Oxford Public Ledger
Thursday, July 2, 1903
History Of The County.
By William H. Harrison
The history of every section of our country can but be of interest to its inhabitants. The early history of North Carolina is, for many reasons, replete with interest to the student of history; and there is, perhaps, no section of the Old North state which occupied a more enviable place in history than Granville county. This county has a record of which it should justly feel proud. Its honor able record in war, in high class citizenship, the devotion of its people to mortality, education and liberty and the noble array of its distinguished men, all combine to give the county a secure place in history of the State. This being so, will not its history-if truly and faithfully portrayed -be of interest and use to its people? Should not connected record of deeds and achievements be preserved? Believing that such a record should be kept, I have consented to write a short history of the county. Owing to the fact that little has been done to preserve a succinct account of our history and also that the data which I shall draw is so widely scattered, I shall, of necessity, have to give a somewhat fragmentary account of the events I describe.
Granville County was granted by King George II to the Earl of Granville, in whose honor the county was name, in 1744. It was at first part of Edgecombe, When first granted it embraced a very large territory, including what is now Warren and Franklin counties on the East and all the land to the Pacific Ocean on West. It may be of interest to mention here the first officers of the county, namely; Wm. Person, Sheriff; Robert Foster, Clerk; Robert Jones, Jr., King's Attorney; Wm. Eaton, Wm. Person, James Payne, Edward Jones, Edward Martin, John Wade, Lemuel Lanier, Gideon Macon, John Brantley, West Harris, Lemuel Henderson and Johnathan White, Justices of Peace. The first courts in the county were held at a private house on the farm of Mr. William Eaton. In 1749 the first court house and jail were built at a cost of 150 pounds, Virginia currency. The size of this old court house was 32 x 20 feet and 11 feet pitch. It had two windows on each side and one at each end. Like many windows in early days they were without glass and had solid plank shutters. Such a court house in our day would be a curiosity.
The jail was 20 x 10 feet, Such a jail as this would hardly accommodate the county boarders in Granville today. The court house and jail were situated in what was now Warren county, about seven miles North of Rocky Creek, near Boiling Spring.
The ground on which Oxford is located was granted Nov. 28th, 1760, by the Earl of Granville ( "by the name, stile and title of John Lord Carteret.") to William Searcy, who was a very wealthy and influential planter of that day. The tract granted consisted of 264 acres: The deed was printed in good style for that day, and although worn in two,, is still legible. It is among the records in the office of the Clerk of the Court and is a very interesting document.
The county of Bute was formed from Granville County in 1764. This county was divided into Warren and Franklin counties and the name Bute was dropped.
Granville was reduced in 1764 to its present size except the strip cut off in 1881 to form Vance County. After this was done the place for holding courts was removed two miles north of the town of Henderson on the public road leading to Oxford. Only two terms, however were held there Harrisburg was next made the county seat, where only one court was held, Oxford becoming the county seat in 1769.
(To Be Continued}
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