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13,554
2,322
7,035

10,772
7,859

4,656
3,191

4,677

5,814

68,434

1,528

4,601

8,911

12,896

18,514

5,185

10,956

22,889

2,567

4,848

5,126
2,013
3,724
19,910
2,795

11,073
8,608
20,593
14,303
15,194

8,759
9,581
4,443
8,058
6,633

9,255

1,896

5,016

904

10,949

7,706
76,434
4,819
3,297
6,607

12,871
8,368

10,622
3,593
4,074



1,035,768 958,551



1,182,800 830,045



1,151,049 864,459



1,076,216



Election Results 949

TABULATION OF VOTES FOR STATE OFFICERS
IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS SINCE 1964

1964

First Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

L. Richardson Preyer 281,430

Dan K. Moore 257,872

I. Beverly Lake 217,172

Kidd Brewer 8,026

Bruce Burleson 2,445

R. J. Stansbury 2,145

Robert L. Gavin (R) 53,145

Charles W. Strong (R) 8,652

Don Badgley (R) 2,018

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Robert W. Scott 308,992

H. Clifton Blue 255,424

John R. Jordan, Jr 140,277

Clifton Lee Bell (R) 40,143

Robert A. Flynt (R) 14,640

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

Frank Crane 348,453

Frank Castlebury 140,350

John B. Warden, Jr 116,676

FOR COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE

Edwin S. Lanier 398,428

John B. Whitley 135,384

John N. Frederick 83,970

John C. Clifford (R) 41,238

Ralph B. Pfaff (R) 13,943

Second Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

Dan K. Moore 480,431

L. Richardson Preyer 293,863

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Robert W. Scott 373,027

H. CHfton Blue 359,000



950 North Carolina Manual

TABULATION OF VOTES FOR STATE OFFICERS
IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1968

FOR GOVERNOR

Robert W. Scott 337,368

J. Melville Broughton, Jr 233,924

Reginald Hawkins 129,808

James C. Gardner (R) 113,584

John L. Stickley (R) 42,483

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

H. Patrick Taylor, Jr 481,035

Mrs. James M. Harper, Jr 148,613

Frank M. Matlock 52,686

Trosper Noland Combs (R) 33,268

Don H. Garren (R) 98,437

FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

Robert Morgan 353,522

WadeBruton 240,975

FOR STATE TREASURER

Edwin Gill 405,650

SneedHigh 187,625

FOR SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

A. Craig Phillips 220,473

Raymond A. Stone 186,647

Everette Miller 95,835

William D. Harrill 49,880

Wendell W. Smiley 28,640

FOR COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE

Edwin S. Lanier 337,331

George A. Belk 88,485

John B. Whitley 86,863

Fred Benton 76,479

Everett L Peterson (R) 77,697

Carl W. Rice (R) 49,775

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

Frank Crane 363,671

John B. Waddell 180,099



Election Results 951

TABULATION OF VOTES FOR STATE OFFICERS
IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1972

First Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

Hargrove Bowles 367,433

Zebulon V. K. Dickson 4,470

Reginald Hawkins 65,950

Wilbur Hobby 58,990

Gene Leggett 6,352

Hoyt P. Taylor, Jr 304,910

Thomas E. Chappell (R) 957

James C. Gardner (R) 84,906

Leroy Gibson (R) 1,083

James E. Holshouser, Jr. (R) 83,637

Bruce E. Burleson (A) 251

Arlis F. Pettyjohn (A) 335

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Allen C. Barbee 51,602

Reginald L. Frazier 43,228

Margaret Harper 151,819

James B. Hunt, Jr 329,727

Roy Sowers, Jr 177,016

Norman H. Joyner (R) 51,354

John A. Walker (R) 99,361

FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

ThadEure 471,848

Louis M. Wade 212,278

FOR STATE TREASURER

Edwin Gill 494,498

JackTurney 145,711

FOR SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

John H. O'Connell 215,740

A. Craig Phillips 436,970

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

John S. Blanton, Jr 69,413

John C. Brooks 145,059

William C. Creel 298,124

Phillip Ellen ; 27,586

Robert C. Folger 60,558

John B. Waddell 42,401



952 North Carolina Manual

TABULATION OF VOTES FOR STATE OFFICERS
IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

