The Carolinas are now inclusive of the US states of North Carolina and South Carolina when considered collectively. They are bordered by Virginia to the north, Tennessee to the west, and Georgia to the southwest. The Atlantic Ocean acts as their eastern border. The Carolinas were once known as the Province of Carolina during the colonial period in American history, which is defined as occurring from 1663 to 1710. Prior to that, the land was considered to be part of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, from 1609 to 1663. The province, was named Carolina to in honour King Charles 1st of the House of Stuart, who governed the unified country of Britain, which included England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. He was the second son of King James VI of Scotland reigning from 1625 until his execution in 1649. The Carolina’s were finally divided into two colonies in 1729, although the actual date is the subject of debate by historians.
Settlement of the Carolinas
Colonization of the North American coast might have evolved differently if the English expedition sent to Roanoke Island by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 1580s had established a lasting foothold on the Outer Banks of what is now North Carolina. It was named after the historical Roanoke Carolina Algonquian people, also known as Pamlico, who inhabited the area in the 16th century at the time of English exploration.
The Roanake colony, established by Raleigh was made up of a group of about 120 men, women and children, who arrived in 1587. However they disappeared without a trace. The fate of those first colonists remains a mystery to this day and is one of America’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries.
When that colony was “lost,” English attention turned to better harbours farther north, postponing colonization between Chesapeake Bay and Spanish Florida. Since nothing came of King Charles I’s grant of “Carolana” to Sir Robert Heath in 1629, King Charles II bestowed the same region on eight of his loyal supporters soon after the English Restoration of 1660.
Two factors heavily influenced the development of North Carolina. One was its stormy coastline, known as the “graveyard of the Atlantic,” which does not include a natural harbor to promote commerce. The Cape Fear River is the only river of significance that empties into the Atlantic Ocean, and its approaches are endangered by the Frying Pan Shoals.
The second factor influencing North Carolina’s development was the presence of approximately 35,000 Native Americans at the beginning of the new colony. They taught the European settlers important agricultural techniques such as planting row crops and fertilizing plants. The Europeans also learned the natives’ techniques of wilderness war. But the presence of the settlers eventually destroyed the native civilization through disease, forceful removal to reservations, and war.
Prior to 1663, the Albemarle region lay as a geographical and political orphan. Included in the grant of the “Province of Carolana” made by King Charles I in 1629 to Sir Robert Heath, his Attorney General, the colony had languished and, except for small settlements, had lain fallow. Carolina’s first Proprietor had discovered that the expense of colonization was too great for one man to bear, and his neglect increased after England was ripped asunder by the violent upheavals of its own civil war (1642-1651).
The Carolina Charter of 1663 endowed the eight new Lords Proprietors with vast and extensive powers, in which lay the seeds of rebellion; yet these perquisites were not unique for grants of this era. The English reaction against republicanism and their willingness to rest awhile on the plateau of monarchism was not to make its way across the Atlantic, and within the next fifteen years a rash of little rebellions were to light up the southern colonies along the Atlantic seaboard.
Within months there were challenges to the claims of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. Claimants to land under the old Sir Richard Heath grant began to make nuisances of themselves. To counter these allegations, the eight Lords Proprietors submitted a “humble request” to King Charles II, soliciting an extension of the boundaries of their domain. The result was the Charter of 1665, little more than a supplement to the 1663 Charter, but expanding the limits of Carolina two degrees southward and one-half a degree to the northward.
Gradually the Albemarle settlements, or Albemarle County in its original sense, expanded into a true province. North of the sound four new precincts were formed – Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, and Currituck – most historians claim all were established in 1668, but others say they were created around 1670. After settlement had extended somewhat to the south of Albemarle Sound, the Lords Proprietors directed that the name Albemarle County should be confined to the region north of that body of water. Governor John Archdale was ordered to erect between Albemarle Sound and Cape Fear as many counties as the progress of settlement, encouraged by him, would justify. But not until 1696, when Thomas Harvey was acting as Deputy Governor, did he and his Executive Council erect the settlements south of Albemarle Sound into Bath County. This was divided into three precincts in 1705, while others were later organized, extending as far south as Cape Fear River. The precincts of North Carolina were, in fact, counties in the ordinary and modern sense of the term, and they came later to be so called on March 8, 1738/9, when the over-arching old counties of Albemarle and Bath were also abolished.
According to the Perquimans County North Carolina reconstructed census it show a Nathanial Caruthers located in that area in the early 1700’s.
Nathanial Caruthers was born c 1675 in Dumfries-shire Scotland the son of James Carruthers born c 1652 and Agnes Herries born c1661 in Scotland. By the time Nathanial Caruthers was six years old he is found to be living in Perquimans, North Carolina, USA. He married to Joanne of Scotland at the age of 19.
