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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Chowan County Courthouse

by Deborah Joy, 2006

See also: Edenton

Chowan County Courthouse in Edenton, April 2, 1890. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC Libraries. The Chowan County Courthouse was built in 1767, after the North Carolina Assembly ordered the construction of a new courthouse in Edenton to replace the deteriorating 1719 wood frame structure. The first courthouse was located on lot 5, later known as Courthouse Square or the Green, and constructed in compliance with the Assembly's order to build "a Court House to hold the Assembly in, at the fork of Queen Anne's Creek, commonly called Matchacamak Creek in Chowan Precinct."

John Hawks, architect of Tryon Palace and other public structures in the 1760s, is believed to have been the designer of the 1767 classic Georgian-style courthouse. The original design provided a large central room with adjoining offices and a semicircular apse in the rear. The upper floor housed a large paneled meeting room used by Edenton's political leaders during the American Revolution. In 1970 the Chowan County Courthouse, the finest of its kind in the South and a key attraction in the modern Historic Edenton State Historic Site, was recognized as a National Historic Landmark.


Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).

Marc D. Brodky, The Courthouse at Edenton (1989).

Thomas R. Butchko, Edenton: An Architectural Portrait (1992).

Additional Resources:

Chowan County Courthouse:{C678AE3E-0A3B-4625-BF00-B2CE7F001780}&DE={4ED89BD2-E215-4BD4-A5CD-4039152755C8}

Edenton Historical Commission, Chowan County Courthouse:

"Chowan County Courthouse." NC Highway Historical Marker A-11, NC Office of Archives & History:

"Historic Edenton." NC Historic Sites, NC Office of Archives & History:

Sheltering a heritage: North Carolina's historic buildings, 1969, North Carolina. Travel and Promotion Division, North Carolina Digital Collections:,642434.

Image Credit:

Chowan County Courthouse in Edenton, April 2, 1890. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC Libraries. Available from (accessed November 30, 2012).


Origin - location: 

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