Place:Bath, Beaufort, North Carolina, United States


Alt namesHistoric Bath Toursource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS37001306
Coordinates35.474°N 76.809°W
Located inBeaufort, North Carolina, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Bath is a town in Beaufort County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 249 at the 2010 census. Incorporated in 1705, Bath was North Carolina's first port of entry, located on the Pamlico River near its mouth. It developed a trade in naval stores, furs, and tobacco.

Bath is North Carolina's oldest town, celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2005. Located in the coastal plain region, it is near Pamlico Sound, a destination for sport fishing and commercial harvest of fish, shrimp, and crab.

History and Legends

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

European settlement near the Pamlico River in the 1690s led to the founding of Bath. The first settlers were French Huguenots, Protestants who went as refugees to Virginia; among those inhabitants was John Lawson, naturalist, explorer, and town father.

In 1708, Bath consisted of 12 houses and about 50 people. Early Bath was disturbed by political rivalries, epidemics, Indian wars (the Tuscarora War), and piracy. Residents suffered yellow fever, along with a severe drought in 1711. A war between the early settlers and the powerful Tuscarora Indians arose following the fever and drought, as the American Indians tried to push out the peoples encroaching on their territory. They attacked Bath, as well as plantations along the rivers, but by 1715 were defeated by a coalition of colonial settlers from the Carolinas and a much larger group of American Indians allied against them.

From 1705 until 1722, Bath was the first nominal capital of North Carolina; Edenton was designated next. The colony had no permanent institutions of government until their establishment of the new capital New Bern in 1743.

John Lawson was known as the town father. He documented the beauty and unique qualities of the town, laid out the town plan and helped secure its charter in 1705. On March 8, 1705, the tract of land was incorporated as the town of Bath by the General Assembly at a meeting at Capt. John Heckenfield's home in Albemarle. Lawson had laid out the town into 71 lots measuring half an acre and four poles (about a tenth of an acre). The lots were located on the waterfront; as was typical, this was the main transportation route. The bordering road is now known as Main Street. Early merchants had easy access by the water.

Blackbeard the pirate was notorious in the southern colonies. He was a prominent figure by the time he settled briefly in Bath. He had conducted piracy off the East Coast and in the West Indies. He settled in Bath in 1718, gaining a royal pardon (these were offered by the Crown through colonial officials in an attempt to reduce piracy). He soon started piracy again, and was captured and executed later that year by Virginia forces.

Bath was also the site of Cary's Rebellion in 1711.

During the Great Awakening in America, the English Methodist evangelist, George Whitefield, visited the town four times between 1747 and 1762 to preach the gospel. On his fourth visit, the Anglican church reportedly refused to allow him to preach. T. Jensen Lacy in his book, Amazing North Carolina, writes:

Whitfield finally gave up on converting Bath ... Just like the disciples of old, he drove his wagon to the outskirts of town, removed his shoes, shook the dirt from them, and put a curse on the town. He told onlookers that the Bible said people who couldn't get sinners to reform were to do just what he had done, and by shaking the dust of Bath from his shoes, the town would be cursed for its hardness of heart against the Word. Whitfield declared, "I say to the village of Bath, village you shall remain, now and forever, forgotten by men and nations until such time as it pleases God to turn the light of His countenance again upon you."

Development moved past Bath and the town lies almost entirely within the same boundaries laid out by its primary founder, John Lawson. The major business cities of North Carolina have developed in the Piedmont area, stimulated by construction of railroads and nineteenth-century textile mills. Bath has remained a sleepy little village on the North Carolina coast. By contrast, population has continued to increase in the county, reaching nearly 50,000 in 2010. But the area is being developed for retirement and second homes, making it strong in a service economy, but with mostly low-paying jobs.

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