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Biographical Description

William Brimage (d. 1793) was a prominent lawyer and judge in Bertie County. He was elected to the North Carolina Provincial Congress, but did not attend, possibly due to his beliefs that the American Revolution and the new Patriot government was not warranted. In the summer of 1777, at the urging of his stepfather-in-law Samuel Black, he became a member of the Gourd Patch Conspiracy. While no members later reported that Brimage personally recruited them to the movement, Brimage was allegedly a senior warden for the group, and that a man of such prominence had put his name behind the movement undoubtedly convinced some people of the plot's legitimacy. When the plot was discovered, Brimage tried to flee the state and many of the state's leaders assumed that he must be the leader of the plot, as he was so well known. After being denied entry on a ship full of loyalists bound for New York, he escaped parole at Ocracoke Island and was later captured at Roanoke Island. He was imprisoned at New Bern and later Edenton before being exiled from the state. He left his family behind and went to Bermuda, where he served as a colonial official for a time. He reunited with his family and spent time in South Carolina and Virginia before determining that it would be best for him to travel to England for his health while his family returned to Bertie County to reassert their claims to their land after the revolution. He died in England in 1793.