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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.

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Richmond Hill Law School

by Wilson Angley, 2006

Richmond Law School Building, built ca. 1861. Courtesy of NC ECHO. Richmond Hill Law School in what became Yadkin County was established about 1846 by Judge (later Chief Justice) Richmond M. Pearson, who had conducted an earlier school in nearby Mocksville. Until Pearson's death in 1878, the school was one of the preeminent law schools in the state, its only true rival being Judge William Horn Battle's school in Chapel Hill. Instruction at Richmond Hill was offered both to students studying for their county court licenses and to more advanced students preparing for practice in the superior courts. The mode of instruction was rigorously Socratic, involving intensive discussion of both the law and its underlying principles. Pearson himself claimed to have instructed "more than a thousand law students" at Mocksville and Richmond Hill, many of whom achieved distinction in the legal and political life of North Carolina and the nation.


Wilson Angley, Richmond M. Pearson and the Richmond Hill Law School (1978).

Fannie M. Farmer, "Legal Education in North Carolina, 1820-1860," NCHR 28 (July 1951).

Council S. Wooten, "A Famous Old Time North Carolina Law School," North Carolina Journal of Law 2 (1905).

Additional Resources:

"Historic Richmond Hill Law School." Yadkin County, NC (accessed June 19, 2024).

Richmond M. Pearson, NC Highway Historical Marker M-12:

Image Credit:

Richmond Law School Building, built ca. 1861. Courtesy of NC ECHO. Available from (accessed November 7, 2012).

Richmond Pearson, judge, established the Richmond Hill Law School. Image courtesy of North Carolina State Archives. Available from (accessed November 7, 2012).

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