Perquimans River

By: Katie Stevens & Ava Geiger

Culture

Indian word Perquimans means Land

of Beautiful Women. But the native Algonquins, few in number and

loosely organized, were quickly displaced by white settlers. By 1661

Kilcocanen, King of the Yeopim Indians, for a valuable consideration

of satisfaction, and with the consent of his tribe, had deeded

to George Durant the land known today as Durants Neck.

This was the first recorded deed in North Carolina. Hunters, trappers

and traders had explored earlier; now an era of permanent settlement

began. Early colonists found a forbidding terrain crisscrossed by

streams and swamps and isolated by the Great Dismal Swamp to the north.

Roads were almost impossible to maintain, so the river became a thoroughfare,

bustling with an assortment of canoes, rowboats and sloops.


Until 1716 it served as the

state's first capital, with the first public buildings: prison, storehouse

and pillory. Legislative and court sessions took place in private

homes along the river, and today the Newbold-White House, open to

the public, stands as sentinel to those historic times.


Hertford's first bridge across the Perquimans was built in

1798. Twenty feet wide and floating on empty whiskey barrels, the

privately owned drawbridge was eventually purchased by the county


for $5786 and tolls for residents were abolished.


Several times during the Civil War Union troops sailed up the Perquimans

destroying bridges to stem the circuitous flow of smuggled goods from

Norfolk to Lee's army in Virginia. Hertford, founded a century earlier,

remained relatively unscathed, though its float bridge was destroyed


and one plantation on the river was pillaged.





physical features / wildlife

The Perquimans is a “lazy, liquid ribbon” that winds from one end of the county to the other.

Red maples, black gum, and cypress trees covered in Spanish moss line the shores.

wildlife: deer, beaver, muskrat, otter, nutria, mink, squirrels, rabbits and even an occasional black bear.

Birds, such as the prothonotary warbler and the great crested flycatcher

Herring and shad lay their eggs in the river each spring, which also provide a permanent home to white and yellow perch, catfish, flounder, largemouth bass, and sunfish.

Turtles are also very common, especially the Eastern painted turtle, yellow bellied sliders and common snapping turtles.

The river is a tidal estuary and normally flows very, very lazily because the surrounding area is so flat.

drains into the Albemarle Sound ecotourism is

the designation of a twelve-mile canoe route along the upper Perquimans.


Many of the river banks are cypress swamps.


The Perquimans is a “lazy, liquid ribbon” that winds from one end of the county to the other.

Red maples, black gum, and cypress trees covered in Spanish moss line the shores.

wildlife: deer, beaver, muskrat, otter, nutria, mink, squirrels, rabbits and even an occasional black bear.

Birds, such as the prothonotary warbler and the great crested flycatcher

Herring and shad lay their eggs in the river each spring, which also provide a permanent home to white and yellow perch, catfish, flounder, largemouth bass, and sunfish.

Turtles are also very common, especially the Eastern painted turtle, yellow bellied sliders and common snapping turtles.

The river is a tidal estuary and normally flows very, very lazily because the surrounding area is so flat.

drains into the Albemarle Sound


Many of the river banks are cypress swamps.

Runoff from paved areas must

be controlled and effective methods of waste water treatment must be

maintained.

Expanded use of Best Management Practices will help prevent runoff

of sediment and nutrients from farm and woodlot. The use of Integrated

Pest Management will mean fewer chemicals used on crops, less chance


of contaminating waters.



commerce

Mild winters and a fertile soil beyond expectation fostered

family farming. Indian corn fed people and livestock and made good

liquor. By 1770, 65 percent of corn grown was exported, along with

livestock, furs, and shingles.

For almost a century, steamboats were the link to the outside world.

Biweekly trips between Norfolk and Hertford dispatched circuses, passengers,

lumber and cotton. To assure unrestricted passage, the county ordered

road overseers to keep streams clear, and state law prohibited felling

trees into the river.

Most cargoes were bound for New England and mid-Atlantic states, slipping

through Currituck Inlet until it closed in 1828. Molasses, sugar and

liquor came in from the West Indies. During the Revolutionary War,

when Boston was hard pressed, Perquimans farmers donated a handsome

cargo of corn, flour and pork to their northern allies.

Regular ferry service linked communities, but after ferry-goers repeatedly

complained of great delays and danger from high seas during southeast

winds, Hertford's first bridge across the Perquimans was built in

1798.




How you can help

we can manage

our fisheries to encourage a modest population. Ecotourism that protects

the natural resources of an area and promotes passive recreational

pursuits, such as bicycling and canoeing, can boost the economy yet

preserve environmental integrity. One fine example of ecotourism is

the designation of a twelve-mile canoe route along the upper Perquimans.

Maintaining a healthy river will depend on people people who

care enough to become informed, make their voices heard, and work

together to protect our precious natural heritage.