Site of the first gold rush in the United States and the birthplace of iconic NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Cabarrus County provides a vital culture and historic piece to North Carolina’s history. Originally part of Mecklenburg County, Cabarrus was formed in 1792 and named after Stephen Cabarrus, Speaker of North Carolina’s House of Commons in the late-eighteenth century.
Named after Joseph Caldwell, the first president of the University of North Carolina, Caldwell County was created in 1841 and formed out of Burke and Wilkes counties by the North Carolina legislature.
Tod Robinson Caldwell is noteworthy in North Carolina history for at least three reasons: he was the first lieutenant governor of North Carolina; he was the second Republican governor of the state; and he assumed governor’s duties after William Woods Holden, the first North Carolina Republican governor, was impeached.
Home to the Great Dismal Swamp, Camden County attracts numerous boaters and outdoor enthusiasts annually. The county was originally established in 1777, and its seat of government is Camden; both are named in honor of Sir Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden. Over 400 Revolutionary War captains and soldiers who served in the Continental Army were from Camden County.
During the late 1800s, North Carolina dominated the national tobacco market, and in 1913 R. J. Reynolds Company (RJR) introduced a product that revolutionized tobacco advertising and processing: Camel cigarettes.
The Cameron Village Shopping Center opened in 1949 with three stores and one restaurant. The open-air shopping mall was not only Raleigh’s first shopping center away from downtown but also is considered the first shopping center constructed between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. By 1950, Cameron Village, a “town within a town,” comprised 65 stores, 112 business or professional offices, 566 apartment units, and 100 private homes.
On January 5, 1887, James Archibald Campbell founded Buies Creek Academy, which would later become Campbell University, in a one-room school with twenty-one students.
Charles Albert Cannon, the son of a textile mill owner, was born in 1892. After attending Fishburne Military Academy and Davidson College, Cannon entered the textile industry himself, achieving success as a manager, treasurer and secretary. When his father died in 1921, Cannon assumed the leadership of the Cannon manufacturing plants and consolidated them to one entity, The Cannon Mills Company.
Born in Mecklenburg County in 1852, James W. Cannon revolutionized the cloth industry and towel manufacturing. His entrepreneurial adventure produced the largest towel manufacturer in the world (Cannon Mills) and, according to one historical account, “the largest unincorporated town in the world.”
In the wake of the second defeat of Great Britain, the young United States of America entered into a time that many historians call “The Era of Good Feelings,” for the War of 1812 assured many that the American experiment would survive. In 1815, North Carolina decided to erect a statue to commemorate George Washington.
A famous and world-renown Italian sculptor, Antonio Canova was commissioned by the state of North Carolina to sculpt a George Washington statue for the State Capitol. The Canova statue, with Washington wearing a Roman toga and portrayed as a military hero from ancient times, was the centerpiece of the Capitol lobby and is a prime example of neoclassical style.
During the early 1800s, the state of North Carolina purchased stock in a few companies. One such company was the Cape Fear Navigation Company. It became the first state-funded internal improvement project to reap dividends. However, critics still argued that the company’s finances were mismanaged.
North Carolina’s violent crime rate is the 18th highest in the country, and the Tar Heel State’s use of capital punishment ranks them in 5th place in the nation.
The Carolina Charter of 1663 was the first organic law of what eventually became the state of North Carolina. It conferred territory that also included what is now South Carolina to eight “true and absolute Lords Proprietors.” They possessed broad feudal powers and bore the responsibility of managing Carolina in the interests of England.
President John F. Kennedy’s used this rocker, and in the end, boosted this Asheboro product into the global spotlight.
