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Newsletter #112 Summer 2017

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ca. 40,000–15,000 B.C.
People migrate to North America from Asia at irregular intervals by way of the Bering Land Bridge.

10,000–8000 B.C.
Paleo-Indian-period American Indians are nomadic and hunt large animals for food. They also eat small game and wild plants. They leave no evidence of permanent dwellings in North Carolina.

8000–1000 B.C
Archaic-period American Indians move from big-game hunting to small-game hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants. These people change their patterns of living because of the changing climate in North America.

ca. 8000 B.C.
Possibly this early, American Indians begin to use a site in present-day Wilson County for either permanent or seasonal habitation.

ca. 1200 B.C.
Southeastern Indians begin growing squash gourds.

1000 B.C.–A.D. 1550
Woodland-culture American Indians settle in permanent locations, usually beside streams, and practice a mixed subsistence lifestyle of hunting, gathering, and some agriculture. They create pottery and also develop elaborate funeral procedures, such as building mounds, to honor their dead.

ca. 200 B.C.
Southeastern Indians begin growing corn.

A.D. 700–1550
Mississippian-culture American Indians create large political units called chiefdoms, uniting people under stronger leadership than the Woodland cultures have. Towns become larger and last longer. People construct flat-topped, pyramidal mounds to serve as foundations for temples, mortuaries, chiefs’ houses, and other important buildings. Towns are usually situated beside streams and surrounded by defensive structures.

Many groups of American Indians live in the area now called North Carolina. These include the Chowanoke, Croatoan, Hatteras, Moratoc, Secotan, Weapemeoc, Machapunga, Pamlico, Coree, Neuse River, Tuscarora, Meherrin, Cherokee, Cape Fear, Catawba, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sugeree, Waccamaw, Waxhaw, Woccon, Cheraw, Eno, Keyauwee, Occaneechi, Saponi, and Tutelo Indians.

A.D. 1000
Vikings from northern Europe, after establishing colonies on Iceland and Greenland, settle on the North American continent at Newfoundland. How far south and west they explore is unknown. After a few years, they abandon the Newfoundland colony.

A.D. 1492
Italian explorer Christopher Columbus leads expeditions for Spain to explore new trade routes in the western Atlantic Ocean. This results in European contact with native peoples in the Caribbean and South America, creating a continuing and devastating impact on their cultures.


Pedro de Quexoia leads a Spanish expedition from Santo Domingo that explores the coastal region.

Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazano explores for France along what is now the North Carolina coast.


July: A Spanish colony directed by Luís Vasquez de Ayllón settles along the Cape Fear River. The colony has more than 500 men, women, and children, including African slaves. After more than 300 settlers die of starvation and disease, the survivors abandon the colony in October and return to Santo Domingo.

A Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto explores the western portions of present-day North Carolina, looking for gold. De Soto and his men visit Indian communities and probably introduce smallpox and other deadly European diseases to the native populations.


Spanish explorers establish Saint Augustine in present-day Florida. This is the first permanent European settlement in America.

August 24: Spaniards looking for the Chesapeake Bay land on the coast of present-day Currituck County. Led by Pedro de Coronas, they explore for a few days without encountering any natives and eventually return to the West Indies.

Spanish explorer Juan Pardo, seeking gold, leads an expedition through what is now western North Carolina. Pardo visits the Catawba, Wateree, and Saxapahaw Indians.


Sir Walter Raleigh sends explorers Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe to North America in search of potential colony sites. At Roanoke Island the explorers meet Native American chief Wingina and find the site excellent for settlement. They return to England with two Indians, Manteo and Wanchese, who learn English and are used to create publicity for Raleigh’s colony.

The first English settlement in America is founded at Roanoke Island, and Ralph Lane is appointed governor. The Roanoke Indian people, some of whom initially welcome the colonists, begin to see the English as a drain on food and other resources.

Ralph Lane leads an expedition into the interior of North Carolina in search of gold and other precious metals. Roanoke Indians warn inland tribes about the English, but Lane makes an alliance with the Chowanoke, who hope to use the English against their enemies the Tuscarora. Chief Wingina plots to get rid of the English settlers, and Lane has him killed.

Sir Francis Drake arrives at Roanoke Island and takes most of the colonists back to England, leaving an exploring party. Possibly Drake also leaves Africans and South American Indians that he captured from the Spanish. A relief ship arrives at Roanoke Island and, finding none of the colonists, leaves 15 men to hold the area for England.

Raleigh sends explorer and artist John White to Roanoke Island as leader of a new group of settlers—the second English attempt to settle there. The colonists find bones of the 15 men left behind in 1586. White enlists the help of Manteo to build relationships with the Roanoke and Croatoan Indians. Most of the native peoples decide to let the colonists fend for themselves.

Governor White leaves Roanoke Island for England to acquire supplies for the colonists. With England and Spain at war, White cannot make an immediate return to the colony.

August 18: Virginia Dare becomes the first English child born in the New World.

White finally returns to Roanoke Island to find the colony deserted, with little evidence of what happened to the colonists. He attempts to sail to Croatoan Island in hopes of finding some of them, but severe weather prevents him from reaching the island, and he never returns to the area. The Roanoke settlement is known afterward as the Lost Colony.


King James I grants a charter to the Virginia Company of London for the region that includes present-day North Carolina.

Jamestown, the first successful English colony in the New World, is established in Virginia. The colonists begin using tobacco as a cash crop for export to England.

Jamestown leader John Smith sends expeditions to the Roanoke Island area to seek information about the Lost Colony. His men find nothing conclusive.

Because of Spain’s rivalry with England, the Spanish government develops an alliance with the Tuscarora people to monitor the Jamestown colony.

A Dutch ship arrives at Jamestown carrying 20 captive African natives. Apparently these Africans are treated as indentured servants and work in tobacco fields. Their introduction into Virginia sets the stage for African slavery to develop in English America.

An expedition from Jamestown, led by John Pory, explores the Chowan River region.


October 30: King Charles I grants land south of Virginia to Sir Robert Heath. Charles names the region Carolina, or Carolana, for himself.

White settlers begin to move into Indian lands along the coastal sounds and rivers of North Carolina.

The area of present-day North Carolina serves as a haven for runaway slaves. Many flee to the Great Dismal Swamp, and some establish communities.


September–October: Edward Bland travels from Virginia to explore Carolina and publishes a description of the region entitled The Discovery of New Brittaine.

Virginia legislator Francis Yeardly hires fur trader Nathaniel Batts to explore the Albemarle Sound region as an area of possible settlement. Yeardly agrees to purchase land from the Roanoke Indians but dies before his settlement is established.

July: The Virginia Assembly grants lands along the Roanoke and Chowan Rivers to Roger Green, who has previously explored the region.

ca. 1655
Batts settles along the Chowan River in a building that serves as both his home and a trading post. He trades with local Native Americans and becomes the area’s first permanent white settler.

March 1: King Kilcocanen of the Yeopim Indians grants land to George Durant in the earliest grant on record in the colony.

King Charles II grants Carolina to eight supporters called Lords Proprietors. The region, which includes present-day North and South Carolina, stretches from Albemarle Sound in the north to present-day Florida in the south and west to the Pacific Ocean. The Proprietors divide this land into three counties: Albemarle, Clarendon, and Craven. Scottish merchant William Drummond is appointed governor of Albemarle County, the only one of the three counties with colonists.

Tobacco becomes a major export crop, although lack of a deepwater port prevents shipment of goods directly to England.

Colonists from Boston and Barbados attempt to settle in the Cape Fear region, but no settlements last long. Settlers continue to enter the colony from the north, but the Cape Fear region will not have permanent colonists until 1725.

June 30: The Lords Proprietors’ charter is amended to include settlements in the Albemarle region previously considered a part of Virginia.

The Albemarle County Assembly, North Carolina’s earliest legislative assembly, meets for the first time.

Peter Carteret, assistant governor of Albemarle County, grants a license to three New England men to hunt whales along Carolina’s northeast coast. This is the earliest known document indicating commercial whaling in the colony.

August 27: A severe hurricane sweeps along the coast, destroying settlements in the Cape Fear and Albemarle regions.

May 1: The Great Deed of Grant from the Lords Proprietors permits Albemarle settlers to hold lands under same terms as colonists in Virginia.

Laws reducing the land tax and giving settlers five years’ immunity from suits over former debts encourage immigration.

In an attempt to tighten their control over unruly Albemarle colonists, the Lords Proprietors issue the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, written by John Locke. This document increases the power of appointed officials, decreases the power of elected officials, and makes ownership of 50 acres of land a requirement for voting.

The County of Albemarle is divided into Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Chowan Precincts.

The Ashley River settlement (present-day Charleston, S.C.) is founded. Its excellent port makes it easy for people there to ship goods to England.

George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and missionary William Edmundson visit Albemarle and convert many colonists to Quakerism. Edmundson preaches the first sermon in the colony near the site of Hertford. Quakers will become the first religious body to obtain a foothold in Carolina and the only communion of importance before 1700.

The Plantation Duty Act requires that all colonies trade directly with England or face heavy duties on goods. Albemarle colonists resist because their lack of an adequate harbor requires them to ship goods to northern colonies before they can be shipped to England. Albemarle governor John Jenkins refuses to enforce the act.

Chowanoc Indians attack white settlements in Carolina. The uprising is quelled with the "loss of many men."

Factionalism emerges in the colony between newer residents, who favor Proprietary rule, and older settlers, who disagree with the way the Proprietors rule Albemarle. Two leaders of the Proprietary faction, Thomas Eastchurch and Thomas Miller, clash with Governor John Jenkins, a leader of anti-Proprietary sentiment. Jenkins jails Miller for “treasonable utterances” and attempts to dissolve the assembly. The majority of that body disagrees with Jenkins, however, and he is deposed and jailed.


By March, Jenkins is released and resumes the post of governor. Eastchurch and Miller go to England to try to sway the Lords Proprietors in their favor. The Proprietors side with Eastchurch and appoint him governor. But Eastchurch delays his return to Carolina and, without authority to do so, appoints Miller as acting governor.

Albemarle settlers market 2,000 hogsheads of tobacco, receiving £20,000 for the year’s crop.

Thomas Miller rules Albemarle harshly and raises tobacco taxes, becoming increasingly unpopular with the inhabitants.

December: John Culpeper and George Durant lead “Culpeper’s Rebellion” against Miller and take over the government for eighteen months, until the summer of 1679. Eastchurch threatens to retake control but dies in 1678 before he can reach Albemarle.

The de facto government of Carolina sends Culpeper to England to negotiate with the Lords Proprietors. Miller beats him there, however, and Culpeper finds himself charged with treason and embezzlement. He agrees to face trial and, with the support of several Proprietors, is acquitted. The court agrees that there was no regular acting government in the colony at the time of the rebellion, and therefore the rebels did not act in a treasonous manner.

The Proprietors appoint John Harvey as the colony’s next governor. Harvey is well liked by the colonists but dies within a year.

October 10: Virginia bans the importation of Carolina tobacco on the grounds that "the importation of trash greatly injures the reputation of the Virginia manufacture." However, Carolina tobacco still goes to Virginia.

John Jenkins is reappointed governor for one year. Seth Sothel holds the office next and becomes known as a corrupt and oppressive governor.

February 27: Considering "the great damage that does arise in his Majesty’s service by harboring and encouraging pirates in Carolina," the Committee for Trade and Plantations sends a “Draught of the law now in force in Jamaica against Pirates and Privateers,” with instructions that it take effect as a statute of Carolina.

The 1669 law exempting persons in the colony from prosecution for debts contracted abroad is repealed.

Found guilty of 13 charges, including tyranny, extortion, and bribery, Governor Seth Sothel is removed from office by the Lords Proprietors.

The Proprietors appoint Philip Ludwell governor of Albemarle and all of the colony “north and east of the Cape Feare.” This splits Carolina into two political entities—"North" Carolina and "South" Carolina.

Cherokee traders establish trade agreements with the English at Charles Towne (present-day Charleston, S.C.).

Governor Ludwell is sent south to Charles Towne to govern all of Carolina. A deputy governor is appointed to manage the area known as North Carolina.

Albemarle County establishes a new settlement south of Albemarle Sound on land taken from the Pamlico Indians. This settlement becomes Bath County.

Henry White, a prominent Quaker in Perquimans Precinct, writes the first known poem in North Carolina, a long, untitled religious poem about the "fall of man" and his "restoration by Jesus Christ."


The Chowanoc and Weapemeoc peoples have gradually abandoned their lands. Some have become slaves or indentured servants, and others have migrated south to join the Tuscarora. Only about 500 American Indians remain in the Albemarle region.

An escaped slave serves as an architect in the construction of a large Tuscarora Indian fort near the Neuse River.

Anglicans in England grow concerned that their church does not have a significant presence in North Carolina. The Reverend Daniel Brett becomes the first Anglican minister to serve in the colony. Brett’s disorderly behavior causes him to be called “the Monster of the Age.”

ca. 1700
The first public library is established at Bath with books sent from England by the Reverend Thomas Bray.

Settlers begin moving west and south of the Albemarle area.

The Vestry Act divides North Carolina into Anglican parishes and requires all citizens to pay taxes for the support of Anglican priests. Non-Anglicans (also called Dissenters) object. The Lords Proprietors reject the act in part because it does not provide enough funding for the clergy.

December 15: Chowan Parish is organized, followed by Pasquotank and Perquimans Parishes.

The Vestry Act passes, requiring members of the General Assembly to be members of the Church of England and to take an oath of allegiance to Queen Anne. Subsequent governors and assemblymen ignore these requirements.

Parliament passes the Naval Stores Act in an effort to cut British dependence on foreign sources of tar, pitch, and other commodities badly needed for sailing ships. The act subsidizes the production of naval stores in the colonies by paying premiums of four pounds sterling per ton on tar and pitch, and six pounds per ton on hemp. North Carolina benefits substantially from this act, and the production of naval stores becomes one of the coastal area’s prime industries.

Charles Griffin, the first schoolteacher in North Carolina, operates a school in Pasquotank County. He later moves to Edenton and runs a school there for several years. The only other known school in operation during the Proprietary period is at Sarum, in Gates County.

Bath becomes the first incorporated town in North Carolina.

Thomas Cary is appointed governor in 1708. Quakers protest his heavy-handed actions and send John Porter to England to petition for his removal. The Proprietors agree to remove Cary as governor, but through a complicated chain of events, he retains his office into 1711. In that year, Edward Hyde becomes deputy governor and de facto governor. A brief rebellion by Cary’s followers is put down with the aid of forces from Virginia. Cary is sent to England for trial but is ultimately released.

Surveyor John Lawson, who began a thousand-mile journey through the colony at the end of 1700, publishes A New Voyage to Carolina. It describes the colony’s flora and fauna and its various groups of American Indians. Lawson also publishes a map of Carolina.

Baron Christoph von Graffenried, a leader of Swiss and German Protestants, establishes a colony in Bath County. The town, called New Bern, is founded at the junction of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, displacing an American Indian town named Chattoka.

June 8: Tuscarora Indians on the Roanoke and Tar-Pamlico Rivers send a petition to the government of Pennsylvania protesting the seizure of their lands and enslavement of their people by Carolina settlers.

Early September: Tuscarora capture surveyor John Lawson, New Bern founder Baron von Graffenried, and two African slaves. Lawson argues with the chief, Cor Tom, and is executed. The Indians spare von Graffenried and the slaves.

September 22: The Tuscarora War opens when Catechna Creek Tuscaroras begin attacking colonial settlements near New Bern and Bath. Tuscarora, Neuse, Bear River, Machapunga, and other Indians kill more than 130 whites.

October: Virginia refuses to send troops to help the settlers but allocates £1,000 for assistance.

In a series of uprisings, the Tuscarora attempt to drive away white settlement. The Tuscarora are upset over the practices of white traders, the capture and enslavement of Indians by whites, and the continuing encroachment of settlers onto Tuscarora hunting grounds.

January: South Carolina sends assistance to her sister colony. John Barnwell, a member of the South Carolina Assembly, leads about 30 whites and some 500 “friendly” Indians, mostly Yamassee, to fight the Tuscarora in North Carolina. A battle takes place at Narhantes, a Tuscarora fort on the Neuse River. Barnwell’s troops are victorious but are surprised that many of the Tuscarora’s fiercest warriors are women, who do not surrender “until most of them are put to the sword.”

January 24: Edward Hyde is commissioned as governor. North Carolina and South Carolina officially become separate colonies.

April: Barnwell’s force, joined by 250 North Carolina militiamen, attacks the Tuscarora at Fort Hancock on Catechna Creek. After ten days of battle, the Tuscarora sign a truce, agreeing to stop the war.

Summer: The Tuscarora rise again to fight the Yamassee, who, unsatisfied with their plunder during earlier battles, remain in the area looting and pillaging. The Tuscarora also fight against the continued expansion of white settlement.

September 8: Governor Hyde dies of yellow fever, during an outbreak that kills many white settlers.

March 20–23: Another force from South Carolina, consisting of 900 Indians and 33 whites, begins a three-day siege on the Tuscarora stronghold of Fort Neoheroka. Approximately 950 Tuscarora are killed or captured and sold into slavery, effectively defeating the tribe and opening the interior of the colony to white settlement. Although a few renegades fight on until 1715, most surviving Tuscarora migrate north to rejoin the Iroquois League as its sixth and smallest nation.

A treaty with remaining North Carolina Tuscarora is signed. They are placed on a reservation along the Pamlico River. The Coree and Machapunga Indians, Tuscarora allies, settle in Hyde County near Lake Mattamuskeet. The land will be granted to them in 1727, and a reservation will be established.

An act of assembly declares the Church of England the established church of the colony and adopts plans to build roads, bridges, ferries, sawmills, and gristmills throughout the colony.

North Carolina adopts its first slave code, which tries to define the social, economic, and physical place of enslaved people.

The General Assembly enacts a law denying blacks and Indians the right to vote. The king will repeal the law in 1737. Some free African Americans will continue to vote until disfranchisement in 1835.

The few Tuscarora remaining in the colony, led by Tom Blount, are granted land on the Roanoke River in Bertie County, near present-day Quitsna. The Tuscarora left their reservation on the Pamlico River because of raids by tribes from the south.

After British authorities drive them from the Bahamas, pirates transfer their operations to the Carolina coast. Most notable are Stede Bonnet and Edward Teach (Blackbeard). Teach locates at Bath, where he boasts that he can be invited into any home in North Carolina.

Blackbeard seizes English and colonial ships along the coast. When the king offers to pardon all pirates who surrender and promise to cease their piratical operations, Teach promptly takes the pardon. Within a few weeks, however, he returns to his old trade. Bonnet continues to operate off the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

January: England, France, and Holland form a triple alliance against Spain, and the resulting war leads to Spanish raids on English colonists in North Carolina.

North Carolina’s first free school, endowed by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, opens at Bath.

November 22: In a battle between British sailors and pirates near Ocracoke Inlet, Lieutenant Robert Maynard kills Blackbeard.

December 10: Stede Bonnet and 29 fellow pirates, captured earlier off the North Carolina coast, are hanged at Charlestown, S.C.

Exports of pitch and tar to Great Britain by way of New England are reported at 6,000 barrels.


Charles Eden, governor since 1714, dies. The Town on Queen Anne’s Creek is incorporated and renamed Edenton in his memory.

Beaufort Town is incorporated.

South Carolina planters settle along the Lower Cape Fear River and begin developing the rice and naval stores industries. They bring large numbers of enslaved people and a large, plantation-style slave system.

Brunswick Town is founded. It will be incorporated in 1745.

Roger Moore builds Orton Plantation House on the Lower Cape Fear.

The Cheraw (Saura) Indians incorporate with the Catawba living near present-day Charlotte.

The first Baptist congregation in North Carolina forms as Shiloh Church, in Chowan Precinct.

Surveyors begin determining where the North Carolina–Virginia line will lie.

The “cotton weevil” is reported.

North Carolina becomes a royal colony when King George II purchases shares from seven of the eight Lords Proprietors. Only Earl Granville refuses to sell.

Between 1743 and 1746, an area equaling one-eighth of the original land grant is surveyed and marked off as the Granville District, in order to differentiate between areas of royal and Proprietary control. The district consists of a 60-mile-wide strip along North Carolina’s border with Virginia and contains some of the most densely settled areas in the colony.

Small quantities of iron are shipped to England.

North Carolina’s population numbers about 35,000, but a new wave of immigration is beginning.

Virginia ends the ban on importation of North Carolina tobacco.

Cherokee leaders visit London and confer with the king. They pledge friendship to the English and agree to return runaway slaves and to trade exclusively with the British.

early 1730s
Welsh immigrants living in Pennsylvania come to North Carolina and settle mainly along the Northeast Cape Fear River (in present-day Pender County), in an area that becomes known as the Welsh Tract.

Brunswick flourishes, and 42 vessels carrying cargo sail from the port in one year.

Highland Scots begin immigrating to North Carolina and settling in the Cape Fear backcountry. Thousands will eventually come to this area.

Saint Thomas Episcopal Church, now the oldest church building in the state, is constructed in Bath.

The first tobacco market in North Carolina opens in Bellair, Craven County.

Scots-Irish immigrants begin coming to North Carolina in large numbers, settling mainly in the Piedmont. Most are second-generation colonists moving south down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, but a few come directly from Northern Ireland.

Surveyors begin defining the North Carolina–South Carolina border.

The North Carolina colony establishes an Indian Trade Commission to regulate trade with native peoples.

Mail is first carried regularly through North Carolina on the post road that runs from Boston to Charlestown, S.C.

A smallpox epidemic decimates the Indian population in North Carolina, especially in the eastern part of the colony. The epidemic decreases the number of Cherokee by 50 percent.

The Reverend George Whitefield, a Methodist missionary and one of the earliest circuit-riding preachers, makes his first foray into North Carolina.

England calls on the colonies to support a war against the Spanish in South America. North Carolina sends four companies of 100 men each. They participate in a failed attack on a Spanish fort at Cartagena, Colombia. Many are killed or die of disease, and only 25 of the 400 men return to the colony. The Spanish attack shipping off the North Carolina coast for the next eight years.

Waxhaw Indians, decimated by smallpox, abandon their lands in present-day Union County and join the Catawba. The vacated lands are taken up by German, English, Scottish, and Welsh immigrants.

Aaron Moses witnesses a will, becoming the first Jewish person on record in North Carolina.


The privilege of performing marriage ceremonies is restricted to clergy of the Anglican Church and, in lieu of such, any lawful magistrates.

A law is enacted requiring newly freed slaves to leave North Carolina within six months.

Physician and naturalist John Brickell lists the colony’s religious groups, including Quakers, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, and “many Sectaries.”

Assembly delegates choose New Bern as the colonial capital and vote for equal representation among the counties. Delegates from the Albemarle region, absent because of bad weather, protest these decisions. Many people in their districts refuse to pay taxes for several years.

April 20: The first liquor control law adopted by the colonial assembly levies a fine on any tavern keeper who allows a person “to get drunk in his home on the Sabbath.”

A new wave of Highlanders begins arriving in North Carolina after the failed revolt in Scotland in 1746. Forced from their Scottish homelands, these immigrants settle mainly in the Cape Fear Valley.

During King George’s War, the Spanish attack Beaufort and Brunswick. In the so-called Spanish Alarm, they sack settlements before local militia can drive them away.

People of German descent begin migrating in large numbers from Pennsylvania and resettle throughout the western Piedmont.

James Davis installs North Carolina’s first printing press in New Bern. His first publications are government documents.

Squire Boone settles with his family, including his son Daniel, near present-day Mocksville.

Armed conflicts arise between the Cherokee and colonists, who continue to expand areas of settlement further into the western part of the colony.

James Davis begins publishing the North Carolina Gazette, the colony’s first newspaper, in New Bern. He also prints North Carolina’s first book, A Collection of All the Public Acts of Assembly, of the Province of North Carolina, Now in Force and Use.

The first monthly meeting of Friends (Quakers) in central North Carolina begins in Alamance County.

Orange County is established in an area of heavy immigration. It encompasses all or parts of the present-day counties of Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Guilford, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, and Wake. Its county seat, Hillsborough, will become known as the “capital of the backwoods.”

Moravians from Pennsylvania purchase a 100,000-acre tract in present-day Forsyth County from Earl Granville. They name the area Wachovia, which means “peaceful valley.” They establish the settlement of Bethabara in November.

The colony reports exports of pitch, tar, and turpentine at 84,012 barrels.

The French and Indian War is fought between England and France all along the frontier of North America. North Carolina troops serve both in North Carolina and in other colonies.

Salisbury is founded as the county seat of Rowan County, created from Anson County in 1753 to accommodate increasing numbers of German and Scots-Irish settlers in the area.

The Reverend Shubal Stearns leads a group of 15 Separate Baptists from Connecticut to Orange County and establishes Sandy Creek Baptist Church, the “mother of Southern Baptist churches.”

The Indian population in eastern North Carolina is estimated at around 356. Most of these are Tuscarora who have not moved north.

The colonial governor approves a proposal to establish an Indian academy in present-day Sampson County.

October 14: The assembly awards a contract for the first postal service to James Davis, public printer. Davis is authorized to “forward public dispatches to all parts of the province.”

Fort Dobbs, built near Statesville to house settlers during times of war, is completed. The Moravians build a fort around the village of Bethabara.

North Carolina militia and Cherokee assist the British military in campaigns against the French and Shawnee Indians. The Cherokee decide to change sides after receiving ill treatment by the English, and they return home, where they eventually attack North Carolina colonists.

The Moravians establish Bethania in present-day Forsyth County.

The French and Indian War intensifies as the Cherokee raid the western Piedmont. Refugees crowd into the fort at Bethabara. Typhus kills many refugees and Moravians there.

A second smallpox epidemic devastates the Catawba tribe, reducing the population by half.

An act of assembly permits North Carolinians serving against Indian allies of the French to enslave captives.

February: Cherokee attack Fort Dobbs and white settlements near Bethabara and along the Yadkin and Dan Rivers.

June: An army of British regulars and American militia under Colonel Archibald Montgomerie destroys Cherokee villages and saves the Fort Prince George garrison in South Carolina but is defeated by the Cherokee at Echoe.

August: Cherokee capture Fort Loudoun in Tennessee and massacre the garrison.


June: An army of British regulars, American militia, and Catawba and Chickasaw Indians under Colonel James Grant defeats the Cherokee and destroys 15 villages, ending Cherokee resistance.

December: The Cherokee sign a treaty ending their war with the American colonists.

King George III issues a proclamation that demarcates the western edge of settlement. This “proclamation line” through western North Carolina is meant to separate the Native Americans and the colonists.

A group of white men from Edgecombe, Granville, and Northampton Counties petitions the General Assembly to repeal a 1723 law that heavily taxes free African Americans upon marriage. The petitioners state that the tax leaves blacks and mixed-race people “greatly impoverished and many of them rendered unable to support themselves and families with the common necessaries of life.”

February: The Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years’ War in Europe and the French and Indian War in North America.

The New Bern Academy, chartered by the assembly, opens. The academy receives support from the church and a provisional tax: in return for the tax revenue, the school will educate 10 poor children without charge. The academy will operate until it is incorporated into the New Bern public school system in the 1920s. It is the oldest public-supported educational institution in North Carolina.

Parliament passes the Stamp Act. It requires that paper items such as licenses, playing cards, wallpaper, newspapers, pamphlets, and almanacs be stamped with a tax. Colonial assemblies protest.

October: Two public protests over the Stamp Act take place in Wilmington. After November 1, with no stamped paper available, ships cannot clear North Carolina, and newspapers cease publication. Governor Tryon reports that “all Civil Government is now at a stand.”

The Moravians establish Salem in present-day Forsyth County.

The North Carolina Assembly appropriates £5,000 for the construction of a governor’s mansion in New Bern. Previously, the seat of government has not been permanent but has moved up and down the coast with the governor. The assembly, controlled by wealthy coastal landowners, chooses New Bern over Hillsborough, the site preferred by residents of the backcountry.

February: North Carolina “Sons of Liberty” offer armed resistance to the Stamp Act at Brunswick. They coerce officials to reopen the port.

March: The Stamp Act is repealed.

The Reverend David Caldwell opens a school, later known as Caldwell’s Log College, in present-day Guilford County. The school, which serves as an academy, a junior college, and a theological seminary, becomes the most important one in the colony. It is coeducational and eventually instructs approximately 50 to 60 students per year.

Construction of the governor’s residence at New Bern begins under the direction of Governor William Tryon. It becomes known as Tryon’s Palace because of its extravagance.

Chowan County Courthouse, now the oldest standing courthouse in the state, is constructed in Edenton.

Parliament passes the Townshend Act, which imposes duties on imported glass, paper, lead, pigments, and tea. Calls to boycott these goods circulate throughout the colonies.

March 15: Andrew Jackson, the future seventh president of the United States, is born in or near Union County. The precise place of his birth is in dispute.

Farmers in Orange County organize the Regulator movement, which spreads to surrounding counties. The movement protests excessive taxation and abuses by public officials. Edmund Fanning is considered the most corrupt official. Herman Husband and William Butler lead the protest. Over the next two years, the Regulator movement gains strength in the Piedmont.

A committee of the assembly votes to join other colonies in a “nonimportation association” and to vow that after January 1770, no “slaves, wine, nor goods of British manufacture” will come into the colony.

Tryon’s Palace is completed in New Bern.

Regulators storm the Hillsborough Superior Court and assault several public officials, including Edmund Fanning. The assembly passes reform measures designed to address some of the Regulators’ concerns. It also passes the Johnston Riot Act, authorizing the governor to put down the Regulators by military force if necessary.

Iron is being mined and ironworks are established on Troublesome Creek, in present-day Rockingham County.

The assembly charters Queen’s College in Charlotte as the colony’s first full-fledged college. A bill to collect taxes to support the college passes, and classes begin before the colony learns that King George III refuses to approve the charter. The Crown does not approve of the college because most of the pupils will be Presbyterians or Dissenters of some sort rather than members of the Church of England.

May 16: North Carolina militiamen under the command of Governor Tryon defeat the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance in Orange County, ending the Regulator movement.

Joseph Pilmoor preaches the first Methodist sermon in the colony at Currituck Courthouse.

Approximately 4,000 Highland Scots arrive to settle along the Cape Fear River, bringing the total Scottish population in the colony to 20,000.

September 25: Frontiersman Daniel Boone leaves his Yadkin River home to begin exploring Kentucky.

December 16: The Boston Tea Party takes place in Massachusetts.

Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald, who helped Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) escape from British forces in 1746, immigrates to North Carolina. In accord with her forced oath to the Crown, she remains a staunch Loyalist during the Revolutionary War. Her husband is captured by Patriots early in the war, and she returns to Scotland in 1779.

August: The First Provincial Congress meets in New Bern. It adopts a resolution criticizing the acts and policies of the British government. In addition, the members adopt a nonimportation and nonexportation agreement and elect delegates to the First Continental Congress.

August 4: Rowan County freeholders adopt resolutions opposing Crown taxes and duties, favoring restrictions on imports from Great Britain, and objecting to the “African trade.”

September–October: The First Continental Congress issues a “Declaration of Rights and Grievances” against Great Britain.

October 25: The Edenton Tea Party takes place at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth King. The 51 women in attendance resolve to support American independence.

North Carolina has a population estimated at 250,000, making it the fourth most populous mainland British colony. Between 10 and 30 percent of the backcountry population is of German descent, and most other white settlers in the region are Scots-Irish. Eastern North Carolina is populated mostly by English colonists and enslaved African Americans.

The Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (now Elizabethton, Tenn.), between Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company and the Cherokee people, is signed. It opens for settlement the area from the Ohio River south to the Watauga settlement. The Shawnee people, who inhabit the lands, refuse to accept the terms of the treaty.

April 8: Royal governor Josiah Martin dissolves the last North Carolina colonial assembly.

April 19: The first battles of the American Revolution take place at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts.

May 24: Governor Martin goes from the capital at New Bern to Fort Johnson on the Cape Fear River for safety.

May 31: A committee of citizens from Mecklenburg County meets at the courthouse in Charlotte and adopts the Mecklenburg Declaration. The declaration protests acts of the British government, voids all British authority in the colony until abuses are corrected, and calls for the election of military officers by the people.

June 19: Patriots burn Fort Johnson on the Cape Fear, and Governor Martin escapes to a British warship.

August 24: The North Carolina Provincial Congress declares that the people of the colony will pay their due proportion of the expenses of training a Continental army. The delegates appoint a committee to devise a system of government for the province.

November–December: Virginia’s royal governor, the earl of Dunmore, calls upon slaves, indentured servants, and other Loyalists to assist in suppressing the rebellion of American colonists. Hundreds of African Americans from Virginia and North Carolina join his Royal Ethiopian Regiment. At the Battle of Great Bridge, Virginia and North Carolina colonials defeat Dunmore’s forces.

ca. 1775
The first German Baptist (Dunker) congregation in the state forms near Muddy Creek in present-day Forsyth County.

The Coharie, Catawba, and ancestors of the Lumbee join the Patriot cause; the Cherokee decide to support the British.

Washington, N.C., becomes the first town in the United States named for George Washington. Laid out in 1771, it was originally called Forks of the Tar River. It will be incorporated in 1782.

The Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers) denounces slavery and appoints a committee to aid Friends in emancipating their slaves. Forty slaves are freed, but the courts declare them still enslaved and resell them.

The British recruit enslaved and free African Americans along the North Carolina coast to form the Black Pioneers and Guides, a regiment of guides and laborers. This unit serves throughout the Revolutionary War.

February 27: North Carolina Patriots defeat North Carolina Highland Scots Loyalists at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge. The victory emboldens the Patriots and prevents the Loyalists from reaching Wilmington, the site of a planned rendezvous with a British naval expedition.

April 12: In the Halifax Resolves, the North Carolina Provincial Congress, meeting at Halifax, authorizes North Carolina delegates to attend the Continental Congress to “concur in independency.”

April 24: The Provincial Congress orders that a saltworks be established in Carteret County for use in the cause of independence.

May–June: Cherokee village councils discuss going to war against the American colonists. The Cherokee decide to fight, knowing that the consequences are enormous. However, the Cherokee are fighting to protect the existence of their society, so they ignore the overwhelming odds against them.

June: White settlements in Watauga and South Carolina are raided by the Cherokee, allies of the British, who have promised to protect the Indians from encroachments by colonial borders.

July 29–November: General Griffith Rutherford with 2,400 men invades Cherokee country, destroying 32 towns and villages. Rutherford is joined by Colonel Andrew Williamson with South Carolina troops and Colonel William Christian with Virginians. This expedition breaks the power of the Cherokee and forces them to sue for peace.

August 2: North Carolina’s Continental Congress representatives, Joseph Hewes, William Hooper, and John Penn, sign the Declaration of Independence.

December 18: The Provincial Congress adopts the first North Carolina state constitution and elects Richard Caswell as governor.

Halifax, Hillsborough, Fayetteville, Smithfield, and Tarboro serve at various times as the state’s capital.

North Carolina recognizes settlements in what is now Tennessee as Washington County, and in 1783 Davidson County, including present-day Nashville, is formed in the Cumberland River valley.

The first paper mill in the state is built in Hillsborough to help reduce the paper shortage brought on by the war.

April: An exodus of British sympathizers (mostly Highland Scots) to England, Scotland, Canada, Nova Scotia, Florida, and the West Indies follows the enactment of punitive laws by the assembly.

June–September: Some 90 men from Martin, Bertie, and Tyrrell Counties form a conspiracy under the leadership of John Lewelling to resist North Carolina’s militia draft and loyalty oath. The conspirators, some of them Loyalists, fear that an independent state would lead to increased secularization of government, the weakening of the Anglican Church, and increased influences from overseas French-Catholic powers. The conspiracy is broken when Lewelling’s plans to start a slave rebellion become known.

July 20: By the Treaty of Long Island of Holston, the Cherokee cede territory east of the Blue Ridge and along the Watauga, Nolichucky, Upper Holston, and New Rivers (the area east of present-day Kingsport and Greenville, Tenn.).

October 4: Brigadier General Francis Nash is mortally wounded while leading the North Carolina Brigade at the Battle of Germantown, Pa.

A list of blacks in the Continental army shows that 58 African Americans served in the North Carolina Brigade. According to some historians, at times as much as one-tenth of George Washington’s Continental army consisted of African American men.

April 24: North Carolina ratifies the Articles of Confederation.

June 29: North Carolina Continentals in General Washington’s American army fight in the Battle of Monmouth, N.J.

November 15: The Continental Congress adopts the Article of Confederation, uniting the colonies in the war against Great Britain and toward a unified government.

December: North Carolina Continentals begin a harsh winter encampment as part of General George Washington’s army at Valley Forge, Pa. They remain there until spring.

December: African American John Chavis from Halifax County joins the Fifth Virginia Regiment of the Continental army. Chavis remains in the army for three years and will go on to become a prominent teacher and minister. In 1832 Chavis will write to Senator Willie P. Mangum: “Tell them if I am Black I am free born American & a revolutionary soldier & therefore ought not to be thrown out of the scale of notice.”

November: North Carolina Continentals are transferred from Washington’s army to General Benjamin Lincoln’s American army at Charlestown, S.C. They arrive there in March 1780.

May 12: The British capture Charlestown, S.C., and a large American army. Among those who surrender are 815 Continental troops and 600 militia from North Carolina. Loyalists across the backcountry are emboldened as the British army approaches North Carolina, and significant Loyalist groups form in Anson, Rowan, Tryon, and Surry counties. Local Patriot forces defeat most of them, but 800 men under the command of Samuel Bryan reach the main British army.

June 20: In the Battle of Ramseur’s Mill, near present-day Lincolnton, North Carolina Patriots defeat North Carolina Loyalists who are attempting to join British commander Lord Cornwallis’s approaching army.

July: North Carolina partisans defeat Loyalists in three small battles in the western Piedmont of North and South Carolina.

August 16: The new American commander of the South, General Horatio Gates, and his army, including 1,200 North Carolina militia, are surprised and defeated at the Battle of Camden, S.C. North Carolina general Griffith Rutherford is captured, and 400 North Carolinians are killed.

September: The town of Charlotte defends itself against approaching British troops. The ferocity of resistance causes Cornwallis to call the area a “hornet’s nest.”

October 7: Americans defeat Loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain, just south of the North Carolina–South Carolina border. This battle ends Cornwallis’s first invasion of North Carolina.

December 2: General Nathanael Greene takes command of the American army at Charlotte.

North Carolina enacts legislation that provides lands in present-day Tennessee to Revolutionary War veterans.

Bishop Francis Asbury preaches Methodism throughout the state.


January–February: After a futile chase across North Carolina, known as the Race to the Dan, Cornwallis does not catch the American army led by Greene. Cornwallis occupies Hillsborough, hoping that local Loyalists will join him, but few do.

January–November: British troops occupy Wilmington. From there British and Loyalists conduct raids into the countryside. Cornelius Harnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is captured, and New Bern is raided.

January 17: A British force under Colonel Banastre Tarleton attacks Americans under General Daniel Morgan at Cowpens, S.C., but is badly defeated.

February 25: En route to join Cornwallis’s army near Burlington, a force of some 400 Loyalists led by Colonel John Pyle is massacred by Patriots. This event becomes known as Pyle’s Hacking Match.

March 15: The largest armed conflict in North Carolina during the war, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, results in a costly narrow victory for Cornwallis’s British troops. Cornwallis retreats to Cross Creek (present-day Fayetteville) and then to Wilmington. His army marches north and occupies Halifax briefly before moving into Virginia.

May–June: A bloody civil war between Loyalists and Whigs erupts in eastern and central North Carolina. It becomes known as the Tory War. Loyalist successes during the confrontations end with the British evacuation of Wilmington later in the year.

September 12: Loyalist troops under the leadership of David Fanning capture Governor Thomas Burke at Hillsborough and set out to take him to Wilmington.

September 13: Whig forces attack Fanning’s army in an attempt to free Governor Burke and other prisoners. The Battle of Lindley’s Mill, which results from this attack, is one of the largest military engagements in North Carolina during the war. Fanning is injured, but his column continues. Burke is given over to the British, who imprison him at Charlestown, S.C.

October: North Carolina militia under General Rutherford sweep through the Cape Fear region clearing out Tory opposition. As they reach Wilmington, the British abandon the city.

October 19: Cornwallis surrenders a large British force at Yorktown, Va., effectively ending large-scale hostilities. North Carolina Loyalists are among those who surrender.

May: David Fanning escapes from North Carolina, marking the end of the Tory War in the state.

November: The British evacuate Charlestown. With them go more than 800 North Carolina Loyalist soldiers (some will later be joined by their families) and perhaps as many as 5,000 African Americans, many of them runaway slaves from North and South Carolina. Some of the Loyalists go to England, but most disperse to other British possessions, including Florida, Bermuda, Jamaica, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario.

Despite the Indian treaty of 1777 fixing the boundary at the foot of the Blue Ridge, the assembly declares lands open for settlement as far west as the Pigeon River.

The North Carolina General Assembly passes the Act of Pardon and Oblivion, offering amnesty to some North Carolinians who remained loyal to Britain during the Revolution. Many notable Loyalists, such as David Fanning, do not receive amnesty. The state continues to sell confiscated Loyalist property until 1790.

Cross Creek, which merged with Campbellton in 1778, is renamed Fayetteville in honor of the marquis de Lafayette, a French general who helped Americans win the war.

June 18: Governor Alexander Martin proclaims July 4 “a day of Solemn Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” This is the earliest known proclamation of the observance of July 4 as Independence Day.

September 3: Great Britain and the United States sign a treaty that officially ends the American Revolution and recognizes the independence of the former British colonies.

Methodist circuit riders, or traveling preachers, cover the North Carolina backcountry. Some Methodists are “Republican Methodists” who denounce slavery, and many circuit riders bar slaveholders from communion.

The State of Franklin secedes from western North Carolina, but Congress refuses to recognize it. Statehood by Franklin collapses.

April 19: The first North Carolina conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church takes place in Louisburg.

November 28: By the Treaty of Hopewell, S.C., the Cherokee cede additional territory reaching to a line east of present-day Marshall, Asheville, and Henderson. They also cede a strip along the south bank of the Cumberland River in present-day middle Tennessee. The treaty delineates the boundaries of Cherokee territory.

December 29: The General Assembly enacts a law requiring free and enslaved African Americans to wear badges in the towns of Edenton, Fayetteville, Washington, and Wilmington. A slave must wear a leaden or pewter badge in a conspicuous place. A free black must wear a cloth badge on his or her left shoulder with the word free in capital letters.

In Bayard v. Singleton, Elizabeth Bayard attempts to recover property confiscated because her father was a Loyalist. Spyers Singleton has purchased the property from the state. Judges declare the Confiscation Act, passed by the General Assembly during the American Revolution, unconstitutional. The decision is the first in the United States to declare an act passed by a legislature as contrary to a written constitution.

The banjo, an African musical instrument, is first mentioned in a journal by a visitor to Tarboro.

After a period of study in Salisbury, Andrew Jackson, future seventh president of the United States, is admitted to the bar in Rowan County.

September 17: William Blount, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and Hugh Williamson sign the United States Constitution for North Carolina.

North Carolina lawyers Andrew Jackson and Colonel Waightstill Avery engage in a duel in Jonesboro, now in Tennessee. Neither man is injured, and they leave the field as friends.

The assembly encourages ironworks by offering 3,000 acres of vacant land for each set of works placed in operation.

August 2: Delegates to the constitutional convention at Hillsborough, unsatisfied with the document’s lack of a bill of rights to ensure personal freedoms, protest by choosing to neither ratify nor reject the United States Constitution.

August 15: The assembly orders the state capital located within 10 miles of Isaac Hunter’s plantation in Wake County.

August 26: An iron mine and forge operate in Lincoln County.

November: The Synod of the Carolinas of the Presbyterian Church forms at Centre Church in Iredell County.

John Wallace and John Gray Blount establish a “lightering” complex at Ocracoke Inlet. It includes warehouses, docks, a gristmill, a chandlery, and a lighthouse—the first on the coast. The area will become known as Shell Castle Island and Harbor.

November 21: The convention at Fayetteville votes to accept the United States Constitution, which now contains the Bill of Rights, making North Carolina the 12th state to ratify.

December 11: The state’s first university, called for under the 1776 constitution, is chartered.

December 22: North Carolina’s western lands are ceded to the United States, forming what will become the state of Tennessee.

The federal government takes the first census of the United States.

North Carolina Census Data
Total 393,751
Free white persons 288,204
All other free persons 4,975
Slaves 100,572

Henry Evans, a free black shoemaker and Methodist minister, is credited with starting the Methodist church in Fayetteville.

