Tour Tyrrell County
Tyrrell County known as the Black Water Country. The black waters of the Scuppernong River (Algonquian word meaning "place of the sweet bay tree") rise out of the wetlands and trace an ancient meandering pathway 26 miles through thick swamp forests before emptying into Bull's Bay on the Albemarle Sound.
Tyrrell is one of the oldest counties in the state and was one of the original precincts of the Lords Proprietors. It is located in the eastern part of the state and is bounded in the north by the Albemarle Sound, east by Dare County, the Pamlico Sound, and Atlantic Ocean, south by Hyde, and west by Washington County.
Sir John Tyrrell, 1685-1729, after whom Tyrrell County is named, was one of the Proprietors of Carolina.
Sir John never came to these lands, but rather remained in England at his two estates, Heron and Woodham Mortimer, both in Essex. He married twice, producing four daughters by his first wife and three sons by his second. When he died in 1729, Sir John was succeeded by his sons, upon whose deaths the title of the family became extinct.
The County Seat Columbia, originated as a trading post called Shallop's Landing but was incorporated as Elizabethtown in 1793. The name was changed to Columbia in 1801, and it became the county seat in 1802. Columbia is known as the "onliest" town in North Carolina: it is the only town in Tyrrell County and has the only schools and the only post office in the county. The Town of Columbia features a self-guided walking tour of historic buildings such as the courthouse.
Tyrrell's major economy is derived from agriculture, livestock, logging and fishing. From Tyrrell's scuppernong vines come some of the finest grapes to be found anywhere, and from the abundance of this fruit comes the name for its Scuppernong River.
Other interesting and unusual names abound in Tyrrell County. The county has many people of Irish descent, most of whom were originally pinpointed in the southern part of the county. Kilkenny was settled by the Irish and that name comes from Kilkenny Flats in Ireland. Gum Neck comes from its geographic and natural bounds, a large neck of land on which gum trees were plentiful. Most Gum Neck settlers seem to have been Scots. Frying Pan round in shape with one straight outlet to the Alligator River this outlet known as the handle of the Frying Pan. Alligator name derives from the river which bounds it. Legends tell us that the Alligator River was so named because it was the northernmost water in which alligators were found in habitat. Blood lines in Alligator are predominantly English. The county's motto remains, "welcome all to the beautiful county of the Scuppernong."
—Source: Swamproots 250th Anniversary Edition