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Hometown Hello: Historical towns

WRAL's Hometown Hello visits North Carolina towns with a place in history.

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Founded in 1705, North Carolina's oldest town became a have for pirates along the Pamlico River. Its St. Thomas parish is the state's oldest church.


Founded in 1722, Edenton is North Carolina's second-oldest town. It played host to a tea party protest in 1774, and resident Joseph Hews signed the Declaration of Independence. The town also served as the state capital from 1722 to 1743.

New Bern

North Carolina's third-oldest town also once served as the state capital. It's named after Bern, Switzerland. Today, it's famous as the birthplace of Pepsi and the home of popular author Nicholas Sparks.


The town earned the nickname the "Birthplace of Freedom" as the home of the Halifax Resolves, which paved the way for the Declaration of Independence. Population 344, it lies in the heart of peanut country.


North Carolina's 10th oldest town, Tarboro was chartered in 1760 and served as an important colonial port along the Tar River. Today it has a population of 13,121.


This town sits on what was the site of England's first colony in the New World, which lasted from 1584 to 1590 before disappearing. Today, that history is re-enacted in the "Lost Colony" outdoor drama, the Elizabethan Gardens and a replica of the Elizabeth II, the ship on which the Lost Colonists sailed.

Kill Devil Hills

The Wright brothers made the first manned flight from Jockey's Ridge in this town in 1903. The wind almost always blows here, and the sand dunes give soft landings. The town is home to the Wright Brothers National Memorial today.


The Reed Gold Mine was the site of the first documented discovery of gold in the United States. Students can visit the mine, and 12-year-old Conrad Reed discovered a 17-lb. gold rock there.

Kings Mountain

The Overmountain Men defeated the British army here in 1780, marking the turning point of the Revolutionary War in the South. The battle lasted just over an hour, and the British commander Patrick Ferguson was killed.


The Bennett Place farm was the scene of the largest Confederate surrender in the Civil War on April 26, 1865. Gen. Joseph Johnston surrendered around 90,000 troops 17 days after Virginia Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse.

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