Lincoln County Court Minutes

Court Minutes provided here are submitted by Katherine Sullivan . Originals of Lincoln Co. Court Minutes are on file at NC Archives and are available for purchase on NC Archives Microfilm Reel C.060.30007. The source for the County Court minutes is NC Archives Microfilm Reel C.060.30003.

Lincoln Co. Court Minutes, have been published through 1812 by Katherine Sullivan and Anne Williams McAllister. 

Lincoln Co. Superior Court Minutes April Term 1821.

Philip Hines' application to become a Naturalized Citizen of the United States. He doth swear that he absolutely and entirely renounces all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatever and particularly the Emperor of Germany to whome he once owed allegiance ... he believes he can satisfy this honorable Court that since his arrival in this Country, he has behaved himself so as to deserve a moral character, that he has been attached to the Constitution of the United States & well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same [signed] Philip Hines. Sworn to and subscribed in Open Court. Lawson Henderson, Clerk of Lincoln Co. Superior Court, vouches for Philip Hines good moral character.

Lincoln Co. Superior Court Minutes October Term 1821.

Application of James Jeffries for Citizenship. He was born in the Island of Aldernay in the Realm of England on 6 August 1800 and is now twenty-one years of age. He arrived at Philadelphia 25 May 1817 four years & four months ago and has resided in the United States ever since, the last two years in North Carolina.

Lincoln County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions, October Sessions 1814.

George HARMAN brought into Court John ELLENBARGER about seventeen years & two months old that was previously bound to him to learn the trade of a blacksmith. It appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that the said boy was of a slender & weakly constitution, it was ordered by Court that John Ellenbarger be bound unto Leonard CLINE to learn the tailor's trade. Said CLINE agreed to have the boy taught to read & write & all other things required by Law & to give him a decent suit of clothes at the expiration of his apprenticeship.

January Sessions 1875.

Allowances to Widows. Ordered by Court that Michael Cline Esqr., John Yoder, Adam Gross & Christian Hawn lay off & alot to the widow HINKLE wife of Anthony HINKLE dec'd. one year's provision for herself & family agreeable to Act of Assembly & make return to next Court. Order issued.

January Sessions 1815.

Orders for Settling Deceased Persons' Property. Ordered by Court that the Administrator of John LEWIS decd. put to sale at publick auction a Negro Man Person belonging to said Estate. Order issued.

January Sessions 1815.

Ordered by Court that the Sheriff of Lincoln County summon a Jury of good & lawful men who shall be slaveholders to appear on Friday of the present term to try a Negroe Man Slave the property of John ALEXANDER for a Felony. Order issued.

January Sessions 1815.

Ordered by Court that a notice issue to Catherine BUMGARNER, wife of John BUMGARNER deceased, to appear at next Court & shew cause if any she hath why her children should not be bound out. Order issued.

January Sessions 1815.

Appointment of Road Overseers. Ordered that John WHITE, Tanner, be Overseer of the Charleston Road from the Widow DAVISES until the forks of the roads leading to DAVIS Ferry on Broad River. Order issued.

January Sessions 1815.

The nuncupative Will of Ann TUCKER deceased, dated the 21st day of May 1814, was produced in Court by Robert CHERRY & admitted to probate.

April Sessions 1815.

Deposition. State of North Carolina, Lincoln County} This day came before me a subscribing Justice of said County, David FOWLER & made oath in due form of law and saith that he new [knew] Isaac GRIFFITH at the time he moved off, to own four head of cattle, the one a large brown cow a large bell on & a white face, also a small brindle cow & one other black cow, with a large star on her face & also another calf nearly a year old of a dark dun color & a heifer, which cattle said Deponant sayeth that he assisted said Griffith in driving when he moved & he the Deponant further saith that he frequently heard that said cattle was taken up by Joseph MEHAFFY which cattle said Deponant saith that he saw Isaac Griffith drive the same cattle back again in the course of the following Spring & saith no more. [signed:] David Fowler. Sworn to & subscribed before me this 21st day of January 1815, Joseph Fisher, Justice of the Peace. Ordered by Court that Joseph MEHAFFY the taker up of the aforementioned cattle be released from the payment of the same. Order issued.

