Archaeologists Search For Remains Of Edenton's First Court House

Jul 28, 2014

The Chowan County Courthouse was built in 1767, but archaeologists believe an even older one used to stand somewhere on the court house green.

Visitors to historic Edenton already know about the "new" courthouse. That one was built in 1767. Today, archaeologists will begin searching for the town's original courthouse, which was built in 1718.

Karen Ipock is Historic Edenton's site manager. She said historic documents indicate that the old courthouse once stood somewhere on the block-long Chowan Courthouse Green, which has long-served as a town commons.

“It didn't have the best reputation. One kind of aristocratic traveler from Virginia described it as basically being a common tobacco house,” Ipock said.

“We know it actually didn't even have windows to begin with; glass was put in. But this building served as the courthouse from 1718 up to at least till the 1750s, so we know what this building was a big part of Edenton's history.”

The very first trial at the old Edenton courthouse happened 296 years ago this week. The nature of that trial is still a mystery.