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Early America

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Gaston County (1846) Encyclopedia

A southern Piedmont county, Gaston County is a well established hub for North Carolina textile production. The county was established in 1846 from a large section of Lincoln County, and the county seat is Gastonia. Before its reliance on the textile industry, Gastonia was known for its corn crop, and earned the label the “Banner Corn Whiskey County of Carolina” in 1870.

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Guilford County (1771) Encyclopedia

Formed in 1771 from parts of the Orange and Rowan counties, Guilford lies in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and its county seat is Greensboro. The decisive Battle of Guilford Courthouse occurred in Guilford in 1781, and O. Henry, Dolly Madison, and Edward R. Murrow were all born in the county. The county is home to the two major cities of Greensboro and High Point.

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Haywood County (1808) Encyclopedia

Haywood, a western, mountain county of North Carolina, was established out of Buncombe County in 1808. Named after John Haywood, the county is home to the Great Smoky Mountains, Maggie Valley, and Lake Junaluska. Waynesville, incorporated in 1871, is the county’s seat of government.

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Joseph Hewes (1730-1779) Encyclopedia

Although Joseph Hewes was a native of New Jersey, he was one of three North Carolinians to sign the Declaration of Independence.  His business experience, education and honorable character enabled the Tar Heel to serve North Carolina vigilantly in public service for thirteen years. 

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Highland Scots Encyclopedia

Countless Highland Scots migrated to North Carolina during the colonial period and lived primarily in the Upper Cape Fear region during the late 1770s.  Immediately the Highland Scots contributed to some of the greatest events in the state's history.  As evidenced by the modern-day Highland Games, these Scots and their families migrated to other parts of the state, where aspects of their culture are alive and well today.

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William Henry Hill (1767-1808) Encyclopedia

A Brunswick County native, William Henry Hill was the state’s district attorney, a state senator, a University of North Carolina Trustee, and a U.S. Congressman.  Unlike many of his North Carolina contemporaries in Congress, Hill was a staunch Federalist who, according to Lawrence F. London, “believed in a strong central government.”  

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Hillsborough Convention of 1788 Encyclopedia

Meeting in Hillsborough, North Carolina, Antifederal and Federal delegates convened from July 21 to August 4, 1788 to consider ratification of the newly proposed U.S. Constitution.  The two-week long deliberations resulted in neither ratification nor rejection.  North Carolina refused to make a decision.  Ratification was postponed until the 1789 Fayetteville Convention.

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William Hooper (1742-1790) Encyclopedia

A representative of North Carolina at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, William Hooper risked death and sacrificed his personal income to secure the creation of the United States.  He later pursued a Federalist political ideology, which many North Carolinians disagreed with, and served as a federal judge until shortly before his death.

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House in the Horseshoe Encyclopedia

The story of the House in the Horseshoe, and the men who fought there during an American Revolution skirmish, reveals the nature and influence of the war in the North Carolina backcountry. One of the first “big” houses built in the frontier lands of North Carolina, the House in the Horseshoe still has bullet holes from the fighting that took place in 1781.

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Robert Howe (1732-1786) Encyclopedia

In 1732, Robert Howe was born in Brunswick County, North Carolina.  He emerged as the colonies’ highest-ranking officer during the Revolutionary War.  Althought he supported Royal Governor Tryon in the 1760s, Howe like many others soon grew disenchanted with the English crown and evinced a strong patriotism by the mid-1770s.

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James Iredell, Jr. (1788-1853) Encyclopedia

In 1827, Iredell became the twenty-third governor of North Carolina but resigned a year later to fill the North Carolina Senate seat vacated by Nathaniel Macon.  Although Iredell relayed the importance of improved roads and waterways during his administration, he led North Carolina when the state’s finances were meager and insufficient for one with visions of implementing internal improvement plans.

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James Iredell, Sr. (1751-1799) Encyclopedia

James Iredell (1751-1799) was a leader of the North Carolina Federalists during the state ratification debates of the federal Constitution.  Following ratification, President George Washington appointed the North Carolinian to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served until his death in 1799.  His best-known opinion is his dissent in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) that provided the basis for the subsequent adoption of the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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Samuel Johnston (1733-1816) Encyclopedia

Samuel Johnston, one of early North Carolina’s most durable politicians, served as governor during the debate over the ratification of the United States Constitution.  In addition to his support for the Constitution, Johnston  was known as a governor, in the words of one historian, who displayed “cautious restraint with regard to fiscal and monetary affairs.”

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Willie Jones (1741-1801) Encyclopedia

Willie Jones was an influential Jeffersonian states’ righter and patriot during the Revolutionary War and Federalist periods.  Willie Jones (pronounced Wiley) is remembered mostly for opposing the ratification of the United States Constitution.  His political philosophy has had a lasting influence.

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Judaculla Rock Encyclopedia

Sacred to the Cherokee, Judaculla Rock has long remained a tourist attraction, but also a mystery to archeologists and geologists. Located in Jackson County, the large soapstone exhibits intricate carvings that Cherokee believe were imprinted by the god of all Game Animals, Judaculla or Tsu’kalu. Yet, historians and archeologists have proposed different theories regarding the rock’s meaning.

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