©Diane Siniard

From The Settlement Of Perquimans To The Revolutionary Period

At what date the first white man set foot on Perquimans soil, staked a claim and erected his humble abode, no one can say with any degree of certainty. Foote in his notes claims that a band of settlers moved down on the Chowan River shortly after the Indian massacre in 1622. Where they took root he does not vouchsafe. As Chowan River has its headwaters in Virginia, with the Blackwater River as one of its tributaries, the inference may well be drawn that those early settlers followed the water courses, in their journey down to the new country instead of overland migration, as it is a well known fact that the forest and land adjoining the Dismal Swamp was at that time an impenetrable tangle of trees and undergrowth, full of danger for man and beast, with but a few Indian paths, and no man knew where they led. Therefore the immigrants fought shy of the interior, and clung to the river banks, where escape was more easy in case of attack by hostile tribes, fish could be procured for the daily fare, and houses built on high ground.

The settlement spoken of by Foote was most probably in what is now Gates County, and was then Chowan, or still in the unnamed wilderness called Carolina. Orapeak (Corapeak) in Gates County was certainly one of the first, if not the first settlement in Carolina, and the records in Perquimans prove beyond a single doubt that Perquimans County at that time ran all the way to the Virginia line, taking in this old landmark. This line was changed in 1779, and Perquimans shrank to its present boundary.

Roger Green, a clergyman from Virginia, started with a colony to settle on lower Chowan River in 1653. He came vested with power to possess lands in Carolina, but there has always been some doubt about the location of his settlement, and as the name of Green appears on the early records in Perquimans we are led to believe that some of his followers may have drifted over into the bordering county and taken up land there. As the names of his followers are not mentioned there is no authoritative way by which they can be traced, or the locality of their destination be determined. Green no doubt allowed full freedom to his countrymen, and they naturally selected land where it best suited them to "squat." As no record remains to show where they did take up claims, the Rivers and high lands adjoining afforded the most charming sites for homes, with the waterways as an outlet to market, a place to fish, the land less hard to clear, and last but not least, a better water supply, which was a very strong inducement, considering the health of the colony. This migration preceded the advent of George Durant by eight years, and there can be little doubt in the mind of any one versed in the early history of Albemarle, that many settlers were well established on their own land in Perquimans Precinct before said Durant decided to come to North Carolina. Among these early settlers, no doubt can be enumerated such men as Samuel Pricklove, whose land adjoined the land sold to George Durant by the Indian Chief Kilcoconewen King of Yeopim, on March 1, 1661, and Caleb Calloway, who appears as a witness to said deed. The land of said Samuel Pricklove lay around, or just below where the town of New Hope now stands. This made him a near neighbor of Durant, and they became fast friends. Pricklove was a Quaker, but it did not prevent him from following Durant in the Rebellion of 1677-79, even when his associations strictly forbade one of the sect to take up arms, and other Quakers followed his example, being also a part of the "rabble" that helped to depose acting Governor Thomas Miller. The rebellion caused a great deal of unrest in the colony and the county breathed easier, and sat more at ease when Miller finally took passage for Virginia, and later went home to England. All unwittingly George Durant struck the first note for American Independence, and routed the first unjust tax collector to appear on American soil, when he with his "rabble" drove out Miller, and stopped the unlawful Custom receipts in 1677-79.

So much has been written and said about being first that it has become somewhat a sore subject, especially when it is done without undisputed authority, therefore the writer feels it a real duty to bring before the reading public the fact that in Perquimans precinct, at the mouth of Little River came into being the first authenticated town in Albemarle, called "Little River." This town was situated on the west side of the mouth of Little River and by act of Assembly became one of the "Ports of Entry" for Albemarle, where "ships shall laid, and unlaid." Precinct Court was held in this town for forty years, and near this place a "Gran Court House" was built about 1701, where Court was held for only one time on October 14, 1701. The Court House stood on the Sound, and was probably burned between the time of the holding of the October Court, and the date of its next session, as it is not mentioned on any record after that date. The Precinct Courts came to order at the houses of old residents before, and afterwards, the first recorded being at the house of one Harris (Thomas Harris) who was the first Clerk of Perquimans, and later after his death at the house of Thomas White, who had married the widow of Harris, September 4, 1694. In every precinct a court consisted of a Steward (Judge) and four justices, who were inhabitants of said precinct, owning 300 acres of land as a freehold. No man could serve on the jury unless he held a freehold of fifty acres of land in the county, and a grand juryman had to be the possessor of 300 acres, the petty jurymen having 200 acres, a constable 100 acres, and no man was called a freeman who did not acknowledge God. Divers persons in Carolina were possessed of land by reason of grants from Sir William Berkeley.

The deed to George Durant being the oldest recorded in North Carolina, has led the general public to the wrong impression that he brought into Perquimans its first settlers, and planted the first colony, while as a matter of fact many persons were well rooted, even in the neck now called "Durants" before his arrival in the colony. This deed, however, was not recorded on the deed book in Perquimans until 1716, when the then Register of Deeds, John Stepney made a copy of it, calling himself "Register of all Writings for Perquimans Precinct." Durant, as the deed shows, took up all the land between Perquimans and Little River and immediately began to build, when one George Catchmaid arose and claimed the said land by a prior grant from Sir William Berkeley, thereupon Durant after starting his home in the new land "desisted" and quit building. George Catchmeyed was an Englishman, who at a council "At James Citty Virginia," September 25, 1663, is styled as Gent, "coming from Treslick England," and he received a grant from the Virginia government of 1500 acres, "in a Bay of ye River Carolina (Sound) adjoining Captain Jenkins (John) by ye River piquimins, due for transpotation of thirty persons into this Collony." His land was either increased by purchase or other grants, as the deeds in Perquimans prove he was possessed of 3,333 acres, which descended to his niece, Elizabeth Chandler, of London, he having died in Nansemond County, Virginia, without heirs. His widow married second Timothy Biggs of Perquimans, who set up a counter claim for the land called "Birkswear" which was situated in the lower end of Durants Neck, and later became known as "Stevensons Point."

At a Council held at St. Mary's, Maryland, October 17, 1666, the Assembly of the Province of North Carolina "sent hither William Drummond, Esq., Governor thereof and George Catchemeyed Gent Speaker of the Assembly." George Catchmaid, who lived his last days in Virginia, and was at his death Clerk of Nansemond County in said State.

William Drummond, a sober Scotch gentleman of good repute, was appointed Governor of Albemarle in the fall of 1664, and served until 1676, when he was summarily recalled by Sir William Berkeley, who had him executed in an hour after his arrival, for his sympathy with Bacon in the rebellion. It is a well established fact that Governor Drummond lived in Durant's Neck, Perquimans County, somewhere near the Sound and Little River, but sad to relate every vestage of the site has disappeared, old residents claiming that the land at that point caved in, and has been engulfed by the greedy waters of the Sound. He was no doubt buried in Virginia, and his wife lies sleeping the last sleep in the graveyard at Jamestown.

George Durant of whom so much has been written and said, came to America from London, and landed first in Northumberland County, Virginia. While it is admitted that he came from England, some writers claim he was of Scotch parentage, and also that he was by faith a Presbyterian, although an opinion has erroneously been spread abroad that he adhered to the Quaker faith, which can not be proven by any record, either county or Friends Church Register. He was married by an Episcopal minister (David Lindsay) in Northumberland County, Virginia, and the records in Perquimans are ample proof of the fact that he never affiliated with the Friends in a religious way, only one of his many children having married in the last named society, that being a daughter, who married Joseph Sutton. (See Sutton family in this book.)

