UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

Skip to main content

Bill of Complaint of Alexander Morrison against the Trustees of the University of North Carolina and their agent Adlai Osborn the Elder.

 Collection — Oversize Box: OF14 [F09.002.07.002], Folder: 9
Identifier: MS0527

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a bill of complaint by Alexander Morrison (1764-1806) against Adlai Osborn in his capacity as representative of the Trustees of the University of North Carolina. Morrison was seeking to reclaim a portion of Henry Eustace McCullough's land that had been confiscated by the state government due to the fact that his father, Neil Morrison, had rightfully purchased the land prior to the confiscation.


  • March 1804

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Bill of Complaint of Alexander Morrison against the Trustees of the University of North Carolina and their agent Adlai Osborn the Elder is the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Historical Notes

Filed March, 1804 Court of Equity, Salisbury District Bill of Complaint of Alexander Morrison against the Trustees of the University of North Carolina and their agent Adlai Osborn the Elder. State of North Carolina Salisbury District (this is the district Charlotte was in ) Circumstances surrounding complaint in 1773 – Neil Morison, father of Alexander purchased a tract of land …205 acres … on the Four Mile Creek in Mecklenburg County from Thomas Polk, agent of Henry Eustice McCulloh and gave his bond…except nine pounds remained unpaid at the death of Neil Morrison (c.1784) Remained in this situation… until an act of assembly “entitled an act more liberally to endow the University of N. Carolina (and for other purposes” was enacted vesting in the said University all moneys due and owing to the public of N. Carolina as in the said act is mentioned, except as therein excepted as your orator applied to Col.(sp?) Adlai Osborn who was and is an agent of the trustees of said university for settlement of said Bond and to obtain a title for the said land. … he then discovered the said land had been sold to an Alexander Aikens… and a title deed and been executed for him with Warranty by Henry E. MCulloch … Backstory: 1793 - Because of his loyalist sympathies, the lands in NC belonging to Henry Eustice McCulloh were confiscated and the proceed used to endow the University of North Carolina. Morrison is claiming his father paid for the land (seems to be adjacent to their property)on Four Mile Creek - Southern portion of Mcalpine Creek in Southern Mecklenburg county and they were confiscated. Final paragraph looks like court found in favor of Morrison (?) The “Act” (page 1016) first “printing” - 1803 https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=K4U0AQAAMAAJ&rdid=book-K4U0AQAAMAAJ&rdot=1 Individuals sited in document: Alexander Morrison: filed the complaint – he was the son of Neil Morrison (member of Mecklenburg Convention 1775 and signer of Mec Dec) /grandson of James Morrison (born in Scotland and from Philadelphia) /brother of William Morrison (attended Princeton and was a prominent NC physician) James Morrison: brother of Alexander Neil Morrison: original purchaser of land – deceased - father of Alexander - Signer of Meck Dec Adlai Osborn: lawyer–land agent for UNC - prominent in NC education history-private secretary of Governor Alexander Martin; From 1795 to 1803 Osborne represented the trustees of The University of North Carolina as attorney in the Salisbury and Morgan districts and as commissioner of confiscated property in the Salisbury and Fayetteville districts Henry Eustice MCulloh: (MCCulloh) appointed by George Augustus Selwyn along with Abraham Alexander, Thomas Polk, and John Frohock as trustees and directors of the new town of Charlotte. Frohock, Alexander, and Polk were also commissioners to hold land in trust for the county of Mecklenburg McCulloh was a royal official and large landholder in North Catolina - he served as his father's agent and as attorney for G. A. Selwyn, both owners of large tracts of land in North Carolina. He was friends with Fanning who was hated by the Regulators James Iredell pleaded with the General Assembly not to confiscate McCulloh's lands because of his service as provincial agent. Nevertheless, the property was confiscated in 1779 and money was later used to endow the new University of NC (see Act) McCulloh/ Fanning papers at Chapel Hill: http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/f/Fanning_and_McCulloh.html George Augustus Selwyn: The town of Charlotte, N.C., was being established on a small part of Selwyn's land about the time he inherited it. The whole tract was known as "The Selwyn Grant." Thomas Polk: signer Meck Dec /Revolutionary war officer (Col.) appointed by Selwyn to be trustee and director of town of Charlotte Alexander Aikins: unknown

Signers (of original filed document): John Hall (1767–1833) was an American jurist who served as one of the original three judges of the North Carolina Supreme Court. He was elected by the North Carolina General Assembly to the court in 1818 and served on that court from its first meeting in January 1819 until his declining health led him to retire in 1832.

Hall, a Staunton, Virginia native and alumnus of the College of William and Mary, moved to Warrenton, North Carolina to practice law and served as a state superior court judge (1800–1818).

J. Lowrie: Unclear if this is Judge Lowrie - Superior Court Judge Samuel Lowrie - grandfather of Annie Wall Lowrie Alexander (we have her papers)

Actual Signature on this copy:

Max Chambers: Maxwell Chambers, planter and manufacturer, was born in Salisbury, Chambers supported Davidson College, and he left a legacy of about $250,000, making it (for a short time) the wealthiest private college in the South.

      Graham, George WAshington. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1775: And Lives of Its Signers. Neale Publishing Company, 1905.
      NCPedia, Biography & People - http://ncpedia.org/biography


.1 Linear Feet (1 oversize folder)




Contains a bill of complaint filed by Alexander Morrison (1764-1806) against Adlai Osborn in his capacity as a representative of the trustees of the University of North Carolina.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received as a gift from Kevin Kearley, 2015
Bill of Complaint of Alexander Morrison against the Trustees of the University of North Carolina and their agent Adlai Osborn the Elder.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated