Tarboro is a town located in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. It is part of the Rocky Mount, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 11,138. It is the county seat of Edgecombe County. Tarboro is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region. It has many historical churches, some dating back to the early 1700s.
Historic Tarboro, North Carolina, was chartered in 1760. Nestled in a bend of the Tar River, it was an important river port, the head of navigation on the Tar. As early as the 1730s a small community formed due to this natural asset, and a warehouse, customs office and other commercial concerns together with a score of "plain and cheap" houses made a bustling village.
The locals were a scrappy bunch, and gave the early governors and their agents a hard time. Edgecombe County residents came down hard on the side of the American Revolution, many serving as officers in the Continental Army. One such was Thomas Blount (1759-1812), whose handsome plantation house "The Grove" has been restored and is open for tours on a daily basis. Blount was a very young officer, spent time in England as a prisoner of war, but returned to North Carolina to participate in one of the largest merchant/shipping companies in late 18th century America.
"The Grove" was also home to Col. Louis Dicken Wilson (1789-1847), who served in the North Carolina Senate and fought in the Mexican-American War, and Col. John Luther Bridgers (1821-1884), Commandant of Ft. Macon in the American Civil War.
Civil War General William Dorsey Pender is buried in Calvary Churchyard in Tarboro. Pender was considered one of the most promising young generals in Lee's army when he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. He is memorialized in the name of Pender County, North Carolina, founded in 1875. Pender is the posthumous author of The General to his Lady: The Civil War letters of William Dorsey Pender to Fanny Pender, published in 1965.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 9.8 square miles (25.3 km²), of which, 9.7 square miles (25.2 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it is water. The total area is 0.41% water.
There are 4,359 households out of which 29.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% are married couples living together, 18.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% are non-families. 28.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.48 and the average family size is 3.02.
In the town the population is spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 84.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 78.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $34,400, and the median income for a family is $42,938. Males have a median income of $29,889 versus $22,718 for females. The per capita income for the town is $17,120. 15.3% of the population and 11.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 21.0% of those under the age of 18 and 13.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Heritage Hospital is the primary medical facility in Tarboro.