Historical Markers To Be Unveiled

The Johnston County Heritage Center and Heritage Commission will unveil five historical markers in various Johnston County locations during June and July. Each unveiling ceremony will feature special speakers, historical drama, music, and refreshments. The public is invited.

The Freedman’s Schoolhouse in Smithfield is believed to be 1 of only 3 left in existence in the United States and the only one in North Carolina.

The first unveiling will be held Wednesday, June 19, 10 am, at First Missionary Baptist Church, located at the corner of Fourth and Caswell Streets in Smithfield near the original location of a two-room Freedmen’s Schoolhouse, built 1868-69. Refreshments will be served in the church fellowship hall following the ceremony.

“According to the staff of the North Carolina historic preservation office, this is the only freedmen’s schoolhouse known to be left standing in the state,” says Heritage Center Director Todd Johnson. “It is thought to be one of only five or so left in the nation, making it an extremely rare piece of history,” he adds.

Other marker unveilings are scheduled as follows:

Atkinson’s Mill near Selma in the 1940’s

Friday, June 21, 11 am, Atkinson’s Mill, 95 Atkinson Mill Road, Selma. A barbecue lunch, complete with Atkinson’s hushpuppies, will be served after the ceremony.

Friday, June 28, 10 am, Hinton’s Quarter Courthouse site, near the East Front Street Roundabout, Clayton. A reception hosted by the Clayton Historical Association will be held in the clubhouse of Arbors at East Village, 56 Bent Branch Loop, Clayton.

In 1799, Benjamin Williams who was born in the Brogden community in Johnston County became Governor of North Carolina.

Saturday, July 6, 10 am, Governor Benjamin Williams birthplace site, 3390 Grabtown Road, Smithfield. A reception at the site will be hosted by the Smith-Bryan Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Camp Flintlock will provide 18th century entertainment.

The Catch-Me-Eye Explosion on March 7, 1942 on US 301 at US 70 in Selma

Saturday, July 20, 10 am, Catch-Me-Eye Explosion site, near the intersection of US Highways 70 and 301, Selma.

These historical markers have been made possible by a matching grant from the Johnston County Visitors Bureau and by gifts from the Clayton Historical Association and the Smith-Bryan Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.

For more information call 919-934-2836 or email heritagecenter@johnstonnc.com.