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As chaplain to Royal Gov. Arthur Dobbs, Alexander Stewart (1723-1771) had hoped, on his arrival in America in 1753, to serve as an Anglican minister in New Bern. That post being filled, he made his way to Bath and to St. Thomas Church. He continued on the rolls of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Stewart, born in Lisburn in County Antrim in Ireland, studied at the University of Dublin and served Irish parishes until his move to North Carolina.
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During the course of his ministry, under his direction, the glebe house and attendant outbuildings were completed. The house was the first of its kind in the colony and rested on 300 acres of church-owned land on the outskirts of the town. He initially lived in the house, completed in 1763, but after two years acquired his own plantation on the south side of the Pamlico River across from Bath. From that point the glebe house was only for ceremonial use. James Davis, printer at New Bern, in 1758 published a tract by Stewart entitled The Validity of Infant Baptism. Stewart, in addition to his church work, was also superintendent of schools for Indians and Negroes in North Carolina, being appointed to that task by Dr. Bray’s Associates, an English benevolent society. That group in 1763 established a school in the Lake Mattamuskeet area of Hyde County for the Indians in that vicinity. That work paid fifty pounds per year.
Stewart was persistently poor. As a result of a hurricane in 1769, he received injuries from which he died in 1771. His plantation was damaged severely by the storm and his estate was left in a state of confusion.
Herbert R. Paschal Jr., A History of Colonial Bath (1955)
Gertrude S. Carraway, Crown of Life (1940)
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, V, 447-448—sketch by Claiborne T. Smith Jr.