After completing his "March to the Sea," General William T. Sherman proceeded north into the Carolinas. Sherman’s Army wrought devastation in South Carolina and met little resistance. Sherman captured Columbia, South Carolina, and it was burned to the ground. He then proceeded into North Carolina and took Fayetteville, Goldsboro, and then Raleigh. West of Raleigh at Durham’s Station, Sherman met with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and signed a peace agreement that officially surrendered all Confederate forces still active in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Never politically ambitious, Elias Carr represents what some scholars have called the last in a “fading tradition of planter governors.” The Edgecombe County native and Democrat with Populist tendencies served as governor from 1893 to 1897. During the last two years of his administration, Carr’s vision was tempered by Fusion politics.
Carteret County, North Carolina was formed in 1722 out of Craven County. It is named in honor of Sir John Carteret, who later became the Earl of Granville and one of the Lords Proprietors of North Carolina.
Although historians disagree regarding W.J. Cash’s conclusions about the Old and New South, they agree that all serious scholars of Southern history and culture must be familiar with Mind of the South. In it, the North Carolinian predicted the Civil Rights Movement. He died an untimely death in Mexico City in 1941.
A longstanding fixture of the northern Piedmont region, Caswell County is known for its political history and agricultural production.
Catawba College was founded by the German Reformed Church in 1851, and it is the sixth oldest college in North Carolina. Established to train ministers, Catawba now offers co-educational undergraduate and master degrees. Annual enrollment is over 1,300 students, and Catawba has several joint study programs with the Appalachian State, Duke, and Wake Forest Universities.
Catawba County, named after the Catawba Nation, is situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Formed in 1842, Catawba County’s distinguished landmarks and physical characteristics define the region and its historical and cultural relevance to the state.
Segregated orphanages in North Carolina necessitated the creation of an orphanage for dependent and neglected African American children. An idea for such an orphanage in Henderson, North Carolina was born, when Rev. Augustus Shepard, father of James Shepard the founder of North Carolina Central University, felt burdened when observing the squalid,living conditions of homeless African American children.
Raleigh’s Central Prison opened in 1884 to house a growing inmate population that overwhelmed the county jail systems. Inmate labor built the penitentiary, and one of the head architects of the $1.25 million Gothic-style complex was W. O. Wolfe, author Thomas Wolfe’s father. As of 2012, the prison contains nearly 1,000 inmates with a staff of 700.
Nobel Laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn and US Senator Jesse Helms forged a relationship that allowed them to help shape events that brought down one of the world’s most powerful governments.
Charles B. Aycock served as Governor of North Carolina (1901-1905), when a “strange amalgam of views toward race and reform,” writes historian Milton Ready, “came together in the move by Democrats to do away with the black vote without violating the Fifteenth Amendment or eliminating a vast number of white illiterate voters through the suffrage amendment.”
Charter schools are an educational reform intended to bring freedom of choice to public education. This freedom allows for growth, flexibility, and innovation. The North Carolina charter school movement began in the mid-1990s and has been controversial ever since.
Home of B. Everett Jordan Lake, the Carnivore Preservation Trust, and the famous and perplexing Devil Tramping Grounds, Chatham County was annexed from Orange County in 1771 as a result of the War of the Regulation. Chatham County received is named after William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. He was one of the few British statesmen to defend the American colonists’ rights in Parliament prior to the Revolution.
One of four African Americans elected to represent North Carolina’s Second Congressional district during the nineteenth century (1889-1893), Cheatham was later appointed by President McKinley as Recorder of Reeds for the District of Columbia, one of the highest federal offices then available to black appointees. He held the post from 1897 until 1901.
Founded by Lewis D. Peeler in 1917, Cheerwine is a Piedmont-produced and distributed soda based in Salisbury, North Carolina. Famous for its distinct cherry flavor and burgundy color, Cheerwine has enjoyed tremendous popularity among many North Carolinians though its reception and distribution outside the state has been limited.
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.
Nestled in the southwest corner of North Carolina and in the Appalachian Mountains, Clay County benefits from a bustling tourism industry centered on its landscape and historical landmarks.
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.
