Statewide

Region

African American

Thomas Day (1801- ca. 1861)

1836-1865

Famous for his craftsmanship, Thomas Day, a free African American, became one of North Carolina's most prolific and respected furniture makers in the state. Born to free parents in Dinwiddie, Virginia, Day and John Jr., his brother, were well-educated.

Colleges and Universities

The UNC System: Part I

1776-1835

Today, the University of North Carolina System consists of 17 separate campuses located throughout the state. It is governed by a Board of Governors elected by the General Assembly. It even includes two special high schools. But the university began with just one campus, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Agriculture

Gristmills: North Carolina’s First Public Utilities

1664-1775

Gristmills—mills that use water power to grind corn and wheat into flour—were a “familiar feature of the 19th century countryside,“ wrote Grimsley T. Hobbs in 1985. They were also North Carolina's first public utilities.

Colonial North Carolina

Joel Lane, Raleigh’s “Founding Father”

1664-1775

Joel Lane (1739 or 1740–1795) was a North Carolina political figure active in the colony’s preparation for the American Revolution. After the war ended, he was one of the many North Carolina Anti-Federalists. Anti-Federalists opposed ratification of the U. S. until James Madison promised to add a Bill of Rights.

Colonial North Carolina

Lotteries in Early North Carolina

1664-1775

We think of lotteries as modern, but they were a popular way of raising money in early North Carolina—in colonial times and especially during the Early Republic after the American Revolution. Between 1759 and 1834, North Carolina’s legislature authorized 101 lotteries, according to a tally by Alan D. Watson.

Colonial North Carolina

John Harvey (1714–1775)

1664-1775

John Harvey has been called “the great leader in the eventful times immediately preceding the Revolution.”1 He died in 1775, after the Lexington and Concord battles in Massachusetts launched the American Revolution. Thus he did not take part in the revolution’s most active phase. He was, however, a powerful force in North Carolina for three...

Commentary
Political History

How North Carolina Came to Be Shaped As It Is Today

1664-1775

When did North Carolina become known as North Carolina and acquire its modern shape? We must go back to Jan. 24, 1712, when Edward Hyde became the first governor of what became known as North Carolina, or more specifically, he was the first official governor under the Lords Proprietors. Carolina was then divided into two...

Political History

NC Signers of the Declaration of Independence

1776-1835

North Carolina played an important role in the beginning of the United States. Three North Carolinians signed the Declaration of Independence: William Hooper, John Penn, and Joseph Hewes.

Political History

North Carolina Constitution Is an Important Governing Document

1776-1835

I often have wondered how many North Carolinians have taken the time to study or at least generally refer to the North Carolina Constitution. Most likely, more than a few from the Old North State would be surprised to learn that such a document exists. In this regard, North Carolinians probably are not alone. Most...

Commentary
Sports and Entertainment

Southern Culture’s Multiracial Mix Affects American Music

1946-1990

North Carolinians, and their Southern counterparts, have contributed much to the American music scene.

Colonial North Carolina

Regulator Dispute Literally Made North Carolina a Battleground State

1664-1775

Tar Heels may be surprised to learn that North Carolinians, with opposing opinions, once unfortunately settled their political debate on an actual battleground—the Battle of Alamance (1771).

Commentary
Civil War

N.C. Played Crucial Role At Civil War’s End

1836-1865

During the horrid conflict (1861-65), when brother sometimes fought brother, approximately 750,000 lives were lost. Some scholars contend that one-sixth of the Confederate dead hailed from the Old North State. Unlike today, soldiers from the same county comprised regimental companies. As a result some communities — North and South — lost a great percentage of their male population. Many soldiers returned home alive yet without an arm, leg, or several limbs. Other veterans suffered from what doctors called “shell shock” during World War I and what we now call Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.