Last update :
USGenWeb NCGenWeb

W e l c o m e

T o

Bertie County, North Carolina

Geographic Features of Bertie County


Native American Naming |Indian Villages
Mills |Waterways-Swamps |Ferries and Landings |Bridges |Towns |Township Boundaries 1868

As soon as you begin to read the Deeds of your Ancestors you will see how important a knowledge of the geographic features of Bertie County are. Some of these Names are not on today's maps, so we hope to be able to help you in locating them.


The most important (and unusual) feature of Bertie County is the term POCOSIN - SWAMP. A pocosin was an Indian term meaning "swamp-on-a-hill" for a swamp located in an elevated area that ordinarily would not be called swampland. On the tops of these rises can be found swamps and quicksand---pocosins.

A true swamp is low with water moving through them most of the time. The pocosin was high elevation, covered with water at times, which gradually drained. They were usually located between the higher plateau and the lowland swamp region.

Pocosin land should have produced good crops as the heavy peat retained moisture and didn't erode, however it lacked nitrogen and was very acidic. The Tuscarora Indians burned the fields to plant crops, because the ashes were fertilizer which compensated for the natural deficiences. The conifer forests required fire for regeneration.

The farmland was very fertile and is still as close to a rainforest as you'll get in the US. Their main crops were tobacco, corn, beans, and squash, the latter three still are referred to as the three sisters, which was all the Indians needed to keep their people alive.

The pocosin with its periodic standing water was not good for human habitation being legendary with snakes and mosquitos. Illness due to this standing water was prevalent and in those early times, it was not directly connected to the mosquito breeding.

Poquosin: A Study of Rural Landscape and Society by Jack Temple Kirby. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1995.
   Mr. Kiby's book is an interesting study of the land and gives much insight into Bertie County early rural life.


This information has been gathered through the Bertie Mailing List and a special thanks to Mr. James Cowan whose Bertie Ledger articles revealed some of the very old names used in early deeds.

Thank you to Pete Austin for the Waterway Explanations below.

WATERWAYS OF BERTIE--- The waterways in and around
the present Bertie County played a very important
part in the development and economic growth of the
area. While growing up in Bertie County I had the
chance to boat up and down all these steams, too
fish, and visit each of these bodies of waters.
Later we will see how they played a very important
part in the stories or landmarks associated with
each of them.

ALBEMARLE SOUND--- Bertie County is in reality a
peninsula because it is surrounded on three sides by
water. These Waterways provided the first mode of
transportation and paid a very important part in the
development of the area. One of the important
avenues of water travel was the Albemarle Sound that
was positioned on the eastern border where Bertie
starts and forms that area's eastern county line.
The Sound is a very large waterway that is several
miles wide and nearly seventy mile in length. In the
beginning it served as an important water highway
for coastal and world trade. Over the early
settlement of the Colony seagoing vessels sailed
through the several inlets as they pass inside the
outer banks. When a vessel Sailed due east from
Manteo they would arrive at what later would be
Bertie County. Here they unload their cargo at the
many docks along her three major rivers. The rivers
along the borders gave many ports-of-call a place to
safely unload their products and their passengers.
At the head of Albemarle Sound was Bachelors Bay
where the water from five Bertie County Rivers came

RIVERS--- A total of five rivers originate within
Bertie or flowed along the shoreline on each side of
the county before entering the Albemarle Sound. For
many, many years these bodies of water have
supported commercial fisheries such as Perry and
Wynn at Colerain and Mackey Ferry, Jamesville
Fishery plus the sport fishermen that plow the
waters all the time in hopes of catching that really
big one. Fish have supplied an important part in the
food chain in the area for both the Indians and the
settlers. Fish was also a great source for
fertilizer that was used in crop production. During
the spring spawning migration fish could be caught
by the boatload. There were the Herring, Shad. Rock
Fish and White Perch. Also there were large and
small mouth Bass, Catfish, Crappie, Eel and Carp in
large quantity. It was a common experience on a
given fishing trip to catch as many as 500 or more
Herring during a days outing while drifting with a
skim net in the Roanoke River. 

CHOWAN RIVER--- The largest of the five rivers is
the Chowan River that starts in the state of
Virginia and flows southeast and later formed the
northern border of Bertie County. This river at her
widest point is over one mile wide when it joins the
Albemarle Sound just adjacent to Eden House Ferry
Landing and the US Highway 17. In 1960 we purchased
and moved a trailer onto Perry's Beach. We purchased
the trailer after Hurricane Hazel stuck the coast at
Morehead City and caused extensive damage to the
surrounding area. A very good friend of ours had a
cabin that survived the water and wind but many
other structures were totally destroyed. Next door
to Larry's place was a trailer owned by a couple
from Rocky Mount NC. During the furry of the storm
the trailer ended up against his house with exterior
structure damage, all the windows broken out and
several feet of sand deposited inside. After the
Insurance Company declared the trailer a total lost
I made an offer to move the trailer and give him a
fair price and repair the damage to Larry's house.
After boarding up the windows with plywood shoveling
and washing out tons of sand we hauled it back to
Williamston to a vacant lot next to my home. For the
next eight months I spent making the necessary
repairs and replacements. It doesn't take salt water
very long to start eroding away metal after it
becomes in contact. Hazel came through on October
15, 1954 and by late June I of 1955 Dot and I had it
back to first class shape. I was lucky to lease a
water front lot at Perry's Beach on the Chowan River
two mile south of Colerain. We later built and an
attached sun room and a free standing shed use both
for my boat and cookouts where we served fish, bar-B
Que chicken, etc. For the next ten years we enjoyed
this holiday haven until we moved 250 miles away to
Charlotte NC in 1963. We still continued to return
every other weekend as long as my parents were
alive. My father and Mother loved to meet us at the
beach where he would bring his pleasure boat. They
looked forward to joining us at the beach on Friday
night for a weekend of family fun and being with
their grand children.  It was a tough six-hour trip
from Charlotte to Perry's Beach in the sixties
because at that time the present interstate routes
had not been developed. Most all of the highways
were just two lane roads.

SPRING MIGRATION--- The Chowan was a great place to
catch herring when they migrate upstream in the
spring of the year. Pound nets were strung from near
the shoreline to almost half way across the river.
Poles were driving about twenty feet apart into the
sandy bottom on which the net was hung and secured.
The net was strung from the center of the channel
toward the shore and was used as a barrier to herd
the fish into a large trap. The fish are expected to
enter the room size trap through a funnel that
channels them into the center of the impoundment.
With luck a few will escape back through the small
entrance but most would be trapped until the whale
type fishing boat arrives to drop the flap over the
entrance and then start hoisting the net to dump the
catch into bottom of the boat made especially for
ferrying fish back to the fish processing plant. At
the peak of the migration a single pound net will
produce a boatload of fish of many species. The most
would be Herring but on a given day there will be
Shad, Eel, Carp, Catfish, Rock Fish, etc. After
reaching the Processing Plant the fish were shoveled
into a large trough where then slid down into a
large drum covered with hardware cloth. The rotation
of the drum and power washing hose the scales were
removed before they were dumped out at the other
end. Here they moved by a conveyer belt next to a
large cutting table where workers would grasp the
fish by the head and hold it upright on the table
surface and with one quick motion they would almost
remove the head just behind the gills and rotate the
razor sharp knife and in what looked like a single
swipe of the blade would make a thin cut along the
lower edge on the stomach cavity and remove the row.
The dressed fish could be placed in a large wooden
vat where salt was added layer on layer for corning
purposes. A twin bladed saw was used to fillet and
remove the backbone before it was packed in glass
jars to create pickled herring with vinegar and
spices added to be shipped to northern markets. The
fish roe was washed and placed in cans where it was
sealed and placed under pressure to preserve
finished product. All of the discarded fish parts
were then cooked to make fish. All there products
were marketed under the Perry and Wynn labeled and
known worldwide. 

UPPER CHOWAN--- The upper branched of the Chowan
River extends northwest and goes pass the docks at
Eden House Landing, Ashland, Mount Gould, White and
Perry's Beach, Colerain, Harrellsville and Tunis
where the ACL Rail Road crossed the Chowan River in
route to Portsmouth VA from Rocky Mount NC. At the
headwaters of this river it divides into two
separate branches at the Virginia State Line. The
Meherrin River branches off to the left a couple of
miles south of Winton where it now crosses
underneath SR 158 / US #13 Highways. Just pass
Winton it now becomes a much smaller river that
continues upstream to pass Murfreeboro and continues
northwest and then near Boykin and then Nottingham
Virginia. Seagoing tugs still navigate this water
past Harrellsville as they tow Oil Barges to Winton
and Murfreeboro in Hertford County. 

ANCHOR AWAY---On a good day we could catch 50 to 100
White Perch in the Chowan River in front of our
place at Perry's Beach during the migration season
as they traveled upstream to spawn. While fishing in
the Sound with our good friends Bob and Cathy Lyles
from Charlotte we arrived at the intended fishing
grounds when I announced that we would give it a try
here first. Bob was positioned in the bow of the
boat and was requested to toss over the anchor. What
a surprise! WE had forgot to tie the end of the
anchor rope to the boat. Down and out of sight went
the anchor and of course the rope that was supposed
to be tied to the gunwale followed behind. It
disappeared into the depth of the water in a flash.
We had many a good laugh about this mishap over the
years. Toss the anchor "matte" was the greeting
whenever we met each other.                         

BACHELORS BAY--- At the head of Albemarle Sound is a
sizable body of water that starts to narrow down
into a point where four rivers empty into the area
named Batchelor Bay. At the far western portion of
the bay is where the Cashie River exited at the very
tip- end of the narrowing point. Listed below are
the other rivers that also entered into Batchelor's

SALMON CREEK--- Updated on 10-16-2002. In addition
to the five rivers that originated or passed next to
Bertie County there are two major creeks that flow
into the headwaters of the sound. The largest is
Salmon Creek with her entrance a couple of miles
east of the old Eden House Landing where it empties
into the Albemarle Sound. The very first known
records that I have regarding the present Salmon
Creek was when it appears on the Cumberford map in
1657 as Flatt's Creek. Fourteen years later in 1671
it appears on the Ogilby map as Salmon Creek. Where
the name Salmon originated has not been fully
established, as there is no proof or known Salmon
fish having been caught in any area south or below
the Hudson Bay. Earlier researcher reported a map of
this Creek showing a house located they as belonging
to a Salmon Family. It is probably that a family
named Salmon lived there at sometime in the past. As
you travel westward upstream from the Albemarle
Sound you will find that Salmon Creek divides into
two separate contributories. Eastmost Swamp so named
in the Powell map heads to the right in an eastward
direct and thereby obtained this name. Cricket Swamp
branches off and then travels to the left. Farther
upstream on Cricket Swamp, which probably got that
name for John Cricket who owner land there as early
as 1727, it merges with a swamp that is called
Dunmoor Branch. The upper most reaches of Dunmoor
Branch originated in the Merry Hill area before
joining Cricket Swamp. The Merry Hill Community is
approximate ten mile from Windsor and six miles from
the entrance to Salmon Creek, as the crow flies. The
first settlers who came to the area staked their
claim on Salmon Creek. The Avoca and Bal-Grey
Plantations are located on each side of Salmon Creek
not to far from the entrance of these two creeks.  

