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Neuse River

Neuse River, 2004by Elizabeth Bayley, 2006

Neuse River is formed in western Durham County by the junction of the Eno and Flat Rivers. It flows southeast along the Durham CountyGranville County and Durham County–Wake County lines, eventually passing through Wake, Johnston, Wayne, Lenoir, and Craven Counties. The river then flows along the border between Craven and Pamlico Counties and Carteret and Pamlico Counties before draining into Pamlico Sound.

The Neuse River was named by English explorer Arthur Barlowe in 1584 for the Neusiok (meaning ‘‘peace’’) Indians; the Tuscarora Indians called it Gow-ta-no, or ‘‘pine in water.’’ The river’s entire 250-mile length is encompassed by North Carolina; the size of its watershed measures 6,235 square miles. In addition to flowing through seven counties, the Neuse River Basin encompasses 73 municipalities, including Durham, Kinston, Goldsboro, Smithfield, Raleigh, and New Bern. In the early 2000s the region had a population of more than 1.2 million.

The Neuse River has faced various environmental threats, most notably hog waste. Groups such as the Neuse River Foundation continue to work with government and other private groups to ensure the health of the river. Many ancient artifacts have been discovered on the shores and in the waters of the Neuse River, the most notable being the CSS Neuse, built by the Confederate navy, which was burned and sunk in 1865. The remains of the ship were raised in 1963 and are now on display at the Governor Caswell Memorial in Kinston, a North Carolina State Historic Site.


Chris Powell, "The Fight for the River of Peace," Wildlife in North Carolina 63 (November 1999).

Zach Frailey, "Neuse: River of Peace,"  American Rivers, 2021, Neuse River - American Rivers.

Image credit:

Hairr, John. 2004. "The Neuse River near Fort Barnwell in Craven County."




Hey, love your website as it provides a variety of useful content but I do have something I noticed. I'm looking for the length of the Neuse River and quite a few different websites have stated the river is actually 275 miles long instead of 195. Not an issue at all, just wanted to ensure that I'm getting the correct info! Have a great day :)



Thanks so much for your kind comments and for bringing this issue to our attention. We will look into the discrepancy! 

Kind regards,

Molly Goldston, SLNC Government & Heritage Library


I am seeking information if the Neuse, or at least part of it, would be good for a two or three day pontoon boat trip. Obviously no locks or rapids would be conducive to a safe trip. We are looking for a place to launch, store trailers and maybe trucks a well.


I have Lynn and Sorrell in my family tree of surnames. I have proven direct relation to John Lynn 1755-1826 of Wake Co., NC and Edward Sorrell lived around that time also. I know John Lynn owned a very large amount of land from around Crabtree area all the way to Briar Creek. Wondering if Lynn Road was named after him and if anyone knows where John Lynn might be buried - somewhere in Wake Co. Thank you.


Why so short?.


I am seeking information about the The Adkin tributary that runs behind the Adkin High School


Hi Bessie,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to leave your question.

Could you tell us a bit more of the type of information you are looking for?  That will help us direct you to the most useful resources.  I am also replying to you by email but also feel free to post back her on NCpedia.

In the meantime, you may be interested in this entry from the NC Gazetteer which is available in NCpedia.  

Place Description
Adkin Branch rises in N Lenoir County and flows SE through the city of Kinston into Neuse River. Named for Robert Atkins, who had land grants there in 1729.

You can also find this information in NCpedia at

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

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