The Dismal Swamp Canal, designed to connect the Chesapeake Bay with the Albemarle Sound, is chartered.

February 10: President George Washington appoints North Carolinian James Iredell a justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Wilmington exports about 3,000 hogsheads of flaxseed. Flax and hemp are important in the economy of backcountry farms.

April–June: George Washington visits several North Carolina towns on his southern tour.

July 2: The Cherokee sign the Treaty of Holston, by which they cede a 100-mile tract of land in exchange for goods and an annuity of $1,000.

Joel Lane sells 1,000 acres of land on his Wake County plantation as the site of North Carolina’s new capital. The city is named Raleigh after Sir Walter Raleigh.

Approximately 1,200 African Americans living in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, many formerly from the Carolinas, resettle in Sierra Leone, Africa. Former North Carolina slave Thomas Peters leads the party. Peters left his Wilmington-area plantation in 1776 to join the Black Pioneers and eventually attained the rank of sergeant in the regiment.

Eli Whitney invents the first commercially successful cotton gin near Savannah, Ga. The cotton gin eventually changes the agricultural face of North Carolina by making cotton a profitable cash crop.

Work begins on the Dismal Swamp Canal, which will link South Mills in Camden County with waterways in Virginia. Constructed with slave labor, the canal is the oldest man-made waterway in the United States.

April 22: President George Washington issues a proclamation of neutrality to keep the United States out of war between France and Great Britain, establishing a policy of noninterference in European conflicts.

August: A group of dissenters from the Methodist Episcopal Church, led by North Carolinian James O’Kelly, forms the southern Christian Church in Surry County, Va. The denomination will evolve into the present-day United Church of Christ.

December 30: The General Assembly convenes for the first time at the new State House in Raleigh.

January 15: The University of North Carolina opens its doors in Chapel Hill. It is the first state university in the nation to open for students.

November 2: James Knox Polk, future 11th president of the United States, is born in Pineville.

ca. 1795
John Fulenwider founds the High Shoals Ironworks in present-day Gaston County.

The Bald Head Lighthouse, the state’s first permanent lighthouse, is erected in Brunswick County. In 1817 it will be replaced by the current structure, which will operate until 1935.

The Buncombe County Courthouse and the village around it are renamed Asheville in honor of Governor Samuel Ashe.

Because of an aversion to increased taxation, public lotteries, authorized by the assembly, are a popular way of raising funds for academies, churches, bridges, canals, and other public works. Between 1797 and 1825, the state lotteries raise $150,000 for educational purposes alone.

North Carolina–born William Blount, a United States senator from Tennessee, becomes the only member of Congress to be impeached by the House. He is impeached for conspiring with the British to launch a military expedition of frontiersmen and Indians to help Great Britain take New Orleans, La., and Florida away from Spain. The Senate expels Blount and later dismisses the impeachment charges.

The General Assembly takes a stand against the Alien and Sedition Acts, which allow the federal government to jail or deport individuals who speak out against the president or Congress.

October 2: By the Treaty of Tellico, the Cherokee cede a triangular area with its points near Indian Gap, east of present-day Brevard, and southeast of Asheville.

Gold is discovered on John Reed’s farm in Cabarrus County, starting North Carolina’s gold rush. North Carolina becomes the primary supplier of gold for the United States until 1849.

Joseph Rice kills the last bison, or buffalo, seen in the Asheville area.

May 20–June 28: The North Carolina–Tennessee boundary is first surveyed.

December: North Carolinian Alfred Moore is appointed a justice of the United States Supreme Court.

December 16: The North Carolina Medical Society holds its first meeting in Raleigh. The organization will continue until 1804.


1800 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons


All other free persons
(except Indians not taxed)




Thomas Jefferson is elected president of the United States.

1802 A planned slave rebellion alarms white residents of northeastern North Carolina. Eleven suspected organizers hang.

After a meeting at Bell’s Meeting House in Randolph County, religious revivals sweep the state, peaking in 1804.

The Meigs-Freeman Line is surveyed in western North Carolina. It will remain the boundary between areas of white settlement and areas of Cherokee control until 1819.

Salem Female Academy is established by the Moravian Church in Salem.

September 6: Richard Dobbs Spaight, who served three terms as governor between 1792 and 1795 and was a congressional representative from 1798 through 1801, dies from a wound received in a duel with his political opponent in the 1802 senatorial election, John Stanly.

War breaks out between Great Britain and France. President Thomas Jefferson doubles the size of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase from France.

May 2: John G. Arends of Lincoln County becomes the first president of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod.

The Bank of Cape Fear and the Bank of New Bern are chartered. They are the first banks in the state.

Winifred Marshall Gales publishes Matilda Berkely; or, Family Anecdotes, a story of upper-class life in England and Russia. It is the first novel written by a resident of North Carolina.

Federal law ends the legal importation of enslaved Africans. African people are still smuggled into the country, and internal slave trading continues until abolition.

Rather than declare war because of British outrages on American shipping, the United States passes the Embargo Act, the first in a series of economic sanctions focused primarily against Great Britain.

John Chavis, a freeborn African American, opens a school in Raleigh. Chavis, who fought in the Revolutionary War, teaches white children by day and black pupils at night.

The Cherokee establish a law code and the “Light Horse Guards” to maintain law and order.

December 29: Andrew Johnson, future 17th president of the United States, is born in Raleigh.

North Carolina native Dolley Madison becomes first lady when James Madison is inaugurated as the fourth United States president. She becomes one of the most popular first ladies in the nation’s history.

1810 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons


All other free persons
(except Indians not taxed)




The Cherokee abolish clan revenge as a mechanism for social control.

James Gay of Iredell County publishes A Collection of Various Pieces of Poetry, Chiefly Patriotic, the first poetry book written in North Carolina.

The Bank of North Carolina is chartered.

November 11: The Battle of Tippecanoe, fought in Ohio between the United States Army and Shawnee Indians, ends in the defeat of the American Indians and the loss of their land.

December 16: The people of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee experience the “shaken, trembling, and sounds” of the New Madrid, Mo., earthquake.

Secretary of State William Hill establishes the North Carolina State Library. James F. Taylor will become the first official state librarian in 1843.

Cherokee Indians fight on the side of the Americans to put down Shawnee chief Tecumseh’s efforts to drive away white settlers.

June 18: The United States declares war on Great Britain. The War of 1812 lasts until 1815. Onslow County native Otway Burns, captain of the Snap Dragon, is America’s most successful privateer during the conflict, capturing more than a million dollars worth of British shipping.

The state’s first cotton mill, owned by Michael Schenck, opens in Lincoln County.

The Presbyterian Synod of North Carolina forms at Alamance Church in present-day Guilford County.

July 12–16: A British fleet occupies Portsmouth and Ocracoke as part of the hostilities during the War of 1812.

March 27: Cherokee Indians aid General Andrew Jackson in defeating the Creek Indians in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in Alabama. After the battle, Jackson tells the Cherokee chief Junaluska: “As long as the sun shines and the grass grows there shall be friendship between us, and the feet of the Cherokee shall be toward the East.” As president, Jackson later plays a major role in the effort to move the Cherokee west.

August 24: The British army burns Washington, D.C. Before the soldiers arrive, first lady Dolley Madison packs papers, furnishings, and Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington for transport, ensuring that valuable items remain safe.

December 24: The United States and Great Britain sign a peace treaty ending the War of 1812. News of peace does not arrive in time to prevent a decisive defeat of the British army at New Orleans, La., on January 8, 1816.

Archibald Murphey reports to the General Assembly on internal improvements and education in North Carolina.

The Fayetteville Observer, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the state, is founded. It operates as a weekly until 1896, when it becomes a daily.

The Tariff Act passed by Congress places import fees on foreign goods to protect and promote the growth of industry in the United States.

The Episcopal Church organizes in North Carolina.

The Cherokee cede land in exchange for land on the Arkansas River, and 2,000 Cherokee move west.

The Neuse River Navigation Company operates a steamboat between New Bern and Elizabeth City.

The Prometheus, built by Otway Burns and operated on the Cape Fear River, is the first steamboat constructed in North Carolina.

Construction begins on the state’s second cotton mill, Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount.

Richard Jordan Gatling, inventor of the Gatling rapid-fire machine gun and various improvements for farm machinery, is born in Hertford County.

The Cherokee agree to a treaty by which a large amount of their land in present-day Henderson, Transylvania, and Jackson Counties is ceded to the federal government. The Cherokee are allowed to receive land grants as individuals and can resell the land to white settlers to earn money.

1820 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons




Free colored persons


Congress passes the Missouri Compromise, which admits Missouri to the United States as a slave state but prohibits slavery in the northern territories. North Carolina congressmen are divided on the issue: those from the east oppose the slavery exclusion measure, and those from the west favor it.

The USS North Carolina joins the United States fleet.

The Cherokee establish a judicial administration and eight judicial districts.


Sequoyah completes his work of establishing the Cherokee alphabet, making the Cherokee people the only group of American Indians to have a written language.

Sculptor Antonio Canova’s statue of George Washington arrives and is placed in the State House.

The Cherokee National Supreme Court is established.

President James Monroe issues a foreign policy declaration, known as the Monroe Doctrine, that places North and South America off-limits to European colonization.

The Ocracoke Lighthouse is erected. It is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina currently in service.

Gold is discovered in Rowan County in an area that becomes known as Gold Hill. Extensive mining begins in 1843, creating a short-lived boom town. Copper is also found in the area and will be mined until 1907.

Lemuel Sawyer of Camden County creates the play Blackbeard. It is the first play written by a native North Carolinian. The play is about people trying to find Blackbeard’s treasure, and the misadventures of a gentleman named Candid.

The state legislature creates the Literary Fund to pay for the establishment of the first public schools in the state.

African American artisan Thomas Day begins making furniture and opens his own shop, where he teaches his trade to white apprentices and to slaves.

The North Carolina General Assembly passes a law forbidding the migration of free blacks into the state.

D. H. Bingham founds the first military school in North Carolina. The school occupies various sites in Orange, Vance, and Alamance Counties before moving to Asheville in 1891.

November 5: Robert Vance, a former North Carolina congressman, is fatally wounded during a duel with his political successor, Samuel P. Carson, in present-day Henderson County.

The Buncombe Turnpike is completed, increasing commercial traffic in the Mountain region of North Carolina.

The Cherokee approve a new tribal constitution.

Andrew Jackson is elected president of the United States.

Congress passes the Tariff Act, which raises import fees. This angers the South, which pays most of the import duties but receives little benefit from the tax.

The first annual conference of the Methodist Protestant Church convenes at Whitaker’s Chapel in Halifax County.

Henry Humphries of Greensboro builds the first steam-powered mill.

The first edition of the Cherokee Phoenix, a newspaper printed in Cherokee and English, is released.

Nine families in Washington, N.C., dedicate the first Roman Catholic church in North Carolina: Saint John the Evangelist, a simple frame structure with dirt floors. Fire set by retreating Union soldiers will destroy the church in 1864.

August 1: The first public meeting in support of establishing railroads in North Carolina takes place in Alamance County.

John C. Blum of Salem begins publication of the Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac.

George Moses Horton publishes a book of poetry entitled The Hope of Liberty. It is the first book by a North Carolina slave and a southern black.

1830 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons




Free colored persons


President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act calling for American Indians to be forced from their homes to lands west of the Mississippi.

The General Assembly passes “black codes” restricting the activities of free and enslaved African Americans.

David Walker, an African American born free in Wilmington in 1785, publishes Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World in Boston. Appalled by slavery, he advocates open rebellion. The North Carolina General Assembly bans Walker’s writings, as well as other “seditious” works that “might excite insurrection.”

The North Carolina Baptist State Convention organizes in Greenville.

Slave and preacher Nat Turner leads 20 followers in a bloody revolt through Southampton County, Va., just north of the North Carolina border. The North Carolina militia is called out to assist in stopping the rebellion.

The North Carolina General Assembly passes a law forbidding African American preachers to speak at worship services where slaves from different owners are in attendance, and forbidding anyone to teach African Americans to read and write.

Omar ibn Said, a enslaved African and Arabic scholar, writes his autobiography in Arabic. Intrigued by his slave’s abilities, Said’s owner, General James Owen, gives him little work and permits him to study an Arabic translation of the Bible. Said had learned English and converted to Christianity, becoming a member of First Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville in 1820. He will die in 1864 at the age of 94.

Christopher Bechtler establishes a private mint in Rutherford County.

June 21: Fire destroys the state capitol building in Raleigh.

A mile-long experimental railroad is built in Raleigh to convey granite from a quarry to the site of the new capitol building. The legislature charters another new line, known as the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.

Frankie Silver is convicted of the murder of her husband in present-day Mitchell County. She becomes the first woman in North Carolina to be executed by hanging.

Sir Archie, the sire of American Thoroughbred horses such as Timoleon, Boston, Lexington, and Man o’ War, dies at Mowfields in Northampton County.

March 2: After South Carolina threatens to secede from the United States over the import tariff issue, President Andrew Jackson signs a bill lowering tariff fees. He also signs a bill authorizing him to use force, if necessary, to collect import duties.

Baptists found Wake Forest Institute in Wake County. It later becomes Wake Forest College. It will move its campus to Winston-Salem in 1956 and become Wake Forest University in 1967.

John Nissen founds the Nissen Wagon Works in Forsyth County. In 1919, just before automobiles begin to dominate the market, the business will produce 50 wagons a day.

The state constitution is extensively revised, with amendments approved by the voters that provide for the direct election of the governor and more democratic representation in the legislature. However, new laws take voting rights away from American Indians and free blacks. Women are not allowed to vote.

A small, unauthorized group of men signs the Cherokee Removal Treaty. The Cherokee protest the treaty, and Chief John Ross collects more than 15,000 signatures, representing nearly the entire Cherokee population, on a petition requesting the United States Senate to withhold ratification.

The Senate approves the Cherokee Removal Treaty by one vote.

Edward B. Dudley becomes the first North Carolina governor elected by popular vote.

The federal government opens a United States Mint branch in Charlotte. It produces gold coins until the Civil War. After 1868 the federal government will run an assay office at the mint, but no coins will be produced.

Presbyterians open Davidson College in Mecklenburg County.

Quakers found New Garden Boarding School, later Guilford College, in Guilford County.

Approximately 17,000 North Carolina Cherokee are forcibly removed from the state to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). This event becomes known as the Trail of Tears. An estimated 4,000 Cherokee people die during the 1,200-mile trek. A few hundred Cherokee refuse to be rounded up and transported. They hide in the mountains and evade federal soldiers. Eventually, a deal is struck between the army and the remaining Cherokee. Tsali, a leading Cherokee brave, agrees to surrender himself to General Winfield Scott to be shot if the army will allow the rest of his people to stay in North Carolina legally. The federal government eventually establishes a reservation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee.

A Methodist minister founds Trinity College in Randolph County. It will move to Durham in 1892 and become Duke University in 1924.

The Methodist Church opens Greensboro College, the state’s first chartered college for women.

