Soon after its organization and incorporation, the New Bern Country Club, Inc. on March 3, 1920, purchased from Senator Furnifold M. Simmons and wife, Belle Gibbs Simmons and the Pepsi-Cola Company, land bordering on the Trent River and adjoining the Sloan Estate about two miles west of the city limits, at a cost of $5,000.00 plus $1,500.00 in club stock.
Serving in turn as Trustee for some years were T. A. Uzzel, R. A. Nunn, William Dunn, Jr. and R. E. Whitehurst. In 1946, Richard Forester was Trustee, Uzzel and Forrester were bankers; Nunn, Dunn and Whitehurst were attorneys.
Selected at the outset for the construction of an attractive club house was a high bluff in a grove of tall pine trees overlooking the picturesque river, where old cypress trees festooned with gray Spanish moss were growing to the water’s edge.
On the first floor of the building was a large ballroom, two club rooms, a kitchen with pantries and storeroom and wide porches. In the basement were lockers for men and other lockers for women, with running water and modern conveniences. At the foot of the slope was a boat landing.
In front of the structure were two tennis courts. Farther away was a fine, nine-hole golf course, described by Donald H. Ross, nationally-known golf engineer, as one of the best natural locations for the purpose he had ever seen. Golf was played there almost every day. In 1922, inclement weather conditions kept golfers off the course only six days.
When a corporation, New Bern Resort, Inc. was started here a few years later to try to develop the immediate river areas as a tourist mecca, the Country Club Directors and members voted to give it their properties on the condition that it maintain the club house and golf course. However, despite much planning, with wide publicity and advertising, the new company did not succeed in its efforts.
John Haywood Jones was the first President of the Country Club. He was succeeded by E. K. Bishop, who held the office for four years. Dr. R. D.V. Jones became the third President and Dr. R. L. Daniels, the fourth. Serving with Dr. Daniels were W. Henry Henderson, Vice-President; T. Frank Moffet, Secretary and Treasurer. The twelve Directors then were Daniels, Henderson, J. H. Jones, R.D. V. Jones, J. S. Claypoole, L. T. Moore, Owen G. Dunn, Thomas G. Hyman, J. Vernon Blades, William B. Blades, Albert R. Marks and Hubert G. Tolson.
For some years, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Miller resided at the club, the former acting as superintendent and the latter as housekeeper. Upon advance notice, they would prepare luncheons, dinners or parties for any specified number of guests. Many dances, benefits and other social events took place there successfully. Two assistants helped Mr. and Mrs. Miller with their duties. Ralph S. Miner, golf professional, spent winters at the club to aid local golfers.
Following a special meeting the previous night in the City Hall, the Country Club was sold on August 14, 1934 to Mr. Miner and his wife, Bertha V. Miner. The purchase price for the approximately sixty-five acres was $10.00, with the Miners assuming the club’s outstanding obligations, including $4,453.41 for a Deed of Trust held by the New Bern Building and Loan Association; $1,84.00 owed to Senator Otis F. Glen of Illinois, who had bought the Sloan Estate land; $86.66 for 1933 taxes and approximately the same amount for 1934 taxes; $230.00 for trustee fees; and other debts said not to exceed $500.00.
Under the deed signed for the club by J. E. Slater, President and E.D. Gaskins, Secretary, Mr. Miner took over the operation of the clubhouse, golf course, tennis courts, wharves, docks and other club properties.
Within less than a decade, Mr. Miner ceased to operate the club and by the terms of the deed, the club corporation was privileged to repurchase it. A deed toward this end was recorded May 28, 1943, by which the New Bern Country Club, Inc. regained ownership upon payments of $6,536.44.
On the same day, another deed for the club was signed by Robert G. Turnbull, President and W. D. Ferebee, Secretary, transferring for the same amount of money, $6536.44, all the club properties to the newly formed New Bern Golf and Country Club, Inc.
During March, 1946, additional tracts of land were bought from Sam W. Morgan and from Wade Meadows and wife, Ella Simmons Meadows.
Still owned and operated by the New Bern Golf and Country Club, the property has been greatly improved during the years and the membership has grown phenomenally. The club house has been substantially enlarged and beautified, with a large outdoor patio overlooking the Trent River and huge windows permitting scenic views of the river from the attractive lounge and dining rooms. Improvements have also been made for parking spaces, swimming pools, golf course, tennis courts and other parts of the extensive grounds.