Josiah Collins II was the son of the prominent merchant Josiah Collins, Sr. He became manager and eventually the owner of the Collins Ropewalk in Edenton. Under his management, the Edenton Ropewalk became one of the most prosperous rope manufacturing sites in North America. When his father died in 1819, Josiah II became the temporary owner and manager of Somerset Plantation until his son Josiah III came of age. Josiah II was also important in the organization of North Carolina’s Episcopal Diocese in 1817.
Josiah Collins III was the heir to Somerset Place, a plantation originally built by his grandfather Josiah Collins, Sr. and his Lake Company. Josiah Collins III was educated at Harvard and later studied law in Litchfield, Connecticut, and lived in New York City for a time. At age 21, he assumed management of Somerset Place and turned it into one of the largest and most prosperous plantations in the South. Josiah Collins III died shortly after the beginning of the Civil War and his death marked the end of Somerset Place. It was restored as a North Carolina State Historic Site in the 1950s and 1960s.
Josiah Collins, Sr. (1735-1819) was a prominent businessman, merchant, plantation owner, and land speculator from Edenton, North Carolina. Collins was a well-respected member of the Edenton community, and he engaged in global trade, rope making, land development, and farming. He built and operated Somerset Place on Lake Phelps, which became one of the largest plantations in North Carolina and the upper South.
Columbus County, named in honor of the famed Christopher Columbus, was established in 1808, and its seat of government, Whiteville, was formed in 1832. The Waccamaw tribe inhabited the early region before European settlement. Some important natural attractions and features of the region are Lake Waccamaw, Green Swamp, and the North Carolina Museum of Forestry.
The Concerned Parents Association (CPA) was an anti-busing protest group within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. Though CPA successfully mobilized public opinion, they failed to stop the court-ordered busing. Their influence was greatly reduced after they tried—and failed—to boycott Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools.
Before the Fundamental Constitutions was penned, this 1665 document permitted freedom of religion in the colony. It also provided order in a disruptive settlement.
Students of the Civil War often overlook the contributions of the naval services in the conflict. The Confederate Navy and Marine Corps, however, played significant roles in North Carolina. They not only hampered the ability of the Union Navy to do its job, but took part in some of the state’s largest battles.
The Conservative Manifesto was a 1937 bi-partisan effort opposing what was considered excessive government intervention and growth. U.S. Senator Josiah W. Bailey (N.C.) authored the Manifesto.The Manifesto was a response to what was perceived as growing state collectivism and the fear that FDR led America, knowingly or not, down this path. Many southern Democrats and Republicans opposed the New Deal or believed that New Deal programs were necessary but needed to be limited.
The constitutional revisions of 1835 resulted in large part from North Carolina’s acceptance of Jacksonian democracy, a political movement that emphasized participation of the common man in the political process.
Containerization, as it is known today, started in the 1950s with a North Carolina trucker’s imagination and desire to improve transportation efficiency. According to the latest statistics, approximately 90% of the world’s non-bulk cargo is shipped via containers and approximately 26% of all goods shipped via containerization originate from China.
Before the end of the Civil War, as Union troops occupied more and more of North Carolina during the Civil War, more and more slaves fled to Union lines to live in what were then called contraband camps. Contrabands (freedmen) were escaped slaves from the Confederate territory into Union territory.
Performing his duties as the Earl of Granville’s land agent in colonial North Carolina, Francis Corbin was never far from public criticism. Hopefuls traveled to Corbin’s office to discuss land grants in what is now the northern half of North Carolina. Although he was an important figure in colonial politics and life, Corbin is most remembered now for building the impressive Cupola House in Edenton.
Cornelius Harnett, was an American merchant, farmer, and statesman from Wilmington, North Carolina. He was a leading American Revolutionary in the Cape Fear region and a delegate for North Carolina in the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1779.
The Cotton Textile Institute (CTI) played a key role in implementing the New Deal in North Carolina. CTI, a national organization of textile manufacturers, was headquartered in Charlotte and included prominent North Carolina industrialists such as Charles Cannon and Ben Gossett.
Realizing desegregation was unavoidable, Charlotte School Board members ordered four black students to attend four non-integrated schools in the area. Dorothy Counts, one of the four students, was assigned to Harding High School and required to report there on September 4, 1957. While escorted by Reginald Hawkins, Counts was heckled, hissed, and spat upon while walking to the school.
General Nathanael Greene and his Southern Patriot army strategically retreated Lord Cornwallis’s pursuit in the final months of the Revolutionary War. Greene hoped to wear the Brits down as he played an elusive game of cat-and-mouse in the North Carolina backcountry. However, the defeat at the Battle of Cowan’s Ford delayed his overall tactical objective.
Lesser known than his Progressive predecessors, including Governor Charles B. Aycock, the “Little Giant of the West” nevertheless implemented significant conservation and transportation programs. Early in his political career, Locke Craig was a Populist who supported William Jennings Bryan’s presidential candidacies; however, the Buncombe countian soon worked to help the White Supremacy movement regain control of North Carolina, became a Democrat who served in the North Carolina House and lost the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. He became Governor of North Carolina in 1912.
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.
Coached by Duke University football coach Wallace Wade, Fred Crawford developed into one of the nation’s premier football players during the early 1930s. He was the first Tar Heel to become an All-American.
In 1915, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Credit Union Act. (The law allowed for the formation and supervision of credit unions within the state.) By 1916, North Carolinians led the South in the establishment of credit unions.
The second largest Cape Fear River town during the eighteenth century, Cross Creek was formed in 1756, was combined with Campbelltown in 1778, and was later named Fayetteville in 1783. During the Revolutionary War, the town was a hotbed of wartime activity and a home of divided loyalties.
During the early 1800s, the state of North Carolina had only 43 of the 1,343 miles of canals in the United States. The Cross Creek Canal Company, named after the second largest Cape Fear river town, was one company that ensured that goods were transported into and from Fayetteville.
The CSA Arms Factory produced innovative technology for the Confederacy. One such example included a predecessor of the modern-day tank. The Confederate government, however, never signed a contract for the innovative products and relied on the North Carolina armory mainly for bayonets and swords.
Shortly after his arrival in Albemarle, John Culpeper joined John Jenkins and other antiproprietatary faction members in a plot to arrest Thomas Miller, the proprietary leader in the colony.
The British crown’s investigation into the rebellion in Albemarle did not conclude until November 20, 1680 when the Court of King’s Bench began its trial of Culpeper for high treason.
Some historians have argued that the Albemarle colony’s location, an isolated one in the frontier backwaters of colonial northern Carolina, fostered the development of individual initiative and self-governance in the region. It seems that the Albemarle region did indeed have a culture of independence that nourished seeds of liberty (or rebellion to some); at least five rebellions occurred there before the American Revolution. Culpeper’s rebellion, the most significant rebellion of the proprietary period in Albemarle Colony, exemplified the area’s dedication to opposing unfair taxation and demanding sovereignty in affairs.
Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, victor of the Battle of Culloden that ended the Jacobite Rising, is the namesake of the Coastal Region area known today as Cumberland County. Originally part of Bladen County, Cumberland County was drawn by the Colonial Legislature in 1754.
Located in Edenton, North Carolina and described as the finest Jacobean house south of Connecticut, the Cupola House reminds modern-day visitors of the prominence of Edenton during the transition from English colonial rule to American independence.
One of the earliest preservation efforts in North Carolina, The Cupola House Association has maintained the Cupola House in Edenton, built in 1758, for all to enjoy. It is a prime example of concerned citizens finding private solutions to solve historical preservation problems.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse is located on the Outer Banks in Corolla, North Carolina. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1973; the lighthouse is the last brick lighthouse built on the Outer Banks.
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.
Although Don Curtis founded the Curtis Media Group in 1968, he started his media career ten years earlier. In 1957, 15 year old Don began working at WKMT in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. He transformed his weekly broadcast in Bessemer City into one of the largest single shareholder companies in the United States.