History and Location

Hertford County is located in the northeastern region of North Carolina, bounded on the north by the Virginia state line. The county lies 55 miles southwest of Norfolk, 105 miles southeast of Richmond and 120 miles northeast of the state capitol of Raleigh. The area was first settled in the 16th century with land deeds dating back to 1710. Early settlers were principally European immigrants. North American Indians were also well represented in the Colonial population.      The County of Hertford was formed by an act of the state legislature in 1759 and named in honor of the Marquis of Hertford, Francis Conway, a distinguished member of parliament and a soldier. Winton was established as the county seat in 1766.

 

The first settlers from Southside Virginia had a difficult trek. They came to take advantage of the more productive Carolina soil which could harvest two crops a year, according to the folklore.   Land was taken from nearby Bertie, Northampton, and Chowan Counties to form the new County in 1759. Originally a part of the British Empire and known as the Parish of Saint Barnabas, Hertford County was named in honor of a British nobleman, Francis Seymour Conway, the Marquis of Hertford. The newly-arrived settlers readily recognized this area as a suitable place for farming. Agriculture is still the basis of Hertford County’s economy, with tobacco, cotton, peanuts, corn, and soybeans as the staples.

 

Located on the beautiful Chowan River, Winton was incorporated as a town in 1766, It replaced Cotton’s Ferry as the county seat, and where the first court had been held. Later, Ahoskie was formed and became the center of business for Hertford County.

 

An abundance of crops and forests caused some local industries to develop. By the 1950′s industrial development efforts brought in other manufacturers, but farming continued as the economic backbone of Hertford County. Hertford is fortunate to have an active waterway, the broad Chowan River, known for bass fishing, which flows through its land. Both U.S. Highway 13, (North/South), and U.S. Highway 158, (East/West) intersect in the County, and are to be upgraded to four-lane highways by act of the Highway Trust Fund of the 1989 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly.