History of Edgecombe County, North Carolina

This volume was undertaken by reason of a deep appreciation for the county of Edgecombe and her worthy history. We never realized the force of Job's utterance, "Oh that mine enemy would write a book," until well into the work. Locating and interpreting ancient and musty records, running down hazy traditions, whose origin is well nigh lost to memory and attempting to verify them, has been no easy task. How often have we wished that we had left the search to that uncertain somebody else. However, out of loyalty to our native county, we have not hesitated or turned back.

The people of Edgecombe are intelligent, law abiding, industrious, resourceful, and progressive; but they are marked by one bar sinister, a most serious fault, that they have not properly appreciated their county, themselves, and the efforts of individual leaders. But they will grow, develop, and broaden with the process of time, and in so doing will stand foremost in all that makes and marks a most notable and worthy people.


Table of Contents

Chapter I 18
Origin and Settlement

Chapter II 41
Colonial Government

ChapterIII 78

Chapter IV 104
Politics After the Revolution

Chapter V 156

Chapter VI 186
War Between the States

Chapter VII and VIII 237, 259

Chapter IX 281
Politics Since 1880

Chapter X 326
Agriculture, Industries and Internal Improvement

Chapter XI 359

Chapter XII 387

Chapter XIII 432

Chapter XIV 458
Presbyterians and Sons of Temperance

Chapter XV 467


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This work was begun several years ago, while Mr. Turner was a student at Trinity College. It has been completed with the cooperation of Mr. Bridgers, after interruption due to the World War. Certain features of their labors deserve mention.

The careers of individuals and the description of notable events are subordinated to the treatment of movements, industrial, economic and political. The dominating theme is the environment and activity of the average man as involved in organs of government, labor systems, religion, education, economic life, and political affairs. For information and data the authors have utilized a wide range of material, manuscript records, laws, newspapers, biographies, histories and unwritten traditions. The work is, I believe, a wider and more varied presentation of the life of the people than is conceived in our county and local histories.

A varied feature of the work is its information regarding that vital but neglected period of local history, the years between the Revolution and the Civil War. There came to maturity institutions and forces which originated in early days. How often are these years of development glossed over in our local histories for the benefit of the tumult and the shouting of martial times!