Pasquotank History

Pasquotank was formed as early as 1668 as a precinct in Albemarle County. Name derived from Indian word pasketanki, “where the current [of the stream] divides or forks.” It is in the northeastern section of the State and is bounded by Albemarle Sound and Perquimans, Gates, and Camden counties. The present area is 229 square miles…. It is not known when the first courthouse was built, but from 1737 to 1757 the courthouse was at Brook Field. In 1758 it was moved to Relfe’s Point. It remained there until 1762 or probably a little later. From 1765 until 1785 the courthouse was at Winfield. In 1784 the Assembly directed that it be moved to Nixonton, and from 1785 to 1800 Nixonton was the county seat. In 1799 Elizabeth (City) Town was named the county seat and on June 6, 1800, the first court was held there. Elizabeth City was first called Redding, which town was established in 1793. Redding was changed to Elizabeth Town in 1794, and Elizabeth Town was changed to Elizabeth City in 1801. It is the county seat. There is no description of the precinct when it was established. Camden was formed from Pasquotank in 1777.

Possum Quarter
(Photo credit: Susan C. Griffin)

This section quoted from Formation of the North Carolina Counties 1663-1943, by David Leroy Corbitt, pages 171-172 with later corrections; published 1996 by the NC Division of Archives and History, NC Department of Cultural Resources. 

… That all that part of Pasquotank County lying on the North East side of the said River [Pasquotank], and of a Line to be run from the Head of the said River a North West Course to the Virginia Line, shall be, and is hereby established a County, by the Name of Cambden.

The lines between Pasquotank and Perquimans and between Camden and Gates were ordered to be run in 1804. Because of the difficulty of establishing and marking the lines in the Dismal Swamp, they had not been previously marked.

… beginning near the fork of Little river, and running northwardly to the south-west corner of a ridge, known by the Middle Ridge, then along the west side of said ridge, crossing Colonel John Hamilton’s turnpike road, to the north-west corner thereof, thence a northwardly course to a ridge in the desart known by Colonel Jesse Eason’s Ridge, then a north course to the line that divides this State from the State of Virginia.

In 1818 an act was passed which authorized the boundary line between Pasquotank and Perquimans to be run and marked. No description is given in the law.

In 1909 an act was passed to define the boundary line between Pasquotank and Camden counties.

That the channel of Pasquotank River, from its mouth to its junction with the Dismal Swamp Canal, shall be the dividing line between Pasquotank and Camden counties; and the boundary line of Camden County, from the junction of the Dismal Swamp Canal and Pasquotank River to the Virginia line, shall be and remain as it now is.

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