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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bath in Beaufort County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

John Lawson

1674-1711

 
 
John Lawson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 10, 2013
1. John Lawson Marker
Inscription. Naturalist, explorer and surveyor general for the Lords Proprietors, John Lawson traveled the interior of the Carolina colony in 1700-01. He described the 550-mile journey in A New Voyage to Carolina, published in 1709. Lawson was killed by Tuscarora Indians while exploring the Neuse River in 1711. His house stood nearby.
 
Erected 2005 by The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of North Carolina on the occasion of the Historic Bath Tri-Centennial Celebration.
 
Location. 35° 28.304′ N, 76° 48.871′ W. Marker is in Bath, North Carolina, in Beaufort County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street and Front Street, on the right when traveling north on South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bath NC 27808, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Edward Teach (within shouting distance of this marker); Bath African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); John F. Tompkins (approx. 0.2 miles away); Alexander Stewart (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Garzia (approx. 0.2 miles away);
John Lawson Marker looking north on South Main Street image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, April 19, 2013
2. John Lawson Marker looking north on South Main Street
St. Thomas Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Post Road (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Public Library (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bath.
 
Regarding John Lawson. John Lawson (1674-1711)—naturalist, adventurer, and author—was a key figure in early North Carolina history. A New Voyage to Carolina, the account of his travels across the Carolinas published in 1709, introduced much of Europe to the New World. Lawson served as Carolina’s first Surveyor General, and co-founded North Carolina’s two oldest towns. An ambassador to natives while promoting colonization, John Lawson was one of the earliest promoters of the Carolina territories.

Little is known of Lawson’s early life. Born in 1674 to a prominent family in Yorkshire, Lawson received primary and advanced educations in London. Trained in the natural sciences, Lawson sailed to Charles Town in 1700, intending to gather specimens for English collectors. Later that year, Lawson and nine others embarked on a 550-mile, 57-day journey through Carolina’s unexplored regions. He kept record of his travels, meticulously describing flora, fauna, topography, and inhabitants
John Lawson Marker as seen looking south image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, April 19, 2013
3. John Lawson Marker as seen looking south
of areas explored.

Already a distinguished member of the frontier community, Lawson dedicated the next decade to a fledgling Carolina. He edited his journal for publication, hoping to attract new settlers with descriptions of Carolina’s fertile soil, abundant resources, and Indian culture. Published in 1709, A New Voyage to Carolina proved a resounding success, being reprinted several times for English and German audiences. Lawson also led expeditions to locate grounds ideal for settlement, as a result co-founding Bath in 1706 and New Bern in 1710. With an extensive background in survey and exploration, Lawson was commissioned by the Lord Proprietors as North Carolina’s first Surveyor General, tasking him to identify a border between North Carolina and Virginia, work later continued by William Byrd. In 1711, Lawson and two companions set out to discover the source of the Neuse River. On their way, a band of Tuscarora Indians ambushed the party and led them as captives to Catechna, where Lawson, perhaps the strongest Indian advocate among the colonists, was executed on September 20, 1711. Although his contributions to North Carolina are often obscured by figures in later state history, Lawson, the rugged gentleman, helped to build the foundation upon which the state now rests.

European colonists encroached on Native American land as the colony of North Carolina
John Lawson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 10, 2013
4. John Lawson Marker
grew; consequently tensions escalated between the two groups. In 1711, the Tuscarora, who controlled most of the land between the Neuse and Roanoke Rivers, began a war with the colonists. In September of that year, the Tuscarora captured and killed John Lawson, whom they believed was the governor. Lawson’s capture signaled the beginning of a three-day rampage that left at least 120 colonists dead in Bath and the surrounding countryside. Men, women and children were killed and their bodies mutilated throughout the region. Houses, stock, and barns were destroyed. (North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources)
 
Categories. ExplorationNative Americans
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 691 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   2, 3. submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   4. submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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