In reading that old standby "Chatham County 1771-1971" I came across this tidbit. There were four courthouses built in Pittsboro. The first was moved from its original location south of town to downtown proper, where it remained as a store until burning down in the 20s. The next two were so shoddily built they didn't last. Here is the story of one of them, from the book:
The second courthouse, also constructed of wood, was so flimsy that during a dramatic moment in a trial being held there, a strong wind blew off the roof. All the jurors, spectators, witnesses and court personnel were so frightened they fled, leaving the judge and defendant. The judge is reported to have found the defendant "not guilty," saying, "He stayed with me when all others fled and I will stand by him."This story is so good it deserves a follow-up. I'll report more when I can track down contemporary court records and get a comment from Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour.
About this time the jail burned and the county commissioners decided to build a new courthouse and jail, this time of brick.
Update: From Judge Baddour, in the comments:
As to the defendant in that particular case, I can find no reference to it in the Court of Appeals. I suppose the State did not appeal, jeopardy had attached and the matter was not continued due to the sudden emergency; a not guilty, or more properly, dismissal by the court for failure to prosecute, is the remedy.