Bath, North Carolina
|Bath, North Carolina|
|• Total||1.1 sq mi (2.7 km2)|
|• Land||0.4 sq mi (0.9 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)|
|Elevation||13 ft (4 m)|
|• Density||230/sq mi (92/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1018985|
|Website||Historic Town of Bath|
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, mostly with trade in naval stores, furs, and tobacco. Bath is North Carolina's oldest town, celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2005. Bath is located in North Carolina's coastal plains region. Bath is located on the Pamlico River, close to the point where the river empties into the Pamlico Sound, making the town a prestige spot for fish, shrimp, and crab.
Bath is located at (35.474437, -76.808863).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), of which, 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (65.71%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 275 people, 122 households, and 86 families residing in the town. The population density was 759.0 people per square mile (294.9/km²). There were 150 housing units at an average density of 414.0 per square mile (160.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.64% White, 2.91% African American, 1.09% Native American, and 0.36% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.82% of the population.
There were 122 households out of which 21.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.3% were married couples living together, 5.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.5% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.73.
In the town the population was spread out with 19.6% under the age of 18, 3.3% from 18 to 24, 21.1% from 25 to 44, 32.0% from 45 to 64, and 24.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $50,625, and the median income for a family was $58,125. Males had a median income of $45,625 versus $23,958 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,029. About 8.0% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.8% of those under the age of eighteen and 11.3% of those sixty five or over.
History and Legends
European settlement near the Pamlico River in the 1690s led to the founding of Bath. The first settlers were French Protestants from 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. Yellow fever plagued the town along with a severe drought in 1711. A war between the early settlers and the powerful Tuscarora Indians followed the fever and drought.  Bath was the first nominal capital of North Carolina, but the colony had no permanent institutions of government until their establishment in New Bern. Four subjects loom large in Bath's history. In chronological order, they are:
- John Lawson, known as the town father. Without the dedication and perseverance of John Lawson, there would be no documentation of the beauty and uniqueness of what the town of Bath is and what it has become. Lawson was known for laying out the land of Bath and helping it become an established town 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, which is now known as Main Street, and that allowed early settlers to become merchants, with easy access into town by the water.
- Blackbeard the pirate, who figured prominently during the town's earliest days.
- The curse of Methodist evangelist George Whitefield. "...the famous Methodist evangelist George Whitfield, who personified the Great Awakening in America, made a visit to the town. Whitfield was deeply troubled about what he called Bath's "deadly sins." In fact, he was so concerned for Bath, he visited the town on four occasions between 1747 and 1762 to preach the gospel. But his calls for repentance fell on deaf ears. On his fourth visit, even the church 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." Interestingly, Bath has never prospered. The village has suffered a number of setbacks throughout history. It still remains almost entirely within the same boundaries laid out by its primary founder, John Lawson. It's a sleepy little village on the North Carolina coast, largely "forgotten by men and nations."
- Edna Ferber's novel Show Boat, and its subsequent film and Broadway adaptations. Ferber's inspiration came from her time aboard the showboat James Adams Floating Theatre when it visited Bath Creek during the spring of 1925.
One of the great rarities of Bath is that it is remarkably unchanged since its colonial origins. Bath has become more of a vacation spot for locals of eastern North Carolina and tourist location of visitors. With the location of Bath creek right off the Pamlico River, it makes a great spot for fishing and boating. Although the population of Bath may still be small, it brings good crowds during the summer months. Some of the favorite summer activities of those that travel to Bath are wakeboarding, skiing, and just a casual boat ride or jet ski ride through the creek up to the river.
There are many attractions today that bring visitors to the town of Bath. Some of those include the Historic Bath State Historic Site, which gives tours of the old town of Bath, St. Thomas Church, which is the first Episcopal Church in North Carolina that still stands, historical houses, and a visitor’s center. There is a fun and exciting ferry route that runs from the northern shore of the Pamlico River to the southern shore of the river. Goose Creek State Park gives you the experience of the beautiful marshes and swamps along the Pamlico River and Goose Creek. You can canoe along these exquisite waters and even fish on the shores of the river.
Photographs of Bath
Photographs of Bath, NC.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- John Lawson's Bath: A Subterranean Perspective. North Carolina Historical Review,
- Naturalist, Explorer, and Town Father -- John Lawson and Bath. North Carolina Historical Review, 88(3), 250-264
- Rev. Mark H. Creech. 2004. Forgotten by men and nations, the Methodist Curse Lives on
- Blackbeard's Top 10 List when visiting Bath
- Forgotten by men and nations, the Methodist Curse Lives on
- Genealogy information and links
- Genealogy information, links and a bit of history
- Historic Bath and the origins of Edna Ferber's novel Show Boat
- History and links on the North Carolina state site
- History of Bath and additional useful links
- Historic Bath Foundation: http://www.historicbath.com/