Courthouse Fires/Floods and Other Damage to Records



Courthouses, while they are a great source of a researcher's records, have not always stood the test of time. Many courthouses have been ravaged by natural disasters, such as floods and fires. Others couldn't defend themselves during war. When offices were moved, records were sometimes lost. This is a list (not complete) of all courthouse disasters in North Carolina with the identifiable loss. At times, no records were lost officially, but there may be a small loss of legibility. Please consider these when researching. Also, please note that records were often times taken to the clerk's home and sometimes not returned. Those records, when recovered, are not considered unbiased and may be suspect when proving lineage, due to the time away from the courthouse.



  • Alleghany County
  • -- 1932 fire, record loss
  • Alexander County
  • -- 1865 Stoneman's Raid, record loss
    -- 1967 fire
  • Anson County
  • -- 1868 fire
  • Ashe County
  • -- 1865 fire, records fragmented
  • Bladen County
  • -- 1770 fire
    -- 1800 fire
    -- 1893 fire
  • Brunswick County
  • -- 1865 Civil War, record loss
    -- 1957 clerk's office fire
  • Buncombe County
  • -- 1830 fire
    -- 1865 fire
  • Burke County
  • -- 1865 Stoneman's Raid, almost complete record loss
  • Cabarrus County
  • -- 1876 fire
  • Cherokee County
  • -- 1865 fire
    -- 1895 fire
    -- 1926 fire
  • Chowan County
  • -- 1848 clerk destroyed records
  • Clay County
  • -- 1870 fire, record loss
  • Craven County
  • -- 1712 Records destroyed in Tuscarora War
  • Currituck County
  • -- 1842 fire
  • Davidson County
  • -- 1866 fire
  • Gaston County
  • -- 1874 fire
  • Greene County
  • -- 1876 fire
  • Guilford County
  • -- 1781 fire
    -- 1872 fire
  • Harnett County
  • -- 1892 fire
    -- 1894 fire
  • Haywood County
  • -- 1932 records destroyed in move to new courthouse
  • Hertford County
  • -- 1822 fire
    -- 1830 fire
  • Hyde County
  • -- 1789 fire
    -- 1827 fire
  • Iredell County
  • -- 1854 fire
  • Jackson County
  • -- 1913 records lost in move
  • Jones County
  • -- 1862 fire
  • Lenoir County
  • -- 1878 fire
    -- 1880 fire
  • Lincoln County
  • -- 1797 fire in home, small record loss
  • Martin County
  • -- 1862 fire
  • Mitchell County
  • -- 1907 record loss in move
  • Montgomery County
  • -- 1835 fire
    -- 1840 fire
    -- 1886 fire -- clerk saved records, no organization
  • Moore County
  • -- 1889 fire
  • New Hanover County
  • -- 1789 fire, some record loss
    -- 1819 fire, some record loss
    -- 1840 fire, some record loss
  • Onslow County
  • -- 1752 storm, some records destroyed
    -- 1755 storm, some records destroyed
  • Orange County
  • -- 1781 records loss when buried to avoid destruction by Cornwallis
  • Pitt County
  • -- 1857 fire
  • Rowan County
  • -- 1865 Stoneman's Raid, record loss
  • Rutherford County
  • -- 1907 fire, no official record loss
  • Sampson County
  • -- 1921 clerk's office fire
  • Swain County
  • -- 1879 fire
  • Wake County
  • -- 1832 registrar's office fire
  • Warren County
  • -- 1935 fire, some record loss
  • Washington County
  • -- 1862 Civil War, county records destroyed when bombarded
  • Watauga County
  • -- 1873 fire
  • Wayne County
  • -- 1781 fire, small record loss




    Return to North Carolina Home


    2013 - Present Ancestral Trackers & Jeanne Hicks This site may be freely linked, but not duplicated without consent. All rights reserved. Commercial use of material within this site is prohibited. The copyright(s) Ancestral Trackers, on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material - when used with the permission of host.