Pamlico County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2006, the population is 13,097 . Its county seat is Bayboro. Pamlico County is part of the New Bern, North Carolina, Micropolitan Statistical Area. History The county was formed in 1872 from parts of Beaufort County and Craven County. It was named for Pamlico Sound, which adjoins it. Pamlico County remains rural in character and flavor, although the last decade has brought a good deal of residential development, largely the result of northern retirees and investors attracted to the many miles of waterfront property. The county is anchored on the east by the Town of Oriental, a popular waystation for boaters traveling the Intracoastal Waterway, the unincorporated community of Olympia on the west and unincorporated Lowland on the east. New Bern, across the county line in Craven County to the west, is the primary trade area for Pamlico County. Law and government Pamlico County is governed by an elected, seven-member Board of Commissioners. The county is a member of the regional Eastern Carolina Council of Governments. Geography According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 566 square miles (1,470 km2), of which, 337 square miles (870 km2) of it is land and 229 square miles (590 km2) of it (40.49%) is water. Townships The county is divided into five townships, which are numbered but not named. Adjacent counties Beaufort County, North Carolina - north Hyde County, North Carolina - northeast (across Pamlico Sound) Carteret County, North Carolina - southeast (across the Neuse River estuary) Craven County, North Carolina - southwest (across the Neuse River estuary) and west Demographics As of the census of 2000, there were 12,934 people, 5,178 households, and 3,717 families residing in the county. The population density was 38 people per square mile (15/km²). There were 6,781 housing units at an average density of 20 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.17% White, 24.57% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 5,178 households out of which 25.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% were married couples living together, 11.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.20% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.81. In the county the population was spread out with 21.10% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 25.80% from 25 to 44, 28.00% from 45 to 64, and 18.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 101.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.80 males. The median income for a household in the county was $34,084, and the median income for a family was $41,659. Males had a median income of $31,806 versus $21,344 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,005. About 11.80% of families and 15.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.20% of those under age 18 and 13.40% of those age 65 or over. Pamlico County was first settled by the Europeans in the early 1700's. The area was already inhabited by the Pampticoe Indians. These Indians call Pamlico "TaTaku" which means where the land and the sea meet the sky. After the Tuscarora war in 1711, Scots and English colonist came to the area. Settlement was slow, however, because the county is on an isolated peninsula. The earliest settlements were at the heads of rivers, creeks and bays. The interior of the county was settled as the road system was developed. What is now known as Pamlico County was formed from part of Craven County in 1872 and from parts of Beaufort County in 1874 and 1875. Pamlico County is a rich environment of land (213,400 acres) and water (151,000 acres). A variety of habitats are found throughout the county, including open sound water, marshlands, and mixed pine and hardwood forests. This setting provides an extensive natural resource base for agriculture, forestry, fishing, and recreation. A large portion of the county's economic base is directly tied to farming, fishing, forestry and tourism, with the recreation and retirement industry becoming a more important part of the economy. Thus, the economic base of the county is very closely tied to the natural environment. The county is largely bordered by water: Goose Creek and Pamlico River on the north, the Upper Broad Creek forms the county's western boundary with Craven County: Pamlico Sound lies to the east; and the Neuse River to the south. The mixture of farmlands, trees, marshes and open waters makes Pamlico County and attractive place to live, work and visit. Pamlico was formed in 1872 from Craven and Beaufort counties. It was named after the sound of the same name. Pamlico was the name of an Indian tribe in eastern North Carolina. There was a Pamptecough Precinct in North Carolina as early as 1705, but it was changed to Beaufort about 1712. It is in the eastern section of the state and is bounded by Pamlico Sound, Neuse River and Craven and Beaufort counties. The present area is 336.94 square miles and the 2000 population was 12,934. Court was held at an old store in Vandimere until 1876. In that year, an act was passed authorizing the commissioners to submit to a vote of the people the question of moving the county seat from Vandimere to some other place. Bayboro was made the county seat. It was incorporated in 1881. Pamlico County was formed from part of Craven County in 1872, and from parts of Beaufort County in 1874 and 1875. The first permanent European settlers arrived in the early 1700s. The area was inhabited by the Pampticoe Indians, part of the Algonquin Indian Nation, from whom Pamlico got its name. These Indians referred to the area as "TaTakua," or where the land and sea meet the sky. After the Tuscarora War in 1711, Scots-Irish and English colonists came tot he area. Settlement was slow, however, because the county is on an isolated peninsula. the