Welcome to Historic Glasgow County (1791-1799)



Present-day Greene County evolved from its ancient parent, Craven County, which was subdivided in 1746 to form Craven, Johnston, and Dobbs counties. Dobbs was, in turn, subdivided in 1779 to form Wayne County. In 1791, Dobbs was dissolved when Glasgow and Lenoir were formed. Glasgow was short-lived, as it was renamed Greene County in 1799.

Glasgow County had been named for Secretary of State James Glasgow. The son of a Scottish minister, Glasgow was educated at William and Mary College.[1] He was active in the revolutionary cause in North Carolina, and in December 1776, was rewarded by the last of the state's provincial congresses with the office of Secretary of State.

James Glasgow (c. 1735-1819) served as the first North Carolina Secretary of State, from 1777 to 1798. In 1791, while he was still serving as Secretary of State, the state legislature named a county after him. He resigned in disgrace after a scandal known as the "Glasgow Land Fraud".

The name was changed to Greene, for Nathanael Greene, Gen. George Washington's second in command. Greene is ranked by many as the second greatest soldier of the American Revolution, next to Washington himself. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Guilford Court House, helping to save North Carolina from the British.

In 1811 Snow Hill was founded to be the site of the courthouse and today is still the county seat. Greene County is in the eastern section of North Carolina with neighboring counties being Lenoir, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson.

The county is transversed by Contentnea Creek which played a major role in its development. Large enough to navigate, the surrounding lands had been occupied by the Tuscarora Indians, explored by John Lawson in the early 1700s; later attracted farming settlers to its fertile ground.  From
The 1895 Atlas Project. Courtesy of Pam Rietsch.

In 1876, a fire in the Greene County courthouse, destroyed all records up to that time, except for one 1868 Will Book; all Glasgow County records housed there were among those lost. There are, however, some State level records that exist in the North Carolina State Archives, state land grants. The State Library's, Government and Heritage Library, has one book of land entries, ""State of North Carolina entries of claims for lands within the county of Glasgow, 1790-1797", by Wm. L. "Bill" Murphy.


From David L. Corbitt's "The Formation of North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943", Glasgow County:

...the said county of Dobbs be divided, by running a direct line from where the dividing line between the said county of Dobbs and Wayne county crosses Bear Creek, to the head of Wheat swamp, a little above Richard Hodges’s, then down said Wheat-swamp to William Killpatrick’s, and from thence a direct line to the Craven county line, opposite the mouth of Little Contentney; and that all that part of the late county of Dobbs, lying south and southeast of the said lines, he held and deemed a distinct county, by the name of Lenoir: And that all the remainder of the said late county of Dobbs, lying north and north-west of the aforesaid lines, be held and deemed a distinct county, by the name of Glasgow...
Part of Glasgow was annexed to Wayne in 1793.
...beginning where the Wayne county line crosses the south prong of Bear-creek, then down the said south prong to the fork, then up the north prong to where the Wayne county line crosses the same, and then with the said county line to the beginning, be added to and made a part of Wayne county.
Greene County was formed in 1799 from Glasgow.
...That from and after the passing of this act, the county of Glasgow shall be called and known by the name of Greene county...

Glasgow County links and information:

1. Marker F-66 with Land Fraud essay

2. Marriage and Notices from Raleigh Register and North Carolina State Gazette, 1799-1813 [1825]

~Pasteur, Dr. James of Raleigh to Miss Shephard of Glasgow County, Nov. 14. R. R. Dec. 3, 1799.



Contact: NCGenWeb State Coordinator

Last updated:  August 26, 2017