Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A Rare Survival

Treasures from the Kellenberger Room

Featuring books, pamphlets, photographs, documents, and the occasional object from the collections of the New Bern-Craven County Public Library

by John B. Green III

Land grant from the Lords Proprietors to
Christopher Gale, June 11, 1720

The earliest era of North Carolina's permanent settlement, 1663-1729, is known as the Proprietary period.  This period derives its name from the eight Lords Proprietors, wealthy and influential men who had helped Charles II regain the throne of England.  In gratitude, King Charles granted the province of Carolina to these men along with various rights including that of issuing grants to others.  Of all the thousands of land grants issued during this sixty-year period, most survive only as official clerk's copies in bound volumes.  The original documents, which would have gone to the new owners of the land, have in most instances long since vanished.  We are indeed fortunate, therefore, to have in our collection, an original land grant from 1720, signed by the governor and various members of his council on behalf of the Lords Proprietors, and bearing their seal.

Seal of the Lords Proprietors
The grant for 640 acres (one square mile) of land along the Neuse River "a Little belowe hanging point" was originally granted in 1707 to William Brice who then sold the land to Thomas Urquehart.  Urquehart died without heirs and the property reverted to the Lords Proprietors who on June 11, 1720 granted it to Christopher Gale, chief justice of the province. The document bears the signatures of Governor Charles Eden and Thomas Pollock, President of the Council, along with five other councilmen and officials.

Signature of Thomas Pollock, President of the Council

Signature of Governor Charles Eden