North Carolina has no shortage of crazy, interesting, and sometimes mind-boggling history. While larger cities take claim to fame, some of the most important historical events of our time have occurred right in the small towns of North Carolina. Like these 13.
1. Kitty Hawk, First in Flight.
On December 17th, 1903, the Wright Brothers achieved the first flight ever lasting a mere 12 seconds.
2. Rhodiss, one small step for man.
The material used for the first American flag erected on the moon was made in Rhodhiss, a small town in the foothills, at Burlington Mills.
3. Fayetteville, home run history.
On March 7th 1914, during a scrimmage against the Baltimore Orioles, Babe Ruth hit his first home run of his professional career in Fayetteville.
4. Salisbury, your favorite soft drink.
L.D Peeler wanted to create a new, exciting soft drink that was unique to the market. Using flavors purchased off a traveling salesman from St. Louis, Cheerwine was born in Peeler's basement. Today, it's an international sensation.
5. New Bern, another favorite soft drink.
Originally known as "Brad's Drink" after inventor, Caleb Bradham, Pepsi-cola got its new name in 1898 from two of its ingredients pepsin and cola. Today Pepsi-Cola stands as Coca Cola's biggest soft drink rival.
6. Ocracoke, Blackbeard's death.
Right off the coast of Ocracoke, Lieutenant Maynard and his men defeated Blackbeard and his crew. It is said that Blackbeard received 5 musket-ball wounds and 20 sword lacerations before dying. Oh, and his ghost is known to still haunt the area to this day.
7. Beaufort, Discovery of wreckage from Queen Anne's Revenge.
The notorious Blackbeard didn't go down without a fight and he continues to haunt the NC coast. The most recent being the confirmation of wreckage discovered in Beaufort Inlet. For five years the wreckage remained a mystery but it was then confirmed it did indeed originate from Blackbeard's beloved ship, Queen Anne's Revenge. Today, you can see the artifacts for yourself at the NC Maritime Museum.
8. Manteo, Virginia Dare and The Lost Colony.
Today, Manteo is a beautiful and culturally rich coastal town. But, it is also near the modern-day location of Roanoke Island. In 1587, 117 men, women, and children arrived onshore at Roanoke Island. The first English child born on American soil occurred not long after with the birth of Virginia Dare. In a frightening conclusion...all members of the colony (except John White who had sailed back to England for supplies and returned three years later) mysteriously vanished with no trace except the word 'CROATOAN' carved on a tree. Today, this exists as the first missing persons case in America and remains largely unsolved.
9. Bostic, The possible birth of Abraham Lincoln.
If you're like me, this is new knowledge as a North Carolinian. But after citing sources and some research, there is a huge 'fact vs. fiction' debate if one of the greatest presidents in American history was indeed a Tar Heel. To summarize, the story has it that Lincoln was born illegitimately to Nancy Grace. His 'father,' Thomas Lincoln, was simply hired to take Nancy and baby Lincoln to Kentucky, where he married Nancy and claimed Lincoln as his own son. What do you think of this? If you simply Google, Was Abraham Lincoln born in Bostic? You'll find a wealth of sources and knowledge on the subject of this great debate.
10. Edenton Tea Party.
On October 25th, 1773 Mrs. Penelope Barker organized for 51 women to meet at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth King and form an alliance that supported against 'taxation without representation.' The Edenton Tea Party was one of the earliest forms of resistance against the Crown and one of the first organized women's political actions in the U.S .
11. The almost accidental nuking of Goldsboro.
On January 24th, 1961 a B-52 Stratofortress that was carrying two Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke mid-air, dropping the bombs in the process (luckily the bombs had parachutes). The crew ejected at 9,000 ft. with three members dying in the process. There's been much speculation involved with the highly classified event, including the fact that one of the bombs was extremely close to detonating.
12. Topsail Island, Operation Bumblebee.
Operation Bumblebee was a top-secret project in which the U.S Navy first began rocket testing, with the ramjet missiles landing in the ocean. During that time, the island was mostly uninhabited. Today, the original assembly building and spotting towers still stand.
13. Chapel Hill, astronavigation.
The Apollo astronauts learned astronavigation at Morehead Planetarium on the UNC Chapel Hill campus. It was so top secret, the astronauts had a code for when they would arrive. And what is that code? Cookie Time. The wives of the astronomers instructing them would bring the astronauts cookies. Pretty 'sweet.'
For more information on fascinating, mysterious, and sometimes unknown North Carolina history – check out one of my favorite sources,
Did You See That?
What did you think of our list? What surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments!