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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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Nutbush Address

by Thornton W. Mitchell, 2006

Discontent began to develop in the newly created North Carolina counties of Granville, Orange, and Rowan around 1760. This unhappiness was based, in part, on dissatisfaction with the Granville District and its agents as well as on the activities of provincial and county officials, especially the fees they charged and collected. These issues later developed into the primary motivations behind the Regulator Movement.

On 6 June 1765 George Sims, a resident of Nutbush in Granville County, spoke to the citizens of Granville about these complaints. Sims, who dedicated his address to Thomas Person, was concerned with the "recovery of native rights and privileges" and with clearing the "country of those public nuisances which predominate with such tyrannical sway." He also wanted to "resume our ancient liberties and privileges as free subjects" and complained of lawyers' excessive fees, which were as much as double the amount allowed by law. Sims also was troubled by the ease with which real and personal property could be seized and sold for a fraction of its value to satisfy the exorbitant fees that were charged.

In the later-named Nutbush Address, Sims stopped short of raising the specter of public violence in response to these concerns. Although he was quoted extensively in Herman Husband's A Fan for Fanning and a Touchstone to Tryon (1771), a history and justification of the Regulator Movement, Sims did not express a lack of faith in the British system as did the Regulators. He urged the citizens of Granville County to act with deliberation and to do nothing against the law. He also voiced support for the king, the royal governor, and the colonial Assembly.


William K. Boyd, ed., Some Eighteenth Century Tracts Concerning North Carolina (1927).

William S. Powell, James K. Huhta, and Thomas J. Farnham, eds., The Regulators in North Carolina: A Documentary History, 1759-1776 (1971).

Additional Resources:

Sims, George. "An Address to the People of Granville County." 1765.

"Nutbush Address." North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program.

Boyd, William K. "The Petition of Reuben Searcy and Others and An Address to the People of Granville County: Introduction." Some Eighteenth Century Tracts Concerning North Carolina. Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards and Broughton. 1927.

R. D. W. Connor, History of North Carolina (1919), I, 306.

Tilley, Nannie May. “Political Disturbances in Colonial Granville County.” North Carolina Historical Review. October 1941. p.338-359.

Hugh T. Lefler and Alfred Ray Newsome, History of a Southern State: North Carolina (1973), p.183-184.

Powell, William S.;  Huhta, James K.; Farnham, Thomas J., compilers and editors. The regulators in North Carolina: a documentary history, 1759-1776. Raleigh [N.C.]: State Dept. of Archives and History. 1971.

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