Through the vision of a group of passionate historians and residents who wanted a permanent home for Camden County artifacts, documents, and stories, The Camden County Heritage Museum and Historic Jail (117 N.C. Highway 343, next to the Historic Courthouse; 252-771-8333), a short drive from Elizabeth City, were founded in April 2017 and boast a historically significant array of local items, circa 1777 to present day.
The museum collection includes Civil War muskets, uniforms and artillery shells, photographs, marriage records, arrowheads, a Spode teapot from the 1830s, a brick from the home of Isaac Gregory, a celebrated brigadier general in the American Revolution, as well as a second brick from the house George Washington stayed in while he conducted survey work at the Dismal Swamp. These objects, and many more, are displayed with interpretive panels and historic replicas that designate the various eras in the county’s history.
At the entrance of the museum is a photo of Sir Charles Pratt, 1st Earl of Camden, who was a British aristocrat after whom Camden County and many other places in the New World were named. Pratt defended the American Colonies’ opposition to taxes without representation in Great Britain’s House of Lords. Camden was a province of Pasquotank County until May 8, 1777 when it was then granted permission to become an independent county—a change that occurred just 10 months after the colonies declared their independence from Britain. And next door to the museum, the Historic Jail, a well-preserved reminder of incarceration in the early 20th century, looks much like it did over 100 years ago with its small, dour holding cells, bullpen with barred doors, and stocks located in the courtyard outside the jail.
Because of the dedication of many to the growth and maintenance of the museum and jail, the history and culture of Camden County will be preserved for generations to come.
To learn more about the history of our area, click here to view our historical tours listings.
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