High Tides is a publication of the Hyde County Historical & Genealogical Society that has been published semi-annually since 1980. Thanks to them for allowing us to publish excerpts from past issues that pertain to the Historic Courthouse. You may visit ncgenweb.us/hyde/HYDE.HTM for a list of publications of the Hyde County Historical & Genealogical Society.

Courthouse, 1761 (Spring 1980 High Tides)


The following is an abstract of the oldest original document (located and transcribed by Ellen Williams) still on file in the Court House:

George the Third by the Grace of God, of Great-Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, Etc.

To Our Trufty and Well-beloved James _____, John Swann, John Dawson, Lewis DeMofset, John (Milisat?), Edward Brice Dobbs, Richard Skaighton, Charles Berry & Maurice Moore Esquires Members of our Council in our said province and to WILLIAM HARRIS, THOMAS SMITH, THOMAS BARROW, RICHARD HARVEY, EDWARD MC SWAIN, JOHN LOCKHART, BENJAMIN MASON, JOHN WEBSTER, THOMAS JORDAN, GEORGE BARROW, SAMUEL SMITH, ROBERT GIBBS, RICHARD WILKINSON, THOMAS JONES, (more names mentioned but obliterated)

Know ye, That we have affigned you, and every of You, jointly and feverally, our Juftices, to keep our Peace in our County of Hyde... you, or any Three of you, shall hold and keep a Court in our faid County Four Times in the Year on the First Tuesday in March, June, ...

Witness our Trufty and Well-beloved ARTHUR DOBS, Efq, Captain General, and Governor in Chief, in and over our faid Province, at _____under his Hand, and the Seal of our faid Province, the 23rd Day of A(pril?) in the _____ Year of our Reign, Anno Domini 1761.

Courthouse, 1836-1987(Fall 2006, Fall 2007, Fall 2008 High Tides)

[The Fall 2006, Fall 2007, and Fall 2008 issues of High Tides contain extensive research by Richard B. Lupton regarding Hyde County Public Buildings, including the Hyde County Courthouse, from the antebellum and civil war years through 1987. Instead of excerpting the information on the Hyde County Courthouse, Lupton's entire findings are available below. The reader will need to search through each publication to find references to the Hyde County Courthouse - and along the way will find research on other Hyde County buildings and infrastructure that may be of interest too!]

Hyde County Public Building and What Went on Inside: The Antebellum and Civil War Years (Fall 2006 High Tides)

Hyde County Public Buildings and the Public Infrastructure: 1865-1929 (Fall 2007 High Tides)

Hyde County Public Buildings and the Public Sector Infrastructure: 1930-87 (Fall 2008 High Tides)

Courthouse, 1832/1855/1891 (Fall 1984 High Tides)

[This High Tides article was prompted by a 1984 face-lift to the Hyde County Courthouse and the Jail facility that was undergoing a major renovation. The Editors had also discovered Grand Jury Reports which reported on the past condition of these and other facilities.]

...Circa 1835, that part of Hyde County west of the Pungo River was annexed to Beaufort County. Soon afterward the county seat was moved once again. In March, 1837, Nathaniel Credle sold two acres in Swan Quarter to the Justices of the County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the County of Hyde for the purpose of erecting a courthouse and jail for the county...

...J. G. Jarvis, Justice of the Peace for Buildings, reported in August 1855, that the public buildings in the county were uncomfortable, unsafe, and in a wastening condition. He also recommended that the inside of the courthouse be repaired and a lightening rod be put in a proper place and in proper order. He suggested that the public grounds be fenced in and shade trees set out for the comfort of the citizens and security of the grounds.

In 1891, the Grand Jury Foreman I. B. Watson reported the courthouse was too small for the comfortable accommodations of its citizens who have to meet there for the transaction of business and recommended it be enlarged...

Courthouse, 1913-1915 (Fall 1985 High Tides)

How about a look back almost 100 years as to what Swan Quarter and the area around the Historic Courthouse looked like? This issue of High Tides has 3 wonderful maps of Swan Quarter circa 1913-1915 as recalled by Dick Lupton, along with a 5-page key that details the maps. Click here for a look!

Courthouse, 1916-1918 (Fall 1985 High Tides)

[This High Tides article by Merlin Berry consists of excerpts from the 1916-18 diary of his grandfather, Charles Clary Brothers.]

...Court days were important as social occasions. Hotels looked forward to increased business, goods were sold around the courthouse to raise money for various causes, and visiting judges and lawyers were expected to deliver orations, usually on the subjects of patriotism and Christianity. The most notable person to visit Hyde were generally those associated with law and politics, one of the best connected being Judge Frank Daniels, brother to Josephus Daniels, at the time Secretary of the Navy. Ex-Governor W. W. Kitchin also spoke once in this period.

On April 13, 1917, Mr. Brothers recorded a historic event, ...the first Hyde Co. Commencement for the Colored people. Prof. N. C. Newbold of Raleigh delivered a good, practical, interesting, address, after I (Brothers) let in prayer. There is a splendid and creditable exhibit, by the colored schools, in the Court House..

this same issue for High Tides has 3 wonderful maps of Swan Quarter circa 1913-1915as recalled by Dick Lupton

Courthouse, 1976 (Spring 1980 High Tides)

In 1976, employees at the Hyde County Court House were deluged with mail from individuals all over the country searching for their "Roots." With the permission of various County offices, Ellen A. Williams and Betty S. Mann began answering correspondence dealing with genealogy. At first it was such fun that no charges were made other than those for copies of records. After they realized they were expending much of their family wealth in paper, postage, time, etc., they decided to charge a nominal fee for searching the records.

Courthouse, 1955/1999/2003/1976 (Fall 2004 High Tides)

[This issue of High Tides was devoted to Hyde County's hurricane history. While there have been many hurricanes throughout the years, these excerpts were the only ones we found that specifically mentioned the courthouse.]

Hurricane Ione - September 19, 1955

...Some trees were blown over during the storm and water was standing at 12 inches in the courthouse...

(Note: There were also two very good photographs of Swan Quarter and the courthouse that had been provided courtesy of Richard Lupton. We are trying to get copies to post on this website.)

Hurricane Floyd - September 16, 1999

...Swan Quarter was hit like never before. The courthouse was heavily damaged by the deep water that entered the building. Nearly every structure in the downtown area was flooded. Homes were destroyed and millions of dollars of property damages left its mark on the town. Water rose to the depth of twenty-eight inches in the offices of the Hyde County Board of Education.

Hurricane Isabel - September 18, 2003

...It was reported that tidewater washed over the top of the stop sign near the Hyde County courthouse. The courthouse suffered great damage and at the present time one year later remains unsafe for occupancy. Even though the courthouse is several steps off the ground, flood waters entered the first floor and rose to damage items left for safekeeping on tops of desks in the Register of Deeds office.

Courthouse offices were scattered to various places in the county wherever facilities could be found. Later modular building were brought to the former O. A. Peay School campus to house some of the county officials...