Lords of the Soil
By Jeannette Holland Austin
Pictured is George Durant receiving a deed from the chief of the Yeopim Indians. In 1653, Roger Green led a company across the wilderness from Nansemond, in Virginia, to the Chowan River and settled near Edenton. The settlement was a prosperous one, and soon others followed. In 1662, George Durant purchased of the Yeopim Indians the neck of land situated on the North-side of Albemarle Sound, which still bears his name. It was settled by persons driven off from Virginia through religious persecutions. In 1663, Sir William Berkeley, the Governor of Virginia, visited the infant settlement on the Chowan, and being pleased with its evident signs of prosperity and increasing importance, appointed William Drummond as the first Governor of the Colony of Carolina. Drummond was a Scotch Presbyterian, and, inheriting the national characteristics of that people, was prudent, cautious, and deeply impressed with the love of liberty. The beautiful lake in the centre of the Dismal Swamp, noted for its healthy water, and abundantly laid in by sea-going vessels, was named for Governor Drummond. During the year of 1665 it was discovered that the County of Albemarle, as the settlement on the Chowan was called, was not in the limits of the Carolina charter, but instead, in Virginia. The charters granted the colonists were generally liberal in the concession of civil rights and the proprietors were permitted to exercise toleration towards non-conformists, if expedient. Thus, after King Charles was petitioned, he granted an enlargement of the North Carolina Charter so as to make it extend from twenty-nine degrees to thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes, north latitude. As immigrants from abroad populated the region, a representative government was allowed. This government had its limitations and conceded a certain degree of popular freedom. Because these settlers were mostly refugees from religious oppression, they had no claims upon the government, nor did they wish to draw its attention. Also, they regarded the Indians as the true lords of the soil and treated with them as such, purchasing their lands and obtaining land grants. At the death of Governor Drummond in 1667, the colony of Carolina contained about four thousand inhabitants. more history
Albemarle County, North Carolina Probate Records
The former county of Albemarle County was established in 1664 and was located in the northeastern portion of North Carolina. The county was named after the first Duke of Albemarle (George Monck), who was one of the eight Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina, for whom the Albemarle Sound is also named. Under the original divisions of the province, the county to the south of Albemarle was called Clarendon County and centered on the Cape Fear region, but was only briefly occupied in the 1660s. Bath County was organized in 1696 and lay more closely to the south. By 1670 the four precincts of Albemarle County had been formed: Shaftesbury, Currituck, Pasquotank, and Berkeley. In 1681, Berkeley was renamed Perquimans and during 1685 Shaftesbury became Chowan. By 1689 the county ceased to function as a governmental unit and was replaced by the four precincts. However, Albeemarle County was officially abolished in 1739. The Higher Court of North Carolina functioned in Albemarle County.
Albemarle County (now extinct) Records available to members of North Carolina Pioneers
- Higher Court Records 1670 to 1696
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