Beaufort Co., NC, History and Genealogy
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From Bath to Beaufort, 1696 - 1712

Old Bath County, no longer extant, was formed in 1696 and named after John Grenville, Earl of Bath. Its first settlers were mostly of English background--second, third, and even fourth generation sons of the Albemarle region and/or southern provinces of Virginia, who moved into the area on foot. A few came north from the failing colony at Clarendon. By 1705, the Council divided Bath into three new "Precincts": Pamptecough (later Beaufort), Wickham (later Hyde), and Archdale (later Craven). The precincts soon became populous enough to designate as counties, at about which time (1712) they were renamed as we know them today.

Beaufort County, named for Henry, Duke of Beaufort, is one of the oldest seven of North Carolina's counties, but originally held in its jurisdiction much more land. In 1760, the western portion of Beaufort was cut off with the establishment of Pitt County. The town of Bath, which had been the seat of the older county, became a small, sleepy town in the newer county, and the court house was eventually moved to the new town of Washington, established in 1771. The new seat remains the largest town in the county, and is perched on the Pamlico River at the point of its narrowing into the smaller watercourse of the Tar River.

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Created: Nov. 12, 1999.
Last modified: May 1, 2004