Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FANNING, Edmund, partisan, born in Long Island in 1737; died in London, England, 28 February 1818. He was graduated at Yale in 1757, and settled as a lawyer in Hillsborough, N. C., where he was elected colonel of militia in 1763, clerk of the superior court in 1765, and subsequently went to the legislature. Among the offices held by him was that of recorder of deeds, and it was alleged that to his abuses of this trust and his exorbitant charges was due the rebellion of the regulators in Governor Tryon's administration. By his vicious character "nearly all the estates in Orange County were loaded with doubts as to their titles, and new and unnecessary deeds were demanded." Through his actions as recorder, added to his zeal in quelling opposition to the severe exactions of the government and in bringing the leaders of that opposition to the scaffold, he became obnoxious to the people, and, to escape the popular indignation, he accompanied Governor Tryon, who was his father-in-law, to New York as his private secretary in 1771.
He subsequently applied to the North Carolina legislature, through Governor Martin, the successor of Governor Tryon, for reparation for losses from destruction of his property; but the petition was unanimously rejected, and the governor was rebuked for presenting it and thus "trifling with the dignity of the house."
In 1774 Fanning received from the British government the lucrative office of surveyor general, as a reward for his services to the crown and his losses in North Carolina. In 1777 he raised and commanded a corps of 460 loyalists, which bore the name of the "associated refugees," or "king's American regiment." While his regiment was on Long Island some of his men entered a house, tied the owner of it to a bedpost, and held a candle under the ends of his fingers, to force him to disclose the hiding place of his money. Fanning was equally severe toward all. During the war he was twice wounded, and in 1779 his property was confiscated. He removed to Nova Scotia near the close of the war, and became councilor and lieutenant governor on 23 September 1783, and three years later governor of Prince Edward Island. This office he held for nineteen years.
He was made a major general in the British army in 1793, lieutenant general in 1799, and general in 1808. The degree of A.M. was given him by Harvard in 1764, and by Kings in 1772; the degree of D. C. L. by Oxford in 1774, and that of LL.D. by both Yale and Dartmouth in 1803.His brother, Thomas, of Suffolk County, New York, delivered the address before Governor Tryon in November 1776, and was deputed to present the submission of the committee of that County. In June 1778, Fanning was captured and carried off by a party of Whigs.
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