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Opening its doors to students in 1795, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill holds the distinction of being one of the oldest public universities in the country and the first public university to award degrees in the eighteenth century. Currently, UNC is highly ranked with several national publications listing Carolina as a preeminent leader in academic quality, affordability, diversity and engagement in international presence. As of 2012, UNC Chapel Hill retains a student body of 29,137 and 3,221 faculty members.
The Wachovia Corporation developed from a small bank in Salem, North Carolina to become the fourth-largest bank holding company in the United States. Before Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia in 2008, it was the largest bank in the South, and it had the most extensive trust corporation, or financial service that assists with corporate wealth management, between Baltimore and New Orleans.
During the early 1800s, present-day Transylvania County was the site of a border conflict between Georgia and North Carolina. In 1803, Georgia claimed ownership of a twelve-mile strip of land in North Carolina, commonly referred to as the “orphan strip.” The minor dispute was known as the Walton War because Georgia named the region Walton County in honor of George Walton, a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence.
“Thinking Things Over” was a column in the Wall Street Journal written by Journal editor Vermont C. Royster (1914-1996). The column, which ran from 1964 until 1986, showcased Royster’s folksy language and conservative philosophy. Royster received a Pulitzer Prize for his work in 1984.
Famous for his craftsmanship, Thomas Day, a free African American, became one of North Carolina’s most prolific furniture makers. Born to free parents in Dinwiddie, Virginia, Day and his brother, John, Jr., were well-educated.
In “To the Inhabitants of Great Britain” (1774), North Carolinian and future Supreme Court Justice James Iredell challenged William Blackstone's legal interpretations and opposed what he described as Parliament’s attempt “to exercise a supreme authority” over the colonies.
During the American Revolution (1776-1783), more than a few North Carolinians supported Great Britain. They were called Loyalists or Tories. The Royal Governor, Josiah Martin, hoped that all the former Regulators might side with the British. But the governor’s wish never came true. Most North Carolina Tories were Highland Scots.
Reconstruction was a turbulent time, filled with significant political and social change, violence, and controversy. One controversial figure was Albion Tourgee, an Ohioan who moved to North Carolina for economic opportunities.
Located near Mount Gilead, Town Creek Indian Mound is a Pee Dee ceremonial burial ground. It remains the only North Carolina historic site dedicated to Native Americans and is a well-known Mississippian culture landmark.
The “Land of Waterfalls”, Transylvania County has more than 250 falls in its three forest parks, and Whitewater Falls, a 400-feet high waterfall, is the highest cascade east of the Rocky Mountains. The county, established in 1861 from the Jackson and Henderson Counties, is located in the southwestern section of North Carolina in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Brevard College and the Brevard Music Center are the cultural and academic centers of Transylvania.
The “New Traditionalist,” Randy Travis, transformed the country music genre to its traditional, old style during his singing career in the 1980s and 1990s. Born in Marshville, a small community outside of Charlotte, Travis (born Randy Traywick) grew up on his family’s farm while playing and singing at concerts and parties. Travis’s big break came when he partnered with Lib Hatcher, and he became a country music legend before moving into an acting career.
Formerly known as Brown's School, Union Institute, and Normal College, Trinity College was located in Randolph County and struggled financially until the wealthy Duke family started making donations and the instiitution moved to Durham in 1892.
Howell Gilliam Trogdon, born in Randolph County in 1840, was the first North Carolinian to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. There is no better illustration of the ever-divided loyalties of Randolph County than one of its native sons, born in the last state to join the Confederacy, who received the highest award for valor in action that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Army of the United States of America.
One of the largest and most ornate buildings in colonial North Carolina, the Tryon Palace was built in the late 1760s at the behest of its namesake, Royal Governor William Tryon. John Hawks was the architect, and the government assembly chambers and the house were dedicated on December 5, 1770. Increased taxes to pay for the palace’s construction angered many Piedmont colonists. After the American Revolution, the palace burnt down in a fire in 1798. In 1959, after efforts to restore the site, Tryon Palace opened as the state’s first historic site.
William Tryon, one of the most notorious royal governors of North Carolina, was born in England in 1729. Although he did not receive a formal education, Tryon’s family was well-esteemed, and his wife’s friendship with Lord Hillsborough led to his appointment as lieutenant governor of North Carolina in 1764. Tryon encountered heavy rebellion during the Regulator Movement and he was later relocated to serve as governor of the New York colony. He died on January 27, 1788, in England.