FOR COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE

George A. Belk 132,070

George B. Cherry, Jr 104,490

Johnny R. Clark 72,041

Cecil Duncan 37,853

John R. Ingram 156,463

E. Russell Secrest 161,966

Second Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

Hargrove Bowles 336,034

Hoyt P. Taylor, Jr 282,345

James C. Gardner (R) 68,134

James E. Holshouser, Jr. (R) 69,916

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

John C. Brooks 251,293

William C. Creel 297,339

FOR COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE

John R. Ingram 283,810

E. Russell Secrest 270,809

1976

First Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

Jeter Barker, Jr 5,003

James B. Hunt, Jr 362,102

Edward M. O'Herron, Jr 157,815

Thomas E. Strickland 31,338

George Wood 121,673

J. F. Alexander (R) 16,149

David T. Flaherty (R) 57,663

Wallace E. McCall (R) 4,467

Coy C. Privette (R) 37,573

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Waverly Akins 75,647

C. A. Brown, Jr 23,078

James C. Green 174,764

Herbert L Hyde 58,775

John M. Jordan 89,959

Howard N. Lee 177,091

Kathryn M. McRacken 25,926



Election Results 953

TABULATION OF VOTES FOR STATE OFFICERS
IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR - continued

E. Frank Stephenson 13,833

William S. Hyatt (R) 61,830

Odell Payne (R) 38,145

FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

George W. Breece 288,858

ThadEure 323,578

C. Y. Nanney (R) 34,304

Asa T. Spaulding, Jr. (R) 58,778

FOR STATE AUDITOR

Henry L. Bridges 270,751

Walter E. Fuller 72,126

Lillian Woo 245,697

FOR STATE TREASURER

Harlan E. Boyles 320,751

Lane Brown 227,480

Jack P. Jurney 29,223

J. Howard Coble (R) 62,437

George B. McLeod (R) 34,160

FOR SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

Benjamin Currin 230,160

A. Craig Phillips 357,136

FOR COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE

John Ingram 353,697

Joseph E. Johnson 228,866

Jerry L Waters 35,344

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

John C. Brooks 191,160

R. J. Dunnagan 106,925

Virgil McBride 58,720

Jessie Rae Scott 210,984

Second Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

David T. Flaherty (R) 45,661

Coy C. Privette (R) 29,810

F^OR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

James C. Green 292,362

Howard N. Lee 229,195



954 North Carolina Manual

TABULATION OF VOTES FOR STATE OFFICERS
IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

FOR STATE AUDITOR

Henry L. Bridges 251,615

Lillian Woo 228,813

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

John C. Brooks 240,579

Jessie Rae Scott 231,578

1980

First Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

James B. Hunt, Jr 524,844

Robert W. Scott 217,289

Harry J. Welsh 11,551

C. J. Carstens (R) 28,354

I. Beverly Lake, Jr. (R) 119,255

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

James C. Green 367,964

Clyde Pulley 13,192

Carl J. Stewart, Jr 341,257

FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

ThadEure 397,782

George W. Breece 267,360

FOR STATE AUDITOR

Edward Renfrow 247,993

W. S. Chestnut 172,965

J. E. B. Davis 157,849

FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

Harold Covington (R) 56,017

Keith S. Snyder (R) 72,201

FOR COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE

John Ingram 370,204

James E. Long 155,126

Roy H. Rabon, Jr 50,963

W. Kenneth Brown 116,367

FOR SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

Trosper N. Combs 118,374

Craig PhilHps 525,128

FOR ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF SUPREME COURT

J. Phil Carlton 145,142

Ottway Burton 430,701

FOR STATE AUDITOR

Edward Renfrow 119,629

W. S. Chestnut 71,919



Election Results 955

TABULATION OF VOTES FOR STATE OFFICERS
IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1984

First Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

J.A. Barker 3,148

Rufus Edmisten 295,051

D.M. Faircloth 153,210

Thomas O. Gilmore 82,299

James C. Green 80,775

Robert L. Hannon 9,476

John Ingram 75,248

H. Edward Knox 249,286

Glenn Miller 5,790

J.D. Whaley 1,516

Ruby T. Hooper (R) 11,640

James G. Martin (R) 128,714

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Robert B. Jordan, III 450,487