George Durant in a deed Perquimans County, calls himself "Mariner" therefore he may have been master of some sailing vessel, which calling he probably abandoned on coming to Perquimans, where he was undoubtedly engaged in rather extensive farming operations for the time, becoming one of the most influential planters in all Albemarle. He was evidently far above the average in educational advantages, possessed of pronounced political opinions, added to other good qualities fine executive ability. He swayed the masses at his will, and according to Colonial Records "used Jenkins (John) as his property" being called by those opposed to him in the rebellion, "the most uncontrollable man in the country." With the Indians he was just, and according to records now on file in Perquimans not one thing can be brought against him, as to honesty and fair dealing with his neighbors, or fellowmen. His home has faded from the memory of man, and not even the location of his last resting place can be found, but tradition has it that he was buried by the side of a large lead drain, in Durants Neck, and that repeated cutting of the drain caused an accumulation of soil to be heaped up on the mound, thereby obscuring it from sight, until the very place has been lost where he lies buried. Beloved of men, honored by the Indians, his memory still lives in the hearts of descendants, and those interested in the history of Perquimans.

To encourage emigration every settler was granted 100 acres for his own transportation, and fifty acres for every servant he brought in. "All persons who doe come to plant in Carolina before December 25, 1672, above the age of sixteen" were granted fifty acres of land. The Register of each precinct had to be the owner of 300 acres, and was charged to "well behave himself." Each precinct was ordered to keep a record of all marriages, birth, and deaths, "in a book" in his own respective limitations. Such a "book" was painstakingly kept by the Register of Perquimans, which was called "Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Berkeley" being the name of the parish, which seems to have taken into its bounds the whole confines of Perquimans Precinct, as then surveyed. This "book" is still to be seen at the Hall of History, Raleigh, N. C., in a fairly good state of preservation.

Among some of those who received grants from Sir William Berkeley are to be found, John Harvey, who was granted 250 acres, on River Carolina (Sound) adjoining Roger Williams, which land was granted "att James Citty" September 5, 1663; and John Jenkins in like manner received 700 acres, "being a Neck of land, bounded on the South by River Carolina (Sound) and on the North by Pyquomons River, and on the West by land of Thomas Jarvis." Granted at same place.

John Harvey whose land was situated in what is now called "Harveys Neck" lay on a sunny bluff, fronting on both the Sound, and the River, one of the choice possessions in the county. The founder of this illustrious family became one of the early Governors, 1678-79, lived and died in the Neck that bears his name, and was buried in the old cemetery on the Sound. This graveyard after many years caved in, and the stones were washed into the Sound. Some of them (three) were recovered, and placed in another cemetery further inland, where numerous Harveys, all of good repute lie buried. This family held every office that the county could bestow on any citizen, from Justice to Governor, and the flower of them all became Moderator at New Bern 1774, who unfortunately died just at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, thereby the county lost one of its strongest supporters, and the State a great patriot. Not a vestage is left of the old Harvey mansion, called "Harvey Hall" and the underbrush and weeds are growing where statesmen once walked. The old cemetery nearby is pitifully neglected, forsaken and desolate in the extreme, where rest the remains of Col. Thomas Harvey, and others with only the song of night birds, and a requiem of the trees to keep them company. Of all the many Harvey sons not one remains in Perquimans who bears the name, but there are still living a few collateral branches, and only one strictly speaking lineal descendant in the person of Miss Emily Skinner of Hertford. As this family has been well written up in  the North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, the writer feels that it has been fully taken care of, and that no addition made could improve that splendid contribution to posterity.

No minister being stationed in the Province of Carolina prior to January 20, 1669, an Act of Assembly was passed making it lawful for those wishing to be joined in marriage to appear before the Governor, or some Councilor, and there declare themselves as man and wife having several friends, or neighbors present as witnesses, whereupon the marriage was declared legal and the Register of the Precinct in which such marriage took place inscribed their names on the book used for that purpose.

A "Grand Councell for ye County of Albemarle" was held at the house of "Gen'l Mr George Durant November 6, 1679" at which time John Nixon, who was a member of said Council, declared his age to be fifty-four years. George Durant's house was on the Sound. (Colonial Records, Vol. I, page 355.)

Mr. Seth Sothel, a sober, moderate man, in no way concerned with the rebel factions of 1677-79 took the helm as Governor of Carolina November 20, 1680. Pirates had already begun their nefarious work in the waters of Albemarle, and the English government were cognizant of the state of affairs, ordering suppression of all sea rovers, at Whitehall February 27, 1683.  One Jacob Hall came from La Vera Cruz, who "belonged not to the place, having no Inhabitants of Carolina with him sayled for Virginia" when he was questioned by the authorities in Albemarle about his sailing papers. He was sailing under orders from Van Horn with a commission from the French government, nevertheless he was indicted, found guilty and hung with two others as a privateer at the entrance of the port. Soon after this occurrence grave charges were preferred against Seth Sothel (1691) for which he was imprisoned. He was accused of seizing two persons who came from Barbados, "charging them with Pyracy" though they produced clearance papers from the government, and did "imprison unlawfully Robert Cannon, and arbitrarily detained two servants of John Stewart, and out of malice did imprison George Durant upon some reflecting words of yo self, and compelled -him to give you a sum of money while in durance." He also took from John Tomlin his plantation, and detained unlawfully cattle belonging to George Mathews, and would not deliver them even after an Order of Court was secured by said Mathews for their liberation. From John Harris (son of Thomas first Clerk of Perquimans) he took possession of a plantation, for which offence he was ordered to "come speedily to England" where the home government dealt in a lenient manner with his misdemeanors, being "unwilling to make of him a publick  shame" May 12, 1691. FinaIly he was accused of being in sympathy with the pirates to the limit of extending commissions to them, which accusation brought about his impeachment, and he was deposed from the governorship, taking refuge in South Carolina. In the last Province he was again lifted to the high office of governor, and again suffered impeachment for the identical nefarious practices, and returned to Perquimans where he died in shame. The records give the fact that "there was no vice known to man that he had not been guilty of." Dying without descendants his bad nature died with him, and Anne, his wife, took for her fourth husband, John Leah, of Nansemond County, Virginia.

On November 8, 1691, instructions were received from England to "use ye uttmost endeavor to make a settm't of a Towne, remote from the Sea, as a Seat of Government in Carolina" at which date Edenton was made the seat of government for Carolina, it is supposed.

The Colonial Records of North Carolina have excellent copies of the old precinct court proceedings in Perquimans, showing the earliest extant to be that at the house of Harris (Thomas) May, 1693. According to the same source the fact is gained that the oldest records were burned during the rebellion of 1677-79. A few old papers escaped this tragic fate by being lodged with the Secretary of State, the old wills of Perquimans having been fortunate in that respect, have been beautifully abstracted by Mr. J. Bryan Grimes, Secretary of State, in his book, Grimes' North Carolina Wills. All wills prior to 1762 are there found in abstract form, and the later ones Mr. J. R. B. Hathaway did the same for in his Quarterlies, now procurable in all libraries in book form. These Quarterlies are a wonderful contribution to the collection of any library, giving as they do such a fund of information about the entire history of eastern North Carolina. If a person in search of data from these counties will work this book in conjunction with the two mentioned he or she will be well repaid for the trouble.

The Court held May, 1693, shows sitting as Justices, Alexander Lillington, Caleb Calloway, and John Barrow. The will of Robert Smith was proven at this court, and Jonathan Bateman and John Durant (son of George) were appointed to appraise his estate. Mrs. Sarah Woolard secured an order of court, demanding estate due her, "now in the hands of Mr. Edward Smythrick in Chowan county." On the grand jury are found the names of "Timo Pead, Mr Rich Evins, Mr Antho Dawson, Mr Geo Branch, Mr Israel Snelling, Mr Thomas Tondle (Toddy), Mr Jno Little, Mr Jno Steppe, Mr James Hogg. The pettit jury consisted of Mr Ralph Fletcher, Mr Christopher Butler, Mr Timo Clare, Mr James Thigpen, Mr Tho. Pierce, Mr Patrick Kenedy, Mr Ste. Mannering (Manwarring), Mr Robert Brightwell, Mr Geo Eames, Mr Isac Wilson, Mr John Willoughby, Mr Francis Foster." Robert and Johanna Beasley were paid for six days attending court, and Caleb Calloway received 30 shillings from the estate of "Guyles Long deceased" for what reason is not specified.

