The first successful machine gun, known as the Gatling gun was invented by North Carolina native Richard J. Gatling in 1862. The gun saw limited use in the Civil War because the original model proved ineffective but once Gatling perfected his machine gun, the United States Army purchased 100 guns in 1866. Although the patent was eventually purchased by Colt’s Armory, the more developed guns built by Nordenfeldt and Maxim gun manufacturers outlasted the Gatling machine gun.
First, there was the Halifax Resolves. Then there was the Declaration of Independence.
Over the past year and a half, I have been traveling across North Carolina with my colleague Michael Sanera leading constitutional workshops. In them, we emphasize the federal nature of the American government and remind Tar Heels that knowledge of history is essential to understanding original intent and the Constitution’s meaning. The question-and-answer sessions are interesting, so I thought I’d share some of the oft- repeated questions with readers.
America’s difficult economic situation has generated often contradictory reactions and proposed solutions. One part of America blames the big banks. Another points to the government. Still others, with a more subtle insight, find fault with the combination of big government and big corporations. All this reminded me of the protests during the 1760s and early 1770s in Piedmont North Carolina called the Regulator Rebellion.
Birthplace of the inventor of the Gatling Gun, the coastal county of Hertford holds an important position in North Carolina’s history. The Meherrin called modern-day Hertford home before the arrival of early European settlers from the Virginia colony. Winton, the county seat of Hertford, was the first town destroyed by Union forces in the Civil War.
Once part of Edgecombe County, Granville County was formed in 1746, and its county seat, Oxford, was incorporated in 1811. After the Tuscarora War, Virginia settlers and farmers moved to Granville and took advantage of the rich farmland in the region. During the antebellum period, the plantation economy thrived in the county, and even after the Civil War, agriculture continued to flourish in Granville, with much success due to the bright leaf tobacco crop.
Established in 1881 in the eastern Piedmont region of North Carolina, Vance County was named after the famous Civil War governor, Zebulon B. Vance. Home to the first military academy in North Carolina and Rose’s Department Stores, Vance County has since become a popular tourist attraction for water sport enthusiasts because of its large man-made Kerr Lake. The county seat of Vance is Henderson.
Offering a different interpretation than presented by B.J. Lossing in his groundbreaking Pictorial Field Book of Revolution, Randolph County historian Mac Whatley argues that historians should do further research and regarding the Regulator Rebellion and the story of David Fanning and Bay Doe.
Founded in 1668, Currituck County was an original port for the colony of North Carolina. A northern Outer Banks county, Currituck serves as an important tourist and outdoor enthusiasts attraction, with the Currituck Lighthouse and the Whalehead Club being the most well-known historical sites. It is recognized as the home to a significant “Banker” pony population.
One of the most important early colonial counties of North Carolina, Craven County was established in 1712, and its county seat, New Bern, served as the colonial capital until 1788. The Tryon Palace Historic Site remains a popular tourist attraction in Craven County, and New Bern was the site of the first Pepsi-Cola drink ever made. Craven County was the site of the state’s first newspaper and the first charter school.