Craven County was named in honor of William, Earl of Craven, who lived from 1606-1697. His death preceded the establishment of Craven County, and he never had the pleasure of visiting the county which carries his name. The official Craven County seal was designed and adopted in 1981, using the coat-of-arms of the Earl, which is also the coat-of-arms of his nephew, William, Lord Craven, who succeeded him as Lord Proprietor of Carolina. The motto on the seal, “Virtus in Actione Consistit” translates to “Virtue in Consistent Action”.
Craven County, originally included as a precinct of Bath County, was established in its present form in 1712. New Bern became its county seat in 1722, and was also the capital of the colony and first state capital until 1794. Because of its location, situated between the Albemarle and Cape Fear, Craven County grew in size and importance during the mid 18th century due to the significance of its county seat as a river port. As Craven County moved into the 19th century, it continued to flourish as the developing railroad system served to further New Bern’s commercial dominance, wealth and cultural sophistication. These influences were also felt in the communities surrounding the city.
During the Civil War, there was significant activity occurring in Craven County, and remains of some of the battlegrounds can still be found.
The population of Craven County is approximately 96,406, with New Bern and Havelock being the two major cities.
There are also a number of towns in Craven County, including Bridgeton, Cove City, Dover, River Bend, Trent Woods and Vanceboro, and the County is home to large portions of the Croatian National Forest.
New Bern is North Carolina’s second oldest town and is the county seat of Craven County. It’s located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers and has become a popular destination for many visitors who enjoy its natural beauty, historic charm and convenient location.
New Bern was settled in 1710, and its picturesque downtown waterfront district is still home to many of the attractive historic buildings, shops and homes of that era. The city was the first capital of North Carolina and was the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola.
Havelock is the second largest city in Craven County and is home to the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. Located about halfway between New Bern and the beaches of the Crystal Coast, Havelock is a city of about 22,500 residents.
The Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point was authorized by Congress in 1941, and is one of the world’s largest Marine Corps Air Stations and one of the best all-weather jet bases in the world. The size of the Air Station has increased from the original 8,000 acres to more than 13,000 acres at the primary complex, with nearly 16,000 additional acres in associated support locations. Cherry Point’s runway system is so large that the Air Station serves as an alternate emergency landing site. Cherry Point is home to Marine Transport Squadron 1, which provides military transportation, as well as search and rescue for Marine aviators. The aircraft also serve the local community with medical evacuation and search and rescue capabilities.
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