The cornerstone for the United States Arsenal is laid in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Arsenal is largely complete by 1839. The arsenal, seized by local militia 1861, will produce approximately 10,000 rifles, as well as other accoutrements, for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Union troops will destroy it in 1865.

Stephen Slade, an enslaved African American, discovers a method of curing bright-leaf tobacco on the plantation of Abisha Slade in Caswell County.

Yonaguska, chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, dies at age 80. His adopted white son, William Holland Thomas, becomes chief of the Cherokee and fights to secure reservation land for them.

The General Assembly passes the Common School Law, which establishes the first free public schools in the state. The legislation requires that schools remain open at least 2.5 months per year.

North Carolinian and United States senator Robert Strange publishes the book Eoneguski; or, Cherokee Chief, one of the first novels written about North Carolina.

1840 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons




Free colored persons


The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad is completed. At 161.5 miles, it is the longest railroad in the world.

The Raleigh and Gaston railroad is completed. It is the first North Carolina railroad to travel across a state line (Virginia).

The new State Capitol building is completed in Raleigh.

The state’s first public school opens in Rockingham County.

Floral College, one of the earliest colleges for women in the South, is founded in Robeson County.

The state has 25 textile mills containing nearly 50,000 spindles and about 700 looms and employing around 1,200 people.

The General Assembly passes a law prohibiting Indians from owning or carrying weapons without first obtaining a license.


Those Cherokee who avoided forced removal in 1838 and remained in North Carolina are given citizenship. In 1848 Congress grants them a small amount of money to use for the purchase of land.

Harriet Jacobs, an Edenton slave, is smuggled onto a ship to escape slavery after spending seven years hiding in a tiny attic room in her grandmother’s house. She escapes to New York, where she buys the freedom of her children. She later becomes an author and abolitionist and writes Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published in 1861.

The Episcopal Church establishes Saint Mary’s College in Raleigh.

The Methodist Church splits into northern and southern contingents over the issue of slavery, followed by a split in the Baptist Church a year later.

Southern Methodists organize the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. North Carolinian Robert Paine helps lead this effort.

North Carolina native President James K. Polk leads the United States into war with Mexico. As part of the peace treaty signed in 1848, Mexico agrees to sell the Southwest to the United States.

The United States Marine Hospital opens in Portsmouth.

Educator Calvin Henderson Wiley publishes Alamance, the first novel written by a North Carolina native.

Dorothea Dix visits North Carolina and calls for reform in the care of mentally ill patients.

A Women's Rights Convention takes place in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

The North Carolina State Medical Society forms.

The construction of an institution in Raleigh for the care of mentally ill patients is authorized. The hospital, named in honor of Dorothea Dix, will open in 1856.

Construction begins on a toll plank road to connect the major market towns of Salem and Fayetteville and to facilitate the transportation of mercantile and agricultural goods. When this 129-mile-long Bethania-to-Fayetteville road opens in 1854, it will be the longest plank road in the world. Fayetteville becomes the terminal point of five commercial plank roads chartered between 1849 and 1852.

1850 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons





not available

Other races

not available

Thomas Day, a free African American cabinetmaker, operates the state’s largest furniture-making business in Milton, Caswell County.

Congress passes a compromise bill between North and South that includes a strict fugitive slave law and admission of California to the Union as a free state. The compromise helps prevent secession in the South but angers antislavery northerners.

David S. Reid wins the governorship by calling for free suffrage, which would eliminate the ownership of property as a requirement for voting in state senate elections. An amendment ending the requirement will be adopted by an overwhelming majority of the popular vote in 1857.

The Raleigh Register becomes the first daily newspaper in the state, followed by the Wilmington Daily Journal in 1851.

Supported by the Literary Fund, 2,657 public, or common, schools are established in the state.

The State Museum of Natural History is founded in Raleigh.

Calvin Wiley becomes the first superintendent of the state’s common schools.

Agricultural reformer John F. Tompkins founds the North Carolina State Fair, which takes place for the first time on October 18–21 in Raleigh.

The Holt Mill in Alamance County produces Alamance plaid, the first factory-dyed cotton cloth made in the South.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act, passed by Congress, reopens hostilities between North and South over the expansion of slavery in the territories.

The North Carolina Railroad, which connects Goldsboro and Charlotte, is completed.

The North Carolina Dental Society organizes in Raleigh.

Hinton Rowan Helper, born in Davie County, publishes his controversial antislavery book The Impending Crisis of the South.

The Presbyterian Church establishes Peace Female Institute (later Peace College) in Raleigh.

March 6: The United States Supreme Court issues the Dred Scott decision stating that blacks are not considered citizens and that slaveholders can legally take slaves into the free states. The Court’s decision angers antislavery northerners.

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is completed. It replaces the original tower built in 1812.

A Wreath from the Woods of Carolina, by Mary A. Mason of Raleigh, is the first North Carolina book written especially for young people.

October 16: Abolitionist John Brown captures the United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va., in an attempt to incite a slave insurrection. Two free African Americans from North Carolina, Lewis Sheridan Leary from Fayetteville and John Anthony Copeland from Raleigh, join Brown’s forces. Leary is killed when United States troops capture Brown’s forces. Copeland, along with John Brown and other followers, is tried and executed for treason. Some northerners believe Brown a martyr, but many southerners consider his raid an outrage.

1860 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons






Other races

not available

The production of turpentine, primarily for use in shipping, is the largest manufacturing industry in North Carolina. Two-thirds of the nation’s output of turpentine comes from the state. Most turpentine distilleries are located in Bladen, Cumberland, and New Hanover Counties.

North Carolina has 39 cotton mills and 9 woolen mills in operation.

Even as industry grows in the state, North Carolina remains essentially rural. Wilmington, the state’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, has only 9,542 inhabitants.

The number of common schools reaches 2,854, with a statewide enrollment of 118,000 white students. Illiteracy among whites has dropped from 30 percent in 1840 to 23 percent.

May 10: The Morrill Tariff, which doubles fees on imported goods, passes in the United States House but is blocked in the Senate by southern votes.

October: A planned slave uprising near Plymouth fails when a slave exposes the plot.

November: Abraham Lincoln, who opposes the expansion of slavery in the territories and supports taxes on imported goods, wins the presidential election. He receives no votes from North Carolina or any other southern state. After his election, seven southern states leave the Union.


North Carolina lawmakers bar any black person from owning or controlling a slave, making it impossible for a free person of color to buy freedom for a family member or friend.

January: In a state referendum, North Carolina voters refuse to consider secession. Instead, the state sends representatives to Washington, D.C., to attempt peace negotiations between northern and southern leaders.

February 4–9: The Confederate States of America is established in Montgomery, Ala., and Jefferson Davis becomes its president. North Carolina remains in the United States.

March 2: Congress passes the Morrill Tariff Act.

April 12: Confederate forces at Charleston, S.C., fire on Fort Sumter when President Lincoln attempts to resupply the United States garrison there. On April 15, Lincoln calls for troops to suppress the rebellion in the South. North Carolina governor John W. Ellis refuses Lincoln’s request for troops.

May 20: A state convention at Raleigh votes to leave the United States and join the Confederacy. North Carolina is one of the last two states to adopt a secession ordinance.

June 10: North Carolina troops under Colonel D. H. Hill win a decisive victory in the first battle of the war, at Bethel Church in Virginia. Another Confederate victory, at Manassas, Va., follows in August.

August 27–28: Federal forces capture Forts Hatteras and Clark on the Outer Banks.

Approximately 42,000 North Carolinians lose their lives in the Civil War. North Carolina sends the most men and suffers the most casualties of any Confederate state.

Native Americans have varying experiences during the war. Many Cherokee in western North Carolina support the Confederacy. Thomas’s Legion, a well-known fighting unit, has two companies of Cherokee soldiers. The Lumbee in eastern North Carolina are treated quite differently. They are forced to work on Confederate fortifications near Wilmington. Many flee and form groups to resist impressment by the army. Henry Berry Lowry leads one such group, which continues to resist white domination long after the war’s end.

After Federal troops destroy three saltworks operations along the coast, the state establishes a saltworks near Wilmington to alleviate the wartime scarcity of salt.

Mary Jane Patterson, a free black from Raleigh, becomes the first African American woman to receive a bachelor of arts degree. She obtains it from Oberlin College in Ohio.

February–April: Federal forces capture and occupy Roanoke Island, New Bern, Washington, and Fort Macon, securing most of coastal North Carolina.

May–December: North Carolina Confederate troops fight in numerous battles in Virginia and Maryland and suffer great losses of officers and men, including Generals George Anderson and L. O’B. Branch.

August 6: Zebulon B. Vance is elected governor of North Carolina.

September: A yellow fever epidemic hits eastern North Carolina.

December 31: The ironclad USS Monitor sinks off the North Carolina coast during a storm.

James City, a community of freed slaves, is settled near New Bern in Union-occupied Craven County.

As a result of his gallantry in the Vicksburg, Miss., campaign, Howell G. Trogden becomes the first North Carolinian to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Trogden, born at Cedar Falls in Randolph County, serves as a private in the Eighth Missouri (United States) Infantry. He will receive the medal in 1894.

January 1: President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.

July 1–3: General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army is defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. North Carolina’s loss of 7,000 men killed or wounded makes up 25 percent of Lee’s total casualties and is the state’s greatest battlefield loss in the war. Among the dead are two high-ranking North Carolina officers: Generals Dorsey Pender and Johnston Pettigrew.

Zebulon B. Vance is reelected governor by an overwhelming majority.

April 17–20: Confederate troops under the command of General Robert F. Hoke retake Plymouth from the Federals.

May–October: North Carolina troops in General Robert E. Lee’s army suffer tremendous casualties in battles in Virginia, including the deaths of Generals Junius Daniel, James Gordon, and Stephen Ramseur.

October 27: Federal forces blow up the Confederate ironclad Albemarle at Plymouth.

January 15: Wilmington is the last major Confederate port open to the outside world. Fort Fisher falls to Federal forces, closing the port to blockade runners and resulting in the fall of Wilmington on February 22.

March: The Union army commanded by General William T. Sherman invades North Carolina.

March 19–21: General Sherman’s Federal army defeats General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate forces at the Battle of Bentonville in Johnston County.

March–April: Union forces commanded by General George Stoneman conduct raids throughout western North Carolina.

April 9: General Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Va. Lee’s forces include large numbers of North Carolinians.

April 10–26: After abandoning the capital at Richmond, Va., Confederate president Jefferson Davis and his cabinet stop in Greensboro to attempt to reorganize the failing Confederate war effort. Davis passes through Charlotte on his way south when the surrender of General Johnston’s army becomes certain.

April 13: General Sherman’s Union army occupies Raleigh.

April 15: President Abraham Lincoln dies after being shot by John Wilkes Booth in Washington, D.C. Raleigh native Andrew Johnson becomes president of the United States.

April 26: General Johnston surrenders his army to General Sherman at James and Nancy Bennett’s farm, now known as Bennett Place, near Durham.

May 13: Federal troops arrest Governor Zebulon B. Vance. William W. Holden is appointed governor by President Andrew Johnson on May 29.

October: A North Carolina convention votes to repeal the Ordinance of Secession and end slavery. On November 28, the General Assembly ratifies the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which officially abolishes slavery.

John Ruffin Green of Person County first uses the Bull Durham tobacco trade name.

March 2: Congress passes a Reconstruction Act, making North Carolina part of a military district under Federal army occupation.

September 23: The Wilmington Morning Star is established. It is currently the oldest daily newspaper continuously in publication in the state.

An election places in office the first African American state legislators—3 senators and 17 representatives.

March 13–May 26: President Andrew Johnson is impeached by a Congress led by Radical Republicans who oppose his stance on many issues. Several Republicans side with Democrats, however, in contending that there is not enough evidence to prove that Johnson has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The president is acquitted by one vote.

April: A new state constitution is ratified by popular vote. William W. Holden is elected governor.

May 1: Tom Dula (the Tom Dooley of folk ballads) is hanged near Statesville for the murder of Laura Foster.

July 4: North Carolina is readmitted to the Union.

The North Carolina General Assembly attempts to revitalize the public schools by passing a bill reorganizing the schools and providing $100,000 to fund them.

James Walker Hood, an African American minister and an assistant superintendent in the Bureau of Education, reports that North Carolina has 257 black schools with a combined enrollment of 15,657 students.

March 5: North Carolina ratifies the 15th Amendment, which gives African American men the right to vote.

1870 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons






Other races

not available

The new Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is completed, replacing a structure built in 1802. At 208 feet, it is the tallest brick lighthouse in the nation.

North Carolina native Hiram R. Revels is the first African American to serve in Congress when he becomes a senator for Mississippi.

James Lytch of Scotland County receives a patent for his cotton planter, a popular southern agricultural implement and one of four successful inventions.

June 8: Governor Holden proclaims Alamance and Caswell Counties in a state of insurrection after the Ku Klux Klan perpetrates acts of violence, including several murders. Empowered by an 1869 law, Holden declares martial law and deploys troops to the area. Although the troops fire no shots, more than 100 men are arrested, and some violence occurs. The situation becomes known as the Kirk-Holden War.

February 2–March 23: Democrats, newly returned to power in the legislature, remove Republican governor W. W. Holden from power. They impeach Holden on eight charges, which include illegally raising troops to send to areas not in actual rebellion, arresting citizens illegally, and denying the writ of habeas corpus to those arrested. He is convicted on six charges.

September: Congress, alarmed about recent events in North Carolina, investigates the role of the Ku Klux Klan in the state’s politics. Nearly 1,000 men are arrested by United States soldiers for alleged involvement with the Klan, and 37 are convicted. This investigation helps limit Klan activity in the state for a period of time.

Susan Dimock, a native of Washington, becomes the first female member of the North Carolina Medical Society. Dimock had to go abroad to find a medical school that would accept women. She received her medical education in Zurich, Switzerland, and practiced at a hospital in Boston as one of the nation’s first licensed female doctors.

The North Carolina Press Association forms in Goldsboro.

James Edward O’Hara becomes the first African American lawyer admitted to the North Carolina Bar.

Washington Duke and Sons builds its first tobacco factory in Durham. R. J. Reynolds builds his first tobacco factory in Winston-Salem.

The United States Lifesaving Service begins operating on the North Carolina coast with seven lifesaving stations.

John A. Hyman becomes the first African American to represent North Carolina in Congress. He serves until 1877.

The mining boom town of Ore Knob is chartered in Ashe County. Copper is mined extensively in the area throughout the 1870s and 1880s.

Voters approve 30 amendments revising the 1868 state constitution.

A congregation established in 1867 builds the Temple of Israel, North Carolina’s first Jewish house of worship, in Wilmington.

National political Reconstruction ends when newly elected Republican president Rutherford B. Hayes removes Federal troops from the South.

The General Assembly authorizes a normal school for blacks and chooses the Howard School, which opened in 1867 in Fayetteville, as the most promising site because of its academic record in educating black children. The school is renamed the State Colored Normal School (now Fayetteville State University) and designated as a teacher training school. It is the first state-supported institution of higher learning for African Americans in North Carolina.

