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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Memorial from Ephraim Knight concerning his imprisonment
Knight, Ephraim
September 03, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 589-590


To His Excellency Thomas Burke, Esquire, Governor, Captain General and Commander in Chief in and over the said State:

Your Memorialist conceiving that he is equally entitled with every other subject of the said State to the benefit and protection of its Laws, until he commits some crime by which he forfeits that benefit and protection, and being satisfied, that it is the wish and inclination of your Excellency to prevent any unjust or oppressive restraint of the Liberty of the Subject begs leave to state to your Excellency, That he was for a considerable Time confined in the Army of the United States, now acting in the State of Virginia under the Command of the Marquis de la Fayette, upon suspicion of his having an intention to pass two counterfeit half dollars (which were found upon him) and of his being inimical to the said State; That during his long confinement, the fullest examination was made into the several charges against him, and that no proof of his guilt appearing he had permission (as will appear to your Excellency by two Papers handed to you with the Memorial) to return Home. That since his returning Home he has been apprehended and committed to the Jail of Halifax for the Charge aforesaid. In which place he is now suffering the affliction of confinement, without the hope of his being released

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from it, in any short Time, unless Your Excellency would extend to him your known Benignity and Clemency. Your said Memoralist further informs Your Excellency that he has a wife and seven helpless Children, who are now suffering greatly for the want of his necessary aid and Assistance. Your said Memoralist further informs your Excellency, That he can give good and sufficient Bail for his appearance to any Judicature, that your Excellency shall think proper to direct him to be bound to, and also for his good behavior.

Your said Memoralist, therefore, humbly submits the promises to your Excellency’s consideration and prays, that you will be pleased to direct that he be released from his unjust and unmerited confinement.


State of North Carolina, Sept. 3rd, 1781.

Ephraim Knight from the papers appears to have been confined on suspicion of passing counterfeit Money, and discharged for want of proof; he is now confined on suspicion of being a Spy, employed by the Enemy, and I am informed proof can be made. At all events during the present Times I shall suffer no suspicious Character to be at large. The Calamities which the People of this Country have suffered in consequence chiefly of having such Characters amongst them makes this resolution necessary and Individuals who have behaved themselves in such a Manner as to become suspected, must submit to confinement, at least for their Conduct, so long as the Public safety requires it.


Memorial from Ephraim Knight, Sept. 3rd, 1781.