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Everard, Sir Richard

24 June 1683–17 Feb. 1733

See also: Sir Richard Everard, Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History

Coat of arms of Sir Richard Everard, baronet of Carolina. Image from the Southern History Association / Google Books.Sir Richard Everard, governor, was born at Langleys, Much Waltham (now Great Waltham), Essex, England, the son of Sir Hugh Everard and his wife, Mary Browne, daughter of John Browne, M.D., of Salisbury, Wiltshire. Richard, who succeeded to the baronetcy at the death of his father in January 1706, became a captain in Queen Anne's army. He may have been present with Admiral Sir George Rooke's force that attacked Gibraltar in 1704, and he remained in garrison there for eighteen months. Upon returning to England he resigned his commission. This was about the time he succeeded his father and sold the family property at Langleys to pay debts; he then purchased property at Broomfield Green. In St. Alphage Church, London, on 13 June 1706, he married Susannah Kidder, daughter of the Right Reverend Richard Kidder, bishop of Bath and Wells.

A descendant of the Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III, Everard's great-grandmother was a first cousin of Oliver Cromwell and the grand-daughter of Winifred Pole Barrington, niece of Reginald, Cardinal Pole. His great-grandfather, Sir Richard, was created a baronet in 1628 by Charles I. During the Civil War the family served the Parliamentary cause and received special favors through Cromwell. Nevertheless, they protected church property and resumed local positions of leadership after the Restoration.

Complaints from the Council in North Carolina against Governor George Burrington, delivered to the Lords Proprietors by Chief Justice Christopher Gale, were responsible for Burrington's removal from office in January 1725. At the meeting of the Proprietors when this action was taken a letter was read from Sir Richard seeking appointment as his successor. It was promptly consented to and a formal appointment made on 7 April. This was approved by the Crown, and Everard was required to post a bond to enforce the acts of trade. He was soon granted two thousand acres of land in the colony, and in May 1726, after she had joined her husband in North Carolina, Lady Susannah Everard was granted three thousand acres. Burrington received a notice of his dismissal on 17 July when Everard appeared in Edenton before the Council and took the oath of office.

Everard was the last Proprietary governor of the colony. After the purchase of Carolina by the Crown in 1729, he remained in office until 25 Feb. 1731 when Burrington succeeded him as the first royal governor of the province. Between the time of his dismissal and July 1726 when he returned to England, Burrington remained in North Carolina where he was the cause of considerable political unrest as well as responsible for several physical attacks on Everard and other leaders with whom he disagreed. It was a time of distress for many people, and factions developed that contributed to unstable conditions throughout most of Everard's administration.

In spite of the opposition, however, Everard attempted to maintain peace and to abide by his Instructions. He worked with local leaders insofar as possible and was concerned for the welfare of the colony. For example, because of poor port facilities most of North Carolina's exports were shipped through Virginia, but officials there began to charge excessive fees for this service or to prohibit it entirely. Everard attempted to persuade the Board of Trade to declare a port on the Nansemond River in Virginia free to Carolinians for shipping tobacco. He further demonstrated genuine concern in maintaining peace between Indians in North Carolina and those in Virginia. Two new counties, New Hanover and Tyrrell, were created during his term of office.

It was apparent from the time of his appointment that the Crown was intent on purchasing the Proprietary rights in Carolina, and it fell to Everard's lot to co-operate with Virginia in running the boundary between the two colonies. As commissioners for that purpose, in 1728 he designated Christopher Gale, John Lovick, and William Little, each of whom had friends in England in common with Everard and who up to that point had been strong supporters of the governor. He also named Edward Moseley to the commission. The line was fairly run and North Carolina retained land long in dispute with Virginia.

Knowing from the beginning that North Carolina was likely to become a royal colony, the governor seems to have worked diligently to improve conditions in North Carolina while at the same time attempting to please officials at home. Perhaps he hoped for future royal favor. He strictly obeyed his instructions that the granting of land cease. This was a reversal of the practice recently followed by Burrington in violation of directions from home. He had continued to permit land to be taken up, particularly in the Cape Fear region, an area rapidly developing and with the prospect of a good seaport. It may have been Everard's action in this respect that displeased "popular" leaders in the colony and turned some of Everard's oldest supporters against him. By mid-year 1728 it became clear that Burrington, in England, was again in favor and that upon sale of the colony to the Crown he was likely to return to office. After all, one of the charges against Burrington had been that he was suspected of working with South Carolinians who favored a shift from Proprietary to royal control for North Carolina as had already occurred in the southern province. With this about to become a reality, Everard realized that his days in office were limited, and he changed his policies. Land sales were resumed and much land was taken up through the use of "blank patents," documents signed by the proper officials but with the quantity and location of the land filled in by the new "owner" and inadequately recorded as a means of avoiding the payment of quitrents. Everard also approved the issuance of £40,000 in paper currency, something for which the Assembly rewarded him with a gift of £500.

Although Burrington was named the new governor of North Carolina when it became a royal colony in January 1730, he did not arrive until February 1731. Shortly afterwards the Everards left for England by way of Virginia.

Sir Richard and his wife were the parents of four children: Richard (ca. 1709–42), who succeeded to the baronetcy but died a widower without children; Hugh (d. 1745), who then succeeded to the baronetcy but died childless at which time the baronetcy became extinct; Susannah, who married David Meade in Virginia in 1731 and from whom descended many prominent families in Virginia and North Carolina; and Anne, who married George Lathbury in England. Susannah Meade bought a house in Halifax, N.C., where she lived after the death of her husband. Sir Richard died at his home in Red Lion Street, London, and was buried in Great Waltham. He was a member of the lodge of Freemasons at Ross Tavern Without Temple Bar in London.


Robert J. Cain, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Minutes, 1724–1730 (1981).

Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, vols. 34–39 (1938–39).

George E. Cokayne, ed., Complete Baronetage, vol. 2 (1902).

A. Roger Ekirch, "Poor Carolina" Politics and Society in Colonial North Carolina, 1729–1776 (1981).

Gentleman's Magazine, February 1733.

Lawrence Lee, The Lower Cape Fear in Colonial Days (1965).

Henry J. Peet, ed., Chaumiere Papers, Containing Matters of Interest to the Descendants of David Meade (1883).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 2–5 (1886–87).

Louis B. Wright, ed., The Prose Works of William Byrd of Westover (1966).

Additional Resources:

"CSR Documents by Everard, Richard, Sir, 1683-1733." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed February 15, 2013).

Haywood, Marshall DeLancey. "Sir Richard Everard, Baronet, Governor of the Colony of North Carolina, 1725-1731, and his Descendants in Virginia." The North Carolina Booklet 14, no. 1 (July 1914). 50-61. (accessed February 15, 2013).

Demos, John. "Attack by ex-governor George Burrington on Governor Richard Everard and Others." Remarkable Providences: Readings on Early American History. UPNE, 1991. 284. (accessed February 15, 2013).

Image Credits:

Haywood, Marshall DeLancey. "Sir Richard Everard, Baronet, Governor of the Colony of North Carolina, 1725-1731, and his Descendants in Virginia." Publications of the Southern History Association 2. No. 4. October 1898. p. 328. (accessed October 22, 2012).

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