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Knightdale - A brief history
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In 1700, the Lords Proprietor of the Carolina Colony hired John Lawson to explore the area. He began his 1,000-mile trek near present day Charleston, South Carolina and according to his diary, Lawson passed through the area sometime in February of 1701. He wrote about a meeting with the Tuscarora Native American tribe on the banks of the Neuse River and with the help of an interpreter, Lawson made peace with the Tuscarora.
In 1730, John Hinton settled in what would one day be called Knightdale in an area near the Neuse River, not far from where Hodge Road and Old Faison Road now intersect. When the American Revolution began, Hinton switched his allegiance to the colonials. He became a military leader and played a key role in the first battle of the American Revolution fought on North Carolina soil, the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge. Hinton owned seven plantations in the Knightdale area, of which three are still intact: The Oaks, Midway and Beaver Dam.
After independence, the population of the area began to increase with farmers growing products such as tobacco and cotton. Although slavery was not prominent in Knightdale like locations in the Deep South, it was still visible in the area. There are unmarked grave plots for slaves throughout Knightdale. During the Civil War, the Confederate and Union armies were present in the area. The Clay Hill and Midway Plantations saw the greatest damage and after the War ended, the residents began to rebuild.
In 1904, after the railroad and depot were built, the area began to develop quickly. Norfolk and Southern Railroad moved families into the community to take care of the railroad, and many of the older homes that exist today in Knightdale were built specifically for the use of railroad workers and their families. The first railroad stationmaster's house can still be seen along the tracks on Railroad Street.
On February 7, 1940, a fire broke out in the center of town. The townspeople turned out to help extinguish the fire, but the fire was not brought under control until firefighters arrived from Raleigh with an adequate water supply. Several businesses and homes were destroyed and the townspeople rebuilt the historic downtown area.
After World War II, the population of Knightdale grew at a steady pace thanks to the Baby Boom. Beginning in the 1960's, the majority of new businesses in Knightdale began locating along U.S. 64. With the addition of the Mingo Creek sewer outfall in the late 1980's, development on the south side of U.S. 64 began. Subdivisions such as Parkside, Planter's Walk and Mingo Creek were built, rapidly increasing the town's population.
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