The Royal Colony of North Carolina

13th House of Burgesses - 1753-1754

The 13th House of Burgesses during the Royal Period met in two sessions. The first session met in New Bern from March 29th to April 12, 1753. The second session met in Wilmington from February 19th to March 9th in 1754.

Some historians assert that these were the twelfth and thirteenth sessions of the 8th House of Burgesses under Royal Governor Gabriel Johnston. Governor Gabriel Johnston died on July 17, 1752. His successor, President Nathaniel Rice died on January 28, 1753. With the reins of the government now held by President Matthew Rowan, this Author considers this to be the 1st (and only) House of Burgesses under President Matthew Rowan.

On August 31, 1753, President Matthew Rowan and his Executive Council issued a proclamation to prorogue the General Assembly until November 27th and for it to meet on that date in New Bern.

On September 26, 1753, President Mattew Rowan and his Executive Council issued a proclamation to prorogue the General Assembly until the third Tuesday in February of 1754, and for them to meet in Wilmington.

On May 17, 1754, President Matthew Rowan and his Executive Council prorogued the General Assembly until the fourth Tuesday of September and for them to meet in New Bern at that appointed time.

On September 28, 1754, President Matthew Rowan and his Executive Council issued a proclamation to prorogue the General Assembly until the fourth Tuesday in March next. They actually met on December 12, 1754 under Governor Arthur Dobbs (next House of Burgesses).

Orange County was established in 1752. Rowan County was established in 1753. Both sent their first delegates to this House of Burgesses.

Election District


Anson County

Caleb Howell

Charles Robinson

Beaufort County

John Barrow

Wyriot Ormond

Bertie County**




Bladen County

William Bartram

Joseph Clark

Carteret County

Thomas Lovick

Joseph Bell

Chowan County**






Craven County

James Macilwean

Joseph Bryan

Currituck County**






Duplin County

Francis Brice

William Houston

Edgecombe County

John Haywood / Thomas Kerney (1)

Joseph Howell / Thomas Kerney (1)

Granville County

William Eaton

Robert Harris

Hyde County

James Caleb

Samuel Sinclaire

Johnston County

John Herring

John Smith

New Hanover County

John Ashe

Rufus Marsden

Northampton County

John Dawson

James Washington

Onslow County

John Starkey

Samuel Swann*

Orange County
(created in 1752)

Josiah Dickson

Mark Morgan

Pasquotank County**






Perquimans County**






Rowan County
(created in 1753)

John Brandon (2)

James Carter (2)

Tyrrell County**

Stephen Lee***

William MacKay***




Town of Bath

Michael Coutanch***

Town of Edenton

Samuel Stillwell***

Town of New Bern

Unknown / Vacant

Town of Wilmington

Lewis Henry De Rosset (3) / Cornelius Harnett (4)
* Samuel Swann was elected Speaker of the House. William Herritage was appointed Clerk.

** Delegates were refused their seats in this General Assembly.

Governor Gabriel Johnston had ordered that all counties would now be limited to just two delegates and issued a Writ of Election directing all sheriffs to do this. Those northern counties affected by this (Bertie, Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Tyrrell) refused to recognize the authority of this change and decided to send five delegates. But, these were not allowed by the House of Burgesses, now in the control of the southern counties. Both factions appealed to the Crown, and while this appeal was pending, none of the northern delegates were seated. The Crown eventually ruled in favor of the northern counties and their five delegates appeared in the General Assembly held in New Bern on December 12, 1754.

*** Taken into custody by the Serjeant-at-Arms for refusal to qualify, sit, and vote. Related to ** directly above.
(1) Thomas Kerney was elected to replace either John Haywood or Joseph Howell in the previous assembly. This Author has yet to learn which one gave up their seat in that assembly, so both are carried forward to this one.
(2) John Brandon and James Carter took their seats at the beginning of the second session (February 19, 1754).
(3) Lewis Henry De Rosset gave up his seat in the House of Burgesses to accept a seat on the Executive Council in early 1753.
(4) Cornelius Harnett was elected to replace Lewis De Rosset and he took his seat at the beginning of the second session (February 19, 1754).
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