Read More: Aftermath of the Civil War


The aftermath of the Civil War left Onslow County in an economically and socially depressed condition that generally persisted into the twentieth century. The area’s landed aristocracy had virtually ceased to exist, leaving people without the means for survival (Berger 2006:12). The number of people relying on government support increased in the years following the war. In the 1860s and 1870s, the county poorhouse was a major expense in the county budget. Although agriculture was still the mainstay of the county’s economy, the value of Onslow County’s farms had dropped by 75 percent. Tobacco, however, was successful, and by the beginning of the twentieth century it had improved, but not necessarily invigorated, the county’s economy (Loftfield 1981:158). After the arrival of the railroad in the late 1880s, northern capital—and some from the South—was attracted to Onslow County’s timber resources. Interest in the industry became much deeper in the twentieth century (Watson 1995:85-89).