22 Jul 2014
The county courts of pleas and quarter sessions are the primary governing body in North Carolina counties before 1868. The minutes of these courts, which met quarterly to hear all business brought before the county justices, are frequently an invaluable source of historical and genealogical infromation. These minutes are particularly important in the study of Cabarrus history, since many important government functions are recorded only in these minutes. Apparently, the Cabarrus clerks rarely found time to record documents such as apprentice and guardian bonds, tax lists, election records, and even some wills in a separate account. In some cases, a reference in the court minutes to one of these types of documents is the only available information.
Another function of the courts of pleas and quarter sessions was the maintenance of county buildings and roads. The minutes show frequent appointments of road overseers. The county justices appointed someone who lived along the road to recruit and oversee the road crew and repairs for a particular section of the road. Generally, the road crew members lived within two miles of the road section and performed whatever repairs were needed. On July 16, 1793, the Cabarrus justices appointed the following men as overseers on the Cross Creek road:
George Bost: from Martin Stough’s for of Buffalo Creek
Charles Barnhardt: from Martin Stough’s to county line
John Barger: from fork of Buffalo Creek to Montgomery County line
William White: from Paul Phifer’s to James Scotts’
Charles Blackwelder: from James Scotts’ to forks by Martin Stough
They also appointed William Alexander overseer of the Salisbury to Charlotte road from Rocky River to the Mecklenburg Line and James Smith overseer from Coddle Creek to Rocky River.
Books on Cabarrus Pleas and Quarter Sessions are available for sale through the Cabarrus Genealogy Society’s Publications Page.
Courtesy of the Cabarrus County Public Library, Lore Local History Room