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North Carolina was the birthplace of both Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, and Ava Gardner, the famous Hollywood actress.
Wilson County, NC has a rich history that dates back to the early 18th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, such as the Tuscarora and Saponi, who utilized the fertile lands for hunting and farming. In 1718, European settlers began to establish farms and plantations in the region, taking advantage of the fertile soil and the nearby Tar River for transportation.

During the American Revolution, Wilson County played a significant role as a center of patriotic sentiment and support for the cause of independence. Many local residents joined the colonial militia and fought against British forces. The area saw several skirmishes and raids, including the infamous Battle of Raft Swamp in neighboring Cumberland County.

The county was officially established in 1855 and was named after General Louis D. Wilson, who served as a state legislator and fought during the Mexican-American War. The economy of Wilson County thrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, primarily based on agriculture and the tobacco industry. The introduction of the railroad in the late 1800s further boosted economic growth and allowed for easier transportation of goods.

In the mid-20th century, Wilson County experienced significant changes as technology and industries evolved. The decline of the tobacco industry led to diversification of the local economy, with the manufacturing sector becoming more prominent. Today, Wilson County is a vibrant community known for its agricultural heritage, industrial development, and commitment to education and healthcare. It continues to grow and adapt to the changing times while preserving its historical roots.

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

  • 1740 - Wilson County is established as part of Johnston County.
  • 1855 - Wilson County is officially formed and named after Louis D. Wilson, a state legislator and general in the Confederate Army.
  • 1856 - The town of Wilson is incorporated.
  • 1865-1868 - Wilson County recovers from the devastation caused by the Civil War.
  • 1886 - The Wilson Cotton Mills is established, leading to the growth of the textile industry in the county.
  • 1908 - The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad is completed, connecting Wilson to other major cities.
  • 1950s-1960s - Wilson County experiences significant population growth and economic expansion.
  • 1985 - The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is established, showcasing unique kinetic sculptures.
  • 1990 - Wilson County celebrates its bicentennial.
  • 2019 - The Wilson County Public Library opens its new main branch.