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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.

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Child, Francis

by Donald E. Becker, 1979

d. 7 Aug. 1792

Francis Child, Revolutionary War officer, was apparently living in New Bern in 1768, when he was witness to a will there. He entered McRee's company of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Army as a lieutenant on 16 Apr. 1776 and was promoted to captain on 26 Jan. 1777. On 1 June 1778 he was transferred to the Third North Carolina Regiment. He was among the North Carolinians who arrived in Charleston, S.C., on 13 Mar. 1780 to reinforce the army of General Benjamin Lincoln. On 12 May 1780, following Lincoln's surrender, he was taken prisoner in Charleston. Child retired from military service at half pay in January 1781.

On 20 Nov. 1784, Child was elected comptroller of the public accounts of the State of North Carolina by the General Assembly, succeeding Richard Caswell. Prior to his appointment, Child had served as a clerk under Caswell. As comptroller, Child lived in Kinston and conducted the business of his office there until 1788, when he moved to Hillsborough.

Child was largely responsible for negotiating North Carolina's claims for reimbursement of war expenses with commissioners appointed by the Confederation Congress. After initial delays caused by the lack of a permanent state capital, he worked toward a settlement of these accounts between 19 Feb. 1788 and the time of his death.

Child was friend and associate of Richard Caswell, serving as a trustee for the estate of Richard Caswell, Jr. He held property in Kinston and in Orange County. His survivors included his wife, Frances, and three sons, Samuel, Wilson, and Francis. He died in Hillsborough after a lingering illness.


C. L. Davis, A Brief History of the North Carolina Troops . . . in the War of the Revolution (1896).

North Carolina Journal, 22 Aug. 1792.

Orange County Record of Wills, 1752–95 (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

William L. Saunders and Walter Clark, eds., Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vols. 10, 13–21 (1890, 1896–1903).

Additional Resources:

"CSR Documents by Child, Francis, d. 1792." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed July 8, 2013).

Richard Dobbs Spaight to George Washington, February 25, 1794. Founders Online. National Archives. (accessed July 8, 2013).

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