This small quaint seaport has roots back to April 7, 1730 when Isaac and Jonathan Green Sr. purchased from Ebenezer Harker "a certain plantation and track of land containing by estimation 441 acres situate lying and being in ye Carterett in ye county of province of aforsaid being ye west side of ye mouth off White Oak River." By 1771 Theophilus Weeks started a town on his plantation, laying out a plat and selling lots. Formerly known as Bogue, Week's Point, The Wharf and New Town, the town was officially designated by the North Carolina General Assembly on May 6, 1783. Above photo (from North Carolina State Archives) courtesy Jack Dudley, as included in Swansboro - A Pictorial Tribute

Swansboro Methodist Church circa 1880s

Late 1960s Photo . Courtesy Ora Smith
In the 1880s the trustees of the Swansboro Male and Female Academy sold part of the academy lot (# 28) to the Methodist Church - corner of Church and Elm Streets  The building remained on the site until it was razed in the 1960s. 

According to Jack Dudley, Swansboro, A Pictorial Tribute, "In 1918 a hurricane blew the steeple off and it was replaced with a smaller one.The second story was used as a lookout tower during World War II. In 1931 the congregation moved to the Unitarian brick school, and the building was used as a motion picture theater. Later it was used as a warehouse."

Ratified 2, February 1857
An Act to Incorporate the Male and Female Academy of the town of Swansboro and County of Onslow:

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That Phillip Koonce, C.B. Glover, J.N. Sanders, R.S. McLean, E.W. Sanders, D.W. Sanders, T.B. Holland, D.A. Humphrey, D.A. Harget, C.H. Barnum, R. Canady, be and they are hereby declared to be a body politic and corporate, to be known and designated by the name of "Trustees of the Male and Female Academy of the town of Swansboro," and by that name shall have succession and a common seal, and shall be invested with power and authority to sue and be sured, plead and be impleaded in any court of law in this State, and to hold such lands and tenements, goods and chattels, and moneys sufficient for all the purposes of the academy. [Public Laws of the State of North-Carolina, passed by the General Assembly at its Session of 1856-'57. Raleigh: Holden & Wilson, Printers to the State 1857.]

The Reverend John Frederick Mattocks was in charge of the Swansboro Male and Female Academy which opened in 1857 but closed at the time of his death in 1868. Another academy used the building until the early 1900s, when it was replace by the Methodist Parsonage.


As early as 1760 the movement of Methodism had reached America, brought from England by the pioneer preacher, Joseph Pilmore, who had been converted by John Wesley. Pilmore began organizing classes in the southern states, following the pattern of John and Charles Wesley. This movement reached North Carolina in 1772. On May 21, 1776, the first North Carolina Circuit was established.
Francis Asbury, the first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, visited Swansboro at least three times. This is an excerpt from his journal: “Wednesday, April 6, 1785-Preached at Swansbury in sight of the sea. Here are a wicked people indeed; nevertheless a few have joined society. Saturday and Sunday, December 24 and 25 (Christmas), 1785 we held quarterly meeting at Swansbury, many people—little religion. Thursday, January 27, 1791—I had many to hear at Swansbury—the people were attentive—O that God may bless His word to them.”

Little is known about the church during the period until 1871. There was a church which was attended by all denominations in the vicinity of the present Waterway Realty. There was a Northern Methodist Church in the same area which was sold to the Unitarians in 1907. This group came from the North and organized the Emmerton School.

The present church was organized on March 1, 1871. There were about 15 families in the village and a few from the adjacent area who were members. This group worshiped in the Old Brick Store and in a school building located about where First Citizens Bank building is currently. The preachers served all the surrounding churches, living for a time in Belgrade and later in Maysville. About 1880 the Methodists built a church on the corner of Church and Elm streets where everyone worshiped until the Baptists built their church.

The Swansboro Circuit was organized in 1908 and consisted of five and sometimes six churches. The parsonage was the house on the lot adjoining the church. About 1930 the congregation sold the church and the parsonage and purchased from the Unitarians the Emmerton School property. This was a U-shaped building and would house the sanctuary, the Sunday school area and the living quarters for the parsonage family. This building is now Swansboro Town Hall. 

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