Randolph County Chronology
A rough chronology of the history of Randolph County was first developed in October 1976, by the editors of the Randolph Bicentennial history book, Charlesanna Fox, Carolyn Hager, and Bobbie Grigg. These mimeographed notes were for many years distributed by the Randolph Room of the Asheboro-Randolph Public Library. For the Leadership Randolph lecture of 1996 I revised the chronology, and brought it up to that date. I revised it again in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2005. Obviously it’s in need of being caught up again, when I have the time! Copying the file into wordpress has created some formatting issues, which I don’t readily know how to fix. But the information is here, so tha’s what matters.
1670 John Lederer led an exploration party through Randolph County and to the west as far as the Catawba River area.
1694 John Needham and Gabriel Arthur, Traders for Abraham Wood, of Fort Henry, Virginia, came through Randolph County on a trip to the Catawba Indians. Fort Henry (now Petersburg) was a trading center for this area during the Colonial period.
1701 John Lawson, English explorer, toured the piedmont section of North Carolina, including the Uwharrie mountains, on February 3.
1740-1770 First white settlers (Germans, Scotch-Irish and English) came from Pennsylvania and also from the Eastern Seaboard of North Carolina. All this area was then part of Rowan and Orange counties. 1746: Duncan McCullom had King’s grant for land on Sandy Creek. 1753: Jeremiah Reynolds-deed to 260 acres of land on Polecat Creek; Zebulan Gant, wheelwright, bought of James Carter for five shillings 632 acres on the south fork of Deep River. 1755: Land at the Cedar Falls on both sides of Deep River granted to Herman Husbands; Lord Granville sold Henry Ballinger a tract of land on Polecat Creek; 480 acres on Deep River to Anthony Hoggett; 420 acres on Deep River to Phillip Hoggett. 1761: Andrew Hoover (Andrea Huber) purchased a tract in the forks of the Uwharrie River for use as a mill site (later known as Rush’s or Skeen’s Mill).
1744 Granville District created in lands granted by King Charles II to John Carteret, Earl of Granville. Southern boundary was on Randolph County southern line.
1746 Duncan McCullom given King’s grant for land on Sandy Creek.
1753 Early land grants: Jeremiah Reynolds-deed to 260 acres of land on Polecat Creek. Zebulan Gant, wheelwright, bought of James Carter for five shillings 632 acres on the south fork of Deep River.
1755 Land at the Cedar Falls on both sides of Deep River granted to Herman Husbands by Lord Granville. Lord Granville sells Henry Ballinger a tract of land on Polecat Creek. He sold to Anthony Hoggett 480 acres on Deep River; and 420 acres on Deep River to Phillip Hoggett.
Sandy Creek Baptist Church built by colony of 16 Baptists under leadership of Elder Shubal Stearns, of Boston. He and his wife are buried at Sandy Creek. The church had hundreds of members until they dispersed after the “War of the Regulation,” and is considered the “Grandmother Church” of the Southern Baptist Convention.
1767 Hillsborough District Court created to include areas which became Randolph County. Superior Court was held in Hi1lsborough, Orange County, until 1807.
1768 Numerous Randolph men were outlawed by Governor Tryon for being Regulators and participating in raids against the loyalists; names included Husbands, York, Cox, Craven, Kivett, Branson, Low, Fields, Pugh, Moffitt, and Julian.
1769 Henry Powell sold three acres of land to Providence Monthly Meeting of Friends. Holly Spring first mentioned as a Monthly Meeting in the minutes of Cane Creek Meeting.
l770 Parts of Rowan and Orange Counties combined to form Guilford, including areas later divided off as Rockingham and Randolph Counties (the Act was effective April 1, 1771).
1771 Battle of Alamance ended the “War of the Regulation.” Regulators and Governor Tryon’ s troops met in skirmishes which ended on June 14. Six Regulators were hanged in Hillsborough, including James Pugh and Benjamin Merrill.
Quakers from the Island of Nantucket begin arriving in North Carolina, settling first around New Garden Meeting (now Guilford College). Nantucket Quakers brought an active opposition to slavery to North Carolina, encouraging emancipation and forming societies for protection of runaway slaves. Under the leadership of the Coffin family, this grew into the “Underground Railroad.”
1773 Samuel Walker devised his mill on Sandy Creek to his son, William Walker in 1773. Samuel Walker was granted leave to build a grist mill in 0range County in 1756 on Sandy Creek.
1776-l781 Years of the American Revolution; County was scene of skirmishes between Patriots and Tories. Population less than 7,000.
1779 Randolph County formed from Guilford County by act of the General Assembly meeting in Halifax, February 26. Document signed by Richard Caswell Governor, Named for Peyton Randolph of Virginia, (1721-1775) President of the Continental Congress.
1779 First County Court met at Abraham Reece’s house (between Brown’s Cross Roads and Randleman) March 8, 1779. Act providing for formation of county was read, William Bell was elected Sheriff; William Millikan, Register of Deeds; Absalom Tatom, Clerk, William Cole, Joseph Hinds, William Bell and Enoch Davis were appointed to hold court. Three Courts held at Reece’s home.
1779 First court house (a log house) was built on the land of Stephen Rigdon. The fourth court was held here in December, 1779 (now site of Channel 8 TV tower on US 311).
1781 Loyalist guerrilla leader David Fanning moved to the area from Ninety-Six, S.C. beginning raids against the Patriots which ended in 1783 when he fled to Nova Scotia. The “Fort of Deep River at Cox’s Mills” (near Buffalo Ford) was his headquarters. His most impressive exploit was the capture of the Governor and most of the General Assembly in a raid on Hillsborough; the site of his battle at the House in the Horseshoe is a state historic site.
1781 Cornwallis camped at the home of Martha and William Bell on Deep River, following the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, which occurred on March 15. William Bell’s mill was the headquarters of the British rear guard and baggage train during the battle.
1781 Persons accused of being disloyal to the Patriot cause and the new State of North Carolina were required to appear before the court and take the oath of allegiance. Those who refused were declared outlaws. Captain William Clark commanded the Randolph County Light Horse, the only mounted military unit to oppose David Fanning.
1781 General Cornwa1lis surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19.
1782 On March 10 Colonel Andrew Balfour was murdered at his home by David Fanning and a band of Tories. On this same raid the Tories murdered Captain John Bryan and burned the p1antations of Colonel Collier and Major Dougan, as well as several other Patriot’s homes.
1782 In May, Andrew Hunter escaped down Faith Rock in Franklinville on David Fanning’s horse, leaving behind the Loyalists and certain death, according to Fanning’s diary and historical legend.
1784 Two-story court house was erected at Cr6ss Roads; first court was held in this building in March, 1786.
1784-1800 Post-war industrial development. In 1784 a mill site in Franklinville area granted to Jacob Skeen, Thomas Cox established a mill on Deep River, and John Henly built a mill on the Uwharrie River. Solomon Fuller owned a mill on Caraway Creek at the Rough Shoals (1785); Elisha Mendenhall built Coltrane’s Mill on Deep River in 1787. Peter Dicks settled. in Randleman-New Sa1em area in 1800 and built a grist mill on Deep River. Location known as Dicks. Later called Union Factory (1848); then Randleman (1866). Christian Morris purchased the Franklinville area from Jacob Skeen in 1801and built a grist and carding mill.
1785 Back Creek Friends Meeting organized.
Randolph County trading areas were Cheraw, S.C. for shipping from Charleston, and Fayetteville for shipping up the Cape Fear from Wilmington. After construction of the North Carolina Railroad in the 1850s, trade shifted toward Greensboro and High Point
1786 Old Union Methodist Episcopal Church organized. One of the earliest earliest camp meetings in North Carolina was held at Old Union that year.
l787 Andrew Jackson authorized on December 11 to practice law in county courts in Randolph and several nearby counties. He was 20 years old at this time. He was officially admitted to practice in the county court in March, 1788.
1788 Town of Johnstonville established by the N.C. General Assembly. Jeduthan Harper, Jesse Henly, Samuel Millikan, William Bell and Zebedee Wood were appointed Commissioners of the town. Named for Governor Samuel Johnston. Located at the “Cross Roads,” the intersection of the Fayetteville-Salem Road, “Moore’s Road,” and the Indian Trading Path.
1789 Richland Lutheran Church organized.
1790 Archdale established. Known as Bush Hill until 1887 when name was changed to Archdale in honor of John Archdale, Quaker Governor of the Colony of North Carolina in 1694.
1793 County Seat moved to Asheboro so as to be located in the center of the county. Two acres of land conveyed by Jesse Henly on Abraham’s Creek for public buildings. June 12, 1793, first court was held there in a small wooden building.
1793 Uwharrie Friends Meeting purchases lot; probably already established; meeting discontinued by 1860.
1796 Town of Asheboro received legislative charter dated December 25, 1796; named for Samuel Ashe, Governor of North Carolina.
1797 Marlborough Friends Meeting established. Name shortened to Marlboro in 1838.
1797 ca. Renegade Moravian potter Jacob Meyer opens pottery near Mt. Shepherd, scene of excavations in 1973-1975. That area is the home of numerous German settlers at this time.
1802 Jonathan Worth was born in Guilford County on November 18. In 1824 he moved to Asheboro and began the practice of law.
1807 First Superior Court session was held in Randolph County in April.
1808 Naomi Wise drowned in Deep River at Randleman by Jonathan Lewis. The ballad which was soon written about this event has become one of North Carolina’s best-known traditional songs.
1809 First recorded reference to “new town of Liberty” in Randolph County deed registering transaction between John Brown & Jacob Warren.
1816 Town of New Salem was organized.
1819 Early libraries were incorporated in New Salem, Caraway and Ebenezer along with 32 in the state.
1820 Elisha Coffin purchased Morris mills on Deep River, now site of Franklinville. Son of a Nantucket sailor, Coffin, his father, uncles and cousins were heavily involved with anti-slavery activities, including the Underground Railroad. In 1821, Elisha Coffin assisted his father Bethuel and cousin Levi Coffin in smuggling the escaped slave Jack Barnes to Indiana.
John Long elected to U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina. Lived at Long’s Mill near Guilford and Alamance County lines. Served until 1828. Grandson John Wesley Long was a doctor who founded Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro.
1822 First Bible School in North Carolina held at Springfield near Archdale; sponsored by Allen U. Tomlinson of Archdale who conducted school for 40 years.
1821 Bethel Friends Meeting established.
1824 Melanchton Lutheran Church established by members of the Richland Lutheran Church.
1825 State Literary Board was established. Fund was set up to provide state aid to public schools.
1827 Asheboro City Cemetery was used for the first time (Marsh family plot).
1833 First newspaper published in the county: “Southern Citizen”, edited by Benjamin Swaim, printed in New Salem; later moved to Asheboro..
1834 Asheboro Methodist Episcopal Church, South, established. Land for the building was donated .by Benjamin Elliott.
Bethany Methodist Church near Liberty established.
1835 Many Carolinians left for the West. One-third of the population of Indiana in l850 had come from North Carolina, and many of these were from Randolph County. Randolph County, Indiana, was named for this county.
1836 Industrialization begins, with five cotton textile factories built on Deep River by 1850. The first cotton factory the county established at Cedar Falls grist mill by Benjamin Elliott, Philip Horney, Alfred H. Marsh and Henry B. Elliott. Second factory in the county built at Franklinville in 1838 by Elisha Coffin, Henry B. Elliott, Henry Kivett and John Miller. This was the first brick mill, and the first to include weaving. Island Ford Factory built in Franklinville in 1845, is the third. It is located at the site where Crawford’s Road toward Cheraw crossed the river. Union Factory built in Randleman by Jesse Walker, William Clark, Joseph Newlin, James Dicks and William Hinshaw in 1848. Columbia Factory is begun in 1848 at Allen’s Fall (Ramseur) by Isaac H. Foust, Washington Brower, Henry Kivett and David Kime. Due to a smallpox epidemic it is not finished until 1850. It was later purchased by W. H. Watkins and A. W. E. Capel. These five factories in Randolph County are one of the three largest manufacturing communities in the state by the Civil War; Alamance County also has five factories; Fayetteville has eight.
