Tag Archives: North Carolina

A Capital Affair, Pt. IV

To recap on this series, it’s possible that Raleigh was chosen as the state capital of North Carolina for a number of reasons:

  1. Geographic location: the state’s population was gradually moving westward; Raleigh is not far from the geographical center of the state, which meant that it was relatively easy for members of the Assembly, who lived as far west as Burke County and as far east as Hyde County, to attend sessions
  2. Access to higher education: the University of North Carolina was newly chartered in 1789, which was within a day’s ride to Raleigh
  3. Thoroughfare: Raleigh was established near two major roads – an east-west road, “Jonesborough Road,” connected New Bern to Knoxville, TN (mostly follows present-day US Route 70), and a north-south road, “Fall Line Road” (forked off of the King’s Highway), connected Fredericksburg, VA to Augusta, GA
  4. Fresh start: being a brand new city, Raleigh didn’t carry the burden of its predecessors; this also led to more stability, at least in terms of keeping state records in one fixed location

North Carolina State House, painted by Jacob Marling in 1818. Raleigh History Collection, NC Digital Collections


A Capital Affair, Pt. III

Raleigh: 1794-present

The North Carolina General Assembly has been convening exclusively in Raleigh since 1794.

The city of Raleigh was planned and built specifically for the purpose of becoming the state’s capital, which was largely decided on based on it being close to the geographical center of the state. There were several benefits of designating Raleigh as the capital; it was not vulnerable to naval attack, it was located near a major interregional thoroughfare, and it was seen as a blank slate for some. However, many opposed this decision initially.


Historic map from the North Carolina Maps project overlaid with a current satellite image of downtown Raleigh. Original map: “Plan of the city of Raleigh: from Johnson’s map of 1847,” circa 1867. North Carolina Collection call number Cm912c R163 1867.

Continue reading

A Capital Affair, Pt. II

New Bern, the first colonial capital: 1766-1776

“Perhaps a greater villain than corrupt officials was the absence of a provincial capital or fixed courthouse during the early years” (Jones, 1966).

At its first few meetings in New Bern, the Assembly voted against the town becoming the permanent seat of government, despite Governor Gabriel Johnston’s efforts. Meanwhile, the public records continued to suffer. Continue reading

A Capital Affair

We have a little-known fact to share that may leave some native North Carolinians mystified…

Raleigh was not the original capital of North Carolina.

In fact, it wasn’t the second or third…or even sixth choice. Bath (1710-1722) and Edenton (1722-1743) were considered the first unofficial capitals of North Carolina, later followed by the first official state capital, New Bern (1766-1776). Each of these towns served as the seat of government for a period of time, but there were several other contenders in the early years.

Continue reading

New Digital Collection: Travel Perspectives


Stewart Family Ledger and Scrapbook, available online through the NC Digital Collections.

The Travel Perspectives collection is now available online via the North Carolina Digital Collections. This collection features narratives and images of tourism as experienced by North Carolinians, found within the holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina. These documents consist of letters, scrapbooks, journals, photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, and other material related to the representation of the creator’s travels and experiences. The collection consists of items dating primarily from the 1850s through the 1950s, representing the first significant wave of mass tourism in which North Carolinians participated.

For more information on topics related to this collection, please check out this NCpedia page developed by the State Library:

Other resources:

Another digital collection of interest includes the Historic North Carolina Travel and Tourism Photos Project, which includes a series of photos, originally used in advertising campaigns to market the state as a travel destination, produced between 1929 and 1970 by the Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division.

On June 23, the State Archives Examines How North Carolina Got Its Shape

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

Map graphic for FOA talk “History and Reestablishment  of the NC-SC Boundary”  by Presented By Gary W. Thompson

“History and Reestablishment of the NC-SC Boundary” by Gary W. Thompson, North Carolina Geodetic Survey, will take place Monday, June 23, 2014, 1:30 p.m. in the Archives & History/State Library Bldg Auditorium.

RALEIGH, N.C. — From present day Manteo to Monterrey, Calif. at one time was all Carolina. King Charles II had awarded land grants in 1663 and 1665 to eight Lords Proprietors, his allies. This established Carolina south into Florida and north to the present North Carolina and Virginia border.

A lot has changed since then, but fixing the border between the two Carolinas has been an ongoing process that will be examined during a State Archives of North Carolina hosted program “A History of the Boundaries Surveyed” June 23 at 1:30 p.m., in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Building on Jones Street in downtown Raleigh. Beyond academic discussions, the boundary results affect gas and cigarette taxes, property values and more subjects then you may imagine.