earliest settlements were at the heads of the rivers, creeks, and bays. The interior of the county was settled as the road system was developed. Pamlico County, North Carolina reflects the many diverse aspects of this rural eastern North Carolina county. When people say coastal North Carolina there is a tendency to think of the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras, Ocracoke, and Atlantic Beach. This is just the "tip" of eastern North Carolina. Pamlico County with its population of around twelve thousand people offers a wide cross-section of interests, backgrounds, and talents. Pamlico County is essentially a peninsula surrounded by the Neuse River, Pamlico Sound, the Bay River, and the Pamlico River. Exactly how much shoreline the county has may be subject to debate but there is no denying that there is a lot of waterfront property. Protected by the Outer Banks and surrounding counties of Carteret, Craven, and Beaufort, Pamlico County boasts of miles and miles of pristine estuarial waters. They are the perfect environment for fish, waterfowl, marshland, and people that enjoy such a habitat. There are towns in Pamlico County that have more sailboats than people. Oriental, North Carolina is known as the "Sailing Capital of North Carolina." Sailing is not just a pastime here, it’s a way of life. Pamlico County has a rich history. Indian artifacts testify to the county’s early inhabitants. Land records date grants from the King of England to colonial farmers and many residents can trace their family’s genealogy to these times. Add the spice of pirate lore, including the famous Edward Teach or Blackbeard as he was known, and you start to get the flavor of this special place. Until more recent times Pamlico County was focused primarily on farming and fishing. Traveling through the county you pass farms and timberland on your way to the many quaint fishing villages nestled among the creeks, forests, and farmland. Here time seems to pass a little slower and you have to accustom yourself to return the wave of friends you haven’t met yet. No wonder Pamlico County has become such a popular destination for tourists, hunters, fishermen, sailors and retirement. Pamlico County was named for Pamlico Sound, which in turn was named for an Indian tribe that once inhabited the northern fringes of the county. Perhaps four to five hundred Indians occupied the area during the time of exploration and early settlement. Belonging mainly to the Algonquians, the tribes were the Pamlico, Neuse, Bay River, Coree, and possibly the Tuscarora and Woccon. Until the smallpox hit them around 1686, the Pamlico were the most numerous. At Nottingham Point near Arapahoe, the earliest known gravestone in the county is dated 1745. But historians know the area was settled long before that. In fact, some have theorized that the ships of Sir Walter Raleigh’s first expedition may have touched Pamlico's shores in 1584 or 1585. In any case, scores of settlers were living at the mouths of rivers and creeks and along the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers (in what is now Pamlico County) by the time the Tuscarora Indian War broke out in 1711. After it ended in 1713, all Indians soon left the area. Alliance Settled in 1890s and named for the Farmers Alliance Movement. Alliance, a 2-square-mile town on either side of N.C. 55, is the municipality between Grantsboro and the Pamlico County seat of Bayboro. The town, incorporated in 1965, has a mile-long stretch of retail businesses, restaurants and shops lining N.C. 55 and a main street running parallel to the highway, but hidden from its view. Taking the fork left, just after passing the Pamlico Square shopping mall brings the driver coming from New Bern over a one-lane bridge and along broad fields, gently into the old residential and service area of the town. There are homes, churches, barber and beauty shops, the busy Senior Service Center and the Human Services complex along the way to a curving exit back to the highway. Alliance was named for the Farmers Alliance Movement. Several decades ago, it was the central site for most of the utilities in Pamlico County and as a result of a stockpile of funds from franchise taxes it received, the town does not have a property tax for its nearly 800 residents. The town provides residents with streetlights and maintains its own roads. Fire service is provided through the Triangle Voluntary Fire Department. The town has a unique form of electing town leaders. Five board seats are open and the highest vote-getter in each election assumes the job of mayor, a position currently held by Ed Riggs. According to the Pamlico County Historical Association, what is now the town of Alliance was once (1880s) two school districts – Oak Grove and Logger Head, which later became the community of Camperville. The postal service has operated in the community since 1890 when Albin B. Campen was appointed the first postmaster. Years later when farmers united and formed the Farmers Alliance, the people from the two school districts came together and named the community Alliance. Though the town has a business district, farming has historically been the chief industry, and today, agricultural fields are still prevalent inside the town limits and on lands bordering Alliance. Arapahoe Arapahoe has long had a strong sense of community, and when consolidation closed the town’s elementary school in the mid-1990s, residents came together to build the Arapahoe Charter School. The school has consistently ranked among the top charter schools in the state since its inception in 1997. The school provides kindergarten through middle school for nearly 400 students, in small classes. Charter schools are in the public school system, although under state charter guidelines they are self-governed on the local level. Legend has it Arapahoe