North Carolina Education - Beaufort County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1712

Beaufort County

Washington

St. Thomas Episcopal Church in the town of Bath is not only the oldest church building in North Carolina, but is one of the few churches from the colonial period still in use today. Intertwined with the colorful history of historic Bath, St. Thomas Church is among the most popular landmarks in the region.

St. Thomas was center of the community during the colonial period. Although Anglican priests often journeyed through the area, the town of Bath, incorporated in 1705, was not to receive a permanent place of worship until 1734, when the Reverend John Garzia oversaw construction of the new building. St. Thomas was a missionary church, supporting congregations in the region and operating a nearby school for Indians and slaves. After construction, the church also housed the first public library in the state (see below), as Rev. Thomas Bray donated over one thousand (1,000) books and pamphlets in 1701.

The church structure is similar to that of other Anglican churches of the period, based on English designs but with rustic features indicative of the colonial frontier. The basic single-room structure is housed within a rectangle of Flemish Bond bricks, probably fired in Edenton. The original hipped roof was replaced after storm winds destroyed much of the church in 1840. The interior consisted of pews elevated slightly above a stone-tiled floor, with a raised pulpit facing the pews. The church endured several stages of renovation over the years, spanning the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The building remains in use and houses an active congregation. The clergy retain a small collection of prized items assembled over the centuries, including a silver chalice and two silver candelabra, donated by King George II. With plans for additional restorative work and expansion on the horizon, the clergy and congregation of St. Thomas Church look to the future with a hallowed respect for the past.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their soources.

In 1715, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter LII - concerning the Town of Bath, as well as to secure the Library in St. Thomas's Parish, which included all of the Beaufort Precinct at that point in time. The Library had been sent to the inhabitants of Bath Town by Rev. Thomas Bray, who was instrumental in founding the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) in 1701. This Act was to provide for a care-taker and a process to ensure that the valuable books were not "Imbezeled, Damaged or Lost except a Law be provided for the more effectual preservation of the same."
On December 31, 1822, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Durham's Creek Academy in Beaufort County. Seven (7) trustees were named in the Act. On February 17, 1839, the town of Durhams Creek opened its first post office. The name of Durhams Creek was changed to Bonnerton in 1902.
On January 7, 1830, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Lincoln Academy in Beaufort County. Seven (7) trustees were named in the Act.
On January 4, 1831, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Bath Academy in the town of Bath in Beaufort County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act.
On January 10, 1835, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Washington Academy in the town of Washington in Beaufort County. The town commissioners (not named) were appointed as trustees.

TRINITY SCHOOL

For “one dollar in hand paid,” Edward Laughinghouse, in 1852, gave the wardens and vestry of Chocowinity’s Trinity Church an acre and a half of land that adjoined the church and cemetery. The church members needed the property in order to build “a good and suitable school house . . . for the benefit of the Congregation.” The Reverend N. Collin Hughes reported to the 36th Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in May of 1852 that “within the past year a building has been erected for a Parochial School, and the School established with encouraging prospects.” Hughes, the rector of Trinity Church, was also the headmaster of Trinity School. Although described in 1854 as a “large and prosperous” parochial school for boys, Trinity School appears to have closed around 1857 when Hughes moved to Pittsboro.

Hughes and his son, N. C. Hughes Jr., re-opened Trinity School at Chocowinity in 1879. After the death of his father in 1893, the younger Hughes assumed the position of principal. Two of his sons, N. C. Hughes III and I. Harding Hughes, served as teachers at Trinity between 1903 and 1908. The school closed in 1908 as a result of the economic crisis caused by the Panic of 1907. It has been estimated that thirty to forty Trinity School graduates went on to become Episcopal priests

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program (no marker available). Click Here to read and to view their sources.

On February 20, 1861, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Bellevue Academy in the town of Belleview in Beaufort County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 6, 1885, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a Normal School in the town of Washington in Beaufort County. Five (5) directors were named in the Act.
On March 5, 1897, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish graded schools in the town of Washington in Beaufort County. Voters were required to decide if a special tax was to be levied. They apparently voted "no" since this was re-introduced in 1899; see below.
On February 28, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Aurora High School in the town of Aurora in Beaufort County. Seventeen (17) corporators were named in the Act.
On March 6, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish graded schools in the town of Washington in Beaufort County. Voters were again required to decide if a special tax was to be levied.
 
 
 
 
 


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