North Carolina was the site of the first gold rush in the United States, in the early 1800s. The town of Charlotte was named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of King George III of England.
Bladen County, located in southeastern North Carolina, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cape Fear Indians, who lived off the land and had a mainly agrarian lifestyle. In the 16th century, European explorers like Giovanni da Verrazzano and Sir Walter Raleigh arrived, but permanent settlement did not occur until much later.

In the 18th century, Bladen County was created in 1734 as one of the original counties in North Carolina. It was named after Martin Bladen, a prominent British statesman at the time. The county quickly became an important center for agriculture, with tobacco, rice, and indigo being major cash crops. The county's fertile soil and access to rivers made it an ideal location for plantations.

During the American Revolutionary War, Bladen County played a significant role. Many residents joined the colonial cause and fought against British forces. The Battle of Elizabethtown, which took place in 1781, was a crucial engagement in the war. However, the county suffered from the economic impact of the war, as trade was disrupted and many plantations were destroyed.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Bladen County continued to be primarily an agricultural region, but faced numerous challenges. The Civil War and Reconstruction era brought further economic disruption, and the county also struggled with issues such as poverty and racial tensions. However, the county also saw progress, with the construction of railroads, the establishment of schools and churches, and the growth of small towns such as Elizabethtown and Bladenboro.

Today, Bladen County remains largely rural, with agriculture still playing a significant role in the local economy. The county boasts a mix of small-town charm and natural beauty, including attractions like the Cape Fear River and Jones Lake State Park. Bladen County's history is evident in its historic sites and museums, which preserve the stories of its Native American heritage, colonial settlement, and contributions to American history.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Bladen County, North Carolina.

  • 1734 - Bladen County is established as one of the original three counties in North Carolina.
  • 1735 - The county seat is established in a town called Elizabethtown.
  • 1787 - Bladen County loses a portion of its territory when Robeson County is established.
  • 1791 - The first courthouse is built in Elizabethtown.
  • 1832 - Bladen County's boundaries undergo a major change when Columbus County is created.
  • 1844 - A new courthouse is built in Elizabethtown to replace the previous one.
  • 1878 - The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad is built through Bladen County, boosting economic development.
  • 1904 - The third and current courthouse is built in Elizabethtown.
  • 1935 - Singletary Lake State Park is established, becoming a popular recreation spot.
  • 1985 - Jones Lake State Park is established, adding another natural attraction to the county.