, Press Release

McDowell County Honors Five Members of North Carolina’s Appellate Courts

The Judicial Branch joined McDowell County officials and community in celebration of the county’s 175th anniversary.

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The N.C. Judicial Branch joined McDowell County judicial and county officials, the local Bar Association and community in the celebration of the county’s 175th anniversary this September. Part of this milestone celebration was the presentation and dedication of a plaque on September 25 honoring the McDowell County courts and the five jurists from McDowell County who served on North Carolina’s appellate courts. The honorees include:

  • Former Chief Justice John W. Winborne, Supreme Court of North Carolina, 1937-1962
  • Former Associate Justice James William Pless Jr., Supreme Court of North Carolina, 1966-1968; Superior Court, 1934-1966
  • Former Judge Richard C. Erwin, North Carolina Court of Appeals, 1978-1980; United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, 1980-2006
  • Chief Judge Linda M. McGee, North Carolina Court of Appeals, 1995-present
  • Former Judge Robert C. Hunter, North Carolina Court of Appeals, 1998-2014

“I am most pleased to be part of this wonderful celebration to recognize McDowell County,” said Linda McGee, the current Chief Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals and McDowell County native. “Over the past 175 years, McDowell County has had an outsized influence on North Carolina’s appellate courts and its jurisprudence.” 

McDowell County, founded in 1842, is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains just east of Asheville. The 2012 U.S. Census ranked McDowell County 59 out of 100 North Carolina counties in population size. Its contribution to the state and federal judiciary of two state Supreme Court justices, including a chief justice; three Court of Appeals judges; and one U.S. district court judge, is exceptional given its smaller size.   

In recognition of its contributions to the N.C. judiciary, the Judicial Branch joins McDowell County in its 175th anniversary celebration, which coincides with the 200th anniversary of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. For more information on how to take part in commemorating the North Carolina court's historic anniversary, or to learn about civic education opportunities, including the Judicial Branch Speakers Bureau, please visit Celebrate.NCcourts.org or email events@NCcourts.org.

Pictured above left to right: Charles Abernathy, 175th Anniversary Chairman; Chief Judge Linda M. McGee; Jean Mace, McGee's mother; Commissioner Brenda Vaughn; Commissioner Lynn Greene; Justice Pless's grandson; Chairman David Walker; Chief Justice Winborne's granddaughter and husband; Commissioner Tony Brown; Judge Robert Hunter.