Onslow County’s early economy was based on agriculture, forest products (mainly naval stores), fishing, and limited manufacturing (Loftfield 1981:62-64). Agricultural pursuits were focused on corn, peas, and livestock. Abundant pine forests nourished the growth of the naval stores industry based on tar and pitch. Due to the county’s geographic location near the Atlantic and the New River, fishing was an important occupation. Milling was the principal manufacturing industry in the region. Between 1764 and 1775, an average of two new mills appeared in the county every year (Watson 1995:13-14).