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Duplin County was first form the northern part of New Hanover County by the Assembly in New Bern on April 7, 1750. It was named for Thomas Hay, Viscount Dupplin, later 9th Earl of Kinnoull, who served on the Board of Trade and Plantations for the Crown in the 1740's. The early settlers of Duplin County where the were the Welsh who arrived in the 1700's. The German Palatines and the Swiss followed in in 1730's and 1740's. The Scotch-Irish arrived in 1736. Other settlers such as the French Huguenots and English migrated from Virginia, amongst the wave of migration came the Scottish Highlanders from the upper Cape Fear region, and African-Americans. At that time the boundaries of Duplin County included what would eventually become Sampson County. The early settlements were primarily along the river and larger creeks as these were the best means of transportation.

The establishment of several settlements occurred when Henry McCulloch had transported Ulster Scots and Swiss Protestants to settle the area. In 1787, Sarecta located on the east bank of the Northeast Cape Fear River was incorporated as a town. In 1751, the first official county court was held in the home of William McRee. A short time later the first courthouse was built on Turkey Swamp near the present day Duplin/Sampson County line. When Sampson County was created in 1784 from the western half of Duplin County, the courthouse was relocated again to a more central location.

Henry McCulloch, who had transported Ulster Scots and Swiss Protestants to settle this area, established several settlements. One on the east bank of the Northeast Cape Fear River named Sarecta, became Duplin's first incorporated town in 1787. The naval stores industry became one of the first in the county. The harvesting of rosin provided barter and income for the early settlers and remained a significant part of the economy up until the late 1800's. Large log rafts transported the naval stores products through the Northeast Cape Fear River for sale in Wilmington. In 1840, the completion of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad brought forth additional opportunities for growth and a tremendous influence for further development. The Towns of Wallace, Teachey, Rose Hill, Magnolia, Warsaw, Faison and Calypso developed along the tracks. Today, Duplin County has maintained its agricultural heritage and rural environment through the years while still allowing for a blending with industrial development, economic growth and an enviable lifestyle.


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