1839 Union Institute (so-called because it represented the united effort of local Quakers and Methodists) was founded at Trinity by Professor Brantley York, born in Sandy Creek area. It became Normal College in 1851; Trinity College in 1859; moved to Durham in 1892. The first building was a one-story frame structure 25×50 feet, divided into two rooms of equal size by an 8-foot central hallway. Each classroom was heated by two fireplaces.
Asheboro Female Academy opened June 17, with Miss Eliza Rae, of Boston, as teacher. Jonathan Worth was chairman of the Schoo1Committee. Students attended the Academy and lived at home or boarded in homes.
1840 The U.S. Census finds 12,000 residents of the county, only 723 of whom were able to read and write. As many as seven private academies operated in the county, with occasional and sporadic terms taught by roving schoolmasters paid by “subscription,” pledges raised from and paid by the parents of the students. Free schools were established this year by state law in North Carolina, to be regularly open 3 or 4 months a year. The county was divided into 21 school districts; by 1859 there were 63 districts. Reading, writing, arithmetic, the Testament and spelling were the chief studies, minutes of school committee show.
1842 Braxton Craven, born near Coleridge, became head teacher at Union Institute. He remained as head of the school until his death in 1882.
The Reverend Thomas C. Moffitt organized Pleasant Ridge, Pleasant Grove, Christian Union, Park’s Cross Roads and Shiloh Christian Churches.
1847 Franklinsville was first chartered as town, named for former N.C. Governor Jesse Franklin. In 1918, a new charter was received and its name was shortened to Franklinville.
1848 Hoover Hill Gold Mine established on the farm of Joseph Hoover in Tabernacle Township. The deposit was worked from two main shafts, the deepest of which was 350 feet. Closed after the Civil War, the mine was reactivated from 1881 to 1895 by a London-based corporation supervised by Basil John Fisher. The county has had more than thirty operating gold mines at various times.
1850 Asheborough Presbyterian Church established, located on the corner of the Fayetteville Road and present-day Worth Street opposite the present Court House (the site is now the parking lot and drive-through for Wachovia Bank).
1851 129-mile-long plank road built from Winston-Salem to Fayetteville, the longest in the world. First steam saw mill in county built by John Milton Worth south of Asheboro to provide lumber. 20,000 wagons travelled the road in 1854. Toll houses were located about eleven miles apart: Why Not, Asheboro, New Market, and Archdale.
Ramseur Baptist Church organized.
1855 St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Randleman established. Brick building of 1879 restored by North Randolph Historical Society and opened as a museum here in 1967.
1857 Poplar Ridge Friends Meeting established.
1859 Daniel Worth, Wesleyan (or, “Abolitionist”) Methodist missionary, was arrested for distributing “incendiary literature” (banned anti-slavery books). He was tried twice, in both Randolph and Guilford Counties, and almost lynched by a mob. Convicted in a trial in Asheboro, he as allowed to leave the state on bond and never returned.
1860 S.C. seceded from union Dec. 20, 1860. N.C. was loyal to union by a large majority, but voted to secede on May 20, 1861. 2,570 Randolph County residents voted against secession; only 45 voters favored it.
l861 3,000 men and boys left Randolph County to become part of the Confederate forces. Companies: I,L and M of the 22d N.C. Regiment; H of the 38th N.C. Regiment; F and G of the 46th N.C. Regiment; B of the 52d N.C. Regiment; F of the 70th N.C. Regiment; F of the 2d Battalion; H of the 3d N.C. Regiment; half of E of the 44th N.C. Regiment; and companies H of the 44th N,C. Regiment A and D of the 8th Battalion.
In an effort to keep Trinity College students in school, Braxton Craven organized the student body into the Trinity Guards, a company of home guard reserves. In December 1861 they were sent to guard the Confederate prison established at Salisbury, NC; after this assignment the troops were assigned to other units and few students remained at Trinity.
1861-65 Male Academy on South Fayetteville Street in Asheboro used as barracks. Grounds were used for drill and military training.
1862 Jonathan Worth elected Treasurer of North Carolina, serving until his election as Governor. First Peace Meeting in opposition to the war held at “Scott’s Old Field” in Tabernacle township, on March 12th. Fifty men line up behind a white flag held by John C. Hill to indicate their preference for the Union.
1863 Iron ore from Iron Mountain mine in Grant township refined at “[Leander] York’s Iron Works,” also known as Bush Creek Iron Works. Furnace was at mouth of Bush Creek in Franklinsville; run on contract to Confederate “Nitre and Mining Bureau” by local partnership.
Peace meeting held on Little River on August 15th passes resolutions urging a stop “to this wicked, unholy, bloody war.” Leaders J.D. Cox, W.M. Smith, Dr. E. Phillips and William Gollihorn favor peace on any terms.
1864 Peace candidates win all contested elections in Randolph, from sheriff to legislature and Confederate Congress. Randolph is one of only 3 NC counties to vote for Peace candidate for Governor, W.W. Holden.
1865 Jonathan Worth elected Governor of North Carolina. He served until 1868. He is the only governor elected from this county.
Confederate troops under Col. A.C. McAlister were ordered to Randolph County to disperse bands of deserters and draft evaders. McAlister and his 600 men puts the county under martial law, stationing themselves to protect important transportation and manufacturing areas from robbery and destruction. He reports that at least 200 deserters were organized into raiding parties, and makes more than 100 arrests. On March 22nd, McAlister’s men surprise a group of “outliers” at the spring near Page’s Toll House on the Plank Road (now Seagrove), shooting Alpheus Gollihorn, a deserter, and arresting Union Army Private William F. Waters of the Indiana Cavalry, who had been leading the group. Waters was taken to Asheboro, found guilty at a court martial, and executed by firing squad on April 1. On the same day McAlister and his troops are ordered to Salisbury to meet Stoneman’s Raiders.
Three brigades under General Joseph Johnston’s command make camp at Bethel Methodist Church near Red Cross on April 16. Johnston’s exhausted army expects to meet Sherman’s troops in battle at any time. With Johnston’s surrender to Sherman on April 26, the men march to Bush Hill (now Archdale) on May 1-2, where they are mustered out.
In post-war referendum, Randolph County votes 720-28 for a state ordinance abolishing slavery. Slaves gained their citizenship after the Civil War and came to the Court House to register and legalize their marriages. Freedman’s Bureau school is established at Middleton Academy in Franklinville.
1866 Mrs. Eugenia Moss McCain became first female Post Master in Asheboro; served for 42 years (until 1908). John Randleman and John H. Ferree bought Union Factory and changed name to Randleman.
1867 Friends from a Baltimore Friends Meeting established a model farm in northwest Randolph near Archdale. The farm became a school of agriculture when there was a great need for assistance following the Civil War.
1868 New state constitution ratified by the people of the state. North Carolina was readmitted to the Union. Sixteen townships established with corporate powers; administered by a Clerk and two Justices of the Peace elected for 2-year terms. The Board controlled taxes, finances, road maintenance, bridge construction and school operation. These administrative powers were taken away by the state constitution of 1876.
1869 O. R. Cox purchased Cedar Falls Manufacturing Company with nine other shareholders. Resigned as Sheriff to enter business.
First church for Negroes in Asheboro was Bulla’s Grove on South Fayetteville St. Name changed to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in 1920 and moved to Burns Street. New building dedicated in 1971.
1876 Dr. John M. Worth elected State Treasurer. He served until 1885.
“Randolph Regu1ator,” published by Marmaduke S. Robins; later published as the “Asheboro Courier” and owned by W. C. Hammer,
Science Hill Friends Meeting set up by Friends from Back Creek M.M.
1879 Naomi Factory built by J. E. Walker, John H. Ferree, J.0. Pickard and Amos Gregson. Named for Naomi Wise.
1880 Enterprise Factory established at Coleridge by James A, Cole, E. A. Moffitt and Daniel Lambert,
1881 Worth Manufacturing Company built at Worthville, Dr. John M. Worth, President; T. C. Worth and Hal M. Worth. Worth Manufacturing Company (No. 2) was built at Central Fal1s. Other persons besides the Worth family also invested in this company,
1882 First woman bookkeeper in county: Mrs. Mamie Pomeroy Michols at Naomi Falls Manufacturing Co. Rev. Brantley York’s Grammar of the English Language, published in 1879, in use in adult schools throughout the county.
1884 Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad (30 miles in County through Liberty and Staley with branch line to Ramseur) built. Staley Post Office established.
1885 Liberty Academy opened for first school term, In 1894 name changed to Liberty Public School.
“Asheboro Courier” first published under this name. Hopewell Friends Meeting established.
Shiloh Academy built as a community project. Served area students and was also a boarding school.
1886 Captain Basil John Fisher of England purchased land in Asheboro, Moved here with Captain St. Clair Winn and Captain C. Slingsley Wainman. Interested in gold mining. Owned home on what is now Sunset Avenue, and which later became Memorial Hospital. Captains Winn and Wainman died here and are buried in Catholic enclosure of City Cemetery.
1886 Liberty Baptist Church established in March. South Plainfield Friends Meeting established.
1888 Disastrous fire in Liberty destroyed large portion of town. Another fire in 1895 caused great damage.
1888-1892 Roman Catholic Church services conducted in Asheboro by visiting priest. A small building on North Street was used for services.
1889 Liberty chartered as town on January 30. First mayor was Henry Lilly Brower. Ulah Post Office established. Closed in 1953.
The High Point. Randleman and Asheboro branch of the Southern Railroad completed to Asheboro. At that time there were two stores and twenty-two houses in Asheboro.
1890 Randleman was largest town in the county, with population of 1,754. J. A. Blair published “Reminiscenses of Randolph County” (first county history). Wesleyan Methodist Churches organized at Neighbors Grove and High Pines. First United Church of Christ in Randleman organized; known as St. John’s Church.
1890-1920 Covered bridges were built over most of the streams in the county but most of them were removed during the rural road building program of the 1950’s. Some 50 bridges were in use during the 1930’s. Skeen’s Mill and Pisgah Bridges are standing but not in use in 1976, two of only four left in the State.
1891 Sophia Post Office established. Asheboro Graded School established. Reverend J. B. Game was first principal. Nine grades were first provided with the tenth grade added in 1909-1910. Asheboro Methodist Protestant Church organized. Located on South Fayetteville Street in block between Academy and Wainman, West side.
1892 Trinity College moved to Durham.
1893 Why Not Academy established; in operation until 1915. Total county tax revenues: $21,622.90 (Personal Property: $8,871.09; Real Property: $9,759.88; for Schools: $13,867.26; for Old Age Pension: $1,605.67).
1894 County business and industries named in the Branson Business Directory included 50 gold mines, 12 textile mills, 1 hosiery mill, 1 broom works, 2 shoe manufacturers, 5 tanneries and harness factories, 2 lumber manufacturing companies, 1 carriage and buggy works, 2 chair factories, 3 brick and tile works, 9 potteries, 7 wood and milling companies, 1 stove factory, 2 shuttle block factories, 1 sash and blind factory, 1 cigar factory. 1894 Directory lists 8 lawyers (all in Asheboro), 4 hotels and 12 boarding houses, 7 roller mills, 85 grist mills, 30 saw mills, 45 ministers, 2 weekly and monthly newspapers, 34 physicians, 81 post offices, 8 academies and 136 public schools.
1895-1898 Aberdeen and Asheboro Railroad Company chartered by the Page family of Aberdeen. Norfolk Southern Railroad Co. purchased franchise in 1912.
1895 Ramseur incorporated on March 31; named for General Stephen A. Ramseur. Ramseur Broom Works opened for business by Mr. A.H. Thomas. First graduate nurse in Asheboro, Mrs. Etta Kearns Douthat. Central Hotel opened for business; closed in 1953 and was demolished following a fire. Brokaw Estate purchased in Trinity Township; used as. hunting lodge by William Gould Brokaw; sold in 1922 after Manor house burned.
