Ancestry Search: Onslow County, NC

A shop with great promise in Swansboro, NC.

My Scottish ancestor left Fordell Castle in Fife, Scotland in the mid-1660s and migrated to the colonies. After several generations in Maryland, the Henderson family headed south to Onslow County on the coastal plains of southeast North Carolina. Today, this county is best known as the home of Camp Lejeune Marine Base.

In 1748, records show the first of my ancestors born in Onslow, a county only a few years old after being created in 1734. It was carved from Carteret and New Hanover Counties and named in honor of a British politician. For the next 150 years, through seven generations, my ancestors worked, lived, were born, and died in Onslow County. During the Revolutionary War, they fought to defeat the British. Land and business interests sometimes overlapped in the nearby areas of Wilmington or New Bern, but Onslow County remained a constant.

After following vague info about a land deed on NE Creek in Jacksonville, and ending up at what may have been an old quarry (I clearly have a lot more research ahead of me), we decided to move on to the quaint, historic town of Swansboro. The town has many charming, well-marked cottages, and the shops and restaurants all looked inviting but were (sadly) closed since it was a Monday. We settled for an ice cream break at the local candy shop. I left word at the Visitors’ Center for the area’s historic expert.

Advancing the ancestral clock forward from my first ancestor’s arrival in North Carolina to my birth in nearby New Bern 205 years later, I am now very curious about their lives. I know there was a substantial Scottish population in the area but have so far, failed to find out much in the way of enlightening information. So for now, it’s up to my imagination.

6 Comments on “Ancestry Search: Onslow County, NC

    • Onslow County is where I start with my Henderson Ancestors from the 1700’s. I have traced them back from the Hendersons in Montgomery County, El Dorado Community. The earliest ancestor is 6th Great Grandfather James (John) Isaac Henderson, born in Scotland, 1664 and died in Onslow County in 1732. His son, Argaleus Hercules Henderson, was born in Onslow County in 1720 and died in Chatham around 1804-06. Argaleus’s son, Isaac Argaleus Henderson, was born in Chatham County in 1753 and died in Chatham in 1822. His son, Joel Nathaniel Henderson, I believe was born in Pitt County in 1782 and died in El Dorado, Montgomery County, North Carolina, in 1868. His son, Laughlin “Lackey” Arnold Henderson, was born in Montgomery County about 1818 and died in Montgomery County, NC, in 1893. His daughter, Martha Elizabeth Henderson was born in 1857 in El Dorado, Montgomery County, and died in Norwood, Stanley County, North Carolina, in 1931. She married James G. Cook(e). Their daughter, Maude Cook, married my Grandfather, James Walter Merritt, Sr. and their son son, James Walter Merritt, Jr., (Deceased) is my Father. I would love to fill in my gaps of information on this branch of the Hendersons.

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