Latham among symposium lecturers|Bath resident to speak about Lawson in Raleigh

Published 7:40 pm Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

BATH — Bea Latham, a historic interpreter and assistant manager of the Historic Bath State Historic Site, and Patricia Samford, former site manager at Bath, will be guest speakers during the upcoming “John Lawson: A Carolinian’s Life and Times” symposium.
The symposium will be held Oct. 9-10 at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.
Latham and Samford will present a program titled “Botanist, Explorer and Town Founder: John Lawson and Bath.” The symposium will be held as part of the 300th anniversary of the publication of Lawson’s book, “A New Voyage to Carolina,” according to Latham.
Registration for the event is under way. The fee of $25 covers all lectures, a reception and two meals. Payment may be mailed to the North Carolina Literacy and Historical Association, c/o Parker Backstrom, 4610 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4610. The deadline to preregister is Oct. 2.
“The unique thing about this symposium is that it will appeal to a wide variety of people,” Latham said. “It will cover the many different aspects of John Lawson and his contributions. There will be talks about plants, animals, the people who lived here and the Native American culture. This gives us a unique, complete history of early North Carolina.”
The symposium should give Lawson some much-deserved credit for his work, Latham said.
“There are so many ways that he hasn’t been recognized,” she said. “He really didn’t get the recognition due him in many respects.”
In conjunction with the symposium, the North Carolina Museum of History will unveil its new exhibit dedicated to John Lawson, Latham said.
Lawson was a naturalist, explorer and surveyor general for the Lords Proprietors. He traveled the Carolina colony between 1700 and 1701, keeping a complete diary of his findings that was published in book form in 1709. Lawson was killed by Tuscarora Indians in 1711 while exploring the Neuse River.
A history marker was erected in 2005 acknowledging Lawson’s ties to Bath; the marker was placed near the site where his home once stood.
Joining Latham and Samford on the list of speakers are E. Thomas Shields Jr., associate professor of English at East Carolina University; Vincent Bellis, professor emeritus of biology at ECU; Perry Mathewes, education program manager at Norfolk Botanical Garden; John Hairr, manager of the House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site; Mark Laird, senior lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University; Lindley S. Butler, consultant and historian for the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck project; Kathy O. McGill, history professor at George Mason University; Charles R. Ewen, anthropology professor at ECU; and Marcus Simpson Jr., vice chairman of the Department of Pathology and director of clinical laboratories at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.