|1767 Chowan County Courthouse and the Green on which the|
original 1718 Courthouse stood (photo by the author)
|Lane House, 1718, (photo by Harvey Harrison -|
Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Wikimedia Commons)
The beautiful, 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, with its commanding view of Edenton Bay, is still in use and open for visitors. What many do not know is, although it is very old, it is not the county’s first courthouse. The first, built in 1718 and in use for fifty years, sat on the green just across the street from its newer version. The original building was in no way similar to the grand structure that replaced it. Covered in clapboards, its windows not glazed with glass for some time, it was rather ignobly described in 1729 by visiting William Byrd II: “Justice herself is but indifferently Lodged, the Court-House having much the Air of a Common Tobacco-House.”
|Old Postcard of "New," 1767 Courthouse, bricks painted white|
Beginning July 28, 2014, a group of archaeologists from New South Associates armed with a GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar,) surveyed the green and discovered a likely area for the foundation of that original building. For several days, they meticulously dug up the sod and set it aside, retrieving brick fragments as well as 18th century glass and nails that point to the probable site of Edenton’s first house of justice. Their initial work completed, the archaeologists replaced the sod, returning the green to normal, a place on which people walk, every day, unaware of the history beneath their feet.
|The author's granddaughters on 18th century cannon, Edenton|
(photo by their dad, John Sutton)
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