Diana (Manners) Harris, wife of Thomas, married second William Foster, 1675, hence the next precinct court came to order at the house of "Diana Foster in February 1694/4, with same justices present. The proceeding of this court show that Mr. John Davis was dead, and John Philpott withdrew an action against Richard Nowell. Rights were proven by Thomas Lepper for ten persons as follows: Thomas (twice) Ann, Sarah, Rebecca Lepper, Ann Kent, John Thomas, William Brown, William Brickstone, and Nicholas Roberson. Caleb Calloway proved rights for "Dan'll Pembroke, Tho. Merett (an Indian) and Arthur Long." The last captain in Bacon's Rebellion. Roger Snell by gift conveyed land to Jonathan Taylor. The will of Mr. George Durant was probated during the session of this court, "by oath of Mr. John Philpott and Mr. Francis ffoster." Seth Sothel had also passed away, and his will was proven by Col. William Wilkinson, Capt. Henderson Walker, and Sarah Woolard, all residents of Perquimans. Lawrence Arnold, deceased, his widow, Elizabeth, was sworn in as his Administratrix. Rights were proven by Thomas Pierce, for himself, John, Susanna, Ruth, Dorothy, Mary, and John Pierce. Hannah Gosby proved rights for her son, John Gosby, Jno. Anderson, Jean Anderson, Katherine Kinsey, Jeremiah White and Henry Clayton. (John Kinsey came to North Carolina from Nansemond County, Virginia, and wedded Katherine, daughter of Francis Toms, having one son, John, born 1692, his death occurring soon after, she married second John Nicholson.) John Bentley entered land for importations, Jean, Mary, and Sarah Bentley. Jenkins Williams proved rights for himself. Timothy Clare imported Edmond Rodman, and Richard Fox, Junior. Samuel Nicholson rights for Christopher Nicholson, and Hannah his wife (who came from New England) Deliverance Sutton (daughter of said Christopher, and wife of Joseph Sutton) Francis Simons, Hannah Nicholson. Thomas Harloe proved rights for himself, Mary (twice) and John Harloe, probably his son. John Durant rights for himself and wife Sarah (Jooke). William Godfrey rights for himself and Sarah Godfrey. James, Ann, Alice, and John Wilson came to Carolina as headrights of James ffewox. Edward Mayo, Senior, transported himself and children, Edward, Sarah, Ann, Elizabeth Mayo, also Em John, and Ann Nixon, and Samuel and Affica Pike. William Butler rights for himself and wife Diana. Richard Nowell rights for himself Joan, Ellinor, Alice, and Olliver Nowell, John Smith, Charles, George, and Mary Taylor. (Richard Nowell settled on Little River.) Tabitha Haskeet (Hasket) rights for John Gray and Tabitha his wife (her daughter), John Gray, Junior, and Thomas Gray. William Lacey proved rights for himself, his father, William Lacey, Sr., Grace, and John Lacey, probably his wife and brother, and Jean Davis. James Loadman rights for himself (twice) and his mother, Jean Buyard. Stephen Manwaring rights for Edward Berry, and John Deadman (who died at the house of John Harris July 15, 1692, for whom Deadman's Swamp in Perquimans was named). The name of Manwarring appears on the records of Richmond County, Virginia, and one Stephen Manwarring came to Carolina from Surry County, Virginia, apparently.

Thomas Hassold (Hassell) came from Pennsylvania about this time bringing with him Thomas Snowden, Mary and Thomas Hassold, Jr. William Barelift proved rights for himself, Sarah Beasley, James, and Johanna Beasley, Richard and Sarah Chastone (Chesson).

The third court held in the precinct of Perquimans, convened at the same residence, with Justices present; Major Alexander Lillington, Mr. Henry White (a Quaker who came to Perquimans from Surry County, Virginia, where he purchased land from John Troy of Surry, June 9, 1655), Mr. Thomas Lepper, Mr. John Barrow, Esquires. At this sitting of court Ann Parish, formerly Jacocks (wife of Thomas of Little River), acknowledged a deed of gift to her son, John Huffton. Thomas Hassold entered land on Northeast side of Perquimans River, between the lands of Samuel Pricklove, and Thomas Attoway. During the session of the court Elizabeth Arnold petitioned the court to the effect that Lawrence Arnold her deceased husband had bequeathed his estate unto their son John, which was to be turned over to him when he reached the age of thirteen years, prayed for a guardian to be appointed in the person of Jonathan Bateman, whom she later married for her second husband. Thomas Hassold presented a petition showing that Thomas Snoden, a child, was left with him by his father-in-law, Edmund Pirkins, and that said child was bound to him until he was twenty-one years old.

Court November 6, 1694, at Mrs. Diana Fosters; same Justices present. Petition presented by Mr. John Hunt (who lived in Little River), showing that "Mrs Ann Durant held in her possession books and papers belonging to the estate of Mr William Therrill," prayed that they be turned over to him, he being the only living Executor, which was granted. George Durant, husband of said Ann, in his life time was Executor for Mr. William Therrill, who was one of his followers during the rebellion of 1677-79. William Therrill in his will probated in Perquimans County, speaks of George Durant of "Berty Point," and said Therrill himself lived on Little River.

Thomas Gilliam appeared in the court and accused Robert White and Vincent, his son, with grand larceny. The court ordered that a penalty be imposed upon the two of having the letter "T" branded in the hand which was duly executed. Augustine Scarbrough entered 300 acres of land on Powells Point Neck. Thomas Haskins (Hoskins) appeared in court for the first time. Elizabeth Banks of London appointed "beloved friends ffrancis Tomes and John Hawkins" attorneys to recover money and goods due from the estate of Seth Sothel, late Governor of Carolina. Thomas White, and Diana, his wife (late wife of William Foster), entered a suit against John Wilson. These two were continually in litigation with some one in the precinct. Jurors appointed for their case; William Jackson, Robert Moline (Modlin), John Belman (who immigrated to Perquimans from Surry County, Va.), Uriah Cannon, John Raper, Thomas Gilliam, and John Barrow, foreman. (Thomas Gilliam also came from Surry County, Va., to Perquimans.)

A General Court was held at the house of Mr. Thomas White (he having married Diana Foster, widow of William Foster, nee Manners), September 25, 1694, with Honorable Thomas Harvey, presiding. Major Alexander Ellington in behalf of John Wright of Virginia brought suit against Thomas Haskins (Hoskins) for debt. On September 26, Honorable Thomas Harvey, Esquire, present Deputy Governor of this Province, and Councilors; "ffrancis Tomes, Benjamin Lakar, Major Samuel Swann, Coll. Thomas Pollock, Daniel Akehurst, Esquires, and Captain Anthony Dawson, and Mr. John Durant, assistants. At this sitting of court the will of Coll. Francis Hartley was probated, and Mrs. Susanna Hartley chosen as Administratrix of his estate.

Mary Lamb, widow of Joshua, who had migrated to Perquimans from New England in court on legal business. Thomas Welch, indentured servant of Mr. Joseph Commander prayed for his freedom, which was granted.

September 28, 1694. Major Samuel Swann proved rights, himself, wife, Sarah (daughter of William Drummond), William, Samuel, Samson, Henry, and Thomas Swann, and Elizabeth Hunt; negroes Tom, Mary, Hanah, Eliza, and Jane, for transportation of which he received 650 acres of land on the Sound in Perquimans precinct.

November 29, 1694, Daniel Phillips received an appointment and became Deputy Marshall of Perquimans. A list of tithables was exhibited in court numbering 787 souls, and a levy of five shillings was imposed upon each person therein named. On February 25, 1694/5 Anne Ward petitioned the court for administration on estate of her deceased husband Francis Ward, which was granted. Elizabeth Bateman, widow of Jonathan, craved her third part of her husband's estate, his son Jonathan being Executor. Jacob Overman proved rights for himself, Dorothy, Jacob, Junior, Tho., Ephrim, Margery, Charles, and Ann Overman. Diana White (petition) for her son, John Harris, same court, prayed for his estate.

February 27, 1695, the will of Mrs. Ann Durant was proven by oath of Jno. Clapper and Elinor Moline (Modlin), and Thomas Durant was made Executor, March 1, 1695.

