NORTHAMPTON COUNTY MUSEUM INC H I S T O R I C A L E N V I R O N M E N T
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Early Northampton County History
Early map of the region
Northampton County was formed in 1741 from Bertie County which was formed in 1721. Settlement in the area began in the late 1660's as witnessed by references in deeds of the county and early land grants. Native Americans in the area at the time of European settlement were the Meherrins with Tuscarora, Chowanoac and Occaneechi among others, nearby. Water transportation was extremely important to the earliest settlers. Early settlement developed along two lines; a few large land holdings along the rivers and moderate to small holdings along rivers and creeks. Many of the European settlers in the area came from southeastern Virginia but also settlers migrated from the eastern areas of settlement in North Carolina. The Society of Friends or Quakers were among the earliest settlers. Slavery was not predominant in the county in the early phase of European settlement. European indentured servants were the primary labor force. Slavery (Africans, Native Americans and some poor whites) grew as the agricultural environment changed. Today, Northampton County is a demographically diverse environment.