Courthouses

The first Court Session for Rockingham County was held in February 1786. President Andrew Jackson practiced law in this court in November 1787.

The county justices apparently intended to erect a courthouse near Eagle Falls, but the proposed location was challenged because it was not close enough to the geographic center of the county. Consequently, the county surveyor was requested to ascertain the approximate midpoint of the county, and on January 1, 1787, the General Assembly established a new commission and empowered it to locate the county seat “on the lands of Charles Mitchell on the east side of Big Rock House creek …” Ever alert to possible pecuniary gain, Constantine Perkins and Charles Gallaway in April 1787 purchased from Mitchell a 200-acre tract located on Bear Swamp and Rocky branches. The commissioners ultimately selected a portion of this tract, a high ridge just east of Rockhouse Creek, as the site for the new county seat. On August 28, 1787, Perkins and Gallaway conveyed to the county one acre for public use, and during the August session the county court authorized the new courthouse to be occupied during the ensuing court session. The November term of the county court convened in the courthouse, which was then nearly complete, but not until the May 1788 term was the builder, Richard Sharp, paid and the public buildings formally received by the justices. The present courthouse [this was written in 1982] is located on or near the site of the original facility, and there is no evidence that the county seat was ever located at any place other than the Adam Tate house near Eagle Falls, where it existed from February 1786 to August 1787.

A detailed description of the county’s first courthouse was recorded in the minutes of the November 1792 session of the Guilford County Court. The Guilford justices were apparently considering work on their own courthouse and sent a committee to examine the neighboring county’s facility….
          Rockingham County: A Brief History, by Lindley S. Butler, pp. 20-21


Courthouse in 1842.

Courthouse in 1842, apparently the 3rd building


The courthouse shown below was the fourth one the county used. It stands on NC Highway 65 in Wentworth. It was designed by Frank P. Milburn of Washington, DC, and was erected in 1907. Two wings were added to it later. In 2011, the new Rockingham County Justice Center opened, replacing the previous courthouse. On 11 August 2012, the old courthouse became the home for the Museum & Archives of Rockingham County.

Rockingham_County_courthouse.jpg


The county moved its court to its fifth courthouse in 2011.

Rockingham County Courthouse, 2011

Rockingham County Courthouse, 2011

Rockingham County Court, District 17A of the NC Court System