The Lords Proprietors of Carolana and Carolina

The Carolana Grant of 1629

Sir Robert Heath 

Click Here to Learn What Happened Between 1629 and 1663.

  The Original Eight (8) Lords Proprietors of 1663 of Carolina


Original Lords Proprietors' Seal

Sir John Colleton,
1st Baronet

George Monck,
1st Duke of Albemarle

Edward Hyde,
1st Earl of Clarendon

Sir
William Berkeley

John Berkeley,
1st Baron of Stratton

Sir George Carteret,
Baronet

Anthony Ashley Cooper,
1st Earl of Shaftesbury

William Craven,
1st Baron Craven

All Subsequent Lords Proprietors After the Original Eight (8)

Click Here to Learn About All of the Subsequent Lords Proprietors for Carolina.


1694 Token

On March 24, 1663, King Charles II signed the first Charter for the colony of Carolina, granting liberal authority over a gigantic tract of land in the New World to eight (8) of his strongest supporters in his restoration to the Crown after the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell's decade rule of England. These eight (8) supporters were known as Lords Proprietors, as named above.

On September 8, 1663, the Lords Proprietors instructed Governor William Berkeley of Virginia (and a Lords Proprietor) to inaugurate a government in Albemarle. Sometime in the fall of 1664, the Lords Proprietors commissioned William Drummond as governor of Albemarle for three years - no copies of this commission exist. Drummond's successor, Samuel Stephens, was appointed in October of 1667, indicating that Drummond was most likely commissioned in October of 1664.

On January 7, 1665 (one source asserts in was January 11th), John Yeamans was commissioned as governor of Clarendon County along the Cape Fear River. This short-lived county established a legislature and an Executive Council of six members in 1666, but was abandoned by August of 1667 due to total destruction by a very large hurricane.

On February 6, 1665, the "Grand Assembly" of Albemarle County met for the first time. The place chosen for the first meeting of this Assembly was a little knoll overlooking Hall's Creek in Pasquotank, about a mile from Nixonton, the small town that was chartered nearly a hundred years later. The names of all members is not currently known. George Catchmaid (aka George Catchmeyd) is the first known Speaker of the Assembly in 1666. Although no copy has survived, the first known "Act" of the General Assembly was passed - most likely - in September of 1666, prohibiting the sowing, planting, or in any way tending tobacco from February 1, 1666/67 to February 1, 1667/68. This was because there was a glut of tobacco on the market and prices were at an all-time low.

On June 30, 1665, King Charles II signed the second Charter for the colony of Carolina, increasing its size on the northern and southern borders, primarily due to the fact that it was along the northern border where a considerable number of people, former Virginians, already lived. This gave the eight (8) Lords Proprietors an existing citizenry to be able to tax.

In 1666, Sir John Colleton, 1st Baronet was the first of the original Lords Proprietors to die. His share was inherited by his eldest son, Sir Peter Colleton, 2nd Baronet.

On July 26, 1669, the Lords Proprietors commissioned William Sayle as the "Governour of all that Territory, or part of the Province of Carolina that lies southward and westward of Cape Carteret." He sailed from England in January of 1670 in three ships with about 150 settlers, first landed at Port Royal, then proceeded to the Ashley River and established Charles Town at Albemarle Point in April of 1670.

In 1669, the Lords Proprietors drafted the Fundamental Constitutions, and they were soon dispatched to a group planning to settle in South Carolina. These found their way to Albemarle County in January of 1670, well before Charles Town was settled later that year. On March 1, 1670, the second and "official" set of the Fundamental Constitutions was issued and were soon transmitted to Carolina. These were never fully embraced by either colony, but they did shape the early history of Carolina. These Fundamental Constitutions envisioned a central government controlled by the Lords Proprietors, and a hereditary nobility in each colony to lead Freeholders who were to have a limited role. Leetmen (serfs) were to have no part in the provincial government.

A key section of the Fundamental Constitutions made it clear that if one of the Lords Proprietors should live in Carolina, then he would be named the governor. Next in line would be the eldest Landgrave, then the eldest Cacique, then the eldest Baron. These seemingly minor rules would come to haunt the Lords Proprietors over the first few decades of their tenure, and by 1698, the Fundamental Constitutions were essentially tossed aside.

Another key section of the Fundamental Constitutions provided that each of the Lords Proprietors were to select a "Deputy" to serve and act on their behalf in the colony of Carolina. Of course, since there were two separate governments starting in 1670 with the settling of Charles Town, each of the Lords Proprietors were to select a Deputy for Albemarle County and another Deputy for Charles Town. In the beginning, these deputies had various duties, but these duties quickly evolved into these appointees becoming the "Executive Council" appointed to advise the governor, and to serve as the "Upper House" in a somewhat-bicameral General Assembly for each section of Carolina. The "Executive Council" was required to meet at least monthly when the General Assembly was not in session, and to serve as a "Court of Chancery" at least monthly. These "Executive Council" members also evolved into the "high court" for each colony - first known as the "Palatine's Court," then becoming the "General Court." Later, real judges/justices were appointed to these higher courts.

