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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Craven, James

by William S. Price, Jr., 1979

d. Oct. 1755

James Craven, member of the royal council, was a native of Droughton in Yorkshire, England. Although the date of his immigration to North Carolina is unknown, he was serving as clerk of the court in Pasquotank Precinct in 1734. He was sworn in as clerk of the Chowan County court in January 1740, and the following month he was elected to the lower house of assembly from Edenton; he continued in that office for six years. In an effort to create a balance in the upper house between the northern and southern counties, Governor Gabriel Johnston in September 1751 nominated Craven, then serving as secretary of North Carolina, to the royal council. On 28 Mar. 1753, Craven presented his commission as a councilor and took the prescribed oaths. His attendance at council meetings was erratic, since he frequented only those sessions meeting in Edenton. By October 1755 he was dead.

A merchant, Craven married Penelope Hodgson of Chowan County; they had no children. He owned a farm called Pagett's Plantation in the county, and his handsome house in Edenton still stands.

References:

J. Bryan Grimes, ed., North Carolina Wills and Inventories (1912).

William S. Price, Jr., "'Men of Good Estates': Wealth among North Carolina's Royal Councillors," North Carolina Historical Review 49 (1972).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 4–5 (1886–87).

Additional Resources:

CSR Documents by Craven, James, d. 1755, Documenting the American South, UNC Libraries: https://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/creators/csr10276

Edenton (N.C.) Papers, 1717-1937 (collection no. 01910). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/e/Edenton(N.C.)Papers.html (accessed March 1, 2013).

 

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Comments

Might want to amend the statement "He was sworn in as clerk of the Chowan County court in January 1740" in Mr. Price's article as I have found writs signed by James Craven as Cler Cur (Clerk of Court) in the Chowan County North Carolina Civil Actions papers, 1730 - 1744 C.R. 024.325.1. in 1736 if not before. Have a staff member check this out and let me know what you find. Thank you and have a pleasant day.

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