In recognition of the founding of North Carolina 350 years ago, the Museum & Archives of Rockingham County (MARC) held a special program at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 25. Dr. Lindley S. Butler, Professor Emeritus of History at Rockingham Community College and MARC board member, will present an illustrated lecture, “North Carolina’s 350th Birthday.”
This milestone was celebrated recently at a program in the old State Capitol in Raleigh, featuring Governor Pat McCrory, Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz, and Dr. William S. Price, former director of the Division of Archives and History.
Displayed all day in the Capitol rotunda was the original colonial charter signed on March 24, 1663 by King Charles II. The king granted to eight Lords Proprietors a vast domain that stretched from modern Virginia to Florida and west to the Pacific Ocean. Called Carolina in the king’s honor, the new province was to be settled and governed by the proprietors. Soon there would emerge North and South Carolina.
Dr. Butler has recently been called “the preeminent scholar of North Carolina’s proprietary period.” A student of the state’s early history for half a century, he has been engaged for the past five years in writing a comprehensive history of North Carolina from the 1500s to 1729, when the proprietary era ended. For the first time, he will be sharing with the public some results of his research that will change the history of North Carolina.
According to Dr. Butler, “This early period was when North Carolina’s foundation was laid, and much of what we became began then.” He adds, “Regrettably, this is the least-known era of our history. The only previous history about it was published in 1858.
“This is the most interesting period in North Carolina,” he continues. “The colony was an isolated frontier that developed local self-government, where women had considerable freedom, and where there was complete religious liberty. It also was the scene of the only successful rebellion in colonial America, the state’s most destructive war, and the exciting pirate era.”