July Sessions 1815.

Ordered by Couirt that Charles, Elizabeth, Moses, Tempy, Philip G. & Thomas BUMGARNER, orphan children of Jno. Bumgarner decd., be bound unto Catherine Bumgarner & Fredk. WARD until they shall arrive at lawful age who are bound to learn them to read & write & have the boys learned trades.

July Sessions 1815.

Ordered by Court that Polley BENNET, an orphan daughter of Wm. Bennet deceased, four years & four months old be bound unto Robert McCULLOCK until she shall arrive to lawful age. McCullock to give her a bed & furniture & spinning wheel at the expiration of her time & all other things required by Law.

July Sessions 1815.

Ordered by Court that Lawson TAYLER, an illegitimate son of Rachel MAPLES, four years & six months old that was bound to Thomas Maples, be given up & bound to Benjamin TAYLOR until he shall arrive to lawful age to learn the trade of blacksmith & said Taylor is to give him $60.00 worth of blacksmith's tools at the expiration of his time & all other things as required by law.

July Sessions 1815.

John ROBERTS SNR. to whom Jno. Roberts Jnr., a base born child of Fanny FOX, was bound this term until he arrive to the age of 21 years, came into Open Court & offered to enter into bond with Vardry McBee & Lawson Henderson as Security that said child should not be removed out of this County until he arrives to said age. It was then admitted by Court that this bond might be entered into after Court.

July Sessions 1815.

On motion of Thomas Williamson Esqr., it was ordered by Court that a Writ of Inquiry issue directing the Sheriff to summon a Jury to inquire whether Dicy EDWARDS is a lunatic [senile]. Which Jury was sworn & charged and find that she is not of sound mind & incapable of the management of her own affairs. Ordered by Court that John HAYS be appointed Guardian to Dicy Edwards an Idiot. Hays came into Open Court & gave bond with Samuel McKEE Equire as Security in the sum of fifty pounds. [at the same session, a later order:] It appearing to the Court that Dicy Edwards has no personal property, therefore, ordered by Court that her tract or parcel of land lying in said County supposed to be about 28 acres be sold by her guardian or committee of lunacy for the most that it will sell for to be appropriated towards her maintenance & that he [guardian] make return & account with this Court as to how he has disposed of the same & applied the same. Order issued. 


A Sample of a 1784 Lincoln County Criminal Action contributed by Kathy Sullivan.

        During the course of proceedings in the County Court of Pleas & Quarter
Sessions, a variety of loose papers were created.  The papers include documents
of evidence (such as depositions, promissory notes, letters), orders issued out
of the County Clerk's office (such as Writs of Arrest, Writs of Attachment,
Orders to sell land to satisfy debts), and many, many other kinds of papers.
The loose papers are filed at North Carolina Archives under the classification
"Civil Action Papers" or "Criminal Action Papers."
        These records have not been microfilmed, and are not indexed (they are filed by
date).  The only publication of Lincoln County's civil action papers is by Anne
Williams McAllister and Kathy Gunter Sullivan, "Civil Action Papers 1771-1806 of
the County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions, Lincoln County, North Carolina"
(by compilers: 1989).
        The following excerpt is #1053a from the McAllister-Sullivan book and is
typical of the kinds of charges instigated near the close of the Revolutionary
War. The originals of these papers are filed at North Carolina Archives under
call number CRX 298.
        A bit of explanation may be helpful.  Robert Walker has reported that Zachariah
Spencer has made treasonous statements.  When illegal actions come to the
attention of the authorities, it is the State's duty to prosecute the
        State's Attorney Spruce McCay prepared a Bill of Indictment for presentation to
the Grand Jury.  Bills of Indictment always have very strong language as you
will see in this one.  The Jurors will hear the testimony of Robert Walker.
Walker is the private citizen who reported Spencer's statements, thus he is
referred to as "the prosecutor."  This term does not refer to a County solicitor
- it always refers to the informant.  In addition to Walker's testimony, other
witnesses were subpoenaed.  They were William Moore and Joel Jetton.
        After hearing the evidence and debating its merits the Grand Jury may
pronounce the Indictment "A True Bill" which means there is sufficient evidence
to prosecute.  This is not a pronoucement of guilt or innocence; it is only an
evaluation of the evidence.  If the Grand Jury pronounces the Indictment "Not A
True Bill" then they are unconvinced that the evidence is sufficient to go to
trial.  You will see the phrase "Sworn & Sent."  This means that the Clerk
of County Court has sworn in the Jurors and they have been sent to the jury room
to make their deliberations.

