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Introduction

Page history last edited by Shamella Cromartie 10 years, 7 months ago

An old hand drawn map of Bladen County and landings on the river. 

 

The purpose of Roadwork is to document major "thoroughfares" in North Carolina history.  The road into the wilderness of Bladen County was the Cape Fear River.  It is formed by the Deep and Haw Rivers that form in the northern part of the state near the Blue Ridge Mountains and flow southeast toward the Atlantic Ocean a few miles northwest of Cape Fear.  

 

The Indians called this "road" “Sapona”.  It has been called the Charles River and the Clarendon.  In 1585 the Cape at the mouth of the river was referred to as “Promontorium tremendum”. It has been called the Cape Fair, Cape Fare and finally Cape Fear.  The present name is appropriate because of the danger of “Frying Pan” Shoals, a strip of sand jutting into the ocean from Smith’s Island for twenty miles.  This is a graveyard for ships sailing the waters of the Western Atlantic.

 

Regardless of the name the Cape Fear River is the thoroughfare that brought explorers, trappers, traders, settlers, armies and opportunists to Bladen County.  The Bladen County Public Library and the Bladen County Historical Society have been encouraged by the North Carolina Humanities Council to document this development through history with photographs and stories.  We have gathered and arranged them with the memories, research, and words of Rev. Nash A. Odom, Bill Gibson, Horace Butler, Mary Mintz, Frances Butler, Laurie Smith, Lewis Smith, Richard Smith and others.

 

Crew of the "Cape Fear River: Road to Bladen County" 

Back row: Bill Gibson, Lewis Smith, Horace Butler, Richard Smith, Rev. Nash Odom

 

Front row: Shamella Cromartie, Mary Mintz, Frances Butler, Laurie Smith, Rhea Hebert, Pat Braddy

 

 

 

This is not a final product!  It is our hope that this presentation will spur others to go through that box of old photographs and search out memories of an earlier time in Bladen County.

 

We owe a special thanks to Shamella Cromartie, a member of the Bladen County Public Library staff.  She has worked many hours to create this site and provide technical assistance for the "technically challenged".  Another thank you to Michael Dickey for helping clean up some old photographs.

 

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