The House of Burgesses in North Carolina - 1663 to 1729

From 1663 to 1665, there were no assemblies in North Carolina because the government was transitioning from concept to reality. Since William Drummond was appointed the first governor, most likely in October of 1664, it is remotely possible that an assembly of Freeholders might have been convened during 1664. All available information, however, indicates that the first "General Assembly" was not convened until February 6, 1665 (see 1st Assembly below).

The Concessions and Agreements of 1665 spelled out a government that was fairly liberal for the time. The Governor was to govern with the advice of the Executive Council, which was originally planned to have seven members appointed as "deputies" of the Lords Proprietors. As originally conceived, a "General Assembly" (aka Grand Assembly) was to be somewhat bicameral - with the "upper House" to include the Governor and his Executive Council, and a "lower House" to include twelve member elected by the Freeholders of each county. As things evolved, the number of representatves changed over time.

Soon, the "lower House" was to be known in Albemarle County as the House of Burgesses. Some historians incorrectly refer to this group as the House of Commons, but this name was not used in North Carolina until after statehood was achieved in 1776. As the population increased, new precincts were created, but only the four original 1668 precincts of Albemarle County, i.e., Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank, and Perquimans, were allowed five representatives each. When Bath County was created in 1696, it was only authorized two representatives. For many years, all new precincts (which became known as counties in 1738) created out of Bath County were only authorized two representatives. However, new precincts/counties carved out of the old Albemarle County were authorized five representatives. This really irritated the Freeholders from old Bath County, but the Lords Proprietors did not change it while they still owned Carolina.

Per the Concessions and Agreements, the General Assembly was to have the following powers:
- To appoint their own times of meetings, how many make up a quorum, and when to adjourn (this was later changed)
- To enact and make all laws necessary, provided they are agreeable to the laws of England
- To constitute all courts for each county and determine their powers and jurisdictions (this was later changed)
- To lay equal taxes and assessments for mutual safety and defense, and to furnish with arms and ammunition
- To erect Baronies and Manors, to appoint harbors for lading and unlading goods
- To erect forts, castles, cities, towns and to incorporate with charters and priveleges
- To constitute a militia for the strength and defense and to suppress mutinies and rebellions, by land and sea
- To give naturalizations to those deemed fit
- To prescribe the amount of land allotted to all Freeholders and make rules for casting of lots and laying out same
- To provide for the maintenance and support of the governor and other costs of the government
- To collect all proper taxes and to distribute to proper government officials
- To enact and enforce all other laws necessary for the prosperity of the counties and precincts

The House of Burgesses Under the Lords Proprietors

Assembly Number*

Year(s) Met

Comments

See Map

1st

1665-1667
Under Governor William Drummond.

1664-1668

2nd

1667-1669
Under Governor Samuel Stephens.

1664-1668,
1668-1696

3rd

1670-1672
Under Governor Peter Carteret.

1668-1696

4th

1672-1676
Under President John Jenkins.

1668-1696

5th

1677
Under Gov. Thomas Eastchurch and Pres. Thomas Miller.

1668-1696

6th

1679-1680
Under President John Harvey.

1668-1696

7th

1680-1681
Under President John Jenkins.

1668-1696

8th

1682-1689
Under Governor Seth Sothel.

1668-1696

9th

1689-1690
Under Governor John Gibbs.

1668-1696

10th

1690-1694
Under President and Deputy Governor Thomas Jarvis.

1668-1696

11th

1694-1699
Under Deputy Governor Thomas Harvey.

1668-1696,
1696-1705

12th

1699-1702
Under President Henderson Walker.

1696-1705

13th

1703-1705
Under Deputy Governor Robert Daniell.

1696-1705

14th

1705-1706
Under Deputy Governor Thomas Cary.

1705-1712

15th

1706-1708
Under President William Glover.

1705-1712

16th

1708-1710
Under Pres.William Glover and Pres. Thomas Cary.

1705-1712

17th

1710-1712
Under President / Governor Edward Hyde.

1705-1712

18th

1712-1714
Under President Thomas Pollock.

1712-1722

19th

1714-1722
Under Gov. Charles Eden and President Thomas Pollock.

1712-1722

20th

1722-1724
Under President William Reed.

1722-1729

21st

1724-1725
Under Governor George Burrington.

1722-1729

22nd

1725-1731
Under Governor Sir Richard Everard.

1722-1729,
1729-1731
*The numbering is this Author's for convenience only, and is not from any official source. From all available sources found to date, since records are so scant, most historians simply used a governor's term with various dates found for known assembly gatherings during his tenure.
 

House of Burgesses Under Royal Control >>


 


© 2015 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved