Read More: The Great Exodus


An out-migration of residents, known as the Great Exodus from North Carolina, occurred during the 1830s and 1840s. Onslow County lost some of its largest and wealthiest landowners and many of its most public-spirited and educated citizens. Inland migration within the county itself also increased, driven by the depletion of the coast's already poor soil. Onslow County's soils, particularly in the Camp Lejeune/New River area, consist of a variety of sandy loams and silty, poorly drained soils not well suited for the intensive agricultural efforts as practiced in other regions.