Historical Marker in
Jones County, North Carolina

The first English child born in the New World, Virginia Dare, was born in what is now Roanoke Island, North Carolina, in 1587.
Jones County, located in eastern North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history that dates back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Tuscarora and the Neusiok, who thrived on the county's fertile lands and abundant natural resources.

European settlement in Jones County began in the late 17th century when English colonists arrived in search of new opportunities. The county was officially established in 1779 and named after Willie Jones, a prominent North Carolina politician. During the colonial era, agriculture, particularly the production of corn, tobacco, and indigo, formed the backbone of the local economy.

Jones County played a notable role during the American Revolution. The county was a hotbed of resistance against British rule, with many residents joining patriot militias and participating in battles such as the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in 1776. Jones County was also the birthplace of privateer Jonathan Haraden, whose expeditions during the war helped disrupt British shipping.

In the years following the Revolution, Jones County experienced significant growth and development. Its strategic location along the Trent River and the alluvial soil led to the expansion of agriculture, particularly cotton and turpentine production. The county saw the rise of small communities and the establishment of educational institutions. However, the county, like the rest of the South, faced major challenges in the form of the Civil War and Reconstruction. The county experienced widespread destruction and economic decline during these periods but gradually recovered in the late 19th century.

Today, Jones County continues to thrive as a rural county with a focus on agriculture and industrial development. With its rich history and natural beauty, the county attracts visitors who are interested in its cultural heritage as well as outdoor recreation opportunities, such as fishing on the Trent River and exploring the Croatan National Forest.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Jones County, North Carolina.

  • 1719: Jones County is established as a precinct of Craven County.
  • 1779: Jones County is officially formed and named after Willie Jones, a prominent North Carolina politician.
  • 1782: The county seat is established in Trenton.
  • 1799: The Battle of Rockfish Creek takes place in Jones County during the War of 1812.
  • 1820: The county's population reaches its peak at around 5,500 residents.
  • 1848: The Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad is completed, connecting Jones County to the rest of the state.
  • 1861: Jones County secedes from the Confederacy and declares itself the "Free State of Jones" during the American Civil War.
  • 1868: Jones County is reintegrated into North Carolina and faces significant economic challenges during the Reconstruction era.
  • 1881: The courthouse in Trenton is destroyed by fire, but is later rebuilt.
  • 1901: The Great Fire of Trenton destroys much of the town's business district.
  • 1933: The Civilian Conservation Corps establishes a camp in Jones County, providing employment during the Great Depression.
  • 1999: Hurricane Floyd causes severe flooding in Jones County, leading to significant property damage and loss of life.
  • 2010: The population of Jones County is approximately 10,000 residents.