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Hertford County launches 250th birthday plans

WINTON – Hertford County will turn a ripe 250 years old in 2009.

Leaders of the county are already beginning to work as they plan to hold a year-long celebration to commemorate the event.

“It’s important not only to work hard towards securing a solid future for Hertford County, but to celebrate our proud history,” said Howard J. Hunter III, chairman of the Hertford County Commissioners. “We want to spend the year looking back at our long and storied past as we continue to work hard to make the future bright.”

Plans began last Friday when Hertford County Manager Loria D. Williams and Assistant County Manager Pat Weaver hosted a meeting to begin discussions about the celebration.

“It was basically a brain-storming session,” Williams said. “It was a very good meeting and everyone seemed excited about the celebration. Ideas started flowing so much that we’ll have to start honing them at our next meeting.”

The yearlong celebration is to be kicked off on December 29, 2008 exactly one year from the 250th anniversary of the county’s founding. It will be celebrated with an event each month, according to Williams.

“We don’t want to detract from things that are annual events,” Williams said. “We want to incorporate the celebration into events like the Watermelon Festival (Murfreesboro) and Heritage Days (Ahoskie).”

The meeting included Representative Annie W. Mobley who initially addressed the county commissioners to suggest they celebrate the coming anniversary.

“I think they are deserving of the celebration,” Rep. Mobley said. “I think it will serve as an education process, particularly since it will be done over a year’s period.

“I think it is extremely important for me, as well as constituents, to learn more about Hertford County and how it came about,” she continued. “As I listened, I was able to learn that Hertford County was taken from Bertie, Chowan and Northampton counties. As we go through, I think citizens will learn more about how the county came into being as well as what the county has to offer.”

Also attending the meeting were Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn, Murfreesboro Town Administrator Cathy Davison, Cofield Mayor Hermea Pugh and Town Clerk Barbara Archer and Winton Councilman McCoy Pierce.

“I love this. I always want to serve on this kind of committee about celebrating where we come from,” Blackburn said. “I’m excited about it. Ahoskie is the largest town in the county and we’re not only proud of that, but we take it seriously.

“I’m excited about the way we’re going to do it n with a yearlong celebration,” Blackburn added. “I think we should make sure we leave something so that when the next celebration occurs be it in 10 years or 50, they have a legacy.”

Also in attendance were Hertford County Commissioner Johnnie R. Farmer, Tax Collector Wilda Liverman, Register of Deeds Kathleen Wright, Josephine Green of the Economic Development Commission and businessman Joe Murray of United County Joe Murray Realty.

“I just believe it is good to go back in time to help us appreciate what we have,” Wright said. “With history pretty much being my occupation, I am going to be available to do research and help in any way I can to make the event successful.”

The exact kickoff of the event will be held on December 29, but what the event will be and how it will take place is set to be discussed at the next meeting of the committee at 2 p.m. on August 19.

December 29 was chosen because that was the day in 1759 the North Carolina General Assembly adopted a bill to officially form Hertford County out of a territory from Bertie, Chowan and Northampton counties.

Hunter also signed a letter to President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate Marc Basnight (D-1st) and Speaker of the House Joe Hackney (D-54) requesting a special session of the legislature be convened in Hertford County on May 7, 2009.

“We are excited about the celebration and want to have as many people involved as possible,” Weaver said. “Anyone who wants to be part of the planning committee is welcome to give me a call at 358-7805.”

The next meeting is slated for August 19 followed by another session on September 10.