Craven County, North Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)


New Bern

William Craven,
3rd Baron Craven


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

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1690s / Virginians

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Historical Post Offices

American Revolution

American Civil War

Significant Education Events

Alphabetical / Date Started

Battles & Skirmishes / Militia

Battles & Skirmishes / Camps & Forts / Troops

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Airports in Craven County

Maps of Craven County

Books About Craven County

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A History of Craven County

Tryon Palace - New Bern, North Carolina

The county seat was first called Chattawka, or Chattoocka, and later, in 1723, Newbern - a law fixed the spelling in 1897 to New Bern. 
Craven County, which is located in eastern North Carolina, is bounded on the north by Beaufort and Pitt counties; on the west by Lenoir County; on the south by Jones and Carteret counties; and on the east by Pamlico and Carteret counties. The area is 699 square miles (447,360 acres). The elevation ranges from 15 feet at New Bern to nearly 63 feet at Dover, which is in the extreme western part of the county.

Craven Precinct, originally named Archdale Precinct, was formed in 1705. The name was changed to Craven Precinct in 1712. The precinct was named for one of the eight (8), third-generation Lords Proprietors, William Craven, 3rd Baron Craven. Native Americans of the Tuscarora tribe originally inhabited the region. German, Swiss, and English colonists settled the area. The county seat was initially Chattoocka, but in 1723 it was moved to New Bern, which remains the county seat to this day. New Bern, located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, was important in the eighteenth century because it was one of the capitals of North Carolina, as well as one of its most populous cities.

Tyron Palace, the reconstructed home of Royal Governor William Tryon of North Carolina during the 1770s.

View of New Bern, NC - March 1862

Tryon Palace was originally constructed between 1767 and 1770. The Georgian style buildings first served as a meeting place for the colonial General Assembly and a residence for the Royal Governor appointed by the King of England. Only two Royal Governors occupied the palace - William Tryon and Josiah Martin. Governor Tryon was appointed governor of the New York colony after occupying the palace for slightly over one year. Governor Martin succeeded Tryon as the Royal Governor, but did not remain in residence at Tryon Palace for long. In May of 1775, he was forced by Patriots to flee the palace so quickly that he left most of his belongings behind.

During the American Revolutionary War, the North Carolina General Assembly met in Tryon Palace several times. In 1798, the main structure burned to the ground. The palace outbuildings remained in disrepair until the 1940s and 1950s when the palace was reconstructed from the original architectural plans. Of the current structures, all buildings are reconstructed buildings except the stables. The reconstructed Tryon Palace was opened to the public in April of 1959. The current buildings, furnishings, and gardens represent the times of the two Royal Governors.

The Palace grounds front the Trent River on the south and Pollock Street on the north. The north side, circular courtyard is flanked by the Kitchen Office on the east and the Stables on the west. Behind the two-story Kitchen Building is the Kitchen Garden and Smoke House. The Blacksmth Shop is located outside the walled courtyard in the northeast corner, near the Kitchen Office. There are several gardens, and two allees - a walk between evenly planted trees or clipped hedges. A third allee, known as Entrance Allee, runs between the main entrance to the walled courtyard and the Pollock Street gates.

The main building has two floors of living space. The first floor courtyard entrance opens into the large square hall with a white and black marble floor. The servants hall to the right of the entrance hall. The library is to the left of the entry hall, behind the library is the Council Chamber where the colonial assembly and then the NC General Assembly met. The Dining Room and the Parlor are across the back of the house, overlooking the great lawn and the Trent River. The second floor has bedchambers, a dressing room, the Family Supper Room and the Above Stairs Parlor. One extremely unusual feature is the use of dual staircases between the floors - The Great Stair Case for the Governor, family members and guests, the Lesser Stair Case for the servants.

© 2023 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved