Home of 8 Genealogy Websites! Ancestor databases in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia!
The Albemarle Colony
Emigration from Virginia into North Carolina commenced as early as 1653 when Roger Greene with a hundred men made a small settlement in the Chowan precinct on the north shore of Albemarle Sound. In 1662 George Durant followed, and began a settlement in the Perquimans precinct, just east of Chowan. In 1664 Governor Berkeley, of Virginia, himself one of the eight lords proprietors, severed this newly settled region from Virginia and appointed William Drummond as its governor. Such were the beginnings of Albemarle, the colony which in time was to develop into North Carolina.
Settling the Cape Fear River
During 1660 a party from New England made a settlement at the mouth of Cape Fear River, but it only lasted three years, until 1633 when they departed. There is a tradition that they were sorely harassed by the natives in revenge for their sending sundry Indian lads and girls aboard ship to be taken to Boston and "educated," i.e. sold for slaves, which is not improbable. They left behind a post at the mouth of the river.
The Clarendon Colony
Sir John Yeamans arrived at Cape Fear early in October of 1663, and ascended the river for more than a hundred and fifty miles. Sir John was the son of a gallant Cavalier who had lost life and estate in the service of the King, and he had come out to Barbadoes to repair his fortunes. His report of the Cape Fear country was so favorable that by the end of May, 1665 he returned with several hundred settlers from Barbadoes, to make the beginnings of the new colony of Clarendon, of which the lords proprietors had appointed him governor.
Seth Sothel Captured by Algerine Pirates
The governor who succeeded John Culpeper in the Albemarle colony was a new lord proprietor, by the name of Seth Sothel, to whom the Earl of Clarendon had sold out his rights and interests. While on his way to America early in 1680, Sothel was captured by Algerine pirates and carried off into slavery. It took him three year to obtain his freedom and arrive at his destination. Then he proceeded to rule over the Albemarle colony wherein he proved himself to be one of the dirtiest knaves that ever held office. On the arrival of two ships from Barbadoes on legitimate business, Sothel seized them as pirates and threw their captains into jail, where one of them died of ill-treatment. The dying man made a will in which he named one of the most respected men in the colony, Thomas Pollock, as his executor; but Sothel refused to let the will go to probate, and seized the effects of the dead man whereupon the executor threatened to carry the story of all this to England. For that threat, Sothel put him in jail and kept him there. When George Durant, prominent citizen, called such proceedings unlawful, Sothel straightway imprisoned him and confiscated his entire estate.
There is a story that George Washington came to
Hertford on business connected with lands in the Dismal Swamp and may have tarried at the old tavern. It was during a journey through the South in 1791. However, a room was shown as having been his. Diagonally across the street from the Eagle Tavern at the end of the yard enclosing the old Harvey home, there are two great-size stones which are said to mark the grave of a mighty Indian chief. This may have been Chief Kilcokonen, a friend of one of the earliest settlers, George Durant. The town of Hertford saw gunboats coming down the river from the Northern Army, and one brief battle was fought inside the town. One man was killed on each side. The old residents used to boast of how the women, while a skirmish occurred, came out of their homes and cheered on the soldiers. It is said that while this skirmish was taking place that a ball from one of the gunboats on the river went through one of the houses and tore a covering from the bed on which the mistress of the house had just been lying.
1677 - George Durant Arrested for Treason
John Culpeper, Surveyor-General of Carolina in 1677, became known for seditious conduct on the Ashley River which caused him to flee northward to escape the hangman. Culpeper was resisting the enforcement of the Navigation Act. In December of 1677, a Yankee schooner, heavily armed and bearing a seductive cargo of rum and molasses, appeared in Pasquotank River. Her skipper, whose name was Gillam, had scarcely set foot on land when he was arrested by the governor and held to bail in 1,000 pounds. The astute yankee, with an air of innocent surprise, meekly promised to weigh anchor at once and not return.
However, a thirsty mob, angry over the loss of rum, entreated Gillam to stay. Governor Miller was a man in whom bravery prevailed over prudence, and, hearing at this moment that George Durant, a wealthy settler of Perquimans, was on the schooner, he straightway boarded her, pistol in hand, and arrested him on a charge of treason. George Durant (Born October 1, 1632, Died February 6, 1692) later became Attorney General and Speaker of the House of Burgesses in the Province of Carolina, sometimes called the "father of North Carolina."
A mob representing John Culpeper proceeded to take action. They arrested the governor and his council. Then they took possession of the public records, convened the assembly, appointed new justices, making Culpeper governor, and seized 3,000 pounds of customs revenue collected by Miller for the king, which they applied it to the support of this revolutionary government. For two years these adventurers exercised full sway over Albemarle. Meanwhile, Culpeper issued a manifesto, accusing Miller of tyranny and speculation and seeking to justify himself; but then decided to play a still bolder part. Then he went to England in the hope of persuading the lords proprietors to sanction what he had done, and to confirm him in the governorship. In London he was surprised to hear that the deposed Miller had broken jail and arrived there before him. The twain forthwith told their eloquent but conflicting tales of woe. Culpeper was more convincing to the lords proprietors and prepared to return triumphly to Carolina, when suddenly he was arrested by officers of the king for robbing the custom-house of 3000 pounds! This led to his trial for treason during the summer of 1680 before the Kings Bench. The Earl of Shaftesbury ably defended Culpeper, and he was acquitted but not restored to power. He returned to Carolina, and in his old capacity of surveyor, it is said, laid out the plan of the city of Charleston on its present site.
Perquimans County Genealogy Records
Perquimans was formed as early as 1668 as a precinct in Albemarle County. It is located in the northeastern section of the State and is bounded by Albemarle Sound and Chowan, Gates, and Pasquotank counties. In 1779 Gates County was formed in 1779 from Chowan, Perquimans, and Hertford. The dividing line between the counties of Chowan, Perquimans, and Gates was authorized to be established in 1805. Later, during 1814 a boundary line between Perquimans, Chowan, and Gates, was amended by naming a new commissioner, which indicated that the line had not been established at that date. Finally, in 1819 a dividing line was established between Chowan and Perquimans Counties.
Records Available to Members
- Marriage Records 1785 to 1805
- List of Miscellaneous 1710 to 1933
- List of Criminal Actions 1861 to 1948
- List of Estates 1873 to 1948; 1956
Perquimans County Images of Estates 1789 to 1827
Pearce or Pears, Joseph;