New Bern

New Bern

New Bern, city (1990 pop. 17,363), seat of Craven co., E N.C., a port and trading center at the junction of the Neuse and Trent rivers; inc. 1723. There is lumbering and food processing, and textiles and clothing, pharmaceuticals, asphalt, metal and plastic products, and transportation equipment are manufactured. Settled in 1710 by Swiss and German colonists under Baron Christopher de Graffenried and John Lawson, New Bern was the second town in North Carolina and an early colonial capital; in 1774 it was the seat of the first provincial convention. In the Civil War the city was captured (Mar., 1862) by Union forces under Gen. S. E. Burnside. Notable among the old buildings are the beautiful Tryon Palace (1767-70), which was the colonial capitol and governor's mansion; Christ Episcopal Church (1752); and New Bern Academy Museum (1809). A marine air station is nearby.

New Bern is a city in Craven County, North Carolina with a population of 23,128 as of the 2000 census. The estimated population in 2006 was 27,650. It is located at the convergence of the Trent and the Neuse rivers, 87 miles (140 km) northeast of Wilmington. New Bern is the second oldest town in North Carolina and served as the capital of the North Carolina colonial government and then briefly as the state capital. It is the county seat of Craven County and the principal city of the New Bern Micropolitan Statistical Area. Originally a Swiss settlement, the city is named after the capital of Switzerland, Bern. The Swiss connection (just as the Dutch in New Amsterdam, and German immigrants in Pennsylvania Dutch) with England was established by Marian exiles and marriages of the Royal House of Stuart, important people in the history of the Calvinism.


New Bern was first settled in 1710 by Swiss and German immigrants under the leadership of Christoph von Graffenried and John Lawson. It was named after the (later) capital of Switzerland, Bern. The first permanent seat of the colonial government of North Carolina was located in New Bern. Following the American Revolutionary War, New Bern became the first state capital. Christoph von Graffenried ordered that the layout of the town was made into the shape of a cross, although the town is not in the shape today due to growth of the town and towns surrounding it.

Tryon Palace completed in 1770 and was the former home of British governor William Tryon. It then became the original state capitol building of newly-independent North Carolina and remained so until the 1790s. A replica, built from the original plans and on the original foundation, is now maintained as a historic site and tourist attraction.

New Bern was the site of the Battle of New Bern early in the American Civil War in which the town was captured and occupied by Union forces.

New Bern is also known as the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, which was invented in the city by New Bern pharmacist Caleb Bradham in the late 1800's.


New Bern is located at (35.109070, -77.069111).

New Bern is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.0 square miles (69.9 km²), of which, 25.8 square miles (66.9 km²) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.0 km²) of it (4.30%) is water.


As of the 2000 census, there were 23,128 people, 10,006 households, and 6,183 families residing in the city.

The population density was 895.5 people per square mile (345.7/km²). There were 11,094 housing units at an average density of 429.5/sq mi (165.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 55.96% White, 40.32% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.99% of the population.

There were 10,006 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.5% were married couples living together, 18.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 83.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,139, and the median income for a family was $38,990. Males had a median income of $28,720 versus $21,687 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,499. About 14.7% of families and 19.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.4% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.



High School

Middle Schools

  • Grover C. Fields Middle School
  • H.J. McDonald Middle School

Elementary Schools

  • Trent Park Elementary School
  • Oaks Road Elementary School
  • J.T. Barber Elementary School
  • Brinson Memorial Elementary School
  • Ben D. Quinn Elementary School
  • Albert H. Bangert Elementary School
  • Creekside Elementary School
  • Bridgeton Elementary School

Private school

  • Ruth's Chapel Christian School
  • Epiphany School
  • Calvary Baptist Christian School
  • St. Paul Education Center

Notable residents

  • Lewis Addison Armistead, Confederate Army brigadier general mortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg
  • Caleb Bradham (1867-1934), invented Pepsi Cola (originally Brad's drink) in New Bern.
  • George Edmund Badger (1795-1866), Senator from North Carolina and United States Secretary of the Navy, born in New Bern.
  • Cullen A. Battle, postbellum Mayor of New Bern and a former Confederate general during the American Civil War.
  • William Gaston (1778-1844), jurist and U.S. Representative, born in New Bern. Gaston is the namesake of Gaston County, North Carolina and author of the official state song, "The Old North State".
  • Bayard Wootten (1875-1959), designed the first trademarked Pepsi-Cola logo, the first female member of the N.C. National Guard, and the first female aerial photographer in America. Her first aerial photo was of New Bern. The grandmother of DeMatha High School Coach Morgan Wootten
  • Mary Bayard Clarke (1827-1886), poet & novelist. Clarke used the pen name Tenella, under this pseudonym she published "Wood-Notes" (1854) and later under her own name, "Mosses from a Rolling Stone", " Reminiscences of Cuba", "Clytie and Zenobia", and many additional articles and poems.
  • Linda McMahon, wife of World Wrestling Entertainment founder Vince McMahon.
  • William J. Clarke (1819-1886), Principal of the New Bern Academy, state senator & N.C. Superior Court Judge, Confederate Army Col., 24th NC Infantry Regiment in Virginia and eastern North Carolina.
  • Graham Arthur Barden (1896-1967), 13 term congressman (1935-1961).
  • Rufus Morgan (1846-1880) portrait and stereograph photographer. Operated studios in New Bern, Goldsboro, and Raleigh. Married in 1873, Mary Devereux Clarke (daughter of Mary Bayard Clarke, above) and had two children, a son and daughter, Bayard Morgan Wootten (see above)
  • Nicholas Sparks, author. He used New Bern as the setting for three of his novels, The Notebook, The Wedding, and A Bend in the Road.
  • William E. Clarke (1850-1901), NC attorney, state representative (1876-1880), and state senator (1881-1883). On June 28, 1901, in a tragic accident, Mr. Clarke, his two little girls and a neighbor boy all drown in the Neuse River.
  • Gertrude Sprague Carraway (1896-1993), Preservationist, historian, and journalist. Member of the NC Historical Commission (1942-1983). Instrumental in the restoration of Tryon Palace, serving as secretary of the Palace Commission (1945-1971). Editor of the New Bern Sun Journal (1924-1937). President General, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (1953-56).
  • Maude Moore Latham (1871-1951), Philanthropist and benefactor. Established a trust fund to pay for the restoration of Tryon Palace.
  • George Pollock (1772-1839), prominent citizen, who entertained in his New Bern house, President James Monroe and Secretary of War and Mrs. John C. Calhoun, and the great-grandson of Gov. Thomas Pollock, who in 1713 purchased Christoph von Graffenried's interest in the New Bern settlement.
  • Eunice (Edwards) Pollock Hunt (1743-1822), founding member of the 1st Presbyterian Church in New Bern, and the 7th daughter of the great theologian Jonathan Edwards.
  • Justin Cohn (1983 - present), European wrestling champion, commonly referred to as "Hollywood JC".
  • Lieutenant General William G. Boykin (Retired) was the United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.


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