1896 Liberty Methodist Episcopal Church established. In 1939 merged with Liberty Methodist Protestant Church which was established in 1891.
1897 Asheboro Telephone Company organized for providing telephone service. In 1931 this Company was bought by the Central Telephone Company. November- Bank of Randolph is established in Asheboro by J.M. Worth, W.J. Armfield and others, with $16,000 capital stock; merges with Wachovia, 1963.
1899 Randolph Book Club organized in Asheboro.
1900 ca. Depot Street in Asheboro renamed Sunset Avenue when the street was opened up west of what is now Park Street.
1900 Trustees elected for Asheboro Schools; in 1909 a new charter was issued. Bombay Institute located between Farmer and Albemarle was a boarding school, supported largely by subscriptions. Bank of Randleman opens; merges with First Union, 1963.
1901 Staley incorporated as a town; named for Colonel John W. Staley. Chatham Bank established in Liberty. Merged with First Union National Bank in 1961 on November 10th.
1902 Asheboro Baptist Church organized, on Church Street.
1903 Asheboro Holiness Church organized; located first on Church Street, then moved to Hoover Street,
1904 People’s Savings & Loan Association established in Asheboro; later became First People’s, then First American, and finally merged with Centura Bank. Home Building Material Company of Asheboro organized; now Hedgecock Builders Supply Company.
1905 Randleman Savings and Loan Association Chartered. Professor D. Warburton organized bands in Asheboro, Franklinville, and other towns. First Electric 1ight system in Asheboro, powered by City operated generator.
1906 Randolph County Court House built on Worth Street.
1907 Randolph Telephone Company formed to serve Liberty area. First National Bank established in Asheboro; Peoples Bank established in Randleman; changed name to Scottish Bank; then merged with First Union National Bank on September 21, 1963. Farmer Academy became Farmer High School.
1909 Brick building erected for Asheboro Graded School. Acme Hosiery Mill established in Asheboro.
1910 First manufacturing company established in Liberty: Picker-Stick and Nove1ty Company (now Liberty Chair Company). Municipal water and sewer system installed in Asheboro. First automobile purchased by Randolph County resident.
1911 First hospital opens: Ferree Memorial Hospital, in Randleman; operated by Dr. Charles E. Wilkerson until 1926. R.W. and Della Frazier donate land for Frazier Park on March 18, a block on Park Street between Wainman and Holly Streets in Asheboro. Ashlyn Hotel opened for business, Closed in 1965 and demolished 1994. Grace Lutheran Church in Liberty established. Asheboro Woman’s Club began as Betterment Society. William Penn Wood elected State Auditor. Volunteer fire department organized in Asheboro. Randolph County Historical Society organized. First woman to operate linotype in Asheboro: Miss Blanche Miller.
1913 Town of Seagrove chartered. Asheboro Friends Meeting organized. First motion picture theater opens in Asheboro: the Joyland Picture Palace, operated by Mrs. Brona Coble Thompson.
1914 National Chair Company established by C. C. Cranford.
1920 County municipalities, with date of incorporation and population:
Asheboro (1796): 2,559; Archdale (1874): 178; Franklinville (1847): 631; Liberty (1889): 636; Ramseur (1895): 1,014; Randleman (1880): 1,967; Seagrove (1913): 189; Staley (1901): 157; Trinity (1869): 400; Worthville (1895): 367.
1917 Asheboro Hosiery Mills, Inc., established. David S. Coltrane became first Randolph County Farm Agent. Randolph Savings and Loan Association organized in Asheboro.
Company K of the Third Regiment, North Carolina National Guard, composed of Randolph County men in World War I.
1918 Liberty Broom Works opened for business. Friday Afternoon Book Club organized in Asheboro.
1919 Bank of Coleridge opened in Coleridge; moved to Ramseur in 1934; merged with First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co. in 1974.
1920 First street paved in Asheboro. William Cicero Hammer elected to U.S. House of Representatives from the Seventh Congressional District. Served until his death in l930.
1921 Gregson Manufacturing Company founded in Liberty,
1922 Mr. Ewing S. Millsaps appointed Farm Agent. Served until 1955.
1923 First woman laboratory technician from Asheboro: Miss Lillie Pearl Wood. Randolph Mills in Franklinville purchased by corporation headed by John W. Clark. Caro1ina Power and Light Company started service in Asheboro.
1924 McCrary Hosiery Mill began operation. Acme-McCrary Corporation combined all operations in 1961. Fred R. Burgess published “Randolph County: Economic and Social.” Public library established in Franklinville by John W. Clark. Some additional products manufactured in the county: coffins, wheelbarrows and Coca-cola bottling.
1925 County Health Department established. Dr. George Sumner, first County Physician. Wings added to Fayetteville Street School, Asheboro. Boy Scout program started.
1926 Asheboro Rotary Club organized. Asheboro Chamber of Commerce organized. Liberty Chair Company burned on February 18 and was rebuilt that year. Water tank built for Liberty; water supply from six wells. P & P Chair Company established in Asheboro by W.C. Page and Arthur E. Presnell to manufacture rocking chairs.
1927 Dependable Hosiery Mill in Liberty organized. On March 2nd, the county received 24 inches of snow in 24 hours; this is recalled as “The Big Snow of 1927.”
1928 Bossong Hosiery Mill was built. Asheboro Kiwanis Club chartered. Rotary Club organized in Liberty in October. Girl Scout program started in Randolph County.
1930 Pugh Funeral Service established, in continuation of service begun in 1857 by Emory Kearns. Greensboro-Fayetteville Bus Company first provided inter-city bus service. Stedman Manufacturing Co. organized, first manufacturing handkerchiefs, then T-shirts under wartime contract to the U.S. Navy; purchased by Sarah Lee in 1989. In September, F.O. Yates opens an Asheboro branch of the Charlotte-based Belk’s Department Store.
1932 Randolph Hospital opened. Tip Top Hosiery Mill operated by Arthur Ross, Sr., started operations in Asheboro; closed in 1970.
