Hyde County, North Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)


Swan Quarter

Edward Hyde


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

Not Found

1691 / 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 Hyde County

Maps of Hyde County

Books About Hyde County

Genealogy Sources

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A History of Hyde County

Hyde County Court House - Swan Quarter, North Carolina - Built 1854

Hyde Precinct was originally named Wickham Precinct in 1705 and the name was changed to Hyde Precinct in 1712 upon the death of Governor Edward Hyde, the county's namesake. Courts were held in the shared Bath court house until 1729, when an Act was passed separating the precincts of Beaufort and Hyde and authorizing a court house to be built on the land of William Webster.

In 1738, a town by the name of Woodstock was laid out on Webster's land. The court house at Woodstock burned about 1789, and in 1790 an Act was passed moving the court house to Bell's Bay or Jasper's Creek. The county seat was on Jasper's Creek during 1791-1792. A law was passed in 1791 establishing a town on land belonging to Germain Bernard where the court house stands. This town was called Germain-town, then Germantown. In 1820, the old court house was authorized to be sold and a new one erected at Lake Landing or within two miles of it. In 1836, commissioners were named to purchase land from Zacheriah Gibbs for a county seat, or within one-fourth mile of the place called Swan Quarter, and erect a court house. Swan Quarter, established in 1812, became the county seat in 1836.

The boundaries of Hyde County have evolved over almost three hundred years. Because of the changes in the county's boundaries, a person may have lived in several counties during his lifetime, while residing in the same location.

The lands lying south of the Albemarle Sound, along the Pamlico River, had begun to be settled by 1691. This area became Bath County in 1696 and in 1705, it was divided into three precincts: Wickham, Pamptecough and Archdale, with Bath Town as the county seat. Wickham Precinct began just east of Bath at Mellyne's (later Sinclare's) Creek on the west side of the Matchapungo (later Pungo) River and on the north side of the Pamlico River including all the land from the creek eastward to Matchapungo Bluff, near present day New Holland. In 1712, the precincts of Bath County were renamed Hyde, Beaufort and Craven Precincts, respectively. Hyde was named in honor of Governor Edward Hyde who died in 1712.

In 1729, an Act authorized Beaufort and Hyde Precincts to have separate court houses, and Hyde Precinct was directed that a court house should be built on the lands of William Webster, on the west side of the Pungo River. In 1735, the Precincts of Bath Counties were redesignated as Hyde, Beaufort and Craven Counties - Bath County would soon be abolished in 1739.

In Hyde County the town of Woodstock had been laid out on Webster's plantation and became the first county seat of Hyde County. It remained so for fifty years. In 1745, the eastern part of present day Hyde County, "Mattamuskeet and the lake thereunto belonging" was annexed from Currituck County. The area is generally believed to run from present day New Holland to beyond Engelhard at the eastern end of Hyde. The boundary line between Hyde and Tyrrell was authorized to be established. The line was to run as follows: "Beginning where the counties of Beaufort, Martin and Tyrrell corner, thence a direct course to Long Shoal River, and thence the same course continued to Pamptico Sound."

Around 1790, the county seat was moved from Woodstock to Bell's Bay or Jasper's Creek and in 1791 a law was passed establishing a town "where the court house stands." It was named Germantown for German Bernard, who owned the property. The county seat was moved to Lake Landing in 1820. In 1819, all that part of Hyde County lying on the west side of the Pungo River was annexed to Beaufort County. In 1823, part of Currituck which was south of New Inlet was annexed to Hyde. It is believed that this included the area of the Outer Banks known as Hatteras Island. Swan Quarter, established about 1812, became the county seat in 1836 and a court house was built there around 1850. Ocracoke Island, which was previously part of Carteret County, became part of Hyde County in 1845. Dare County was formed in 1870 from Currituck, Hyde, and Tyrrell Counties. (Hyde County ceded Hatteras Island to Dare County.) And lastly, the boundary line between Hyde and Tyrrell was established in 1890 and validated by law in 1921.

Present-day Hyde County is bounded on the north by Dare and Tyrrell Counties, on the northwest by Washington County and on the west by Beaufort County. Across the Pamlico River is Pamlico County and across the Pamlico Sound to the south are Carteret and Craven Counties. To the east of Ocracoke Island is the Atlantic Ocean.

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