George Burrington, Controversial Colonial Governor

Colonial governor, 1724-1725, 1731-1734: opened lower Cape Fear region to settlement. His home was 3.4 mile east.

On February 22, 1759, Governor George Burrington, first royal governor of North Carolina, was murdered in London.

An interesting and controversial figure in the colony during the proprietary and royal periods, Burrington appears in records as contentious, inflammatory and sometimes violent.  At various times he was accused of attempting to blow up colonial chief justice Christopher Gale’s house, throwing colonial official Edmund Porter’s written defense of his judgeship into the fire, horse theft and stealing the council’s secretary’s commissioning seals.

Burrington was a man of contrasts, though. Interested in the expansion and promotion of the colony, he traveled and planned for internal improvements, founded what is now Wilmington and effectively opened the lower Cape Fear area for settlement. In the 1730s, Burrington was removed from his royal governorship, just as he had been removed from his proprietary governorship a decade earlier.

He returned to England and remained there until his death, which was the result of an attack in a robbery attempt.

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