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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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Hinton, James

by Mary Hinton Duke Kerr, 1988; Revised by Jared Dease, Government and Heritage Library, December 2022

ca. 1750–12 June 1794

James Hinton, planter, legislator, Revolutionary soldier, and county official, was born in Johnston (now Wake) County, the second son of Colonel John and Grizelle Kimbrough Hinton. Little is known of his early life, but he could have been a private in his father's militia regiment in Johnston County. He is listed as a captain in that regiment (by that time in Wake County) at the general muster on 6 Oct. 1773 when his father was colonel, his father-in-law Theophilus Hunter lieutenant-colonel, and his brother John major. Hinton was still a captain when he served with the regiment in the Moore's Creek expedition in 1776; he was paid for his services and the use of his horse for twenty-seven days. By June 1780 he was colonel of the regiment, a commission his brother, Major John Hinton, had declined in 1777.

Management of his 7,000-acre plantation and the 36 enslaved people who worked it listed in the 1790 census, as well as his activities with the militia, by no means occupied all of Hinton's time. For more than ten years he represented Wake County in the General Assembly; he was first elected to the state Senate in 1780 and then to the House of Commons for the next seven sessions (1781–88). After attending the state constitutional convention at Hillsborough in 1788 as a delegate from Wake County, he was returned to the Senate in 1793, defeating his brother-in-law, Joel Lane, who had served for the six preceding sessions. Hinton's election may have indicated the dissatisfaction of a majority of the voters with the selection of Lane's land as the site of the permanent state capital in preference to the Hinton land, which had been considered.

During all of this time, Hinton served as register for Wake County, a position he held from June 1777 until his death, when he was succeeded by his nephew Willis Hinton. He was also justice of the peace for Wake County from December 1782 presumably until his death.

By his marriage in 1773 to Delilah Hunter, Hinton had four sons and two daughters—all of whom are named in the will of their grandfather, Theophilus Hunter, who outlived his son-in-law. Their son Theophilus died young, but the other five children—including sons Henry, Ransom, and James, Jr.—married and had descendants.

Hinton was buried in an unmarked grave in the burying ground at Silent Retreat, his home in Wake County. This plot is enclosed by a wall of hewn granite blocks and is located quite near his house, which still stands about two miles from Shotwell near Bethlehem Church on Poole Road, about one mile southeast of The Oaks, his brother David's plantation home.


Bible Records of Colonel William Hinton, Pension Claim of Johnathon Smith (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vol. 14 (1896).

Court Minutes, Estate Papers, and Marriage Bonds of Wake County (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 9 (1890).

Treasurer and Comptroller Journal A, Treasurer and Comptroller Military Papers (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

Additional Resources:

James Hinton to Abner Nash, June 24, 1780. State Records of North Carolina vol. 14. M.I. & J. C. Stewart, Printers to the State. 1896. 860. (accessed April 28, 2014).

Cain and Hinton Papers, PC.2041. State Archives of North Carolina. (accessed April 28, 2014).

Battle, Kemp Plummer. The Early History of Raleigh, the Capital City of North Carolina: A Centennial Address Delivered by Invitation of the Committee on the Centennial Celebration of the Foundation of the City, October 18, 1892, Volume 1, Issue 1. Edwards and Broughton, printers, 1893. 23. (accessed April 28, 2014).

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