These are books that have been generously transcribed for us or are available in the public domain.
Early Years of Duplin Cross Roads, or Duplin Roads:
The present town of Wallace, first known as Duplin Roads, was first
incorporated as Duplin Roads in 1873; then reincorporated as Wallace in
honor of Stephen D. Wallace (see Notes below) of the Atlantic Coast Line
railroad on March 4, 1899. The county of Duplin had originally been part
of New Hanover but a split was made in
1749 in order to better administer government to the inhabitants. Those
first settlements of Swiss, German and Scotch-Irish in Duplin County
occurred between present-day Wallace and Teacheys in the vicinity of the
Old Red House Cemetery.
At the end of the American Revolution the area that now comprises the town
of Wallace was farmland owned by William Boney, much of it from an earlier
land grant of King George II. The name Duplin Roads emerged from the
intersection of the Wilmington to Raleigh dirt road and the New Bern to
Fayetteville road, and the coming of the railroad in 1840 spurred
development of the crossroads into a market and transportation center.
Readying Turpentine for Shipment by Rail
The new railroad brought new importance to the Duplin Roads community as
the spacing of stations along the rail line reflected the practical need
for locomotives to take on necessary water and wood. It is also important
to note that the Wilmington and Weldon truly connected Duplin Roads to the
greater outside world and markets, as it not only connected local farmers
to Virginia, but also Charleston via the four railroad-owned steamers that
carried people and freight from Wilmington southward on water.
No Whiskey at Duplin Roads Station:
The land for the railroad’s right of way was a donation from William Boney
with the specific restriction that no alcohol be sold on this land---“Thus
it was that although whiskey was sold in practically every station from
Wilmington to Weldon, none was ever available for sale in Duplin Roads
station.” The new railroad crossing in Duplin Roads prompted merchant
Gabriel Boney to relocate his commissary from nearby Washington Creek on the
Northeast Cape Fear River, no doubt the first retail store in town, and his
shelves held coffee, sugar, salt and other necessities not produced on local
Steamboat Transportation on the Cape Fear River
The movement of this merchant to Duplin Roads illustrates the effect
of the new mode of transportation in the area as farm products were
now able to be shipped in large quantities to distant locales, and at an
average speed of 22 miles per hour. Crude turpentine had for many
years served as the primary cash crop in Duplin, shipped on rafts to
Wilmington for distillation into spirits of turpentine and rosin. Near the
railroad in Duplin Roads, Newkirk Southerland had constructed barrels
in his copper shop for this still-profitable business and by 1861 the
town had grown into a thriving community.
Tapping Pine Trees for Turpentine
It is notable that Thomas O. Larkin, a native of Charlestown, Massachusetts,
opened a store at "Rockfish" August 18, 1825, at or near Duplin Roads. In
late 1825 he had ben appointed justice of the peace in Duplin County, and by
September, 1826 Larkin had a post office in his store, being commissioned
postmaster at the young age of 24.
Larkin left Rockfish in 1831 for California and opened a store at Monterey,
still considered Mexican territory at the time. He was successful in
business there and in 1843 received appointment as United States Consul at
Monterey, eventually assisting in securing California as a US possession.
At a rural crossroads like in Duplin, a county store would become a
social as well as mercantile center, and by 1860 these country stores
came more and more into the hands of full time storekeepers instead of a
successful planter. It was at a crossroads store that a polling place for
elections would be set up, as well as a place for regular militia musters
and important holidays to be celebrated.
To put things in perspective in relation to the size of Duplin Roads: in
1860 only Wilmington and New Bern had populations of more than
5000; Raleigh and Fayetteville had more than 4000; and towns of one thousand
included Charlotte, Beaufort, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Henderson,
Hendersonville, Kinston, Salisbury, Tarboro, Warrenton and Little Washington.
The rest, including Duplin Roads might scarcely have deserved being called
villages – the Evans Railway Guide of 1874 listed a population of 75 persons
for Duplin Roads.
The small population obscured the considerable wealth that the
Wilmington & Weldon Railroad brought to the Duplin Roads area in
the 1850’s; the stately Italianate-inspired home of Dr. Buckner Lanier
Hill House was built in 1855 within earshot of the railroad tracks---and
surrounded by acres of corn, cotton, tobacco and cattle. Builders of the
1850’s were busy erecting stately homes for wealthy planters and merchants
along the Wilmington & Weldon as well as rivers which carried products to
market by water. The Italianate-inspired home of Dr. Hill and Dr. Needham
Herring’s Greek Revival home in 1853 are representative of this era of wealth.
The railroad by December, 1854 “transformed the economy of eastern North
Carolina into a catchment for exploiting the agricultural and commercial
potential for the region.
An Agricultural Center:
Being a primarily agricultural region, a Duplin County Agricultural Society
was first established in April, 1854 at the Kenansville Courthouse with
Jeremiah Pearsall elected president, Owen R. Kenan and James Dickson as vice
presidents, and Stephen M. Grady as secretary.
