During the Civil War, North Carolina was the second to last state to secede from the Union, doing so on May 20, 1861, and sending more soldiers to fight for the Confederacy than any other state.
Sampson County, located in southeastern North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history that spans over three centuries. The area was initially inhabited by several Native American tribes, including the Tuscarora and the Lumbee, who cultivated the land and thrived on its abundant resources.

European settlers began arriving in the area in the early 18th century, primarily from Scotland and Ireland. The county was officially established in 1784 and named after John Sampson, a prominent figure in North Carolina politics at the time. The agricultural potential of the fertile soil attracted many settlers, who established prosperous plantations and engaged in the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, and timber.

During the Civil War, Sampson County witnessed significant changes and struggles. Confederate troops were primarily stationed in the county to defend the region against Union forces. The Battle of Wise's Fork near Kinston, in which many local soldiers participated, saw heavy casualties. The post-war era brought challenges to the county, including social unrest and economic turmoil, as the region sought to recover from the devastating effects of the war.

In the 20th century, Sampson County experienced advancements in infrastructure, education, and industry. The county's agricultural economy diversified, with the growth of poultry farming, hog production, and other agricultural industries. The establishment of institutions like Sampson Community College and improvements in transportation infrastructure further contributed to the county's progress.

Today, Sampson County continues to thrive as a primarily rural community with a rich agricultural heritage. The county's historical significance, vibrant culture, and natural beauty make it a compelling destination for residents and visitors alike.

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

  • 1784 - Sampson County is formed from territory taken from Duplin County.
  • 1787 - The county seat is established in Clinton.
  • 1830s - The construction of plank roads improves transportation and stimulates the county's economy.
  • 1861-1865 - Sampson County contributes soldiers to the Confederate army during the American Civil War.
  • 1908 - The General Assembly establishes East Carolina Teachers Training School, which later becomes East Carolina University.
  • 1950s-1960s - The Sampson County Race Relations Committee is formed to promote interracial harmony during the Civil Rights Movement.
  • 1996 - Hurricane Fran causes extensive damage to Sampson County.
  • 2007 - The Sampson County History Museum opens, showcasing the county's rich history.