Bessemer City, North Carolina

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Bessemer City is a city in Gaston County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 5,119 at the 2000 census. Settled in 1756 and founded in 1893, the city's motto is City with a Heart.



Bessemer City is located at 35°17′3″N 81°16′58″W / 35.28417°N 81.28278°W / 35.28417; -81.28278 (35.284262, -81.282853)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11.1 km²), of which, 4.2 square miles (11.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.70%) is water. Elevation: 904 feet (276 m).


Bessemer City is named for Sir Henry Bessemer who created the Bessemer Process for smelting iron. Bessemer City was founded on land purchased from the Ormand family, near the Sloan-Washington-Ormand Iron Furnace. Ironically, it was the Bessemer Process which made Bessemer City's early iron smelting industry obsolete.

The earliest European settlement in the Bessemer City area dates to 1754, when King George II of England granted about 2,000 acres (8.2 km) to James Ormand (b.1716 - d. 1771) who was married to the dau. of Adam Meek. His wife was Mary Meek Ormand. This land was named in his will, and was given to his children. One of his sons Jacob Ormand (b. 1743 - d. 1810) married 2nd. Elizabeth Leslie, niece of Andrew Jackson. James Ormand established the Ormand Mining Company to extract iron ore. He was the son of James Ormand Sr. (b. 1669 - d. Feb. 20,1766) It is not known for sure when a furnace was built on the land, but it was before 1786, it was then called the Washington Furnace. Named after the family of Colonel John C. Washington. The Old Ormand Furnace was used to process most of the iron ore that was mined in the area and today is one of the oldest remaining furnaces in the country[4]. Despite a local tale that cannon balls were made during the American Revolutionary War, there is no proof the furnace was built that early. Please read paragraph 2 of this article and decide for yourself. The furnace was sold and later bought back by the family of Zenas Stanhope Ormand (b. July 12, 1802 - d. July 28, 18780. The furance made iron implements and other products for local and statewide use and was in operation until the mid-19th century (when the Bessemer process made small furnace operations uneconomical). The "Old Furnace" is still owned by the Ormand Family Foundation and the site is used as a gathering place for the Ormand, Ormond Family Reunion, one of the oldest family reunions in America, held annually ever since 1897.

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