The annual fairs conducted by the Society reveal the long list of foodstuffs
the area produced, and included (November 1860): corn, wheat, cotton, rye,
oats, field peas, potatoes, turnips, beets, pumpkins, squash, collards,
peanuts, melon, apples, ham, and pickled pork. Like its neighboring counties
of Bladen, New Hanover, Columbus, Sampson and Pitt, Duplin County was
producing by 1860 substantial quantities of rice---and of course this
production was stimulated by the railroad tracks which linked it with
Duplin Roads Railroad Station:
According to Dr. James C. Burke’s scrupulous research of the Wilmington &
Raleigh Railroad (later Wilmington & Weldon), a map of 1833 “lists only six
towns or named locations between Wilmington and Weldon that existed prior to
the railroad that would eventually become railroad towns – South Washington,
Wrightsville Post Office, Waynesborough (Goldsboro), Rocky Mount, Enfield
and Halifax. Not listed on the map, but existing in 1833 was Duplin Cross
Roads, the site of a post office.” Burke found also that by 1858 Duplin
County stations listed with their agents were Teachey’s (now Teachey),
Magnolia (formerly Strickland’s Depot), Warsaw, Bowdens and Faison. He adds
that in 1858 Duplin Roads and Rose Hill had no station agent.
A photograph of the Halifax station house is the only known image of early
railroad structures, and probably dates from 1835. This building may be
atypical of those constructed along the line by the Wilmington & Weldon’s
completion by 1840, though they may have been built after more practical
storage warehouses. Any station located at Duplin Roads by the mid-1850’s was
probably small and of very simple design and construction, and the lack of
facilities here is indicated in the early wartime report of Wilmington &
Weldon Superintendent Sewall L. Fremont (see Notes below) to the President
and Directors, found in the November 25, 1861 Wilmington Journal:
“Thorough repairs should be made to the warehouses at Joyner’s, Black Creek,
Nahunta, Dudley, Faison and Warsaw. At the latter station, the warehouse
should be enlarged. Station houses, with ticket offices, should be
constructed at Joyner’s, Black Creek, Dudley, Faison and Warsaw; and small
warehouses, with ticket offices and passenger rooms should be erected at
Pikeville, Mount Olive, Duplin Cross Roads, Leesburg and South Washington. I
do not propose large or costly structures, but plain, neat buildings.”
As a small station (albeit without an agent) may certainly have existed at
Duplin Roads, Fremont was advising his superiors that a more commodious
ticket office and passenger waiting rooms be erected there to replace the
aging and small original. One would surmise too that storage sheds and
warehouses may have existed near the station to store agricultural products
awaiting shipment. Superintendent Fremont reported to the Directors in 1855
that the bridge at Rockfish Creek south of Duplin Roads had been rebuilt, one
can still see the stone trestle foundations in the water today.
Duplin Men in Service During the War Between the States:
Duplin County supplied many men from Duplin Roads, Kenansville, Warsaw,
Magnolia and Faison who fought in Virginia as well as in the fortifications
around Wilmington and Forts Fisher and Anderson on the Cape Fear River.
Among the first units formed as local militia were the “Spartan Band” of
Captain A.G. Mosely; the “Duplin Rifles” (organized at Kenansville in 1859)
under Captain Thomas S. Kenan; and the “Confederate Greys” under Captain
Claudius B. Denson.
"The Duplin Grays"
The latter was largely composed of students at the Franklin Military
Institute near Faison, and it eventually became Company E of the 20th North
Carolina Regiment under Colonel (later General) Alfred Iverson and Colonel
Frank J. Faison of Duplin. The 20th and fought at Malvern Hill, Seven Days,
Mechanicsville, Cold Harbor, South Mountain, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville,
Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Petersburg and the Shenandoah
Valley. In fierce battle at Gettysburg on the first day, the 20th North
Carolina Regiment lost every officer killed, wounded or captured (of 24 being
present), and only 16 men of the regiment led by Lt. J.F. Ireland marched
away from Gettysburg.
The names of the officers and soldiers of the Duplin units include:
Hicks, Sprunt, Oliver, Grimes, Blalock, Carr, Kornegay, Wright, Barfield,
Brinson, Brock, Branch, Davis, Farrior, Faison, Futrall, Grady, Hall, Huggins,
Kellit, Kenan, Lanier, Outlaw, Padgett, Rogers, Strickland, Swinson,
Southerland, Tew, Wallace, Westbrook and Winders.
Additionally, many Duplin men served in the “Herring Artillery”
under Captain William A. Herring in Company I of the 2nd North Carolina
Artillery serving at Fort Johnson in Smithville. Lieutenant Robert B. Carr
of Duplin County was wounded at Gettysburg and captured along with Col.
Thomas S. Kenan; Carr became one of the “Immortal 600” Southern officers
used as human shields in front of Northern artillery batteries at Charleston
in 1864. Nearly starved by his captors, he finally died on July 3, 1865 of
chronic intestinal disorders. Both of his brothers, Joseph and John, were
killed in the war.
