Bertie County, NCGenWeb Project Page -- History Last update:Monday, 10-Sep-2018 11:11:43 MDT


Provincial Congress | Courthouse History | Political History |Militia 1755 | Continental Congresses | Oath of Allegiance | Members of General Assembly |Governors from Bertie | Political Men | Famous People

History of Bertie County - NC site

Researching Land in Bertie, keep these dates in mind:

1664-1668 Albemarle County

Established in 1664, Albemarle encompassed the newly formed Lord's Propietors' province of Carolina. The land under a royal charter from King Charles all belonged to eight Lord Proprietors and the also made up the government. The settlers who came here were chiefly from Virginia and for the most part of English descent.

North Carolina Genesis: 17th Century Albemarle County Lindley S. Butler, Ph.D. Perquimans County Restoration Association. Hertford, N.C. On March 24, 1663, King Charles II gave his friends, the land lying in what is now Carolina.

These men were essentially absentee landlords. They probably had been instrumental in restoring Charles to the throne after Cromwell's regime, and these lands were their reward. It is believed that only William Berkeley ever set foot on Carolina soil! In 1729 all of the Lord Proprietors, except Lord Granville, sold their land to the King and North Carolina became a royal colony. Old Albemarle Worth S. Ray (1960)

1668-1722 Chowan County

In 1668, Albemarle Province was subdivided into three precints: Shaftesbury after Anthony Ashley Cooper became Earl of Shaftsbury; Carteret after George Carteret known as Sir George Carteret was one of the wealthiest men in England; and Berkley after William Berkeley.

By 1681 there was a further division, and the names reverted back to the Indian names of the areas--Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank, and Perquimans.

Be sure to check Chowan County Archives for early documents. Your Bertie ancestors might have been in this area by that time! Visit the Chowan County Page and place a query for the early ancestors.

Some of the first proprietors sold their parts to other investors ie Seth Sothell (first Governor) and to the Bertie brothers (James and Henry) . About the time that the five precincts were being named (circa 1690), the Bertie brothers were influential in naming the area.

Thus, there were many more Proprietors other than the beginning ones.

Governors during the Lord Proprietors Connected to Bertie County

Edward Hyde 1711-1712

Thomas Pollock1712-1714 (another term 1722)

Charles Eden 1714-1722

1722 - Bertie County

Political History

After only 7 years as a Proprietory Province (1722-1729), Bertie County became a province of the Crown.

The Crown sought to strengthen the colony's dependence on England and placed governors, judges and other officials on salary answering ONLY to the Crown and not the electorate. North Carolina settler had become used to the "off-hand" manner of the Proprietors and resented this "control". They believed in the Carolina charter of 1663 and the colonial assembly as an independent body.

Complete list of North Carolina Governors

1732 -First "royal" Governor was George Burrington was a favorite of Bertie Countians (although considered arbitrary and paranoid by many citizens of the state). His chief accomplishment was clearing a road from Virginia to Cape Fear.
Running into opposition of his enforcement of Royal decrees which included the use of proclamation money (value set by the Crown), he simply dismissed the Assembly and didn't call it again for two years!

Nov 1734 - 2nd GovernorGabriel Johnston was controversial from the beginning as he insisted on a timely payment of quitrents (taxes to the crown on all land owned). He served for 18 years. A land grant dispute and representation controversy (1746-1754) further caused problems.
The 5 original precincts were each allowed 5 representatives (Perquimans, Pasquotank, Currituck and Chowan). Bertie and Tyrrell were allowed 5 when they were formed, but all newer counties were allowed only 2. Two were taken from Bertie, when Northampton was formed. This gave the older precincts considerable power.

After Johnston's death in 1752, Nathaniel Rice (president of the council), followed by Matthew Rowan were acting Governors until Arthur Dobbs reached New Bern in Oct 1754.

One issue was the appointment of Justices. The Crown appointed a Chief Justice who was usually sent over from England. The NC Assembly created associate justices and made the qualification to exclude non-resident attorneys. They arranged the court days in the various counties so that the chief justice would only be able to attend 1/2 the courts!

The Assembly protested to Gov. Dobbs regarding the Sugar Act of 1764 because the tax was being levied on them without their consent.

William Tryon (1765-1771) came into office just one month before the Stamp Act which did disturb North Carolina. They actively opposed it by preventing the stamps from being landed and refused to allow the Stamp Act to be enforced. This centered in the Cape Fear area, the center of commerce, but leaders from Edenton (Bertie County was part of Edenton), New Bern and Brunswick. The act was repealed on March 18. As word spread, many towns celebrated the event. (Do you think Cashie celebrated? The courthouse wasn't moved to Windsor until after 1770)

The Assembly was so pleased they voted to erect a house for Governor become known as "Tryon's Palace" due to the enormous expense.

But in 1767, the Townsend Duty Act imposed a new set of taxes on lead, glass, paper and imported tea. The North Carolina Assembly seemed only mildly interested, and only on their last day opposed it due to non-representation.

Samuel Johnston and John Harvey were both opposed to the "mildness" of the protest, and supported the other colonys in their opposition to England. Public sentiment in general was intensifying and "nonimportation" measures were attempted though many merchants continued without any serious opposition.

Josiah Martin became governor in August 1771- 1775. The question of issuance of money and financial problems was the biggest issue of his term. Equally as troubling was the dissolution of the court system. Originally, British merchants, and England land owners were immune from prosecution unless it be brought in British courts. In 1768 the Assembly had changed this system against the wishes of the British, but when it expired in 1773, Gov. Martin was instructed not to sign it. Thus, North Carolina in March 1773, was left without any general courts to punish criminals.

These worsening affairs resulted in the Provincial Conventions called to replace the Assembly, which the Governor refused to convene (see below)

Militia and Taxable Persons 1755

BERTIE		794 Militia    (no record whites/blacks)		 Total = 1876

CHOWAN		830 Militia     (no record whites/blacks)  		Total = 1481

EDGECOMBE	1317		1611 whites	924 blacks		Total = 2538

NORTHAMPTON	676		902 whites	834 blacks		Total = 1736

Militia and Taxable Persons 1756

BERTIE 902 Militia (no record whites/blacks) Total=1876 CHOWAN 830 Militia (no record whites/blacks) Total = 1481 EDGECOMBE 1317 1674 whites 1091 blacks Total = 2765 NORTHAMPTON 676 Militia 902 whites 834 blacks Total = 1736

Bertie County Representatives (1722 - 1775)
39 representatives from Bertie County served in the Legislature. Only 8 served more than one term.

Families tended to dominate. The following examples do not include those related by marriage.

Political Leaders of Colonial Bertie

The Justices of the Peace were appointed by the Governor and were the most infuential in the county. They determined the jurors to decide lawsuits, created roads and ferries, licensed taverns, appointed minor county officials, and created lists of taxable persons.

These Justices were usually the wealthier men of the county, but also were sometimes complainted agains. The assembly in 1733 received a complaint about "oppressive magistrates" in Bertie and Beaufort Counties.

The Sheriff collected the taxes. The Sheriff was appointed by each precinct court in the Province. To be eligible for nomination, he had to be a justice of peace of the county. Colonial Records of North Carolina, XXIII, 122-127

Thus, the Colonial Assembly, the Justices of Peace and the Sheriff were all associated through this system of nomination and selection.

The location of the first courthouse, prison and stocks was in St. Johns (now Hertford County). In 1741 when Northampton was formed, and a controversy as to the new location was intense. A contract was actually issued on the south side of Stony Creek at Joseph Barradial's plantation, but the next year, it was changed or Red Bud Branch. In 1743, the General Assembly legislated that it be between Cashie Bridge and Will's Quarter Bridge on James Castellaw's plantation on the Cashie River.

Be sure to read the epic poem "Legends of St. Johns" written by Major John W. Moore and published in the Windsor Ledger June 22, 1899.

History of Courthouse

Lost Town of Cashy by Harry Thompson provides a detailed history of the locations of the early courthouses as well as information about the individuals who played important roles at this time. Be sure to read this!

Brief History
Jeanette White Bertie Ledger
1741 when Northampton was carved out of Bertie Co.and Hertford Co. was
formed in 1754 the courthouse of 1724 was outside the boundaries of Bertie.

