Our piece in the Independence Day puzzle

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Tomorrow, the United States of America turns 238 years old and; weather permitting, residents of Washington, Beaufort County and the surrounding area will assemble in masses, ceremoniously grilling bratwursts, vegetable and chicken kabobs and, of course, the American favorite, the hamburger.

Looking past the intoxicating smells of fresh barbeque, Washington isn’t just another small town shooting off some fireworks. It has a celebrated history and played key role in the fight for American independence, beginning with the most obvious connection, the name itself.

If you’ve lived in this area for more than a couple days, you know the town was renamed Washington in 1776 to honor George Washington, but the history behind this sacred land is less evident.

Because of its location, nuzzled conveniently between some of the area’s most significant waterways, it served as a vital supply hub for the Continental Army, while major port cities like Wilmington, Savannah and Charleston were under British occupation.

A center for privateering, Washington also supplied war ships to the Navy, which was lacking in size to begin with. Every dock along the Pamlico was in a constant state of use, as the army and navy relied heavily on the town’s manufacturing abilities.

Not only did the people of Beaufort County supply the army and navy, but they also fought in the war. Multiple regiments are documented to have come out of this area with recognizable names like Bonner and McKeel leading the charge.

Unlike the Northeast, where the majority of the revolutionary war was fought, revolutionary history in eastern North Carolina is limited, but the roots its waterway’s supplied were fundamental in the Continental Army’s war efforts.

So, when you’re flipped those burgers this weekend, take a minute to reflect on the history behind this region.