Copyright notice

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.

Printer-friendly page

Pasteur, Charles

by John Mercer Thorp, Jr., 1994; Revised by Jared Dease, Government and Heritage Library, December 2022

d. 29 Dec. 1793

Charles Pasteur, physician, legislator, and local official, was a descendant of Huguenots who emigrated from their native Geneva, Switzerland, arriving in Williamsburg, Va., in 1700. Some of the family were among the Huguenots who settled in Bath, N.C., in 1705. Charles, who was in Halifax, N.C., by 1767, may have been the son of Charles Pasteur who died in Henrico County, Va., in 1736. A physician and apothecary, he frequently furnished state troops with medical supplies during the American Revolution. He represented the borough of Halifax in the House of Commons in 1785 and was sheriff of the county in 1787. He also served as a judge at county fairs and was examiner of claims of disabled veterans. Pasteur was frequently involved in the sale of land and other property. A tavern in Halifax in which he had an interest (or perhaps even owned) appears to have been operated by one Jacob Johnson, perhaps the father of Andrew Johnson; Jacob left in 1793, the year Raleigh was established and where Johnson worked at a tavern. President Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh in 1808.

The 1784 census of Halifax County indicates that Pasteur enslaved 31 people, while the 1790 census indicates that that number had grown to thirty-three.

Pasteur's wife, whom he married in 1771, was Martha, daughter of John McKinnie. They were the parents of Martha (m. William Lane in Wake County in 1793), Mary (m. Charles Gilmour), Frances (m. James Clark), John James, Anne McKinnie, Sarah Elizabeth (m. Nathaniel Judkins), and perhaps Nancy (m. one Morgan). The fact that his will was dated the day before his death suggests that his final illness may have come suddenly. His will mentions medicine, shop apparatus, and a number of medical books. There is evidence to indicate that he was Anglican. When the trustees of The University of North Carolina sought subscriptions in 1793 for the establishment of the university, Pasteur was a generous donor.


Kemp P. Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1907).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 12–13, 15, 18, 20–21, 26 (1895–1905).

Halifax North Carolina Journal, 1 Jan., 5 Mar. 1794.

Margaret Hoffmann, Genealogical Abstracts of Wills, 1758 through 1824, Halifax County (1970).

William and Mary Quarterly 8 (April 1895).


Origin - location: