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Angier - A brief history

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J.C. Williams, who grew up in the area that is now Angier, is credited with being the “Father” of the town. “Jake” was one of the eight children of Jacob Williams, and often called Jake-of-all. His ancestry has been traced all the way back to the sixteenth century to the Isle of Wales, Scotland. Jacob Calvin (Jake) married Nancy Norris of the Holly Springs section of Wake County and settled down to farm.

When the War Between the States broke out in April 1861, the Williams men put down plows and picked up guns to defend their homes. Records show that Jake was captured in 1864 and served time at Ft. Delaware. After his release, Jake returned home to rebuild his life. In 1872 he bought seven hundred and fifty acres of land for $3,000.00. The town of Angier is now located on some of that land. He and Nancy settled down on what is now North Broad Street. There they raised seven sons.

Col. John C. Angier married the niece of the late Washington Duke whose “golden leaf” had found its way north after the war. The demand for more tobacco is said to have been the impetus for Mr. Duke and his sons to establish the American Tobacco Company. Col. Angier owned and operated a lumber plant in Cary and decided to build a railroad down along the pine ridge from Apex to Harnett County. Supposedly with the backing of the Dukes, he built a railroad to the farm of Jake Williams where a “Y” was also built for turning the engine around. In time, a station house was erected for the train crew to stay at night and daily round trips were made to Apex.

It was Jake Williams' farm that the railroad, which put Angier on the map, was built in 1899. The railroad was little more than a tramway leading from Apex, in Wake County, to the Jake Williams' farm in Harnett County. The purpose of the railroad was to haul lumber and logs. The area around Angier had a vast sweep of fine saw timber, from short and long straw pines.

Jake and his son Benton operated a general store and a turpentine distillery. Goods were transported to and from Raleigh or Dunn by two- or four-horse wagons. The coming of the railroad was a boon to farmers, merchants and lumbermen. After much discussion and numerous suggestions, the station house was named Angier to honor Johnathan C. Angier who played a major part in bringing the railroad to the area.

During the 1930's, The Angier Woman's Club undertook a project to have crepe myrtles planted on roadsides leading into town from all directions. The trees make a spectacular show during June, July and August. The town chose “The Town of the Crepe Myrtles” as its slogan. Every year, a Crepe Myrtle Festival is held in September with food, crafts and entertainment for all.

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