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Carolinas' founding documents go on display

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Three of the four documents celebrating the history of the Albemarle region, as well as the state of North Carolina, are on display on the first floor at Museum of the Albemarle. The exhibit is part of this weekend's larger event, that includes a rare appearance of the Carolina Charter of 1663.

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By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This year’s monumental anniversary of the Albemarle region is being celebrated in writing, or more specifically, in writing that is 355 years old.

While this year marks the 350th anniversary of the Albemarle, it was a document written five years earlier that led to the region’s founding.

The Carolina Charter of 1663, which gave way to the eventual formation of the 16-county region now known as the Albemarle, will be on display this weekend at Museum of the Albemarle. Museum curator Wanda Lassiter said the document will arrive from the state archives in Raleigh to the museum midday Thursday under police escort.

With the charter, King Charles II granted eight men land to colonize in what is today North Carolina and South Carolina. All eight men had been instrumental in the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, when Charles II took the throne following a period known as the Interregnum. They were known as the Lords Proprietors. 

In 1668, the County of Albemarle was divided into four governmental precincts: Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank and Perquimans, all of which today are counties. To celebrate 350 years of the Albemarle, the museum has events planned beginning tonight and running through Saturday. 

The Carolina Charter of 1663 will be on display in the “Our Story” exhibit on the second floor of the museum both Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A special opening reception for museum members and Friends of the Museum will be held Thursday starting at 6:30. 

The weekend’s exhibit includes three additional documents key to the history of the Albemarle and North Carolina. Those documents are already on display in a window exhibit on the museum’s first floor. According to museum literature, those documents include: 

* Peter Carteret’s 1668 commission to lieutenant colonel in the colonial militia (document also includes first written reference to Pasquotank County);

* Johann Baptist Homann’s 1714 map of British colonies, including North Carolina; and 

* Carteret’s 1674 report to the Lords Proprietors about a “violent haricane,” a written account of a hurricane. 

Lassiter also said representatives from at least 13 Albemarle counties will be on hand at the museum throughout the event to provide information and to answer visitors’ questions. 

The website 350th.com is a good source for more information about the history of the Albemarle. According to the website, the 16 counties that today comprise the Albemarle region are Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington.

Weekend boat cruise

According to the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the cruise boat Belle of Washington will be in town this weekend. The cruise begins early Friday morning from Waterfront Park and concludes Sunday with a visit to Somerset Plantation in Washington County. There will be several stops in between, including an overnight stay in Edenton and lunch Saturday at the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse. 

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