One of the greatest American stock car drivers of all time, Dale Earnhardt was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The son of Ralph Earnhardt, Dale continued the racing legacy, and it lives on today with his son, Dale Earnhardy, Jr., and the company Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI). Known as the Intimidator for his aggressive driving style, Earnhardt won seven NASCAR titles, rivaling fellow North Carolinian driver, Richard Petty.
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University (ECU) was originally a teacher’s training college. ECU has developed into the third largest university in the University of North Carolina Higher Education System, with over 20,000 students. Notable alumni include Sandra Bullock (actress), Kelly King (CEO of BB&T), and James Maynard (founder of Golden Corral Restaurants).
Charles Eden became governor in 1714 and started bringing more control over what was considered an unruly colony. The governor, however, might have befriended pirates, including the notorious Blackbeard.
One of the first rope manufacturing establishments in North America; the Edenton Ropewalk (also referred to as the Hewes Ropewalk or the Collins Ropewalk) was originally established by Joseph Hewes in about 1777 and was acquired by Josiah Collins, Sr. in 1783. Under the management of his son, Josiah Collins II, the Edenton Ropewalk became one of the premier rope manufacturing sites in America. Covering an immense 131-acres of land, the Edenton Ropewalk was a large-scale rope making operation and by 1795 it is said to have created some of the best rope in the colonies. However, due to changes in the economic climate and the death of Josiah Collins II, the Edenton Ropewalk ceased operation in 1839.
The Edenton Tea Party was one of the earliest organized women’s political actions in United States history. On October 25, 1774, Mrs. Penelope Barker organized, at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth King, fifty-one women in Edenton, North Carolina. Together they formed an alliance wholeheartedly supporting the American cause against “taxation without representation.”
On November 8, 1787 in Edenton at the Chowan County Courthouse, Hugh Williamson called for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In February 1788, his speech was published in the New York Daily Advertiser and later in other publications, including Pennsylvania Packet, Charleston Columbian Herald, and Philadelphia American Museum.
Formed in 1741 out of Bertie County, the county is named after Richard Edgecombe, a member of Parliament and a lord of treasury, who became the First Baron Edgecombe in 1742.
John C. B. Ehringhaus served as a Democratic governor in the most important era’s in the state’s history since Reconstruction—the Great Depression and New Deal. Ehringhaus intended to maintain the conservative, pro-business policies of his predecessor, O. Max. Gardner, yet like other conservative Democrats in the state, he supported President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was very popular, and favored some New Deal policies–ones that did not threaten the fiscal conservatism of state government. Overall, Ehringhaus limited the impact of the New Deal in the state.
Incumbent Joseph Abbott lost the U.S. Senate election to political veteran Zebulon Vance in 1870. Abbott filed a complaint concerning Vance’s eligibility to serve in the Senate, relying on the 14th Amendment and its provision that Confederate supporters could not hold office in the U.S. Congress. After a year of deliberations, the Senate Elections Committee ruled in Vance’s favor, but Vance resigned before the committee issued its verdict. Matt Ransom was elected to replace Vance in 1872.
Born in eastern Rowan County, in what is now part of Davidson County, on November 23, 1820 to Anderson and Judith Ellis, John Willis Ellis was a North Carolina lawyer, legislator, judge, and Democratic governor during the Civil War.
Once known as Elon College, the name Elon is derived from the Hebrew word for oak. The college received this name because of the large amount of oak trees in the area. In 1889, Elon College was opened, and the first class numbered 76 students. Today, over 50 undergraduate programs are offered at Elon University, and nearly 6,000 students attend the institution.
James Emerson (also spelled “Emmerson” in some documents) was born around 1736. He fought against the British crown during the North Carolina Regulation and the Revolutionary War. Emerson came close to being hanged for treason by the British in the first conflict. He later survived the latter conflict and lived out his remaining days as a Chatham County farmer.
Leaving Halifax County on a wintry January day, approximately two dozen men travelled seventy miles to Edenton and kidnapped Francis Corbin. The land agent was hauled back to Halifax County and sequestered in Enfield with his subordinate Joshua Bodley. After four days, the two co-agents agreed to demands to be more transparent in their official operations, and the rioters were assuaged—at least temporarily. What transpired those four days is known as the Enfield Riot (1759).
Henry Eppes (1831-1917). Born on September 16, 1831, in Halifax County, North Carolina, Henry Eppes died there in 1917.
The charming and witty Senator Sam was born in Burke County, North Carolina, in 1896. A Democrat and civil libertarian, Senator Sam served in the Senate for two decades (1954 – 1974), and he earned the distinction as one of the last Southern Democrats of the same breed as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Russell. Sam Ervin remains a nationally known political figure because of his cleverness, Southern charm, and wit.
The Latin phrase Esse Quam Videri, “to be rather than to seem,” was chosen as the North Carolina state motto by jurist and historian, Walter Clark.
Although the sterilization laws were passed in 1919 and 1929, the Eugenics Board was organized in July 1933. In four short months, the Board started receiving petitions to sterilize North Carolinians. From 1933 until 1977, the year the Board closed and the eugenics program in North Carolina ended, the state government had sterilized approximately 7,600 individuals (male and female and white and black).
In North Carolina, the debate teaching evolution became a contentious issue between religious leaders and educators. William Louis Poteat, president of Wake Forest University drew criticism from conservative critics from North Carolina and around the United States when he openly accepted the theory of evolution.
Sixty years before England established settlements on the North Carolina coast, the Spanish had explored the land, interacted with Native Americans, and constructed forts. The Spanish effort to claim the land eventually failed, and by the late 1580s, England had only to battle the Indians for control of the land.