1934 Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal) organized in Asheboro. Tie Rite Neckware Company began operation.
1935 First golf course in the county: Asheboro Municipal Golf Course on Country Club Drive built with WPA money. Acme-McCrary sponsors “McCrary Eagles” semi-professional baseball team from this date to 1957 in Piedmont Industrial League. American Legion Post 45 sponsors first all-county Legion team.
1936 Sorosis Club organized in Asheboro; sponsored N.C. Symphony orchestra annual programs in schools until 1976. Cedar Falls Manufacturing Company purchased by Henry W. Jordan, renamed Jordan Spinning Company. Pilgrim Tract Society in Randleman started printing and mailing tracts through-out world; Julius Stone was publisher. Cranford Industries composed of Asheboro Hosiery Mill, National Chair Company, Cranford Furniture Company and Standard Tytape. Park Street School was erected as first separate elementary school in Asheboro. Donna Lee Loflin was principal; school named for her in 1965. Public libraries established in Asheboro and Ramseur.
1937 Ramseur Building and Loan Association organized; merged with Peoples Savings and Loan in 1968; name changed to First Peoples Savings and Loan Association in 1974. Randolph County Department of Welfare established. Now Department of Social Services. Asheboro Business and Professional Women’s Club organized. Barnes-Griffin Clinic established; renamed Griffin Clinic in 1952; closed in 1962.
1938-1948 R. and R. Transit Company, operated by Arthur Ross, Jr. and J. D. Ross, Jr., provided transportation throughout Asheboro and surrounding area. Sometimes called the “Rattle and Roll” buses by local people, the company originally operated the Ross and Rush Livery Stable at the northwest corner of Main and Salisbury streets.
1938 Burlington Mills acquired Cetwick Silk Mill and later McLaurin Mills in 1942. Stout Chair Company in Liberty began operation. Randleman Lions Club organized, May 17; Ramseur Lions Club, May 25. St. John’s Lutheran Church established in Asheboro. Evangelical and Reformed Church organized in Asheboro. Seagrove Jehovah’s Witness Church organized.
Major highway improvements occur as state maintenance takes the place of the old system of county roads. The former Highway 70 (following the route of the Old Plank Road) is paved and re-numbered U.S. 220; Highway 90 is re-routed, straightened, and re-numbered U.S. 64; Highway 62 becomes N.C. 49, and Highway 77 becomes U.S. 311.
1939 Randolph Electric Membership Corporation was organized and chartered. First Home Economist appointed: Miss Laura Brashears. Liberty News began pub1ication as a weekly. Published by Chatham News Pub1ishing Company. Liberty Garden Club organized. First woman elected as Register of Deeds: Miss Iola Lowdermilk. Mid-State Paper Box Company incorporated. Moore-Gardner Engineering Company organized by Richard Moore. Acme-McCrary “Eagles” semi-professional basketball team wins Southern Textile League title.
1940 Oaklawn Cemetery started in Asheboro. County Library established in September. Randolph County included in Sharpe’s Geography of North Carolina, Vol. 2. Courier purchased by Roy Cox, who also was publisher of the Randolph Tribune which he bought in 1934. The newspaper then be came the Courier-Tribune.
1941-1945 World War II. The majority of the young people (18-35) were enlisted in the military service or in allied service organizations. Also, all other citizens were involved in service on the home front in one way or another.
1941 Randleman Public Library established.
1942 Liberty Public Library established. Randleman Rotary Club organized.
1945 East Asheboro Library set up. In 1964 this library was moved to the new Asheboro Library building. Asheboro Lions Club organized.
1946 Pinehurst Textiles Company in Asheboro began operations. Wing added to Randolph Hospital.
1947 Radio Station WGWR erected; first radio station in county. Liberty Lions Club organized. Liberty Savings and Loan Association founded. Randleman Woman’s Club organized. Klopman Mills and B.B. Walker Shoe Company began operation in Randolph County. Rose Garden Club and Flower Lover’s Garden Club organized in Liberty.
1948 Carver College established in Asheboro by C.A. Barrett who directed the school until his death in 1960. National Carbon Company began operations in Asheboro; its name was subsequently changed to Union Carbide, Inc., and the company later operated its Asheboro plants under the brand names Eveready Battery and Energizer. Memorial Park recreation area opened in Asheboro, located on Church Street. It operated as a private charitable foundation until 1968 when it became part of City of Asheboro Parks and Recreation Department. Blue Gem Manufacturing Company opened a plant in Asheboro. St. Joseph’s Parish (Roman Catholic Church) established in Asheboro; new Church building opened in 1954.
1949 Commercial College of Asheboro established; became Asheboro College in 1975 and closed ca. 1985. Lee Petty of Level Cross runs the family car in the Charlotte Grand National Auto Race. Asheboro Country Club organized; builds 9-hole golf course in 1955. Lee Jay Stone hired as Asheboro High School football coach; he never has a losing season, with his teams winning 3-A Conference Championships in 1950, 1958 and 1960; he was inducted into NC Sports Hall of Fame in 1977.
1950 Population of the county: 50,804. Population of municipalities: Asheboro: 7,701; Franklinville: 778; Liberty: 1,342; Ramseur: 1,134; Randleman: 2,066; Seagrove: 319; Staley: 236.
1951 Asheboro High School building on Park Street completed. Richard Grey Hosiery Mill started operation in Asheboro.
1952 Annie Shaw, a Republican, is elected Register of Deeds. She serves until 1986, when her daughter-in-law, Ann Shaw, is elected. B.B. Walker Shoe Company incorporated. General Electric Company started operations in Asheboro, taking over the former Lucas Industries furniture factory which had itself been built on the county fairgrounds and the site of a 19th century gold mine.
1953 The Randolphian, published in Randleman, was purchased by Barron Mills and became The Randolph Guide, published in Asheboro. Luck’s Inc., organized for processing beans; it later merges with American Home Products, producing a variety of canned foods.
1954 Lindley Park Elementary School opened in Asheboro. Named for W.W. Lindley, who lived in Asheboro from 1920-1928 and donated the land to the City of Asheboro for a baseball park. Asheboro was recipient of Finer Carolina Grand Prize awards for 1954, 1955 and 1956.
1955 Ramseur won first place in its population class in the Carolina Power and Light Company’s “Finer Carolina” program. Also, won second place in 1954.
1956 Republicans reassume majority control of the County Commissioners; newly-elected Ira L. McDowell is named chairman. McDowell (1905-1999) serves until 1970.
J. P. Stevens Company started operation of a plant in Randleman. Potter Manufacturing Company started operation in Asheboro.
1957 Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation opened first exchange.
1958 Randolph County Center for Exceptional Children opened in Asheboro at American Legion Hut. Later moved to Teachey School in Asheboro.
1959 Charles W. McCrary Elementary School in Asheboro was dedicated. Richard Petty of Level Cross named Grand National Rookie of the Year.
1960 Rampon Products established by J. M. Ramsey, Jr.
1961 Uwharrie National Forest established with 204,682 acres. Ramseur Public Library opened in new building.
1962 Land purchased for camp by Thomasville District of the United Methodist Church near Mt. Shepherd. Randolph Industrial Education Center opened for trade school training; renamed Randolph Technical Institute on October 2, 1965; later Randolph Community College. Camp Caraway established for boys by State Baptist Convention. Camp Mundo Vista for girls built in 1969.
1963 Guy B. Teachey Elementary School in Asheboro opened. Bank of Randolph merged with Wachovia Bank & Trust Company.
1964 Asheboro Public Library and Randolph Public Library opened in new building on Worth Street, May 11. African-Americans stage pro-integration sit-ins at Hop’s Barbeque and the Carolina Theatre in Asheboro; protestors are arrested but not prosecuted.
1965 Gatekeepers House for Fisher Estate (1880s) was moved from Sunset Avenue to Lanier Street to be used as meeting place for the Asheboro Woman’s Club, the Junior Woman’s Club and the Business and Professional Woman’s Club. Asheboro Municipal Airport dedicated.
? Randleman passes ABC referendum.
1966 New Liberty Public Library building opened. Lee Petty elected to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (first motor sports honoree).
1968 Eastern Randolph High School opened near Ramseur. Trinity High School (new building) opened.
1969 Southwest Randolph High School opened. Fayetteville Street School property in Asheboro sold to a private corporation on February 13th for $190,500. Building demolished 50 days later. Land to be used for Senior Citizen Housing, 1976. Georgia Pacific Corporation started manufacturing operation in Asheboro. Pottery Museum established at Seagrove by Walter and Dorothy Auman in honor of the early potters of the area. Planters National Bank & Trust Company (now First Bank) opened their Asheboro office at the southeast corner of Salisbury and Fayetteville.
1970 Long-time Chairman of the County Commissioners, Ira L. McDowell, decides to retire. During his term, the county built 9 public schools, Randolph Community College, the National Guard Armory, the Asheboro Municipal Airport (initially funded with $10,000 from the county), and hired its first county manager. Population of the county: 76,358. Population of municipalities: Asheboro: 10,797 (before annexation of North Asheboro Sanitary District); Archdale: 6,103; Franklinville: 794; Liberty: 2,167; Ramseur: 1,328; Randleman: 2,312; Seagrove: 354; Staley: 239.
1971 Site in Grant Township selected for the North Carolina State Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens. Randolph County Society of Zoological Development donates 1,371 acres around Purgatory Mountain to the state.
1972 Citizens of North Carolina approve $2,000,000 bond referendum for zoo design and development; voters of Asheboro and Randolph County approve $1,800,000 for water and sewer lines to the site. J. Harold Holmes hired as first County Manager.
1973 Public libraries established in Archdale and Seagrove. Central Carolina Bank & Trust Company opens an Asheboro branch on the southeast corner of Fayetteville and Ward streets. Randleman Public Library opens in new building on the site of the R.P. Dicks house. Randolph County Seal, designed by Audrey Beck, adopted February 5th.
1974 Archdale City Hall dedicated. “Interim Zoo” opens on August 2nd. In election fallout from Watergate, Democrats win control of the Board of County Commissioners for the first time in many years. Veteran Republican state legislators C. Roby Garner and W. Frank Redding III lose to Democrats Jack Pugh and Gilbert Davis. Democrat Carl O. Moore bests Republican Robert Mason to replace 3-term Sheriff Lloyd Brown. Garlene Rich is elected the first woman president of the Asheboro-Randolph Chamber of Commerce. First National Bank President and CEO Claude Henson, a regional director of the Federal Reserve Bank, dies and is replaced by James Culberson.
1975 Liberty Town Hall dedicated. New Randleman Senior High School building opens. Emergency Room wing added to Randolph Hospital. Randolph County Mental Health Center building dedicated. Early pottery site excavated by archaeologists at Mt. Shepherd Methodist Retreat Center.
1976 Kiwanis Park opened, as part of Asheboro City Recreation Department. Matilda Phillips of Liberty elected Randolph County Commissioner (first woman, and last Democrat).
1977 Archdale residents approve $4,000,000 sewer bond issue. Franklinville voters approve $1,500,000 bond referendum to build water supply system. County voter registration: Democrats 19,832; Republicans 17,409. Students enrolled in public schools: 17,856. Harold J. Brubaker elected to NC House of Representatives. Asheboro voters defeat referendum on ABC sales.
1978 Randolph Bank and Trust Company opens in Asheboro. Ramseur Town Hall dedicated. New Dam erected on Sandy Creek for Ramseur/ Franklinville water supply. Franklinville purchases and renovates building for Town Hall and Library. Randolph Mills in Franklinville enters bankruptcy. County voters approve three bond issues: to build and renovate schools ($8,100,000); to build addition to Court House and Ira McDowell Governmental Center behind old county home ($2,875,000); to build addition and new buildings at Randolph Technical College ($2,500,000). Archdale-Trinity News begins publication. Richard Petty elected Randolph County Commissioner, as Republicans regain control of the County Commission and Sheriff’s office.