The State Archives holds and will display several maps that illustrate the shifting boundaries of these states. By the late 1600s, North and South Carolina were recognized as separate entities and initial shape was given for the two states, but the exact boundary location was disputed for nearly 200 years. The two states in 1994 began a joint effort to re-establish the boundary. This effort took almost 20 years. The program will examine how this was achieved in the 21st century.

Gary Thompson, chief of the North Carolina Geodetic Survey, will provide an overview of the history of the North Carolina-South Carolina boundary in his presentation “History and Re-establishment of the North Carolina-South Carolina Boundary.” The free, public lecture will take place in the auditorium and maps from the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina will be on display in the State Archives Search Room.  Both events are sponsored by the Friends of the Archives.

For additional information, please call (919) 807-7326. The State Archives of North Carolina is within the Office of Archives and History in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

About the State Archives of North Carolina

The State Archives of North Carolina State Archives collects, preserves, and makes available for public use historical and evidential materials relating to North Carolina. Its holdings consist of official records of state, county and local governmental units, copies of federal and foreign government materials, and private collections. The Friends of the Archives, Inc. was formed in 1977 to provide private support for the State Archives of North Carolina. For more information about the State Archives, visit http://www.archives.ncdcr.gov.

About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for people who are blind and have physical disabilities.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

Records Spotlight: Record of Inheritance Tax

A little known jewel in the archives stacks is Record of Inheritance Tax. Record of Inheritance Tax is a part of the estates series. These official documents provide information about the estate of individuals including the value of real estate, personal property, stocks and bonds, and executor/administrator/trustee. A majority of the Inheritance records begin around the 1920s with the exception of Orange County (1821-1935, 1946-1962, 1966-1969). Highlights of these records include the beneficiaries of the estates and the date of death. This information can be crucial for genealogists. The beneficiaries include the relationship to the person’s estate. The date of death can be helpful for individuals looking for death certificates.

Inheritance tax records are filed with the estates records (C.R.County Number.508 (ex. C.R.001.508.1)). Estates records are arranged alphabetically by last name. The unique call number for Record of Inheritance Tax is (C.R.County Number.513 (ex. C.R.007.513.1)). The bound volumes of Record of Inheritance Tax are organized by file date of the estate. It is best to check the loose estates before using the bound volumes on microfilm. A majority of original inheritance tax records are stored off-site and are not available on Saturday. The microfilm will be available on Saturday. A compiled list is included in this blog post.  Please note that some counties have original tax records available in the search room. The call numbers are included for those specific records.

Inheritance Tax Records (Definition from Guide to County Records in the North Carolina State Archives): Twentieth-century record of settlements of tax assessed on estate worth more than $2,000 provided to the clerk of superior court by the State Commissioner of Revenue Statements include names of deceased and administrator or executor, approximate valuation of estate, and heir or devisees. Loose papers concerning inheritance tax are filed in Estates Records.

Department of Cultural Resources: Office of Archives and History. Guide to County Records in the North Carolina State Archives. 12th rev. ed.  Raleigh:

North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 2009.

SchenckInheritanceTaxExample (PDF)

Alamance (1924-1969): C.001.50033-C.001.50035

Alexander (1923-1973): C.003.50018

Alleghany (1920-1971): C.004.50014

Anson (1920-1969): C.005.50023

Beaufort (1920-1975): C.009.50037-C.009.50038

Bertie (1923-1971): C.010.50050-C.010.50051

Bladen (1924-1970): C.011.50015-C.011.50016

Original (1924-1970): C.R.011.513.1-C.R.011.513.3

Brunswick (1923-1968): C.012.50010

Buncombe (1919-1970): C.013.50058-C.013.50063

Burke (1924-1967): C.014.50031-C.014.50032

Cabarrus (1923-1970): C.016.50041-C.016.50042

Caldwell (1920-1967): C.017.50021

Camden (1923-1966): C.018.50015.

