Coastal Plain

Region

African American

Sweet Potatoes in North Carolina History

1664-1775

North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes than any other state in the United States and has been a leader since 1971.[1] In 2021 its production represented 64 percent of total U.S. production.[2] The potatoes are grown primarily in central and eastern North Carolina. The largest producers are currently the counties of Sampson, Nash, Wilson, and...

Sports and Entertainment

The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man (1965)

1916-1945

A poet and writer of many short stories, including the ones using the “Flim Flam Yarn” title, Guy Owen was launched into fame with comical and popular The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man. Two years later it was turned into a movie, starring George C. Scott. 

Business and Industry

Edenton Ropewalk

1776-1835

One of the first rope manufacturing establishments in North America; the Edenton Ropewalk (also referred to as the Hewes Ropewalk or the Collins Ropewalk) was originally established by Joseph Hewes in about 1777 and was acquired by Josiah Collins, Sr. in 1783. Under the management of his son, Josiah Collins II, the Edenton Ropewalk became one of the premier rope manufacturing sites in America. Covering an immense 131-acres of land, the Edenton Ropewalk was a large-scale rope making operation and by 1795 it is said to have created some of the best rope in the colonies.  However, due to changes in the economic climate and the death of Josiah Collins II, the Edenton Ropewalk ceased operation in 1839.

Revolution Era

Thomas Wynns (1760-1825)

1776-1835

Thomas Wynns was a politician and general from Hertford County, North Carolina. He served in the North Carolina House of Commons, the North Carolina Senate, and in the United States House of Representatives. He was also commissioned as a major general in the North Carolina militia.

Revolution Era

Josiah Collins, Sr. (1735-1819)

1664-1775

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.

Transportation

Dismal Swamp Canal

1776-1835

The Dismal Swamp Canal, originally chartered in 1790, connects the Albemarle Sound and the Chesapeake Bay. Opened in 1805, the Dismal Swamp Canal created a passage between northeastern North Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia. By the mid-1820s, the Dismal Swamp Canal was widened and deepened enough for reliable commercial traffic. As a result, international trade shifted from Albemarle Sound towns, like Edenton, to Norfolk, Virginia.  Today the Dismal Swamp Canal is primarily used for recreational boating.

Business and Industry

The Lake Company

1776-1835

The Lake Company was created in 1784 by Josiah Collins, Sr., Nathaniel Allen, and Dr. Samuel Dickenson to acquire and develop land around Lake Phelps.  The Lake Company was a successful agricultural business and built canals around Lake Phelps. After a long legal battle, Collins bought his partners’ shares in the company, and turned the Lake Company into “Somerset Place” Plantation.

Business and Industry

Somerset Place Plantation

1776-1835

Somerset Place is plantation located on the land around Lake Phelps in present-day Washington County, North Carolina. Originally part of the Lake Company’s holdings that spanned over 100,000 acres in Washington and Tyrrell Counties, the area became Somerset Place in 1816 when Josiah Collins, Sr. became sole owner of the Lake Company.  Under Collins’s grandson, Josiah Collins III, Somerset Place became one of the largest plantations in the South.  Today it is a North Carolina State Historic Site.

Business and Industry

Josiah Collins II (1763-1839)

1776-1835

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.

Business and Industry

Josiah Collins III (1808-1863)

1776-1835

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.

Counties

Wayne County (1779)

1776-1835

Wayne County was formed from Dobbs County in 1779 in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain.  Wayne County is named after “Mad Anthony” Wayne, one of George Washington’s most trusted generals.  Goldsboro is the county seat, and Wayne is also home to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.  Wayne is also the home of numerous cultural institutions and events.

Civil War

The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads (March 10, 1865)

1836-1865

  The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads was a small Civil War battle that occurred on March 10, 1865 near Fayetteville. Mounted Confederate cavalry attacked an unprepared Union cavalry encampment.  The fighting lasted several hours. Although initially routed the Union soldiers rallied, counter attacked, and retook the camp.  The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads opened the road to Fayetteville for Confederate troops, allowed Confederate forces to arrive at Fayetteville first, and provided the Confederates the time needed to cross the Cape Fear River before the arrival of the Union soldiers.