Newbern - Encyclopedia

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NEWBERN, a city, port of entry and the county-seat of Craven county, North Carolina, U.S.A., near the head of the estuary of the Neuse river and at the mouth of the Trent river, about 90 m. N.E. of Wilmington. Pop. (1890) 7843; (Iwo) 9090, of whom 5878 were negroes; (1906 estimate) 9840. Newbern is served by the Atlantic Coast Line and the Norfolk & Southern railways. The Federal government has improved both the Neuse and the Trent rivers for navigation; the Neuse has a channel of 8 ft. at low water to Newbern and one of 4 ft. from Newbern to Kinston, and the Trent a channel of 3 ft. from Newbern to Trenton. The Trent and the Neuse are both spanned here by railway and county bridges. The "Waterway between Newbern and Beaufort," projected in 1884, had in 1908 a controlling depth at mean low water of only 2 to 2-1. ft.; it was decided to abandon this waterway on the completion of an inland waterway about 18 m. long with a channel 10 ft. deep at low water and 90-250 ft. wide, projected in 1907, which would give Newbern an outlet to the ocean at Beaufort. The remains of Tryon Palace, the residence of the royal governor and the meeting-place of the legislature, which was built by William Tryon in 1765-1770, and was said to be the finest building of its time in the colonies, are of historic interest, and among the principal buildings are the United States government building, the county court house, the county jail and the county home. At Newbern is one of the national cemeteries of the Federal government, containing many fine monuments. The most important industries are the manufacture of lumber (especially pine) and trucking. The total value of factory products in 1905 was $1,343,384. In 1907 about loon men, mostly negroes, were employed in the saw-mills, whose annual product averages about 170,000,000 ft. Among the manufactures are fertilizers, cotton seed oil and carriages; repair shops of the Norfolk & Southern railway are here; the fisheries are of considerable importance; and the city ships quantities of fish, cotton and market-garden produce - much of the last being forced under canvas with steam heat. It is the port of entry of the Pamlico customs district; in 1908 its imports were valued at $71,421. Newbern was settled in 1710 by a company of Swiss and Germans under the leadership of Baron Emanuel de Graffenried (d. 1735) and was named for Bern, Switzerland. It was incorporated as a city in 1723, but its present charter dates from 1899 with amendments adopted in 1907. For several years it was the capital of the province and for a long time was the chief seaport of the state. Although strongly fortified early in the Civil War, Newbern was captured by a Union force under General A. Burnside on the 14th of March 1862 after an engagement near the city in which the loss to the Confederates, who were under the command of General Lawrence O'Brien Branch, was about 578 in killed, wounded, captured and missing, and the loss of the Union force was 90 killed and 380 wounded. Unsuccessful attempts to recapture the city were made by the Confederates on the 14th of March 1863, and on the 1st of February and the 5th of May 1864.

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