1743 a lease was signed for 1 acre of land for the old courthouse.1744
preparations began to move the courthouse May 10, James Castelow (
originally Barneycastle) bought one acre of land on the North side of the
Cashie River and south side of Will's Quarter swamp where the courthouse,
prison,and stocks were to be built. For 24 years this was the second
courthouse in Bertie. 

1768 the third courthouse was built and used for 111 years. Destroyed in
1887, Dec. 13 1886 Board of county commissioners asked for a bill to be drawn
up for the General Assembly, bonds were issued,
members of the board were chairman W.A. Capehart, Peter Rascoe, A.J.
Dunning, J.B. Stokes appointed a building committee consisting of L.
Thrower, J.E. Mitchell, J.B. Martin, James Bond, A.S. Rascoe. 

Theo Ralph contracted to build courthouse. Aaron Rascoe bought five $100.00
J.P. Johnson bought the remainder, the old coach shop was used while the
court house was built

Pre-Revolution Politics

1st Continental Congress

The First continental Congress met at Philadephia on Sept 5, 1774. The 55 members came from 12 Continental Colonies. When it adjourned Oct 22, 1774, a Declaration of Rights
1st Continental Congress - 1774

Charlotte Town Resolves - 1775 Mecklenburg N.Cc.May 31, 1775

2nd Continental Congress

2nd Continental Congress met May 10, 1775 (Joseph Hewes and William Hooper represented North Carolina. Both of these were considered conservative and sympathetic to their Loyalist friends and relatives. By 1776, Joseph Hewes was replaced with John Penn, more radical.) 2nd Continental Congress - Declaration of causes and necessities of taking up arms July 6, 1775 - Philadelphia.

The Halifax Resolves - April 12, 1776. "First official act of a colony calling for Independence"

North Carolina Provincial Conventions

August 25, 1774, delegates were sent from the Counties (two from Bertie) to the North Carolina Provincial Congress in New Bern to discuss matters and select delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Safety Committees in towns and counties were also proposed, as England and Colonial matters worsened.After this 1st Provincial Congress, 4 others were held in preparation for the War.

1st Provincial Convention

: Palace, New Bern 25th Aug 1774

[Held in defiance of Governor Martin's protest; his chair was empty. John Harvey (speaker of the lower house) was moderator. This was the first popular assembly in America called by the people and in direct disobedience to the King. Gov Martin had called a Provincial Assembly for April 4, which dissolved into the 1st Provincial Convention. ]

John Campbell represented Bertie County.

The three day session (although still professing loyalty to King George III) passed resolutions critical of the British Government, and selected William Hooper, Richard Caswell, and Joseph Hewes as delegates to the Continental Congress.

2nd Provincial Convention

: April 3-8, 1775 - Palace - New Bern

[Gov Martin thinking he could still turn things around, called a North Carolina Assembly; but John Harvey called a Provincial Congress at the same time.]

There were 67 delegates to this Provincial Congress. The following were elected to represent Bertie County.

William Gray
Jonathan Jacocks
Charles Jacocks
William Brimmage
William Bryan
Zedekiah Stone
Thomas Ballard
Peter Clifton
David Standley(justice of peace and sheriff of Bertie)
John Campbell
John Johnston
[Committee of Safety was created
[Ratified the work of the Continental Congress and re-elected North Carolina delegates]
[April 19, 1775 - Lexington and Concord first battle]
[Bertie County elected as officers: Thomas Whitmell, Colonel
Thomas Pugh, Lieut-Colonel
James Moore, 1st Major Arthur Brown, 2nd Major
3rd Provincial Convention
August 21, 1775 - Hillsborough
[John Harvey had died in May, and Samuel Johnston had been designated to succeed him at the 2nd Provinicial Convention]

[Pledged payment of North Carolina's support for a Continental Army.
Authorized the raising of 1,000 men for two North Carolina Regiments

N.C. Regiments 1 and 2 came to the assistance of South Carolina. Later 150 militia from the Halifax District went to the aid of Virginia (Dec 9, 1775). It was reported that agents had been sent to the Albemarle region to incite the Negro slaves by promising freedom to any who joined the King's forces.

