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"Do you Identify the Grit of Joseph Banks in Yourself?"

Battle of MoraviantownFor many years we search the records for our ancestors and learn the names of their children and other statistical details. Then, suddenly one day
we begin asking ourselves who this person was. Perhaps the thought stems from a deep desire to learn more about ourselves. We know that relatives can be identified by DNA and that we also have a long stream of it inside ourselves being passed down. Take Joseph Banks from Pasquotank County who one day in June of 1782 rode into town on his horse and enlisted for 18 months in the cause of the patriots during the American Revolution. It was a fight for free America. The common enlistment duration was three months and the reason was a good one. Farmers needed to return home to plant and harvest their crops. But in other times, they were out there on the battlefield fighting for their families, neighbors and friends. With nothing to gain personally, he went. Joseph kept his word and served until August of 1783 when he was discharged on James Island, South Carolina. And when the British army once again weighed anchor on the American shores in 1812, Joseph did not hesitate to once more join the fight at the Battle of Moraviantown in Canada. The injuries which he sustained during that battle disabled his hip for the rest of his life, yet despite the discomforts, he continued working, tilling the soil and harvesting crops. Joseph received no reward except the knowledge that he had helped free his country from the tyranny of a king. He did not live long enough to truly enjoy the fruits of freedom. Regardless, his fight was a gift engendered to future generations. We yearn to learn more about our Joseph. He left no photograph of himself. Yet a looking glass or mirror provides answers. We see Joseph in the shape of our face, nose and mouth and the expression in our eyes. Perhaps the frown on our face and the distress in our gut is the same as his when he left his family and went off to war. Because his heath was a woody, wild land and he was busy working towards his dreams, Joseph did not realize the extent to which his sacrifice would be enjoyed by future generations. So now, as we examine our features more closely in the mirror we identify the grit of Joseph Banks in ourselves. This knowledge brings to fore the true meaning of the term "blood-kin." There is one thing for sure. The effects of the work which we perform today will be realized in the future, good or bad. So now, who are we? Surely, we are working to make correct choices and do good in the world!

The War of Jenkins Ear

Jenkin's Ear The real cause of this war between England and Spain was the frequent violation on the part of the English of the commercial laws which Spain had made to exclude foreign nations from the trade of her American colonies. Here is what happened: The Spanish captured an English merchant vessel and accused its master of violating the trade laws with Spain. In order to wring a confession from the master, Captain Jenkins, the Spanish captain had him hung from a yard arm of his ship until he was nearly dead. Then, upon letting him down, supposed that he would confess. But the stubborn captain denied that he had been engaged in any nefarious dealings. When the Spanish captain could find no proof against him, he cut off one of the English captain's ears as a warning of what Englishmen might expect who were caught trading with Spain's colonies in America. Captain Jenkins put the ear in his pocket, sailed home as fast as wind would carry him, and was taken straight to the House of Parliament with his story. The indignation insulted both Lords and Commons to the degree that there was a loud clamor for vengence. Even Lord Warpole who had managed to hold the English dogs of war in leash, was not compelled to yield to the will of the people. Thus, Parliament declared war with Spain. The founder of the Georgia Colony, James Edward Oglethorpe was promoted to General and in charge of the land war against Spain, particularly the Spanish settlements in Florida. King George called upon his "trusty and well beloved subjects in Carolina" and the other twelve colonies, to raise troops to help the mother country in her struggle with arrogant Spain. Carolina responded to the call for troops, as the following letter from Governor Gabriel Johnston to the Duke of Newcastle will testify: "I can now assure your grace that we have raised 400 men in this province who are just going to put to sea. In those Northern Parts of the Colony adjoining to Virginia, we have got 100 men each, though some few deserted since they began to send them on board the transports at Cape Fear. I have good reason to believe we could have raised 200 more if it had been possible to negotiate the Bills of Exchange in this part of the Continent; but as that was impossible we were obliged to rest satisfied with four companies. I must in justice to the assembly of the Province inform Your Grace that they were very zealous and unanimous in promoting this service. They have raised a subsidy of 1200 pounds as it is reckoned hereby on which the men have subsisted ever since August, and all the Transports are victualed." The Carolina troops were part of the engagements at Cartagena and Boca-Chica. Afterwards, the troops from the colonies embarked upon their vessels to return home. However, a malignant fever broke out among the soldiers and destroyed nine out of every ten men on the ships! The names of these valiant North Carolinians is unknown, however, the gallantry of Captain Innes of Wilmington was mentioned, as well as his participation in the French and Indian War.

