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Hyde County

Hyde County NC seal


COUNTY SEAT: Swan Quarter

FORMED: 1705

LAND AREA: 612.80 square miles


White: 67.6%

Black/African American: 29.0%

American Indian: 0.8%

Asian: 0.8%

Pacific Islander: <0.1%

Two or more races: 1.7%

Hispanic/Latino: 9.2% (of any race)

From State & County QuickFacts, US Census Bureau, 2018.


Hyde County

Coastal Plain


REGION: Coastal Plain
RIVER BASIN: Pasquotank, Tar-Pamlico, Map
NEIGHBORING COUNTIES: Beaufort, Dare, Tyrrell, Washington

Hyde County, NC

See also: North Carolina Counties (to access links to NCpedia articles for all 100 counties)

by Robert Blair Vocci, 2006

Hyde County, located in North Carolina's Coastal Plain region, was formed from Bath County in 1705. The area was originally inhabited by various Algonquian Indian tribes. The precinct of Wickham, as it was then known, was renamed Hyde in 1712 (taking its name from Lord Proprietor Edward Hyde) and became Hyde County in 1739. Over the course of the following century, the county seat was relocated from Woodstock to Bell's Bay (or Jasper's Creek) to Germantown to Lake Landing to Swan Quarter (settled ca. 1836), where it is today. Other communities in the sparsely populated county include Engelhard, Fairfield, Ocracoke, Sladesville, Panzer, Scranton, Beulah, New Holland, Nebraska, Gull Rock, and Newlands.

The islands and inlets of Hyde County greeted European explorers from the early sixteenth century through the seventeenth, as colonies were first established in the New World. For a time, particularly in the early eighteenth century, the region's port communities and sea vessels were terrorized by pirate raids, including those led by the notorious Blackbeard. In 1845 Ocracoke Island-which, up until that point, had been part of Carteret County-was annexed to Hyde County. Today the island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

During the early 1900s, a massive land reclamation and drainage project was undertaken at Lake Mattamuskeet (North Carolina's largest natural lake) in order to pump fresh water from the lakebed out into the Pamlico Sound. With public funds and investments from private individuals (who organized themselves as the Southern Land Reclamation Company), canals were dredged and a pumping plant was built to house the largest centrifugal pumps ever designed. Plans to develop the newly drained lakebed were abandoned, however, and the area instead became a national wildlife refuge. Canals were again dredged through the mainland in the 1920s for the creation of the Intracoastal Waterway. The heretofore isolated Ocracoke Island, meanwhile, began to emerge as a tourist destination with the establishment of a ferry system in the late 1950s.

Other Hyde County natural and cultural attractions include the Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, the Ocracoke Lighthouse (1823), and the Ocracoke Museum. Festivals such as Hyde County Farm Days, Swan Days, and the Fairfield Heritage Bass Tournament are held annually in the county. The estimated population of Hyde County in 2004 was 5,600.

Annotated history of Hyde County's formation:

For an annotated history of the county's formation, with the laws affecting the county, boundary lines and changes, and other origin information, visit these references in The Formation of the North Carolina Counties (Corbitt, 2000), available online at North Carolina Digital Collections (note, there may be additional items of interest for the county not listed here):

County formation history:

Index entry for the county:


Morgan H. Harris, Hyde Yesterdays: A History of Hyde County (1995).

Hyde County History: A Hyde County Bicentennial Project (1976).

Additional resources:

Corbitt, David Leroy. 2000. The formation of the North Carolina counties, 1663-1943 (accessed June 20, 2017).

Hyde County Government:

DigitalNC, Hyde County:

North Carolina Digital Collections (explore by place, time period, format):

Image credits:

Rudersdorf, Amy. 2010. "NC County Maps." Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina.

Origin - location: 


Dear Carol,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and for taking time to share your question. I have forwarded it to reference services at the NC Government & Heritage Library. A librarian will contact you by email shortly.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

Hey I am doing a county project for school. I chose to do mine on Hyde NC, But I need to know how Hyde is governed as a county. I also need to know how the county seat is governed. I have been trying to find this info on the Hyde county webpage but I have had no luck.

Hi, Abbie.

Have a look at this document:

Mike Millner, NC Government & Heritage Library

I am looking for a Peter Scott, father of Margeret Peggy Scott, born in 1775 in Hyde, NC. Any idea where I can look?

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to post your question.  

I am by email with Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library.  A librarian will contact you shortly to help you with this question, if you are still looking for information.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan

I'm looking to find my ancestors in hyde county they was native Americans from hyde county they are buried in a cemetery in hyde county I don't know the name of it but they was there in the 1800-thru early 1900 hundreds and last name was midgette thank you if you can help

Dear Terry,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and sharing your history and post.

I am connecting you by email with Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library. A librarian will contact you shortly to give you suggestions and information for researching your family history.

Good luck with your research and best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

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