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Ephraim Brevard

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Ephraim Brevard (17??-1781) was one of the original signers of the Meckenburg Declaration of Independence. Dr. Brevard was one of this area's first physicians. He was born in Maryland and moved at a young age with his family to North Carolina.

He attended school at Nassau Hall of the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton University, prior to studying medicine in Philadelphia. Brevard followed his teacher to Maryland but left after a few short years as an assistant and returned to Iredell County. Charlotte was a growing, new community, so he moved his practice.He married Martha Polk, the daughter of Captain Thomas and Susannah Spratt Polk. His father-in-law was one of the most influential men in the county. His wife died as a young woman, leaving him with only one child. Martha was buried in Settlers' Cemetery in Charlotte.

He served as a trustee and instructor at the Queen's Museum Academy in Charlotte. When approached with the petition for this school, the King of England denied it, fearing it would cause more problems. The citizens erected a building anyway and proceeded without a charter. Dr. Brevard approached his maternal uncle, Dr. Alex McWhorter of Maryland, to become the headmaster. He declined the offer. The Legislature granted the college a charter if a minister of the Church of England was headmaster. This would defeat the purposes of having Presbyterian influence in the area to help the seven congregations already established here. Local citizens turned down this proposal and proceeded to have a school on South Tryon. The school name was later changed to Liberty Hall, to reflect the political feelings of the times.

When fighting broke out at the Cross Creek section of North Carolina, he took his 21 students towards Fayetteville. When the British left, he returned to Charlotte to resume school. However, this peace did not last long. He entered the service as a surgeon and went to Charleston, SC. When the British captured the city and Dr. Brevard, he was transported to Florida. Disease and poor nutrition caused his health to fail. He planned to return to his mother's home in Iredell County for rest. When he stopped at the home of John McKnitt Alexander in the area that is now called Croft in Mecklenburg County, he died at age 37, never making it to his mother's home. Brevard Street in Charlotte is named in his honor.



(1) King, Victor C. Lives and Times of the 27 Signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20, 1775. Charlotte, NC, 1956.