was first known as “Cross Roads,” with several versions of how it became Arapahoe. One is it was named for Indians in the area, who traveled a sand ridge trail south to the river that later became the footprint for N.C. 306. Another story is the town was named for a racehorse owned by a prominent citizen. Either way, the town was settled early in the eighteenth century. A post office was established in 1886 and the town was incorporated in 1920. Because N.C. 306 and the old Indian trail follow the sand ridge left by Silurian Period oceans, Arapahoe and Grantsboro are among the highest points in the 350 square miles of Pamlico County, at 39 feet above sea level. Bayboro Bayboro is the county seat of rural Pamlico County, one of nine municipalities spread throughout a 350-square-mile county of farmlands, forests, creeks and river shorelines. The town is centrally located in the county, within about 1.5 square miles bordered by Bay river and the town of Alliance, woods, farm fields and swampland. The town businesses include restaurants, a hotel catering to hunters, a coffee shop, some convenience stores, farm and marine supply stores, banks and a bookstore. The town of more than 700 residents, named for the Bay River, was settled in the 1800s, and incorporated in 1881. Grantsboro At the intersection of Pamlico’s two main highways, N.C. 55 and N.C. 306, the town of Grantsboro is 15 miles from Oriental to the east and from New Bern to the west. It was incorporated in 1998, mainly as a response to rumored annexation plans by the adjacent town of Alliance. The town has had but one mayor in its 22-year history, Clifton Stowe, who presides over a five-person town board for the population of nearly 800 people. Perched on a sand ridge, Grantsboro shares with Arapahoe claim to being the highest point in the county. Being 39 feet above sea level is a distinct advantage both for staying dry during hurricane and Nor'wester and for insurance purposes. According to the Pamlico County Historical Association, Grantsboro was named for William Grant, a New York bachelor who came as a peddler to the area with his “pack upon his back.” He built two store buildings, bringing his clientele to him, and the community of Grantsboro was on its way to commercial development. Hobucken & Lowland "Goose Creek Island" was formerly part of Beaufort County. In 1874, Hobucken and Lowland citizens voted to become part of Pamlico County. Around 1900, a post office was established for the area. The island is a magnet for fishermen and duck hunters and is home to a unit of the U.S. Coast Guard, which is located on the Intracoastal Waterway. Minnesott Beach Developed as resort area on Neuse River by the Hardison family after World War I, the town’s name is derived from an Indian word said to mean, "land of sky and blue water." Older visitors remember it as a resort community that flourished on the shores of the Neuse in the 1920s. Today, younger visitors come to one of several summer camps established along the river. Oriental Oriental is nestled amid five creeks along the Neuse River and connected to the Intracoastal Waterway via a ten-foot deep channel. Settled in 1870, residents wanted to establish a post office when they found the town first needed an official name. One resident recalled seeing the nameplate from the steamship "Oriental" at a friend’s house in Manteo; the steamer had wrecked off the coast of Cape Hatteras in 1862 while under the commission of the Union Army. The town of Oriental was officially incorporated in 1899. Today, with more power and sailboats in residence than people, it has earned its reputation as being "The Sailing Capitol of North Carolina." Reelsboro No one seems to know how Reeslboro got its name, but it seems likely that it was named for the Reel families. Reelsboro is situated in a very sandy area. Before the hard surfaced roads were built, cars had to wind (or perhaps "reel") around to keep from getting stuck in it. When the railroad came to Pamlico County, one of the stops was named "Reelsboro." Its post office was established in 1891. Stonewall Stonewall was incorporated in 1870 when it was still part of Craven County. Citizens first wished to name the town "Jackson" for the owner of a local mill. But since there was already a town with that name in North Carolina, "Stonewall" was selected - presumably in honor of General T. J. "Stonewall" Jackson. It was home to Pamlico County’s first post office, which was established after the Civil War, and the original site of the county courthouse before it was moved to Bayboro. Vandemere At one time, the Indian village of "Secotan" was located here. Later, it was renamed by the wife of a former Union Army surgeon who settled here in the 1870s. Its new name was derived from the words "van" (the German word for "village") and De Mere" (French for "by the sea"). Vandemere is situated on a point where Vandemere Creek flows into the Bay River. It was incorporated in 1874 and was the county seat from 1872 (when Pamlico County was formed) to 1876. A growing government and cultural complex greets visitors entering the county from the New Bern area. It includes the town post office, Grantsboro’s new town hall and the Pamlico County Heritage and Visitors Center. The museum project has been the successful work of the Pamlico County Historical Association, which has raised more than $800,000 through donations, grants and fund-raisers to build a 6,000-square foot museum showcasing the county’s history of forestry, farming and fishing. In addition to the main structure, plans call for development of a Heritage Village, complete with a 1900s farmhouse and school house, a blacksmith shop and a grain mill along with a fish house and a fishing trawler. Information courtesy of Wikipedia and other sources.
Back to Pamlico County Page
© 2005-2011 Diane Siniard