Stephen S. Miller 37,573

Carl J. Stewart, Jr 393,018

John H. Carrington (R) 35,106

Wiliam S. Hiatt (R) 27,600

Frank Jordan (R) 40,257

Erick Little (R) 3,406

Barbara S. Perry (R) 24,355

FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

ThadEure 491,162

Betty Ann Knudsen 340,046

FOR COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE

James E. Long 501,076

Billy Martin 260,555

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

Richard W. Barnes 295,286

John C. Brooks 358,651

Donald E. Wiseman 96,803

1984
Second Primary

FOR LIEUTENAN r GOVERNOR

John H. Carrington (R) 23,648

Franklin Jordan (R) 17,502

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

Richard W. Barnes 257,683

John C. Brooks 311,426



956 North Carolina Manual

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE PRIMARY ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1988
First Primary

FOR GOVERNOR

Carroll W. Crawford 21,844

Bruce A. Friedman 9,876

Robert B. Jordan, III 403,145

James Lloyd 10,438

Billy Martin 60,770

FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Robert L Hannon 18,291

Harold W. Hardison 132,878

Parks Helms 94,549

Frank Jordan 48,222

Tony Rand 219,511

Bill Boyd (R) 19,802

Jim Gardner (R) 107,171

Wendell H. Sawyer (R) 7,905

FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

Dan Bell 62,918

Rufus L Edmisten 317,970

Wayne S. Hardin 43,472

Brad Miller 71,792

John H. Carrington (R) 75,688

Ray Warren (R) 46,140

FOR STATE AUDITOR

JohnReavill 83,234

Edward Renfrow 343,287

FOR SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

BobEtheridge 277,070

Norman Jarrad 50,953

Henry McCarthy 101,576

Thomas F. Paquin (R) 40,723

Tom Rogers (R) 71,817

FOR COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

Robert Bingham 108,512

John C. Brooks 278,182

Jack Weaver 51,873

Richard D. Levy (R) 62,824

Joseph R. Overby (R) 48,068



Election Results 957

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1964

1964

Governor

Dan K. Moore (Democrat) 790,343

Robert L. Gavin (Republican) 606,165

Lieutenant Governor

Robert W. Scott (Democrat) 815,994

Clifford Lee Bell (Republican) 526,727

Secretary of State

Thad Eure (Democrat) 809,990

Edwin E. Butler (Republican) 503,932

Auditor

Henry L. Bridges (Democrat) 789,721

Everett L. Peterson (Republican) 503,488

Treasurer

Edwin Gill (Democrat) 801,958

Charles J. Mitchell (Republican) 502,977

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Charles F. Carroll (Democrat) 828,608

Attorney General

Wade Bruton (Democrat) 792,902

T. Worth Coltrane (Republican) 506,878

Commissioner of Agriculture

James A. Graham (Democrat) 803,373

Van S. Watson (Republican) 498,364

Commissioner of Labor

Frank Crane (Democrat) 824,693

Commissioner of Insurance

Edward S. Lanier (Democrat) 804,459

John C. Clifford (Republican) 501,349



958 North Carolina Manual

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1968

Governor

Robert W. Scott (Democrat) 821,233

James C. Gardner (Republican) 737,075

Lieutenant Governor

H. Patrick Taylor, Jr. (Democrat) 801,955

Don H. Garren (Republican) 646,643

Secretary of State

Thad Eure (Democrat) 792,406

John East (Republican) 637,095

State Auditor

Henry L. Bridges (Democrat) 777,672

Theodore C. Conrad (Republican) 625,052

State Treasurer

Edwin Gill (Democrat) 788,602

Clyde R. Greene (Republican) 623,527

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Craig Phillips (Democrat) 795,402

