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Here is where you will find the most intact colonial courthouse in America! Joseph Hewes, which was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was one of the commissioners appointed to raise money for its actual construction. Prominent revolutionary patriots, Judges James Iredell and Samuel Johnston heard cases here.


  • Chowan County Courthouse in Edenton, April 2, 1890. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC Libraries
  • Pre-Revolution Courthouse

In November of 1712, the Colonial Assembly passed an act "to promote the building of a courthouse to hold the assembly in, at the fork of Queen Anne's Creek", essentially establishing the town to be the seat of the provincial government.

By 1718, the first courthouse was completed, apparently unsatisfactorily. The original design provided a large central room with adjoining offices and a semicircular apse in the rear. The upper floor housed a large paneled meeting room used by Edenton's political leaders during the American Revolution. A second building was constructed in 1724. The location of the 1724 building was on the north side of East King Street, the location of the new courthouse built in 1767. John Hawks is believed to have been the designer of the 1767 Georgian-style courthouse.

The 1767 Courthouse, the finest Georgian courthouse in the South, is one of the most important public buildings in colonial America. As the oldest government building in North Carolina, it is a National Historic Landmark. It provided the setting for the roles of Joseph Hewes, Samuel Johnston, James Iredell, along with others in their local, state, and national political actions during the 1770's and 1780's.

Joy, Deborah. Chowan County Courthouse, NCpedia. January 1st 2006. Accessed November 11th 2019. https://www.ncpedia.org/chowan-county-courthouse.

Chowan County Courthouse, https://www.chowancounty-nc.gov/. Accessed November 11th 2019. https://www.chowancounty-nc.gov/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={C678AE3E-0A3B-4625-BF00-B2CE7F001780}&DE={4ED89BD2-E215-4BD4-A5CD-4039152755C8}.

Sheltering a heritage: North Carolina's historic buildings, NC Digital Collections. Accessed November 11th 2019. http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p249901coll22/id/642434.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

NCpedia

courthousehistory.com