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Chowan County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Chowan County
Chowan County Courthouse, Edenton
Chowan County Courthouse, Edenton
Official seal of Chowan County
Map of North Carolina highlighting Chowan County
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  North Carolina
Founded 1739
Named for Chowanoc Indian Tribe
Seat Edenton
Largest town Edenton
 • Total 233 sq mi (600 km2)
 • Land 172 sq mi (450 km2)
 • Water 61 sq mi (160 km2)  26%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 86/sq mi (33/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Chowan County is one of the 100 counties located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,793. Its county seat is Edenton. The county was created between 1668 and 1671 as Shaftesbury Precinct and later renamed Chowan Precinct. It gained county status in 1739.


Chowan was formed in 1670 as a precinct, originally called Shaftesbury, in Albemarle County. By 1685 it had been renamed for the Chowan Indian tribe, which lived in the northeastern part of the Carolina Colony.

Chowan County is in the northeastern section of the State and is bounded by Albemarle Sound, Chowan River, and the counties of Bertie, Hertford, Gates, and Perquimans. The present land area is 172.64 square miles and the 2000 population was 14,150.

In 1720, Edenton, which was named in honor of Governor Charles Eden, was established. In 1722 it was designated, and has continued to be, the county seat.

The Bond Home Edenton North Carolina
The Bond House, Edenton, Chowan County, c. 1920

During the American Civil War, the Albemarle Artillery was recruited in 1862 from Chowan and Tyrrell men at Edenton by local attorney William Badham, Jr.. After cannon were recast from bronze donated as bells from local courthouses and churches to arm the battery, the unit was renamed the Edenton Bell Battery. They named their cannon: Columbia, St. Paul, Fannie Roulac, and Edenton. Two of the guns, long thought lost, have been returned to Edenton in recent years. The St. Paul and the Edenton now can be seen on display at Edenton's waterfront park. The county was named after the historical Chowanoc American Indian tribe, also called Chowan.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 233 square miles (600 km2), of which 172 square miles (450 km2) is land and 61 square miles (160 km2) (26%) is water. It is the smallest county in North Carolina by land area and third-smallest by total area.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 17
  • NC 32
  • NC 37
  • NC 94


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 4,988
1800 5,132 2.9%
1810 5,297 3.2%
1820 6,464 22.0%
1830 6,697 3.6%
1840 6,690 −0.1%
1850 6,721 0.5%
1860 6,842 1.8%
1870 6,450 −5.7%
1880 7,900 22.5%
1890 9,167 16.0%
1900 10,258 11.9%
1910 11,303 10.2%
1920 10,649 −5.8%
1930 11,282 5.9%
1940 11,572 2.6%
1950 12,540 8.4%
1960 11,729 −6.5%
1970 10,764 −8.2%
1980 12,558 16.7%
1990 13,506 7.5%
2000 14,526 7.6%
2010 14,793 1.8%
2018 (est.) 14,029 −5.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2010, there were 14,793 people, 5,580 households, and 4,006 families residing in the county. The population density was 84 people per square mile (32/km2). There were 6,443 housing units at an average density of 37 per square mile (14/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 62.0% White, 34.3% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.8% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. 3.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,580 households, out of which 30.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 15.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.20% were non-families. 25.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.90% under the age of 18, 9.60% from 18 to 24, 24.10% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 17.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 88.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,928, and the median income for a family was $36,986. Males had a median income of $29,719 versus $19,826 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,027. About 13.70% of families and 17.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.50% of those under age 18 and 16.70% of those age 65 or over.


Map of Chowan County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Chowan County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
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