Provincial Congress | Courthouse History | Political History |Militia 1755 | Continental Congresses |Oath of Allegiance |Members of General Assembly | Loyalists

Early History of Bertie County

Researching Land in Bertie, keep these dates in mind:

A more complete history of North Carolina can be found at this site.

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 for early documents. Your Bertie ancestors might have been in this area by that time!

1722 - Bertie County

Some of these 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.

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.

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 Governor Gabriel 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 Johnson'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!

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.

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 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

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

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 Congress: New Bern 25th Aug 1774
John Campbell 

2nd Provincial Congress 1775  - Hillsboro
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

[Elected as officers: Thomas Whitmell, Colonel
Thomas Pugh, Lieut-Colonel
James Moore, 1st Major Arthur Brown, 2nd Major Aug 25 1774 Newbern Provincial Congress John Campbell April 4. 1776 Bertie John Campbell, John Johnston, Charels Jacocks 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. 3rd Congress Halifax 12th Nov 1776 Thomas Pugh John Johnston William Gray Noah Hinton Zedekiah Stone (Formed the State Constitution) 4th Provincial Congress assembled at Halifax, April 4, 1776, all delegates favored independence.
John Campbell, John Johnston, Charles Jacocks
The Halifax Resolves - April 12, 1776. "First official act of a colony calling for Independence"

5th Congress 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.

The Continental Congresses

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 Hews and William Hooper represented North Carolina) 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"

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
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.

1789 - Ratification of National Constitution

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

Bertie Loyalist Leanings

Many in Bertie County were not eager to break with England. The John Llewelyn (planter from Martin Co) conspiracy was deeply rooted in Bertie County. The leader in Bertie was William Brimmage. He was crown prosecuting attorney for Bertie and a provinical vice-admiralty judge, owning 10,000 acres of land and about 30 slaves. When the plot was discovered in 1777, Brimmage was jailed in Edenton but eventually fled to England, leaving his family on their plantation in Bertie County. Court Minutes of Bertie County indicate this additional information. Solomon Pender depart this state in 60 days and that the Constable serve him with a copy of this order. Nov Ct 1777 (268)
Aug 1778
Wm Brimage and Eliz his wife to Elizabeth Pollock daughter of said Wm 
and Elizabeth Deed registered.
Also Frances Brimage (same)
Thomas West Brimage (same)

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 1830 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

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