Colonial History

Colonial North Carolina History

Source: A New History of the United States, The Greater Republic
by Charles Morris, LL.D., W. E. Scull, 1899.

Colonial North Carolina Genealogy

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North Carolina Colonial Timeline

1670 - The "Constitutions" for the Carolinas were signed by the king, but were not acceptable to the people.

Source:  A Year Book of Colonial Times Compiled by the Rev. Frederick S. Sill, D.D. Member of the Society of Colonial Wars, E. P. Dutton & Company, New  York, 1899 


The Carolinas

For twenty years the proprietors tried to establish upon American soil one of the most absurd forms of government ever conceived. The land was to be granted to nobles, known as barons, landgraves, and caziques, while the rest of the people were riot to be allowed to hold any land, but were to be bought and sold with the soil, like so many cattle. The settlers ridiculed. and defied the fantastical scheme, which had to be abandoned. It was the work of John Locke, the famous philosopher, who at one time was secretary of Lord Cooper, one of the proprietors.

The first settlement of the Carteret colony was made in 1670, on the banks of the Ashley, but in 1680 it was removed to the present site of Charleston. The colonies remained united for about seventy years, when it became apparent that the territory was too large to be well governed by one assembly and a single governor. In 1729, the present division was made, and the rights of government and seven-eighths of the land were returned to the crown.

The soil and climate were so favorable that thousands of immigrants were attracted thither. Among them were numerous Huguenots or French Protestants, whose intelligence, thrift, and morality placed them among the very best settlers found anywhere in our country. Newbern was settled by a colony of Swiss in 1711, and there was a large influx of Scotch after their rebellion of 1740, England giving them permission to leave Scotland. Scotch immigrants settled Fayetteville in 1746.

There were occasional troubles with the Indians, the most important of which was the war with the Tuscaroras, in 1711. This tribe was utterly defeated and driven northward into New York, where they joined the Iroquois or Five Nations. The union of the Tuscaroras caused the Iroquois to be known afterward as the Six Nations.

The Carolinas were afflicted with some of the worst governors conceivable, interspersed now and then with excellent ones. Often there was sturdy resistance, and in 1677 one of the governors, who attempted to enforce the Navigation Act, was deposed and imprisoned. In 1688, another was driven out of the colony. The population was widely scattered, but the people themselves were as a whole the best kind of citizens. They would not permit religious persecution, and defeated the effort to make the Church of England the colony church. As a consequence, the Carolinas became, like Maryland and Pennsylvania a refuge for thousands of those who were persecuted in the name of religion. 


This page was last updated August 1, 2010.

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