Carteret (1923-1968): C.019.50042-C.019.50043

Caswell (1923-1970): C.020.50030

Catawba (1923-1971): C.021.50038-C.021.50039

Chatham (1923-1971): C.022.50030

Cherokee (1919-1920; 1924-1967): C.023.50011

Chowan (1914-1967): C.024.50048-C.024.50049

Original (1919): C.R.024.513.1

Clay (1920-1967): C.025.50010

Cleveland (1923-1966): C.026.50035-C.026.50036

Columbus (1923-1968): C.027.5024

Craven: Original (1920-1923: C.R.028.513.1

Cumberland (1921-1966): C.029.50048

Original (1921-1967): C.R.029.513.1-C.R.029.513.4

Currituck (1923-1967): C.030.50025

Original (1923-1967): C.R.030.513.1-C.R.513.2

Dare (1923-1967): C.031.50014

Davidson (1923-1972): C.030.50060-C.030.50062

Original (1923-1970): C.R.032.513.1-C.R.032.513.6

Davie (1923-1970): C.033.50022

Duplin (1919-1969): C.035.50022-C.035.50023

Original (1919-1948): C.R.035.513.1-C.R.035.513.2

Durham (1922-1966): C.036.50060-C.036.50062

Edgecombe (1920-1970): C.037.50065-C.037.50066

Forsyth (1923-1949): C.038.50092-C.038.50093

Franklin (1920-1968): C.039.50022-C.039.50023

Gaston (1923-1971): C.040.50042-C.040.50043

Gates (1923-1968): C.041.50030

Original (1960-1968): C.R.041.513.1

Graham (1928-1966): C.043.50005

Granville (1923-1968): C.044.50027

Green (1923-1969): C.045.50025-C.045.50026

Original (1916-1968): C.R.045.513.1-C.R.045.513.3

Guilford (1912-1979): C.046.50119-C.046.50126

Halifax (1920-1968): C.047.50035-C.047.50036

Harnett (1947-1968): C.048.50023-C.048.50024

Haywood (1921-1966): C.049.50025-C.049.50026

Original (1921-1956): C.R.049.513.1-C.R.049.513.3

Henderson (1915-1968): C.050.50028-C.050.50029

Hertford (1920-1971): C.051.50021

Hoke (1919-1970): C.052.50011

Hyde (1924-1969): C.053.50027

Original (1925-1969): C.R.053.513.1

Iredell (1920-1971): C.054.50055-C.054.50057

Jones (1924-1968): C.057.50018

Lee (1921-1968): C.058.50022-C.058.50023

Lenoir (1921-1968): C.058.50022-C.058.50023

Original (1923-1974): C.R.059.513.1-C.R.059.513.3

Lincoln (1921-1970): C.060.50025-C.060.50026

Macon (1920, 1924-1969): C.061.50015

Original (1924-1969): C.R.061.513.1-C.R.061.513.2

Madison (1924-1968): C.062.50018

Martin (1923-1968): C.063.50022-C.063.50023

McDowell (1923-1969): C.064.50016-C.064.50017

Mecklenburg (1919-1968): C.065.50099-C.065.500104

Mitchell (1924-1970): C.066.50015

Montgomery (1923-1973): C.067.50020-C.067.50021

Moore (1923-1968): C.068.50029

Nash (1913-1972): C.069.50049-C.069.50050

Orange (1821-1935, 1946-1962, 1966-1969): C.073.50039-C.073.50040

Pamlico (1923-1969): C.074.50011

Original (1923-1969): C.R.074.513.1-C.R.074.513.2

Pender (1923-1968): C.076.50018-C.076.50019

Perquimans (1923-1970): C.077.50022

Person (1919-1968): C.078.50019-C.078.50020

Pitt (1923-1968): C.079.50049-C.079.50050

Polk (1923-1968): C.080.50016

Randolph (1923-1971): C.081.50038-C.081.50039

Richmond (1923-1968): C.082.50028-C.082.50029

Robeson (1923-1967): C.083.50053-C.083.50055

Rockingham (1922-1971): C.084.50038-C.084.50039

Original (1923-1970): C.R.084.513.1-C.R.084.513.5

Rutherford (1922-1969): C.086.50027-C.086.50028

Sampson (1924-1969): C.087.50037

Original (1924-1969): C.R.087.513.1-C.R.087.513.5

Scotland (1920-1966): C.088.50014

Original (1923-1966): C.R.088.513.1-C.R.088.513.2

Stanly (1923-1968): C.089.50031-C.089.50033

Stokes (1920-1971): C.090.50026-C.090.50027

Original (1920-1982): C.R.090.513.1-C.R.090.513.5

Swain (1920, 1925-1967): C.091.50008

Surry (1923-1970): C.092.50030-C.092.50031

Transylvania (1923-1968): C.093.50017

Union (1923-1972): C.097.50039-C.097.50041

Original (1923-1972): C.R.097.513.1-C.R.097.513.4

Vance (1923-1969): C.098.50020

Warren (1923-1968): C.100.50017

Washington (1935-1968): C.101.50013

Watauga (1920-1969): C.102.50014

Wayne (1914-1968): C.103.50033-C.103.50034

Original (1923-1968): C.R.103.513.1-C.R.103.513.4

Wilkes (1919-1970): C.104.50023-C.104.50024

Yadkin (1923-1970): C.106.50017

Yancey (1923-1970): C.107.50012