Col. Thomas S. Kenan
Duplin Roads During the War:
Though the seat of active warfare avoided Duplin Roads, its agricultural
products greatly helped the Southern war effort. In 1865 the quartermaster
general of North Carolina reported that he was feeding half of Lee’s Army of
Northern Virginia largely with food brought through the blockade at
Wilmington, and shipped over the Wilmington and Weldon. Hence the Wilmington
and Weldon became known as the “lifeline of the Confederacy,” and Duplin
Roads was doing its part in providing agricultural products to be shipped
via rail, and cotton to be shipped to Europe on blockade runners. During
Wilmington’s devastating Yellow Fever epidemic of late 1862, Duplin Roads
and other unaffected areas shipped great quantities of fresh vegetables and
fruit to the stricken city to help alleviate the suffering. The Wilmington &
Weldon was used extensively for troop movements in eastern North Carolina
throughout the war, and relocating defenders to threatened areas. In
December 1862 Lt. Col. John G. Pressley of the 25th South Carolina Volunteers
wrote of constant railroad movements of his regiment to Wilmington and being
quartered at "Camp Cobb, in wooden barracks near the edge of the city, and
near the Wilmington & Weldon railroad." On December 18th he writes of
"taking the cars" on that afternoon in extremely cold weather and reaching
Magnolia station in Duplin County at 7AM the following day. "The fact that we
were the first regiment of soldiers the people of this town had had with
them and the proximity of the enemy made us very welcome visitors. Many of
the officers and men were breakfasted by the citizens and treated in the
most hospitable manner."
After it was ascertained that the enemy had retired toward New Bern, Lt. Col.
Pressley's regiment reboarded the cars and reached Wilmington on the 23rd of
December where they were reviewed by Major General William H.C. Whiting
commanding the Cape Fear District.
War again came near Duplin Roads in early July 1863 as an enemy cavalry raid
from New Bern got as close as Kenansville and Warsaw, tearing up track and
burning warehouses---though this was quickly repaired by crews standing by
for such events. This brought more Southern troops to the area to protect it
from marauders. The fear of sabotage and enemy raids was sufficient to have
24-hour guards posted at important railroad bridges in Duplin County,
including the stone-foundation trestle at Rockfish Creek just south of
Prisoner Exchange Near Duplin Roads:
After the evacuation of Wilmington by General Robert F. Hoke in late February,
his brigades followed the Wilmington and Weldon tracks to Rockfish Creek and
encamped on the northern bank, just below Duplin Roads. Hoke maintained a
strong defensive line here for nearly two weeks, and because a large number
of Northern prisoners were held by the North Carolinians, he began treating
with the enemy to take them off his hands as rations were scarce and he had
little for the captives. General Braxton Bragg wrote to his superiors in
Virginia from “Rockfish Creek, Duplin County” on February 25, 1865 that “Our
main force is now located here, with the cavalry in advance at Northeast
(Cape Fear) River, where the enemy has finally, under General Grant’s orders,
consented to receive the prisoners.” Beginning on the 26th of February about
10,000 Northern prisoners of war were sent to Wilmington, many brought to
Duplin Roads by rail from Goldsboro.
The diary of a soldier named Eldridge of the Third New Hampshire Regiment
records that “the rebel [rail] cars fetched our prisoners (for parole) down
from Goldsborough. They marched by our camp.” He continued that “On the 26th…
Received and fed sixteen hundred prisoners. They are objects of pity.”
A previous battle fought on the very same ground as Hoke had encamped was
the “Battle of Rockfish, on August 2, 1781.
Then, Colonel James Kenan of Duplin with 500 Duplin-area militia confronted
British Major James E. Craig’s large force of Loyalists, with the former
dispersed after firing all their ammunition at the enemy.
Northern Troops Pass Through Duplin Roads:
As General Hoke’s forces departed his Rockfish Creek encampment on March 4th
to confront the enemy at Kinston, the Northern forces continued toward
Goldsboro along the Wilmington and Weldon line. The railroad equipment not
destroyed by retreating North Carolina troops was put back into use between
Northern-occupied Wilmington and the new battle-fronts closer to Goldsboro.
As those forces passed through Duplin Roads and Kenansville, farms were
raided and stripped of livestock and edibles, prompting one Duplin lady to
remark from her porch: “What a set of vandals you Yankees are. You take all
our sweet potatoes and chickens, and, a day or two since some of your tribe
took our horses.”
It is ironic that 83 years earlier British General “Cornwallis’ troops marched
through Duplin County on their way to Virginia and defeat. They encamped at
the Old Duplin Courthouse, which at that time was on Turkey Branch near
Warsaw.” As the Northern invaders did later, the British “burned and
plundered as they stalked their way through the county, leaving behind a
path of destruction of farm pack houses, crops, store buildings, and whatever
else was in their view”
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