A History of Duplin Old Court House, North Carolina

For over twenty years the people in northern New Hanover County had to travel more than 70 miles to Wilmington if they wanted or needed to transact official business. In the 1740s, they petitioned the General Assembly for authorization to establish a new county, and by 1750 Duplin County was created out of New Hanover County. At the time Duplin County also included most of what is today Sampson County, and it stands to reason that the county seat be located as close to the geographical center of the new county as possible.

The first Justices appointed by the General Assembly in 1750 quickly decided upon the existing small town of Sarecta as their choice for the county seat, but Sarecta was closer to the eastern border of Duplin County than it was to the geographical center. After almost five years of arguing over the location, the General Assembly agreed with the new Justices to authorize the county seat to be erected on Turkey Creek and this was accomplished by June of 1755.

In 1784, Sampson County was carved out of Duplin County and the "Old Court House" was no longer at the geographical center of the newly-configured Duplin County. Consequently, everyone agreed to establishing a new Duplin Court House south of Grove Swamp, very near the center of the county.

But, Duplin Old Court House did not immediately fade away, as most old county seats did. Folks continued to do business there for well over fifty more years after the court house was removed. On September 13, 1813, the US Post Office Department granted the town of Duplin Old Court House a Post Office - and it remained in operation until it was finally closed down on November 30, 1841. The first Postmaster for Duplin Old Court House was Daniel Kenan.

In 1993, a state Historical Marker was finally erected for the first Duplin Court House beyond Warsaw. A dwelling now stands where the courthouse originally stood. And so ends the era of the first Duplin County seat and court house and its first thirty-four years of county government.

© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved