Arthur Dobbs and His Mixed Success as Royal Governor

A portrait of Arthur Dobbs from the N.C. Museum of HistoryOn October 31, 1754, Arthur Dobbs, the newly minted governor of North Carolina, arrived in the colony.   He had previously been a very successful politician in Ireland, serving as a member of Parliament and as the engineer and surveyor general of the country.

Dobbs had been interested in the colonies as a whole since the 1730s, and during the 1750s, was responsible for the immigration of about 500 Protestant families from the northern part of Ireland to North Carolina.

For the first few years of his tenure Dobbs was a successful governor. He promoted unity, industry, military strength and loyalty to the Crown. Always trying to avoid the conflict between northern and southern factions, he attempted to establish the capital near the centrally-located town of what is now Kinston. He finally settled on moving to Brunswick in 1758, where he built a home and encouraged the building of St. Philip's Church. Within four years, however, turmoil once more broke out, and Dobbs was forced to dissolve the colonial assembly in 1759.

By 1764, with factionalism rampant, Dobbs asked for and received a leave of absence. He died in March of 1765 without having left the colony. He is buried at St. Philip's Church. 

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