Perquimans County Restoration Association, Inc.

Periauger History

A long-lost colonial boat the summer of 2004 set sail from Beaufort, North Carolina to its homeport of Hertford, North Carolina.

The periauger was constructed at the North Carolina Maritime Museum by The Periauger Project, a unique partnership of the Perquimans County Restoration Association, the parent organization of the historic 1730 Newbold-White House; the North Carolina Maritime Museum; Perquimans County; and East Carolina University´s Program in Maritime Studies. The project was made possible by a successful private fundraising campaign and through a grant from the NC Department of Transportation´s Enhancement Program.

In colonial America, settlers traveled the waterways in common boats called periaugers´ the waterway pick-up trucks of those days. Surprisingly, no physical evidence of these typical colonial vessels exists today. Through this history-making project, the periauger is being and reintroduced to the waterways.

The replica periauger is the only known boat of its kind in the world. The periauger is approximately 30 feet long with two masts reaching the height of nearly 25 feet. It has rowing stations for at least six oars called sweeps.

Periauger is a generic term for a two-masted boat made of a dugout and split cypress log and propelled by both oars and sails. Historical references indicate that for many colonial settlers, the periauger was the vessel of choice, especially on the sounds and rivers of North Carolina. After years of research and study, documentary evidence has enabled plans to be drawn up for the unique 21st century reconstruction of a "typical" periauger. Supervising the design is Michael Alford, former curator of maritime research at the North Carolina Maritime Museum and author of Traditional Workboats of North Carolina. Overseeing the construction was boatbuilder Craig Wright who has operated Mountain Marine since 1994 and has been responsible for building 23 wooden boats and canoes.

Boat construction techniques once common in the southeast are virtually unknown today," said Dr. Larry Babits, maritime archaeologist with the program in maritime history at East Carolina University. "Constructing the periauger is providing a means to relearn a significant form of traditional boat building and preserve a unique aspect of our maritime heritage."

The historic 1730 Newbold-White House in Hertford (North Carolina) is the final home for the periauger. Among the documentary evidence discovered about the boat was a reference to a periauger in the 1750 inventory of the Abraham Sanders, the builder of the 1730 Newbold-White House.

Construction on the periauger began in November 2003 at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort as part of its continuing educational and interpretive program.

The Town of Hertford will be the Periauger´s interim homeport until it is relocated to the historic 1730 Newbold-White House where it will be a key component to the site´s maritime heritage program. It is anticipated that the periauger will be an important tool for regional tourism development, visiting port towns in the region and providing a dynamic living maritime history experience.

For more information about the Periauger Project or to make a contribution, contact the Perquimans County Restoration Association at (252)426-7567

 

Periauger Video