Pelham County


A History of Pelham County

Several ambitious map-makers attempted to curry favor with the current British Secretary of State for the Southern Department, which included the American colonies at that time. This man's name was Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle, Principal Secretary of State, member of the British Privy Council, and eventually the Prime Minister of Great Britain twice - from 1754 to 1756 and from 1757 to 1762.

The earliest known map showing Pelham County was created by James Wimble in 1738. Later map-makers simply copied what Wimble had published and "propagated the myth of Pelham County" in North Carolina for decades - and the bane of researchers ever since. If one were to peruse the many maps from 1738 to the 1790s (not all), Pelham County shows up where present-day Sampson County, North Carolina is located - more or less.

Sampson County, North Carolina was not introduced until 1784 when it was carved out of the existing Duplin County. Since Sampson County's boundaries have remained essentially unchanged since its creation, it is not hard for some to believe that Pelham County might have existed with the same boundaries - only to have been carved out of Duplin County roughly ten years earlier than Sampson was.

No officials in Sampson County or the state of North Carolina have ever mentioned the name Pelham County in any legal documentation. It never materialized other than in the minds of eighteenth-century map-makers.

© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved