In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, North Carolina became a leading producer of furniture, textiles, and tobacco products. The state's nickname, the "Tar Heel State," comes from the fact that the state was a major producer of tar, pitch, and turpentine from its vast pine forests.
Harnett County, located in central North Carolina, has a rich history dating back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Tuscarora and the Catawba, before European settlers arrived in the late 17th century. The earliest European settlers in the area were predominantly of Scottish and English descent.

In 1855, Harnett County was officially established when it was split from Cumberland County. It was named in honor of Cornelius Harnett, an influential political figure and member of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. Throughout the 19th century, agriculture played a significant role in the county's economy, with farmers producing crops such as tobacco, cotton, and corn.

Harnett County's history is also marked by its involvement in the Civil War. Many of its residents fought for the Confederate cause, and several skirmishes and battles took place in the area. One notable event was the Battle of Averasboro in 1865, where Confederate forces unsuccessfully attempted to halt General William T. Sherman's march to the sea.

Over the years, Harnett County has undergone significant growth and development. It experienced a boom in the early 20th century with the establishment of textile mills and other industries. Today, Harnett County continues to show signs of growth, attracting residents and businesses alike with its proximity to major cities like Raleigh and its natural beauty, including the Cape Fear River and various state parks.

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

  • 1839 - Harnett County is established as an original county from parts of Cumberland County and Johnston County.
  • 1855 - The town of Lillington is incorporated.
  • 1865 - Harnett County suffers damage during the Civil War, including the burning of the Harnett County Courthouse.
  • 1872 - The North Carolina General Assembly designates Lillington as the county seat of Harnett County.
  • 1900 - Harnett County's first hospital, McLean Hospital, opens in Lillington.
  • 1933 - Campbell College (now Campbell University) is founded in Buies Creek.
  • 1963 - Record-breaking Hurricane Donna causes significant flooding and damage in Harnett County.
  • 2019 - Harnett County celebrates its 180th anniversary since its establishment.