Tarboro, the county seat, is situated on Tar river, at the head of regular navigation. It was laid off in 1760, when a donation of land for that purpose was made by Joseph and Ester Howell to the commissioners. It has a population of 2,500 and is distinguished for the refinement, culture and healthy tone of public sentiment of its population. Tarboro’ and the county of which it is the seat has been prolific of men who have illustrated our history. In the eventful struggle that established our independence, Tarboro’ contributed her full share in counsel and arms to the common cause. In the convention that preceded and prepared the public mind of our countrymen for the conflict of arms, Edgecombe bore a conspicuous part. Henry Irwin, a merchant of Tarboro’, who had been conspicuous in the conventions at New Bern and Halifax, when the revielle [sic] drums of the Revolution called his countrymen to arms, gave his sword to his country and under the command of Gen. Francis Nash, of North Carolina, on the bloody field of Germantown, where he was mortally wounded, sealed his devotion with his blood. A monument, reared in another state, by an alien hand, marks the last resting place of his mortal parts, but his name, his fame and his memory belonged to the county that he loved so well. Other names in buick [sic] succession crowd upon our memory. The Hunters, the Halls, the Haywoods, the Battles, the Johnsons, the Blounts, the Hines, the Clarks, form a galaxy of great names that have illustrated the annals of Tarboro’ and the county of Edgecombe.
Excerpt from the book, Historical and Descriptive Review of North Carolina, written by John Lethem, published in 1885, pages 179-180, found on the website, Internet Archive (http://archive.org), accessed 18 February 2021.
No town of the size of Tarboro, and even many larger ones, enjoy the commodities that progress, enterprise and civic pride have made its possible for Tarboro citizens to enjoy. The streets are well laid out and sidewalked, Trees, the enemies of dust, are to be found in profusion throughout the town, and a town-owned and managed electric and light plant, where the most modern methods and machinery are employed to extract a maximum of efficiency, provides Tarboro citizens with their needs in this line. The streets are kept thoroughly clean and are regularly washed where paved, and log dragged, where otherwise. At night they are well lighted.
Tarboro has a first-class volunteer fire department and to add to the safety of the town a motor driven chemical engine has been recently acquired.
Having lately qualified into the class of towns which, through the number of their population and the condition of the sidewalks are entitled to free city postal delivery, this system, so convenient to a town, will soon be established here.
The safety of public and private property is efficiently looked after by a conscientious police force, whilst a recorders’ court does much to lighten the docket of the superior court and simplify the system of administering justice.
Tarboro has a very complete hospital, eliminating the transportation to other towns of patients requiring operations of a nature demanding the highest sanitary conditions and all such commodities as go a long way to make such operations safe, swift and successful. Here again does Tarboro lead many other towns boasting of an even larger population.
Excerpt from the book, Tarboro and Edgecombe County, N. C., published in 1913, pages 22-26, found on the website, Hathitrust Digital Library (http://www.hathitrust.org), accessed 18 February 2021.
Chemical Fire Engine