Monday, April 14, 2008

History of Perquimans County

"History of Perquimans county as compiled from records found there and elsewhere"

Thanks to researcher Linda Monticelli for bringing this book to our attention, it is free online at Eastern North Carolina Digital Library



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
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