A History of Yanceyville, North Carolina

Caswell County Court House - Yanceyville, North Carolina

The Act creating Caswell County authorized the first court to be held at the home of Thomas Douglas and it named commissioners to select a location and have a court house, prison, and stocks erected. In 1783, Leasburg was established "adjoining to where the Caswell Court House now stands."

In 1791, when Person County was formed out of Caswell County, the Act directed that court be held at the home of Joseph Smith. Also, commissioners were named in the act to erect another new court house as near the center of the county as possible. The old court house (eight years old) at Leasburg was ordered to be sold by the commissioners of Caswell and Person counties.

Just as travel made it difficult earlier to attend court at the county seat of Orange County in Hillsborough, many in what became Person County found travel to Leasburg difficult. As a result, in 1791, Caswell County essentially was divided into halves. The western half remained Caswell County; the eastern half became Person County.

Leasburg was the county seat of Caswell County for only a few years. With the revised county boundaries, a new county seat was needed more at the geographic center of the county. Leasburg, now near the border with Person County, no longer was a convenient county seat. This resulted in surveyors locating the geographic center of Caswell County.

There, at a place called Caswell Court House (initially called Caswell New Court House), the new seat of county government was created in 1792. This location eventually became named as Yanceyville in 1833, in honor of Bartlett Yancey, Jr.

The county seat since 1792, Yanceyville's National Register Historic District encompasses a magnificent antebellum court house, court house town square, and 23 other antebellum houses and buildings. The majestic court house was completed in 1861. It was the site of the murder of John "Chicken" Stephens, which eventually led to the Kirk-Holden War, and the impeachment of Governor William Holden.
As Caswell C.H., the town was granted a US Post Office on April 1, 1796, and its first Postmaster was Mr. Laurence Lea. On April 10, 1833, the US Post Office Department officially changed the name to Yancey, with Postmaster Mr. Thomas Graves. On March 2, 1835, the US Post Office Department officially changed the name again, to Yanceyville, with Mr. Thomas Graves continuing as the Postmaster. It has been in continuous operation ever since.

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