Available on Amazon
The famous Civil War battle of Fort Fisher, which took place in January 1865, was the largest naval engagement of the entire war.
Orange County, North Carolina has a rich history that dates back to the colonial era. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Occaneechi and Eno. European settlers began arriving in the 18th century, primarily Scots-Irish and German immigrants who established farms and plantations. The county was officially formed in 1752 and named after the Dutch Prince William of Orange.

During the American Revolution, Orange County played a significant role. It was home to prominent figures such as General William R. Davie, who fought alongside George Washington. The historic town of Hillsborough became a hotbed of revolutionary activity, hosting the Hillsborough Convention where the influential Halifax Resolves were signed, calling for independence from Great Britain.

In the following decades, Orange County continued to develop agriculturally, with tobacco becoming a major cash crop. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was founded in 1789 and played a pivotal role in the area's growth, attracting scholars, educators, and entrepreneurs. Education became an important aspect of the county, with many local schools and institutions contributing to its intellectual heritage.

The Civil War brought significant challenges to Orange County, as it was divided between Confederate and Union sympathizers. Hillsborough served as the Confederate capital in early 1865, but the war's end marked a period of reconstruction and healing. The county's agricultural economy underwent a transformation, shifting from tobacco to other crops and industries. Today, Orange County remains a vibrant and diverse community, with a mixture of historical landscapes, cultural events, and a strong commitment to education and sustainability.

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

  • 1752: Orange County is established as a county in the Province of North Carolina.
  • 1761: Hillsborough is chosen as the county seat of Orange County.
  • 1776: Orange County residents sign the Halifax Resolves, supporting American independence.
  • 1789: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is founded in Orange County.
  • 1791: Orange County loses land to the newly formed Chatham County.
  • 1851: The second Orange County Courthouse is built in Hillsborough.
  • 1881: The railroad is established in Orange County, boosting its economy.
  • 1958: The Research Triangle Park is established, bringing further economic growth to the county.
  • 2001: Orange County voters approve a referendum to extend a sales tax to fund a new jail.
  • 2019: The rural community of Orange County continues to thrive, known for its natural beauty and historic charm.