. He died in July, 1818, in the 77th year of his age, leaving a widow and twelve children. Two of his sons, William and Thomas, were in the battle at Ramsour’s Mill,–the former commanding a company with distinguished bravery, and, near the close of the action, shot down one of the Tory captains which speedily terminated the fortunes of the day in favor of the American arms.
His eldest daughter, Matilda, married William W. Erwin, of Burke county, who, for more than forty years, was Clerk of the Superior Court for that county, and in November, 1789, was the delegate to the Convention at Fayetteville which ratified the Federal Constitution. Like a faithful vine she raised fifteen children who have held honorable positions in society. His second daughter, Ruth, married Col. Andrew Caldwell, of Iredell county, who was often a member of the State Legislature. He was the father of the late Judge David F. Caldwell, the Hon. Joseph P. Caldwell, Dr. Elam Caldwell, of Lincolnton, and others.