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The Pirate Treasures of Elizabeth City

Blackbeard houseFebruary 1719. Letter from Alexander Spotswood To my Lord Cartwright concerning the dangers threatening the neighborhood and the rescue of trade in North Carolina from the insults of pirates. "That about the beginning of last June, one Capt. Thatch, a Notorious Pyrate, refused to accept of his Majesty's pardon offered him by the Governor of South Carolina about eight days before he Lost his Ship at Topsall Inlett, with one of the four Sloops he had in his Company, upon w'ch he and his Crew pretend to Surrender to the Governor of No. Carolina, most of his people dispersed, some going towards Pensilvania and New York, and others betaking themselves to their former Villanies, under the Command of Major Bonnet Thatch, w'th about 20 more, remained in No. Carolina, and kept one of the Sloops, pretending to Employ themselves in Trade, but both their discourses and Actions plainly show'd the wickedness of their Designs. The Inclosed Affidavit of one of the Inhabitants of that province, and M'r of a Vessell there, will best display Thatch's insolent behaviour, and how little sensible that Abandoned Crew were of the Clemency they had received. Upon the repeated Applications of Trading People of that Province, and the Advice that Tach had taken and brought in hither a Ship Laden w'th Sugar and Cocoa without either men or Papers, I thought it necessary to put a Stop to ye further Progress of the Robberys, and for that purpose, having prevailed with our Assembly to give considerable Rewards for the Apprehending and destroying of these and other Pirates I hired two Sloops, furnished them w'th Pilotts from Carolina, concerted w'th the Capt's of his Maj'ty's Ships of this Station the proper Measures for extirpating that Gang of Pyrates. These Sloops, fitted with Men and Officers from the King's Ships, Came up with Tach at Oecceh inlett on ye 22nd Nov'r last, and after an obstinate Resistance, wherein Tach, w'th nine of his men, were killed, and nine more made prisoners, and took his Sloop, w'ch was mounted w'th 8 Guns, and in all other respects fitted rather for piracy than Trade. The prisoners have been brought hither and Tryed, and it plainly appears that the Ship they brought into Carolina was, after the date of his Majesty's pardon, taken from the Subjects of France upon the high Seas, near the Island of Bermuda, and the Men put on Board another ship of the same Nation taken at the same time, and was not a Wreck, as Tach persuaded the Governm't of your Lord'p's Province to believe." He went on to explain that the project of suppressing the pirates should have been concealed and put into execution without the participation of the Governor because his house was located in a thinly populated area and should the pirates learn of the plan, the Governor could not defend himself. postcard The stolen goods of Capt. Thatch were inventoried and brought into the colony and a Court of Admiralty held and claims made as to who had rights to the goods. Twelve men were killed and twenty two wounded in the capture of Thatch. On March 11, 1718, a report was made that the crew of Edward Thatch taken on board of his Sloop remain in prison for piracy and that their trail was delayed until winter was over and there would be a full Council for a more solemn Examination of the several pirates "of which these and the rest of that Crew have been Guilty. That he judged this the more necessary because he finds Reports are Industriously spread abroad that Thatch and his Crew were not only within the benefit of his Majestys late pardon; but that the Sloops were fitted out for taking them after the said pardon was actually arrived here."

Sources: Letter from Alexander Spotswood to John Carteret, Earl Granville; Spotswood, Alexander, 1676-1740; February 14, 1719; Volume 02, Pages 324-327; [From the Spotswood Letters. Vol. II. P. 272.] Edward Teach, known as Edward Thatch and "Blackbeard" The Pirate, was known to have buried treasure near Elizabeth City on many occasions, called "Treasure Point".

Old House on Pasquotank River

Map of Pasquotank County

Pasquotank County Wills and Estates


Pasquotank was formed as early as 1668 as a precinct of Albemarle County. Its name is derived from an Indian word pasketanki which meant "where the current of the stream divides or forks." It is in the northeastern section of the State and is bounded by Albemarle Sound and Perquimans. Gates, and Camden counties. In 1799 Elizabeth (City) Town was made the county seat and on June 6, 1800, the first court was held there. Elizabeth City was first called Redding, which was established in 1793. Redding was changed to Elizabeth Town in 1794, and Elizabeth Town was changed to Elizabeth City in l801.

Pasquotank County Wills and other Records Available to Members of North Carolina Pioneers

Miscellaneous Genealogy Records

  • Abstracts of Pasquotank County 1688 to 1777
  • Marriage Bonds 1780 to 1925
  • Miscellaneous Records at North Carolina State Archives 1703 to 1940
  • Index to Deeds 1813 to 1817; 1817 to 1820; 1821 to 1824