Pitt County was formed after Beaufort and Craven Counties, but the establishment of its border wasn’t a one-time thing. Below, you can read about the formation of Pitt County, North Carolina from David Leroy Corbitt’s book, The Formation of North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943. See if it helps some pieces start falling into place with some of your ancestors who seem to appear and vanish from this and neighboring counties inexplicably in the mid-to-late 1700s and into the 1800s.
Remember, Corbitt’s book is is available for free at Archive.org, but for convenience’s sake, I have posted sections on the formation of Beaufort County (including Bath County), Craven County, and now, Pitt County, here at East Carolina Roots, since the bulk of the content on this site gravitates towards those three counties.
Pitt was formed in 1760 from Beaufort. The act was to become effective January 1, 1761. It was named in honor of William Pitt. It is in the eastern section of the State and is bounded by Beaufort, Craven, Lenoir, Greene, Wilson, Edgecombe, and Martin counties. The present area is 656 square miles and the population is 61,244. The act establishing the county authorized the courts to be held at the home of John Hardy until a courthouse could be built. It also directed the justices to contract for the construction of the courthouse, prison, and stocks on John Hardy’s land on the south side of Tar River, near the Chapel known as Hardy’s Chapel.
In 1771 Martinsboro was established on Richard Evans’s land, and in 1774 the courthouse, prison, and stocks were moved to Martinsboro. Court was held at the home of John Lessley until the new courthouse, prison and stocks were completed. In 1787 Martinsborough was changed to Greenesville. Greenville is the county seat. 712
. . . , That from and after the First Day of January next, the upper Part of the said County of Beaufort, beginning at the Line between the said County and Tyrrel, running South, South West to Cherry’s Run, where the main Road crosses the said Run; thence down the said Run to Tranter’s Creek; thence down the said Creek to Pamlico River; thence down the said River to the Fork Point, on the South side of the said River; thence up the Chocowinity Bay and Creek to the Head thereof; thence South. South West to the dividing Line of the said County and Craven; thence along the dividing Lines of Craven, Dobbs, Edgecomb, and Tyrrel; so that all that Part of Beaufort County to the Westward of Cherry Run, Chocowinity Bay and Creek, shall, and is hereby declared to be a separate County and Parish, and shall be called and known by the name of Pitt County, and St. Michael’s Parish; . . ,713
The dividing line between Pitt and Dobbs was authorized to be established in 1764.
. . . the said dividing Line between the Counties of Dobbs and Pitt; from Blount’s Ford on Little Contentney Creek, to Luke White’s, then up the middle Swamp to William Wilson’s, and from thence to the nearest part of Edgecomb County; which said Lines, when run by the Commissioners aforesaid, or any two of them, shall be by them entered on Record in the Courts of Each of the said Counties of Dobbs and Pitt, and shall thereafter be deemed and taken to be the dividing lines between the said Counties. 714
In 1784 the line between Martin, Edgecombe and Pitt was authorized to be run with the following description:
. . . , commissioners, or a majority of them, be and they are hereby authorized and empowered as soon as may be after the passing of this Act to extend the dividing line between the counties aforesaid, beginning in the old line that formerly divided Edgecombe and Halifax at or near Benjamin Cotton’s running thence a direct course to the line that divides Martin and Pitt counties at or near Charles Council’s. 715
Part of Pitt was annexed to Beaufort in 1785.
… all that part of the county of Pitt included in the following bounds, beginning at Craven county line where it crosses Creeping Swamp, and running with Creeping Swamp and Checod Swamp to the mouth of Round Island branch, then a direct course to the mouth of Pitch Hole branch, then with the swamp to Bear creek, then down Bear creek to Tar river, then down the river on the north side to the mouth of Tranter’s creek, then up said Creek to Martin county line, then with Martin, Beaufort and Craven lines to the beginning, be and the same is hereby annexed to and shall be and remain a part of the county of Beaufort. 716
Part of Craven was annexed to Pitt in 1787.
… all that part of the county of Craven, included in the following bounds, beginning at the Pitt line where creeping Swamp intersects the same; thence down the run or middle of the said swamp to the run or middle of the Clay-root Swamp, thence down the run of the said Clay-root Swamp to the run of Swift’s Creek Swamp, thence up the run of the same to Isaac Gardener’s Ford, or part across the same, thence a direct line to the lower landing on Grindal Creek, which is in about half a mile of the said creek, thence down the said Grindal Creek to the river Neuse, then up the meanders of the said river Neuse to the mouth of Great Contentney Creek, thence up the said creek to the mouth of Little Contentney Creek, then up the same to the line of the county of Pitt, be, and the same is hereby annexed to, and shall be and remain a part of the county of Pitt; . . ,717
Part of Pitt was annexed to Edgecombe in 1801.
… all that part of Pitt county, bounded as follows, shall be added to the county of Edgecomb: Beginning where Edgecomb county-line crosses Coneto Creek, near Samuel Crisp’s; then down said creek to Christopher Harrod’s plantation; then nearly West to Edgecombe county-line, so as to include James Summerlin; and all that part North of said line shall hereafter be part of the county of Edgecomb.718
Part of Pitt County was annexed to the county of Martin in 1805.
… all that part of Pitt county bounded as follows, shall be annexed to the county of Martin, viz. Beginning where the present county line intersects the fork of Trentross creek and Flat Swamp to where the present county line crosseth said swamp; and all that part of Pitt county lying north of the before recited boundaries shall hereafter be part of Martin county. . . .719
In 1818 an act was passed authorizing the boundary line between Pitt and Craven to be run and marked as the boundary line was not properly known. No description is given in the law.720
The dividing line between Pitt and Greene counties was authorized to be changed in 1895.
. . . beginning in the old county line of Green and Pitt, in the mouth of Middle swamp, then down the various courses of Sandy run to little Contentnea creek; then down the said little Contentnea creek to the old line: . . .721
712 S. R., XXIII, 531, 865, 968; XXIV, 781, 867; Manual, 191S, p. 760; Battle, p. 28.
713 S. R., XXIII, 531.
714 S. R., XXIII, 629.
715 S. R. XXIV, 647. In 1894 the lines between Martin and Pitt and between Edgecombe and Pitt were authorized to be run. For a report of these lines, see appendix, p. 270.
716 S. R. XXIV, 758.
717 S. R., XXIV, 825.
718 Laws, 1801, Ch. 68.
719 Laws, 1805, Ch. 28.
720 Laws, 1818, Ch. 136.
721 Private Laws, 1895, Ch. 146.