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Since its charter in 1839, Cherokee County has experienced economic and demographic change. The county's population has grown from 3,000 in 1839 to approximately 25,000. Today, Cherokee County is a popular destination for tourists, and mountain living is a popular choice for many retirees.
The “cradle of the colony,” Chowan County’s history survives as a vital piece to the formation of the North Carolina colony and state. The site of the famous Edenton Tea Party and a residence of numerous patriots, Chowan served as a centerpiece for the ensuing colonial demand for independence. Edenton, the seat of government in Chowan, was established in 1722, and numerous homes and structures built in the eighteenth century still stand and remain a testament to the town’s and Chowan’s colonial heritage.
As the oldest courthouse in North Carolina, the historic Chowan County Courthouse was constructed in 1767 in Edenton. Joseph Hewes, Samuel Johnston, and other important North Carolina Patriots used the courthouse during the 1770s and 1780s. With the Cupola and Barker House, the Chowan County Courthouse remains an important historical structure and popular attraction in Edenton. Today, the courthouse is the oldest government building in use in the state.
Chowan University, established in 1848, is a four-year higher education institution located in Murfreesboro in Hertford County. Like many other private colleges in North Carolina, the Baptists led the early formation of Chowan and the university remains affiliated with the Baptist State Convention. Today, Chowan enrolls approximately 1,300 students, and the institution offers over 60 different athletic programs.
Once the strongest Algonquian tribe in North Carolina, the Chowanoac, or “people at the south,” thrived in areas that now make up the Bertie, Chowan, Gates, and Hertford Counties. Ralph Lane and other English explorers first encountered the tribe in 1586. Between 1666 and 1676, several conflicts led to the downfall of the once powerful Native American group. By the 1750s, the Chowanoac had sold most of their land holdings to English colonists.
Christ Church is located in the Capitol Area Historic District in downtown Raleigh, NC. The church was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and is the oldest archetype of Gothic Revival style stone church in the south.
Most North Carolinians believe the Civil Rights Movement occurred strictly in the 1960s, with the start of the Sit-Ins at the Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina. The movement, however, began much earlier, and one can argue that its roots lay in the Civil-War period.
Although most major battle engagements occurred in other states, North Carolina played an important role during the American Civil War. The fertile Piedmont region provided crops for the Confederate forces, and in 1865, Wilmington provided the only access to European trade. The Union-occupied territories in the State provided the United States with valuable ports and land.
Henry Toole Clark was governor of North Carolina during the Civil War from 1861-1862. He was a Democratic leader in the state senate in the critical decade of the 1850s and for a brief time during Reconstruction.
A southern county located in North Carolina’s piedmont area, Cleveland County was formed in 1841, and it is named after Benjamin Cleveland, leader of the victory at the decisive Battle of King’s Mountain. Gardner-Webb University is located in the county, and the city of Shelby was once home to the political machine known as the “Shelby Dynasty.”
Senator from 1858 until 1861, Thomas Lanier Clingman supported state rights, slavery, and secession during his time as North Carolina public servant. Clingman attended UNC-Chapel Hill and he became a lawyer in the 1830s. After Senator Asa Biggs resigned from the U.S. Senate, Clingman was appointed to take his position. Although an ardent supporter of secession, Senator Clingman was the last southerner to leave Washington, D.C.
A business owner, Quaker, abolitionist, and an organizer of the Underground Railroad, Levi Coffin was born in New Garden, North Carolina. According to Coffin, “The Underground Railroad business increased as time advanced, and it was attended with heavy expenses, which I could not have borne had not my affairs been prosperous.”
Abbot Walter Coggin, O.S.B. was a cleric, scholar, teacher, and graduate of Belmont Abbey Prep School in Belmont, North Carolina. In his career at Belmont Abbey, Abbot Coggin coached, taught, and served as president and chancellor.
Cole Manufacturing Company was the first black owned cotton mill in the United States in Concord, North Carolina. Its founder, Warren C Coleman became the wealthiest black man in North Carolina by the 1890s.
Coleridge was the home of the Enterprise Manufacturing Company, the southern most cotton mill built on Deep River. Its construction in 1882 was the final link in the chain of Randolph County’s water-powered textile industries that had begun to be forged in 1836.