A western mountain county, Jackson is known for its interesting natural and physical characteristics, particularly the Great Smoky Mountains, the Tuskasegee River, and the Nantahala National Forest. Formed in 1851, Jackson’s county seat is the town of Sylva, and other communities include Cashiers, Glenville, and Balsam.
A former North Carolina slave turned abolitionist and author, Harriet Jacobs was born in bondage in Edenton. In her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), Jacobs describes the abuse that she endured while a slave and is the best-known autobiography written by an African American woman during the 19th century.
James City emerged as a haven for free black men and women in eastern North Carolina during the Civil War. By 1865, approximately 3,000 blacks had migrated to the city, and the town thrived after the war. However, after the federal government allowed the original landowners sole ownership of James City, the black community started leaving the area. Today, nearly 700 black residents live in James City, and social organizations have sought to preserve the history of the region.
James T. Leach (1805-1883) played an important role in North Carolina’s Peace Movement during the American Civil War. Leach took the rhetoric of liberty that had been used to justify secession and turned it against the Confederate government.
After Zebulon Vance resigned from being governor to assume a U.S. senatorial post, Lieutenant Governor Thomas Jordan Jarvis became governor in 1879.
During the late-sixteenth century, Joara was the most dominant, and possibly the largest, town in what is now modern-day Piedmont and western North Carolina. Located in Burke County, twelve miles north of Morganton, on Upper Creek, Joara was, according to historians, “the northeastern edge of the Mississippian cultural world.” Its economic and political prominence and its location prompted Spanish explorer Juan Pardo to construct Fort San Juan near the Indian town.
Suddenly thrust into the presidency after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, Johnson had to complete the task of ending the Civil War and also launch the effort to bind up the nation’s wounds by establishing stability and order throughout the country, particularly in the Rebel states. Given the climate of the times, every move he made was subjected to scrutiny and, quite often, criticism and attack, especially by certain Republican leaders of Congress. He vigorously defended both the Constitution, as he interpreted it, and the office of the president from incessant attacks by Congressional leaders. Yet, the legislative branch gained the upper hand early in the battle and eventually sought to oust Johnson from office.
Johnston County, established in 1746, is named in honor of Royal Governor Gabriel Johnston. Smithfield is the county’s seat, and agriculture remains the strongest indicator of the area’s economy. Johnston’s primary historical attraction is the Bentonville Battleground State Historic State which preserves the last battlefield of the Civil War.
Enacted on January 15, 1771, the Johnston Riot Act breached English Common Law and enlarged governmental power in order to intimidate Regulators from ceasing their protests. It, however, enraged the defenders of liberty and incited more protests.
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was one of the highest ranking Confederate generals and a member of “Old Virginia.” Before the Civil War, Johnston had a distinguished military career and was the first West Point graduate to achieve the rank of general. During the Civil War, Johnston became a general in the Confederate Army, defended Richmond in the Peninsula Campaign, and opposed General Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign. He took command of the Confederate Army in North Carolina on February 25, 1865 to oppose General Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign and fought at the Battle of Bentonville. Johnston officially surrendered the Confederate Army at Bennett’s Place outside Durham’s Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865.
Samuel Johnston, one of early North Carolina’s most durable politicians, served as governor during the debate over the ratification of the United States Constitution. In addition to his support for the Constitution, Johnston was known as a governor, in the words of one historian, who displayed “cautious restraint with regard to fiscal and monetary affairs.”
His work influenced politics and law in the years leading up to and following the Revolutionary War.
Formed from Craven County, Jones County was established in 1779, and its county seat is Trenton. Before the Civil War, the plantation-style economy thrived in the county, and Jones became one of the richest counties of the antebellum period. President Washington, President Monroe, and John C. Calhoun all visited Jones County in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Willie Jones was an influential Jeffersonian states’ righter and patriot during the Revolutionary War and Federalist periods. Willie Jones (pronounced Wiley) is remembered mostly for opposing the ratification of the United States Constitution. His political philosophy has had a lasting influence.
B. Everett Jordan, born in 1896, served in the United States Senate from 1958 until 1973. Before his work in politics, Jordan managed his family’s textile business, Sellers Manufacturing Company Jordan was appointed to fill Senator Kerr Scott’s seat after his death in 1958, serving in several different committee until he lost reelection in 1973. He passed away from cancer in 1974.
Although a movie was based on his The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man, Guy Owen considered Journey for Joedel his best novel. For it, he won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The esteemed novelist Walker Percy described Journey for Joedel as “touching, tender, and highly readable.”
Sacred to the Cherokee, Judaculla Rock has long remained a tourist attraction, but also a mystery to archeologists and geologists. Located in Jackson County, the large soapstone exhibits intricate carvings that Cherokee believe were imprinted by the god of all Game Animals, Judaculla or Tsu’kalu. Yet, historians and archeologists have proposed different theories regarding the rock’s meaning.
Possibly the best football player to graduate from UNC and one of the best football players to play intercollegiate ball, Charlie Justice, played for the Washington Redskins before recurring injuries prematurely ended his professional career.