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Often confused with its historic Virginian counterpart, Jamestown, North Carolina is still a pivotal settlement.  First settled in 1752, this area had held onto its charm from when it was first settled. So close to the Deep River, and now a suburb of Greensboro and High Point, this tiny town has a lot of history packed into it! 

These are the most important things to know about the town, and why its history is important to remember.

Who Founded It?

Jamestown was founded by Quakers in 1752, far before any other cities were born in the area.  As the first established town in the Piedmont area, these first settlers understood that the need for good water to saw wood, grind grain, and turn lathes would help them start manufacturing and beginning businesses for themselves.

The town was named after James Mendenhall, whose grandson chose the name in his honor.  This area still represents traditional Quaker homesteads from the 1800s and late 1700s, with much of the town functioning as a historic landmark.

What Helped It Grow

For the Quaker people of this area, there was a lot of pride in putting in the work to create and manufacture things on their own. But, unfortunately, in North Carolina in the 1700s and 1800s, this meant dealing with the reality of slavery.

Instead of enslaving people, Quakers from Jamestown would acquire slaves and then train them with marketable skills.  This could range from sewing to chair making, as long as it could make money.  The Quakers then helped transport these enslaved people through the underground railroad into a free life in the northern states.

Over 3,000 enslaved people were freed through these means.  Their travels were made easier through wagons with false bottoms, which are still on display on Mendenhall Plantation, built and maintained by the town's namesake's grandson.

This constant motion of creating products for sale and freeing enslaved people gave this town the push it needed to grow and take on saving more people and spreading its business. 

What Life Was Like

Much of life on this plantation that sprouted the city was spent working and enjoying the fruits of their labor.  The owner's wife, Mary Peg, was constantly at work cooking, spinning, and sewing.  She created blankets and quilts to keep travelers warm and safe and made dozens of rope-bound beds to offer comfortable rest to anyone who needed it.

Jamestown Today

Much of Jamestown are kept similarly to how it was when it was founded.  A small museum in town shows the history of the people who lived here and what they did for and with enslaved people.  This museum contains everything from the false-bottom wagons to shackles and arrowheads and walks through the complicated past the settlers had to deal with while living here.

Today, much of Jamestown is quiet living, with Jamestown apartments and houses only being home to less than 4,000 people.  It’s a quiet town with a lively past.