James Ward and Hanah, his wife, relict of Richard Stiball were granted Execution the estate of said Stiball. Major Samuel Swann, Surveyor, for the Province of Carolina, brought suit against Benjamin Laker for non-payment of his fee, he having surveyed 1500 acres for said Laker, which was dismissed.

In 1696 the records show that there were in Carolina sixty or seventy scattered families, settled principally along the water front for twenty miles up Little River shore, and around to Perquimans River. The inlet of Roanoke was frequented by small vessels trading to and from the West India Islands, and pirates and run-away slaves resorted to this place from Virginia. (Colonial Records, Vol. I, page 467.)

John Archdale was Governor of Carolina at this time, the only Quaker to hold such a high office. He favored his own sect, and his constituents became flush with appointments to every known position in his power to bestow, but he made a wise forbearing just reign with the colony enjoying peace and security under his benign rule. Honorable Francis Jones, Benjamin Laker, Major Samuel Swann, and Thomas Harvey, Esquires, Lords Deputies during the incumbency of Archdale.

January Court, 1696/7 was "holden" at the house of Thomas Nichols, with Justices present; Mr. John Godfrey, Caleb Calleway, Captain Ralph Fletcher, John Barrow, and Samuel Nicholson. James Oates appeared for the first time at this court. Rights were proven by Thomas Speight, for himself, John Morres (Morris), Elizabeth, John, Junior, William, and Mare Morres. Denis Maclenden proved rights for himself, Rebecca Carpenter, Elizabeth Brient, Denis Francis, and Thomas Maclenden. Abraham Williams rights for himself, wife Anne, and Edward, and John Williams. Peter Jones brought suit in this court. In March, 1696/7, John Stepney took oath as Clerk of Perquimans.

Court at the house of Mr. Thomas Blount April, 1697, with Justices present; Caleb Calleway, Judge Captain Ralph Fletcher, Mr. John Barrow, Mr. John Godfrey, Mr. John Whedby and Mr. Samuel Nicholson. Richard Nowel and Ellener, his wife, acknowledged a deed of gift to their daughter, Allis. Mr. John Whedby did the same for his two children, Richand and Deborah. John Lilly, Robert Harmon and Jonathan Tailor were appointed constables of the precinct.

Court met at the house of James Oates January, 1698, at which time Timothy Clare was appointed "Keeper of the Toole Bookes of Piquemons on West sid, and Isaack Wilson on ye East Sid." Tolls had become necessary on account of vagrant persons pilfering cattle from the herds of their neighbors, and driving them into Virginia for sale, therefore a law was passed that each animal, cattle, hog or sheep should be marked to prevent thievery.

April, 1698, court at same place. William Bogue appointed constable "from ye Narrows of piquemons to Suttens Creek, and to Mr. Lakars Crick on ye West Side."

Court at Mr. James Oates October, 1698, with Hon'ble Thomas Harvey, Deputy Governor, presiding. The Court of January, 1699, came to order at the same house. John Parish was appointed overseer of the highway "from the ferry to Mr Whedbys path." It is to be deplored that the "ferry" here spoken of is not better designated. In October of the same year a "Grate brig" is mentioned over the head of Perquimans River, where James Perrisho served as overseer. This bridge was probably the same later called "Newbys Bridge" and crossed the River beyond Belvidere going to Piney Woods.

An Assembly was held at the house of Mr. James Oates January, 1699-1700. Mr. James Cole received permission to build a "Mill at the head of Indian Crick" during the sitting of this court.

Court at Mr. James Oates house April, 1700, when William Moore proved rights for transporting himself, and wife Elizabeth into this country. Court at same place October, 1700. Daniel Hall and wife Rose appeared in court. James Oates was dead October 6, 1703. His will was probated January, 1704, and names son Joseph, and wife, Elizabeth, another legatee Jonathan Evins. Elizabeth Oates was a daughter of John Wyatt and wife Rachel Calloway. The ages of their children are given in Berkeley Parish Register as follows: John, born August 7, 1697; John (first by name), born February 4, 1667; Jesse, born August 31, 1669; Mary, born November 16, 1672. Joseph Oates moved from Perquimans to Beaufort County.

Court at the house of Captain Anthony Dawson April 8, 1701, at which time Captain Ralph Fletcher had been advanced to the office of Judge of the precinct. Justices Samuel Nicholson, Francis Foster, James Cole, and Samuel Charles. The next court July 8, 1701, at same house, Robert Inkrsone "sheweth that Walter Sestion is ded Haven Made No Will" prays for administration on his estate "having married Rellock of said Sestion." John Pricklo petitioned the court that "ffrancis Bedson (Belson) Lay Sick at His (House). A long time, who died and was Buried At His on Cost, now prays for Custodie of his Estate."

Court was "Holden at ye Gran Court House for ye precinct of Perquimons ye Secont tues In October 1701." Major Samuel Swann and Elizabeth, his wife (second wife, daughter of Alexander Lillington), acknowledged a deed to Samuel Swann, Jr. John Hecklefield petitioned the court "Shewen that George Prody Is dead Haven Maide No Will" and prays for management of his estate. Samuel Philips and James Chesen petitioned the court for their share of a crop made while living with John Lilly, and it was ordered that said Samuel should have "full Sheare and Chesen a Halle Sheare." John Hecklefield had just arrived in Carolina and he made choice of Little River as his future home. Court was held at his house for a number of years and an ,Assembly in 1707. On April, 1702, court at the house of Captain James Coles. Peter Albertson "sheweth that John Lilly was indebted to Ann Jones Now his Wife, and James Oates was ordered to pay to said Albertson Tenn Shillings and six pence." At same session of court Sarah Harris chose as her guardian her uncle, Nathaniel Albertson. Mrs. Mary Swann (wife of Samuel Swann, Jr.), proved his will in Court at Capt. James Coles' October, 1702. The will of Albert Albertson was probated during the same Court by Mary, his widow, and sons, Albert, Peter, and Nathaniel. At this Court Thomas Winslow "Proved on Write for his freedom An Assigned it to Timothy Clan" Soon after this date he married Elizabeth Clare, daughter of Timothy, and it seems certain he was an apprentice to said Clare, and had just come of age.

A "Gen'll Court was held at the House of Captain John Hecklefield in Little River, October 27, 1702. The function of this Court appears to have been on the same basis of our present day Supreme Court. Those of note present at this session were Honorable Samuel Swann, Esquire; Honorable William Glover, Esquire; John Jenkins, Esquire; William Duckenfield (whose home was in Bertie County), who came to prosecute a suit against Thomas Evins.

Henderson Walker was Governor of the Province, April 24, 1703. Peter Godfrey was appointed Clerk of Perquimans, January 1702/3, at which time Captain John Stepney turned over the books, while Samuel Swann administered the oath to the new Clerk, being secretary of the Court. Governor Walker had sworn in three new justices, Samuel Swann, Frances Toms, and William Glover.

Court at Captain James Coles February 2, 1703. Hannah Suellen, widow of Israel, acknowledged a deed to her "Chelldren," Rachel and Esther. Soon after this date she became the wife of Timothy Clare, his third and last wife. Sarah Harris made choice of her grandmother, Mary Albertson, as her guardian.

Court at same place March 9, 1703, when William Turner made over a patent of land unto James Newby and wife, Sarah, and they sold it to James Foster. At the same court the orphans of Thomas and Mary Hancocke were bound to Gabriel Newby. This is the first mention of any one by the name of Newby in the court proceedings of Perquimans, and from that fact they seem to have recently arrived in Carolina.

At this court Eza (Esau) Albertson was "Sworne Constable, from the hithermost part of Little River to the lower side of Suttons Creeke." Lawrence Arnold (2) had the embarrassing experience of having a child sworn to him out of wedlock by Jeane Richards, servant of John Hecklefield. John West, brother-in-law of the orphans of Lewis Alexander and Esther Knight, was ordered to take them with Emanuel Knight under his core.

