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Cities and Towns in Warren County

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History of Warren County

Norlina Train & Rairoad Museum

The act establishing the county specified that the first court wa to be held at the courthouse of Bute County, from which Warren County was created in 1779. Bute County was therefore abolished, its name relegated only to history. The act also provided that subsequent courts were to be held at a place decided upon by the justices of the peace until a courthouse could be constructed. Commissioners were named to select a site at the center of the county, purchase land, and have the courthouse, prison, and stocks constructed. In 1779, another act was passed establishing Warrenton. This act provided that the courts were to be held at the home of Thomas Christmas until the courthouse could be built. Warrenton has since been the only county seat of Warren County.

It is only natural that Norlina would use the symbol of a locomotive on our town seal as the very existence of our community was the result of the Raleigh & Gaston and Seaboard & Roanoke Railroads.

In 1837, we were called Ridgeway Junction and the expanding railroad found it necessary to stop in this area for refueling and resupplying. Local citizens, eager to supplement their income from this boom-town industry, began selling wood and water to the railroad.

Soon this had expanded to other supplies and services, such as camp-like food, provisions and supplies for arriving and departing travelers. In the 1860s, we became known as the "Woodyard," and in the 1870s the railroads merged to form the Seaboard & Raleigh Railroad, and we had become an area of commerce, trade and business.

Now known throughout the South as the "Junction," this area had grown from a small crossroads supplying roadside meals to a thriving community which included several smithing shops, two mercantile hardware stores, and a horse-drawn taxi service providing transportation to outlying areas.

In 1900, The Seaboard Air Line Railway was established through a series of mergers and acquisitions. Under the leadership of John Williams, an regional entrepreneur, the Seaboard quickly grew from 1,110 miles to over 4,680 miles.

During this period, the "Junction" exploded with growth, the Rail & Train Depot was established, and our historic hotel and restaurant were built to supply the traveling public with a clean bed and bath, and their specialty meal...quail on toast.

No one really knows how the name "Norlina" came about...whether it was the influence of the railroad to 'shorten' the name North Carolina to Norrr-lllina, or if was a decision of some of our first citizens. In any event, in 1913, a group of local citizens stepped off one mile square (with the railroad depot exactly in the center), sent a petition to the North Carolina General Assembly for charter, and we became known as.... Norlina.... where North Carolina begins.

- Source: J.D. Lewis - Little River, SC


More Information

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 19,972 people, 7,708 households, and 5,449 families residing in the county. The population density was 47 people per square mile (18/km²). There were 10,548 housing units at an average density of 25 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 38.90% White, 54.49% Black or African American, 4.79% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. 1.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,708 households out of which 28.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.20% were married couples living together, 17.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.50% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,351, and the median income for a family was $33,602. Males had a median income of $26,928 versus $20,787 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,716. About 15.70% of families and 19.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.90% of those under age 18 and 20.80% of those age 65 or over.

Warren County is heavily populated by the Haliwa-Saponi, descendants of a long existing tri-racial isolate deeply rooted in the area.

- Source: Wikipedia