Tarboro is a city located in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. It is part of the Rocky Mount, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2010, the town had a total population of 13,121. It is the county seat of Edgecombe County. Tarboro is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region. It has many historical churches, some dating back to the early 19th century.
Historic Tarboro, North Carolina, was chartered by British colonists in 1760. Nestled in a bend of the Tar River, it was an important river port, the head of navigation on the Tar at the fall line of the Piedmont. As early as the 1730s, a small European-American community formed due to this natural asset, and its warehouse, customs office and other commercial concerns, together with a score of "plain and cheap" houses, made a bustling village.
The locals were a scrappy bunch, and gave the early governors and their agents a hard time. Edgecombe County residents came down hard on the side of the American Revolution, many serving as officers in the Continental Army. One such was Thomas Blount (1759–1812), whose handsome plantation house "The Grove" has been restored and is open for tours on a daily basis. A very young officer, he was captured during the Revolution and sent to England as a prisoner of war. After his return to North Carolina, he participated in one of the largest merchant/shipping companies in late 18th-century America.
"The Grove" was later owned by Colonel Louis Dicken Wilson (1789–1847), who served in the North Carolina Senate and fought in the Mexican-American War; and by Col. John Luther Bridgers (1821–1884), Commandant of Fort Macon in the American Civil War.
The Civil War general, William Dorsey Pender, is buried in Calvary Churchyard in Tarboro. Pender was considered one of the most promising young generals in Lee's army when he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. He is memorialized in the name of Pender County, North Carolina, founded in 1875. His letters were published posthumously as The General to his Lady: The Civil War Letters of William Dorsey Pender to Fanny Pender (1965).