The North Carolina
Cities and Towns in Robeson County
Click on the towns below to visit their websites
Events in Fairmont
Saturday Oct. 17th-
Friday December 4- HOLIDAY ON MAIN featuring
December 24th- “SANTA VISITS THE KIDS”. 5:00-8:00 p.m. Town Fire Dept. escorts Santa on town fire truck to deliver gifts to town children.
Robeson County was formed out of Bladen County in 1787. It was named in honor of Colonel Thomas Robeson, a soldier in the American Revoluion. The courthouse was constructed on land which formerly belonged to John Willis. A lottery was used to dispose of the lots and to establish a town. In 1788, Lumberton was established and has been the county seat ever since.
Colonel Thomas Robeson lived at Tar Heel. His descendants still occupy some of his original property. His grave was marked by the Daughters of the American Revolution in the early 1900s.
Lumberton, the county seat, was established contrary to other published information prior to 1788. The act that incorporated Lumberton in 1788 mentioned that a "town had already been established". At the time Lumberton was incorporated the section of the Lumber River on which Lumberton is located was known as the "Drowning Creek", a name by which portions of the river are still known. The name Lumberton was proposed by John Willis.
The first Robeson County courthouse was erected on land which previously part of the "Red Bluff Plantation," which was owned by John Willis.
The official language of Robeson County was Gaelic.
Robeson County's post office was established in 1794.
Anglos who settled from the Scottish Highlands in the early 1730s found the local American Indians, descendants of the Tuscarora, Cherokee, Cheraw, and remnants of other tribes already speaking English when they arrived. They also found a group of both freed and runaway African Americans living in the area.
Today, Robeson County is home to the Tuscarora and Lumbee Tribes. According to the 2000 Census, Robeson County has the ninth largest population of American Indians in the United States.
Click Here to learn more about the Lumbee Indian's official website. Link is current as of August 2005.
Ashpole became a stop on the Southeastern Railroad line in 1898 and the town's first lots were sold. Incorporated as Union City in 1899 as a meeting point for the railroad and the tobacco market, the town did not retain this name. It was instead renamed Ashpole until 1907 when the current town name, Fairmont, was adopted.
Commercial growth of the town expanded in this century. One general store and a blacksmith shop were noted in 1879, by 1930, thirty general stores and a variety of other enterprises had been established.
Fairmont's twentieth-century growth has been associated with the tobacco industry. Today, truck farming and the textile industry are expanding as part of the economic development of this area. Fairmont has several medical facilities, specializing in general medical and dialysis.
The Lumber Bridge Light Infantry Company, today housed in Parkton, was first chartered in 1747 and remains the oldest North Carolina military company and the second oldest guard in the nation still in active service. Known since the Civil War as the "Scotch Tigers" to honor the fore bearers of this area, the unit has also served in the Spanish-American War and World Wars I and II. Many present Guard members are Vietnam and Desert Storm Veterans. The "Scotch Tigers" National Guard has frequently assisted storm victims, most recently being deployed in response to Hurricane Fran.
The town was also home to the first eastern North Carolina high school which was accredited in 1907. Known for its strong college preparatory program, the school was phased out in 1931 due to a declining town population.
The May 20, 1909 Robesonian highlights the importance of truck farming of vegetables and cotton to this area.
Lumber Bride experienced a loss of jobs and labor force that faced many communities during the depression and war years of the 1930s and 4's. However, an upbeat climate is evidenced toady by the new industries hat have located here.
A 1794 law called for the governance of the town by five directors with power of taxation. Unobligated tax money was designed to support Lumberton Academy which also served as a church.. This academy was first chartered in 1793 and rechartered at three other times.
According to local historians, the main stage coaches from Elizabethtown and Fayetteville met at Lumberton to use the toll bridge across Drowning Creek (Lumber River). The river's high bluff was the launching point for thousands of logs floated down the river to Georgetown. Thus, Lumberton has been a center of economic development for over 210 years.
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, railroads replaced waterways and wagon roads as the main source of transporting local agriculture and timber products. The Wilmington to Lumberton line was completed in 1860.
An 1884 publication notes the town, "one of the prettiest in the state," with a population of 1,200, twenty stores, five churches, saw mills, turpentine distilleries, and four hotels. Land could be purchased for as little as $5 per acre.
The turn of the century saw continued railroad expansion and growth in the tobacco and textile industries. Electric lights replaced kerosene street lamps in 1904. The public library was organized in 1924. The population grew to 4,100 by 1930.
In 1945, the city of Lumberton was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly. In recent years, its residents have been active in refurbishing the historic area and guiding its new industrial growth. Lumberton was among the finalists for designation as an All-American City in 1995. Home today to a diversified array of internationally-owned companies, Lumberton takes pride in its contributions to the cultural and economic history of this area.
Floral College was founded in 1841 by John Gilchrist, Jr. and was closed in 1878. It was the first woman's college in the state to confer degrees. The remaining building of the college has been moved to the grounds of Centre Presbyterian Church.
Maxtonians of Note:
Birthplace of Angus W. McLean, Governor of North Carolina, 1924-1928. He went on to serve in the US Senate until his death in 1935.
Malcom McLean, founder of McLean Trucking and SeaLand, Inc. He was named "Man of the Century" by the International Maritime Hall of Fame.
Alice Russell Micheaux, concert soloist and movie actress - her credits include: The Betrayal (1948), God's Step Children (1938), Murder in Harlem (1935), and The Broken Violin (1927).
Town facilities include the Gilbert Patterson Memorial Public Library and the Maxton Family Resources Center. The Maxton Historical Society operates a museum of local history, which is open on Sunday afternoons.
In the past few years the town had begun to revive itself.
Under an 1885 law, twelve school districts were established providing elementary education for the Lumbees. In 1887, a state-funded school, the Croatan Normal School, was begun with minimal funding to train teachers for the newly established schools.
By 1928, the school offered high school and normal school courses and in 1940 awarded its first four-year degrees. In 1941, the name of the school was changed to Pembroke State College for Indians and shortened to Pembroke State College, in 1949. University status was granted in 1969, and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke became part of the sixteen-campus state university system, in 1972.
Contributions to Pembroke have long been associated with the cultural and political history of the Lumbees. Pembroke University houses the Indian Cultural Center that has engaged in research and preservation of the Native American culture of this area.
Incorporated in 1887, Red Springs has long been associated with education. In 1852, a frame school building was built near the hotel. For nearly forty years it was the site of religious meetings, dances, and school. The North Carolina Military Academy opened in 1899 and attracted male students until 1908.
In 1896, Red Springs Seminary opened as a female seminary. It was renamed Flora MacDonald College in 1914 to honor the Scottish heroine who had helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape the Stuart uprising in Scotland. Today the building, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, houses Flora MacDonald Academy, as K-12 college-preparatory private school.
The annual Flora MacDonald Highland Games and Gathering of Clans is held in October. Dancing, pipe band competition, and traditional games attract many visitors to the two-day event.
Cotton, soybean, tobacco, and lumber production have long been associated with the economic progress of this community. Textiles and agribusiness form a sold foundation for industrial expansion.
The railway depot, built in 1890 and remodeled in 1925, now houses the McMurray-McKeller Museum that includes period furnishings and displays of railroad and other historic memorabilia.
Nearby historic sites include the Ashpole Presbyterian Church, organized in 1796, Providence A.M.E. Zion Methodist Church founded in 1885, and the grave site of Robert Adair, a famous early resident. Dr. Adair, author, soldier, and explorer, wrote History of American Indians, published in 1775.
From its population of seventy-two in 1890, the town grew to 999 in 1940 and adopted the motto, "The town of a thousand friends." It was home to the county's first public library, established in 1903 by local residents, each donating one book to its collection, housed in the office of the local dentist, Dr. C. H. Lennon.
Known as a farming community amid rich, productive farmland, Rowland's residents take pride in the agricultural heritage.
The town's growth resulted in the establishment of an academy, Robeson Institute, in 1845. A 1925 paper reports that "It was a mixed school (gender), but was taught by competent teachers." In 1885 the academy burned and was never rebuilt. A new school, combined with the Masonic Lodge, was built in 1886.
The textile industry flourished during the early part of the twentieth century with the building of three cotton mills by 1920. The worldwide depression of the 30s contributed to the selling of the mills in 1943 to Burlington Mills Corporation. The textile industry continues to be a leading contributor to the area's economy.
The railroad industry contributed much to the history of St. Pauls. The Virginia and Carolina Railroad, connecting St. Pauls with Lumberton and Elizabethtown and branching with the Atlantic Coast Line at Hope Mills, was built 1907-1910 by the Atlantic Improvement Company. This influenced the surveying and sale of home lots and establishment of the business section next to the railway station.
The town was incorporated in 1909, the same year of the town's first telephone line. An electric power line came to St. Pauls in 1912. Both of these local companies were bought in the 1920s by companies offering statewide service.
In 1923, St. Pauls was described as a "rosebud of nature's beauty" with its three cotton mills, flour mill, bank newspaper, lumber company, ice company, three doctors, three lawyers, and "nice wide streets with plans to pave."
Today, the area surrounding St. Pauls is known for its diversified farming and improving economic base.
- Source: J.D. Lewis - Little River, SC
As of the census of 2000, there were 123,339 people, 43,677 households, and 32,015 families residing in the county. The population density was 130 people per square mile (50/km²). There were 47,779 housing units at an average density of 50 per square mile (19/km²).
As of 2000, the racial makeup of the county was:
In 2005 29.1% of the county population was non-Hispanic whites. 38.5% of the population was Native Americans. 24.3% of the population was African American. 7.4% of the population was Latino.
The Lumbee Indian Tribe of North Carolina comprises more than one-half the state of North Carolina's indigenous population of 84,000. With a population of 58,443, reflecting a 34.5% increase from the 1980 population of 43,465 members, the Lumbee reside primarily in Robeson, Hoke, Cumberland, and Scotland counties. In Robeson County alone, there are currently 46,869 Lumbee Indians and one Slimmy Indian out of a total county population of 123,339, and thus, the Lumbee make up 38.02%, making them the largest racial/ethnic group in the county. In fact, the Lumbee are also the largest tribal nation east of the Mississippi River, the ninth largest tribal nation, and the largest non-reservation tribe of Native Americans in the United States.
Several Lumbee communities are located within Robeson County.
There were 43,677 households out of which 37.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.60% were married couples living together, 20.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.70% were non-families. 22.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the county the population was spread out with 29.00% under the age of 18, 10.60% from 18 to 24, 29.30% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 10.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 94.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $28,202, and the median income for a family was $32,514. Males had a median income of $26,646 versus $20,599 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,224. About 19.60% of families and 22.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.00% of those under age 18 and 25.30% of those age 65 or over.