Laurie and I like riding our Gold Wing motorcycle. But it is easy to get into a rut and just ride the same roads. So to force ourselves to ride to places we would not normally visit we have a goal to visit and photograph all 100 North Carolina courthouses within 1 year. This blog is about one of those visits.
Many NC courthouses were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The nomination form has some interesting facts about the various courthouse styles over the years.
Wikipedia says the following about the courthouse:
Tyrrell County Courthouse is a historic courthouse building located at Columbia, Tyrrell County, North Carolina. It was built in 1903, and is a two-story, Italianate style brick building with a hipped roof. It has gabled, parapetted wall dormers; windows with segmental and round arches; and flat roof porch supported by paired columns dated to the 1970s. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It is located in the Columbia Historic District.
The North Carolina History Project lists the following information for this county:
Formerly part of the Bertie, Chowan, Pasquotank, and Currituck Counties, Tyrrell was annexed into a separate entity in 1729 so that wetland residents might have easier access and a less arduous journey to court. The colonial legislature established the Tyrrell Precinct for the proper construction of a court, jail, and other government buildings. The county received its name in homage of Sir John Tyrrell (1685-1729), one of the earliest Lord Proprietors of North Carolina. During that time, however, King George II purchased the colony from the proprietors.
Located on the “South Shore” of the Albemarle Sound, Tyrrell’s landscape consists of various marshlands, swamps, and bodies of water. The county has been one of the least populated counties in North Carolina because the wet environment has always hindered transportation and prevented widespread home construction. Elizabeth Town, founded in 1793, was the county’s original seat of government, yet in 1801 the city was renamed Columbia. In addition to the county seat, Tyrrell has other communities and townships: Kilkenny, Frying Pan Landing, Gum Neck, Fort Landing, Newfoundland, and Woodley.
The Native American tribes of the Secota and Tuscarora originally inhabited Tyrell County. Archaeologists have discovered Indian artifacts such as pots, weapons, and other utensils that show evidence of an active Native American population before the colonial era. The villages of Mecopen and Tramaskecoc, two Secotan communities in present-day Tyrrell, seemingly thrived in the 1400s and 1500s. By the time of the creation of Bath County in the late seventeenth century European settlers started driving away the Indians from the Albemarle Sound region and present-day Tyrrell. Virginia settlers made their way down Roanoke and other coastal rivers into the North Carolina colony in the early 1700s. However, Tyrrell County was slow to develop because of the numerous bogs and swamps in the region.
Before Tyrrell was established by the General Assembly, the first settlement in the county started at Fort Landing in 1700. The Alligator and Scuppernong River, the Albemarle shoreline, as well as a number of creeks and swamplands in Tyrrell made travel and colonization an arduous process. However, several families settled on the edge of these rivers and water sources and constructed modest farms where the economy centered on subsistence farming. From the eighteenth to the early nineteenth century, fishing and farming were the two main factors in the Tyrrell economy. Several families constructed plantations in Tyrrell before the Civil War, and one of these families was the Buncombe family. Joseph Buncombe, born in the West Indies, brought his family and wealth to Tyrrell (now part of Washington County) and established Buncombe Hall in the mid-1700s. In addition to the Buncombe plantation, Dr. Godfrey Spruill traveled with his family to Tyrrell and constructed the Round About Plantation in the eighteenth century. Despite the prominence of these plantations in Tyrrell’s early economy, the structures of these plantations have not survived to the present day.
One prominent citizen from Tyrrell County was Edward Warren (1828-1893). Warren was the son of an Edenton physician, and his parents cultivated within him a love for education and for medicine. During the Civil War, Warren served as medical officer for the Confederate Navy only later to become the Surgeon General of North Carolina from 1862 until 1865. In 1875, Warren moved to Egypt to become the personal doctor for an Egyptian khedive (a governor of a province). After performing many surgeries for the Egyptian prince, Warren contracted an infection in his eyes, so he traveled to Paris, France for treatment. While there, he established a practice. He never recovered from his eye sickness, however. The Tyrell County native died in the City of Light on September 16, 1893.
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You may be interested in the next article, Union County Courthouse in Monroe, North Carolina.
The previous article is Transylvania County Courthouse in Brevard, North Carolina.
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