Governor Pat McCrory will participate Saturday, May 18, 2013, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Edenton’s 300th Anniversary events commemorating the formation of North Carolina and the appointment in 1713, by Her Majesty Queen Anne, of Charles Eden as Governor. The public festivities will begin with the arrival of Governor Charles Eden (interpreter, in colonial attire) aboard the historic replica sailing boat Silver Chalice (from Roanoke Island Festival Park). “Governor Eden” and Governor McCrory will meet, board horse-drawn carriages and make their way to the 1767 Courthouse Green to share the Celebration and honor the many contributions made by Edenton’s founders.
The 1767 Chowan County Courthouse Green is the site of North Carolina’s first Assembly building and a National Historic Landmark. The program on the Courthouse Green will include the keynote address by Governor McCrory and his presentation of an official Proclamation honoring Edenton’s 300th Anniversary. Several Secretaries of North Carolina departments of government as well as locally elected officials will join the Governor during the program. Chowan County student winners of three essay writing contests will receive awards from the Governor.
Earlier that morning, around 10:30 a.m., citizens assembled at the Courthouse green will witness events comparable to what they would have seen during the colonial era, including interactive demonstrations by descendants of the Meherrin Tribe native to the Chowan River area. Tribe members will share Indian exhibits, music, dance and demonstrations. Meherrin Chief Wayne Brown of Ahoskie will present a brief historical overview of the local tribe and introduce Meherrin Tribal Chiefs from Virginia and North Carolina who are joining him.
Colonial-attired guides will add flavor to the gathering as they distribute schedules of the day’s momentous occasion. Three hundred peals of local church and Courthouse bells will follow and short musical selections will precede the official program at noon. The music will be provided by a brass quintet composed of students from the East Carolina University School of Music.
Beginning around 11 a.m., food and beverage vendors will be set up along the Green. Following the Anniversary Meeting of the Governors event, visitors and residents are encouraged to tour all of Edenton’s Historic Sites, for FREE, throughout the afternoon. When visiting the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse and waterfront, be sure to look for the
Silver Chalice. The Lighthouse was relocated to Edenton’s harbor and is expected to be accessible for the first time since the renovation and relocation.
History has been made for three centuries at Edenton and much of it in the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse. Thirty-eight-year old James Iredell, Sr. practiced law in the building before he was appointed by President George Washington as a member of the very first U.S. Supreme Court. Hugh Williamson delivered one of the key addresses that led to North Carolina ratifying the draft U.S. Constitution on the steps. Many say Penelope Barker gathered her friends from throughout the region to sign her petition to King George in this Courthouse. The event later came to be called the Edenton Tea Party. The 1767 Courthouse is one of only five remaining Colonial Period courthouses in the United States, and is the oldest still in use in the nation. It still hears federal, state,and county cases. On May 8 the North Carolina Supreme Court sat in the courthouse and heard oral arguments in three cases to honor Edenton’s 300th anniversary.
Saturday evening the Governor will attend a private dinner hosted by the Edenton Historical Commission at Hayes Planation.
Citizens from around the state are encouraged to meet the 1713 Royal Governor Charles Eden and the 2013 North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory as they come together to celebrate 300 years of history in what Forbes.com calls “One of America’s Prettiest Towns,” Edenton, North Carolina.
Historic Edenton and Roanoke Island Festival Park are both units of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more information on North Carolina arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online.