BAL-GRA PLANTATION--- Located on the opposite bank
of Salmon creek from "Alcoa" was the plantation of
Colonel Thomas Pollock who at that time lived at his
Bal-Gra Plantation. Thomas Pollock was born in
Glasgow, Scotland and came to the Carolina
Providence in 1683 as a deputy of the Lord
Proprietor Lord Carteret and later served as deputy
for the Earl of Granville. He was a very influential
leader who served twice as the acting Governor when
the person serving in that capacity died while
officially in office. He also was appointed and
served as the President of the Provincial Council.
Another individual lived in the general vicinity of
the settlement around Salmon Creek was Governor
Edward Hyde who sat in office from 1710 to 1712. He
died after he became ill and came down with yellow

CASHOKE CREEK--- There is a sizable body of water
called Batchelor's Bay at the west end of Albemarle
Sound. This is where the Chowan, Middle, Eastmost,
Cashie and Roanoke Rivers plus Salmon and Cashoke
Creeks empty into that body of water. Near the head
of this Bay and to the right is Cashoke Creek that
starts near the entrance to Cashie River. Some maps
have it emptying into the mouth of the Cashie. This
stream travels northwest and ends near Merry Hill.
On the route it passes the Shipyard Landing. This
location was a noted Indian Landing where pottery
fragment dating as far back as 400 AD can still be
found there. It was a good fish bait shop where you
could purchase supplies, snacks, fishing worms and
shiners for an enjoyable fishing trip. My Father and
I have had great success when we departed for a days
fishing from this landing. We have departed at the
same time as another fisherman and return to find
the caught a few but more than likely we had a long
stringer of Speckle Perch (Crappie) Part of this
success results was from skill and luck but mostly
from preparation. Mr father with one his fishing
buddies usually constructed several hurdles every
fall after the weather turned a little cooler and
the musketeers had been killed by a heavy frost. Of
course you would hope the snakes had hibernated by
that time. They would find an ideal spot and sink a
long pole into the creek bottom a couple of boat
lengths off from the shore. Next one of them would
get on the bank and cut myrtle bushes that were then
loaded into the boat and taken to the spot of the
new hurdle. Before sinking the brush they made a
loop with baling wire in a fork so as to create a
yoke like collar. After the collar was created it
was placed over the top of the pole and forced
downward with a paddle to make a large brush pile
starting at the creek's bottom. They would stack
many Mrytle branched over the center pole until it
was about three feet below the water line they would
slip a cement block over the top and let it slide
down the pole to weight all the brush down. The next
operation was to saw the pole off below the water
line so that other fisherman hopefully could not
locate it. Care had to be taken that you cut your
brush away from the bank area so that you did not
leave any tell-tell evidence that would a clue that
a hurdle was created nearby. Most important you
needed to remember where all of your hurdles were
located in each creek or river. 

FISHING AT IT'S BEST--- My daddy never made a map to
show where his honey holes were constructed. He had
them blue printed in his head. When I would go
fishing with him he would cut the outboard motor and
let the boat glide toward a selected spot. His
instructions were for me to drop my hook with a live
minor ten feet directly off from the dead stump at
the waters edge. Plump went the sinker twelve feet
from the bank with nothing happening. He would
repeat his instruction and say I need to pick the
cork straight up out of the water and drop it eight
feet off of the dead stump. No sooner had the cork
floated on the water's surface it disappeared from
sight. Now set the hook by giving the tip end of the
cane pole a short snap that resulted with a firm
jerk in the opposite direction from which the cork
submerged. We quite often caught several specks at
the hurdle before we moved to another location.
Before leaving my daddy would lower his paddle over
the hurdle and give it several jabs. We waited a few
minutes and quite often we would catch some of the
spooked fish as they returned to the cover of the
foliage in the hurdle. This technique worked quite
often. On the return trip back to the landing we on
some occasion stop and fish the same hurdle. Again
we would pick up a couple of additional fish that
had moved into the branches of the myrtle brush to
feed and for protection. A hurdle would usually last
for about three years before it had to be restored
with additional brush added to the top of the
pile...This was one of my father's favorite places
to launch his boat and head off toward the other
rivers and creeks in the area. This was a perfect
place to start your day. Monroe and his wife Julia
operated the shipyard Landing in the 1940's where we
bought our live bait, tackle, can of beans,
Sardines, crackers, soft drinks, etc. Julia almost
lost her life in an automobile accident in the 50's.
Only a short distance from the exit of Cashoke Creek
was the mouth of the Cashie River.

SQUIRE BILLY--- Squire Billy was a home loving
individual, never known to have been a traveler. His
first and only known trip of importance was when he
arrived unannounced to his current location. The
strange thing about the entire event is that nobody
seemed to know anything about from where he came or
the date he arrived. The big question still remains
unanswered and has never been solved as to how he
got there in the first place or when he departed.
The fact is that he showed up and claimed ownership
over his domain and never gave it up. Ever since his
arrival he posted guard day and night over his self-
proclaimed property. Here he lived all alone.
"Billy" gladly allowed the world to just slowly pass
him by. It was a world that he wanted no part of on
that day or the days that were to follow. He just
resided there on his little secluded Island that was
surrounded and protected by the Eastmost River,
shores of Batchelor's Bay and Middle River. Take out
a map of North Carolina and you will find this
island at the far reaches of eastern Bertie County
at the very tip of where western Batchelor Bay

THE KINGDOM OF SQUIRE BILLY --- When I went fished
in this area with my father before WW II in the
1030's we would always be on the lookout for Mr.
Billy that lived on this exclusive island. Most of
the time as we approached his island he would be
standing atop of the roof of the partly collapsed
porch of a fishing cabin that was constructed on
small poles at the waters edge. He seemed to be
mounted up there, standing still as a stature,
watching out over his own domain. It was said that
Squire Billy came ashore here during one of the
great Roanoke River floods that took place almost
every spring of the year until the dam was
constructed at Bugs Island in the 1940's. Billy had
survived on this small un-populated island over the
years living here while eating the briers and myrtle
bushes that grew there. The undergrowth was so dense
it was practically impossible for a human to
penetrate the area. The Cat Claw Briers would rip
your tough double thick canvas hunting britches to
threads if you dared to give the Squire a chase. 

A SURPRISED VISITOR--- The story goes that a
stranger attempted to stakeout "Old Bill" Island but
was caught in the act. From out of nowhere "Old
William" charged the surprised intruded in a flash.
The first supporting post that held-up the east end
of the porch shed was also struck by the full force
of Mr Billy and it collapsed as he rammed into his
uninvited guest. The fisherman had docked his boat
and jumped up on the porch to get a glimpse of
Billy. He was leaning over to tie up his boat with
the bow rope thereby presenting a fantastic rear-end
target. Out of nowhere Billy made his charge. The
intruder found out then and there it was absolutely
no place for a totally uninvited stranger. Those of
us who knew Mr Billy had learned to let him have his
own territory and stay away from his self proclaimed
Castle. Don't tread on my front porch or you will
pay the price. When contact was made with the well
presented Bulls-Eye it was made exactly at dead
center. The impact propelled the culprit back into
his boat where he landed flat on his belly. No doubt
these posture would have been the perfect time for
"Billy" to plant the torch but he was not ready to
pass the command over to someone else at that time
in his life. Instead "Old Billy" seamed to enjoy his
new gained victory. There he stood looking down at
his wide-eyed intruder. The fisherman had been
removed from his porch but he still offered a threat
to his goat kingdom. For a brief moment Mr Billy
stood there blare eyed over the shocked poacher. The
frightened fisherman then managed to roll over and
hold his hands over his chest for protection while
laying there flat on his back in the bottom of his
boat. Instead of continuing with his attack Mr Billy
stopped at the porch edge and let out a very loud
triumphant blab-a-a-a t. He just stood there stared
down at his victim with blaring eyes that looked as
though they would pop out of their sockets. The
fisherman gathered his composure and crawled to the
stern of his boat and grabbed for the cranking cord
and gave it one great jerk. As the engine sputtered
and gained power it was rotated into the reverse
position to gain a safe distance from the mad demon
he had just escaped from up there at the old abandon
fisherman shack. As a parting warning Mr Billy gave
a fair well snort, whirled and disappearing into the
dense undergrowth. This is the only known or
revealed invasion of Mr. Billy's domain and his
home. Everybody from that day forward let him live
his life here on his small island in isolation and
solitude. If a curious pass-a-bye-er tried to seek a
closer peek at his kingdom they never told about it
to anyone else.

DAY DREAMING--- I often thought of "old Bill" while
I was serving in the U.S.Navy during World II. At
night while lying in my bunk while at sea I would
daydream about the great times I had with my father
fishing in the waterways near and around Batchelor
Bay. This was our favorite fishing places were the
creeks and rivers in the Roanoke Broad area of the
upper Albemarle Sound came together. So often, as I
would daydream, "Mr. Billy" would flash through my
mine. I would wonder how he was surviving. I would
chuckle out loud when I would remember his encounter
with his uninvited guest. I though how happy he must
be there on his island with no one to boss or order
him around. As free as a Goat or maybe I should say
like a souring albatross. What a change in his
lifestyle he would have to make if he been drafted
into military service and had to give up his palace
and independence. No longer would he be allowed to
do as he pleased. Had he been drafted he would get
an awake-up call every morning just at the time his
dreams were almost becoming reality. What! No watch
duty to pull during assigned hours of the day or
night. Having to stand watch with the snow from the
raging blizzard pelting your face. You would stand
there questioning the moment that you would be
frozen stiff in place hoping that you would be
relieved by the next assigned watch before it
happened. There was no other choice for you but to
"shake it off" and "step up" and do your assigned
job. Then you would shift back in time to remember
"The Squire" who was probably sleeping soundly in
his forest of cat claw briers and Mrytle Bushes. If
he so desired he could come and go as he pleased
because there was no need for him to be issued a
liberty pass to go ashore for leave. Not "Squire
Billy" because he was free to do as he please. His
only worry was that he needed to be ready to defend
himself against the next uninvited intruder. 

A TREAT FOR THE SQUIRE--- I would sometime think,
almost out a-live to myself that after the war was
over how I would look forward to the time when I
could return back to these wonderful fishing grounds
and fish again with my father. We spent many a great
moment here over the years. Yes I would go back to
His Island, after I had taken the time to purchase
Squire Billy an issue of the Bertie Ledger Newspaper
and then special deliver it to him upon his front
porch. After placing the newspapers with full
caution I would ease the boat back into a safe
distance into the middle of the river and watch him
munch and enjoy his hand delivered treats. Should
"Old Bill" still be there today on his island I
could give him the news article covering the Bush
and Gore Florida election. Maybe I should leave him
a copy of the April 2001 Wall Street Journal
Business Section to scan after the stock market took
such a big tumble. "Old William" would probably
refuse to eat these issues of the papers because all
this bad news would only result in him having high
blood pressure and a huge case of indigestion. With
the stock market and politicians taking such a
beating he would probably realize that the best
thing for him to do was for him to pass up these
special treats of the newspaper covering these
events and just keep eating his Cat Claw Briers and
Mrytle Bush leaves.

MY SUPER HEROES--- There have always been heroes in
one way or another. We have read about them in fairy
tales, war stories, sporting events and the success
of our political leaders. Each age group, culture
and every person have had their set of heroes. I
have read about, known or met my share of heroes
during my lifetime. Sticking around for 77 years has
gained me the position of a senior status. This may
have allowed me to gain a big advantage over the
current younger generation. My lifestyle experience
plus my vocation also offered a remarkable
opportunity to associate with such people. This does
not mean that I have met George Washington, Franklin
Roosevelt or Winston Churchill in person but I read
about or seen a few in person at one time or another
in my tenure here on this good earth. Every
generation had their set of heroes. These heroes
usually are individual that are closely identity
with our own collective consciousness. We have all
lived among great and ordinary people that have made
our lives today a much better place to live today
than it was yesterday. However, the heroes that were
the most meaningful in our lives should be our own
parents that choose to place us and the family above
all else. They really were the ones that made the
big sacrifice. They provide the best example as an
adult model for their children to duplicate and
later improve upon. We also had teachers, doctors,
lawyers, judges, ministers, etc that have become our
heroes. We ourselves should always try to play the
role of a hero. A hero to me is someone that is
courageous, respected by others, sets a great
example and dose not take advantage of the weak or
disadvantaged.  Squire Billy who we have had a
chance to meet probably was not a super hero. He
however was in my mime a sort of hero because he had
courage and was willing to defend his territory from
intruders and never offended his friends. In time, I
will share with you the total story about Mr Billy.

River at one time was a very important waterway for
transporting cargo such as naval supplies, Tobacco,
animal pelts, cotton, passengers, etc. The Cashie is
one of three rivers that originate and end in Bertie
County.  The swamps and Pocosins that compose the
headwaters of the Cashie first originate near
Roxobel and Aulander, which are not to far from the
Northampton County line. The upper reaches of the
Cashie are composed of shallow swamps, pocosins and
steams that were not deep enough to be navigated.
The Cashie River and their contributors divide the
county approximately in half by splitting it from
north to south. There are five Creeks that originate
and exits into the Cashie Waterway before it flows
into the Albemarle Sound Bay. 

WADING PLACE CREEK--- Heading west upstream from the
mouth of the Cashie we find the first branch that is
named Wading Place Creek. Is located on the right
side only a few miles upstream from the start at
Batchelor Bay. This Creek takes a direction that
heads north where it immediately divides near the
mouth into Wading Place Creek on the left and Chiska
Creek to the right. The main branch of the creek
leads toward the left and travels to where it starts
near the Merry Hill community? Both the Wading Place
and Chiska (Choowatic) are less than ten miles in
length. The relative deep waters made it an ideal
place to catch fish in the spring when they head to
the shoreline near the banks to spawn. By this time
in the year the herring, shad and rock fingerlings
had hatched and created a feasting table for the now
very active larger species due to the warming water
conditions. All of this made the area a prime
fishing ground.                          

SPELLING of CASHIE ---The Cashie River has several
other variations in the spelling of her name such as
Kesiah, Casiah, Casia, Casayah, Cashy and Casshi.
Today it is officially printed on state maps as the
Cashie River.

WINDSOR--- The Cashie River weaves it way upstream
westward after it gets past the present county seat
in Windsor, which was established in 1767. Several
miles upstream past Windsor the Cashie River divides
to the left and it is here where it branches off and
continues as The Cashie Swamp that originates near
the Northampton County Line. As you continue
traveling about ten miles past Windsor due north the
Cashie begins too looses her identity as a river
when it divides and becomes Cucklemaker Creek and
Flat Swamp. 

FLAT SWAMP - As the Cashie River heads in a
northwest direction past Windsor Flat Swamp branches
off to the right from the Cashie and heads in the
direction of Askewville, which is a small community
five miles north of Windsor. The area was first
known as the "Pell Mell" Pocosin Woods, also called
Piney and Big Woods. Bounded by Wills Quarter Swamp,
now called Hoggard Mill Swamp, on the east, Loosing
Swamp on the West and the Cashie River and its many
tributaries at the south. Maps today show that the
Pell Mell Pocosin encompasses the communities of Elm
Grove, Holly Grove and Askewville area.

ASKEWVILLE--- My father developed a great friendship
with many of the locals from Askewville in the
1930's until he passed away in 1970. Living there
were the White, Mizelle, Hoggard, Johnston, etc
families to name only a few of those he knew. They
were good Christain people, hard working, and family
oriented, caring and honest. Most were great outdoor
sportsmen who loved to hunt. Our family would attend
some of the Fifth Sunday events that were held in
the churches in the surrounding communities. A big
lunch was always served on the grounds. Afterwards
the various church groups would sing and present a
program of music. There presentation by the many
church choirs, quartets, etc. It was a big event for
all. The group of locals had a unique dialect that
was recognized and had the old English version in
selection of words and expressions. After all they
may have been the direct descendants of the first
settler to live here in the 1700's. I personally
enjoyed the friendships we developed over the years
with the "Pell Mell" people who over the many years
stayed a community primarily all their own.  

HOGGARD MILL---Hoggard's Mill was first called
Will's Quarter Swamp. Plus there was a bridge
referred to it as Wills Quarter Bridge as per
earlier records. The original name was for William
"Will" Byrd who had land interest there in the area.
The main body of the Cashie River continues pass and
runs north of Windsor where it divides into Flat
Swamp, Hoggard Mill Swamp plus its contributory
Cucklemaker Swamp. The name was changed from Will's
Quarter Swamp and later took on the name for the
mill that operated there by a Mr Hoggard. It was in
this same general area prior to 1767 that the
original County Courthouse and County Jail were
first built and operated. Later the county
government was relocated and new structures were
built in Windsor.

CUCKLEMAKER SWAMP--Just pass Flat Swamp the Cashie
River splits to the left and becomes Hoggard Mill
Swamp before it becomes the Cucklemaker Branch and
heads in the direction of the community of Burden
located about thirteen miles from the present Bertie
County Seat. A small tributary stream that enters
Cucklemaker Swamp was called Marvel Swamp [Branch]
as found in the first Bertie land deeds dated 1760
when Mordecai White received a royal grant from Lord
Granville for 420 acres of vacant land. Marvel
Branch/Swamp was also spelled Morben, Morbin and
Morrville. This waterway can be located and
identified as it crosses Polly Road between Ross
Church and Askewville.

TOWN OF WINBERLY--- In 1752 the Colonial Assembly at
Edenton created the town of Winberly at Blackman
Landing at Joseph Wimberly Plantation on the Cashie
River that was downstream from the present town of
Windsor. Due to political pressure from the
courthouse group at Casby this area never developed.
The planned town was more to the east and down the
river from where the then popular Grays landing and
Tobacco Warehouse Center existed. An Act of 1743
provided that the courthouse etc" shall be built
between Casby Bridge and Will's Quarter Bridge". 

NEW WINDSOR--- On 01-08-1768 the Colonial Assembly
created New Windsor on the Cashie River at Gray's
Landing. Samuel Clay Milbourn, tavern owner who had
a lot of interest in the town's location, sold a
half-acre site for just ten pounds with the
understanding they would erect a courthouse on this
property. This is the same site that the present
courthouse building is located today per the article
written by Harry L Thompson for the Windsor
Bicentennial Celebration. Windsor was established as
Bertie County Seat in 1774.

BRYAN'S THOROUGHFARE--- This was a relatively short
body of water that connected the Cashie River and
the Roanoke River. It exits into the Cashie a few
miles up stream from Cashoke Creek. This body of
water runs due south until it enters into the
Roanoke River several miles upstream from Middle
River. Another popular name for the Thoroughfare was
The "Cut Thorough". River traffic would use this
route when taking cargo from Windsor to points up
the Roanoke River as far west as Williamston,
Hamilton and Weldon. It was a very popular fishing
area for sportsmen. The story is told about the need
to capture a Buccaneer's ship that was boarding and
robbing other vessels in the Albemarle Sound area.
The Buccaneer would always make a safe escape when
given chase by entering the Cashie River and proceed
to Ryan's Thoroughfare where he would pass through
and them return back into the Sound by the Roanoke
River. Leaving the ship of the Royal Navy wondering
where the ship they were pursuing had gone. After
sailing upstream they realize that the culprit had
made a clean escape 

ROQUIST CREEK--- The next stream to the left is
Roquist Creek that joins the Cashie on the left side
just below the Sans Sauci Ferry Landing. This narrow
body of water starts near Woodard NC and joins up
with the Choowatic Pocosin drainage floodplain as it
continues past the communities of Grabtown and
Cahhaba and through Indian Woods community before
ending near the Lewiston-Woodville area. Here it is
known as Roquist Pocosin. Many of my earlier
ancestors developed home sites along the Roquist
Creek and Pocosin area. The headwaters of this
branch of water passed near Benny and Perry
Wardsworth property. This is the area where The
Needham Bryan Family developed Snowfield Plantation.

SAN SAUCI FERRY--- The Cashie River after it passing
Roquist Creek heads upstream where we find the
location of the Sans Sauci Ferry Landing. This was
one of the oldest known Ferry Crossings on the
Cashie River. It was here that I first saw and
experienced this small one-car ferry. In colonial
days a ferry landing such as this was privately
owned. It was first propelled across the river with
oars and poles. Later it was pulled back and forth
by animal power such as oxen, horse or mule. Where
the river is wide the ferry was pulled back and
forth by sisal hemp rope or cable attached to a
pulley anchored on the opposite shore. The ferry was
towed across to the opposite side when the oxen or
other animal walked around and around a stationary
turnstile until it reached the other bank. The ferry
would return when the beast of burden went in the
opposite direction. When I first saw the Ferry at
Sans Sauci it had been taken over by the State of
NC. It had been outfitted with a model "T" gasoline
engine that had been mounted on an extended platform
in the center section of the ferry. A metal drum was
attached to the drive shaft of the engine that would
go forward or backward as the need required. Around
the drum / pulley passed a steel cable that allowed
the ferry to be pulled back and forth as it was
moved to the opposite bank of the river. When you
arrive at the landing and wished to pass over to the
opposite side you would give a long "toot" with the
car's horn to alert the operator that you needed
assistance to cross over the river. The operated was
usually on duty 24 hours a day. You could catch him
at home almost at anytime of the day. The operator
lived in the house there at the landing. I don't
recall ever seeing a sign hung on the ferry entrance
chain stating: "Out to lunch" be back at 2:00 PM.
The Ferry was State operated with no fee charged to
cross to the opposite side. This was a favorite
place for us to launch our boat to get in a day full
of fishing. When I lived in Williamston and the
retail stores closed on a Wednesday afternoon it was
close enough to get there and catch a mess of brim
before the sun would set. About five miles upstream
the river narrows considerably and the shoreline
becomes shallow with a sandy bottom. When the
sunfish are bedding it the spring that presents one
of the best fishing location in the eastern part of
the state. 

CASHIE SWAMP--- The Cashie Swamp originates north a
few miles upstream past Windsor. The Cashie River
flows eastward while the Cashie Swamp branches off
to the left. At this point the swamp travels in a
westward direction where it now makes a sweeping one
mile arch to the east around the Republican Church
area located on a map east of SR 308. At this point
the stream then takes a gradual forty-five degree
turn to the south and then fish hooks back again due
westward as the swamp now passes south of the
Snakebite Community. Several fingers like streams
branch off from the Cashie Swamp on both the left
and right for the next couple of miles. In this area
a small island is created a few miles upstream from
the Snake Bite Crossroads. Multiple finger-like
branches sprig off in this area north of Snakebite.
Hopefully the names of these small streams can be
located at the Soil Conservation Office Map in
Windsor where they have on file Topography Maps of
Bertie County. I have one of these maps of Martin
County in my file. From Snakebite the swamp turns to
the left and heads towards Lewiston. This is about
five miles upstream from Snakebite. Many of my
ancestor and their relatives were raised here in the
Republican and Snake Bite neighborhoods.  The Cashie
Swamp then continues west where the man stream
passes about three miles to the right of Lewiston.
Just below Lewiston another branch of the main
stream "Y" off to the left and crosses under SR 11
and to the east of Hoggard Memorial Cemetery. This
unnamed branch originates in the area that is now
the NC State Test Farm Site before heading south to
join the Cashie Swamp. Returning back to the
junction with the Cashie Swamp you travel only a
short distance until another "Y" exits to the right
and is named Wattom Swamp. Three miles upstream to
the left is another entry of water that passes under
SR #1203 and originates near the Vick Farm. At
Kelford it flows to the east side adjacent and to
the right of the town limits before passing under
the SR #1204 Bridge. SR #1204 was a dirt road that
started at Church Street before heading out of town
and terminating at 72 Harrell Siding. This small
steam with a swamp area less than one-quarter mile
wide continues a few hundred yards before it passes
under the ACL Rail Road Trestle. The Cashie Swamp
then continues to the southwest where it now crosses
under the Seaboard RR Trestles about 1/2 mile from
town. This was our favorite swimming place for all
the kids from Kelford. The stream then continues
southwest where it crosses under SR #308 about half
way between Kelford and the RK School Building.
Around 1939 the WPA constructed an improved sidewalk
and two small bridges at the double stream to allow
the RK students to cross over these branches. Before
the bridges were constructed the school kids walked
in the highway when the water was up and you could
not jump across the stream. This was a great place
to gig bullfrogs and catch tadpoles during warm
weather. It is now called Browns Branch and
continues southward before it terminates near the
Allie Hall farm less than a miles away. The Cashie
Swamp was known as a notorious place for bootleggers
to make their white lighting from corn. The
waterways offered a good supply of water plus the
swamp offered protection in which they could locate
and hide a liquor still operation. It was quite
common for us to spot an operating still while we
hunted in and around the swamps. Most of the time we
could be alerted to the location when we first
detected the distinct smell of fermenting grain used
to make barrels of mash. We always tried to avoid
getting to close due to possibility of coming face
to face with the operator who might be holding a
double barrel shotgun aiming at your head. It was
important that you avoid being identified or seen at
such an operation. See no evil and tell no evil was
the rule you needed to abide with. If you actually
do not see a still then you could not identified the
operators. Later if the revenue crew targeted them
then they could not accuse you as the person who
squealed to the law or could they point their finger
toward you as the person that disclosed the location
of the still after the Revenue Officers came with
his ax and dynamite to put him out of business. The
best policy was let a sleeping dog lie by staying
clear of his den. What you didn't know couldn't be

MAKING OF WHISKEY--- When the ABC officers Jesse
Johnston from Roxobel and Jesse Waters from Windsor
captured a nice copper still they would bring it by
the Standard Oil Service Station on Main Street in
Kelford where people would gather to inspect and
speculate as to who the owners were of this 100
gallon plus operation belonged.  The smaller
submarine units were destroyed on the spot. The
location of the destruction could be identified from
the boom when they lit a stick of dynamite and it
went off usually denoting a liquor still find. Local
people knew all of the bootleggers in the area
thereby they knew where they had their stills. After
the blast they would remark that the JESSE TWINS had
found so-in-so operation and had sent it up into the

Note: During the depression days the making of a few
gallons of corn whiskey was thought to be a cat and
mouse game only between the bootlegger and the ABC
boys. However, it was usually a matter of hide and
seeks before the revenue gang would locate their
operation, which usually resulted in the total
destruction of their equipment. Most operators
stayed in a given location only long enough to run
off one or two batches of sour corn mash before
moving or then laying low until the hot pursuit
eased. It the person or persons who were operating
the still was too intoxicated to seek and find a
hiding place somewhere in the woods and were
apprehended then they were usually sited to appear
in court for breaking a Federal Tax Law. The law
stated that you could not manufacture and sell none-
taxed alcohol beverages. A plea of not guilt was
quite often enter due to the fact that the person
apprehended claim that he had accidentally wander
across the whiskey still and mistaking thinking it
was water began to take a few sips. Sometimes the
arrested person would tell the judge that he was
there in the area cursing the woods for a Christmas
tree for which his wife had sent him to find. Being
thirsty from the long tromp throughout the swamp he
luckily happen to see a jug setting there by a stump
for him to try. To his surprise he never saw a
whiskey still nearby. Next thing he remembers was
when the officer was shaking him to make him wake
him up from a nap. During these depression days it
was usually accepted and expected that you not
report the sighting of a whiskey still. You were
taught to keep your mouth shut and ignore the making
and the selling of corn liquor. It was especially so
if the person was a local who ran the operation and
was known to live there in our neighborhood.
However, when a big-time bootlegger from the outside
set up a large still or flophouse he got very little
protection or hush-hush from the communities.

OUR LOG CABIN--- As boys we built a small log cabin
along and beside of the Cashie Swamp. It was east
and down the hill below the Regional Norfleet
"Haunted" House. This was just beyond and outside
the northeast corner of the Kelford Town limits.
Once in a while, a couple of us kids would decide to
spend the night in our cabin down by the ole
millstream. After cooking our Ho Bo Stew over an
open fire and then tucking ourselves in for the
night we were awaken later by the sound of someone
chopping wood. The next morning when we went to
investigate we came across a liquor still that was
being operated down stream only a few hundred yards
from our sleeping quarters. Needless to say we never
returned to spend the night there again until the
still had been relocated to someplace else. We had
no fear of the still operators but we had doubts as
the damage that may occur from a blast from dynamite
or stray bullets that may be fired while chasing
fleeing bootleggers by the ABC Officers. It should
be noted that an officers never fired a shots unless
they were fired upon first. This was not like what
we see in the Hollywood Movies when they chased and
have a shootout with the law. This usually was the
highlight point of the chase.

CONNARISTA SWAMPS--- About eight miles upstream from
Windsor as you travel west-northwest toward the
Northampton County Line is where the Cashie Swamp
again divides to the right. This new Branch of water
is named the Connarista Swamp. This small stream
heads more to the north-north west and passes under
a bridge at State Route 1200 between Rhodes Place
and Connarista Crossroad. It then continues in the
same general direction where it passes under North
Carolina SR 11 and 42. Heading towards Aulander
where it now crosses over SR #1208 the road from 72
siding to Roades Place Crossroads. For years there
was no bridge here at this crossing where the road
and swamp met. Horse and carriage, Wagons and cars
just waded or forged across the pond that had been
formed there in the middle of the road. It presented
no problem except after a big rain where you either
took a detour or plowed across the high water as you
picked your way safely to the other side. The
headwaters of the Connarista Swamp originate
southwest of the town of Aulander where it branches
out in three separate directions that formed small
streams to serve as a drainage system for the area.
The total length of this swamp is about 12 miles

WATTOM SWAMP--- Heading upstream the next body of
water to branch-off from the Cashie Swamp is the
Wattom that was also spelled as Whatton and Waltom
Swamp. It is located about twelve miles up stream
from Windsor.  Here the Wattom swamp branches off to
the right after passing the Connarista Swamp exit
that is only a few miles downstream prior. This now
shallow stream that has a moderate wide swampland
area continues westward where it crosses under the
bridge at SR 1204 that runs from Main Street in
Kelford to Harrell Siding Crossing. Less than a mile
out of town the dirt road runs parallel along beside
the ACL Railroad for about 3/4 of a mile. The Wattom
crosses and is located about a quarter of a mile
west from where SR 1204 and SR 1208 intersect at
Harrell Siding Railroad Crossing. There was a wooden
bridge structure built over the Wattom where I would
go to catch shiners used to catching Speckle Perch. 
I lost my one-week old High School Class Ring while
catching baitfish off of the bridge that crossed
over the swamp. The trick to catch shiners was to
lower a three feet circular drop net and sprinkle
crumbs of bread into the middle of the basket. On
close observation you could see several of the small
fish will start to gather and begin to feed on the
bait. The key is to watch for the ones that start to
leave with a full stomach and then you should start
to easy the net upward and impound your prey. Never
touch the shiners with your hands. I used a small
dip net to put them in a live bait pail with creek
water that they are accustomed to living in. We had
a live bait box in our backyard where we kept the
bait until we went fishing on the weekend. It
usually took about three-dozen baitfish for a good-
days catch. When the fish are really biting. On some
occasions I have caught as many as five Crappies
with one single shiner. The Wattom Swamp continues
and flows on a northwest course that is somewhat
parallel to the Connarista Swamp and splits in half
the distance between the Cashie and Connarista. The
headwater originates in the Teaster Shack area that
is about two miles east of Roxobel. This portion of
the swamp serves as the drainage for the floodplain
around the community of Teaster Shack. It was here
in this area where Joe Teaster that married the
daughter of my cousin Rubin Peele lived and ran a
country store there at the crossroads. 

RED NECK COON HUNTER--- I guess you can call me a
read-neck because I have been known to go coon
hunting on some occasions. One of the most enjoyable
places was in the Wattom Swamp behind Judd Jilcott
Farm east of Roxobel. His son George "Preacher"
Jilcott always had excellent coon dogs. Before the
days of TV it was a great past time to put an axe in
a burlap bag and head off for a red-hot race during
a inter night. Once the dogs strike a track they let
you know with a "squall" like voice (bark) to
announce that they have found where a coon has been.
Before long the other dogs will join in with the job
of trailing (searching for) up the prey. Now it is
important that you know your dog and what he is
telling you. "Old Bob is really leading the pack
tonight", were the remarks George would make as the
search leaves the edge of the cornfield and now
enters into the nearby woods. Ned the black and
white tick dog starts the real action when he lets
out with a sharp series of quick and exciting
sounding yelps. The full strike is now in high gear
with the other two dogs joining in the hot pursuit.
George now comments "Ned must have come eyeball to
eyeball with that raccoon when he tried to circle
back from the trailing pack". To show his approval
George gives a bellowing blast at top voice to let
the dogs know they have his approval, especially for
the fine work by Ned and to encourage the other dogs
to help with the race. A series of additional very
loud yells by George is now used quite often to give
encouragement and to announce that he wants them to
continue the hot pursuit. A good race can last for
quite sometime if it is an experienced Raccoon. The
Coons objective is to try and lose the pack by
doubling back, or by swimming up steam in the swamp,
climbing a short distance up the trunk of a tree and
then jumps as far a possible to the side, reversing
his former direction by taking a parallel route to
gain advantage over the pursuers, They have been
known to climb one tree and descend down a adjoining
one and then take off again in another direction.
The pursuing dogs arrive at the false tree and give
the word that they have forced their prey up into
the limbs. Here the dogs start to use a different
message voice to talk to their master. It is a
steady ruff, ruff, ruff to notify everyone that they
had now treed their prey. While the chase is still
in progress the hunters pick a dry piece of real
estate and lean their back against an oak tree and
listen to the music as the race becomes hotter and
hotter. If the weather were raw and cold they would
sometimes build a fire to take the chill off and
maybe take a sip of hot coffee made in a saucepan
over the hot coals. There was no rush to go to the
tree and check on the dogs because this old raccoon
has played many tricks on a younger pack before.
George remarks, "that we'll just wait and give Old
Red a chance to size up the situation". As Red was
not joining into the announcement at the base of the
tree gave a hint that he smelled a trick. After
several minutes had passed the familiar notes of Big
Red came loud and clear that he had located the new
route Mr Coon had used to make his timely escape.
With the yawl sound of Red, George jumps to his feet
and gives numerous sharp yells of yea, yea, telling
the other dogs to give help and join in with the
renewed chase.  After a good hour or so later when
the dogs almost went out of hearing distance towards
72 Harrell Siding they again started to return back
to area where they made the original jump. The
longer legs of the coon dogs were beginning to take
the told over the stumpy legs of the Raccoon. An
experienced coon can usually whip a single dog in a
one on one battle but against a pack his only
defense is to take flight up a tree. The bigger the
tree the better it was for the coon. First it
presented a better place to hide among the limbs and
next it presented a bigger problem for the hunters
to fell in the event they wanted the skin and cure
the pelt or used the meat for food. On this trip we
had no interest in either of these two choices. We
were here to socialize and enjoy the music offered
by the pack. On the return trip the coon chose to
circled back towards us and then used this
opportunity to seek and reach his den tree. The dogs
were now really heating up the chase as the pursued
animal was beginning to loose ground to the longer
legs of the pursuer. When the lead dog Ned announced
that they had finally forced the coon to seek safety
the others soon joined in to form a trio of voices
that is quite different from that given while
trailing and chasing and then treeing. Arriving at
the place that the dogs were located we used the
five-cell flashlight to shine and scan up and down
the trunk to find where the coon may be hiding. A
tell-tell give-away is that when the powerful light
meet the small beady eyes they will reflect the
light back towards the light. This is a dead
giveaway as to where the coon is located. On a few
occasions you may find more than one coon up a
single tree in the branches when the bright light
gives the impression of a tall Christmas tree. On
one occasion we found a sow coon with five of her
young in the tip-top of a den tree. The coon dogs
were very disappointed when we put on their leads
and headed back to the house. Tonight the initial
search yielded a negative result. A search on the
opposite side of the large tree located about half
way up a large hole that indicating a nice hollow in
the main trunk of this mighty oak and was available
there for the prey to disappear into. Mr Raccoon had
proven to be smarter than the hunters tonight so we
tossed our sack over our back and headed back
towards the warm fireside. It had been a great chase
with the dogs working together as a skilled team.
Next time you decided to go listen to the music that
is given out by a pack of coon dogs I knew where you
can find a boar coon that will always give you an
exciting and challenging chase.

