Wayne County History in Maps: Post-Civil War to Present

This is the final post in a three part series. Check out Part I & Part II.

Wayne County map 1881
Click to enlarge. Courtesy North Carolina State Archives.

With the end of the Civil War, investment in the shattered state railroad infrastructure began again. Work also resumed on dirt roads across the county, many of which survive today, although paved over.

The map to the right dates to 1881 and exhibits dozens of roads, in red pencil, along with the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad line running north and south.

Curiously absent are the North Carolina and Atlantic & NC Railroad lines running east and west. Both lines had been in existence for over twenty years when this map was drawn.

Read moreWayne County History in Maps: Post-Civil War to Present

NC Railroad Survey of Wayne County, 1851

1851 NCRR survey distanceThe North Carolina Railroad was chartered in 1849 and completed in 1856. It ran from Charlotte to Goldsboro, where it ended at the Wilmington & Weldon line.

In 1851 the company compiled a book of maps showing the right of way for the entire line, including property owned adjacent to the track.

The entire survey can be viewed online at the North Carolina Maps project.

Wayne County had nine miles of track, beginning at the Johnston County line and running in line with modern Highway 70 into town.

Read moreNC Railroad Survey of Wayne County, 1851

Railroad Survey for Wayne County, 1853

Wayne County railroad map, 1900
1900 map showing the three railroad lines intersecting at Goldsboro.

The railroad is the single most important development in the history of both Wayne County and North Carolina. With no natural deep ports and a string of barrier islands, our state was commonly regarded as a rural backwater for much of its early history.

The railroad created Goldsboro and Mt. Olive while bringing about the end of Waynesborough, the original county seat. As William Sherman made his way north from Georgia in late 1864, his main objective was Goldsboro and its intersection of major rail lines.

Within a fifteen year span, three lines ran through Goldsboro: the Wilmington & Weldon (completed 1840) running north and south, the North Carolina Railroad (completed 1856) running to Charlotte and the Atlantic & NC Railroad (finished 1858) to Beaufort.

Read moreRailroad Survey for Wayne County, 1853

Neuse River Map, 1888

Corps of Engineers logo
           US Army Corps of Engineers logo

Waterways have been the primary highways for humans for thousands of years, long before the arrival of airplanes, cars, and trains.

Two of the largest and richest areas of Colonial America were Charleston, SC and the Tidewater region of Virginia, both blessed with natural deep water ports. North Carolina, with its string of barrier islands, was not so lucky.

The Neuse River was one of the few waterways of importance to early European settlers in North Carolina. Despite the emergence of the railroad in the mid-19th century, the Neuse continued as an effective highway for people and goods.

Read moreNeuse River Map, 1888

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