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Bernard Bailyn’s 1986 book on emigration to America on the eve of the Revolution, Voyagers to the West, has an especially interesting story to tell about a Scotsman, later a North Carolinian. His subject is James Hogg (1729-November 9, 1804), a man he credits with “energy, enterprise, and boundless ambition.” In 1765, at age thirty-six, Hogg moved his family from East Lothian to the Scottish Highlands. In 1771 a cargo ship wrecked near his home and ruffians looting the ship burned Hogg’s house. This, plus worsening economic conditions led Hogg in 1773 to mount an expedition of 280 Highlanders setting out aboard his ship, the Bachelor, for America.
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Hogg and family finally made it in 1774 to Wilmington, North Carolina, where his brother Robert had for several years managed a mercantile business with Samuel Campbell. That fall James Hogg moved up the Cape Fear River to Cross Creek to operate a satellite outlet of the firm. Hogg maintained real estate and business interests there for the rest of his life. He donated land for the town cemetery, jail, courthouse, and Masonic lodge hall. However, his residence at Cross Creek was brief, for after a few months Hogg moved to Hillsborough. There he met Richard Henderson, chief organizer of the western land speculation scheme known as the Transylvania Company. In November 1775, Hogg journeyed to Philadelphia to negotiate with members of the Continental Congress, among them Samuel Adams, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, over admission of Transylvania as a fourteenth colony.
Unlike his brother Robert, James Hogg was a patriot in the Revolution serving on Hillsborough’s Committee of Safety. As a trustee of the University of North Carolina from 1789 to 1802, Hogg exerted strong influence in favor of Chapel Hill as the location for the school. Hogg’s first Hillsborough home was a small log house on the south side of the Eno River. It is there that the organization of the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati is reputed to have taken place in 1783. The log house stood until the 1930s. Around 1793 he built a larger two-story home, known as “Poplar Hill,” across the river. It was later owned by Julian S. Carr (who renamed it “Occaneechi Farm”) and remains standing. James Hogg, concerned that his children not be burdened by his surname, petitioned the General Assembly to change the name of his male heirs to their mother’s last name. This gave rise to the rhyme, “Hogg by name, hog by nature, Alves by act of the legislature.”
Bernard Bailyn, Voyagers to the West (1986), 499-544
William H. Wetmore, comp., The Life and Times of James Hogg, 1729-1804 (1988)
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, III, 160-161—sketch by Mark F. Miller
Fayetteville Observer-Times, July 14, 1985; and March 15 and September 6, 1987