North Carolina Lottery

With a new state lottery about to begin, we decided to have a look at Alan D. Watson’s article, “The Lottery in Early North Carolina” (North Carolina Historical Review, October 1992) to see how it worked a few centuries ago.

Watson pointed us to the early laws of North Carolina, which contained a provision for a lottery as early as 1760. The act allowed four Managers to organize a lottery to raise money to finish the construction of churches in Wilmington and Brunswick. It was noted that an earlier lottery had been tried but failed due to “the Scarcity of Proclamation Money in this part of the Province.” The new act allowed players in the lottery (referred to as “adventurers”) to buy tickets with only a written promise of payment. The price for the ticket was pretty steep for a somewhat meager payment, at least by PowerBall standards. For three pounds, you could purchase a ticket giving you a chance at a grand prize of four hundred pounds. In order to supplement the money raised by the lottery, the state would also allow the churches to use money obtained from the sale of slaves captured from a wrecked Spanish privateer.

Tar Heels on the Supreme Court

Justice James Iredell by Willis Whichard We’ve recently discussed a couple of North Carolinians — George Badger and John J. Parker — who failed to be confirmed by the Senate after being nominated for the Supreme Court. We should point out that not every Tar Heel proposed for the Court has met with this fate. It’s just been a little while since one of our fellow North Staters has been confirmed. James Iredell was the first Supreme Court Justice from North Carolina, serving on the court from 1790-1799. After the death of Iredell, New Hanover County native Alfred Moore was nominated by President John Adams and confirmed by the Senate. Moore sat on the Court until 1804.

Iredell is the subject of a recent biography by Willis P. Whichard (Justice James Iredell, published by Carolina Academic Press, 2000). There is still no full-length biography of Moore, but interested readers can look to a shorter sketch by Robert Mason, Namesake: Alfred Moore, 1755-1810, Soldier and Jurist, published by the Moore County Historical Association in 1989.