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A Very Short History of Farmville

The area surrounding the current Town of Farmville was first settled in the mid-1760s. These early settlers were few in numbers and were almost exclusively farmers by trade. The first recorded structure inside the current town limits was a log cabin erected about 1840. In the 1850s a church and a school were built, however, growth was quite slow up through the end of the 1860s.

In 1872 the populace petitioned the North Carolina legislature to create a town named Farmville. Prior to this time the community had no formal name and was generally referred to as New Town. The Town of Farmville was formally incorporated on February 12, 1872. During the last quarter of the 19th century, the town developed as a small commercial center supporting the agricultural expansion of the region brought about by the boom in Brightleaf Tobacco cultivation.

Farmville Tobacco Market circa 1950-1959.
*Copyright held by Joyner Library.

The first quarter of the 20th century was a period of incredible growth for Farmville. The period 1901 to 1907 saw the arrival of two railroads, providing cost-effective transportation outlets and bringing about an expansion of agribusiness support services.

The period 1905 to 1929 saw the establishment of a number of large tobacco sales, processing and warehousing operations.

Along with this commercial growth came the growth of residential areas, accommodating persons of virtually every economic class.

Tobacco sales, processing and warehousing, as well as, agribusiness support services continued to be of primary importance to Farmville’s growth and stability up through the late 1960s.

With the decline of the tobacco industry beginning in the early 1970s, Farmville began an aggressive campaign to diversify its commercial and industrial base.

Although agribusiness support continues to be an important part of Farmville, industrial, commercial and residential diversification continues to be the course on which this community of approximately 4800 residents is proceeding.

The featured image at the top of this page is titled, “Aerial view of Farmville. Undated.” Copyright held by Joyner Library. http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/10075