Meanwhile, Governor Martin had convinced the British that North Carolina was quite weak militarily and that there were enough Loyalists to join with British forces to secure the colony. This recruitment centered in the Cross Creek Scottish settlers.

Colonel Alexander Lillington (Wilmington District) and Colonel Richard Caswell(New Bern) called out their men - Moore's Creek Campaign.

Committee of Safety - 13 members (one elected for the Province at large by the Provincial Congress and 2 from each of the six military districts) During the recess of the Congress, this committee was the sole executive body.

Each District had its own Committee composed of a president and 12 members which reported to the Provincial Safety Committee, and supervised the local town/county Safety Committees. These local Committees examined all suspected persons, and could arrest, imprison and punish.

By fall of 1775, the "government" consisted of 934 officials:

 Provincial Council = 13 members
6 District Councils = 21 members each
3 Town Councils (large) = 15 each
6 Town Councils = 7 each  (Bertie was one of these)
		934 officials
4th Provincial Convention
Halifax April 4, 1776
All delegates favored independence.
John Campbell, John Johnston, Charles Jacocks
Instructed the N.C. delegates to "concur with the delegates of the other colonies in declaring independence and forming foreign alliances. A constitutional convention to draft a state constitution was called for November 12, 1776 in Halifax. The Halifax Resolves - April 12, 1776. "First official act of a colony calling for Independence"

Council of Safety (NC) recommended the people elect 15th Oct 1776, delegates to a congress to assemble at Halifax on 12 Nov. 1776 "to make laws, form a Constitution for state.

Constitutional Convention

- Halifax 12th Nov 1776
Thomas Pugh
John Johnston
William Gray
Noah Hinton
Zedekiah Stone
(Formed the State Constitution)

5th Provincial Convention

Completed its labors on December 18, 1776-its last official action being "an Ordinance for appointing a Governor, Council of State, and Secretary until next General Assembly."
John Johnston
Charles Jacocks
Zedekiah Stone
Resource:THE HISTORY OF A SOUTHERN STATES, NORTH CAROLINA by Hugh Talmage Lefler and Albert Ray Newsome, Chapel Hill, The University of NC Press, 1963.
Committee of Public Safety

Oath of Allegiance Administered in Bertie

Court Minutes of Bertie County. Wynette Haun. 1772-1780 Aug 1777
Ordered that the several Justices in county shall tender the Oath of 
allegiance prescribed by an Act of the Assembly passed on the 9th May 
last [1777] to all the Inhabitants of this county.
Also that the said Justices shall attend the private musters within their 
district fot the purpose of administering the oath prescribed by Law to 
be administered to suspected persons to wit:
William Bryan - Capt Rhoads Co
Wm Pugh - Capt Pugh's
Capt Oliver - Capt Oliver
James Campbell - Capt Askiew  [Colerain]
Wm Cherry - Capt Wynns
Zed Stone - Capt King
David Standly - Capt B. Allard
Jonathen Jacocks - Capt Ryan
Thomas Ward - Capt Freemans

Justices names are on the left -to go to the Capt District to administer 
the oath.

Petitions against King George III

December 1777 - Confiscation Act

This act required an oath of allegiane of all males over sixteen years of age. Those refusing to take the oath were to be proceeded against, or might be permitted to remain in the state...but deprived of their right to vote, keep arms, or leave the state without permission of the council.

Passage was 12 for and 9 against:
FOR: Elisha Battle, Benjamin Exum, Robert Summer, Ralph Gorrell, James Coor, James Sanders, Robert Salter, David Lourie, John Spicer, John Gray, A. MacLaine, and Luke Sumner.
AGAINST: Memucian Hunt, Ambrose Ramsey, John Carter, Charles McLaine, Griffith Rutherford, Benjamin Seawell, James Kenon, Charles McDowell, and Machael Rogers XII, 252.

1778 revisions.
Family of confiscated estates should retaine as much as if he died intestate. Indignet parents of absent Tories were allowed to receive as much of the estate as they had thertofore recied and as much more as would be necessary for their subsistence. XXIV 209-210.

1789 - Ratification of National Constitution

Bertie delegates: John Johnston, Francis Pugh, William J. Dawson, David Turner, and David Stone.

