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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Deposition of John Wynns concerning land grants in North Carolina
Wynns, John
Volume 04, Pages 1116-1118

The Deposition of John Wynns of Bertie County Gent: being of full age and sworn on the Holy Evangelist—To the 1st Inter: saith that sometime in the Spring in the year 1741. he saw a Proclamation signed by the Gov: by which Procl: it was notifyed That all Warrants should be Petitioned for in Council and Rights proved in Council and in every thing else as this Dept believes pursuant to his Majesty's Instructions to

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the Governour in relation to the taking up of Lands and this Dept says that he observed the Gov: for a small time observe the methods prescribed by said Proclamation But soon after that method was altered and then the custom was Rights were proved in County Courts and certificates thereof transmitted to the Secretary's Office and soon after neither Rights nor Certificates were at all required and about the year 1744 and 1745 It was the general custom in the Secretary's office to which this Deponent had frequent recourse as being Depty Surveyr under George Gould Esqre (Surveyor General of North Carolina) to apply to the Secretary for Warrants for Lands and pay Fees and paid 4 Shill: Sterling per 100 acres for the Govr as Right money as it was called and sometimes the Surveyor General gave small Tickets to this Dept to survey lands for which the Dept was to have Warrants afterwards and therefore left the dates of the return blank for the Surveyr General to fill up in order to keep tally in the office having Instructions from the Surveyor General so to do with the addition of his saying, we must come date over them or be before hand with them He then speaking of Moseley as this Dept took it then by the Surveyor Generals discourse that the land officers would antedate Warrants and Grants so as to appear to be granted under his Majesty.

To the 2nd Intr This Dept says that he had several Warrants for lands in April 1745 dated the 15th day of said month and about a year afterwards had Patents for the same dated previous to the date of the Warrants particularly a Patent to Edward Roberts for 400 acres and one to Benj: Hollyman for 253. both in Bertie County and this Dept knows of no great injury received by any person on such account except that one Thomas Ryan lost a piece of land surveyed by this Dept for said George Gould Esqre Surveyr Genll in Nov: 1743 This Dept says that he this Dept has since that time seen the Patent for said Tract of Land to the said George Gould and that it bears date in July 1743.

To the 3rd Intr This Deponent says that he has at several times got Warrants and Grants for several parcells of lands without having any Rights demanded of him.

To the 4th Intr This Dept says that he does not exactly know how the Govr has exerted his authority in preventing matters coming to a fair Tryal or how he acted as to Commissrs of the Peace until the year 1741. The Govr and Council then granted a Commission of the Peace for Bertie County to sundry persons of which number Thomas Jackson was one which Commission was in this Depts hands as Deputy Clerk of the said County and that soon after another Commission came to this Depts hands both of which were dated in Sepr 1741. and from the same place (to wit)

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Welmington in which last Commissn the said Thomas Jacksons name was omitted and the names of George Gould and James McDowall. And this Dept believes George Lockhart was incerted and his Excellency the Govrs Genll custom has been to turn out Justices of the Peace peremptorily at his will and pleasure except that he gave Peter West and Mr. Buck a formal hearing and Tryal. This Dept knows not whether his Excellency the Govr has fully comply'd with an act of Assbly of this Province being an additional act for the qualification of Publick Officers but believes by the said Act no person was to be admitted into the Commissn of the Peace in this Province untill he had been a resident three years in the country where he was appointed yet contrary thereto his Excellency the Governour did appoint Will: Cathcart and George Gould Esqrs Justices of the Peace in Bertie County before they had resided three years in the Government pursuant to the said Act This Dept saith he saw the Governour at his own House without any complaint of ill usuage at the day assigned for a hearing discharge an orphan boy which was bound by the Justices of Bertie Court to Thomas Jones Esqre and order him to return to his mother. This Dept having a brother to said Orphan bound to him let him go also lest he should be compelled to it in like manner.