north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     The village of Cross Creek sat along the banks of the Cape Fear River tributary by the same name. The community developed in 1754 when John Newberry, a Pennsylvania Quaker, built a mill on the banks of the creek. The next year merchants Richard Lyon and Hugh Fullerton established a store near Newberry’s mill. The mercantile business was an important link along the trading route from the Moravian settlements to the west to the port of Wilmington.

     During the 1760s Cross Creek expanded considerably and began to surpass the county seat, Campbelton, in importance. In 1767, a group of thirty-seven merchants petitioned unsuccessfully to have the county courthouse and jail moved from Campbelton to Cross Creek on account of the latter’s “Healthy Airy an Dry” environment to Campbelton’s “Swamps and Morasses.” The merchants also made note that the Campbelton lacked a “House of Entertainment.” Cross Creek became one of the central marketplaces for goods in eastern North Carolina. Traveler William Bartram, whose kinsman lived in Bladen County, noted the village drew settlers “who observed eligible situations for profitable improvements.”

     Cross Creek played a major role in North Carolina history during the Revolution. The region, settled by Scots, became a staging point for Loyalists in 1776. Before marching to their eventual defeat at Moore’s Creek Bridge, the Tories received exhortations from Scottish heroine Flora McDonald. In 1778, the assembly merged Campbelton and Cross Creek, and the town became a Patriot stronghold. Lord Cornwallis’s army bivouacked at Cross Creek while marching to Wilmington after Guilford Courthouse in 1781. Two years later, at the conclusion of the war, the state renamed the combined towns Fayetteville in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, the first such honor bestowed on him in North America.

Roy Parker, Jr., Cumberland County: A Brief History (1990)
John Oates, The Story of Fayetteville and the Upper Cape Fear River (1950)
Walter Clark and William L. Saunders, eds., Colonial Records of North Carolina and State Records of North Carolina, IX, XV
William Henry Foote, Sketches of North Carolina: Historical and Biographical (1846)
William S. Powell, North Carolina Gazetteer (1968)

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north carolina highway historical marker program

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