Chalkboard champions have been as much a part of American life as any other hero since the very beginnings of our country’s history. One such historical figure was North Carolina educator, patriot, and statesman Timothy Bloodworth.
Timothy was born in New Hanover County, North Carolina, in 1736. He was named after his father, who had migrated to North Carolina from Virginia in the early 1700’s. As a young man, Timothy had little formal education, but he pursued a variety of careers. Although he spent most of his adulthood before the Revolutionary War as a teacher, he also farmed, kept a tavern, operated a ferry, practiced medicine, and preached occasionally. He also worked as a wheelwright and watchmaker, but he was probably best known as a blacksmith.The talented educator eventually emerged as a leader in the movement for independence from Great Britain. When war broke out in 1776, Timothy began making weapons such as muskets and bayonets for the Continental Army. According to legend, he even saw combat as a sniper in fighting around Wilmington, North Carolina. In 1778 and 1779, he served as a member of the state legislature for North Carolina.After the war ended, he held a number of political posts until serving as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1786. Timothy was elected a member of the House of Representatives of the First United States Congress, a position he held from 1790 to 1791. After his tenure in the House ended, he returned to the North Carolina State Legislature. In 1794, Timothy was elected to the United States Senate, where he served from 1795 to 1801. From then until 1807, this chalkboard champion served as collector of customs in Wilmington.
Timothy Bloodworth passed away on August 24, 1814. During World War II, the liberty ship SS Timothy Bloodworth was named in his honor.