Hertford County, North Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)



Francis Seymour-Conway,
Earl of Hertford


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

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1680s / Virginians

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Historical Post Offices

American Revolution

American Civil War

Significant Education Events

Alphabetical / Date Started

Battles & Skirmishes / Militia

Battles & Skirmishes / Camps & Forts / Troops

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Airports in Hertford County

Maps of Hertford County

Books About Hertford County

Genealogy Sources

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A History of Hertford County


The first court was held at Cotton's Ferry on the side of the Chowan River. Winton, established in 1766, has been the county seat since it was founded.
Old deeds indicate that settlers lived on the site of Murfreesboro as early as 1710. William Murfree, an Irish immigrant, established a King's Landing where exports and imports were inspected by a representative of the English Crown. The site was known as Murfree's Landing. In 1787, William Murfree donated ninety-seven acres of land for the incorporation of the town, which was named for him - Murfreesborough.

Murfreesboro was the port of call for eighteenth and early sineteenth century sailing vessels that brought New England, West Indian, and European goods in trade for the naval stores and agricultural products of eastern North Carolina.

Hertford County is located in the northeastern region of North Carolina, bounded on the north by the Virginia state line. The county lies fifty-five miles southwest of Norfolk, 105 miles southeast of Richmond, and 120 miles northeast of the state capital of Raleigh. The area was first settled in the seventeenth 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 Earl of Hertford, Francis Seymour-Conway (later 1st Marquess of Hertford), 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 Earl 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 1950s 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.

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