Joe L. Morgan (Republican) 621,488

Attorney General

Robert Morgan (Democrat) 798,160

Warren H. Coolidge (Republican) 616,372

Commissioner of Agriculture

James A. Graham, Jr. (Democrat) 787,179

Claude L. Greene, Jr. (Republican) 621,032

Commissioner of Labor

Frank Crane (Democrat) 781,547

R. K. Ingle (Republican) 620,901

Commissioner of Insurance

Edwin S. Lanier (Democrat) 794,081

Everett L. Peterson (Republican) 625,592



Election Results 959

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1972

Governor

Hargrove Bowles (Democrat) 729,104

James E. Holshouser (Republican) 767,470

Arlis F. Pettyjohn (American) 8,211

Lieutenant Governor

James B. Hunt, Jr. (Democrat) 812,602

John A. Walker (Republican) 612,002

Benjamin G. McLendon (American) 8,865

Secretary of State

Thad Eure (Democrat) 765,386

Grace J. Rohrer (Republican) 603,226

State Auditor

Henry L. Bridges (Democrat) 743,827

L. Norman Schronce (Republican) 586,522

State Treasurer

Edwin Gill (Democrat) 748,846

Theodore C. Conrad (Republican) 612,691

Superintendent of Public Instruction

A. Craig Phillips (Democrat) 771,328

Carl Eagle (Republican) 589,486

Attorney General

Robert Morgan (Democrat) 813,545

Nicholas A. Smith (Republican) 565,296

Commissioner of Agriculture

James A. Graham, Jr. (Democrat) 761,734

Kenneth H. Roberson (Republican) 580,628

Commissioner of Labor

William C. Creel (Democrat) 756,384

Frederick R. Weber (Republican) 585,059

Commissioner of Insurance

John R. Ingram (Democrat) 771,846

L. W. Douglas (Republican) 573,129

Michael Murphy (American) 11,055



960 North Carolina Manual

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1974

Attorney General

Rufus L. Edmisten (Democrat) 618,046

James Carson (Republican) 390,626

Marion Porter (American) 13,318



Election Results 961

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1976

Governor

James B. Hunt, Jr. (Democrat) 1,081,293

David T. Flaherty (Republican) 564,102

H. F. Seawell, Jr. (American) 13,604

Lieutenant Governor

James C. Green (Democrat) 1,033,198

William S. Hiatt (Republican) 521,923

Arlis F. Pettyjohn (American) 9,152

Secretary of State

Thad Eure (Democrat) 1,031,472

Asa T. Spaulding, Jr. (Republican) 508,108

T. M. Long (American) 11,125

State Auditor

Henry L. Bridges (Democrat) 1,037,090

Michael A. Godfrey (Republican) 466,350

State Treasurer

Harlan E. Boyles (Democrat) 1,037,156

J. Howard Coble (Republican) 489,768

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Craig Phillips (Democrat) 1,007,318

Evelyn S. Tyler (Republican) 524,691

Arthur G. Nuhrah (American) 8,076

Attorney General

Rufus L. Edmisten (Democrat) 1,066,036

Edward L. Powell (Republican) 489,132

Commissioner of Agriculture

James A. Graham (Democrat) 1,053,650

Kenneth H. Roberson (Republican) 460,735

Edwin B. Drury (American) 9,017

Commissioner of Insurance

John Ingram (Democrat) 1,048,527

Edwin Tenney (Republican) 500,222

Commissioner of Labor

John C. Brooks (Democrat) 900,317

T. Avery Nye (Republican) 645,891

Robert W. Bennett (American) 7,487



962 North Carolina Manual

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1980

Governor*

James B. Hunt, Jr. (Democrat) 1,143,143

Beverly Lake (Republican) 691,449

Bobby Y. Emory (Libertarian) 9,951

Lieutenant Governor

James C. Green (Democrat) 942,549

William Cobey, Jr. (Republican) 814,082

Craig Franklin (Libertarian) 14,998

Secretary of State

Thad Eure (Democrat) 983,888

David T. Flaherty (Republican) 709,374

State Auditor

Edward Renfrow (Democrat) 952,157

James F. Mclntyre (Republican) 684,538

State Treasurer

Harlan E. Boyles (Democrat) 1,067,205

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Craig Phillips (Democrat) 1,087,166

Attorney General

Rufus Edmisten (Democrat) 1,067,080

Keith S. Snyder (Republican) 636,168

Commissioner of Agriculture

James A. Graham (Democrat) 1,102,719

Commissioner of Insurance

John Ingram (Democrat) 1,007,012

Edwin W. Tenney, Jr. (Republican) 714,308

Commissioner of Labor

John C. Brooks (Democrat) 1,067,679



^Socialist Worker candidate Douglas A. Cooper received 2,887 votes.



