North Carolina Education - Craven County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1712

Craven County

New Bern
In 1764, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XX - which authorized the gift of two lots in the town of Newbern to be vested in trustees for the building of a School-House in Newbern. The trustees were also authorized to manage the school as they deemed appropriate.
In 1766, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XIX - which authorized the creation of the Incorporated Society with the purpose of managing the new School-House in New Bern. The two lots mentioned in the previous Act (above) were transferred to this Society, who also had purchased two other lots in Newbern and already erected their School-House. This Act also required a duty on all rum brought into the Neuse River for seven years to defray the costs of educating up to ten (10) poor children and to help pay for teachers.

The earliest government effort to aid education in North Carolina was in Edenton in 1745, where town commissioners were empowered to build a schoolhouse by the General Assembly. However, there is no evidence that it was ever built. (An academy in Edenton was eventually established in 1770.) Other efforts to aid education were pressed either by government or members of the Assembly in 1749, 1752, 1759, and 1764, but failed due to lack of interest.

The New Bern Academy, founded in 1764 and incorporated in 1766, was described by Governor William Tryon as “the first (school) established in this province by legislative authority.” The 1766 Act provided that a special public tax be placed on liquor for its support. Although a few children of parents who could not afford to pay were allowed to attend free of charge, most paid tuition. Thus, the academy cannot correctly be said to be the state’s “first public school.” Edgar W. Knight has written of the New Bern Academy: “This was the first school or academy incorporated in North Carolina and this was the first law of any great importance passed in the colony on the subject of education.”

Thomas Tomlinson was hired as headmaster by trustee James Reed, Rector of the Anglican Church. Beginning in 1768, the colonial General Assembly used the school as a meeting place. A new set of trustees appointed in 1784 included Richard Caswell, Abner Nash, John Wright Stanly, William Blount, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and other prominent North Carolinians. Likewise, many of the state’s leaders were educated at the school, among them William Gaston, Richard Dobbs Spaight Jr., and Francis L. Hawks.

A new building, designed perhaps by James Coor or William Nichols, was begun in 1806 and completed in 1810. The structure was seized and used as a Union hospital during the occupation of New Bern in the American Civil War from 1862-1865. The academy ceased to exist with its incorporation into the New Bern city school system in 1899. However, the building was used by the public schools until 1972. Today it is administered by Tryon Palace and Gardens.

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

In 1768, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XVIII - regarding the School-House in Newbern, but the text of said Act has been lost to history. Per one source, this Act was repealed by "His Majesty in Council." Another source simply says that this Act was "Expunged." 
In 1773, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XVII - identified the actual lots, numbered, on which the School-House was erected by the Incorporated Society in Newbern. The trustees of the Incorporated Society are to have these lots, with their improvements, for ever.
In 1784, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XLII - that because of the recent war "by the death and removal of many of the trustees, and from other unavoidable accidents, the building is much impaired, and the education of youth neglected," new trustees were named for the Incorporated Society and the school was renamed to the New Bern Academy. The trustees were authorized to appoint officers, such as president, secretary, etc., but they could not sell any real property without approval.
In 1786, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XXVIII - donated the old and abandoned Glebe of the Church of England in New Bern to the trustees of the New Bern Academy for the perpetual use of the school.
On December 26, 1821, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to further regulate the Newbern Academy in the town of New Bern in Craven County. Five (5) trustees now make a quorum for the transaction of academy business.
On January 7, 1828, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the town of New Bern to exchange lots with the trustees of the Newbern Academy.
On January 10, 1829, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to appoint twenty-four (24) new trustees for the Newbern Academy in the town of New Bern in Craven County.
On December 8, 1852, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the Justices of the Peace of Craven County to appoint Superintendents of Common Schools in said county.

In 1795, Methodists purchased a town lot at the corner of Hancock Street and Pleasant Alley (later Church Alley) in New Bern, North Carolina. Seven years later they completed construction of Andrew’s Chapel, the second documented church in the town. From its inception, the church provided a segregated worship space for free blacks and some slaves. Between 1839 and 1843, white members left to establish what would become Centenary United Methodist Church, and this chapel became entirely African American. After the Union occupation of New Bern in 1862, Federal soldiers stationed in the town opened a school in the chapel. Nearly thirty soldiers of the 25th Massachusetts operated an academy for black children within the church until stopped by an order from provisional military Governor Edward Stanly who instructed that, since North Carolina law prohibited the education of slaves, the practice must stop.

In late 1863, James Walker Hood, an African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) missionary, was dispatched from New England to eastern North Carolina, charged with bringing local freed slaves to the AMEZ faith. Bishop Christopher Rush, head of the AMEZ church, had lived in New Bern as a young man and attended Andrew’s Chapel. Therefore, Hood was instructed to pay particular attention to the Andrew’s congregation. Arriving in January of 1864, Hood convinced the congregations of both Andrew’s Chapel in New Bern and Purvis Chapel in Beaufort to join the AMEZ church. Although Andrew’s Chapel members apparently voiced their approval of joining the church first, Hood was prevented from officially accepting them because of a smallpox epidemic raging in the city. Officially, Purvis entered prior to Andrew’s Chapel. However, Andrew’s traditionally is viewed as the mother church of all AMEZ churches in the southern United States.

The church played an important role during Reconstruction, serving as a spiritual and religious center for the area’s black population. In 1879, the congregation purchased a new church site along Queen and Johnson Streets in New Bern and built a new sanctuary. They also changed the name to St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

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

On February 13, 1871, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the African Methodist Episcopal Singing School Society in the town of New Bern in Craven County. This Act was amended on March 22, 1875; see below.
On February 15, 1871, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Mount Vernon Academy on Bay River in Craven County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 25, 1871, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a supplemental Act pertaining to the Mount Vernon Academy repealing the prohibition of selling spirituous liquors within one mile of said academy.
On January 24, 1872, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Newbern Educational Association in the town of New Bern in Craven County. Nineteen (19) trustees were named in the Act.
On February 25, 1875, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to appoint thirteen (13) new trustees for the Newbern Academy in the town of New Bern in Craven County.
On March 22, 1875, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to appoint eight (8) new corporators for the African Methodist Episcopal Singing School Society in New Bern in Craven County. The original trustees never accomplished anything.
On February 13, 1883, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in New Bern to decide on whether to levy a special tax to fund graded schools in the town of New Bern in Craven County. Trustees for the Newbern Academy to manage the white school, and seventeen (17) trustees were named for the colored school. This Act was amended on March 2, 1887; see below.
On March 12, 1883, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to replace three (3) trustees of the Mount Vernon Academy.
On March 2, 1887, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to assign the trustees of Newbern Academy as new trustees for graded schools in the town of New Bern in Craven County.
On March 6, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in the town of New Bern to decide whether to levy a special tax to fund graded schools in the town of New Bern in Craven County.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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