The narrows of the Pasquotank River is that location where the Pasquotank River narrows to less than one-fifth of a mile. The earliest reference refers to it as ''Shingle Landing.'' The deep water on the west bank made it a natural location for loading and off-loading water craft. In 1764, a law designated ''The Narrows'' of the Pasquotank River as an inspection station for ''hemp, flax, flax seed, pork, beef, rice, flour, indigo, butter, tar, pitch, turpentine, staves, leading, lumber and shingles. ''
Several ferry crossways were established just north and west of the narrows. Its location was near several roads leading to Currituck, Edenton, and Norfolk also.
By 1779 a new ferry crossing had been established at a point just above the Narrows at a location where the river was narrow and favorable to crossing in any sort of weather. Highway traffic between the county seats of Camden and Pasquotank now used the new ferry. Also, traffic passed a landing at the Narrows which was popular for the storage and shipping of shingles taken from the juniper swamps. Here a tavern, one of the few in the area, was operated by the family of Adam Tooley. It became a convenient stopping place for travelers, mariners, shippers, and buyers. A settlement sprang up and an early stagecoach route from Princess Anne, Virginia to Chowan changed horses here. In 1793 a charter was granted by the General Assembly to form a town at the Narrows of Pasquotank River to be known as Reding. (The background for this name is not known; however, there were several Reding families living in the area at the time.) Fifty acres were purchased from Adam Tooley and his wife Elizabeth which were divided into streets and lots, the latter being sold as items the location of which was determined by a drawing after all had been sold. The three principal streets were to be sixty-six feet wide; others half that width; and lots were to be a half-acre each, two to the block, except those located on the river which were to be one-fourth-acre in area. The principal street was named Center and extended from the river westward to what is now Dyer Street. Three other streets ran parallel to Center so that the north limit of the town was Poindexter Creek; the south, Tiber Creek (now Grice Street). Cross streets were numbered from the river, First Street being sixty-six feet wide, later called Front and now named Water Street. All the other cross streets running north and south were thirty-three feet in width.