Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Barry Jacobs has moved from Durham to the countryside, near Hillsborough. He’s a free-lance writer with a special interest in American history.
The rising lust for smoking tobacco made Durham and Duke. In 1870, a year after it was incorporated, the one-square mile village had a population of 256. There were 3,000 residents by 1884, 6,679 by 1900, and an estimated 18,000 by 1907.
According to legend, during the four years it took 2,000 workmen to assemble the ship, a riveter was accidentally sealed alive in one of its airtight compartments, jinxing the ship forever. Whatever the cause, the Great Eastern voyages ended in disaster. Its captains usually lasted only one voyage.
According to the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce, “at least 116 late 18th and early 19th century structures” still grace the town’s quiet streets. Many are beautifully preserved and marked for the passerby.
When Alamance County was laid out in 1849, Graham was supposed to occupy the exact center. Unfortunately, the center turned out to be a soggy pasture, so with eminent good sense the town site was moved to drier ground.
Yanceyville is a quiet town of 1,300. The tobacco barns give out just before the new high school and junior high; from the schools you can see the courthouse at the center of town.
Roxboro’s a sensible town. Has been since the 1790’s, when its founders set it smack in the middle of Person County. They wanted their county seat to be easy to get to.