Election Results 963

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1984

Governor

Rufus Edmisten (Democrat) 1,011,209

James G. Martin (Republican) 1,208,167

H. Fritz Prochnow (Libertarian) 4,611

Gregory McCartan (Socialist Worker) 2,740

Lieutenant Governor

Robert B. Jordan (Democrat) 1,149,214

John H. Carrington (Republican) 990,728

Secretary of State

Thad Eure (Democrat) 1,166,538

Patric Dorsey (Republican) 910,249

State Auditor

Ed Renfrow (Democrat) 1,094,147

James E. Hicks (Republican) 922,623

State Treasurer

Harlan E. Boyles 1,235,060

Attorney General

Lacy H. Thornburg (Democrat) 1,114,767

C. Allan Foster (Republican) 920,665

Superintendent of Public Instruction

A. Craig Phillips (Democrat) 1,133,306

Gene S. Baker (Republican) 900,546

Commissioner of Agriculture

James A. Graham (Democrat) ., 1,202,951

Leo Tew (Republican) .' 842,729

Commissioner of Labor

John C. Brooks (Democrat) 1,114,863

Margaret F. Plemmons (Republican) 908,636

Commissioner of Insurance

James E. Long (Democrat) 1,103,587

Richard T. Morgan (Republican) 934,902



964 North Carolina Manual

TABULATION OF VOTES CAST IN
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1964 (Continued)

1988

Governor

Robert B. Jordan, III (Democrat) 957,687

James G. Martin (Republican) 1,222,338

Lieutenant Governor

Tony Rand (Democrat) 1,044,917

Jim Gardner (Republican) 1,072,002

Secretary of State

Rufus L. Edmisten (Democrat) 1,082,533

John H. Carrington (Republican) 1,004,660

State Auditor

Edward Renfrow (Democrat) 1,035,768

Edward Gardner, Jr. (Republican) 958,551

State Treasurer

Harlan E. Boyles (Democrat) 1,056,215

Nancy Lake Coward (Republican) 938,374

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Bob Etheridge (Democrat) 1,076,216

Tom Rogers (Republican) 910,494

Attorney General

Lacy H. Thornburg (Democrat) 1,142,777

Sam Wilson (Republican) 887,132

Commissioner of Agriculture

James A. Graham (Democrat) 1,182,800

Leo Tew (Republican) 830,045

Commissioner of Labor

John C. Brooks (Democrat) 1,069,358

Richard D. Levy (Republican) 918,475

Commissioner of Insurance

Jim Long (Democrat) 1,151,049

H.L Rednour (Republican) 864,459



PART VIII



North Carolina
County Government



CHAPTER ONE
County Government

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Early Beginnings

In pre-Revolutionary North Carolina the county was the primary pohtical,
as well as geographical unit. The colony relied heavily upon the county for
administration of local government. Justices of the peace, as a body or court,
administered the affairs of the county. These were men of standing and most
often men of substance, and generally the leaders in their communities.
Independence from England brought no major changes in this system. In the
early days of statehood, justices were appointed by the governor to serve for
good behavior; however, in making his appointments the governor relied on
recommendations from the General Assembly. The members of the legislature
from a given county had a powerful voice in the selection of justices of the peace
for their county. This appointment input also gave legislators a good deal of
influence in the government at the county level.

As a group justices of the peace in a county formed a court known as the
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. Any three justices, sitting together,
constituted a quorum for the transaction of business. It was common practice
for the justices to meet each January, select a chairman, then elect five of their
number to hold the regular sessions of the court for the year. During its early
existence, the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions appointed the county
sheriff, the coroner, and constables. Later these offices became elective
positions with the sheriff and coroner elected from the county at large and
constables from captain's districts (a militia-mustering area). Justices of the
peace were also responsible for appointing a clerk of court, a register of deeds, a
county attorney, a county trustee (treasurer), a surveyor, and overseers or
wardens of the poor.

The Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions had dual responsibilities; it
performed judicial as well as administrative functions.

The administrative duties of the justices of the peace included the assessing
and levying of taxes; the establishing and maintaining of roads, bridges, and
ferries; the granting of licenses to taverns and controlling the prices charged
for food; and the erecting and controlling of mills. Through their power of
appointment, justices supervised the work of the law enforcement officers, the
administrative officers of the court, the surveyor, and the wardens of the poor.
Taxes were collected by the sheriff.

In its judicial capacity, the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions heard civil
cases (except those assigned by law to a single justice or to a higher court). The



968 North Carolina Manual

court was responsible for probate, dower, guardianships, and the administra-
tion of estates and had jurisdiction in criminal cases in which the punishment
did not extend to life, limb, or member.

The county itself was a single political unit; there were no townships; and the
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, through its appointive and administrative
powers, exerted strong control over county affairs. However, it should be
emphasized that at this time the voters had no direct control over the court and
thus no direct control over county government. Such was the situation until the
end of the Civil War.

When the Constitution of North Carolina was rewritten in 1868, the drafters,
many of whom were acquainted with local government systems in other parts
of the country, devised a new and more democratic plan of organization for the
counties.

Although the position of justice of the peace was retained, the old Court of
Pleas and Quarter Sessions was eliminated. Its judicial responsibilities were
distributed between the justices and the North Carolina superior court. Its
administrative work was assigned to a board of county commissioners
composed of five members elected at large by the voters of the county.

The county commissioners were made responsible for public buildings,
schools, roads and bridges, and the financial affairs of the county, including
taxation. The wide appointive powers of the Court of Pleas and Quarter
Sessions were not transferred to the board of county commissioners. Instead,
the voters of the county elected the sheriff, coroner, clerk of court, register of
deeds, surveyor, and treasurer. The sheriff continued to serve as tax collector.

Each county was divided into townships - a distinct innovation - and the
voters of each township elected two justices of the peace and a clerk who served
as the governing body of the township. Under the county commissioner's
supervisor, the township board was responsible for roads and bridges and for
the assessment of property for taxation. Each township had a constable and
each had a school committee.

This long ballot system was consciously constructed to favor the Republican
Party. The support of this party lay in the newly enfranchised blacks who had
been slaves only three years before, from native whites of small means who
had opposed secession and remained loyal to the Union throughout the Civil
War, and from a relatively small number of prominent citizens who believed
that the state's shattered fortunes could be recovered only through cooperation
and understanding between the races and accommodation with the dominant
national political party. The ballot was intended to destroy forever the political
power of the landowners, professional people, and merchants who had
dominated state government, and thus local government under the old system,
for nearly a century. Although most of the people were disenfranchised by the
Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States because they
had "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given
aid or comfort to the enemies thereof by actively supporting the Confederacy,
they formed a new political party called the Conservative Party devoted to
restoring as much of the pre-war social and governmental system as was
possible under the circumstances. The new system of county government
contained in the Constitution of 1868 became one of their targets.



History of County Government in North Carolina 969

Seven years after the Constitution of 1868 established the county com-
missioners and township systems, pohtical control shifted to the conserva-
tives. At a constitutional convention in 1875, the Constitution of North
Carolina was amended to authorize the General Assembly to modify the plan
of county government established in 1868. The legislature was quick to exercise
its authority in this matter. The board of county commissioners was not
abolished, but members were to be chosen by the justices of the peace of the
county rather than by the people at large. While the commissioners retained
their responsibilities, decisions on matters of substance could not be put into
effect without the concurrence of a majority of the justices - all of whom were
elected by the legislature. The justices were made responsible for conducting all
elections. In more than a few counties, the board of commissioners was also
made subject to legislative appointment.

This bobbing arrangement lasted for twenty years. In 1895, the right of the
people to elect county commissioners was restored in most counties, and the
necessity for approval of the board's decisions by the justices of the peace was
repealed. Townships were stripped of their powers, but they were retained as



Online LibraryNorth Carolina. Secretary of StateNorth Carolina manual [serial] (Volume 1989-1990) → online text (page 83 of 88)