WALTOM SCHOOL--- At one time a schoolhouse on the
right side of SR #1248 a couple miles north east of
Harrell siding intersection was called the Wahtom
"Wal Tom" School. After the school closed the
building was converted into a dwelling. Later in the
1930's it gained the reputation of being a flophouse
and a house of ill repute. As young boys we would
stake out the house and wait and watch while men we
knew came and went as they paid a short visit as
guest with the ladies that lived there. After saving
up some money consisting of small change of pennies,
nickels, dimes and a few quarters we drew lots to
see who would get to make the visit from us boys.
After saving for many weeks the reported $2.00
needed we hid in the edge of the woods beside the
dirt road and odd man (really very young teen age
boys) out, in order to select the person that would
have the honors. I must report that the lucky guy
could not muster-up enough nerve to approach and
knock on the door in fear of what would happen to
him if they he should snatched and pulled inside the
front entrance. The location was about three miles
from Kelford. Occasionally we would see someone we
knew visit and exit place. We would move out of the
brush and stand a short way down the road and flag
the person down to get a ride back to town. They
always answered the question as to what we were
doing out there in the country. We would reply by
saying, "we were looking for blackberries and had
gotten tired back there and decided to return home
when we saw you come along". Needless to say he was
relieved to known that maybe we had not seen him
leave the Wahtom House. Sitting in the back seat we
were as quite as a mouse on the ride back to town
trying our best not to reveal our big secrete. In
those days it was no problem catching a ride to
almost any place you need to go. To turn down a
known hitchhiker was a big no-no.

JAMES HARRELL PROPERTY--- Of interest is an old land
deed by James Harrell who sold property to one of my
distant relatives Absolom Rawls on the 30 January
1779 in Bertie County. This was a certain track of
land containing sixty-seven aces on the north side
of Waltom Pocosin and also refereed to as Waltom
Pastures. This is probably the same area where the
Rawls School was located per information found in
the minutes of the Bertie Co. School Board's meeting
in 1926 when they drew-up the boundaries for the
Roxobel-Kelford School district and referred to the
area in these minutes as the Rawls School District.
Of interest here is the family of Council Harrell,
who at one time lived in the house that later bought
by Rowland Parker. After Council died his widow Lou
Hedgespeth Harrell sold the property and moved to
the corner of Harrell and Middle Street on the
"Hill" in Kelford. As of date the parents of Council
have not been identified. In all probabilities James
Harrell could have been his ancestor. More research
needed here!

THE MUDDY ROANOKE RIVER--- The mighty and then muddy
Roanoke River was first named the Morratock by the
American Indians. The word meant muddy water. The
Roanoke empties into Batchelor Bay about eight miles
due east of the mouth of the Cashie River. The
Roanoke borders and flows along the entire
southeastern shoreline of Bertie County. As you
travel southwestwardly for nearly ten miles upstream
we find where it joins up with Welch Creek that
enters from the left bank and is constitutes the
dividing county line between Washington and Martin
Counties. The town of Plymouth in Washington County
is located on the left bank about three miles
downstream and east of Welch Creek. It is here that
the Pulp Mill releases that horrible order from the
manufactory of pulp that is made into paper. As you
travel upstream past Welch Creek the left bank is
Martin and on the right side continues as Bertie

JAMESVILLE FISHERY--- The town of Jamesville in
Martin County is positioned along beside the river's
edge. The dock is a popular boat landing, Cypress
Grill Restaurant and Fishery. The famous Cypress
Grill serves fresh out of the water such as Herrin,
Shad, Rock and Fish Roe during the spring migration
of these fish. Positioned on the opposite bank was
the old fish house and landing for the Jamesville
Fishery. A 30 degree slanted board dock was
constructed at waters edge and was used to pull and
harvest the fish in the large pound net. When
retrieved the net was pulled up onto and then across
the wooden dock here hopefully you would have
hundreds of fish that are now dumped into a deep
trough that ran parallel to the river. Once the fish
are safely in the trough they are scooped up with a
snow shovels into bushel baskets and placed into the
cold storage fish shed. Some are scooped into a flat
bottom boat and sent over to the landing where
anxious customers awaited the chance to purchase by
the bushel or by the dozen count. The boatman would
string the purchased fish onto a piece of bailing
wire that was twisted together to make a loop and
thus a convenient carrying handle for the buyer. I
have known the price to vary for a penny a fish to
ten dollars a hundred depending on the supple at
that time. The netting of the fish was quite simple
but also unique. A 100-yard net was loaded into a
motor powered skiff and headed upstream abreast of
the east bank while bailing out the net from the
stern of the boat. When the net was completely
released overboard the boat would head toward the
west bank while making a big sweeping arc. As the
net drifted down stream the boatman returned a long
towrope back to the dock. The tow rope that was
attached to the pound net that had cork float at the
top and lead weighs at the bottom was hitched to the
draw bar of a Farmall "M" tractor that proceeded to
retrieve the pound net toward the shore. Prior to
tractor power oxen or mules were used to retrieve
the net. As the net was retrieved it formed a large
looping circle that trapped the fish inside the
formed purse. When a haul was to heavy to drag it up
on the slanted landing dock all in one haul the net
would be cut (divided) into smaller portions.
Cutting the net did not mean that the netting was
actually cut. A long gaff was used to snag the
bottom of the net every ten or so feet so as to
bring a small portion of the net ashore so as to
have smaller quantity of fish that was now
manageable and them could be brought up the ramp and
into the through. It was always great news to learn
the net had to be cut several times during each
haul. Along with the spring run of fish there was
the danger of the low grounds flooding. When this
occurred all operation ceased. During the run of
herring people would come from miles away to buy and
have a cookout on the banks across from the fishery.
Some would come for the day while others camped
there for several days. It was quite a sight to be
there and see the smoke rising into the air from the
numerous campsites as they cooked the freshly caught
fish, roe and cornbread over an open fire.

DEVIL GUT--- Devils Gut returns to the river after
creating a moon shaped island about eight miles long
and five miles wide before it joins the Roanoke a
few miles above the Jamesville Landing. Garners
Creek flows into the Roanoke about mid way between
the entrance and exit. Garners Creek flows past
highway 64 where there is a boat landing that was
operated by a friend Monroe. This was a great place
to larch your boat in the summer after you left work
and the days were long enough to let you catch a few
brim before darkness closed the window on a day of

A REAL FISHING MACHINE--- There is a sharp bend in
the river about halfway upstream from this exit.
There was a point in the river where a fishing
machine was constructed and operated during the
Herrin migration in the spring.  Whoever heard of a
fishing machine? It was a man made contraption that
is anchored to the riverbank with a cable fore and
aft and positioned in the bend of the river where an
eddy flow to crated by a swirling movement of the
water.  The currents at this point would create a
whirlpool effect causing the water to start flowing
upstream in the opposite direction. Two flat bottom
skiffs were positioned on each side of a boxy four-
foot wide by ten foot long scoop net made from
chicken wire and attached to cedar pole framing,
These two skiff have a triangle framing attached to
the bottom of the boat to support the axial pole.
This wooden pole of twenty feet would rotate around
and around and clear the water a couple of feet
above the water from one boat to the other. Attached
to the middle portion between the two boats was
where the two arms of the scooping fishing net
extend out about twelve feet. The same net poles
were attached to the axial and extended out from the
opposite side about twelve feet. Now we have a
Farris wheel effect with the net dipping into the
river with the current carried it around. After the
net section entered the water the flow of the water
carried it around and out of the water again where
the paddle end would bring in back around again. As
it made the trip over and over with a counter
clockwise movement the net would scoop up any fish
that were traveled that way. The paddleboards would
take over and the flow of the river would carry it
up, over and then make another scoop. The flat
bottom boats on each side would act as the holding
box for the catch of fish as they flipped down
inside the net and then funneled into a "V" shaped
trough that allowed the fish to slide full speed
into the bottom of the two skiffs. The danger from
this operation is that a large log might come
floating down the river and destroy the entire rig.
There also was a danger that you could net so many
fish it would sink the skiffs. 

SWEETWATER CREEK--- The upper entry of Devils Gut is
just east of Sweetwater Creek. This is a short
distance from the Williamston Landing on the Martin
Co, side. Highway US 17 drawbridge is positioned at
the east end of the town. Mr Spruill that lived in
the state owned attendants house would answer the
call when the captain sounded his three long blasts
from his ship whistle. 

CONEHO CREEK--- After passing Williamston the Coneho
Creek is located above a mile pass Williamston on
the Martin side. This body of water branches off as
a "Y" from the Roanoke and serves as the drain plain
for much of the area in southwestern Martin County.
The upper branches extend westward toward the Bog
Slade land. This was a few miles from the Rainbow
Banks on the Roanoke that was about two miles down
stream from Hamilton NC.   

CONIETT CREEK--- The Coniett Creek exits about five
mile up the river on the Right from Bertie County.
Indian Creek also called Falling Creek and Deep Run
are also on the right. This Creek connects to
Simmons Swamp. This property is part of Broad Neck
Swamp and Hunting Club. I enjoyed deer and squirrel
hunting here at the club for many years. A flood
plane of over several miles in width extends from
the entrance of the river into the Albemarle Sound
and runs parallel along the shores all along the
Roanoke River. This made for prime timber and
hunting grounds. Before Bug Island and Gaston Dam
were constructed the river would flood out of her
banks at least one time each spring. These floods
caused major disasters on numerous occasions. Road
construction in the lowlands was difficult and
required lots of labor to maintain them especially
in swampy areas where they placed small poles across
and in the deeper ruts. People that built their
family cabins in the flood basing did not know at
the time the problems they would have when the
spring thaw came. The only warning was when they
noticed the creek had started rising and it was time
to move out. Some did not leave and they suffered
the consequence.


SANDY BRANCH--- Sandy Branch flows into the Roanoke
River and forms the eastern boundaries of
Northampton County where it joins Bertie. This small
branch originates about eight miles east of the
Roanoke and flows between these two adjoining
counties until it reaches Hertford Count.  Sandy
Branch crosses under SR 308 as a small stream while
heading northeastward. When you pass over this small
stream about two miles northwest of Roxobel you'll
find the Sandy Branch Black Baptist Church and their
cemetery located on the east side of this highway.
Just over the Sandy Branch and the Northampton
County line you will see on the right a historic
marker in recognition of the renowned Baptist mister
Lemuel Burkett giving recognition that he was born

STONY CREEK--- Approximately half way between the
Roanoke and Chowan River is the head waterways of
Stony Creek. This drainage plain starts about four
mile west inside Bertie with the Loosing Swamp
heading towards Aulander. Down stream a short way it
gains another branch to the right called Beaver Dam
Swamp that run parallel to the Hertford county line.
It then continues a mile while flowing in a
northeast course and then joins up with Quioccosion
Swamp that branches off to the left. Here we have
three streams joining together as headwater that
then flow in a southeast direction before forming
Stony Creek that end up in Wiccacon Creek that
continues to the Chowan River near Harrellsville in
Hertford County.

BARBECUE CREEK--- A small stream starts a few miles
inside Bertie and crosses the Hertford County
boundary line only a few miles east of Stony Creek.
The total length of this stream is less than five
miles before it leaves Bertie and flows towards
Hertford County.

Chinkapin SWAMP--- Five or so miles southeast pass
Barbecue Creek is Chinkapin Swamp It travels in a
southeast direction after it passes over the
Hertford County line. Prior to entering Hertford it
runs about five miles west and parallel with the
Chowan River. About three miles inside Bertie it
divides here to the right and now forms a stream of
water called Cypress Swamp that continues for
another eight or ten miles almost due south and
flows between Colerain and Powellsville.   


Apple Tree Swamp Slighty east of Hwy 11 bridge and possibly the place Taylor's Ferry , later known as Coats Ferry, and Williams ferry, actually crossed the river.

Ahoskie Swamp (1)ohorsque - "horse" Indian or (2)Ahotskey is a mispronounced version of the Skarure word "Rahsuta'?kye" - Rah-soot-Ock-yeh - which literally means, "Our Ancestors" (plural), implying that this is the place where our ancestors lived. This was "King" Blunt's town in the 1700's.

Ahoskie Creek becomes Wiccacon Creek (lower portion of Ahoskie Swamp)

Alegator Marsh near Roquist Pocosin mentioned in Estate record regarding land Wm Freeman bought of John Gray ca 1780. Possibly name came from GAR FISH which has a long snout with teeth on each side of his jaws. They could grow to five or more feet in size and were sometimes called Alligator fish.

Barbeque Swamp E of Powellsville

Batchelor Bay Mouth of Chowan River

Beaverdam Pocosin E of Aulander
Beaverdam Swamp SE of Aulander--Near "Bakertown Road"

Beaverdam Swamp SE of Todd's Crossroads. Flows into Flat Swamp.

Beaver DamSeveral by this name. One Beaver dam in Bertie County between Kelford and the Roanoke River in an area call Britton's Mill Pond. It was a favorite fishing and swimming hole used by us kids in the 1930's.
There was one in the Broadneck area west of Indian Woods where I squirrel and deer hunted. One of the best deer stands was at what was called the break in the dam that was built there by beavers on Simmons Swamp and Indian Creek.
There were several Beaver Dam's in the Lewiston-Woodville area due to the many waterways off of Cashie Swamp and Roquist Creek.
I have found the name Beaver Dam on several Bertie deeds over the years.
Contributed by Pete Austin pete.austin@worldnet.att.n

Bear Swamp Junction of Merry Hill ,Windsor and White's Township. (Starky Mizell's place)

Bennett's Creek Bennetts Creek is formed by the junction of Duke Swamp, Harrel Swamp, and Raynor Swamp in central Gates Co.(previously Hertford). It flows SW and SE into the Chowan River. Named for Richard Bennett, Governor of VA 1652-1655. Appears on the Ogilby map, 1671. rises above Gatesville near Millpond and flows into the Chowan across from Hertford Co. One time in Bertie County.

Bishop's Hill Pond near the town of Roxobel

Black Walnut Swamp SE corner of Bertie Co...Batchelor Bay and Albemarle Sound Map

Broadneck Swamp Bend of Roanoke River S of Indian Woods Road

Brown's BranchContinuing from Cashie Branch now called Brown's Branch where it crosses the highway between Kelford and the Kelford-Roxoble High School. It was here the WPA built a bridge for school children to walk over the now much smaller stream".

Buck Branch Joins Conaritsy Swamp and is part of the southern border of Mitchell Township

Buckleberry Pocosin SW Merry Hill E of Windsor, on the south side of Highway 17 just N of intersection Hwy 45 toward Edenton. Bucklesberry is the name of an area, and a swamp, near where the Capehart's lived.

CASHIEIn Bertie time and tongue rendered what was originally written as a three letter word (even found written QUISHIA) into two (CASHIE) but family who moved west early (1750-60s) retained the three syllable pronunciation, pronouncing the name KEZZ-EYE-YUH, (in our case KESH-SHY-YUH).

The spellings most of the branches morphed into eventually were KEZIAH, Contributed by Deborah Cavel-Greant

Cashie Swamp S. of Roxobel. N. branch of Cashie River.
"The Cashie River starts at the Albermarle Sound and continues west and passes next to Windsor, NC where it becomes Cashie Swamp. It then continues westward and passes close to the Rhodes Place Crossroad Community. The Cashie swamp then continues west until it splits into two branches with the new branch called WATTON Swamp and continues past Harrell's Siding.

Cashie Branch runs just north of the town limits of Kelford. This branch then continues under the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad treslte and then past the Seaboar Airline Railroad Trestle. It continued and now is called Brown's Branch where it crosses the highway between Kelford and the Kelford-Roxoble High School. It was here the WPA built a bridge for school children to walk over the now much smaller stream".

Catawhiskie Swamp Located in se Northampton Co and extends to ne Hertford Co where it enters Livermans Mill Pond on Potecasi Creek. Named for an Indian village mentioied in local records (with various spellings) as early as 1718.
It is a swamp-creek that exists to this day and is on the road between St. Johns and Millenium on the way to Aulander. It is a tiny grey colored road on the map.

Chinkapin Swamp W of Colerain Chisky Swamp NW of Windsor now in S Hertford County, flows into Wiccacon River. Also spelled: Chinquapin; Chickapin.

Choowatic Creek SW of Windsor

Cucklemaker Creek (between Todds Road and Ross Baptist Church) S of Conine Creek S of Windsor, between Windsor and Indian Woods

Connaritsa Swamp S of Aulander. Connaritsa Bridge across Cashie River at this location. (Conaritsy variant spelling)

Cricket Swamp located in East central Bertie Co. and flows South into Eastmont Swamp. Probably named for John Crickett who owned land in this area as early as 1727. Map

CUCKLEMAKER SWAMP (Cuckoldmaker) Near Ross Church in Bertie Cypress Swamp W of Colerain Behind Ross Church across on the other side of Wills Quarter Swamp . Cucklemaker crosses under the road between Ross Church and Todd's Cross.

CYPRESS SWAMP A branch from Will's Quarter Swamp near Ross Baptist Church. The Cypress Tree grew in shallow water that was usually found in the low lands where backwaters often stood year round. The name was used for many branches and streams so is found in neighboring counties as well. Depending on the date of a deed, it might now be in Northampton or Hertford.Map

Dunmoor Branch (Dunmore) Located in E central Bertie Co. and flows N into Cricket Swamp. Northwestern portion of Salmon Creek.

Eastmost Swamp located in East central Bertie and flows South to Salmon Creek.

Flagg Run northwest of Woodville, flows into Roanoke River. Griffin's Mill was located there on Gilmer maps. It is called Flag Run Gut today. It began West North West of the Present town of Lewiston approximately three miles west of town and run in a South South West direction into the Ronoke River at Buzzard Point West South West of Woodville.

Flat Swampp E of Askewville

Flat Swamp crosses under the road just as you leave Todd's Cross headed toward Green's Cross and then joins Cucklemaker behind the Ross Church area. It is at this juncture that I believe many refer to as Cypress Swamp. Map

Fort Creek Aulander

Guye's Hall Swamp 1700's. tributary of Cashie River now White Oak Swamp Joins Red-Bud Swamp at junction of Mitchell and Windsor Townships

HIGH HILL BRANCH Crosses Greens Crossroad

Hoggard Mill Creek (Will's Quarter Swamp) N of Windsor

Honey Creek is on the right hand side of Cashie river between the Horseshoe thoughrofare to Roanoke river and the Albermarle sound. It is not very deep and you can only paddle a boat a short distant. If you follow the creek to its end, you will come out on the thoughofare at appx. Roanoke river. It divides the island (surrounded by the Cashie, Middle, Roanoke, Thourghofare and Ablemarle sound) into two land divisions.

HORSE MEADOW North and West of Greens Cross Church

Horse Swamp is just on the left of Hoggard Mill - Greens Crossroad behind the firetower about about a half mile up the Wakelon Road

Indian Creek (S. of Roquist Pocosin - Indian Woods)

Jacks Swamp begins in n Northampton County and flows ne into Virginia where it becomes Fountains Creek. Identified in early maps by Byrd.(1728)

Jack Swamp community on Jack's Creek in n Northampton County from about 1775, when a Quaker Meeting House was built there, until about 1812 by which time most of the people had moved to central North Carolina and Ohio.

Jumping Run In the Woodville area and sometimes referred to as Flag Run Gut. On the north end of Jumping Run Creek is Dempsey Bridge(not actually a bridge, but a flat path that the water from Jumping Run ran across that had a hard bottom and would hold a horse and cart from sinking) It empties into Griffin's Mill Pond and into Flag Run Gut/Wharf.
The origin of the name is said to be due to impassable swampland for which poles were cut to lay across to provide a road bed. Only a "good" mule could make it across and then only if th driver would "jump and run along" beside him. "Jump and Run" became, over time, Jumping Run.

Kesiah See Cashie above.

Little Beach Neck Swamp on Walnut Point - Batchelor Bay

Looking Glass Swamp "Looking Glass Swamp" was also known as "Arthur's Swamp," A deed of 1729 "Looking Glass Swamp" was defined as SS Morattuck [Roanoke] River, a survey made for William Gray and by him "lapsed" then granted to John Gray on Apr 1, 1727, who on May 13, 1729 sells to RICHARD LEWIS. Kay G. By a 1741 deed this land was now located in Edgecombe County.

Loosing Swamp flows ne into Stony Creek in central part of county

Meherrin River in Hertford County.

Marvel Swamp Tributary of Cucklemaker Swamp, a branch of Hoggard Mill Swamp. Marvel Swamp joins Cucklemaker just before it reaches the road between Ross Church and Todd's Cross

    Story about Marvel Swamp

Morrattock River = Roanoke River, Morratock is old Indian name.

Opposum Branch Border of Woodville Township and Snakebite Township

Pell Mell Pocosin W of Elm Grove

Piney Woodsin Beaverdam Pocosin (a/k/a/ Heart's Delight northwest Bertie Co

Poplar Branch First branch off Will's Quarter Swamp (Hoggard's Mill).

Red Bud Branch near Askewville (Mitchell's Township) joins Guye's Hall Swamp near joining of Windsor Township

Purchace Island Named on Smith map of 1624, and is made up of 9 islands. Location is at meeting of Roanoke and Cashie River where Bertie, Martin and Washington County Lines meet.

Quarter Swamp (once Bertie) Central Northampton County. Flows se into Urahaw Swamp

Quiocasin Swamp S of Powellsville flows into Stoney Creek(variant spellings: Qutocquison; Qutoccoson; Quiocosson.

Quinine Swamp in nw Bertie and flows se into Roanoke River

Potecasi Creek (Variants: Potakasy) Now in Hertford County flows from Meherrin River. On the early maps of Bertie County.

Red Bud Branch tributary of Guys Hall near present Askewville (1743). Buena Vista on Hwy. 13 North of Windsor towards Ahoskie.

Roquist Creek (From Woodville to Windsor)

ra'?kwihs (pronounced raw-ock-kwess) means Turtle Clan
(Deborah Cavel-Greant The accent mark after a vowel means the voice lifts. The 'ock' to represents the glottal stop in the pronunication. Think of the sound between the syllables in uh-oh.

ROQUIST POCOSIN (S of Roquist Creek) "Roquist Swamp"
South Bertie County, west of Windsor. Covers large area. Map Scroll to South Bertie map on that page. Early Deeds

Sandy RunLocated on the boundary a mile from Roxobel between Bertie and Northampton Co. It flowed into the Roanoke River.

Sandy Point Area of land south of Salmon Creek to the Roanoke River...on shore of Chowan River. Designated as such in early maps of 1682 and 1684.

Salmon Creek East part of Bertie County flowing SE into Chowan River. Probably named after an early settler. Shown on earliest maps.

Stoney Creek in NE Bertie and flows N into Hertford County where it enters Ahoskie Creek.

Sucking Hole Branch tributary of White Oak Swamp (near Buena Vista)

Timber Branch Meeting place for Bertie County Court in 1741 when Northampton was formed which encompassed the first county seat location.

TURKEY SWAMP Between US Hwy. 17 and Greens Crossroad, branch of Cashie River.

Early Deeds

Tuscarora Spring Near Woodville. Northeast of Dempsey's Bridge and Flag Run Gut. A Pavilion was built there in 1850's and used for dances in the spring and summer. Mentioned in Dr. Charles Smallwood's early diaries and also provided a sketch.

Uneroy Marshes (Also known as Runiori or Runiroy)(S of Quitna - Coniotte meets near Roanoke River)Margaret Devereux in his book "Plantation Sketches", calls her place on the Roanoke River "Runiroi",near Woodville, which was later called Devereux Runiroi probably was a Tuscarora town near the old Devereux plantation. A land patent of 1721 uses the word Runaroy Path. Bertie deeds as late as the early 1800s refer to Flag Run as on Runaroy Meadow or Swamp. Wayne Modlin from Indian Woods suggests that Runaroy Path referred to what is now Indian Woods Road, including the road that goes through Woodville to Flag Run. Runaroy Path would have been an Indian Trail when early white settlers started taking out land grants.
(Deborah Cavel-Greant The accent mark after a vowel means the voice lifts. The 'ock' to represents the glottal stop in the pronunication. Think of the sound between the syllables in uh-oh.
Here there are a number of choices, none of which fit Runaroy exactly, but you can take your choice... The Tuscarora trilled their r's at the end of words, as do the Italians.
runa'wher (pronounced roona'-ffarr) high-bush blueberry
rune,hn`u:re,'? (pronounced rooneh-hin-'oo-ri-ock) White Oak
runya'?rha?r (pronounced roon-yaw'-ock-rhaw-ockrr) golden robin
runehu'hu (pronounced rooneh-hoo'-hoo) turtledove

Uraha Swamp(Urahaw) Northampton County (once Bertie) flowing into Potecasi Creek. In some land records as early as 1719. It is about a mile south of Potecasi community on Highway 35. The swamp runs along the NW edge of the Woodland community.Early Deeds

Village Swamp Possibly where today is located Village Gate which is south of Woodville, between Hill's Ferry and Taylors Ferry which is present day Hwy 11 South

Wading Place Creek (E of Windsor)

Watering Hole Branch

Wattom Swamp Flows out of Cashie River as it goes northward. Wattom (also Whattom) flows northward to just below present day Roxobel. The Cashie Swamp as it continues west splits into two branches with the new branch called WATTON Swamp and continues past Harrell's Siding - Roxobel.

Whiteoak Swamp W of Askewville (near Wiccacon Creek) 1700's known as Guys Hall Swamp Just south of Buena Vista crossroads

White Oak Pocosin is on the road from Windsor to Askewville and eventually drains into Cashie Swamp.

Wiccacon Creek (lower portion of Ahoskie Swamp)

Wiccacon River South Hertford County, where small streams in Hoggard Swamp converge. Flows into Chowan River and is about 17 miles long.
Called Weecaunse Creek on Moseley Map 1733. Other spellings: Veecaune Creek, Wiccacon Creek.

Wildcat Swamp SW of Powellsville . Flows northwest into Loosing Swamp.

Will's Quarter Swamp (Hoggard Mill Creek) N of Windsor (named for William Byrd who had some land interest in the area) Map

Swamps by Geographic Locality

 Flat Swamp E of Askewville
 Whiteoak Swamp W of Askewville
 Connaritsa Swamp S of Aulander
Beaverdam Pocosin E of Aulander
Beaverdam Swamp SE of Aulander
Barbeque Swamp E of Powellsville
Quiocasin Swamp S of Powellsville
Loosing Swamp SW of Powellsville
Wildcat Swamp SW of Powellsville
Eason Swamp SW of Powellsville
 Will's Quarter Swamp (Hoggard Mill Creek) N of Windsor
Choowatic Creek SW of Windsor
Chisky Swamp NW of Windsor
Wading Place Creek (E of Windsor)
 Chinkapin Swamp W of Colerain
Cypress Swamp W of Colerain
Cashie Swamp S. of Roxobel. N. branch of Cashie River.
Broadneck Swamp Bend of Roanoke River S of Indian Woods Road
Roquist Pocosin (S of Roquist Creek)
Roquist Creek (From Woodville to Windsor)


Marvel Swamp? Never heard of it!

(written by James Cowan, 81, a native
of Bertie County who now lives just across the line in Hertford County. He writes
articles for the Bertie Ledger and has given us permission to use his articles on-
Set out to locate Marvel Swamp and you're in trouble. It isn't named on your map and few can direct you. If you find it you'll be disappointed--unless you happen to be a Bertie County genealogist.

In the year 1760 an illiterate planter named Mordecai White received a royal grand of land in Bertie County and thus spawned an interest in Marvel Swamp among family researchers which continues today.

Received from Lord Granville, British representative and himself owner of thousands of acres, the grant was 420 acres of "vacant" (unclaimed) land. The tract, more than half a square mile in area, lay in Pell Mell Pocosin bounded by Morben(Marvel) Branch and by lands belonging to George Newborn and Jonathan Miller.

Purchase price was the English equivalent of $200 in modern currency and an annual quitrent of $350. Rent was to be paid semiannually forever. Any gold or silver discovered was to be shared by Lord Granville To date no gold or silver has been found and "forever" lasted only to the American Revolution around 1776.

The word "vacant" applied to Pell Mell Pocosin at that time did not apply to trees. It was a vast magnificent forest of longleaf an dloblolly pines growing just as God made them with here and there a clearing referred to in old deeds as "the meadows of Pell Mell".

Covering most of north central Bertie's Pell Mell Pocosin was bounded by Wills Quarter Swamp (modern Hoggard Mill Swamp) on the east, Loosing Swamp on the west, Cashie River and its tributaries on the south and Stoney Creek and Hertford County on the north. On today's map the pocosin has dwindled to the Elm Grove-Holly Grove-Askewville area.

The MacRae-Brazier state map as late as 1833 showed no road through the pocosin. That map showed a road leading from Windsor to Pitch Landing in Hertford County skirting the western side of the pocosin. Another road skirting the southeast side of the great woods ran from Windsor north of Wills Quarter Swamp (approximate course of Bull Hill Road today) toward Colerain.

The late Judge Francis Winston, Bertie historian who never published his history, said the name Pell Mell was a parody on the Pall mall section, then a fashionalbe borough of the city of London. Hence the name applied to an isolated backwoods or its settlers was a term of derision. To call a native a "Pell Meller" was to invite a fight or a riot until recent times.

So then there were few natural boundaries in the Pell Mell woods, also called Piney Woods and Big Woods. There were no roads and few streams in the interior. Thus few permanent land boundary markers.

Hence the importance of Morben (now Marvel) Branch mentioned above as one of Mordecai White's land boundaries. In old deeds that name was variously spelled Morben, Morbin, and in a 1748 deed from George Gould to Jonathan Miller it was spelled Morville.

One deed in 1792 also mentioned a "Morben Hill near Pell Mell Pocosin". After 1800 it was generally marvel, possibly a shortened form of Morville.

Marvel is a tributary of Cucklemaker Swamp, a branch of Hoggard Mill Swamp, known earlier as Wills Quarter Swamp. In Mordecai White's day before pollution and farm chemicals it must have been a pretty little stream more worthy of its name. Today as it ventures out into the remnants of Pell Mell woods, it is little more than a ditch as it courses through cutovers and patches of reeds and catclaw briars, finally runs about three miles and disappears near New Road (so-called more than a century) between Askewville and Elm Grove.

But it is still a natural boundary for numerous land tracts. perhaps the oldest title for land continuously owned by the same family wasissued in 1842 by Gavin H. Mitchell to Sarah Jernigan, his daughter, who willed it to her nephew, Lenard Powell, whose descendants own it today. The deed described 100 acres on Marvel Swamp selling for $300.

A proliferation of John, William and Meady Whites have researchers scratching their heads today and perhaps perplexing St. Peter himself at the Golden Gate.

About the time Mordecai White was establishing his family, one Israel Outhouse also owned land in the area. Notable mostly for his unusual name, Outhouse founded no known family, died or moved away and is of no interest to modern researchers.

Another family of equal interest to that of the Whites to Bertie genealogists is the Hughes family which also had its roots on Marvel Swamp.

Dated March 5, 1818, a deed from Jesse Halsey to Henry Hughes described a 65 acre tract on Marvel bounded by land of Reuben Harrison, William J. Newborn and John Butler. Price $100. This land became the homestead of Henry Hughes. (Henry I to some researchers) who married Charlot White, a descendant of Mordecai, in 1806 and raised 10 children including Henry Hudson Hughes. Thus there were two Henry Hughes and two generations of that family to confuse researchers.

Henry Hudson Huges (1818-1883) married Marry Ann Allen (1839-1858) and they also raised 10 children. Both generations were very prolific.

For example, Martha "Patty" Huges, daughter of Henry I, married Joseph Worley Cowand in 1856 and they had 12 children. No genealogical survey will be attempted here, however.

(Recently I received froma a genealogist friend a 31 page single spaced listing of direct Hughes descendants. And perhaps 200 more have been born sine then. A sizeable but inestimable percentage of native Bertie Countians are descended from or related to this family.

The site of the Hughes homestead lies on Polly Road between Ross Church and Askewville. Polly Road, which crosses Marvel Swamp, is a misnomer for Thunder Hole Road which it was called by local citizens for 150 years. The Thunder Hole, located where the road crosses Marvel is about 150 yards from the site. The Thunder Hole was a popular fishing and swimming hole for local boys before bathing suits were invented.

(When I was there recently the hole was so overgrown with grass and weeds that a catfish couldn't swim in it. And the legendary site of the Hughes dwelling was covered by a huge chicken house.)

Along Marvel Swamp today bullfrogs and whippoorwills are silent. But the restless spirits of long departed Hugheses, Whites, Cowands, Harrisons, Mizelle and Butlers rustle catclaws and reeds. And the shae of a lone Israel Outhouse.

Did you Know? Here's some Bertie County History not found in books

Did you know there was a Watering Hole Branch in Bertie County? A Sucking Branch? A wolfpit?

There was, and this is only a part of the stuff you'll learn when you join the growing ranks of genealogists in Bertie. You'll learn about the pocosins and branches and piney woods and the people who inhabit them. You'll find some of the real history of Bertie, the kid that never gets in books.

For example, you might try to trace your great-great-grandfather Horsless and find that he owned land on Guys Hall Swamp back in the 1700s. You'll also find that this stream is now extinct, at least in name.

The name goes back as far as 1726 when James Castellow received a royal grant of 640 acres on the "East side of Cashy Swamp in Guys Hall Woods". Guys Hall the swamp, a tributary of Cashie River, was so named by many generations until recent times when it somehow became White Oak Swamp. (I am one of the few left who still call it Guys Hall) It is crossed by U.S. 13 just south of Beuna Vista crossroads, a name that goes back as far as the 1850s but is of unknown origin.

You'll find that another of the oldest land grant in Bertie was issued to John Collins for 400 acres on the east side of Guys Hall Swamp in 1739. According to old court records, the County Court met at Collin's home on Red Bud Branch, a tributary of Guys Hall near the present Askewville in 1743.

Collins wrote one of the longest and most noteworthy wills of record in Bertie, particularly for its unique spelling. Collins left hundreds of acres of land to his seven sons, two of whom he also left "each a Bible". None of this land is listed in the Collins anme today.

Joseph Collins, son of John, later issued a deed to William Hoggard for 208 acres on Guys Hall "Beginning at a white oak on the west side of the Swmap, running the old line to a wolfpit, thence running Watering Hole Branch to King Freeman's line...etc

Sucking Branch also was a tributary of Guys Hall. The wolfpit is mentioned in other old deeds and may indicate that Bertie was inhabited by wolves in the early days.

Another unusual name you might encounter in your ancestor research is the unspellable Quotoccoson (pronounced QWOCK-a-son) Swmap. This name was recorded in 1740 in a 500 acre royal land grant to William Blye. Here the name was spelled Qutoggison.

A Confederate Army Engineer map drawn in 1862 spelled it Qutocquison. A modern state highway map spells it Quioccosion. A builder's plaque on the bridge at the US #13 crossing in 1938 spells it Quiocosson. Take your choice.

To date, the county fathers haven't seen fit to change this name. Perhaps they could change it to "Ucanspelit Swamp" and it would still have an Indian twang.

This stream is crossed by US 13 two miles south of Powellsville and is part of the Stoney Creek drainage system.

Again, when you're searching for your great-great-uncle Heckler's court record, you might run into this little item from minutes of the Bertie County Court. "Mrs. Preedam informing the court that John Hobbs contrary to the Peace and in a riotous manner rode over a boy on the bridge before the Courth House with a Jugg of Rum on his head which was split and broke.

It is ordered that said John Hobbs be fined the sum of 8 lbs. 16 shillings (about $38 modern) and cost to be paid to said Preedam and that he be given security of 10 lbs. (about $32.50) for good behavior until next Court."

The court clerk was probably so amused that he failed to make clear whether it was the boy's head or the jugg of fum which was split and broken or what the said Hobbs ran over him with.

Anyway, this earth shaking event was recorded during Nov term 1740 of court which was held at Timber Branch, probably in what is now Hertford Co.

Subscriptions are:  $15.90  (this includes the NC tax)
$25 for out of state subscriptions..
Published every Thursday

Bertie Ledger-Advance
P.O. Drawer 69
Windsor, NC 27983

Ferries and Landings

In the early days of Bertie County, the waterways were the main avenues of commerce, and the landings on these are also frequently mentioned in early deeds. From the landings, the merchandise was hauled over the few early roads which existed--old Halifax Road was west out of Windsor; Eden House-Murfreesboro Post Road; an as early as 1733 the road from Bryan's Ferry on the upper Chowan (Colerain) west toward St. John's.

At these landings, licensed ferries (see Haun's Court Minutes) were often established as well as public warehouses. In the late 1700's Bertie County merchants were exporting tars, pitch, turpentine, and shingles via the Albemarle Sound and Hatteras Inlet to West Indies and England.

Until the railroads arrived in 1889, the river transportation steamers carried freight as well as passengers to Norfolk and Chesapeake Bay on a regular basis. Some boats arriving in Windsor were: Currituck, the Plymouth, the Mayflower, the Bertie, and the Lucy. In 1913 a passenger steamer(Olive)disaster on the Chowan killed 17 people.

Ordered that Andrew OLIVER Esq be allowed four shillings for ferrying Man and Horse, likewise two shillings for a Footman and for a single Chair and Horse, 12 shillings.

Ordered that Mrs. Pearson be allowed for ferrying to Edenton, for man and horse ten dollars if more than one man and horse six dollars, for a foot man 5 dollars, and if more than one footman 3 dollars and an half, for single carriage horse and man fifteen dollars and so in proportions. [ Mouth of Salmon Creek where it spills into Bachelors Bay. Mrs. Pearson is shown on the plat of Duckenfeild taken in 1763. There is also a Jaycocks living where Scotch Hall is today on the . there is also a Dawson home on this same plat of Duckenfeilds. This is shown about a mile or two north of Mrs. Pearson, across Salmon Creek, and south of Eden House Point. Not sure about Mrs. Fry but it implies she must have lived a little north of Mrs. Dawson if they both could ferry arcoss to Millers.]

Ordered that Jona Jacocks, Esq be allowed the same Ferriages as Mrs. Pearson [living where Scotch Hall is today on the south side of Black Walnut point, and only about a mile south of Mrs. Pearson]

Ordered that Mrs. Catherine Fry be allowed for ferrying across Chowan, a man and horse 5 dollars, if more than on, four dollars, for a footman three dollars, if more than one 2 dollars, for a single chair, man and horse nine dollars and so in proportion. [must be a little north of Mrs. Dawson]

Ordered that Mrs. Dawson be allowed the same as Mrs. Pearson to Edenton and if to Millers the same as Mrs. Fry. [This is shown about a mile or two north of Mrs. Pearson, across Salmon Creek, and south of Eden House Point.]

Chowan Landings

Coleraine Wharf
Burke Holley Landing - Junction of White's and Colerain Township
Goose Pond Landing
Point Comfort Landing
Bess Landing
Mt. Gould Wharf
Steele Landing
Jernigan's Landing
Willow Branch Landing
Black Rock Landing
Eden House Fisher
Bal-Gra Landing
Capehart's Fishery

Roanoke River Landings

Lewis Cotton's landing (junction of Woodville and Roxobel Township Line)
Norfleet's Ferry
Shad Landing
Wood's Landing
Eason Island Landing
Griffin Quarter Landing
Sand Bar Landing
Flag Run Landing
Spring Gut Landing
Devereaux Landing (at mouth of Bridger's Creek. Earlier known as
		Pulhams Ferry (1770); Pollock's Ferry(1833).
Hills Ferry
Apple Tree Landing
Thompson's Ferry
Coniott Landing
Quitsna Landing
Old Mill Landing
Speller's Landing
Jordan's Landing
Cedar Landing
Mooring Landing
Hyman's Ferry (to Plymouth)

Cashie River Landings

Baltimore Landing

Turn down Rhode's Lane beside the Heritage House and go through the Harrell Farm to the old Rhodes place on the river to reach "Baltimore Landing." So named by Mrs. Foreman of Elizabeth City as the story goes. It is the first landing upon leaving Windsor going down river on the left hand side. Gray's Landing (now Windsor) Jacock's Landing Blackman's Landing Dr. Lennox's Landing
At some of these landings public warehouses were established and at some of them the owners were licensed to keep ferries. In the 18th century, by these river highways, residents and merchants in Bertie County were conducting business with the West Indies and England. The vessels coming and going through the Albemarle Sound and Hatteras inlest. Among the items being exported at this time were tars, pitch, turpentine, staves and shingles.

Until the coming of the railroads in 1889 most of the commercial fertilizer for the Bertie farms was shipped into the county ghrough these river landings, and a large amount of the farm products left for the market in this manner. Steamers carrying freight and passengers plied the Roanoke, Chowan and Cashie Rivers on regular runs to Norfolk and the Chesapeake Bay are well into the 20th century.

The names of some of these boats which had regular scheduled calls at Windsor were the Currituck, the Plymouth, the Mayflower, the Bertie and the Lucy. One of the worst disasters of the last years of these passenger steamers was the sinking of the steamboat Olive in the Chowan in 1913 with the loss of 17 lives.

Brief abstract of an article from THE STATE, May 1992, a magazine about
N. C., and you can decide.

A CABLE ACROSS by Shirleyan Beacham Phelps

Take a trip to one of N.C.'s remaining two-car cable ferries - Sans
Souci, Elwell-Carvers Creek Ferry and Parker's Ferry - and you'll get a
good idea of how we take the simple things like crossing a river for
granted these days.

It takes only about five minutes to cross the ...Cashie River at Sans
Souci Ferry in Bertie County...All it takes is a toot of the horn to
summon a ferry tender from the opposite river bank.

The cable-drawn ferry crossings aren't found on official state maps...

William Powell's N.C. Gazetteer describes Sans Souci as the name of an
early plantation, which in French means 'without care or worry.'

Folks use the ferry across the Cashie (one of the few rivers in the
state whose complete course is in one county) as a short cut to
Williamston or Windsor.

N.C. DOT records indicate Sans Souci has been operating only a few
decades, but local folks...say ferry service in the vicinity began as
early as the 1600s.  Old deeds indicate the neighborhood was once a
prominent  Indian site before the arrival of the white man.

The ferry, just off N.C. 308 between Windsor and N.C. 45, operates daily
from March 16 to Sept 15 from 6;30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Norfleet's Ferry
The Norfleet ferry was located on the Roanoke River two mile south of the Town of Roxobel. A Norfleet cousin who also lived there at Woodbourne recalled a large two story house that was located at the landing. It is no longer there today.
From Roxobel Bertie Co NC you take River Road to the dead end of the paved road and turn left where you pass Joe Walston's and the Frank Walston home site. Going southeast next is the Norfleet Family Cemetery where 5 generational are buried, pass over a pond and then continues past the Hunting kennels, an old home that is now a club house. After crossing large cultivated fields you will pass through a tree line that is on the Rivers edge.
The Ferry that connected Bertie to Scotland Neck Halifax Co has not operated for many years. Sally Norfleet Livermon the wife of Carl Livermon, the inventor of the Livermon Peanut Picker told about using the ferry to cross over to attend an in-residence all ladies school that was held two months in mid October until near Christmas time and then a second term from mid February to Easter. This coincided with harvest and spring planting time so that a carriage and driver would be free to make the two day trip too take her back and forth each year.
Source: Pete Austin


One of the first bridges in Bertie County and near the location of the Cashy Courthouse (1742). It was a "floating bridge of Cypress sills and plank withposts and rails" {The Lost Town of Cashie . Harry Thompson}

WILL'S QUARTER BRIDGE Located near the Cashy Bridge and Castellaw's Mill Pond.

Indian Villages

Contributed by: Deborah Cavel-Greant In regard to the meaning of some of the old Tuscarora village names. The names and terms which begin with "P", like poccosin, paricossy etc., are drawn from the Algonquin language. There is no "P" in Skarure, except for a very few borrowed words which came in after Europeans arrived.

Also, the word "Ahotskey" is often assumed to mean horse, but it does not. The Skarure word for horse is "ahawth". Ahotskey is a mispronounced version of the Skarure word "Rahsuta'?kye" - Rah-soot-Ock-yeh - which literally means, "Our Ancestors" (plural), implying that this is the place where our ancestors lived. This was "King" Blunt's town in the 1700's.

(This is a start on village names. I can't guarantee they are 100% correct, but they are probably pretty close. )

Name - Alternate spelling - Skaure spelling   = English translation  

Ressootska - Rehorseky  "Rahsuta'?kye"       = Our Ancestors lived here
Taughousie -            "tuhke,'yhnu:?"      = Little River
Cauteghna -  Cotechney  "kahtehnu?a':ka:?"   = Loblolly-pine-is-in-water
Kintaigh -    Kenta     "kine,ha'?he,?"      = Many Creeks    
Unaghnaranara -         "una?kw`e:ya?"       = Cattails
Tasqui - Tastiahk -     "tiwahsa':kye:"      = So many feet 
Ohaunooc -                                   = Where boats go in the water
Toherooka -             "tuher'hkwah"        = So grassy
Fort Neoheroka -       "-ne- heruke,"        = Broken Pasture
Rarookshee -            "wa?ruh'-cre,h"      = Gathering place
Caurookehoe - Cheroohoka "ciru?e,ha':kaka:?" = Nottaway's town

Please send comments and suggestions to or Virginia Crilley

Last update:Tuesday, 22-Sep-2009 10:48:26 MDT

Return to the Bertie County Main Page