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As the sixth of 16 children, Richard Joshua Reynolds left his small Virginia town at an early age to establish his own company. At the age of 25, Reynolds opened a chewing tobacco manufacturing company in Winston, North Carolina and quickly became a pioneer in the industry. He anticipated the growth in the smoking tobacco market and developed a line of pipe tobaccos. In 1913, he introduced Camel, the first American blend cigarette. His innovative branding and marketing strategy set the industry standard.
Robert Rice Reynolds (1884-1963), popularly known as “Buncombe Bob,” represented North Carolina in the U.S. Senate from 1933 until 1945. The flamboyant Reynolds began his political career as a staunch New Dealer before turning to isolationism and extreme nationalism.
Richard Caswell was not only one of the first of delegates chosen to represent North Carolina at the first Continental Congress but he was also the first and fifth governor of the Tar Heel State.
Annexed from Anson County in 1779, Richmond County was named in honor of the American colonist supporter, Charles Lennox, the third Duke of Richmond. The North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham was once a vital tourist attraction in the county, and the National Railroad Museum and the Hamlet Opera House continue to attract people from across the state and the nation. Notable Richmond County natives include jazz musician John Coltrane, and politicians Alfred Dockery and Camerson Morrison.
During the early 1800s, North Carolina acquired a nickname: “the Rip Van Winkle State.” It was named so because more than few considered the state’s economy to be asleep while neighboring states were bustling with production and trade. Some historians argue, however, that outsiders used this term and that economists have misunderstood North Carolina's incremental economic growth
As a prevalent burial place for prominent North Carolinians, Riverside Cemetery continues to keeps the stories of Zebulon B. Vance, Thomas Wolfe, and O. Henry accessible to onlookers and history enthusiasts. Riverside Cemetery, an 87 acre burial plot, overshadows the French Broad River, attracting numerous tourists to its serene landscape. The cemetery was founded in 1885 and it has since remained an important cultural and historic venue in Buncombe County.
In 1584, 1585, and 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh funded expeditions to Roanoke Island (located on what is now called the Outer Banks). On March 25, 1584, Queen Elizabeth I issued a charter allowing Raleigh to “discover, search, find out, and view such remote heathen and barbarous Lands, Countries, and territories … to have, hold, occupy, and enjoy.”
Parker David Robbins (1834–1917) Inventor and public servant Parker David Robbins was born near the Chowan River in northeastern North Carolina, on July 5, 1834, and died in Duplin County, North Carolina, on November 1, 1917.
Robert Brodnax Glenn was the governor of North Carolina from 1905-1909 and was known as the “prohibition governor."
R. Gregg Cherry hails from Gastonia, North Carolina and served as governor of the Tar Heel State from 1945-1949.
Gene Roberts (1932-) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaperman who began his career as a writer with the Goldsboro News-Argus and ended it as editor of the New York Times. Described by one employee as “the ideal editor that reporters dream about,” Roberts transformed the Philadelphia Inquirer from a laughingstock into one of the nation’s top newspapers.
The home of the Lumbee tribe and the Lumber River, Robeson County is the proud home of Native Americans who have resided there for centuries. Annexed in 1787 from Bladen County, Robeson’s county seat is Lumberton; it is named after the Lumber River. Angus W. McLean and Henry Berry Lowrie are two famous natives of Robeson County.
Formed out of Guilford County in 1785, Rockingham County was initially inhabited by the Cheraw Indians and later by the English, Germans, and Scotch-Irish. Its current population is approximately 92,000. Although not the county’s largest town, Wentworth serves as the county seat.
Founded in 1753, Rowan County became an important political and economic center for western North Carolina during the 1800s. Salisbury, the county seat, housed the only Confederate prison in North Carolina during the Civil War, and the Gold Hill community once served as a vital mineral source during North Carolina’s gold rush. Catawba College is located in Rowan, and many famous North Carolinians were born in the county.
Vermont Connecticut Royster (1914-1996) served as editor of the Wall Street Journal from 1958 until 1971. He helped make the Journal’s editorial page a forum for conservative thought. His Pulitzer Prize-winning editorials used folksy, plainspoken language to express his individualist philosophy.