This information comes from the State Normal Magazine, December 1912. Article by Louise Crawford, ' 13, Adelphian
With the growth of a great nation there must necessarily be a growth of states ; and in like manner, with the growth of a state there must be an increase of counties. Consequently the legislature possesses the right to create and to name a state at will, and in the case of counties, to create, to name, to abolish, and again to re-establish any county which it sees fit. It is my purpose to present here the counties of North Carolina which are at present extinct, and under what conditions the names were obliterated, together with the modifications that have taken place in the names of the counties. The first three big divisions or branches from which all of our other counties have sprung, were Albemarle, Bath and Clarendon. Albemarle, where the first settlement of North Carolina was made in 1659, was named in 1663, and composed all the land on the northeast side of the river Chowan, now Albemarle, extending from the Virginia line to a region a little south of the Albemarle Sound, and southwest to the Roanoke River. It was named in honor of one General Monk—the name being derived from his ducal title. In France it was known as Aumale, a word which we see clearly to be the root of the word Albemarle. A short while after Albemarle was created, the Lords Proprietors contemplated another county, composed of the land on the west bank of the Cape Fear River, extending into South Carolina, which they called Clarendon, after Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. Albemarle was the first, and until 1696, the only large political organization in our state. In that year, however, Bath was created. It included the country lying between the southern boundary of the Albemarle and the Cape Fear Rivers, which was then the northern boundary of Clarendon. This county was named in honor of John Lord Granville, Earl of Bath. In the year 1695, however, practically all the land about the Pamlico River was called by the council, Archdale County, after John Archdale, one of the proprietary governors in that year. But in December, 1696, an order was passed by the Palatine'; s court naming this country Pamlico Precinct in Bath County. Thus we have in one issue both a county and a precinct formed, and also the changing of the name of a county, Archdale, to Bath, even as early as 1696. But to return to Albemarle. In 1671 the Lords Proprietors in order to put the Grand Model into practice, divided Albemarle into four precincts, the eastern being Carteret ; the middle, Berkely ; the western, Shaftesbury ; and a fourth whose name is not positively known, but which is thought to be Perquimans. Twelve years later, Carteret became Currituck, Berkely was changed to Pasquotank, and Shaftesbury and Perquimans became Chowan. These were the names of the principal streams that watered the counties. Clarendon was divided into four precincts, which were named in honor of some of the Lords Proprietors, Berkely, Colleton, Craven, and Carteret. All these, however, had in the year 1728 disappeared and New Hanover was alone left to tell the story. In Bath County in 1705, we have the precincts of Wickham, comprising most of the territory between the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, west of the Pungo River; Pamlico, covering the territory around the Pamlico River; Pamticough, the exact boundaries of which are not known and Archdale, embracing the region north of the lower Neuse, and south of it far enough to include the settlements on the Trent and Neuse Rivers. Carteret, the fifth precinct in Bath County, was not created until 1722, and seven years later it became the present Carteret County. The names of the other four disappeared on the dissolution of the proprietary government, and the precincts became the counties of Beaufort, Hyde, Tyrrell, and a part of New Hanover. This change was due to the ambition of the North Carolinians to fashion the province after that of England ; and an assembly held in New Bern in March, 1739, passed an act converting the precincts into counties, thus abolishing our parental counties, Albemarle, Bath, and Clarendon. Thus far we have seen three counties abolished, the name of one changed, Archdale, to Bath, and the names of ten precincts—which may really be regarded as counties. These are : Carteret, Berkely, Shaftesbury, Craven, Perquimans, Colleton, Wickham, Pamticough, Pamlico, and Archdale. Carteret and Craven, however, were afterwards bestowed on other counties, thus preserving their names. A similar fate also awaited some of the unfortunate counties formed after the year 1739 ; and Pelham was the first to fall a victim. Its name was abolished, and that of Bladen given to the county. The General Assembly in 1779 blotted out Bute—the name of a county which was called after the hated Earl of Bute—and divided its territory into the counties of Franklin and Warren. Franklin gets its name from Benjamin Franklin, while Warren was named in honor of a distinguished man of Massachusetts, Joseph Warren. Until the year 1779 we had a county called Tryon in honor of William Tryon, one of our royal governors, with whom all North Carolinians are more or less familiar. But his oppressive administration, ending with his cruel, detestable conduct at the battle of Alamance in 1771, caused the General Assembly to obliterate his odious name and to divide the country into Lincoln and Rutherford Counties. Both honors were imposed upon the heroes during the Revolutionary War, when Benjamin Lincoln was courageously fighting against the British at Charleston, and Griffith Rutherford, a brigadier general, was winning the love and admiration of the state by his character and by his great services in the war. There was in North Carolina up to the year 1791, a county called Dobbs, created by the assembly in November, 1758, and named for Arthur Dobbs, the royal governor of the state in 1754. It was, however, through the influence of Governor Dobbs himself, while he was in the plentitude of his fame, that a county was formed from Craven and named in his honor. It was abolished in 1791, and its territory divided into the counties of Lenoir and Glasgow. Lenoir was called in honor of General William Lenoir, of Wilkes County, who was distinguished for both his revolutionary and his civil services to his state. James Glasgow, who was major of the regiment of the County Dobbs, was one of the noblest and most trusted men of the Revolution ; and on the 18th of December, 1776, when North Carolina adopted the constitution, he was its first secretary of state. "; When the legislature erased the detestable name of Dobbs, no other one was found more fitting to designate one of the counties of North Carolina than Glasgow. But alas ! another change awaited this unfortunate branch of the unfortunate Dobbs. For, three years later when the frauds of Glasgow committed by him against the state were discovered, his odious name connoting shame and disgrace, was forever expunged from our map. The name of Greene, called in honor of General Nathanael Greene, one of the ablest military officers that America has produced, was given to the territory. Cumberland County, with which is connected the romantic history of Flora MacDonald, was formed in 1754 and named for the Duke of Cumberland, at that time a brave officer in England. In 1784 it was changed to Fayette in honor of the noble Frenchman Lafayette, who did America so much service during the Revolutionary War. But for some reason the legislature was dissatisfied with the change, and at its next meeting it bestowed upon the county its original name. In 1846 we had a county created called Polk, which lasted but two years. Having remained dormant for a period of seven years it was reestablished in 1855. Thus since the year 1739 seven county names have disappeared, Pelham, Bute, Tryon, Dobbs, Glasgow, Fayette, and Polk. The latter was, as I have said, afterward re-established. The total, then, of counties and precincts which have disappeared is twenty-one, while the total of names that have been entirely obliterated is seventeen. In addition to the above alterations, there have been a few literal changes in the names of some of the counties. These may be clearly seen below by noting the name as it now stands and then its derivation. Forsyth County was called after Col. Benjamin Forsythe; Cleveland, for Col. Benjamin Cleaveland, one of the heroes of the Revolution; Surry, for Surrey County in England; Edgecombe, in honor of the Earl of Edgcumb, and Duplin, after Viscount Dupplin. Changes have also occurred in the names of our towns and cities, for example: Goldsboro was once Waynesboro; Ilillsboro was once Childsboro, etc. These of course have nothing to do with the counties that have disappeared, but they help to make more emphatic the changes that are brought about in the course of events, and the modifications that have taken place during the history of our progressive state.
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