Charles Eden

Charles Eden was appointed by the Crown, as opposed to the Lords Proprietors, to govern North Carolina on May 18, 1713.  Before his appointment, when both were collectively knows as the Carolinas. the area now known as North Carolina was actually governed from what is now South Carolina.

Eden arrived to a very small, but rapidly growing, village then known as the Town of Queen Anne’s Creek.  Just a year earlier authority to survey and layout the town had been granted.  The streets that Eden walked exist today as the east side of historic Edenton, NC.  The area includes the 1767 Historic Chowan County Courthouse (oldest in-use courthouse in the country) and the recently discovered oldest house in North Carolina (privately owned).

Speaking of Eden, the NC History Project web site reports: “….his administration is known for bringing more control to the colony.  Sixty-one laws were passed, including provisions punishing libel against public officials and participants in riots.  Others defined the roles of local government officials, established the Church of England, and allowed Quakers to take and affirmation instead of an oath of allegiance.  Towns with more than 60 people were given representatives in the Assembly.  This act fostered the growths of towns.  Other laws were passed to encourage certain businesses and industries such as sawmilling and ferry transport….

Although Governor Eden sat over one of the most important gubernatorial terms in the state’s history, he acquired a reputation for befriending the pirate Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard.  The pirate eventually settled in Bath and married a local woman, and some sources record that the governor “presided over the ceremony.”  In time, other leading North Carolinians criticized Eden for not aggressively stamping out piracy in the colony.  The extent of the governor and the pirate’s relationship is unknown, however.

In 1722, the governor died at Eden House, his plantation near the Town of Queen Anne’s Creek.  The town was shortly afterward renamed Edenton.”

Eden House was located in what is now Bertie County, directly across the Roanoke River from present-day Edenton.  Because that side of the river is the outer curve of a major bend in the river, it has eroded away and Eden’s House was lost to Mother Nature decades ago.

The Town on Queen Anne’s Creek continued to grow and was a major shipping port for many decades. Some contend The Towne on Queen Anne’s Creek was later known Ye Towne on Mattercommack Creek and, yet later, as The Port of Roanoke. As noted, it was renamed Edenton in 1722 in honor of Governor Eden who died that year and served as the de facto capitol of North Carolina until 1743.