27 comments on “Edenton, North Carolina: An Historic Town

      • I agree with Maria! I plan to visit next month so that I can capture the spirit of Harriet and try to link my family surname ‘JACOBS’

      • I just recently finished reading Harriet Jacob’s story and I can’t stop thinking about her. I was so thrilled to see this post from you with your research. I have a second home in Hertford, NC and visit from Northern VA about every three weeks. I get to Edenton quite often and plan to visit the places you wrote about. Thanks for posting.

    • I am fascinated by this–is there any information about Dr. Andrew Knox? In all probability I am related to him. I’m teaching Harriet Jacobs at the moment, and the thought of my family having been the bad guy–as seems likely–is anything but pleasant, but I would like to know. Most of my branch of Knoxes settled in Statesville and in the Piedmont area, and had been in that area since at least the 17th century. Thank you for any information you may be able to send me.

  1. Wow! I live in Norfolk and I had no idea about Edenton, NC which is only an hours drive away from me. I think I am going to try to get down there this summer. I looked into the Barker House and the history of that site is quite remarkable. I will be checking out your blog often….thanks! Donna

  2. Thank you so much for this great posting and the legwork you put into the project. I’ll be teaching Jacobs’s memoir this fall, and your site will be on the reading list of other recommended materials.

    • Yes, and thank you for asking. You can search for my page on FB at American History for Travelers. You will know you have the right page if the profile pic shows a cannon ball in the wall of a structure on the Berkeley Plantation in Virginia. Thanks for inquiring. Melissa

  3. I’m almost through reading “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself” and decided to google the characters to “see” them in real life and ran across your site – thank you for creating this site and for giving me such a visual!

  4. Great! I am reading Jacobs’ autobiography now and am planning on a trip to Edenton also. Thanks for your descriptions!

  5. Amazing just read “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself”. Thanks for a glimpse into her life

  6. I have read the book twice…and have cried both times! I, too, have been inspired by history professors and have added destinations that I must go to before I die to my bucket list…Edenton is now on my list! Thanks!

  7. I live in Washington, DC, but Edenton is my maternal ancestral home. My ggg granparents-Providence and Betty Cox were slaves there, “owned” by John Cox. They survived slavery, and raised 4 known children, one of whom was my gg grandfather, Harry Cox, and my ggg grandmother, his wife, Priscilla. I’m trying to locate a couple of things, which will probably be difficult. I’d like to stand on whatever space of land Harry and Priscilla lived on, on King Street, but I don’t have an actual plat or location for the house. I’d also like to determine if they were buried in the Providence (African-American) Cemetery, or Vine Oak Cemetery. If you have any tips, let me know!

    • Hello Audrey,

      I am thrilled to hear from you. What a wonderful amount of history you have of your ancestors. I am so happy that you have been able to know so much as many African Americans who were enslaved were unable to leave solid footprints for future generations. I believe if you were to go to, or contact by phone, the Edenton Historical Society they would have a way to locate the exact address of John Cox. I can tell you that King Street is a very short street in relation to most streets within city limits. Have you visited Edenton and have you observed the street? Additionally, many towns have maps of the land and location of homes and businesses for different decades and list just who owned what and where the property lines were drawn. I want you to know that there is a lot of history there in Edenton that might lead you to some amazing information about your ggg grandparents. If you ever want to take a trip there, I would be happy, and thrilled, to meet you there and explore with you. I live in VA Beach and could make the journey easily to Edenton. We could talk to the church there and look through their records to see if we can find where John Cox buried his slaves. The two cemeteries you mentioned were the most common burial spots for enslaved people but what years your ancestors lived would/might make a difference. Let me know how I can help and I will try to find some things out for you in the next week and will contact you via your email. Thank you for stopping by and I will be in touch….You have given me a project and I will give you all the information I can find. Please stay in touch. Melissa

      • Hello Melissa! I hadn’t gotten back on this website, and here it is a year later! As I was just trolling through (I’m still on the research trail), I came back here by pure happenstance. My goodness! I went down to Edenton last summer. I have relatives in Norfolk, and my cousin was sweet enough to take a Friday off, and drive me down. After all these years, we took a few minutes to drive over to Albania, where John Cox lived and died, and where I believe my ancestors were at the time of his death, as his slaves. I cannot describe to you the feeling I got when I was close to the grounds. I still have so many questions, and I can only come down during the summers. Please contact me again, and maybe we can work something out! Audrey

  8. Hi, i really enjoyed reading your posts! I have been trying to research any family that may have been slaves but have not had any luck, my great grandmother paternally was Martha Harvey (maiden name anthony) . She was able to tell me her parents name but not her grandmother, her parents were Cora Harris and William Whit Anthony. I need help to look in the right place for answers. I live in Tyner, NC about 15 miles from Edenton! Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Kristal,

      I am sorry it has been so long in my response but I have been in Chicago doing some research and just saw your post. WOW1 You have great information already. A great place to start is to dig into the newspapers for the town where your ancestry lived. Try to learn who may have enslaved your ancestors. Many times, at the end of slavery, newly freed slaves took the sir names of their masters as they did not have last names of their own while enslaved. Newspapers will have a huge amount of information. Did you read my post about Phibby? That will give you insight as to how you have to dig and piece things together to paint a portrait. You can do this but it will take a very long time unless you are able to dedicate lots of time to it. Phibby took me about 36 hours in total and I am still hunting every chance I get. I hope you find some little tidbit of information that leads you to a history of your family. I may be able to help in the beginning of summer. let me know how far you get between now and then. Oh and look in family Bibles….old ones….someone may have written some names in there that will lead you somewhere.

      • Thanks I will try newspapers I hope o can find something so far there have been no slaveowners with the surname anthony or harris in chowan county though

  9. Greetings Melissa and my cousin Jean (Audrey),
    I am filled with our ancestors spirit. I look forward to coming to Edenton in the summer to start our ancestral quest. I was there in Edenton, as a child with my grandmother, Virginia Lee Cox. I have so many questions, like was the African American burial ground (Providence) named after my ggg father Providence? I also noticed that the name Sessoms comes up in this area. My grandfather Joseph Henry Sessoms, who was married to my grandmother VIrginia Lee Cox.

    Melissa I give thanx for your energy and I too believe that something amazing is awaiting us. I give so much thanx for my cousin Jean (Audrey) who recorded my grandmother talking bout family. To hear her voice so clear, with her southern tone brought tears to my ears and a feeling inside of me like I’ve never felt before. It felt so wierd, but very peaceful, safe, and sacred.

    Peace, Love, and Light

    • Kimme,

      Thank you for commenting on my post….I feel so connected to Edenton. I have no ancestral reasons for that connection but I am connected through the spirit of humanness. When I learned of Harriet Jacobs, visiting Edenton was a must for me. You will feel an amazing sense of power when you are there. Look into church records to find your ancestry. I tried to find the records of Jacobs baptism which was held in the church across from the visitors center but they had no record. I want to try to find out who her true love was….the man Norcom would not let her see. I believe him to have been a wood worker in town at the time who actually sculpted many of the porches and posts along Queen and King streets. I believe you can start at the Visitor Center and if you can find out the names of the people who enslaved your ancestors you will be able to dig for their history in the newspapers and church records. I would start there. Anyway….please think to let me know any information you find. Your ancestry may connect to a larger picture and that would be fascinating. Also, the Providence grave yard will be a highly moving experience when you go….please take the time to listen to what the wind tells you….it will be powerful. Good luck and let me know if I can help you further.

  10. Thanks for this post. I just finished reading Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and am happy to have more detailed information as you have provided. Appreciated. Well done.

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