Bladen County is located in southeastern North Carolina in what is known as the Coastal Plains was first settled by Highland Scots who came to the Cape Fear Valley in 1734 seeking religious freedom. Once North Carolina's largest county, Bladen received its name, "Mother of Counties," because fifty-five counties have been carved from it. It now contains some 879 square miles and is the fourth largest county in the state. Originally, Bladen contained over 1,000 lakes and was the state's most beautiful county. The lakes, believed to have been created by a bombardment of meteors 100,000 years ago, have developed into important recreational areas and tourist attractions. Within its present boundaries, seven of them remain.
Being fairly close to the Atlantic Ocean, Bladen's climate is influenced to some degree by maritime conditions in its southeastern portions. Temperatures in Bladen may reach 105ºF in summer and dip as low as 10ºF in winter. Such periods of extreme temperatures are of short duration, usually with several years elapsing before recurrences. The average yearly temperature is 63ºF and the average yearly precipitation is 49.06 inches.
Bladen County is abundant in natural recreation areas. There are three rivers within its boundaries, with the Cape Fear River, the largest, bisecting the county. Fishing is reported to be excellent throughout the county. Good hunting is generally limited to squirrel and deer. White Lake is commercially developed and attracts thousands of visitors annually. Bay Tree Lake is a growing private resort development. Jones and Singletary Lakes are state owned parks. The climate is good for outdoor recreation with nine months of moderate weather per year.
Columbus County was created from Bladen and Brunswick Counties in 1808. In 1810, Whiteville was laid out on James B. White's land and the public buildings were ordered to be constructed there. Whiteville has been the county seat ever since.
This North Carolina county, which was named for Christopher Columbus, lies a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean, in the fertile lowlands of the coastal plain. The 959 square-mile expanse of Columbus County occupies one of the most southeastern sections of the state. Its position along the South Carolina state line is flanked by Brunswick County to the southeast and Robeson County to the northwest. Bladen and Pender counties bound Columbus on the north.
The territory of Columbus County, though rarely mentioned in historical writing, has experienced many of the major episodes of American history. The Indian presence, the colonial period, the Revolutionary War, the establishment of railroads, the Civil War, and Reconstruction – all have touched the county and have involved local citizens. Throughout the years, developments which occurred in Columbus County have reflected familiar themes of state and national history.
Robeson County, located in the Coastal Plain region of North Carolina, was formed in 1787 from Bladen County and was named for Revolutionary War colonel Thomas Robeson. The Saura (Cheraw) and Lumbee were the area's earliest inhabitants, followed by Scottish, English, Welsh, and French settlers. Lumberton, the county seat, was incorporated in 1788 and named after the Lumber River. Other communities in the county include Pembroke, Rowland, Maxton, Red Springs, Parkton, Lumber Bridge, Allenton, Alma, and Shannon. Notable physical features of the county, in addition to the Lumber River, include Panther and Horse Pen Branches, Gum Swamp Canal, and Currie and Bear Bays.
Much of Robeson County's history has involved the trials and accomplishments of the Lumbee Indians, North Carolina's largest tribe, who populate the region. One of their most famous tribal members, Henry Berry Lowry, led a band of outlaws in the state during and after the Civil War, at times using violence to bring attention to the plight of the Lumbee. His story is the subject of the long-running outdoor drama Strike at the Wind!, performed in Pembroke during the summer months. Lowry's restored cabin is on display at an adjacent recreational area.
Agricultural commodities raised in Robeson County include tobacco, cotton, soybeans, vegetables, poultry, hogs, and beef cattle, and manufactures include transformers, water pipes and valves, speakers, textiles, wood products, and manufactured homes. The estimated population of Robeson County in 2004 was 126,500.