2
For historians (which I am not of course) I offer the following editorial date qualifications about items
intentionally included outside 1700-1730 referenced time period. Examples of outside being: a) Governor
Burrington’s 1731 letter to the British Board of Trade, written shortly after seven of the eight Lords Proprietors
sold their interests back to the crown, significance being after 1729 colony and Port Bath were royal, no
longer proprietory; b) George Whitefield evangelist’s detailed 1737 description about arduous crossing of
Albemarle, Pamlico and Neuse Rivers; and c) well outside the target period, Pamlico Indian tribal references
from the 1600’s and post revolutionary appendix images of Nathan Keais’s last known Port Bath collection
accounts from state archives 1786/87, showing that well after the American Revolution reports were still being
submitted in the Port Bath name, albeit federal not royal. For date nit-pickers be forewarned, the European
calendar change at the time leaves 12 month uncertainty about dates, so some source document years from
Whitehall and similar are hyphenated. For example, the decree date for Port Bath’s proclamation from the
Lords Proprietors appears 1715/1716 not August 1, 1716.
Three hundred years ago voyagers from all walks of life pulled up in boats large and small to tie off at Bath
wharves, stretch their legs and see the town. Recreational boaters and tourists today from all over the state and
beyond still do so today. There is just something about looking back into history as you take an early evening
stroll from Bath’s town dock, down sleepy Main Street to watch glorious and timeless sunset colors over
Bonner Point. If you are ever able to arrive at sunset by water …consider yourself lucky indeed….. as no doubt
did colonial pirates, governors, and planter-merchants who sailed into Port Bath,. They were surely weary and
sunburned from transatlantic not to mention sound, river and inter-colonial voyages. Even after passing the bar
at Ocracoke Inlet, they still had hours and hours to sail across the sound and up the Pamlico River to arrive and
clear customs before unloading cargo (breaking bulk as colonial port officials termed it).
As a past sailor entering Bahamian ports after a long sail from Florida and North Carolina, I can relate to
colonial sea captains and merchants who must have really looked forward to getting past port officials to locate
a hot bath followed by a meal and favorite cold beverages. We can only imagine merchant seafarers’ quick exits
by foot and by horseback after clearing Port Bath’s customs house to get to one of Bath Towne’s many taverns
and inns, or ordinaries as they were called back then.
Hope you enjoy reading this booklet as much as I enjoyed digging out the nuggets, I’m putting the disclaimer at
the back!
GHJ
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red…….I can see them flickering far ahead…..
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