Local News

Archaeologists dig for original Edenton courthouse

Posted July 28

— In the earliest days of the North Carolina colony, justice was meted out in Chowan County in a wood-frame courthouse. In 2014, a team of archaeologists will try to find out exactly where in the Courthouse Green that namesake stood.

Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz, along a team from New South and Associates and local volunteers will spend the week using ground-penetrating radar in hopes of finding some evidence to add to the historical site.

For Madison Phillips Jr., the quest is personal. "I Was raised on the corner, the next corner, right behind the courthouse," he said.

Records dating from the early 1700s point to a courthouse in use for about 50 years, until the "new" courthouse opened in 1767.

"We know there was a courthouse," Mintz said. "We will try to determine the exact location."

Karen Ipock, manager of the Historic Edenton State Historic Site, said, "It would be nice to know more about how the original building functioned, the exact site and size, and about the foundation. We know the Courthouse Green has always been a center of activity where the militia drilled, markets were set up on court days, and town gatherings were held, so we hope for evidence of these activities as well."

Phillips is philosophical about the outcome. "Whatever we uncover, we uncover," he said.

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