By: Sue Engelhardt
Back in March, I promised to provide information on European settlements. The Carolina Archaeological Research Study includes an impressive historical overview of the north coastal region of North Carolina. The first explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine mariner representing the French, explored the North Carolina coast in 1524. Later there were attempts to establish settlements (Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón led a failed Spanish settlement in 1526 at the mouth of the Cape Fear River; and there was a failed English settlement on Roanoke Island in 1580s).
It was not until the mid-seventeenth century that permanent European settlements were established in North Carolina. European occupation is documented by the map. The first recorded land grant in North Carolina records the sale of land from the Yeopim Indians to George Durant in March 1661. This land, currently known as Durant’s Neck, is located across the Perquimans River from our community.
One of the earliest known English settlements includes the land where the current Newbold-White House is located. Approximately 640 acres were owned by Joseph Scott who came to North Carolina around 1663 and served as a North Carolina burgess. He converted to Quakerism in 1672.
The Newbold-White house, the oldest brick house in North Carolina, was built in 1730 by Abraham Sanders, also a Quaker, who purchased the property in 1726. He grew corn, cotton, wheat, flax, indigo, tobacco, and rice along the Perquimans River.
Perquimans County was originally formed as a precinct of Albemarle County between 1668 and 1670. Hertford was established in 1758, emerging as a center for trade and government.
Historian Collet (1770) lists Harvey as the sole family name occupying Harvey’s Neck, which is just northeast of our community. There appears to have been two John Harveys, the first having arrived in 1658 and served as acting governor in 1679. The second John Harvey was a member of the North Carolina General Assembly as early as 1746 and a prominent member in the revolutionary movement. By the twentieth century no trace of Harvey Hall, the Harvey family mansion, existed. It was located at the extreme end of Harvey’s Neck.
In 1808, Harvey and Skinner are listed as living on Harvey’s Neck. Skinner owned a farm on Harvey’s Neck and was the first to begin commercial seine fishing in the Albemarle Sound in the early 1800s until the Civil War.
The area we now call Albemarle Plantation experienced little change by the late eighteenth century.