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Windsor Town

Windsor Town Hall is located at 128 South King Street, Windsor, NC 27983; phone: 252-794-3121.

Beginnings [1]

With Bertie County's steady growth and the subsequent development of a stable agricultural economy, the need for a town as a commercial center was clear. In 1768 the colonial Assemby established the town of Windsor on a one-hundred-acre tract of land secured from planter William Gray. The legislative act noted that "the Land of William Gray ... in Bertie County, is a Pleasant and Healthy Situation, and commodious for Trade and commerce," and that the town, located on the Cashie River, "will greatly promote the Trade and Navigation of said River." The act appointed five men as trustees to lay off the town and sell lots. The plan of the town was a simple grid, with three north-south streets, King, Queen, and York, intersected by the seven east-west streets of Water, Pitt, Gray, Dundee, Granville, Camden, and Punch. The town, consisting of 154 lots, was bounded on the south and east by the Cashie River. The buyers of the lots had three years in which to "erect, build, and finish, on each Lot so conveyed, one well framed or brick house, sixteen Feet Square at the least, and Ten Feet Pitch in the Clear, or Proportionable to such Dimensions." Only five lots were sold in the new town in 1768, but in 1773 it was noted that "several houses have been built in the said Town, especially Houses of Intertainment (sic), and sundry stores Established therein, and a good Ferry to and from the said Town." The town was incorporated by the legislature on January 6, 1787.

In 1773 ninety-four citizens of Bertie County successfully petitioned the Assembly to make Windsor the county seat, and in 1774 five commissioners were appointed by the Assembly to contract for a new courthouse and jail; the old courthouse had been located on the Cashie River a few miles north of Windsor. With its new status as the county seat, there must have been some growth in the town as twenty-four lots were sold between 1774 and 1777. This growth must have been slowed by the economic conditions caused by the Revolutionary War, for in 1777 the Assembly was petitioned to grant extensions to those who had failed to build structures on their lots within the three-year limit. The petition stated that it had been impossible for many inhabitants to build houses due to "the impossibility of securing nails and other necessary materials for building as well as from many other unavoidable hindrances occasioned by the present contest with Great Britain." These same "hindrances" delayed the construction of the courthouse itself, resulting in the granting of extensions on the contract for its construction in 1777, 1782, and 1784; it appears that Windsor's first courthouse was not finally completed until about 1785.

  1. Marshall Bullock (consultant) and Peter B. Sandbeck, Eastern Regional Supervisor, North Carolina Department of Archives and History, Windsor Historic District, Bertie County, NC, nomination documents, 1982 and 1991, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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