Griffith McRee wrote in 1855 that “the name of Timothy Bloodworth, though well-known in Wilmington, is not as intimately associated with patriotism and virtue as it should be.” Bloodworth rose from a background of poverty and little education to serve the new state in a variety of capacities. As a young man he was a jack-of-all-trades, working as a ferry operator, blacksmith, wheelwright, watchmaker, and gunsmith. He is said to have employed a long-range rifle as a sniper during the British occupation of Wilmington. Young Bloodworth helped organize the local Committee of Safety. In 1779 he served the first of ten terms in the Assembly. As commissioner for confiscated property Bloodworth was a “relentless persecutor of Loyalists.” In 1786 he served in the Continental Congress but resigned to return to North Carolina to oppose the proposed federal Constitution. He took a leading role in the Anti-Federalist cause in the constitutional conventions of 1788 and 1789.
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After a single term in the U.S. House in the First Congress, Bloodworth successfully competed for the U.S. Senate, also serving there a single term, 1795-1801. One historian has written that he “evidently left no great impression” on the Senate. William E. Dodd wrote that by his death “his name and fame had been eclipsed by the more glaring virtues of his younger contemporaries.” President Thomas Jefferson rewarded Bloodworth for his political loyalty with appointment as collector of customs for the Port of Wilmington, a post he held from 1801 to 1807. He apparently resigned due to inefficiency, some say dishonesty. At his death, on his plantation along Washington Creek in what is now Pender County, he owed the federal government $22,500.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-198 (1989)
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, I, 177—sketch by G. M. Herndon
John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, III, 43-44—sketch by Lindley Butler
Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina (1906), II, 15-24—sketch by William E. Dodd
Hugh T. Lefler and Albert R. Newsome, The History of a Southern State: North Carolina (1954)
“Editorial Table,” North Carolina University Magazine (April 1855): 132-44
Mattie Bloodworth, History of Pender County, North Carolina (1947)