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Cameron - A brief history
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Early Cameron history emerges by virtue of 3 brothers named Goodman, who offered Major John Scott every other lot for a mile on either side of the railroad tracks if he would arrange it so that the railroad would run through their land.
Major Scott accepted the offer and in 1857 the Raleigh and Augusta railroad came to Cameron, and for quite a while that was the end of the line. The railroad literally ended at the last stop in Cameron for some time. A variety of merchants and residents came with the railroad and with that a community was established.
Cameron was named for Paul Cameron, an official of the railroad. In 1876, an act by the General Assembly made Cameron an incorporated town. The railroad brought boom times to Cameron, and its influence was obvious, the town’s city limits were set in a one mile square radiating out from the train depot.
The town grew rapidly and soon was a bustling commercial center with several mercantile stores, six turpentine distilleries, a millstone company and a carriage works. Winery and hosiery mills were added by the early 1900’s and by 1920, there were two hotels, ten general stores, three saloons and one drugstore.
From 1880 to 1890 the population exploded. The sandy soil in Cameron was the perfect mixture to grow Lucretia Dewberries and in 1892, those dewberries put Cameron on the map. The Lucretia Dewberry is a milder version of the blackberry (some claim with superior taste) and the cultivated Lucretia blackberry was soon growing on farms all around the community, attracting buyers from as far away as Florida.
Cameron became known as “The World’s Largest Dewberry Market.” Unfortunately, the dewberry patch was a one-crop situation and the bushes soon aged and no new ones were planted. By the 1950’s the dewberry industry had completely died and was replaced by tobacco, which became the major cash crop for years to come. Cameron history has long been anchored by farming and agricultural endeavors, and tobacco brought much money and growth into the area.
If you love history, you'll feel right at home in Cameron, thanks to the Goodman brothers’ vision over 150 years ago.