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A Guide for Newcomers

The Daily Dispatch



Some fast facts on our area towns Henderson

Henderson is named for Leonard Henderson, who was Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and son of Judge Richard Henderson, known as the father of the state’s law schools. The current population of Henderson about 16,000.


When the railroad was built around 1838, George Kittrell gave the land for the station. He refused the honor of having the station named for himself, but gave the honor to his young son. Kittrell is the resting place of 52 Civil War soldiers from the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia. All of the soldiers buried in the cemeter y died at the Kittrell Springs Hotel where they were treated during the war.


First called L ynesville in recognition of the fact that James L yne had a store between the railroad and the Episcopal Church, Townsville received its current name when the Roanoke railroad was built around 1855. Joseph Townes of Montpelier donated land for the station, which was named in his honor.


The Indians in the area originally named the Williamsboro area “The Lick,” meaning a good hunting or meeting place. So many hazelnuts were found along a nearby stream bank that it was named “Nutbush” in early colonial records. In 1772, Judge John Williams of Montpelier gave the land to his son-in-law, Col. Robert Burton, who changed the name to Williamsboro in honor of the judge.


Epsom sits in the southern edge of Vance County on the Vance/ Franklin county line. For many years, the area was called Duke’s Store since Simon W. Duke had a store there. The residents eventually asked that the store be designated as a post office. Nearby places already had “Duke” in the name. So, another name was needed. Talking in the store one day, a physician noticed a package of Epsom salts on the shelf. “Let’s name it Epsom,” he said, “as the word means ‘healthy,’ and this place is so healthy.”


Samuel Benton was Granville County’s representative to the State

Assembly in 1761 when he purchased 1,000 acres of land and built a plantation home known as “Oxford.” In 1764, the Assembly ordered that the area be known as the county seat and Benton gave one acre of land where the courthouse was to be built. Not until 1811 did the Assembly give authorization for the county to purchase 50 additional acres around the courthouse from Thomas Littlejohn, and begin to lay out the town and sell lots. The town was incorporated in 1816. The current population of the town is 8,600.


Stovall is the heart of rural Granville County. The town lies about 10 miles north of Oxford and 10 miles south of Clarksville, Va. Originally called Sassafras Fork, the town was situated along the Seaboard Railroad line. It was named for John W. Stovall, who gave the railroad the right-of-way.


The North Carolina Provincial Congress established the town of Warrenton during the fourth year of the American Revolution, . Warrenton has a rich revolutionar y and antebellum

histor y, which is well preser ved. Many homes have been beautifully restored. The Warrenton Academy was chartered in 1786, the Falkener School for Ladies in 1800, and the Mordecai School in 1809, making Warrenton a hub of early educational activity in the area. The town’s population is around 850.


Macon is the smallest incorporated town in Warren County. In the 1880s, the town’s name was changed to honor Nathaniel Macon, a prominent county native who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.


Norlina, located just south of the Virginia state line, sits on land that was part of a grant to an early John Langford for his ser vice in the Revolutionar y War. The town is named for a combination of “North” and “Carolina.” A descendent of Langford sold five acres of land in Norlina to the Richmond, Petersburg and Carolina Railroad for the building of a depot at the juncture of the Seaboard Air Line Railway and the RaleighGaston Railroad. Being a railroad juncture, the

town grew rapidly. The population of the town was at its peak just before and during the time of World War II, when the railroad played an important part in the war effort by providing transportation for the troop trains to the seaports at Portsmouth, Va., and Norfolk, Va. A former railroad dining car now ser ves as a railroad museum in the town.


The Hawkins family cut Middleburg out of the woods around 1860. The settlement was “middle way” between Raleigh and Weldon, giving the town it’s name.


Located in Warren County, Ridgeway was named after the ridge followed by the railroad. The town is best known for its cantaloupes, which are honored annually during the Ridgeway Cantaloupe Festival held on the third Saturday of July in the heart of downtown. Before the advent of the interstate highway system, the town shipped cantaloupes up and down the East Coast along the busy U.S. 1 corridor.

Newcomers 2013-2014: The Daily Dispatch: October 27, 2013  
Newcomers 2013-2014: The Daily Dispatch: October 27, 2013  

New to Henderson, Oxford and Warrenton? Visiting Vance, Granville and Warren counties? The Daily Dispatch's Newcomers Guide has all of the i...