A second General Court came to order on March 29, 1703, at the house of Captain John Hecklefield; Councilors present: Honorable William Glover, Thomas Symons, Richard Plater and William Collins, Esquires. An account of the estate of John Harvey, Esquire, was presented in Court by Mr. Christopher Gale. The will of Samuel Pricklove was probated by oath of Francis Penrice and John Anderson. Mr. Henry Baker of Virginia brought suit against William Early for debt; thereupon he appointed his "good friend" Samuel Swann, Esquire, of Carolina attorney to collect all delinquencies due him from said Early. Another General Court at Captain John Hecklefield's house on July 27, 1703, when said Hecklefield sued Captain Richard Sanderson for 10 due him He also attached the estate of Daniel Phillips, and levied a second attachment against William Nicholson's estate. John Eavans made petition in this court. Thomas Dewham (Derham) of Bath was arraigned in Court for the murder of William Hudson, who had been slain September preceding, for which crime he was sentenced to be branded on the brawn of the left hand with the letter M, but he appears to have been released from the cruel punishment by the following Court.

Court was held on April 11, 1704, at the house of Dennis Macclenden. Some of the inhabitants of Carolina mentioned as being in Court were James Beesley (Beasley) and Mary, his wife, Francis Wells and David Harris, and wife, Elizabeth. Constance Snowden, wife of Thomas relinquished her dower right in land unto John Bateman, and Thomas Evans and Mary, his wife, acknowledged a deed made by them to Thomas Snowden. A petition was presented in Court by James Thigpen, showing the need of a road "to be cleared from the ferry out to the High Road."

Court same house July 11, 1704. William Morgan brought suit against David Harris for "Defamacon and Aspersing words, he having said Thee art a Rogue and Ile prove itt." This defamation of character proving to be pure slander, the court ruled that the defendant should cast himself upon the mercy of the Court and pay all cost. John White and Alice were defendants in a case. About this time roads became a crying need and many resolutions appear on the Court records authorizing new roads or clearing and straightening old ones, therefore the old road from Lakars Creek was ordered to be cleared and Caleb Calleway was appointed overseer. William Williams proved rights for himself and at the next session of court his wife Susannah appointed friend Dennis Macclenden her attorney.

On January 1, 1704/5, Colonel William Wilkinson and Hester, his wife, by Thomas Snowden, their attorney, brought suit against Johannah Taylor; Executor of the estate of William Boyce, deceased, for two rings belonging to said Susannah. Richard Skinner became overseer of the highway "in Room of Francis Beasley."

Court at the house of Dennis Macclenden April 1, 1705, at which date Thomas Snowden was appointed "Clearke of Court for Perquimans precinct." The Court records name the fact that about this date Deborah Whidby (daughter of John), became the wife of Henry Bonner.

January 6, 1705. Court at Dennis Macclenden's. Isaac Wilson proved rights, for "Importacon" of Mary Brasinan (Brassuer) Elizabeth Brasman, John Morris, James White, Anne Barker, George Baite and wife, Rebeccah Ratcliffe, Joseph Canerle, Richard Turner, William Barnstable, John Hooks, Isaac and Abraham Ricks, for which he was awarded 1200 acres of land in Perquimans Precinct. Ralph Boasman, who immigrated to Perquimans from Surry County, Virginia, had rights proven for importing Samuel, Elizabeth, Mercy, and Susannah Bond, Matthew Potter, Sarah Johnson, and Luke Grace. James Nuby was allowed 300 acres of land for the transportation of John, Magdalen, Elizabeth, and James Newby. He took up land in Pasquotank County where he died. As soon as this 300 acres was entered he immediately conveyed it to Isaac Wilson of Perquimans.

Mrs. Deborah Whedbee, widow of John, married second Dennis Macclenden, and it was at her house that Court was held July 9, 1706, the presumption being admissible that she was a widow for the second time. The Justices present at this Court were James Cole, Thomas Long, Joseph Sutton, Senior, William Long, Esquires. Ezekiel Maudlin, deceased, his wife, Hannah, being Administratrix. Ralph Bosman was appointed Constable. Ordered that John Parish, Francis Beesley and Samuel Phelp be "packers" for this precinct, "John Parish from the head of Little River to the mouth thereof and soe around up Pequimins River to Lillys Creek," and Francis Beasley and Samuel Phelps for the remainder of the precinct. Plainly this demonstrates the fact that along the bank of Little River and the mouth of Perquimans the settlers were more thickly congregated than further up towards the interior. Samuel Phelps was ordered to "keep the Toll Booke att the Head of Pequimins River."

Mr. James Minge appears for the first time at a Court August 8, 1696, held at the house of James Thigpen, proving rights for himself, his wife, Ruth (nee Laker), and eight negroes for which he secured 1000 acres of land. His land situated in Harveys Neck ran along the bank of what is now called "Minsie" Creek then and later named in deeds as Ming Creek. Richard Turner proved rights and had 450 acres of land turned over to him for importing himself, wife, Bridget, William Barnstable, Elizabeth Turner (who married Newby), John Turner and John Hooks. Edward Wilson was appointed constable "in Room of John Davenport." Among the Justices present only two, James Cole and John Stepney, could sign their own names, all the others making marks.

A letter written by John Holden. March 21, 1707, to the Lords of Trade, deplores the fact that "Carolina was barred by Inlets which spoil trade, as none but small vessels from New England and Barbadoes are able to cross these obstructions." He further asserts that "the soil of Albemarle is more lusty" than that of South Carolina, producing in abundance tobacco, corn, wheat, and that the cattle, hogs and sheep thrive in the open all winter. This could have been no exaggeration as the same is the case at the present day. Commodities such as hides, tar, furs, beaver, otter, fox, wild cat, and deer skins were plentiful. Leather, herbs and drugs were some of the exportations at quite an early date. An affidavit made by Robert Lawrence of Nansemons County, Virginia, asserted that he was 69 years old, being seated about 47 years upon a plantation on South West side of Chowan River, where he had lived for the past seven years and that he was well acquainted with the boundary lines of those rivers.

An Assembly met at the House of Captain John Hecklefield in Little River October 11, 1708, where were gathered nine representatives from Chowan, two from Pasquotank of Quaker choosing, five from Currituck, with the number from Perquimans not designated. Mr. Edward Moseley was chosen Speaker of the House. The country became torn and rent with dissatisfaction as another rebellion called the Cary Rebellion arose like a monster causing distrust and discontent among the struggling colonists. This rebellion was at its height in 1709-10, when the country had hardly recovered from the dissention of 1677-79, proved a great hardship on those peacefully minded and disrupted the governemnt.

Rev. John Rainsford who had been selected to serve the Church of England in Carolina received a letter of warning from Mr. Hyde about this time which purported in part "that he would not have him discouraged by misrepresentations made by Mr. Urmstone (John), who will be loud in complaining, but the dissatisfaction of said person is in the greater part owing to himself, as his unfortunate temper in no way suits the natual born people of America, who were not to be won by any thing but gentle methods, and he by his railings and morose disposition had driven the people from the Church." This dissatisfaction on the part of Church of England people had augmented the ranks of the Quakers, and numbers of Church people had gone over to the new religion.

The last Council to convene in Perquimans was held at the house of Captain John Hecklefield in Little River July 4, 1712. No date appears to justify the assertion but it was probably about this date that "Phelps Point" became the seat of Precinct Court. However the earliest authenticated sitting of Court on the Point is 1735, but the Assembly passed an Act for a Court House to be erected thereon in 1722. Many persons were summoned to Court on Phelps Point soon after this date.

A Council was held at the house of Honorable Edward Hyde, Governor, and Captain General, June 2, 1712, in Chowan County. Governor Hyde died September 8, 1712, of a violent fever. His death left the colony in a deplorable condition at a time when they were facing a barbarous enemy, confronted with a scarcity of provisions, and worst of all a divided people. A great misfortune had befallen them, with no strong hand to lead through the troubled waters.

September 12, 1712, Edward Wilson "Dead without a will," his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Elizabeth Wiatt, nearest of kin with Daniel Jones (who had married another daughter), Executors.

For a period of nine years no precinct Court records are to be found while the precinct was readjusting its broken order into some form of stability, after recent disorders. The house of Mrs. Elizabeth French was honored by the sitting of this Court, as John Hecklefield had passed to his great reward, and her home became the regular meeting place for several years. She may have been the widow of John Hecklefield, but if so this made her fourth marriage.

