Craven County was created in 1705 as the Archdale Precinct of Bath County. The name was changed in 1712 in honor of one of the Lords Proprietors of the Colony, William Lord Craven, who lived from 1606-1697. His death preceded the establishment of Craven County, and he never had the pleasure of visiting the county which carries his name. The county seat was first called Chattawka, or Chattoocka, and later. in 1723, Newbern. New Bern - the law fixed the spelling in 1897 - is the county seat. New Bern became its county seat in 1722, and was also the capital of the colony and first state capital until 1794. New Bern was the first capital of the state of North Carolina (until 1794) after serving as capital of the colony of North Carolina. Tryon Palace was completed in New Bern in 1770 and a reconstruction is open today as a tourist attraction and historic site. Nestled along Eastern North Carolina's coastal shores, Craven is a retreat for civil war buffs, sailing enthusiast and amateur golfers. It is the home of the world's largest Marine Corps Air Station - Cherry Point and employs 5,000 civilian workers. Rich in American history the city of New Bern was founded in 1710 by Baron Christopher de Graffenried from Bern, Switzerland. Nearly 650 persons were to prepare for voyage in two ships accompanied by Surveyor-General Lawson. Sailing in mild weather in January were soon overtaken by such terrible storms that the voyage lasted thirteen weeks. More than half of the people died at sea and many died after landing, from poor nutrition and improper eating. One of the vessels containing the best goods was plundered at the mouth of the James River. They landed in Virginia and were afraid to re-embark because of privateers and the sand bars at the mouth of the river. They brought with them their bibles, hymn books, catechisms, and long guns. It was from the long guns, originated and made exclusively in the Rhineland region and brought over by Swiss and Palatine settlers, that the famous Kentucky long rifles were evolved. De Graffenried and Mitchell sailed with the Swiss colonists in one ship in July, 1710. One hundred fifty-four Swiss planned to make the voyage, but the number had dwindled to about one hundred at the time of sailing. They arrived in September, finding the Palatines in a bad state. Circumstances had even compelled them to sell their clothes and other assets to neighboring people to live. Lawson, being a surveyor, laid out the land into a plan for a town. Three acres were to be allotted to each family. The town was to be divided in the form of a cross, the center reserved for the building of a church. The principal street was to extend from the Neuse back into the forest. Later when lots were sold in the town, Lawson's map had been lost and the town was not laid out according to the original plan. Only craftsmen were settled in the town. Among these were several carpenters, a mason, a locksmith, a blacksmith, two shoemakers, a tailor, and an armorer. There was also a schoolmaster. Each family did receive a 250 acre tract, according to agreement. These tracts were on Trent River and it's tributaries, extending to the present town of Pollocksville. The settlers set to work to build houses and managed to make themselves comfortable. They arranged wheels on the streams to grind their grain and made progress in the business of living. But tragedy awaited in the swamps. Yellow fever ravaged the colonists and took its toll in lives. Then without warning, at dawn on September 22, 1711, the Indians fell upon the unsuspecting settlers' plantations killing sixty English and more than sixty Germans and Swiss. Women and children were captured as prisoners with booty. So terrible was the the decimation and suffering of the people that the date of the massacre was set apart by the General Assembly as a day of humiliation and prayer and was observed annually in North Carolina for more than twenty-five years. As a result of the massacre, numbers of children were left orphans. Many were apprenticed in foster homes and fifty or more of the settlers went to Virginia. Lawson and Mitchell died among the Indians. De Graffenried returned to Europe in 1713. He was beset by many difficulties and became bitter. He accused the colonists as having caused their own disasters, being "thieves, lewd fellows, profane, slanderers", and suggested that the Almighty punish them by means of the heathen, for they were worse than these. He was upon leaving "more sorry to leave such a beautiful and good country than such wicked people." The Palatines retorted that he (De Graffienried) "carried off from our Settlements all that he could come at." De Graffenried failed to supply the colonists with the livestock, tools, implements and other things required of him in the contract. But their great and bitter grievance against him was that he never gave them titles to their lands. The settlers justly regarded the 250 acres allotted to each family as their own, "with good assurance in law, " as stipulated in the original agreement. Notwithstanding, De Graffenried had mortgaged their lands including the 900 acres as a site for the town to Colonel Pollock, he said to assist them through the first winter. In 1733, Cullen Pollock, Colonel Pollock's son, came into possession of all his father's property on the Neuse and T rent Rivers together with the mortgage on the settlers' land. The settlers petitioned the Government of the Province to have their titles to their homes confirmed, presenting in evidence the original agreement. Cullen Pollock foreclosed the mortgage and ordered the eviction of the colonists in the dead winter. Upon being petitioned, the Crown mercifully came to their rescue and issued a land grant to each petitioning settler, the new grants were for 250 acres elsewhere to be held free of quit rents for ten years. These grants and the dispersal of the settlers marked the end of the Swiss and German colony. Although the settlers are spoken of as "poor Palatines," they were not debtors trying to escape their debts; they were not indentured servants or apprentices trying to escape their masters; they were not peasants weary of the exactions of landlords. They were cultured, deeply religious people, the best that Europe had to offer, driven from their homes by religious persecution. Because of its location, situated between the Albemarle and Cape Fear, Craven County grew in size and importance during the mid 18th century due to the significance of its county seat as a river port. As Craven County moved into the 19th century, it continued to flourish as the developing railroad system served to further New Bern's commercial dominance, wealth and cultural sophistication. These influences were also felt in the communities surrounding the city. During the Civil War, there was significant activity occurring in Craven County, and remains of some of the battlegrounds can still be found. The Battle of New Bern during the Civil War took place here leading to the capture and holding of the town by Union Troops. New Bern is also the home of Pepsi Cola. It was here in the late 1800s that Caleb Bradham (a pharmacist in New Bern) invented the soft drink we know as Pepsi Cola. New Bern is at the conjunction of the Trent and Neuse Rivers. It is in the eastern section of the State and is bounded by Carteret, Jones, Lenoir, Pitt, Beaufort and Pamlico counties. The present land area is 708.43 square miles and the population in 2000 was 91,523. The official Craven County seal was designed and adopted in 1981, using the coat-of-arms of the Earl, which is also the coat-of-arms of his nephew, William, Lord Craven, who succeeded him as Lord Proprietor of Carolina. The motto on the seal, "Virtus in Actione Consistit" translates to "Virtue in Consistent Action".
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