Waynesborough - A Brief History:
Wayne County was founded in 1779 after a division in Dobbs County was directed by the North Carolina
General Assembly. The County was named for War Hero Continental General "MAD" Anthony Wayne.
[ Five of his Civil War era portraits are shown at left].
The first seat of Wayne County was Waynesborough, situated on the banks of the Neuse River, a few
hundred feet west of the present US Highway South Bypass. It was incorporated in 1787 and was a
thriving town with a courthouse, jail, taverns, stores and many homes. Riverboats brought freight and
passengers into town. Stagecoaches stopped to change horses and for passengers to transfer to Raleigh,
Tarborough, New Bern or Fayetteville.
The Wilmington - Weldon Railroad, completed in 1839, came within a mile and a half of Waynesborough.
Soon two other railroads were built going east and crossing at a junction near Waynesborough. Hotels
and businesses were contructed along side the railroad. The new town was named in Honor of the popular
Civil Engineer Matthew T. Goldsborough, who supervised the construction of the railroad.
The coming of the railroad began a rapid change in the economy and infrastructure of Wayne County.
Gradually homes and other buildings were moved from Waynesborough to Goldsborough. The
steamships ceased operation on the river. Waynesborough remained the county seat until a vote was
taken in 1848 to move to Goldsborough Junction, 2 miles east. Advocates for the move chose a hot
summer day with a picnic for those voting. Several blocks of ice were brought by train and placed into
the well by the picnic area. It was reported that moonshine was also added. All resistance melted and
Goldsborough became the new seat of Wayne County government.
By the time General Sherman's army marched through Wayne County in 1865, only five warehouses
were left in Waynesborough, and the army proceded to burn them all. Though the town had been in
decline since the coming of the railroad, Sherman provided its total obliteration.
In the 1980's, The Old Waynesborough Commission was formed to create a village near the original site
to represent Waynesborough. This group solicits and maintains buildings dating from Antibellum period
to the early 1900's which are moved to the park, renovated and opened to visitors as a project of living
history. The Old Waynesborough Commission maintains and operates the Historic Village area. None of
the buildings are original to the town of Waynesborough, but each is representative of a period in Wayne
|Waynesborough Historical Village - History
|Old Waynesborough Commission, Inc.
Waynesborough Historical Village
|HOURS: Sun. 1-4 Mon. Closed
Tues.-Fri. 8-4 Sat. 10-4