1979 Bicentennial of Randolph County; publication of county history. YMCA completes new building in Asheboro. First portion of permanent zoo (Zebra-Ostrich-Giraffe Habitat) opens in October; zoo receives 284,297 visitors between July 1978 and June 1979. Bond issue approved by Asheboro residents to improve sewer service and build Lake Reese water supply on Uwharrie River ($8,500,000). County Commissioners create a Planning Board and establish the first zoning district in Trinity Township; a special district is later created around the NC Zoo.
1980 Formal opening of the African section of the North Carolina Zoo. Population of the county: 91,471. Population of muncipalities: Asheboro: 15,203; Archdale: 5,231; Franklinville: 609; Liberty: 2,003; Ramseur: 1,161; Randleman: 2,140; Seagrove: 290; Staley: 205.
1982 In March, Belk-Yates Department Store moves from its 50-year location on Sunset Avenue to the newly-opened Randolph Mall.
The Baxter-Kelly-Foust corporation sells its last Worthville mill village houses to private owners, ending the last corporate ownership of textile mill housing in the county.
1985 County-wide zoning is established.
1996 Christians United Outreach Center is established in Asheboro.
1997 The Randolph County Tourism Development Authority is authorized by the General Assembly and the county commissioners vote to impose a hotel room occupancy tax to fund it.
1999 A Walmart opens in Randleman, and a Walmart ‘superstore,’ the largest in the state at the time, replaces the original store in Asheboro.
2000 January 24-25: a surprise nor’easter hits the county, dropping 15-16 inches of snow in Randolph and paralyzing Montgomery and Moore counties. 18,000 REMC customers were without power and CP&L reported more than 100,000 outages. This was the fourth snowstorm within the week: on January 18-19, more than five inches fell, the first measurable snowfall since 1996; on January 20th, another inch of snow fell; and then on Jan. 22nd, yet another inch. On January 28-29, almost an inch of ice and sleet added to the power line and transportation problems.
The April 1st census of the United States found a population of 130,454 in the county. Its municipal population statistics were as follows: Archdale 8,728; Asheboro 21,672; Franklinville 1,258; Liberty 2,651; Ramseur 1,588; Randleman 3,557; Seagrove 246; Staley 347; Trinity 6,690.
54,422 housing units were scattered across its 789.93 square miles of territory (comprised of 2.57 square miles of water and 787.36 square miles of land area). The population density was 165.7 people per square mile of land area , with 69.1 housing units per square mile of land area. The census reported an enormous increase in the county Hispanic population during the 1990s.
The Black and Decker housewares manufacturing facility at 1758 S. Fayetteville Street closes. Originally opened in 1943 as Lucas Industries furniture factory on the site of the county fairgrounds, the facility was for more than 30 years operated by General Electric. Over the years it produced such popular consumer items as electric blankets, coffee makers, and ‘snake lights.’
2001 Galey and Lord closes the weaving operation at 1947 N. Fayetteville St. which was once owned by Klopman Mills. The manufacturing and sales operations of Caraway Furniture and Shaw Furniture Galleries, both located in the Randleman area, were closed by out-of-state owners in bankruptcy.
Zoo Society donations fund the construction and the dedication of the Valerie H. Schindler Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Society funding provides operational support for the Center, which offers free veterinary care to injured and orphaned native animals with the goal of returning them to their natural habitats.
2002 Local footwear manufacturer B.B. Walker Co. files for bankruptcy Jan. 14, after closing its last manufacturing facility in Somerset, PA. The company had closed its boot and shoe manufacturing operation in Asheboro by 2000, when its facility at 414 E. Dixie Drive was sold to Schwarz Properties, LLC.
The closing of Lucks, Inc., of Seagrove was announced by its corporate parent, but the Lucks label would survive on products canned in other states. A group of former employees buys the canning factory and reopens as “Seagrove Foods.”
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service confiscates six polar bears from a Mexico-based circus charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Two of the bears are placed in the care of N.C. Zoo.
The new Randolph County Court House, under construction since 2000, opens the first week of July. It is the county’s sixth building constructed in Asheboro since 1792.
2003 Six new movie theaters open in Randolph Mall.
The N.C. Zoo begins holiday programming for Zoo visitors with Nightmare on Purgatory Mountain at Halloween and the Holiday of Lights during the Christmas season.
Ramtex, the county’s largest textile mill, lays off 90 workers in September. Ramseur Interlock, Randolph Knitting and Champagne Dye Works are textile businesses which close during the year. The Randolph County Economic Development Commission declares a crisis in the manufacturing sector, announcing that the county has lost more than 3,700 manufacturing jobs since 1999. Despite this, more than one million square feet of industrial space was sold, leased or built in the county during 2003.
The Randleman Dam is completed on Deep River but Frank Kime, Executive Director of the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority, says that the construction of new bridges and access roads and design of the water treatment plant will delay the filling of the reservoir until 2006 at the earliest.
2004 Victory Junction Gang Camp for disabled children opens on 65 acres of land near Randleman donated by Richard and Linda Petty as a memorial to their grandson Adam Petty, who died in a NASCAR accident. The camp is affiliated with actor Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang camps.
Sara Lee Corporation announces in June that is Asheboro Plant #1 would close by the end of the year. The former Stedman Manufacturing Company mill opened on the site in 1944, and merged with Sara Lee in 1985. The last fabric was knitted there in September.
The Columbia Manufacturing Company factory, built from 1848-1850, is torn down in November. Its brick and heart pine timbers are salvaged for recycling, but the least-altered antebellum textile mill in North Carolina is lost even though it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
The City of Asheboro renovates the 100 block of Sunset Avenue with new paving, curbing, trees, planters, street lights and banners. It is the first wholesale renovation of downtown Asheboro since the concrete canopies were built on the south side of the street in the late 1960s. Those were gradually removed during the 1990s.
The Australian Walkabout exhibit opens at the NC Zoo. Built exclusively with Society funds, the exhibit includes a walk-through kangaroo exhibit and displays the largest collection of Australian plants on the East Coast.