Bahama, North Carolina
Bahama, North Carolina
Bahama post office
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Bahama was originally settled around 1750 as the community of Balltown until the name was changed to reflect three leading families of the community: (Ba)ll, (HA)rris, and (Ma)ngum. Another unusual name associated with the community is Hunkadora, a name for the post office here during a period of the 19th century (Powell 1968, p. 19). Former NASCAR driver Scott Riggs hails from Bahama.
Bahama's Zip Code Tabulation Area (Zip Code 27503) has a population of 3,304 as of the 2000 census. The population is 50.2% male and 49.8% female. About 87.7% of the population is white, 10.3% African-American, 0.2% American Indian, 0.5% Asian, 1.2% Hispanic, and 0.6% of other races. 0.6% of people are two or more races. There is one native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander.
Bahama is home to Mangum Elementary School (formerly Mangum Primary School). Mangum Elementary is a Durham Public School. (kindergarten-5th grade)
Mount Bethel Church - NC Highway Marker G-65
Non-denominational meeting house built ca. 1784 by Archer Harris. By 1808 Methodist. Home church to Washington Duke.
Essay: Nathaniel Harris in the mid-eighteenth century acquired a tract of 6,000 acres (24 km2) in what is now the community of Bahama in northern Durham County. Thereon his son Archer built a meeting house around 1784 which operated for the benefit of all denominations until 1808 when it affiliated with the Methodist Church. The first building was a log structure and was used by all who desired to worship, white and black. The meeting house, originally known as Crossroads, is mentioned in a deposition filed against Archer Harris in 1784 as part of a boundary dispute.
In 1812 a 2-acre (8,100 m2) tract was conveyed to church trustees. The church was placed within the Granville Circuit of the Virginia Conference. Washington Duke, who was born on December 20, 1820 and became the patriarch of the “Dukes of Durham,” was converted to Methodism at the church. His parents, Taylor and Dicey Jones Duke, were members at Mount Bethel. The gifts of the Duke family to Methodist causes, not the least of them the establishment of Duke University, are many. Duke is said to have claimed that “whatever I am, I accredit to the Methodist circuit riders.”
The present church building was completed in 1949 and is the congregation’s sixth. The raising was the culmination of a prolonged fundraising effort. Harley Chester, minister, recalled that “gallons of Brunswick stew were made and sold, suppers were given, bazaars were held, Negro minstrels, plays, a womanless wedding and almost anything to make an honest dollar.”
The church hands out food the first Wednesday of every month, and will hand out clothes and shoes if needed. During the pandemic they have services available through your car radio (91.7 fm) and socially distanced services inside.
- Jean Bradley Anderson, Durham County: A History of Durham County, North Carolina (1990)
- Harley A. Chester, A History of Mount Bethel Methodist Church (eight-page pamphlet published by the church, n.d., 1950?, copy in the marker files, North Carolina Office of Archives and History)
- Orange County Deed Books, North Carolina State Archives
- Powell, William S. (1968), The North Carolina Gazetteer: A Dictionary of Tar Heel Places, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0-8078-1247-1