Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition


Committee report to the North Carolina Senate detailing the southern boundary of North Carolina compiled December 19, 1792. (GP 23)

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in the hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. This month our theme will be vacations.

Boundaries. Those imaginary lines that slice through terrain, separating groups of people, annexing commercial areas and determining tax rates are constantly in the news. Whether it’s the creation of a new nation (South Sudan) or the fine-tuning of a state’s border (most recently North and South Carolina in Gaston and Union counties), these lines have been an obsession long before the colonization of America. This week’s item highlights a report found in Benjamin Williams’ papers concerning the boundary between North and South Carolina, designated as:

“…Beginning on the Sea side, at a Cedar Stake, at or near the mouth of Little river, being the Southern Extremity of Brunswick County, and running from thence a north west course, through the Boundary house which stands in 33 degrees 56 minutes to 35 degrees north Latitude, and from thence a west course as far as is sanctioned in the Charter of King Charles the 2d to the late Proprietors of Carolina…”

The description found in the Charter of 1663 puts the west course “as far as the south seas [Pacific Ocean] …” A vacation to Bird Island Reserve, part of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve, may be worth a trip to see the river that determined our southern border. And if that’s too far for the family to travel, a visit to the House in the Horseshoe, land that Benjamin Williams once considered his “Retreat” will provide a rich historical experience.  These sites provide much to encourage thoughts on boundaries natural, political and historical.