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Abolished Counties: Glasgow County

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If your ancestors came to North Carolina in the 1600s, there is a good chance they lived in an abolished county at some point. Some abolished counties, such as Glasgow County, were created after 1700. As genealogy researchers, we are taught when boundaries change and new counties are formed records created in the original county stay there rather than moved to the new county; however, that leads to the question of what happens with records created in abolished counties.


Map of NC counties in 1791 with Glasgow County in Blue

Glasgow County shaded in blue

Glasgow County Formation and Records

Let’s take a look at Glasgow County, created in 1791 from Dobbs County. The County was abolished only eight years later in 1799. Greene County was created in 1799 from Glasgow County. Unfortunately, there was a court house fire in 1876 in Greene County that destroyed any records from Glasgow County.

Heritage of Glasgow County

Glascow County was named for James Glasgow, who was Secretary of the State of North Carolina 1777-1798. When James Glasgow became involved in land fraud, the name changed to Greene County in honor of Nathanael Greene, a highly respected General of the Revolutionary War.

Neighboring counties going clockwise from the North were: Edgecombe, Pitt, Craven, Lenoir, and Wayne Counties. In 1793, Glasgow gave a small southwestern corner to Wayne County; it remained unchanged as Glasgow County until it was abolished.

Although there are no surviving county records for Glasgow County, there are some state records. The State Archives of North Carolina has records on state land grants, including land fraud records. The Government and Heritage Library also has one book on land entries in Glasgow County. Come visit us and read the book!

Further Reading

Corbitt, David Leroy. The Formation of North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943. Raleigh, NC: State Department of Archives and History, 1987.

Guide to County Records in the North Carolina State Archives. Raleigh, NC: Office of Archives and History, 2009.

Leary, Helen. North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996.

Long, John H. (ed), and Gordon DenBoer (comp.). North Carolina: Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1998.

Mitchell, Thornton W. North Carolina Wills: A Testator Index, 1665-1900. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992.

Powell, William S. and Michael Hill. The North Carolina Gazetteer: A Dictionary of Tar Heel Places and Their History. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010. (Note: This is also available online through NCpedia)

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