Zebulon B. Vance, North Carolina governor during the Civil War, is reelected to the post as Democrats regain control of the state government.

North Carolina creates the State Board of Health.

The USS Huron sinks off Nags Head with the loss of around 100 passengers. The tragedy creates a public outcry for increased government resources for maritime disasters. This wreck, along with the sinking of the Metropolis at Currituck earlier in the year, convinces Congress to expand the United States Lifesaving Service.

Leonidas L. Polk becomes the first commissioner of the newly created North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

James F. Shober, the first known African American doctor in the state to possess an M.D. degree, begins practicing medicine in Wilmington.

North Carolina author Christian Reid, whose real name is Frances Fisher Tiernan, publishes her 10th book. The Land of the Sky is a travel novel in which young ladies and gentlemen engage in mild flirtations during a vacation trip to the state’s Mountains. The book’s title becomes a nickname used ever since to denote the western part of North Carolina.

January 8: Tabitha Ann Holton passes the North Carolina Bar and becomes the first licensed female lawyer in the South.

North Carolina’s first telephone exchanges open in Raleigh and Wilmington.

May: S. S. Satchwell becomes the first president of the State Board of Health.

November: Charles N. Hunter and his brother form the North Carolina Industrial Association to try to improve the lives of African Americans by emphasizing economic progress rather than political activity. Hunter’s Colored Industrial Fair, held in Raleigh, becomes the most popular social event for blacks in the state. Hunter also starts the O’Kelly Training School in Wake County. In 1917 a Baltimore newspaper calls the school the “finest rural training school in the entire South.”

1880 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons








Other races

not available

North Carolina has 126 tobacco factories that annually manufacture 6.5 million pounds of plug tobacco and 4 million pounds of smoking and other tobacco, valued altogether at $2,300,000. Tobacco manufacturing eventually becomes centered in Durham, Winston-Salem, Reidsville, and Greensboro.

A government inquiry investigates possible negligence by the staff of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station. Richard Etheridge is appointed to head the station, becoming the first African American station keeper in the United States Lifesaving Service. From 1880 to 1947, the Pea Island station is the nation’s only all-black lifesaving facility.

The North Carolina Pharmaceutical Association forms during a meeting held in the state senate chamber in Raleigh.


White Furniture Company in Mebane is founded as North Carolina begins mass-producing furniture.

The first registered Guernsey cattle in the state are imported from Pennsylvania by H. T. Bahnson to his farm in Winston-Salem.

September 11: North Carolina experiences a violent hurricane that kills more people than any other hurricane in the state’s history. At least 53 people lose their lives.

Surfmen from the Cape Hatteras and Creeds Hill Lifesaving Stations rescue the nine-member crew of the Ephraim Williams. For their heroic action, seven lifesavers receive the Gold Lifesaving Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the Lifesaving Service.

A Bonsack machine, which rolls cigarettes, is installed at the W. Duke, Sons and Company factory in Durham. The machine rolls 120,000 cigarettes a day, a great improvement over the 15,000 that an individual worker could roll in a 60-hour week.

The North Carolina Teacher’s Assembly is founded at the White Sulphur Springs Hotel in Waynesville. The organization later becomes the North Carolina Education Association.

The current North Carolina state flag is adopted.

The state recognizes the Croatoan Indians, now known as the Lumbee, as an official American Indian tribe.

The Crissie Wright breaks up off Shackleford Banks, inspiring the construction of additional lifesaving stations along the coast down to Wilmington. Eventually, 29 stations exist in North Carolina.

J. T. Williams earns a medical degree and becomes the first licensed African American physician in North Carolina.

A normal school for Indians opens in Pembroke, Robeson County. This school evolves into the present-day University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Annie Laurie Alexander, born in Mecklenburg County, returns to the state several years after her graduation from Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia to become the state’s first licensed female doctor.

The North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now North Carolina State University) is chartered by the legislature as a land grant college. It opens in 1889.

April 20: The Farmer’s Alliance and Cooperative Union, a national grassroots organization, spreads into North Carolina. Former commissioner of agriculture Leonidas Polk becomes its leader in the state. The Progressive Farmer, a magazine founded by Polk, becomes the main publication of the national organization. The Alliance encourages North Carolina farmers to band together to fight unfair credit practices among the state’s merchants and to bring farm issues into the political arena. By 1891 the Alliance has 100,000 members in the state, but ultimately the organization fails to bring about significant political gains for farmers.

August: Charles W. Chesnutt, the son of freeborn Sampson County African Americans, becomes the first black writer to publish in the Atlantic Monthly, a prestigious literary magazine. Chesnutt, principal of the State Colored Normal School (now Fayetteville State University), is known as one of the nation’s best African American writers.

James W. Cannon founds Cannon Mills (now Fieldcrest Cannon) in Concord.

The High Point Furniture Manufacturing Company is founded. High Point begins its rise as a major furniture manufacturing center.

May 29: William Henry Belk opens his first retail store in Monroe.

The state’s first electric streetcars begin operating in Asheville.

Leonidas Polk is elected leader of the national Farmer’s Alliance. The organization is powerful enough that the Democratic Party seeks its support by endorsing issues favored by the Alliance.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee is incorporated under North Carolina law.

Western Carolina University is founded as a semipublic school. It is chartered as Cullowhee High School in 1891, to serve the Cullowhee community and boarding students from neighboring counties and other states. In 1893 the first state appropriation of $1,500 establishes a normal department.

1890 North Carolina Census Data



Free white persons










Other races

not available

James B. Duke incorporates the American Tobacco Company from five smaller firms. W. Duke, Sons and Company manufactures half of the cigarettes consumed in the United States.

Because of overproduction, cotton prices drop to an all-time low of 5¢ per pound, down from 25¢ per pound in 1868. Agricultural depression ruins many North Carolina farmers, forcing them into bankruptcy.

Sergeant William McBryar of the 10th United States Cavalry becomes the first African American from North Carolina to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. McBryar receives the award for his “coolness, bravery, and marksmanship” during a pursuit of Apache Indians in the Arizona Territory.

October: Congress creates the United States Weather Bureau as a part of the Department of Agriculture.

George W. Vanderbilt’s home near Asheville is constructed. Biltmore House is the largest private residence in the nation.

The General Assembly charters the State Normal and Industrial School as the first state-supported institution of higher education for women. It later becomes known as Woman’s College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro).

The General Assembly charters the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race (now North Carolina A&T State University). The school opens in Greensboro in 1893 to teach African Americans practical agriculture and mechanical arts and to provide academic and classical instruction.

Thomas Edison patents the kinetoscopic camera, which takes moving pictures on a strip of film.

James Naismith invents basketball in Springfield, Mass.

The Caledonia state prison farm is founded in Halifax County.

James Turner Morehead sets up an experimental electric ore furnace at his family’s mill in Spray, Rockingham County, hoping to develop a process for producing aluminum. Instead, Morehead and his associates discover calcium carbide and acetylene gas, providing the foundations for Union Carbide Corporation. The new company develops outside North Carolina.

The first large-scale reforestation on a professional basis starts at the Biltmore Estate near Asheville.

The State Colored Normal School (now Elizabeth City State University), chartered in 1891, opens at Elizabeth City to educate and train African American teachers for North Carolina’s public schools.

Slater Industrial Academy (now Winston-Salem State University) is founded.

September: Frank and Charles Duryea of Massachusetts make the first gasoline-powered automobile in the United States.

The Panic of 1893 leads to a major economic depression.

The General Assembly approves Esse Quam Videri (“To Be Rather Than to Seem”) as the state motto.

The present-day Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh is completed. The former mansion stood in ruins at the end of Reconstruction, and succeeding governors had lived either in private homes or at the Yarborough Hotel.

Waldensians, members of a religious group founded during the Middle Ages, immigrate to North Carolina from Europe and settle the town of Valdese in Burke County.

An era of Fusion politics ensues when Populists and Republicans join together in a coalition to defeat the ruling Democrats. Most Populists are white farmers who feel that the Democratic Party has not addressed their economic concerns. The Fusionists overcome the racial politics that has kept wealthy white conservatives in power.

Caesar and Moses Cone establish the Proximity Manufacturing Mill in Greensboro. Ten years later, they open a second plant, the White Oak Mill, which becomes the largest cotton mill in the South and the largest denim-manufacturing plant in the world. The Cones’ denim is a durable, dependable, and lasting fabric for work clothes.

The United States Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” racial accommodations are constitutional.

George Henry White benefits from Fusion politics when he is elected to Congress from North Carolina’s Second Congressional District in 1896 and 1898. He is the only African American representative in Congress, where he seeks to promote and protect members of his race. He appoints African Americans to federal positions within his district and introduces the first antilynching bill. White is the last black from any state to serve in Congress for the next quarter century.

North Carolina Sorosis, the oldest Federated Women’s Club in the state, is chartered in Wilmington.

October 23: The first rural free delivery (RFD) of mail in North Carolina takes place at China Grove in Rowan County.

November: The Republican-Populist coalition elects Daniel L. Russell as governor. He is the only Republican elected to that office in North Carolina between Reconstruction and 1972.

Senate Bill 676, “An Act to Provide for Woman Suffrage in North Carolina,” is introduced in the General Assembly, which promptly tables it by sending it to the Committee on Insane Asylums.

Durham opens the first tax-supported library in North Carolina.

Warren C. Coleman opens the nation’s first African American–owned and –operated textile mill in Concord.

July 24: The North Carolina Banker’s Association forms in Morehead City.

Sallie Walker Stockard becomes the first woman to graduate from the University of North Carolina. Women had been allowed to attend summer teacher institutes in Chapel Hill since 1879.

The first forestry school in the United States is founded on the Biltmore Estate near Asheville under the leadership of Dr. Carl Schenck.

William Cyrus Briggs invents a very successful automatic cigarette-rolling machine in Winston-Salem.

Fries Manufacturing and Power Company in Forsyth County becomes the first producer of hydroelectric power in the state.

Dr. Aaron M. Moore and former slave John Merrick form the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company in Durham. It is currently the largest African American–owned business in the world.

Pepsi-Cola is first marketed. It evolves from Brad’s Drink, developed by New Bern pharmacist Caleb Bradham.

February 15: The United States battleship Maine explodes in Havana harbor. Outrage over this event leads to the Spanish-American War, which lasts from April to August. North Carolina sends two regiments of white soldiers and three companies of African American infantrymen. The final peace treaty is signed in December.

May 11: Ensign Worth Bagley of Raleigh becomes the first American officer killed in the Spanish-American War.

November 10: The Wilmington Race Riot occurs when white Democrats overthrow Wilmington’s legally elected Republican government. The riot causes black and white Republicans to resign, and the Democrats install a white supremacist government. During the riot, whites burn the office and press of the Daily Record, an African American newspaper. State newspapers report casualties as 11 blacks killed, 25 blacks wounded, and 3 white men killed.

The Watauga Academy (now Appalachian State University) is founded in Boone.

The Baptist Female University (now Meredith College) opens in Raleigh.

July 4: Clarence H. Poe assumes editorship of the popular weekly Progressive Farmer. He advocates progressive farming techniques and stresses the value of education and modern medicine.


1900 North Carolina Census Data











Other races

not applicable

The state has 217 textile mills and 101 tobacco factories in operation.

The average wage for a family of five, with the father and four children ages 14 to 21 working in a prosperous textile mill, is $17 to $21 per week, or no more than $1,000 per year.

The North Carolina Literary and Historical Association is founded to foster growth in these fields, as well as to “engender an intelligent, healthy state pride.”

February 21: An amendment to the North Carolina Constitution is adopted that institutes a literacy test for voting. The amendment includes a grandfather clause that allows illiterate whites to vote but effectively disfranchises the state’s African American citizens.

November: Democrats regain control of the governorship and the legislature through a virulent white supremacy campaign.

Reginald Fessenden conducts successful radio experiments, during which he transmits messages from Roanoke Island to Cape Hatteras and Cape Henry, Va.

Textile mill leaders meet in Charlotte to discuss self-regulation. More than 100 manufacturers agree to maintain a 66-hour work week and not to employ children under age 12 during the school year (with exceptions for children of widows and the disabled). The leaders pledge cooperation with state officials and call for legislative restraint in dealing with labor-management issues. Unfortunately, many mills fail to abide by the agreement.

Ransom Olds produces 1,500 Oldsmobiles, the first mass-produced automobiles in the United States.

September: President William McKinley is assassinated in Buffalo, N.Y.

The Hall of History is founded by Colonel Fred Olds in Raleigh. It will evolve into the North Carolina Museum of History.

The North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs is organized.

Charlotte Hawkins Brown opens Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia.

The state’s first automobile registration takes place in Charlotte.

The North Carolina Good Roads Association is founded to promote a highway commission to maintain roads in the state.

December 17: Orville Wright flies the first power-driven airplane at Kill Devil Hills. He stays aloft for 12 seconds on the first trip.

The North Carolina Historical Commission (now the Division of Archives and History) is established.

North Carolina passes its first child labor laws.

Booker T. Washington addresses the North Carolina Industrial Association’s annual fair. He advises African Americans to content themselves as an agrarian people, to eschew migration, and to seek the type of education that will promote community building.

The General Assembly charters Appalachian Training School (now Appalachian State University) in Boone.

Southern Power Company (now Duke Power Company) is formed.

The Bijou Theater in Wilmington opens in a tent. Two years later a building is erected, making it the first permanent movie theater in the state. The Bijou will operate until 1956, when it will be possibly the oldest continuously operated theater in the country.

The General Assembly charters Cullowhee Normal and Industrial School (now Western Carolina University) in Cullowhee.

North Carolina author Thomas Dixon Jr. publishes his book The Clansman. The book serves as the basis for D. W. Griffith’s controversial silent film The Birth of a Nation (1915).

The General Assembly enacts a compulsory school law.

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company of Winston-Salem introduces the Camel brand of cigarettes.

James W. Cannon, taking advantage of cheap farmland along the Southern Railway, establishes the textile mill village of Kannapolis in Cabarrus County.

The General Assembly charters East Carolina Teacher Training School (now East Carolina University).

Stonewall Jackson Training School in Concord is established as a state reform school for boys.

The first cotton and corn demonstration supervised by a county agent of the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service takes place on a farm in Iredell County.

The state’s first public sanatorium for treating tuberculosis opens in Hoke County.

Farmers organize the North Carolina Farmer’s Union as a division of the national Farmer’s Union. North Carolina farmers made up one-third of the organization’s national membership.

The second warship named USS North Carolina is commissioned. It is an armored cruiser that will see action in World War I.

May: Voters pass a statewide referendum prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.

October 1: Henry Ford introduces the Model T car. It costs $850.

The first 4-H club in North Carolina is organized in Ahoskie as the Corn Club.

May 30: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded in New York.

1910 North Carolina Census Data













Other races

not applicable

The State of North Carolina takes authority for capital punishment away from individual counties. The electric chair replaces hanging as the form of execution.

The National Religious Training School and Chautauqua (now North Carolina Central University) opens in Durham. In 1923 it will become the state-supported Durham State Training School for African American teachers. Two years later the General Assembly will make the school the first state-supported liberal arts college for blacks in the United States, named the North Carolina College for Negroes.