Further Recommended Resources:
Alan Watson,History of Bertie County
Colonial North Carolina Hugh T. Lefler and William S. Powell.
Members of General Assembly from Bertie County, from 1777 to 1850 Senators Members of House of Commons 1777 Zedekiah Stone William Jordan, Simon Turner 1778 Zedekiah Stone William Jordan, James Campbell 1779 Zedekiah Stone John Pugh Williams, Jonathan Jacocks 1780 Jon Jacocks William Horn, David Turner 1781 " " " " " " 1782 " " " " " " 1783 " " " " " " 1784 " " Zedekiah Stone, Andrew Oliver 1785 " " Thomas Collins, Andrew Oliver 1786 Zedekiah Stone Thomas Collins, Andrew Oliver 1787 John Johnston Andrew Oliver, William Horn 1788 " " William Horn, Francis Pugh 1789 " " " " " " 1790 Francis Pugh David Stone, David Turner 1791 Jasper Charlton David Stone, William J. Dawson 1792 " " David Stone, Tristam Lowther 1793 " " David Stone, John Wolfendon 1794 John Wolfendon Jonathan Jacocks, David Stone 1795 John Wolfendon Jonathan Jacocks, John Johnston 1796 Timothy Walton George Outlaw, John Johnston 1797 Francis Pugh George Outlaw, J.B. Jordan 1800 John Johnston Joseph Jordan, Thomas Fitts 1801 Jona Jacocks Henry K Peterson, Joseph Eason 1802 George Outlaw James W. Clark, Henry Peterson 1803 Henry Peterson James W. Clark, James Tunstall 1804 Joseph Jordan William Cherry, Joseph H. Bryan 1805 " " " " " " 1806 George Outlaw Prentis Law, Joseph Eason 1807 " " Joseph H. Bryan, Joseph Eason 1808 " " " " " " 1809 Joseph Jordan " ", Geo L. Ryan 1810 George Outlaw George L. Ryan, Thomas Speller 1811 " " David Stone, William Sparkman 1812 " " " ", " " 1813 " " Timothy Walton, Whit H. Pugh 1814 " " William Sparkmen, Whit. H. Pugh 1815 Wm Sparkman Wm H. Pugh, Jonathan Jacocks 1816 Wm Sparkman Simon A. Bryan, J.H. Jacocks 1817 George Outlaw Thos L. West, J.H. Jacocks 1818 Thos L. West William Hinton, Joseph Jordan 1819 Wm Hinton Geo. B. Outlaw, Simon A. Bryan 1821 George Outlaw Robert C. Watson, Thos Brickell 1822 George Outlaw Thomas Brickell, Simon A. Bryan 1823 George Outlaw James G. Mhoon, S.A. Bryan 1824 George B. Outlaw Wm H. Rascoe, J.G. Mhoon 1825 Jehu Nicholls William H. Rascoe, J.G. Mhoon 1826 Wm Gilliam J.G. Mhoon, Joseph D. White 1827 George O. Askew Thomas H. Speller, J.D. White 1828 George O. Askew Joseph Watford, Wm S. Mhoon 1829 George O. Askew Wm S. Mhoon, Alexander W. Mebane 1830 George O. Askew W.S. Mhoon, A.W. Mebane 1831 George O. Askew Lewis Thompson, David Outlaw 1832 George O. Askew David Outlaw, Thomas J. Pugh 1833 A.W. Mebane David Outlaw, Thomas J. Pugh 1834 A.W. Mebane David Outlaw, Thomas J. Pugh 1835 A.W. Mebane John F. Lee, Thomas H. Speller 1836 A.W. Mebane John F. Lee, Thomas H. Speller 1838 Wm W Cherry Lewis Bond, James R. Rayner 1840 Lewis Bond Lewis Thompson, John R. Gilliam 1842 Jas S. Mitchell James R. Rayner, John F. Lee 1844 Lewis Thompson W.W. Cherry, Lewis Bond 1846 J.R. Gilliam John N. Bond, Richard O. Britton 1848 Lewis Thompson J.B. Cherry, K. Biggs 1850 Lewis Bond J.B. Cherry, P.H. Winston

Bertie County Page last updated: Monday, 10-Sep-2018 11:11:43 MDT

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