Also included in the Fundamental Constitutions, the Lords Proprietors agreed that the "eldest living of the Lords Proprietors" would be styled and titled as "Palatine," that is, the leader of the group of eight (8) Lords Proprietors. He would be succeeded, only upon his death, by the next eldest of the Lords Proprietors. On March 1, 1669, the first Palatine named was George Monck, Duke of Albemarle.

On October 21, 1669, six (6) of the eight (8) Lords Proprietors met at "the Cockpitt" and assigned titles/duties to themselves:

- George Monck, Duke of Albemarle - Palatine
- William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven - High Constable
- John Berkeley, 1st Baron of Stratton - Chancellor
- Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Ashley - Chief Justice
- Sir George Carteret, Baronet - Admiral
- Sir Peter Colleton, 2nd Baronet - High Steward

Upon the death of George Monck, Duke of Albemarle on January 3, 1670, John Berkeley, 1st Baron of Stratton was named as the second Palatine. Sir Peter Colleton resigned as High Steward and was elected as Chancellor, in room of Berkeley. Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle inherited his father's share of Carolina.

In early 1672, there were talks among the Lords Proprietors that Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia, would consider accepting all of Albemarle County as his portion of Carolina and relinquish his title to the remainder of the colony. This potential agreement was discussed and negotiated for several years and in 1674 it almost happened, but by October of 1676 it was completely dismissed. The citizens of Albemarle County soon learned of this as well as rumors that the King wanted Albemarle County to revert back to Virginia - and they were very upset of these rumors.

On December 9, 1674, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his eldest son, Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon.

On July 9, 1677, Sir William Berkeley died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his wife, Lady Frances Berkeley.

On August 28, 1678, John Berkeley, 1st Baron of Stratton died, and his share of Carolina was purchased by John Archdale on behalf of his son, Thomas Archdale. Sir George Carteret, Baronet was named as the third Palatine.

In 1679, Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon sold his share of Carolina to Seth Sothel, who later came to Carolina as Governor of Albemarle, then Governor of Charles Town. He was kicked out of the government of both colonies.

On January 14, 1680, Sir George Carteret, Baronet died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his eldest son, Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet Carteret. William Craven, 1st Baron Craven was named as the fourth Palatine.

On January 21, 1683, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his eldest son, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 2nd Earl of Shaftesbury.

In December of 1683, Lady Frances Berkeley sold her share of Carolina to four current Lords Proprietors - Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle, Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet Carteret, Sir Peter Colleton, 2nd Baronet, and William Craven, 1st Baron Craven - and they put this share in a trust, which was managed by Thomas Amy. Many historians seem to omit the fact that Thomas Amy was only the manager and not one of the official Lords Proprietors.

On October 6, 1688, Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle died in Jamaica, leaving no heir. After a lengthly court battle, his share of Carolina was given to a kinsman, John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath, in 1694 (see below).

On March 24, 1694, Sir Peter Colleton, 2nd Baronet died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his eldest son, Sir John Colleton, 3rd Baronet. This son was a very wealthy businessman and he hired William Thornburgh to represent his Carolina interests in London from 1694 to at least 1701, and perhaps longer.

In 1694 (sometime after August 31st - he signed a letter on that date), Seth Sothel died in North Carolina. His heirs sold his share of Carolina to James Bertie and Henry Bertie, both minors, and their share was held in trust and managed by Hugh Watson until they reached maturity. In the mid-1720s, this share was assigned to James Bertie as the sole owner (Henry was given another share that was acquired later).

It was in 1694 that John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath, won his court battle and became the owner of Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle's share of Carolina.

On September 22, 1695, Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet Carteret died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his eldest son, John Carteret, 2nd Baronet Carteret (and later 2nd Earl of Granville).

In 1696, Thomas Archdale sold his share of Carolina to Joseph Blake, a wealthy South Carolina landholder.

On April 9, 1697, William Craven, 1st Baron Craven died as a bachelor, the longest-living of the original Lords Proprietors and Palatine. His share of Carolina was inherited by his grand-nephew, William Craven, 2nd Baron Craven. John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath was named the fifth Palatine.

Sometime during 1697, the Lords Proprietors decided that Seth Sothel's share of Carolina was theirs and the sale of that share to James Bertie and Henry Bertie, held in trust by Hugh Watson, was not proper, so they decided to assign Sothel's share to themselves, again in a trust to be managed by Thomas Amy. This was contested by the Bertie brothers and was not resolved at the time the Crown purchased Carolina in 1728/1729.

On November 2, 1699, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 2nd Earl of Shaftesbury died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his eldest son, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury. Since this heir was a very sickly man, he authorized his brother, Maurice Ashley, to represent him at all meetings with the Lords Proprietors on Carolina business until his death in 1713.

In 1700, Thomas Amy gave his share of Carolina (the Edward Hyde, Henry Hyde, Seth Sothel share) to his daughter Ann Amy, who was married to Nicholas Trott. This share was contested by the Lords Proprietors who claimed that Thomas Amy was merely a "trustee" for them and he had no right to give or sell this share to anyone. This share's ownership was not resolved at the time the Crown purchased Carolina in 1728/1729.

On September 7, 1700, Joseph Blake died in South Carolina, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his infant son, Joseph Blake, Jr. His mother, Elizabeth Blake, managed this share until he reached maturity. She also authorized Maurice Ashley in London to sign key documents on his behalf.

On August 22, 1701, John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his second son, John Grenville, 1st Baron of Granville of Potheridge, who also became the sixth Palatine.

In 1704, Thomas Amy died and his alleged share of Carolina (the William Berkeley, Lady Frances Berkeley share) was inherited by his son, Thomas Amy, Jr.

In 1705, the Lords Proprietors decided that Thomas Amy's claim for the Berkeley share was incorrect since he was merely a "trustee" for them and he had no right to give or sell this share to anyone. The Lords Proprietors then sold this share to John Archdale (his second purchase). This share's ownership was not resolved at the time the Crown purchased Carolina in 1728/1729.

In 1707, Thomas Amy, Jr. died, and his alleged share of Carolina (the William Berkeley, Lady Frances Berkeley share) was inherited by his two sisters, Elizabeth Amy Moore and Ann Amy who was married to Nicholas Trott. This share's ownership was not resolved at the time the Crown purchased Carolina in 1728/1729.

On December 3, 1707, John Grenville, 1st Baron Granville of Potheridge died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his wife's son by her first marriage, Henry Somerset, 2nd Duke of Beaufort. William Craven, 2nd Baron Craven was named the seventh Palatine.

In 1708, John Archdale gave his second share of Carolina (the William Berkeley, Lady Frances Berkeley share) to his daughter Mary Archdale and her husband John Danson.

On October 9, 1711, William Craven, 2nd Baron Craven died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his eldest son, William Craven, 3rd Baron Craven. Henry Somerset, 2nd Duke of Beaufort was named the eighth Palatine.

On February 4, 1713, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury died, and his infant son, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 4th Earl of Shaftesbury inherited his share of Carolina. Very soon thereafter, the infant's mother sold this share outright to the child's uncle and her deceased husband's younger brother, Maurice Ashley, who had already been managing this share for his sickly brother.

On May 24, 1714, Henry Somerset, 2nd Duke of Beaufort died, and his share of Carolina was inherited by his two minor sons - Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort, and Charles Noel Somerset (later 4th Duke of Beaufort). This share was held in trust and managed by Doddington Greville until they reached maturity. Sir John Carteret, 2nd Baronet Carteret, later the 2nd Earl of Granville, became the ninth and final Palatine.

In 1724, John Danson died, and his wife, Mary Archdale Danson sold their share of Carolina (the William Berkeley, Lady Frances Berkeley, Thomas Amy, trustee share) to James Bertie and Henry Bertie, held in trust by Hugh Watson. Sometime not long afterwards, this share was assigned to Henry Bertie as the sole owner.

In 1725, Maurice Ashley sold his share of Carolina to Sir John Tyrrell.

In 1727, Sir John Tyrrell gave his share of Carolina to his father-in-law, John Cotton, and this share was placed in a trust that was managed by Archibald Hutcheson.

In 1728, James Bertie gave his share of Carolina (the Edward Hyde, Henry Hyde, Seth Sothel share) to four young men in hopes that their stature would help to increase the potential selling price to the Crown. These four young men included his own son - Edward Bertie, Alexius Clayton, Samuel Horsey, and Henry White.

In 1728 and 1729, seven of the eight Lords Proprietors gave in to increasing pressure to sell their rights to Carolina to the Crown. John Carteret, 2nd Baronet Carteret & 1st Earl of Granville chose not to sell his share and he demanded that the Crown survey a large tract of land and give him clear deed to millions of acres in North Carolina. He appointed several "land agents" to live in his territory and to sell it off piece-by-piece until his death in 1763.

At the time that the Crown purchased Carolina, which took several years to negotiate and obtain all requisite approvals, the following names were included as "owners" - and therefore, Lords Proprietors - even though some of their claims were not necessarily appropriate:

- Sir John Colleton, 3rd Baronet
- Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort, Charles Noel Somerset (later 4th Duke of Beaufort), by Doddington Greville, trustee
- Mary Archdale Danson
- Edward Bertie
- Alexius Clayton
- Samuel Horsey
- Henry Smith
- Ann Amy Trott / Nicholas Trott
- Elizabeth Amy Moore
- James Bertie
- Henry Bertie
- Joseph Blake, Jr., by Samuel Wragg, his attorney
- John Cotton, by Archibald Hutcheson, trustee
- William Craven, 3rd Baron Craven

By an Act of Parliament in 1729, North Carolina and South Carolina were now owned and managed by the Crown - King George II - and therefore managed by his Privy Council and the Board of Trade.

The primary sources for the information within this section of this website are:

1) The Proprietors of Carolina by William S. Powell, Litho Industries, Inc., Raleigh, NC, 1963.

2) The Colonial Records of North Carolina - Volumes I, II, III, by William L. Saunders, Secretary of State, F.M. Hale, Printer to the State, Raleigh, NC, 1886.

Other sources are cited in individual webpages herein, such as wikipedia.org.


 


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