A portion of Perquimans County was deeded to George Durant in 1661 by Kilcocanen, King of the Yeopim Indians. With the river as the region's major thoroughfare, the small settlement called Hertford served as the state's first capital until 1716.
It's entirely possible that Hertford is the best kept secret in this corner of Northeastern North Carolina. Nestled on the shores of the meandering Perquimans River, Hertford is home to over 2000 people, with over 12,000 in the Perquimans County.
Early on Quakers were a strong influence in Hertford. Having traveled from Hertford, England, Quakers held the first recorded religious service in the state, near the now 'S' Bridge in 1672.
By the late 1700s farming, livestock and the fur trade were major industries here. The first bridge across the Perquimans River was built in 1798 and was replaced a hundred years later with a drawbridge. In l928, the current Historic 'S' Bridge replaced the drawbridge. The 'S' Bridge is still in use today. The writer, of the song 'Carolina Moon', Benny Davis, was crossing the drawbridge and saw a huge harvest moon in 1927 and penned the words while missing his sweetheart.
Southern hospitality is abundant in Hertford where the people you meet along the street, smile and speak and often hug you. Folks here have quality of life, quiet, friendly and safe with 79¢ ice cream cones (big!) and greetings called out with first names.
The Perquimans River is ideal for boating, canoeing and kayaking and has over 100 miles of shoreline. Paddling excursions will allow you to explore some pristine Inner Banks (IBX) landscapes and view wildlife and birds along the way.
The Newbold-White House is a few minutes away from the historic downtown and the oldest brick house (1730) open to the public in North Carolina. This was built by Abraham Sanders, a Quaker and the site is in the process of being made into a 'living museum'. Quakers were early settlers and met in homes for services at first, with five meeting houses being active at one time with two still active.
The periauger is the only known replica in the world of a boat used to haul goods across the King's young colony. Originally it would have been a dugout log split and equipped with two forward sails and oars called sweeps. The work vessel was listed on a 1751 inventory of the Sanders' homestead. The boats permanent home is on the river at the Newbold-White House.