Nash County Before 1777

NASH COUNTY:  PHYSICAL EVOLUTION AS A COUNTY FROM THE FIRST SETTLERS TO THE PRESENT.  [dates and bolded text track the evolution of land in Nash County after 1777 from its location in other counties prior to the creation of Nash from Edgecombe in 1777.]

Brief Descriptive Timeline  [all of this is important to family researchers became land, currently located in Nash County, at one time, was located in the counties bolded below.

1664 – Albemarle County, created October, 1663, and formed in 1664, contained roughly1,600 square miles.

1668 – Albemarle County divided into Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank and Perquimans precincts; replacing the original precincts of Carteret, Berkley and Shaftsbury.

1689 – Albemarle County ceased being recognized as a superior administrative unit of Carolina

1670 –  Chowan County formed as a precinct in Albemarle County; Edenton formed in 1720 and named the county seat.

1681 – Berkeley Precinct – renamed Perquimans

1681 – Carteret Precinct divided into Currituck and Pasquotank Precincts

1664 – Clarendon Precinct created, abandoned 1667

1689 –  Albermarle District discontinued

1696 – Town of Bath created

1705 – parts divided into Archdale, Pamtecough, Wickham Precincts.

1712 –  Archdale – renamed Craven.

1722 – Bertie Precinct, after 1738, County formed from Chowan as a part of Albemarle County; located on the west side of the Chowan River, bound on the north by the Virginia Line and on the south by the Albemarle Sound to the Roanoke River, then called the Morotuck River as far as Welch’s Creek; Winsor becomes county seat in 1774

1722 –  Scotch Highlanders established Scotland Neck, somewhere between Caledonia farms, just west of the Roanoke River, and Palmyra; the community washed away in a flood and they moved on to the Cape Fear area.

1732, May – Edgecombe Precinct created on the Roanoke River, on the eastern part of Rainbow Banks, which was two miles below the town of Hamilton and then northern and western to the Virginia Line; this creation was immediately challenged by powerful men resulting in about a ten year period of challenge with Edgecombe Precinct existing in name only; importantly for family researchers, Halifax County Deed Book I, those deeds from 1732 to 1741, identify land as in Bertie and Edgecombe Precincts and locate the property as well as in Albemarle County; thus, land that is now in Halifax County was in 1732 to 1738 in Bertie and Edgecombe Precincts in Albemarle County.

1738 – the North Carolina Assembly changes precincts to counties, no precincts after 1738, only counties.

1739 –  Bath District was discontinued in 1739 when the districts were named as counties.

1741 – Edgecombe County formed from Bertie County; Tarboro made the county seat of Edgecombe in 1764; soon after the formation of Edgecombe, the county was divided into two parishes; St. Mary’s Parish included the area south of Fishing Creek and Kehukee Swamp; north of Fishing Creek to the Virginia line and then west to the Granville County line was named Edgecombe Parish;

1745 – Enfield, first called Huckleberry Swamp, became the county seat of Edgecombe; now it is the oldest town in Halifax County.

1746 – Granville County created from Edgecombe.

1746 – judicial districts of Edgecombe, Northampton and Granville established with court located in Enfield until 1758; as of this 1746, New Bern is the capital of the colony of North Carolina.

1758 – the population of Edgecombe County was: [1] 1674 whites over 16 years of age;  [2] 1091 blacks over the age of 12 and, [3]  including children, establishes a total population of about 5000.

1758 – Halifax County created from Edgecombe County.

1759, April 10.  Dobbs County created from Johnston. When the county dissolves parts taken for Wayne 1779, Glasgow 1791, Lenoir 1791

1764 –  Bute County formed from Granville. taken from parts for Franklin 1778, Warren 1779

1777 – Nash County formed from Edgecombe County

“.  .  .Edgecombe be divided by a line beginning at the cool Springs, at John Powell’s on Fishing Creek, tence running to the Falls of Tar River from thence to the Widow Rose’s on Contentney; and that all that Part of the late County of Edgecombe which lies East of the said dividing line, which shall continue and remain a distinct County, by the name of Edgecombe which lies West of the said dividing Line, shall thenceforth be erected into a new distinct County, by the Name of Nash.  . .”

1782 – taxes levied to construct “public buildings in Nash County; the county seat called “Nash Court House”

1791 – Glasgow created from Dobbs, renamed Greene 1799

1815 –  Nash County Commissioners named to locate the center of the county and purchase 50 acres, on which to erect a courthouse; other commissioners named to lay out the town of Nashville and have the courthouse erected.

1817 –  a dividing line established between Franklin and Nash Counties authorized to be run.

1825 –  Town of Nashville was agreed upon as the county seat

1855 –  Wilson County formed from Edgecombe, Nash, Johnston and Wayne Counties; part of the southwestern area of Nash in 1854 become Wilson County in 1855.

1871 –  part of Edgecombe County was annexed to Nash

“.  .   .That all that portion of Edgecombe County (west of the Wilmington and Weldon railroad) and between the Halifax and Wilson lines, be and the same is hereby annexted to and shall form a part of Nash county. . .”


David L. Corbitt, FORMATION OF THE NORTH CAROLINA COUNTIES. c. 1950, 1969 edition.  [every serious family researcher should have access to this book, you will consult it many times as you work on your family): multiple pages.

William C. Allen, A HISTORY OF HALIFAX COUNTY [Boston, MA: The Cornhill Company, 1918]:  6 – 12.