The State v. Zachariah SPENCER: Indictment Misdemanor. To April Sessions 1784,
Lincoln Co. [meaning "for return to April Sessions 1784 of Lincoln Co. Court."]
Prosecutor: Robt WALKER
Witnesses: Robert WALKER, Wm MOORE, Joel JETON.
        The Jurors present upon their oath that Zachariah Spencer, yeoman, being a
wicked, pernicious & seditious man & a person of depraved, impious mind & of a
seditious disposition & conversation & contriving & practising & falsely,
diabollically, maliciously, turbently [turbulently] & seditiously intending the
peace & common tranqulity of our State & Government to disquiet, molest &
disturb & bring to our Government hatred, contempt & scandal with the good &
faithful citizens & to scandalize & vilify our most happy Government & the
public credit & faith to ruin & distroy & to vilify, scandalize & depreciate our
lawful money did on 30 March 1784 in the presence & hearing of divers good &
faithful citizens did say, assert, affirm & pronounce with a loud voice in
English words the following, to wit: that he would not have our lawful money,
that it was worth nothing & they may be damned that made it - meaning our
General Assembly & that they had no authority. . . [signed:] Spruce MCCAY,
Attorney for the State.
Sworn & Sent, Jo. DICKSON, C.C. [Clerk of County Court]
[The Jurors have found the evidence convincing.  The foreman has written their
opinion on the cover of the Indictment and has signed his name, as follows:]
A True Bill. Edward HUNTER, Foreman
==[End of Bill of Indictment]==

        Zachariah Spencer had been brought into Court at April Sessions, and notified
of the charges against him.  Spencer was ordered to appear at Court the next day
to hear the results of the Grand Jury's deliberations.  Spencer had the choice
of remaining in jail overnight or of posting bond guaranteeing his attendance.
Surety on Spencer's Recognizance Bond was William Varner.  But Spencer failed to
appear at Court the next day, as did his surety Mr. Varner, therefore, both men
were liable for the amounts of the Recognizance Bond.  The next document is a
Writ issued by the Clerk of County Court ordering the Sheriff to notify Spencer
and Varner that, unless they can show good cause, they must each pay the sums
guaranteed by their bonds.  The Sheriff must have witnesses when he serves the
Writ, and these witnesses were Joel Jetton and James Hunt.

State vs Zak SPENCER & Wm VARNER: Sciri Facias to July Sessions 1784.
        Whereas Zachariah Spencer, Planter, was bound in Recognisance on 6 April in
Open Court in 100 & Wm Varner his Security in 50 to be void on condition that
Spencer appear Wednesday the next day & answer a Bill of Indictment against him
by the Grand Jury on which day Zachariah Spencer was solemnly called & failed to
appear & therefore forfeited his Recognizance & William Varner as Secuity being
called failed to surrender up the principle [Zachariah Spencer], therefore his
Recognizance of 50 is forfeited; make known to Zachariah Spencer, principle, to
appear at Court at Henry DELLINGER's on the first Monday in July to show caws
why he shall not pay to us the sum of 100 & allso Wm Varner to shew caws why he
shall not pay unto us the sum of 50 & have you the names of the men before whom
you shall have maid these presents known, [signed] Joseph DICKSON, Clerk at
Office 10 April 1784.
[Here is the Sheriff's report:]
Made known to Wm Varner in presence of Joel JETTON & James HUNT.  Zachariah
Spencer not found, [signed] Jo. HENRY, Sheriff.
==[End of Writ of Scire facias]==

        To learn what happened in the action against Zachariah Spencer, a researcher
can consult the files of criminal action papers at North Carolina Archives, and
the Appearance, Trial, and Execution Dockets of the County Court.
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Derick S. Hartshorn - 2008
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