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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 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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Marshals, U.S.

by William Irwin Berryhill Jr., 2006

The Office of U.S. Marshal was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789, the same legislation that established the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal judicial system. President George Washington appointed the first 13 U.S. marshals to represent each of the original colonies. These marshals were given extensive authority to support the federal courts within their judicial districts and to carry out all lawful orders issued by judges, Congress, or the president.

On 4 June 1790 Congress created the District of North Carolina, and four days later the U.S. Senate confirmed Washington's appointment of John Skinner of Perquimans County as North Carolina's first U.S. marshal. During the 82 years of its existence, the original District of North Carolina had 12 marshals. Beverly Daniel holds the record for serving the longest term in state history at 32 years (1808-40). In 1872 Congress divided the original district into the Eastern and Western Districts of North Carolina. Samuel T. Carrow and Robert M. Douglass became the first marshals of the Eastern District and Western District, respectively. In 1927 Congress added the Middle District of North Carolina, whose first marshal was Charles G. Bryant.

The U.S. Marshal Service retains the responsibility for the custody, care, and transportation of federal offenders; apprehension of federal criminals who jump bail, violate parole, or escape from prison; protection of the courts, judges, attorneys, and witnesses; enforcement of court orders; management of assets seized or forfeited as a result of being acquired from the profits of criminal activities; and provision of a swift law enforcement response to significant national emergencies requiring federal intervention.



Frederick S. Calhoun, The Lawmen: United States Marshals and Their Deputies (1989).

U.S. Department of Justice, United States Marshals, 1789 to Present (1996).

Additional Resources:

North Carolina, U.S. Marshal Service:

"John Skinner." NC Highway Historical Marker A-71, NC Office of Archives & History: