The North Carolina
Cities and Towns in
Click on the towns below to visit their websites
Schools 276-1138 462-4669 277-4312 277-4316 I. 277-4308 462-2111 277-4336 268-4480 462-3601 276-7370 276-0611 277-4356 369-0590 277-4350 369-2252 277-4364
Saint Andrews Presbyterian College
Good Hope Church
Good News Chapel
Saint Lukes Church
Saint Lukes Church
Saint Marys Church
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
by Betty P. Myers, 1975; Revised 1977, 1994, 2000
The earliest settlers in what is now
Through the ensuing years, other groups and individuals have come to the county, bringing their own heritage to mingle with that of the Scots, Scotch-Irish, English, Welsh, and African. Some of our present-day citizens can even link their heritage to that of the first Americans -- the Native Americans. So although the name of the county is
The political beginning for
The main reason given for the movement to break away from
Mr. Maxey John wrote the act which created the county. He had written similar acts twice before. In 1893, the act failed to pass the General Assembly, and in 1895, the act passed, but with a provision for an election in all
In the act establishing the county, the legislature designated Laurinburg as the county seat and required that the county commissioners select a site for a jail within a mile of the center of town. The county began to function in December 1900, and the wills and deeds begin in that month.
With this brief background, let us begin our historical tour of the county in Laurinburg, the county seat and the largest town. Although not incorporated until 1877, Laurinburg is said to have had its beginning as far back as 1785 when the first families settled on the present town site. The name of the town was first written with an h -- Laurinburgh -- and was pronounced by some, "Laur-in-boro." The post office was first called Laurinburgh, but later the "h" was dropped. The "Laurin," of course, came from the prominent McLaurin family. As late as 1840, there were only three dwellings, a store, a saloon, and a few shacks in the town. A private school was established in 1852 and the town seemed to grow rapidly after that. As a matter of fact, the school was named
Mr. Washington Gill was the mayor of the new town. His home has been preserved and restored. It was also the home of Edwin Gill, long-time Treasurer of North Carolina.
Laurinburg is said to have had its beginning with the store and blacksmith shop, which were near where our older water tank now stands. This is very near the site of the high school mentioned earlier.
Another point of interest in Laurinburg is the county’s new courthouse, built in 1964. The county’s first courthouse was built in 1901, facing
On the grounds of the new courthouse are two monuments of historical interest, which were moved from the old courthouse grounds. The
The stores along the main street were operated by some of the town’s most prominent citizens. Mr. John F. McNair started his business at
In the early days,
In 1883, the town’s charter was amended to include these among other provisions: "That the commissioners shall have power to prohibit by penalties the riding or driving of horses or other animals in a careless or dangerous manner, or at a greater speed than five miles per hour... That the commissioners shall have power to declare it unlawful for any horses, mules, cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, and dogs to run at large."
The railroad has always played an important part in the history of Laurinburg and the county. In 1853, it was announced that the
"During all these years the fear of disaster should the shops move, was so apparent that even those who were able to build largely and permanently refused to do so, or as one of our citizens put it when his contractor told him he was planning a home he did not want, the owner said: ‘Build it so that if the shops leave and my business should be so crippled that I shall have to go, too, that I will lose as little as possible in selling out'."
Fortunately, soon after the shops left, the textile industry started to move into the town. The railroad shops were instrumental in bringing prosperity and economic activity to help Laurinburg get started. The railroad continued to be an important part of the community. In the first half of the century, hundreds of car loads of cantaloupes and watermelons were shipped by rail from Laurinburg and the surrounding towns. In fact, Laurinburg called itself The Capital of the Cantaloupe World.
Another title Laurinburg has given itself is "The City of Beautiful Trees," and efforts have been made from the town’s beginning to preserve our distinctive trees. An early ordinance read: "No person shall willfully, carelessly, or negligently damage or destroy any of the shade trees."
Laurinburg received a good deal of national attention some years ago with the story of Cancetto Farmica, known locally as "Spaghetti." Farmica, a carnival worker, was killed in 1911. The family never came to claim the body, and it was held by a local funeral home until it was buried in 1972. During the years, the body became a kind of tourist attraction.
To the east of Laurinburg proper is
The oldest church in Laurinburg is the Laurinburg Presbyterian on
Laurinburg’s oldest public school is
In the northern part of town are two other schools of much historic interest. Laurinburg Institute is the county’s oldest private school. This school, in its present location on McGirt’s
It is fitting that we started and ended our imaginary tour of Laurinburg with schools. The town grew up around and school and actually derived its name from that school. It is also fitting that we begin our imaginary tour of the rest of the county with a school. Let us move to the south of Laurinburg and begin our tour of the county at
There is a legend to the effect that when the first Scottish settlers started moving up the Cape Fear River and inland from
As the Scots were settling in the upper part of the county, several families of Welsh descent moved up from what is now
The second community to spring up along the railroad track in the lower part of the county was Johns Station, often called Johns. Mr. J. T. John started operating a general store by the railroad in 1886, and a post office was established there the same year. A school was already operating in the community.
A school of some historic interest in this part of the county was Oak Grove. It served as the Indian school until the integration of all county schools.
Another landmark in the lower part of the county is
One of these was the Rev. Archibald McQueen. His tombstone is inscribed: "An able lawyer, a skillful physician, and a consecrated preacher." He was born about 1795 and died in 1854. He served Old Laurel Hill and
Another interesting person buried at Stewartsville is the Reverent Colin Lindsay. He preached at
The nearby James Stewart House is one of the oldest in the county, dating back to the early 1800s. The house was built by James Stewart, who served in the United States Congress and was part of the thriving Stewartsville community, which was a trading center and stagecoach stop in the early days. Not only is the house important because of its age, but also because of the birth there of Joseph Hawley, United States Senator and Governor of Connecticut. Hawley was born there in 1826 when his father was a local preacher. His family moved away when he was a child, but he went on to political and military prominence. He served in the Union Army and was the general in charge of the
Continuing our tour, we come to
On the airbase property we find a portion of
Down on the
Where the eddies ripple cool
Your boat, I know, glides stealthily
About some shady pool.
The summer’s heats have lulled asleep
The fish-hawk’s chattering noise
And all the swamp lies hushed about
You Sunburnt Boys.
It was called
Our tour takes us on to
It is interesting to note that many of the Scots in the
Another historic church in
Traveling on, we come to the
John Charles McNeill was buried in
Hills, wrapped in gray, standing along the west;
Clouds, dimly lighted, gathering slowly;
The star of peace at watch above the crest -
Oh holy, holy, holy.
We know so little what is best;
Wingless, we move so lowly;
But in thy calm all-knowledge let us rest -
Oh holy, holy, holy.
We continue to one of the most historic spots in the county, Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, known locally as Old Laurel Hill. One of the earliest communities in the county developed here. The church, which was to be the mother church for most of the other Presbyterian churches in the area, was established in 1797. This was a thriving business community in the Post-Revolutionary War Period. Mr. Duncan McFarland operated a tavern and stagecoach stop for the convenience of passengers on the New York-New Orleans stage. He owned much land and is said to have laid out a sizable town, which he hoped would grow to rival
Legend has it that the soldiers used some of the benches from the church to build a bridge over the nearby creek, and some of the soldiers carved names and initials in the bell tower.
