1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Edenton

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EDENTON, a town and the county-seat of Chowan county, North Carolina, U.S.A., on Edenton Bay, an estuary of Albemarle sound, near the mouth of Chowan river, in the N.E. part of the state. Pop. (1890) 2205; (1900) 3046 (2090 negroes); (1910) 2789. It is served by the Norfolk & Southern railway, and by the Albemarle Steam Navigation Co. In 1907 the former projected a great bridge across Albemarle sound near the city. Edenton is an old and interesting town, has a number of fine old homesteads, and has broad and well-shaded streets. Lumbering and the shad and herring fisheries are the most important industrial interests, and the town is a shipping point for fish, truck and other farm products, cotton and peanuts. There is a Fish Cultural Station here, established by the Federal government. The court-house was built about 1750.

Edenton was settled about 1658, and was for some time known as the “Towne on Queen Anne’s Creek” or the “Port of Roanoke”; in 1722 the present name was adopted in honour of Governor Charles Eden (1673-1722), whose grave is in St Paul’s churchyard here. Throughout the 18th century Edenton was a place of considerable social and political importance; the legislative assembly of North Carolina met here occasionally, and here lived the royal governors and various well-known citizens of the province, among them: Joseph Hewes (1730-1779), a signer of the Declaration of Independence; James Iredell, Sr. (1750-1799), a Federalist leader and after 1790 a justice of the United States Supreme Court, and his son James Iredell, Jr. (1788-1853), a prominent lawyer, for many years a member of the state legislature, governor of North Carolina in 1827-1828, and a member of the United States Senate in 1828-1831. Near Edenton lived Samuel Johnston (1733-1816), a prominent leader of the American Whigs preceding and during the War of American Independence, a member of the Continental Congress in 1780-1782, governor of North Carolina in 1787-1789, and a Federalist member of the United States Senate in 1790-1793. In 1907 the Hewes, Iredell and Johnston homesteads were still standing. In a house facing the court-house green the famous “Edenton Tea Party” of fifty-one ladies met on the 24th of October 1774 and signed resolutions that they would not conform “to that Pernicious Custom of Drinking Tea” and would not “promote the wear of any manufacture from England” until the tax on tea should be repealed. Near Edenton the Confederate ram “Albemarle,” on emerging from the Roanoke river, was met by the Union “double-enders,” “Sassacus,” “Mattabesett,” and “Miami,” on the 5th of May 1864; the battle, which resulted in favour of the Confederates, was a duel between the Confederate ironclad and the Union wooden side-wheeler, the “Sassacus,” which rammed the “Albemarle” and had her bows, fitted with a three-ton bronze beak, twisted off and carried away.