The Sherman Antitrust Act forces the American Tobacco Company to split into four companies: American Tobacco, Liggett and Myers, Lorillard, and R. J. Reynolds.

Booker T. Washington calls Durham a “city of Negro enterprises.” By 1915 the city has 110 African American–owned businesses, including the Mechanics and Farmers Bank and the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company.

Home economist Jane McKimmon initiates North Carolina’s home demonstration program.

The Pentecostal Holiness Church forms in Falcon, Cumberland County, by the consolidation of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Association and the Holiness Church.

The Greensboro city council and other southern cities pass ordinances requiring separate white and black residential areas.

Furnifold M. Simmons becomes the last United States senator from North Carolina elected by the General Assembly before the law changes to provide for senatorial election by popular vote.

Robeson County establishes the first rural health department in the United States.

Mercy Hospital, one of the first African American hospitals in the South, opens in Wilson.

North Carolinian Georgia “Tiny” Thompson becomes the first woman to parachute from an airplane.

August: World War I begins in Europe. The United States declares neutrality.

August 15: The Panama Canal opens.

Mount Mitchell becomes North Carolina’s first state park.

The North Carolina Highway Commission is established to build and maintain roads.

Soybeans are grown for the first time in the state near Elizabeth City. North Carolina is the first state to plant soybeans as a commercial commodity. Commercial processing of the crop begins at a plant in Elizabeth City.

May 7: The British steamer Lusitania, carrying munitions for Great Britain, is sunk by a German submarine, and 1,200 people drown, including 128 Americans.

North Carolina National Guard units join the United States Army in action along the American-Mexican border against the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.

March 16: A 57-foot right whale is killed in the shallows of Cape Lookout—reportedly the last one killed by whalers on the North Carolina coast. The yield of 38 barrels of oil is apparently the last such oil procured by active shore-based whaling in the state.

July: As a result of 41 hours of continuous rainfall, several counties in western North Carolina experience devastating floods. The floods cause fatalities and massive property destruction, including extensive damage to railway lines.

April 6: The United States enters World War I by declaring war on Germany.

September 5: The Pamlico County school system puts the state’s first motorized school bus into operation.

Three military training camps are established in the state: Camp Bragg as a field artillery training center near Fayetteville, Camp Greene as an infantry training center in Charlotte, and Camp Polk as a tank training center in Raleigh. The latter two close at the end of the war, but Camp Bragg (renamed Fort Bragg) remains open and will develop into a major military base.

The United States armed forces purchase the entire production of Bull Durham roll-your-own smoking tobacco to supply troops during the war. Two 30-car trains per month transport the tobacco through the state. Each boxcar bears a large banner with a patriotic slogan such as “When our boys light up, the Huns will light out,” “The smoke that follows the flag is always good old Bull,” and “Smoking out the Kaiser!”

Henry B. Delany becomes the first African American Episcopal bishop in North Carolina.

The first dam is built on the Catawba River to provide hydroelectric power.

The North Carolina Society of Engineers organizes in Durham.

May: Congress passes the Sedition Act, making it a crime to write or say anything against the war. It is the harshest legislation restricting freedom of speech ever enacted in the United States.

August 16: The German submarine U-117 sinks the British tanker Mirlo off Cape Hatteras. Coast Guardsman Captain John A. Midgett, keeper of the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station, commands a rescue effort that saves all but 10 of the 52-member crew. In 1921 Midgett and other lifesavers receive Gold Lifesaving Medals from the British government.

September–November: An influenza epidemic overtakes the state. More than 13,000 North Carolinians die, including Edward Kidder Graham, president of the University of North Carolina.

September 29: North Carolina troops in the army’s 30th Division take part in a decisive breakthrough of German lines in France.

November 11: An armistice between Germany and the Allies is signed, ending World War I.

November 19: The United States Senate defeats the United States’s entry into the League of Nations.

1920 North Carolina Census Data













Other races


North Carolina is the second-most-industrialized state in the South, with an output of a billion dollars per year. The state’s top industrial goods are textiles, tobacco products, and furniture.

Martin Goodman of Winston-Salem invents Goody’s Headache Powders.

Lillian Exum Clement becomes the first woman elected to the North Carolina General Assembly. She is nominated by Buncombe County Democrats before passage of the 19th Amendment gives her the right to vote.

Katherine Everett becomes the first woman lawyer to argue a case before the North Carolina Supreme Court.

January 29: The 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, enacting national prohibition of alcoholic beverages, takes effect.

August 11: The North Carolina House of Representatives sends a telegram to the General Assembly of Tennessee, where ratification of the 19th Amendment is simultaneously being debated. The telegram, signed by a majority of the members, assures Tennessee legislators that North Carolina will not ratify the “Susan B. Anthony amendment” and pleads that they defeat it as well.

August 26: After Tennessee becomes the final state in the two-thirds majority needed for ratification, the 19th Amendment takes effect, giving women the right to vote.

November: Cameron Morrison is elected governor, largely on a campaign to improve state highways and education.


The Southern Furniture Exposition Center opens in High Point. The Piedmont region of North Carolina is recognized nationally as a leader in furniture manufacturing.

In large part because of extensive lobbying undertaken by Harriet M. Berry, the General Assembly passes a law aimed at improving North Carolina’s roads. The state begins construction of a highway system that will connect each county seat with its neighboring county seats via macadam, or blacktop, roads.

Actress Ava Gardner is born in Smithfield.

January 28: The University of North Carolina Press begins operation in Chapel Hill. It is the first university press in the South.

United States military officials observe a demonstration, commanded by General Billy Mitchell, off the shore of Cape Hatteras in which ships are sunk by airplane attacks.

North Carolina overtakes Massachusetts as the nation’s leading textile-producing state in the value of its products.

North Carolina native Annie Elizabeth (Bessie) Delany becomes the second African American woman to practice dentistry in New York City.

Trinity College in Durham is endowed by tobacco and hydroelectric-power magnate James B. Duke and renamed Duke University.

Bob Melton opens the state’s first sit-down barbecue restaurant in Rocky Mount. Melton is credited with firmly establishing so-called eastern-style barbecue.

Centered in High Point, the state’s furniture industry ranks first in the nation in the production of wooden furniture and fifth in all furniture production.

Cherokee lands are placed in trust status with the federal government.

Olive D. Campbell and Marguerite Butler establish the John C. Campbell Folk School at Brasstown in Clay County. The school specializes in teaching the traditional folk arts of North Carolina.

The first talking motion picture, The Jazz Singer, is released.

The North Carolina State Art Society is incorporated for the purpose of beginning a state art collection. In 1929 the society opens a gallery (the forerunner of the North Carolina Museum of Art) in Raleigh.

Buncombe County Junior College (now the University of North Carolina at Asheville) is established.

May: American Charles Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly an airplane alone and nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean.

Annie Wealthy Holland of Gates County forms the North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, the first such organization for African Americans in the state.

May 1: The first airplane to fly through North Carolina carrying mail lands at Lindley Field in Greensboro.

November: The presidential candidacy of Al Smith, who is a northerner and a Catholic, splits the Democratic Party in North Carolina, and for the first time since 1872, a Republican (Herbert Hoover) wins the state’s electoral votes.

Union agitation and a strike at Loray Mill in Gastonia lead to the deaths of the Gastonia police chief and of labor leader Ella May Wiggins.

Asheville native Thomas Wolfe publishes his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel.

One-tenth of the state’s industrial labor force is employed by three tobacco companies.

David Marshall “Carbine” Williams is released from the state prison after receiving an early pardon for the shooting death of a sheriff’s deputy during a raid on Williams’s still. In prison Williams has shown great aptitude for machinery, and firearms in particular. He invents the short-stroke piston system for the M1 carbine, which revolutionizes the weapon. During his lifetime, Williams receives more than five dozen patents for improvements to firearms.

October 29: The Great Depression begins with a Wall Street stock market crash.

1930 North Carolina Census Data













Other races


The Great Depression grows worse as waves of bank closings wipe out millions of dollars in private savings.

North Carolina leads the nation in producing cotton goods and leads the South in producing knit goods.

Biltmore House, a private residence built by George W. Vanderbilt near Asheville during the 1890s, opens to the public as a museum.

The General Assembly passes an act consolidating the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina State College in Raleigh, and the Woman’s College in Greensboro into one system of higher education.

The General Assembly votes for the state to take over from the counties maintenance of all roads. Governor O. Max Gardner supports this plan as beneficial for the individual counties during the Depression.

April 1: The first regularly scheduled airline service between New York and Miami, which includes a stopover in Raleigh, is established.

The North Carolina Symphony is established.

Cotton mill workers in High Point, Rockingham, and other towns strike. The following year, employees at more than 100 additional mills go on strike.

Black Mountain College is founded in Buncombe County as a communal grouping of professors and students in a natural setting with complete intellectual freedom. It has no fixed regulations, no required courses, and no frequent examinations. The college attracts famous people from the art world. Financial problems will cause the college to close in 1957.

March: Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes president of the United States and begins instituting his New Deal economic programs.

December 5: The 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution ends national prohibition of alcohol.

Camp John Rock, one of the nation’s first Civilian Conservation Corps camps, opens in Transylvania County. It operates through 1936.

Lake Mattamuskeet, the state’s largest natural lake, becomes a United States Wildlife Refuge.

Statewide prohibition of alcohol ends.

Construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway begins.

The North Carolina Rural Electrification Authority is established.

The General Assembly passes an act to provide for the preservation of Indian antiquities in North Carolina. Citizens are “urged” to comply. No criminal penalties for violators are set.

The Intracoastal Waterway is completed.

The Mint Museum of Art opens in Charlotte at the former United States Mint, which began operation in 1837.

The Brown Creek Soil Conservation District, the first such area in the United States, is established in Anson County.

July 4: The opening performance of The Lost Colony takes place on Roanoke Island. The play is the nation’s first and longest-running outdoor drama.

African American students in Greensboro initiate a theater boycott that spreads to other cities.

The state provides free textbooks for public school elementary grades and establishes a rental plan for high schools.

North Carolina produces more wooden household furnishings than any other state in the nation.

A law school for African American students is established at North Carolina Central College.

September: World War II begins when France and Great Britain declare war on Germany following its invasion of Poland. The United States declares neutrality.

1940 North Carolina Census Data













Other races


The Wilmington Shipyard is completed. During the war, workers will build 243 Liberty and Victory Ships there.

The Indian Normal School in Robeson County (now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke) grants its first college degree.

A leading advocate of developing an airborne American military force, North Carolina native William C. Lee is given the responsibility of developing a test platoon of paratroopers. Lee will later become a major general and receive the title “father of the Airborne.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt moves the United States closer to war with Germany and Japan by providing ships, arms, and supplies to Great Britain and by cutting oil supplies to Japan. Over 80 percent of the American public prefers to remain neutral in the war.

June 13: The battleship USS North Carolina (the third navy ship of that name) is commissioned. It serves in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945 and is decommissioned in 1947.

September 2: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is dedicated.


Seymour Johnson Air Base in Goldsboro and Cherry Point Marine Air Station are begun.

W. J. Cash’s classic work of social criticism and history, The Mind of the South, is published. It centers on the people of the backcountry South with which Cash is most familiar. He has lived most of his life in North and South Carolina. He is a graduate of Wake Forest College and has worked for both the Charlotte News and the Charlotte Observer.

June–July: President Franklin Roosevelt freezes German, Italian, and Japanese assets in the United States and orders the United States Navy to fire on German warships.

December 7: Japanese forces attack the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The United States declares war on Japan the next day, entering World War II. Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. More than 362,000 North Carolinians serve in the armed forces during the war. More than 7,000 lose their lives, with 4,000 of them being killed in action.

German submarines sink more than 100 ships in the area of Diamond Shoals off the coast of Dare County during the “Battle of Torpedo Junction.”

Construction on Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville, begins.

Greensboro native Edward R. Murrow gains fame as a radio correspondent covering the war in Europe.

East Carolina Indian School is established in Sampson County to serve Native Americans in seven surrounding counties. The school will close in 1965.

A committee headed by Charles S. Johnson of Fisk University issues a document that becomes known as the Durham Manifesto. It acknowledges that World War II has generated increased racial tensions. The statement demands complete voting rights for African Americans and an end to white primaries, evasions of the law, and intimidation. It insists on equal access to all jobs.

January 1: For the only time, the Rose Bowl is played away from Pasadena. Because of fear of a Japanese attack in California, Duke University hosts the game in Durham. The Duke Blue Devils lose to Oregon State 20-16.

May: A German submarine torpedoes the British patrol boat HMS Bedfordshire off the Outer Banks. The bodies of four sailors from the Bedfordshire wash ashore on Ocracoke Island. The sailors are buried on the property of Alice Williams, with services arranged by the Coast Guard. In 1976 the cemetery will be officially leased to the British government in perpetuity for one dollar.

The Greensboro Overseas Replacement Depot trains and processes more than 330,000 servicemen on their way to overseas deployment.

Because of food rationing due to the war, North Carolinians become increasingly self-sufficient. No fewer than 28 million quarts of food are canned, 30 million pounds of meat are cured, and 8 million pounds of fruit and vegetables are dried for home consumption.

June 6: Allied forces, including American troops, land on the French coast of Normandy, beginning the invasion of Europe against Nazi Germany.

Communist forces of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin take over eastern Europe.

May 7: Nazi Germany surrenders, ending the war in Europe.

July 16: The first atomic bomb is exploded near Alamogordo, N. Mex., ushering in the atomic age.

August 6: The United States drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, followed by a second bomb on Nagasaki three days later. The Japanese surrender on August 14.

The Charlotte Center of the University of North Carolina is established. In 1949 the center becomes Charlotte College. It is renamed the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1965.

North Carolina state government inaugurates the Good Health Program.

Kenneth R. Williams becomes the first African American candidate in the 20th-century South to defeat a white opponent in a municipal election. Williams wins a seat on the Winston-Salem Board of Aldermen.

The first Indian mayor of the town of Pembroke is elected. Previously the governor appointed the mayors, all of whom were non-Indian.

Elreta Alexander becomes the first African American woman licensed as a lawyer in North Carolina.

Wilmington College (now the University of North Carolina at Wilmington) is founded.

April: The Congress of Racial Equality tests a Supreme Court decision against segregation in interstate bus travel by sending eight African American men to ride on Greyhound and Trailways buses. Riders are arrested in Durham, Asheville, and Chapel Hill. This “Journey of Reconciliation” becomes the model for the “Freedom Ride” of 1961.

The state’s first commercial television station, WBTV, opens in Charlotte. WFMY in Greensboro also opens.

Communist forces of the Soviet Union blockade Berlin in Germany. The United States airlifts supplies into the city until the stranglehold is broken one year later.

February: Thomas H. Davis establishes Piedmont Aviation, Inc. (later Piedmont Airlines) in Winston-Salem. It becomes one of the most successful regional airlines in the nation.

Susie Sharp becomes North Carolina’s first female superior court judge.

