Albemarle Sound in 1775
The detail of the Albemarle Sound region is a famous 1775 map of North and South Carolina by Henry Mouzon, Jr. The map was printed in England and also reproduced in slightly smaller size than the original. It was the map used by American, British and French forces. So, in looking at the fragment reproduced here, a person might imagine that he is a Revolutionary War general, studying the little towns, the ports, and roads that wander through the country, and try to understand why a town is where it is, what military importance it has, or how it might be protected or destroyed. Through Albemarle Sound runs a dotted line indicating the course for ships. It may be seen where they could escape to or enter from the Atlantic through the narrow, hazardous Roanoke Inlet. To the left near where the Chowan River empties into the Sound, is the town of Edenton. Several roads came together here, and the little black rectangles suggest buildings. There is a church in the town with a tower and steeple in front. Other churches shown elsewhere on the map have exactly the same form as the one at Edenton, so one realizes that this form is not meant to show what a specific church looked like, but is a standard symbol for a church. Incidentally, notice how churches or chapels stand alone at various places in the countryside. Courthouses, like churches, are shown in towns, and here and there in the country. They are indicted by a symbol which could be described as a letter U which is squared rather than rounded. The courthouse at Edenton is difficult to identify on the map, however, following the Perquimmans River, the town of Hertford (formerly called Hartford) situated farther to the east is Nixonton, its houses lying along both sides of a single road. Follow the road to the south and see the farms which lie along Little River. Each farm is marked by a spot representing the house, and carries the name of the owners; viz; Morris, Evans, Ancoup, and so on, can be read. In the north, above this area, is the Great Dismal Swamp.
Lords of the Soil
Pictured is George Durant receiving a deed from the chief of the Yeopim Indians. In 1653, Roger Green led a company across the wilderness from Nansemond, in Virginia, to the Chowan River and settled near Edenton. The settlement was a prosperous one, and soon others followed. In 1662, George Durant purchased of the Yeopim Indians the neck of land situated on the North-side of Albemarle Sound, which still bears his name. It was settled by persons driven off from Virginia through religious persecutions. In 1663, Sir William Berkeley, the Governor of Virginia, visited the infant settlement on the Chowan, and being pleased with its evident signs of prosperity and increasing importance, appointed William Drummond as the first Governor of the Colony of Carolina. Drummond was a Scotch Presbyterian, and, inheriting the national characteristics of that people, was prudent, cautious, and deeply impressed with the love of liberty. The beautiful lake in the centre of the Dismal Swamp, noted for its healthy water, and abundantly laid in by sea-going vessels, was named for Governor Drummond. During the year of 1665 it was discovered that the County of Albemarle, as the settlement on the Chowan was called, was not in the limits of the Carolina charter, but instead, in Virginia. The charters granted the colonists were generally liberal in the concession of civil rights and the proprietors were permitted to exercise toleration towards non-conformists, if expedient. Thus, after King Charles was petitioned, he granted an enlargement of the North Carolina Charter so as to make it extend from twenty-nine degrees to thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes, north latitude. As immigrants from abroad populated the region, a representative government was allowed. This government had its limitations and conceded a certain degree of popular freedom. Because these settlers were mostly refugees from religious oppression, they had no claims upon the government, nor did they wish to draw its attention. Also, they regarded the Indians as the true lords of the soil and treated with them as such, purchasing their lands and obtaining land grants. At the death of Governor Drummond in 1667, the colony of Carolina contained about four thousand inhabitants. more history
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The history books relate events that were recorded about the lives of statesmen and through them we discover some interesting details of past cultures and events. However, our ancestors were right there along beside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and so on, churning out their own problems, building homes, communities and towns while protecting their freedoms and the future freedoms of those who would live after them. Every enthusiastic family historian knows that quizzing relatives and searching census records is but a simple beginning of a life time of intensive, tedious work to acquire scraps of information and then weave together a story of someone's life. The task is one which includes rationalization and assimulation of the facts. It is one which gathers a knowledge of local histories generally unknown to professing educated historians. Inspection is one of visualization, of old life styles and habits and includes a variety of knowledge such as the way people named their children, where they worshipped, how they buried one another. We can see their handwriting in old bibles where maticulous recordings were made of the significant events of their lives, the births, marriages and deaths of their children. And if we can find a diary or hear a family story along the way, it adds to the rooted knowledge of our own background. How precious then is the preservation of our good works!
Albemarle County, North Carolina Probate Records
The former county of Albemarle County was established in 1664 and was located in the northeastern portion of North Carolina. The county was named after the first Duke of Albemarle (George Monck), who was one of the eight Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina, for whom the Albemarle Sound is also named. Under the original divisions of the province, the county to the south of Albemarle was called Clarendon County and centered on the Cape Fear region, but was only briefly occupied in the 1660s. Bath County was organized in 1696 and lay more closely to the south. By 1670 the four precincts of Albemarle County had been formed: Shaftesbury, Currituck, Pasquotank, and Berkeley. In 1681, Berkeley was renamed Perquimans and during 1685 Shaftesbury became Chowan. By 1689 the county ceased to function as a governmental unit and was replaced by the four precincts. However, Albemarle County was officially abolished in 1739. The Higher Court of North Carolina functioned in Albemarle County.
Albemarle County (now extinct) Records available to members of North Carolina Pioneers
- Higher Court Records 1670 to 1696
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