North Carolina - Key State Documents

The Colonial and State Records of North Carolina

The primary documents of North Carolina's history from 1662 to 1790 were transcribed and compiled into two state-sponsored publications, The Colonial Records of North Carolina and The State Records of North Carolina.

The Colonial Records of North Carolina were issued in ten (10) volumes from 1886 to 1890 and were edited by William L. Saunders, Secretary of State of North Carolina from 1879 to 1891. This important set of books contains transcribed versions of documents found both within North Carolina and in England, covering the period of 1662 to 1775. Mr. Saunders kept numerous documents in his office - the Secretary of State was responsible for safekeeping the records of the General Assembly and other government departments at this time in history. Some records were retained in the court houses of older counties such as Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Chowan. Original documents in England were kept mostly in the Public Records Office in London and were transcribed under the direction of W. Noel Sainsbury, keeper of the records and an editor of the documentary series Calendar of State Papers, Colonial.

The State Records of North Carolina were published in sixteen (16) volumes between 1895 and 1905 and were compiled and edited by Walter Clark, a sitting Justice (1889 to 1903) of the North Carolina Supreme Court and then Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court (1903 to 1924). Many of these documents were maintained in various state offices, and Mr. Clark traveled outside of North Carolina to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC, in search of others. Additionally, repositories in England, particularly the Public Records Office, furnished a number of important documents.

Stephen B. Weeks, a former professor at Trinity College and collaborator with Mr. Clark in the collection of material to be printed, prepared a four-volume index to both series, which was published between 1909 and 1914. These indexes proved to be invaluable in helping later researchers.

Legislative authorization for publication of these valuable records came in 1881 in the form of a resolution prepared by William L. Saunders and endorsed by Governor Thomas J. Jarvis. The resolution permitted the publication of documents dating back to January 1, 1781 "belonging to the State of North Carolina" and entrusted the task to the trustees of the North Carolina State Library, two of whose three members were Mr. Saunders and Governor Jarvis. In 1883, another resolution allowed the procurement and publication of any documents of the Colonial era that were "missing from the archives of the state." In 1895 and 1901, the North Carolina General Assembly extended the terminal date for published material from 1781 to 1791 to include the 1790 U.S. Census for North Carolina.

Publication of the 28,840 pages comprising the multiple volumes of these records for the first time permitted the critical writing of the early history of the State, and the series remains to be a critical source for any serious scholarship of the period before 1790.

Since these documents are in the "public domain," and no longer under copyright protection, they have been republished in their entirety by Broadfoot Publishing Company. They offer all 30 volumes in 28 hardcopy books (the Indexes have been consolidated from four volumes down to two volumes) for $1,500.00, and they can be purchased online at:

http://www.broadfootpublishing.com

This Author has managed to find most of these important volumes online in digital form. Some have pages missing, beats me why. I created one volume (Volume XII) from scatch and it took forever to create, so I did not continue creating the other missing volumes. If I ever run across the missing volumes already digitized, I will add them here. If anyone finds a digitial copy of the missing Volume XVI online, please send me a link to it and I will go get it and add it here if that ever happens.

The University of North Carolina has all volumes transcribed into useable raw text online, and each volume can be found at:

http://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/volumes.

Finally, if you wish to view or download PDF versions of what this Author has found to date, just click on the Volume # below.

The Colonial Records of North Carolina (1662 to 1776)

Volume

From

To

Notes

I

1662

1712
Mostly Lords Proprietors' records, from the UK. 

II

1713

1728
To the end of the Lords Proprietors' rule in NC. 

III

1728

1734
Beginning of the Royal Colony under the Crown. 

IV

1734

1752
Gov. Gabriel Johnston's tenure.

V

1752

1759
Transition to Gov. Arthur Dobbs's tenure. 

VI

1759

1765
From Gov. Dobbs to Gov. William Tryon. 

VII

1765

1768
Beginnings of the Regulators movement. 

VIII

1769

1771
To the end of Gov. William Tryon's tenure. 

IX

1771

1775
Last Royal Governor - Josiah Martin.

X

1775

1776
Transition from British rule to self government. 

The State Records of North Carolina (1776 to 1790)

Volume

From

To

Notes

XI

1776

1777
With supplement of 1730 to 1776.

XII

1777

1778
 

XIII

1778

1779
 

XIV

1779

1780
Added 1/25/2016.

XV

1780

1781
 

XVI 

1782

1783
Have not found a digital version yet.

XVII

1781

1785
 

XVIII

1786

-
With supplement of 1779.

XIX

1782

1784
With supplement of 1771 to 1782.

XX

1785

1788
 

XXI

1788

1790
 

XXII

Misc

Misc
Includes Journals of the Constitutional Convention. 

XXIII

1715

1776
Laws from 1715 to 1776. Most, not all.

XXIV

1777

1788
Laws from 1777 to 1788. Most, not all.

XXV

1789

1790
Laws from 1789 to 1790. Most, not all. Plus previously-omitted laws from 1669 to 1783.

XXVI

1790

1790
1790 US Census for North Carolina, with Index.

Indexes for the Colonial and State Records of North Carolina

Volume

From

To

Notes

XXVII

A

E
Index A-E for volumes I through XXV.

XXVIII

F

L
Index F-L for volumes I through XXV.

XXIX

M

R
Index M-R for volumes I through XXV.

XXX

S

Z
Index S-Z for volumes I through XXV.


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