The Assemblies under the Lords Proprietors - Prior to the Split in 1729

Although Carolina was originally conceived as a single colony to be governed as a single colony, this was never the case from the very beginning.

On September 8, 1663, the Lords Proprietors instructed Governor William Berkeley of Virginia (and one of the original Lords Proprietors) to inaugurate a government in Albemarle. Sometime in the fall of 1664, the Lords Proprietors commissioned William Drummond as the first governor of Albemarle for three years - no copies of this commission exist. Drummond's successor, Samuel Stephens, was appointed in October of 1667, indicating that Drummond was most likely commissioned in October of 1664.

On January 7, 1665 (one source asserts in was January 11th), John Yeamans was commissioned as governor of Clarendon County along the Cape Fear River. This short-lived county established a legislature and an Executive Council of six members in 1666, but was abandoned by August of 1667 due to utter destruction by a very large hurricane. No known copies of any legislative actions exist to this day, nor are the names of those elected to this early and short-lived assembly.

On February 6, 1665, the "Grand Assembly" of Albemarle County met for the first time. The place chosen for the first meeting of this Assembly was a little knoll overlooking Hall's Creek in what soon became Pasquotank County, about a mile from Nixonton, the small town that was chartered nearly a hundred years later. The names of all members are not currently known. George Catchmaid (aka George Catchmeyd) was the first known Speaker of the Assembly in 1666. Although no copy has survived, the first known "Act" of the General Assembly was passed - most likely - in September of 1666, prohibiting the sowing, planting, or in any way tending tobacco from February 1, 1666/67 to February 1, 1667/68. This was because there was a glut of tobacco on the market and prices were at an all-time low.

On July 26, 1669, the Lords Proprietors commissioned John Yeamans again as the "Governour of all that Territory, or part of the Province of Carolina that lies southward and westward of Cape Carteret." (Cape Carteret was later renamed to Cape Romain.) He sailed from England in January of 1670 in three ships with about 150 settlers, and they landed first at Bermuda, where Yeamans appointed William Sayle governor in his stead - Yeamans went on to Barbados. The 150 settlers with Gov. William Sayle first landed at Port Royal, then proceeded to the Ashley River and established the town of Charles Town at Albemarle Point in April of 1670. To date, this Author has not found any information on the Charles Town assemblies prior to 1692. If I find them, I will add them on the page linked below.

NC Assemblies - 1663 to 1729

SC Assemblies - 1670 to 1729


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