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The first English child born in the New World, Virginia Dare, was born in what is now Roanoke Island, North Carolina, in 1587.
Northampton County, located in northeastern North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history dating back to the early 18th century. The area was home to Native American tribes, including the Meherrin and Tuscarora, before European settlers arrived. In 1741, Northampton County was officially formed and named after James Compton, the Earl of Northampton.

During the colonial period, the economy of Northampton County revolved around agriculture, with large plantations producing tobacco, cotton, and timber. The county prospered, and by the late 18th century, it had become one of the wealthiest counties in the state. However, the institution of slavery was deeply entrenched, with a significant portion of the population being enslaved African Americans.

The county played a role in the American Revolutionary War, with local militia units providing support to the Continental Army. In the 19th century, Northampton County experienced some agricultural changes, shifting from tobacco to cotton production. The county also saw the rise of small manufacturing industries, including sawmills and textile mills.

During the Civil War, Northampton County sent many of its young men to fight for the Confederacy. The war had a devastating impact on the county, resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of property, and economic decline. After the war, Northampton County, like many other southern communities, struggled through Reconstruction and the challenges of rebuilding.

Today, Northampton County continues to be primarily rural and agricultural. Its history is reflected in its historic landmarks and cultural heritage sites, including preserved plantation homes and historic churches. The county remains a tight-knit community, with a focus on education, preserving its history, and promoting economic development while embracing its past.

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

  • 1741 - Northampton County is formed from Bertie County.
  • 1759 - The county seat is established in Jackson, now known as Jackson County.
  • 1774 - The county seat moves to Northampton Courthouse, now known as Jackson Court House.
  • 1785 - The county seat moves to a new location and is named Williamsborough.
  • 1858 - The county seat moves back to Northampton Courthouse.
  • 1881 - The county seat moves once again to Jackson.
  • 1922 - The county seat is officially named Jackson, which remains the county seat today.