10/18/12 — Second plantation tour set

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Second plantation tour set

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on October 18, 2012 1:46 PM

It's been the site of battles and the home to heroes.

A nuclear bomb lies in a swamp in its northern swamps and generations have cultivated its farmland, but many who call Wayne County home don't realize the history beneath their feet.

The Wayne County Historical Society is aiming to remedy that with the second installment of their plantation tours, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. until about 3 p.m.

The tour will serve to supplement Emily Weil's book, "People and Plantations," which chronicles the early history of Wayne County from 1701 until 1860.

Mrs. Weil will be traveling along with the tour, which she said aims to finish what was begun during a tour of the northern end of the county in the spring.

"There are so many of these sites that you can't really do it all in one day," she said, noting there are more than 25 sites to visit in the southern end of Wayne. "It's a big county."

Her book, which follows the lives of early settlers as they develop their agrarian society, points out about 150 plantations that used to be in Wayne County, she said, and when some readers expressed interest in visiting those sites, she arranged a tour of the northern portion of the county earlier this year.

The southern tour will take attendees south through Dudley and east to Seven Springs before lunch at the Mount Olive Train Depot, where Mount Olive Town Manager Charles Brown will discuss the history of the building.

Sites along the way will include the oldest surviving house in the county, built about 1780, the site of the Battle of White Hall, Seven Springs Hotel and Resort, and plantations scattered across the southern end of the county.

Tour guide Kirk Keller will lead the tour, which he said is a great opportunity to share local history with those who may not be aware of the county's past.

"We have a great history and a lot of people don't know it," he said. "It's a good venue to introduce people to the community they live in."

Keller said while North Carolina's plantations weren't as widespread or as large as those in the Deep South, they played a significant role in the development of the area.

The cost to join the tour is $30, which includes a catered lunch.