The following children were born to this union; John born c1695 in Howmains (Holmains), Dumfries-shire, Scotland, James born c1696, Jacob born c1697 and a daughter Elizabeth born c1698. Records indicate that they were Quakers and it seems that Nathaniel and his three sons were very active in community and Quaker business in the 1740s.
Under the encouragement of the Quaker Lord Proprietor and proprietary governor (1694-96) John Archdale, they became the dominant political force in the county – which stimulated the Anglican community to seek passage of the Vestry Act. The Upper Meeting House (later Wells) was built by 1704, Little River Meeting House was erected in 1705, and Lower Meeting House (later Old Neck) appeared by 1706. At the end of the proprietary era, in 1729, Friends maintained Meetings at Wells, Old Neck, Suttons Creek, Yeopim, and Piney Woods. (Piney Woods is still functioning.)
Friends residing west of Little River in Perquimans were attached to the Pasquotank Monthly Meeting. Friends have to receive their Meeting’s permission before marrying, so the records from Quaker Meetings provide most of the available early information on marriages in this area.
Pasquotank County takes great pride in knowing that the first land grant in North Carolina occurred there in 1660 when Kiscutanaweh, chief of the Yeopim Indians deeded to Nathaniel Batts “all ye land on ye southwest side of Pascotank River from ye mouth of ye sd river to ye head of New Begin Creeke.” What falls between the cracks many times, however, is that the land at that time was considered a part of Norfolk County, Virginia, the deed was actually recorded there. Therefore, the first recorded land grant in North Carolina actually belongs to George Durant.
History of Perquimans County Deed records show Nathanial Caruthers and his sons, selling land on the northeast side of the Yawpim River on October 18, 1731.
James appears as a juryman, along with his father, Nathaniel in the Legislative Journal of Monday, 25 Feb 1739.
James, Jacob, and John, were concentrated in Bethel Township a large region just south of Hertford between the Perquimans and Yeopim River. More particularly, their lands were in the southern part miles south of Hertford and bordered by the Yeopim River on the south and west and by the Yeopim Creek on the east. In the early 1740s, Nathaniel was granting his various land holdings to his sons.
Nathaniel died on 22 June 1745 and his death was recorded in the January Court of 1750. Jacob appeared at least once, in 1750, as Constable. Nathaniel’s sons, however, did not themselves appear in any land records until the 1740s showing that in the late 1740s or early 50s, James along with his brother Jacob moved across the Yeopim River into Chowan County. Where John died about 1750 and left a tract of land on Deadman’s Swamp lying on the Yeopim River in Perquimans County to James and Jacob.
Tax lists for 1750 John Caruthers and Jacob Carruthers
Deed Book North Carolina…
6 Nov. 1730–Bk. 1, p 214
William Dupuis of the Precinct of Bath conveys to John Carruthers of the Precinct of Craven, for 100 pounds current money, 300 acres being part of 640 acres on the south side of Neuse River, called in the name of Indian Tongue Inocasque, by the English Clubfoot’s Creek, purchased and patented by John Lawson by deed 10 June 1706. Being part of a tract formerly bought of William Dupuis. Witness: Evan Jones, Thomas Brown, John Witherington. No date of recording.
24 July 1742–Bk. 1, p 156
Commissioners of Town of New Bern North Carolina convey to John Carruthers, Lots No. 95, 96, 97 and 98 in New Bern, for 4 pounds: whereas by virtue of an Act of Assembly made and. passed at Edenton on the 4th of November 1723, An Act for the Better Ordering and Regulating of the Town of New Bern, in Craven Precinct, now called Craven County.
22 Sept. 1742–Bk. 1, p 124
John Carruthers, Planter, to Capt. Francis Stringer, for 300 pounds current money, 150 acres of land being part of a survey granted to John Carruthers by His Majesty, 1738, said parcel lying on the north side of Neuse River and upper side of Stoney Town Creek, etc., to a great pond which parts him from Solomon Witherington’s land, etc., John Witherington’s land to a cypress at a creek, etc., 150 acres with houses, orchards. Etc. Witness: Nich. Routledge. Joseph Hannis, Phil. Trapnall. Reg. 20 Oct. 1742. Edward Griffith, D. Reg. (N. B. Land in Craven and Dobbs Counties on Stoney Run is listed on inventory. of John Rice, Bk. 16, p 316, Craven Co.)
Nathaniel died at age 70, in Perquimans County North Carolina. Records show that his will was probated in 1750 with his sons James and John listed as the executors, with part of his land being left to his son John.
As a Clan, there are many such stories suggesting and augmenting a very rich Carruthers history and heritage. Here at the CCSI we try to ensure our research and historical information, which takes many hours to put together, is accuracy.
This blog was researched and compiled by the Clan Carruthers Genealogist and Clan Commissioner for the US, Dana Caruthers Norton and for both her time and support, we remain eternally grateful.