April: The United States, Canada, and ten western European countries form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to resist the threatened Communist takeover of Europe.

Communist forces under Mao Tse-tung take over China after a civil war and the deaths of more than 65 million people.

Texas political scientist V. O. Key Jr. establishes the mid-twentieth-century image of North Carolina for both natives and outsiders in his book Southern Politics in State and Nation. He describes the state as “energetic and ambitious. . . . The citizens are determined and confident; they are on the move. The mood is at odds with much of the rest of the South. . . . Many see in North Carolina a closer approximation to national norms, or national expectations of performance. . . . It enjoys a reputation for progressive outlook and action in many phases of life, especially industrial development, education, and race relations.”

March: Governor W. Kerr Scott shocks many people when he appoints Frank Porter Graham to the Senate seat left vacant by the death of J. Melville Broughton. Graham is president of the University of North Carolina and one of the South’s best-known liberals.

1950 North Carolina Census Data













Other races


The Cherokee Historical Association receives funding, and the first performance of the outdoor drama Unto These Hills takes place.

June 25: Communist North Korean forces invade South Korea, starting a three-year war with United Nations troops led by the United States. The Korean War results in the deaths of nearly 1,000 North Carolinians. More than 33,000 Americans are killed in service.

A court order requires the University of North Carolina to admit African American students to its graduate and professional schools.

Tryon Palace, North Carolina’s colonial governor’s residence in New Bern, is reconstructed and opened to the public.

The State of North Carolina recognizes the Lumbee (formerly called the Cherokee of Robeson County).

In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the United States Supreme Court orders that public schools be integrated “with all deliberate speed.” Most North Carolina schools are not fully desegregrated until the late 1960s.

North Carolina ranks as the South’s industrial leader and as the twelfth-most-industrialized state in the nation.

October: Hurricane Hazel hits North Carolina, bringing terrible devastation to the eastern part of the state. Hazel causes 19 deaths and $136 million in property damage.

The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill admits its first African American freshmen: Leroy Frasier, John Lewis Brandon, and Ralph Frasier, all of Durham.

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, the General Assembly passes a resolution stating that “The mixing of the races in the public schools within the state cannot be accomplished and if attempted would alienate public support to such an extent that they could not be operated successfully.”

The General Assembly passes an amendment to the state constitution known as the Pearsall Plan to allow the state legally to oppose immediate desegregation of the public schools. Individual school systems are given the right to suspend operation of their schools by vote, and the legislature is authorized to provide payment for students who attend private schools because their parents do not want them to attend integrated schools. The Pearsall Plan gives the state time to begin a slow process of integration.

The North Carolina Museum of Art opens to the public in Raleigh.

Wake Forest College moves to a new campus in Winston-Salem, where it will become Wake Forest University in 1967. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary takes over the school’s old campus in Wake Forest.

Congress passes the “Lumbee Bill,” which recognizes the Lumbee as an Indian tribe but denies them services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Research Triangle Park opens in Durham County.

Wilmington native Charles B. Kuralt begins working for CBS.

Small numbers of African American students enroll in previously all-white public schools in Greensboro, Charlotte, and Winston-Salem, beginning a period of token integration in North Carolina.

Under Governor Luther H. Hodges, the state’s biennial budget tops $1 billion for the first time.

Seven black activists led by the Reverend Douglas E. Moore seek service in the white section of an ice-cream parlor in Durham. They are arrested and convicted of trespassing, but their sit-in presages a decade of conflict and social revolution.

October 4: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first rocket-powered satellite to orbit Earth.

The United States launches Explorer I, the first American satellite. Congress creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for space exploration.

January 18: A large group of Lumbee, angered by racist agitation and threats of cross burnings, descend on a Ku Klux Klan rally near Maxton. Their war whoops and gunfire scatter the Klan members, two of whom are later indicted on charges of incitement to riot.

February: The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. visits North Carolina. He delivers speeches in Raleigh and Greensboro.

Communist forces under Fidel Castro take over the island of Cuba, 90 miles south of Florida.

North Carolina becomes the first state to require polio vaccinations.

Two Durham African American families successfully sue to have their daughters admitted to the city’s predominantly white high school.

Panty hose, called Panti-Legs and made at Glen Raven Mills near Burlington, go on sale for the first time.

1960 North Carolina Census Data















Other races


The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, an organization promoting peaceful means of protesting racial inequality, forms in Raleigh.

Governor Terry Sanford’s quality-education program (named Go Forward) starts.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway is built.

February 1: The nation’s first lunch counter sit-in begins in Greensboro when four students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (now North Carolina A&T State University) are refused service at a Woolworth’s counter. The mode of protest used by Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, David Richmond, and Joseph McNeil quickly spreads across the South.


The battleship USS North Carolina is berthed at Wilmington and opens as a museum and war memorial.

January 24: A B-52 bomber from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base crashes near Goldsboro while carrying two nuclear warheads. Department of Defense reports released in 1980 will indicate that one of the weapons snagged in a tree and was only a final safety catch away from detonation. The bomb was 1,800 times as powerful as the one dropped on Hiroshima.

April 12: Yury Gagarin of the Soviet Union becomes the first person to enter outer space when he completes one orbit of Earth. On May 5 of this year, Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space, and on February 20, 1962, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit Earth.

Susie Sharp becomes first woman to serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court.

National Geographic labels North Carolina the “Dixie Dynamo” for the state’s progressive social and economic atmosphere.

October: The United States and the Soviet Union near global nuclear war after atomic warheads are placed in Communist Cuba. The Soviet Union finally agrees to remove the missiles, ending the immediate threat.

The General Assembly passes a controversial bill in the last few hours of its session. The so-called Speaker Ban Law, intended primarily to prohibit Communist speakers, sets limits on who can receive permission to speak on state-supported university campuses.

The North Carolina community college system is established.

February 6: The General Assembly convenes for the first session in its new Legislative Building.

November 22: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Tex.

Congress passes a Civil Rights Act giving African Americans equal access to public accommodations.

The homes of Charlotte civil rights activists Kelly Alexander, Fred Alexander, Julius Chambers, and Reginald Hawkins are bombed.

The Haliwa receive state recognition as an Indian tribe.

Samuel S. Mitchell becomes the first African American judge in North Carolina.

August: Following reports that Communist North Vietnamese forces have attacked United States warships in the Gulf of Tonkin, President Lyndon Johnson asks Congress to send American troops to South Vietnam. In the succeeding 10 years of war, 1,500 North Carolinians are among the more than 53,000 Americans killed in service.

Congress passes a Voting Rights Act prohibiting discrimination against African Americans and their right to vote.

The North Carolina School of the Arts opens as the first state-supported residential school for the performing arts in the United States.

Congress passes a Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination against African Americans in the sale or rental of housing.

Greensboro attorney McNeil Smith argues against the Speaker Ban Law before a federal court, which declares the law unconstitutional.

Reginald A. Hawkins becomes the first African American candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in North Carolina.

Margaret Taylor Harper runs for lieutenant governor. She is the first woman to run for statewide office in North Carolina.

Henry E. Frye is elected to the General Assembly. He is the first African American elected to the state house of representatives in the twentieth century.

Howard Lee is elected mayor of Chapel Hill. He is the first African American to serve as mayor of a predominantly white southern city.

Elreta Alexander becomes the first African American elected judge in North Carolina.

July 20: American Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon.

Durham resident Warren Wheeler founds Wheeler Airlines, the only African American–owned airline in the state. Wheeler Airlines is based at the Raleigh-Durham Airport.

Police and National Guardsmen fire on demonstrators at North Carolina A&T State University. One student is killed and five police officers are injured.

1970 North Carolina Census Data















Other races


Kannapolis, the mill “village” owned primarily by Charles A. Cannon, is the nation’s largest unincorporated municipality.

A federal court in Charlotte orders busing to enforce school integration. Public schools across the nation are forced to follow suit.

A grocery store in Wilmington is firebombed, sparking racial violence. The “Wilmington 10,” a group of mainly African American citizens, are convicted of arson and other charges. A federal court will overturn their convictions in 1980.

The third North Carolina state constitution is enacted.

The state recognizes the Coharie and Waccamaw-Siouan tribes.

The General Assembly establishes the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs.

The Lumbee Bank is established in Pembroke. It is the first Indian-owned and -operated bank in the United States.

June 30: The 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution grants 18-year-olds the right to vote.

October 30: The General Assembly merges all state-supported senior institutions of higher education into the University of North Carolina, resulting in a statewide multicampus system of 16 constituent institutions. The changes take effect on July 1, 1972.

James E. Holshouser becomes the first Republican elected governor of North Carolina in the twentieth century.

Jesse Helms is elected to the United States Senate for the first time.

The Carolina Indian Voice, an Indian-owned newspaper, begins operation.

United States senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina is chosen as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. The committee investigates the Watergate break-in, in which associates of Republican president Richard Nixon burgled the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

January 27: The United States signs a peace treaty in Paris, ending American military involvement in Vietnam.

The United States Supreme Court rules in Roe v. Wade that a woman has the legal right to have an abortion.

Henry Ward Oxendine, a Lumbee from Robeson County, becomes the first Indian elected to the General Assembly.

The North Carolina Zoo opens to the public in Asheboro.

Susie Sharp becomes the first woman elected chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the first popularly elected female chief justice in the nation.

August 9: Faced with impeachment, Richard Nixon resigns as president of the United States.

The capture of Saigon by the Communist North Vietnamese army brings the Vietnam War to an end. Many Vietnamese flee their country and start a new life in the United States. Some settle in North Carolina.

Tobacco and tourism each bring in $1 billion to the state’s economy. Recent industrial development in the state amounts to $1 billion as well.

The United States lands the Viking I and Viking II space probes on Mars.

The North Carolina General Assembly refuses to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment fails national ratification.

Isabella Cannon is elected mayor of Raleigh. She is the first female mayor of a major North Carolina city.

Iranian militants capture American diplomats in the embassy at Tehran and hold them hostage; a rescue attempt six months later fails. The Americans are not released until 1981, after 444 days of captivity.

Members of the Communist Party and the Ku Klux Klan clash in Greensboro during an anti-Klan rally. Gunfire is exchanged, and Klan members kill five Communist supporters. A year later a court clears the Klan members of all charges.

1980 North Carolina Census Data







American Indian














Asian Indian










Other races


After both the General Assembly and a popular vote approve a constitutional amendment allowing a governor to serve consecutive terms, James B. Hunt becomes the first North Carolina chief executive to succeed himself in office.

Wilmington native and journalist David Brinkley retires from NBC after 24 years.

The North Carolina Film Office is created to promote North Carolina as a site for the filmmaking industry.

The portion of North Carolina’s workforce employed in industry has increased to 33 percent from 29 percent in 1950. Agriculture, which employed one-fourth of the state’s population in 1950, now employs only 3.6 percent of the workforce. The number of family farms has decreased from 288,508 to 93,000 during the same period. Despite a reduction in the number of acres farmed—from 19,317,937 to 11,700,000—the average size of individual farms has increased from 67 to 126 acres as agriculture in the state has become more of a business and less of a family affair.


The estimated total value of manufactured products in the state reaches $60 billion.

The General Assembly passes the Unmarked Human Burial and Human Skeletal Remains Protection Act and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Criminal penalties for violations are set, and the involvement of Indian communities in decisions concerning the treatment, analysis, and disposition of Native American remains is mandated.

March: President Ronald W. Reagan survives an assassination attempt in Washington, D.C., in which he is shot twice in the chest.

A Fortune magazine survey of top executives ranks North Carolina second in the nation (behind Texas) as a location for companies wanting to build new plants.

Henry Frye becomes the first African American to sit on the North Carolina Supreme Court.

October 25: Troops from North Carolina military bases assist in the expulsion of Communist forces from the Caribbean island of Grenada.

July 4: Richard Petty wins his 200th NASCAR victory at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, with President Ronald Reagan in attendance.

January 21: The temperature on Mount Mitchell reaches minus 34 degrees Fahrenheit—the lowest temperature ever recorded in North Carolina.

January 28: The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after liftoff, killing all seven people on board, including pilot Michael Smith, a native of Beaufort, and Ron Erwin McNair, a 1971 graduate of North Carolina A&T State University.

March: Film legend George Randolph Scott dies and is buried in Charlotte, his family home. Scott starred in 96 motion pictures and was famous for his westerns, including his last film in 1962, Ride the High Country.

April: Charlotte is selected as the location for a National Basketball Association franchise. The Charlotte Hornets begin playing the next year.

Gertrude B. Elion and George H. Hitchings win the Nobel Prize in medicine. Both formerly worked at the Research Triangle Park.

1990 North Carolina Census Data







American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleutian


Asian or Pacific Islander


Other races


The United States fights the Persian Gulf War. The North Carolina Army National Guard mobilizes 19 units and more than 2,000 personnel in response to the crisis.

East Carolina University’s medical school pioneers modern telemedicine.

Dan Blue becomes the first African American to serve as speaker of the house in the General Assembly.

Troops from North Carolina military bases assist in the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

November: Eva Clayton becomes the first woman elected to Congress from North Carolina.

January 1: The Soviet Union is officially declared dead after several years of economic collapse and the secession of its former republics, which reject Communism and establish independent nations.

November: James B. Hunt becomes the first North Carolina governor elected to a third four-year term. Four years later he will be elected to a fourth term in office.

October 26: National Football League team owners vote unanimously to place a team in the Carolinas. The Carolina Panthers begin playing in 1995.

North Carolina natives Sadie and Bessie Delany, at ages 104 and 102, publish the book Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years. The sisters, daughters of Episcopal bishop Henry B. Delany, turn into celebrities, and their story becomes a successful Broadway play.

North Carolina resident Martin Rodbell wins the Nobel Prize for discoveries about how proteins trigger basic body functions.

April: The North Carolina Museum of History opens its new facility to the public in Raleigh.

North Carolina has approximately 9.3 million hogs, making it the second-largest pork producer in the nation. Most farms are in 20 eastern counties.

September: Hurricane Fran hits North Carolina, causing more than $5 billion in damage, primarily in the eastern part of the state.

North Carolina gains its third major-league sports franchise when the Hartford Whalers (now the Carolina Hurricanes) of the National Hockey League relocate to the state.

December: President Bill Clinton is impeached in the United States House of Representatives, becoming the second president impeached by Congress (the first was Andrew Johnson, in 1868). The Senate votes not to remove Clinton from office.

January 13: North Carolinian Michael Jordan retires from the National Basketball Association after 13 seasons, six NBA championships, 10 scoring titles, and five Most Valuable Player awards.

September: Hurricane Floyd causes widespread and devastating flooding in the eastern portion of North Carolina.

April: The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences opens its new facility to the public in Raleigh.

2000 North Carolina Census Data







American Indian and Alaska Native




Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander


Hispanic or Latino


Other races


November: Elizabeth Dole becomes the first woman to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate.

North Carolina Senator John Edwards runs for vice president. He and running mate Senator John Kerry are narrowly defeated by incumbent President George Bush.

contributed by Diane Sanfilippo 

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