The Minute books and loose papers give ample proof that a well organized ferry was in use between two points of land called Phelps Point, and Newbys Point before 1735. On Newbys Point Nathan Newby supervised the "setting over" of persons who wished to cross the River and in like manner Jonathan Phelps dispensed the same act of courtesy, both being paid a stipend by the county for their services. The town of Hertford was laid out on land sold to the county by Jonathan Phelps in 1749, which by Act of Assembly had been authorized to be called Hertford, having as Directors of said town John Harvey, John Clayton and Nathan Newby. Jonathan Phelps had died before this date, and his son Benjamin now had charge of the "Ferry." Nathan Newby lived at "Bear Garden" on the opposite side from Hertford, and here it was that Gideon Newby in 1784 made a deed for land (75 acres) Nigh the Float Bridge Road" showing that a float bridge was in use across Perquimans River at that date.

By Act of Assembly October, 1739, a tax of 2 shillings 6 pence was levied upon each "Tythable for the purpose of building a Publick Goal" and Nathan Newby was ordered to make a "Good sufficient double Door to the Prison of Oak Planks and provide a Good Lock to be fixed in the Middle of the Door with a Good Bolt" April, 1754, and John Weeks was appointed "Keeper of the Common Goal on November 12, 1760.

Zachariah Chancey made a charge against Gabriel Newby of Perquimans in Court August 6, 1735, his petition setting forth; that said Newby had used "wicked Boastful Malitious Scanderlous and Oprobius English words" against said Chancey thereby causing him great unrest, and that he felt himself to be "in danger of much harm of his good name and Office, praying the Court to administer Punishment either Corporal or Pecuniary" that he be hereafter deterred from like libelious words.

Another Act of Assembly provided that each person in Perquimans Precinct should be taxed for the "'Building of a publick warehouse as by Law Directed" of the following dimensions : 12 feet high, 18 feet wide, 25 feet long, and Macrora Scarbrough and Nathaniel Caruthers were appointed to "Manage" and agree with proper persons to build said warehouse as soon as possible.

Nathan Newby (2) was deceased on October 18, 1762, when Seth Sumner was chosen in his place as one of the Directors of the town of Hertford.

An Act of Assembly July, 1755, for "Establishing a Ferry from Newbys Point to Phelps Point W hereon the Courthouse Now Stands on Perquimans River" makes plain the fact that the Court had moved from Little River to Hertford some time before this date, in fact no Court had convened in a private dwelling since the one held in the house of Mrs. Elizabeth French in 1721.

Jonathan Phelps and Nathan Newby were each allowed by the county 4 per annum for "Setting over ferry free Inhabitants of this county at Court times Elections Members of Assembly, Vestrymen and Musters in said county." Jonathan Phelps was granted "Lycences to keep an Ordinary at his Now Dwelling house on Phelps Point on same date."

Nathan Newby (2) was ordered by the Court to "Erect and Compleat a warehouse on the Courthouse Lot for Inspection of Tobacco on "Phelps Point" the dimensions, of same to be as follows : "30 feet long, 20 feet wide with 71 1/2 pitcht, a Squair Roof weather boarded with half Inch plank well Nailed with tenpenny Nails, well Shingled with hart Sypress Shingles two feet long Nailed with 8 penny Nails to be Completed by November 1, 17" for which he received 37. William Skinner and James Sitterson were appointed Inspectors of tobacco. John Harvey and Joseph White were ordered to "Supply Steel yards and other Necessary Materials for said Inspectors." (Minute book, Perquimans County, 1755.)

A motion was made by Richard Cheston in Court July 3, 1740, for laying out a road from Newbys Point to the main road leading to Morgans. Granted.

This road appears to be the same which now runs from the Causeway to Winfall.  Zachariah Nixon, Richard Cheston and James Morgan, Senior, were appointed to lay off the road. On the same date Mary Newby, widow, petitioned the court that her "Tithables be taken off the main road to labour on the ferry road, it being more Convenient to me than the main road and I can better tend the ferry if any person Comes to be Set over my lands being on that road Can Set them over so shall get no Blame." (Petition granted.) Mary Newby (nee Toms, wife of Nathan first) was required to give bond after the death of her husband in 1735 for the maintenance of the ferry between her Point and where the ferry landed on the Phelps Point side. She exhibited her husbands will in Court, July, 1735. Soon after his death she married Samuel Moore. Her son, Nathan (2), continued to operate the ferry, which was later cared for by Samuel Pretlow who married his widow. Jonathan Phelps, who had charge of the ferry on the Hertford side, died before January, 1769, when Francis Nixon in behalf of Benjamin Phelps, his son, petitioned the Court showing that about January 1, 1767, he had rented the ferry and ferry house in the town of Hertford and by Order of Court for six years on condition that the highest bidder should pay the rent yearly which had been bid off to Hatten Williams in behalf of William Newbold, now in possession, who failed to pay the rent, and said Nixon now prayed for the use of said premises for four years. This Francis Nixon had married the widow of Nathan Newby (2). She being Kesiah Pierce, daughter of Thomas, and having for her third husband Samuel Pretlow. Dorothy Phelps (nee Jordan daughter of Matthew Jordan of Isle of Wight County, Virginia), wife of Jonathan had by him son, Benjamin, and a daughter, Dorothy. The widow of Jonathan Phelps married second John Skinner, and he is found at a later date keeping the ferry.

A petition was brought in Court by Evan Skinner (no date) praying for leave to build a "House of Entertainment on the Lott and a hall of ground Laid out for Publick Buildings, as are convenient and Necessary for Man or Horse," which was granted. The location of this house is uncertain.

Thomas Nicholson, being guardian for Joseph McAdams, prayed the Court for an Order to "run a ferry over to Nixonton which might prove of great ease to the publick," and also petitioned the Court "that said Orphans' slaves be exempt from working on the publick road rather putting their labor on the road" that leads to Nags Head Chappel. (No date.) The "Inhabitants of Old Neck complained that they were at great hardship for want of a road, and prayed the Court to have one cleared from Francis Toms Bridge to the mouth of Suttons Creek." The following persons were assigned to keep the road in order : Richard Sanders, Aaron Albertson, Joseph Ratcliff, Samuel Parks, Christopher Sutton, Thos. Pierce, and Joseph Newby. The records mention a "Landing" at the mouth of Suttons Creek on the south side, and it is possible that the road here spoken of is the same still traceable through the woods past the Martin Towe home straight to the Creek. The road is now impassable.

The "Inhabitants on the North side of Orepeak Swamp" prayed the Court for a road to be cleared "at the path Now going over the Swamp to the County line by James Sumners into the main road" which was granted.

Benjamin Phelps gave bond July 20, 1774 "to keep an Ordinary (Lodging house) at his now dwelling house" and pledged himself to "Constantly Provide good wholesome Cleanly Lodging and Dyet for Travellers and Stable foder and corn for horses," for the term of one year.

Petitioners : Joseph Robinson, Thomas Newby, Nathan Newby, Cornelius Moore, John Murdaugh, Francis Newby, Merchants and traders from Perquimans to the Colony of Virginia, Sheweth: that Moses Eason, a planter obtained an order of Court for turning up the road below the Mill dam, over Bassetts Swamp on the main road leading to Virginia, claiming it would shorten the way, and said petitioners find it is at least a mile and a half further, and before the winter will be impassable, prays for an order for the road to have its former position. July, 1760. This road passed through what is now Gates County and may have been the same route taken by the present road called "the Virginia Highway."

The Kings Quit Rents were paid at Deep Creek and Charles Denman was treasurer of Perquimans precinct. Macrora Scarbrough, one-time treasurer, was accused of being "a high criminal" by a complaint laid before the Assembly, 1744. James Castellaw preferred the charge and the next day Scarbrough appeared in Court and resigned.