The route of the stagecoach line, which ran through what is now
Our next stop is at Richmond Mill dam. During the years of the Civil War, this was the site of a thriving gun factory operated by Mr. Murdock Morrison. Of course, it was destroyed by
We move on to Laurel Hill, a community which grew up around the railroad depot. When the route of the railroad missed Old Laurel Hill, that community declined as the business center of the area and much of the economic activity moved to Laurel Hill depot. Records indicate there were about a dozen families living there in 1861. The first industries were the turpentine distilleries, which existed prior to the war and for some years afterward. Another early industry was tub-making. The tubs were made of local juniper and the industry flourished for a number of years. In the 1870s a mercantile business was being operated by Mr. John F. McNair, who had started his business at
Near Laurel Hill is Old Hundred. This small settlement marks the end of a 78-mile stretch of straight track beginning near
We travel on to Gibson. No community could be better named than this one for, according to some local jokesters, there is a Gibson per square inch in Gibson. The town was incorporated in 1899, but its history is much older. It seems to have started when a widow, Mrs. Ziba Gibson, and her two sons came to the area in the late 1700s. Mrs. Gibson’s grandson, Noah, is believed to be the Gibson for whom the town is named. He built and operated a store on the present town site. His brother, Thomas, a Methodist minister, organized a church in the community, and in 1835, it was moved to the site of the present-day
The nearby Quaker settlement of Rockdale influenced the history of the area greatly. The existence of the community is substantiated by deeds in the possession of local residents. Some of the deeds mention the name of the village and name streets in it. It is difficult, however, to picture the thriving village with its grist mill, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, and general store when one looks now at the deserted fields that were once Rockdale. The Quakers came from
Not far from Rockdale is the retirement home of one of the county’s most distinguished citizens, Bishop Walter Peele. Dr. Peele, a native of the county, had a long and distinguished career as a Methodist minister. He became a bishop of the
Mr. James Lytch, inventor of a cotton planter which was patented in 1878, lived and had his workshop at nearby X-Way. Mr. Lytch designed and made a number of other implements used in farming throughout the South. Another inventor and manufacturer of farm implements, Mr. John Blue, lived and worked in the same area. His house has been restored and is used by the
We thus end our imaginary tour of
More facts about
In September 1961, the first freshman class entered
As of the census of 2000, there were 35,998 people, 13,399 households, and 9,674 families residing in the county. The population density was 113 people per square mile (44/km²). There were 14,693 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile (18/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 51.49% White, 37.32% Black or African American, 8.88% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 1.33% from two or more races. 1.18% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In 2005 49.4% of Scotland County's population was non-Hispanic whites.
In 2000 there were 13,399 households out of which 34.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.10% were married couples living together, 20.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.80% were non-families. 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the county the population was spread out with 28.10% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 11.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 88.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,010, and the median income for a family was $39,178. Males had a median income of $31,212 versus $23,172 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,693. About 17.40% of families and 20.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.80% of those under age 18 and 17.20% of those age 65 or over.
- Source: Wikipedia
Take a walk back in time to an era of local history spanning over 200 years on the grounds of the John Blue House in
The grounds of the John Blue House are also the home of
•the John Blue House, the "riverboat on land" built in the 1890's.
•an old saw mill,
•a half mile, 18 gauge railroad
•the Jones-Lytch Cabin (circa 1800's), the Shaw Cabin (circa early 1800's), the McNeill Cabin (circa mid 1800's), and the Ferguson Study (circa 1890's)
•the A.D. Gibson Store (circa late 1800's)
•a pre-Civil War mule powered cotton gin, believed to be the oldest in existence
•an outdoor stage that hosts musical and dance events as well as the Storytelling Festival of the
•Historical Museum of 910-276-2995
Museum of Scotland County A great place to see what day-to-day life was like in the rural South is the Museum of Scotland County, which is near the century-old John Blue House. In fact, together, the two provide an excellent excursion into the county’s past. The museum showcases the unique history of farming and industry in the region with displays of agricultural and textile machinery and early farm implements. There are antique cars and a fire engine from yesteryear, local art, model trains, and numerous artifacts from the Civil War. You can even view a rocking chair used by the XXL-sized President, William Howard Taft. Don’t miss our collection of books and collectibles. Our friendly museum staff is happy to answer your questions.
A great place to see what day-to-day life was like in the rural South is the Museum of Scotland County, which is near the century-old John Blue House. In fact, together, the two provide an excellent excursion into the county’s past.
The museum showcases the unique history of farming and industry in the region with displays of agricultural and textile machinery and early farm implements. There are antique cars and a fire engine from yesteryear, local art, model trains, and numerous artifacts from the Civil War. You can even view a rocking chair used by the XXL-sized President, William Howard Taft.
Don’t miss our collection of books and collectibles. Our friendly museum staff is happy to answer your questions.
Article courtesy: Scotland County - Soul of the Carolinas
The Scottish Heritage Center was established to highlight and preserve the Scottish heritage and traditions of the region and beyond. The Upper Cape Fear and Sandhills regions of the Carolinas were home to the largest settlement of Highland Scots in North America until well into the 19th century. In 1989, on the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Highland Scots (the now famed "Argyll Colony") in North Carolina, the college undertook a number of projects aimed at providing educational resources relative to these Scots and others who settled in the region. The Scottish Heritage Center provides assistance and resources for hundreds of interested parties annually.
The Scottish Heritage Center, located on the St. Andrews campus, houses a notable collection of old and rare books dealing with Scottish and Scottish-American history, genealogy, and culture as well as current scholarly titles and periodicals. The Center also contains exhibits relative to the Scottish settlement of the southeastern region of North Carolina, as well as artifacts relative to the famed Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald who resided briefly in the region in the late 18th century. The Center also houses the "Fiona Ritchie Radio Archive for 'The Thistle and Shamrock'" - the archive of the popular radio program heard over hundreds of National Public Radio stations nationwide.
This is the largest collection of Celtic music of its type in the United States. The Scottish Heritage Center sponsors a number of activities yearly which include special concerts and lectures. The most important event in the Center's calendar is the annual "Scottish Heritage Weekend" held in March. This weekend includes the "Our Scottish Heritage" Symposium, an educational opportunity which features presentations of Scottish and Scottish-American history, genealogy, and culture by top scholars from Scotland and the United States. The annual Scottish Heritage Awards Banquet is also held during the Scottish Heritage Weekend. This gala event honors outstanding members of the Scottish-American community who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and perpetuation of Scottish heritage and traditions. Past honorees include Fiona Ritchie, Jean Redpath MBE, Ellice McDonald, Jr., the late Lady Dorothy Dunnett, Sharyn McCrumb, Pipe Major Sandy Jones, the Honourable Flora I. MacDonald, Dr. Duane Meyer, the late Rev. Canon Dougald Lachlan MacLean, and many others who have made outstanding contributions to the Scottish community. The public is cordially invited to the "Scottish Heritage Weekend" and the event draws its large annual attendance from throughout North America and Scotland.
For further information on the Scottish Heritage Center, its resources, and the annual "Scottish Heritage Weekend" held annually in March, please contact the Director of the Scottish Heritage Center
When John Stewart built his farmhouse in rural
The men who built Stewart’s house used hand tools and flat nails, wood harvested from local pine trees, and hand-blown glass in the windows. When they built that house, however, they built it to last—through the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Depression, all told, some 200 years of American history. Today, the Stewart-Hawley-Malloy Home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The oldest house in
The little loves and sorrows are my song:
The leafy lanes and birthsteads of my sires,
Where memory broods by winter’s evening fires
O’er oft-told joys, and ghosts of ancient wrong
Those lines, written by
McNeill’s beautifully restored home, which was moved to its current site in 1960, yields insights into the life of the poet who was awarded
Currently, the home serves as the visitor center for the Richmond Temperance and Literary Society’s Temperance Hall as it graces the grounds. Tours of the John McNeill House are available by appointment. Hwy 401, Old Wire Rd. &
Hwy 401, Old Wire Rd. &
This unique building and the society it housed served an important purpose in antebellum society in what is now
The present hexagonal building was constructed of hand-molded local bricks, and it was within these walls that society members publicly avowed abstinence from strong drink, debated public issues, and shared views of the literature of the age. Notice, at the apex of the roof, is the symbolic upturned chalice mounted on a Holy Bible. Both pieces were reputedly shot down by
Inside, a unique symbolism prevailed. The center of the ceiling revealed a field of gold stars, one for each member. As members died, their stars were gilded with silver. Should a member break his pledge of abstinence, his star was instead painted black. (Many stars were discovered with alternating coats of black and gold!)
Article courtesy: Scotland County - Soul of the Carolinas
Certainly among the most soulful of all places in
Right down to present day, the church’s rolls reflect many of the Scottish names who settled the area to avoid persecution after the failed uprising in support of the last Stuart “pretender.” Organized by John Gillespie in 1797, the congregation met in log buildings on the site until the present structure was completed in 1865.
Importantly, slaves met with the congregation as early as 1832 – arriving through a separate entrance and occupying seating in the gallery. Many of these slaves went north with General Sherman when his army swept through the area. In addition, the mid-19th century saw the church give birth to many sister congregations in the county.
The field to the west of the church drew acclaim as a public market and thus became the site of the Scottish Fair. (When this event began to attract horse racing and betting elements, it was disbanded at the urging of Reverand A.N. Ferguson.
One final note: the Great Depression saw the first practice of “Ingathering”–which encouraged payment-in-kind to assist with the church budget. This soulful practice is still observed today.
Article courtesy: Scotland County - Soul of the Carolinas