Edgecombe Heritage is dedicated to the genealogy and history of Edgecombe County, located in the Inner Coastal Plains region of North Carolina.  This project is part of the American Local History Network, a group of independent websites created to help others discover their family and local history.  Through abstracts, transcriptions, excerpts and photographs, I hope to present the personal details of those connected to Edgecombe County.  This study covers the time period from the early 18th century to the mid 20th century.  My research is ongoing so check back often for updates.

Edgecombe is one of the oldest counties in North Carolina.  It was originally inhabited by the Tuscarora Indians followed by European immigrants in the early 18th century.  The Colonial Assembly established Edgecombe County in 1741.  The city of Tarboro was incorporated in 1760 and in 1764 was designated the county seat.  According to the historian Alan D. Watson, Edgecombe County “reached the peak of its influence and fame in the antebellum period when the county provided a strong voice in state politics and achieved a reputation as one of the most progressive farming areas in the state, if not the South.”

Edgecombe County was named to honor Richard Edgcumbe, Lord of the English Treasury.  He was born in 1680 and died in 1758.  Ironically, he never came to the colony of North Carolina.  It is unknown why and when the name of the county was changed from Edgcumbe to Edgecombe.

The Tar River nourished the land and provided a trade route for the citizens of Edgecombe County.  The river also displayed the the devastating power of nature, causing floods as early as the 1780s.  It has forever changed the landscape and people of Edgecombe County.

Abstracts from the following sources:

  • The article, “Brief County History,” in the Local History section, found on the website, Edgecombe County Memorial Library (, accessed 16 January 2021.
  • The article, “The Formation and Naming of Edgecombe County,” in the History of Edgecombe County section, found on the website, Edgecombe County North Carolina (, accessed 16 January 2021.
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