Public warehouses doing business in Perquimans in 1764 appear to have been at Cypress Bridge, Hertford, Sanders Landing, John Barrows, Yeopin Creek, Seth Sumners, Little River Bridge, Judge Barclifts (Durants Neck), and Joseph Suttons, the last at the mouth of Suttons Creek.

Col. John Harvey commanded the Militia in 1776. Rev. Charles Pettigrew writing to the Home Mission Board in England, said he was taken into Perquimans and officiated in Berkeley Parish where there were five Chapels, at which he preached and was paid by voluntary contribution. Miles Harvey was appointed Colonel of Militia by the September Congress, 1775; William Skinner, Lieutenant Colonel; Thomas Harvey and Richard Clayton, Majors. Perquimans County raised a Company of Minute Men in the Revolutionary War.

This county was a stronghold of Quakers, and was one of the four which was divided in 1672, becoming at that date Perquimans Precinct. In April, 1776, Benjamin Harvey, Junior, and Edmund Blount were appointed to gather all arms to be found in the county for the use of troops, fifty of which were sent under guard, commanded by Captain William Moore to the defense of Wilmington. John Harvey was Speaker of the Provincial Congress at New Bern, 1774, 1775, 1776. Other members from Perquimans:  Andrew Knox, Thomas Harvey, John Whedbee, Junior, Joseph Jones, Miles Harvey, Benjamin Harvey, William Skinner, Charles Blount, Charles Moore, William Hooper. Councilors : 1776-1868, John Skinner, Henry Skinner; State Treasurer, William Skinner; Superior State Judge Jonathan B. Albertson; State Senator, 1777, William Skinner; Representatives, Benjamin Harvey, John Harvey; Members of Constitutional Convention, 1788-1875, Samuel Johnson, William Skinner, Joshua Skinner, Thomas Harvey, John Skinner, Joseph Harvey, Benjamin Perry, Ashbury Sutton, Jonathan H. Jacocks. Members of the Assembly : Joseph Jessop, Thomas Speight, Charles Denman, Samuel Phelps, Macrora Scarbrough, Richard Skinner, Marmaduke Norfleet (He lived in that part of Perquimans cut off into Gates), Zebulon Clayton, Richard Sanderson, Joshua Long, Thomas Weeks, Joseph Sutton, James Sumner, Nathaniel Caruthers, William Wiatt, Tully Williams, George Durant, Luke Sumner, John Harvey, Benjamin Harvy, Francis Brown, Thomas Bonner, William Mackey, Charles Blount, Seth Sumner, Andrew Knox, John Skinner, Nathaniel Williams, John Whedbee. Before 1740.

The first Tax list found in Perquimans was one taken by Edward Hall in 1729. This list is interesting from the fact that it mentions the acreage of each person named on the list. They are given in rotation as follows : Jeremiah Sutton with 50 acres; John Leary, 100 acres; Edward Hall, Jr., ; Nathan Long, 150 acres; Zebulon Pratt, 46 acres; John Smith, 75 acres; Ann Wilson, 100 acres; Robert Roe, 50 acres; Elisha Stone, ; William Arkill, 167 acres; Thos. Thatch, 96 acres; Zebulon Calleway, 50 acres; Joseph Barrow, 300 acres; Luke 'White, 50 acres; Spencer Thach, 100 acres; Andrew Donaldson, 175 acres; John Wyatt,; Mary Whidbee, 661/2 acres; William Clemons, 240 acres; Benjamin Sanders, 1019 acres; William Creecy, 250 acres; William Arrington, 160 acres; John Barrow, 200 acres; Nathan Skinner, 55 acres; Thos. Simmons, 130 acres; William Stepney, 350 acres; John Sanders, 162 acres; Frederick Luten, 2231/2 acres; Willis Butler, 140 acres; Richard Cale, 140 acres; Bailey Forbes, 399 acres; Lemuel Forbes,; Thomas Harmon, 209 acres; Leven Thach, 721/2 acres; John Johnson, 50 acres; John Nixon, 236 acres; Jesse Bunch, 50 acres, Malachi. Deal, ; James Brinkley, 507 acres; Levy Creecy, 2311/2 acres; William Mullen, 50 acres; James Bush, 50 acres; Nathaniel Bratton, 152 acres; Francis Sutton, 50 acres; Leven Scot, 100 acres; William Long, 466 acres; Lemuel Long, 50 acres; Richard Hatfield, 207 acres; Jeremiah Doe, ; William Jones, Jr., 1131/2 acres; Thos. Long, 1031/2 acres; Reuben Long, 143 acres; Joseph Thach, 100 acres; John Collins, 120 acres; Christopher Collins, 104 acres; Joseph Mathias, 125 acres; Isacher Branch, 50 acres; William Branch, 1561/2 acres; Benjamin Bratton, 210 acres; John Lumsford, 100 acres; Henry Hall, 125 acres; John Wingate,; Richard Skinner, 4921/2 acres; Thos. Stacey, 50 acres; Thos. Creecy, 337 acres; Eri Barrow, 200 acres and six negroes ; Edward Wingate, 50 acres; Job Miller, 260 acres; William Jones Joiner, Thos. Whedbee, 133 acres; Frederick Halsey, 100 acres; William Standin, 286 acres; Joseph Norcom, 322 acres ; Joseph Harvey, 297 acres ; Peleg Lawton, 200 acres; Burton (?) Harvey, 500 acres; Robert Harvey, 300 acres; William Jones, Sr., 130 acres; Ezekeil Arrenton, 170 acres; Stephen Skin' ner, 15 acres; Isaac White, 1331/2 acres, Charles W. Miller, ; Delight Nixon, 416 acres; William Weston, 50 acres; Arodi Barrow, 25 acres; James White, 150 acres; Benjamin Smith, 139 acres; Jeremiah Collins, 100 acres; Ann Skinner, 200 acres ; Gray Spruel, 226 acres; James McClenny, 50 acres ; Mary Pratt, 331/2 acres; William White, 477 acres; Sarah White, 800 acres; Thos. Parramore, 100 acres; Richard Hatfield, 691/2 acres; John Skinner, 850 acres; Mary Harvey, 800 acres; Joshua Skinner, 550 acres; Jonathan Pearson, 52 acres; Thomas Harvey, Esquire, 379 acres and 18 town lots, 15 blacks, Thomas Harvey, 588 acres ; Benjamin Harvey, 700 acres; (12 blacks each) ; Joseph Gilbert, 100 acres ; Sarah Skillings, 2 town lots and two blacks ; Charles Moore, Jr., 242 acres and six blacks; Samuel Penrice,; Joshua Long, 621 1/2 acres, Charles Pettigrew, 750 acres and ten blacks ; William Skinner, 8511/2 acres; Thos. Jones Estate, 400 acres.

A list of house-holders as taken by John Perry, 1744: Francis Jones, Ralph Fletcher, Zachariah Nixon, Samuel Moore, Thomas Jessop, Thomas Pierce, Joseph Ratclift, Aaron Albertson, Richard Sanders, John Anderson, Thomas Bateman, Arthur Albertson, Josiah Boswell, Mary Newby, Moses Elliott, John Stone, Thomas Winslow, Jr., John Mardlen, Abraham Elliott, Roger Kennion (Kenyon), Joseph Elliott, John Henby, Joseph Newby, Thomas Elliott, Ezekiell Maudlen, Sr., John Lacey, Joseph and James Henby, Edward Maudlen, Robert Bogue, John Morgan, Jobe Hendrickson, John Byrom, John Gyor, Arthur Croxton, Rachell Peirson, Thos. Bagley, William Bogue, John More, Josioue Bugue, Moses Wood, Thomas Hollowell, Peter Peirson, Joseph Mayow, John Roberson, Joseph Winslow, Thomas Winslow, Sr., Thomas White, Truman Moore, John Wilson, William White, Richard Rainer, John Griffin, Francis Jones, John Hutson, Evan Jones, Timothy Winslow, Jacob Perry, Jahn Winslow, Sr., Jacob Elliott, John White, John Lilly, Benjamin Perry, Phillip Perry, John Middleton, James Field, John Hollowell, William Hollowell.

