Henderson Law Office
National Register of Historic Places Rowan County, NC
Public, Occupied, Restricted Access, Currently Storage
Corner of Church and Fisher Streets
Owner of Property:
Rowan County Commissioners
North Main Street
Location of Legal Description:
Register of Deeds Office
Rowan County Courthouse
102 North Main Street
Representation in Existing Surveys:
Library of Congress
East Capitol and Independence Avenues, SE
Good Condition; Unaltered; Original Site.
The Archibald Henderson Law Office is a one-story frame building with a low-hip roof and a Flemish bond foundation. The front (east) - facade is three bays wide with a central entrance containing a flat-paneled door surmounted by a transom, enriched with geometric tracery. The north side features a single window to the left of an interior end chimney, while the south side contains only a single window. The rear facade is similar to the front but has no window in the right bay. All windows feature molded architrave's, square sills, and nine-over-nine sash.
The interior consists of one large room with plaster walls. Beneath each window is a flat panel framed by the baseboard and an extension of the window architrave.
The well executed three-part Federal style mantel that dominates the north wall is accented by a cable molding around the rectangular opening and a row of dentils below the molded shelf. The shelf rests on an unadorned frieze, which is supported by engaged fluted colonettes. To the left of the fireplace is a flat-paneled cupboard that appears to be original.
19th Century, Between 1796 and 1818, Architecture, Education, Law
Lot 19 in the original plan for the town of Salisbury is the site of the Henderson Law Office. The town trustees deeded it in 1755 to Nathaniel Alexander, governor of North Carolina (l805-l807). In 1773 it was sold to Colonel Adlai Osborne, the first "Clark [clerk] of the Crown for the County of Rowan" and an original trustee of the University of North Carolina. Osborne, who built an impressive house on the lot, sold it to Superior Court Judge Spruce Macay. Macay, whose law office was located on this lot near his house is remembered particularly as the legal preceptor of two of North Carolina's greatest men, Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, and William Richardson Davie. Davie served as a general in the American Revolution, was a lawyer, legislator, and was "chiefly responsible for the establishment . . . of the University of North Carolina."
In 1796 Macay sold the lot and dwelling house to his brother-in-law, Archibald Henderson. Sometime after this date, Henderson built the small law office that stands on the southeast corner of the lot. Henderson was a lawyer and a congressman whose chief distinction was gained in a long and extensive practice . . . in the federal circuit and state courts." An ardent Federalist, he ran for Congress and was elected in l798 at the age of thirty With the election of Jefferson in l8Ol and the rising tide of Republicanism, however, Henderson withdrew himself from congressional politics and concentrated his energies on the profession in which he was preeminent, law. He was a member of the North Carolina General Assembly for three terms between l807 and l82O, where he was an authority on legal constitutional questions. When he died in l822, the property and law office were inherited by his daughter, Jane Caroline Henderson. Miss Henderson married a distinguished jurist, Nathaniel Boyden, a justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court who had also been a United States congressman. From Mrs. Boyden the property passed to her son, Archibald Henderson Boyden, for many years mayor and later postmaster of Salisbury. In 1952 A. H. Boyden's daughter, Mrs. Burton Craig, made a gift of the lot and the Henderson Law Office to Rowan County. The structure is presently being used for storage, but its restoration as a law office is under consideration.
Owned by several men of distinction, the Archibald Henderson Law Office is typical of a number of similar buildings which served lawyers in courthouse towns throughout the South. It is one of the best preserved and most interesting examples in North Carolina.
Major Bibliographical References:
Rowan County Records, State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina. (Subgroups: Deeds, Wills).
Rowan County Records, Rowan County Courthouse, Salisbury, North Carolina, Office of the Register of Deeds. (Subgroups: Deeds, Wills).
Brawley, James S. The Rowan Story. Salisbury, North Carolina: Rowan Printing Company, 1953.
Latitude: 35 degrees, 40 minutes, 03 seconds
Longitude: 80 degrees, 28 minutes, 20 seconds
Approximate acreage: 1/4 Acre
Form Prepared By:
Survey and Planning Unit
John B. Wells, Supervisor
State Department of Archives and History
109 East Jones Street
Raleigh, North Carolina
July 6, 1971
State Liaison Officer Certification:
H.G. Jones, Director
State Department of Archives and History July 6, 1971