List of Taxables taken by Thomas Weeks, J.P., 1742: Robert Cock, George Gording, and sons, William and Nathaniel, Jeremiah Hendrick, Joseph Robinson, Thos. Knoles, Samuel Moore, Francis Toms, John Morris, John Guyer, Mary Newby, widow, and son, Thomas, Ezekiel Maudlin, Jane Morgan, widow, John Henby and son, Silvanus, Arthur Albertson, John Lacey, James Henby, Jr., Edward Maudlin, and sons, William and Ezekiel, Thos. Jessop, Jesse Newby, Thos. Barclift, John Mann, John Barclift, Sr., and son, John, Solomon Hendrick, David Huff- ton, Michael Murphy, Thos. Montague, Josiah Raper, Benjamin Monday, and son, Thomas, Thos. Stafford, William Tomblin, Margaret Stanton, and sons, Moses and Aaron Jackson, Charles Overman, John Robinson, William Hasket, Nathaniel Welch, Isaac Hendrick, William Colson, Phineas Nixon, John Winslow, William Knoles, Thos. Godfrey and son, Thomas, Samuel Right (Wright) William Arnold, Jno. Nixon, Jno. Moore, Thos. Sharbo, Thos. Winslow and son, Job, and six slaves (Thomas Winslow, Senior), Thos. Winslow, Jr., Joseph Ratcliff, Aaron Albertson, Jno. Anderson, Rachel Pearson, widow, and son, Jonathan, John Perrishaw, Josiah Bundy, John Wilson, William Bundy.

As has already been mentioned John Skinner, married Dorothy, widow of Jonathan Phelps, who owned the land at the ferry and operated it as long as he lived. A stipend of 5 s5 p10 was paid to said John Skinner July 18, 1763, by Andrew Knox, Sheriff, of Perquimans for maintenance of the Ferry. "Having attended the ferry Duly for the Year past over Perquimans River at Publick times According to Order of Court." John Skinner and Keziah Newby petitioned the court for their "Sallery."

At a Precinct Court April 18, 1754, Jacob Docton prayed the Court to exempt him from further taxation on account of "mind being impaired." Joshua Hobart did the same thing on account of a broken Shoulder April, 1762.

The inhabitants on North East Side of the head of Vossess Creek petitioned the Court same date setting forth that they had "a long bad Road to make and maintain from the county Road by Joseph Outlands up said Creek to a branch of the Creek known by the name of Reedy Branch to be laid off from John Laceys to said Branch and all the inhabitants that are or may Settle within said Boundaries are expected to make and repair said Road, therefore they said petitioners pray to be exempt from Service on any other Road."

No history of Eastern North Carolina could be complete without mentioning the notorious pirate Teach who frequented it is supposed every navigable River that emptied its waters into the Sound. He was an Englishman by birth and first settled in Virginia where he married a lady of quality in Alexandria of said state. He soon after began to show his brutal character and was known to have kicked this sweet lady down the stair of their home when in a white rage. His first unlawful venture proved to be blockade running, a favorite trade with him being bringing in negroes free of duty. When he had worn himself out in these nefarious practices and incensed the Virginia authorities to such a pitch that they were ready to execute him on speedy apprehension, he fled to North Carolina and for a while conducted himself in an exemplary manner even pruning himself before the Church of England as a very pious good fellow, which caused the people of his new home to half way believe he had been much traduced and he made many strong friends in Carolina who were later to repent of the association but could not entirely shake. it off from fear. On land he appeared to be like other sea-faring men and he paid religiously the dues that were levied upon him and spent with a free hand among his neighbors and cohorts. But this good behavior vanished as soon as the sails were spread to the breeze, his natural cruelty becoming rampant. Of all sea rovers he was the most brutal, gaining for himself the title of being the "thug of the sea." Perquimans records do not show any sign of his having ever lived or done any trading in the precinct and this county does not lay claim to residence of his or to his having any buried treasure stored away in the soil of Perquimans. It is a fact, however, that two of his sons lived apparently in this county and conveyed property in Perquimans. It is also said that he has descendants still living in the district but the writer does not give much credence to the fact.

Among prominent sons of Perquimans mention must be made of General William Skinner who saved the day at Great Bridge when the Continental troops were so hard pressed by the British. This splendid man served his county as faithfully in peace as he did in war and lies buried on a farm not far from Hertford.

John Harvey, one of the early Provincial Governors, and his no less prominent son, Col. Thomas Harvey, Deputy Governor, are well established in the minds of historians.

Perquimans County has produced many representative men, one of whom was Congressman T. G. Skinner. Another, Mr. Harry Skinner of Greenville, N. C., who has distinguished himself in many fields. Also Judge Harry Whedbee, born in Perquimans, of Greenville, N. C., of whom the county is very proud. Judge Ward is another and he rose from an humble beginning which gives him that much more to be grateful for. In an old house near the Chowan line the mother of Judge Ward first saw the light of day. This house is built of boards over a foot broad and two and one-half inches thick put together without studdings, dovetailed at the corners and has withstood the weather for several generations; a most remarkable piece of workmanship in the way of architecture. There are in Perquimans many other old homes, some of them so far off the beaten path of travel that they are never seen unless they are specially sought. The history of most of these places is shrouded in mystery and no one at the present day can give a detailed account of their age or occupants. In Durants Neck still in a livable condition is standing the old Whedbee home said to have been built in 1722. Another beautiful old home, that of Mr. James P. Whedbee, on the road to New Hope, burned not many years ago, is said to have had the loveliest woodwork on the interior to be found in the county. Just a few years ago the old Wood home near Hertford went up in flames. This house was built by a family of Cannons and there is an old burying ground near by with members of the family sleeping the long sleep.

Too much can not be said for the old County of Perquimans but space forbids enumerating all the virtues of past, present and future possibilities of this land lying between Perquimans and Little Rivers.

Out of the past arise forms long still storking before the present with dignified applause waving unlimited approval toward the growing altitude of the small corner of the earth which they formerly called home. And grateful hearts remember the stark necessity of these tillers of the soil and how they dug out of the Swamps a splendid prosperity; the brawn and sinew of the land her pioneer men, bent with heavy toil, bronzed by the sun, pinched with cold, ravaged by dread malaria, yearning over little ones and sickly wife who helped to bear and share their burdens, carving out of the bare wilderness a home where the future generations might live at ease. Truly may it be said that our forefathers in Perquimans laid the foundations of the progress that followed. Every soul with an ounce of patriotism should take off the hat in lowly reverence by the side of a grave where is silently lying the remains of one of these who labored so long and so well that coming descendents could possess the land in freedom.

Scores of these have vanished from our recollection by reason of their names ceasing to be recorded on the pages of time. Where they went and whence they came is one of the unsolved secrets of the past. Some can be traced to other parts of the world and others dropped out like a pebble dropped into the sea, but they all did their utmost to reclaim an unknown land and make it safe for us. Such names as Clare, Oates, Thigpen, Manwarring, Cheaston, Branch, Peele, Pettiver, Woolard and others too numerous to mention have long ago disappeared from the records. Some of them died out for lack of male issue, and the greater majority migrated south, west and to every part of the then known land. The trend being ever westward carried many to the middle west and not a few went with the gold rush to California in 1849. Sons of Perquimans have taken root in almost every clime, New York having claimed some of the best, with the National Capital a close runner for precedence. The tropics have swallowed up several of the most promising of our sons, and South America has taken toll of a few, in fact every corner of the earth has claimed one or more who have distinguished themselves each in his own way. From sturdy seed has sprung good fruit, and it is a great comfort to know the sons of Perquimans wherever found have done nothing to shame a good mother.

Among those who from the beginning have elected to remain in the county can be cited such names as White, Wilson, Skinner, Whedbee, Blount, Wood, Modlin, Evans, Winslow, Jessop, Cox, Hollowell, Nixon, Toms, Newby, Leigh, Morgan, Smith, and many more whose names were first found on the page of history when Perquimans first opened its doors to settlers. For over two hundred years these people have considered the home land of their forefathers good enough for them, and they continue to bless the old fireside with their presence.

From:  History of Perquimans County by Ellen Goode Winslow, published Raleigh, NC 1931


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