Wayne County, North Carolina:  Articles

A History of Dudley 

Reprinted with permission of the Mt. Olive Tribune and cannot be reproduced without permission. 

A History of Dudley
"Our Heritage"

By Claude Moore

The first Dudley, located at Genoa, a few miles south of Goldsboro, was
named for Dudley Lewis. The name was changed to Everettsville, named for
the well known Everett family who owned large grants of land south of the
Neuse. When the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad was built between 1836-40,
the present village of Dudley, nine miles south of Goldsboro, came into
being as a labor camp for the railroad.

It was named for Governor Edward B. Dudley, the founder of the railroad.
Governor Dudley's sister, Anne, had married General William Lanier Hill of
Warsaw, a brother of Dr. Buckner L. Hill of Warsaw who lived at Vernon
Plantation near Dudley.

A depot was built at Dudley with a passenger station & a post office was
established. There is still a post office in Dudley serving more than
9,000 patrons even though the village is not incorporated at the present
time & therefore, has no municipal officials.

There were a large number of free persons of color living in & around Dudley
& some of them owned small farms & others worked for the railroad. Many of
their descendants still live in this area. Dudley was in the center of a
flourishing trade in naval stores, lumber & cotton. These heavy stands of
long leaf timber were on the sand ridges, running east & west.

Captain & Mrs. Ezekial Slocumb lived on a plantation south of Dudley. She
is believed to have made a famous ride to the site of the Battle of Moore's
Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776. Both were originally buried on their
plantation & their remains were reinterred at Moore's Creek in 1927.

In December, 1862, during the Battle of the Neuse Bridge, a number of
buildings & railroad cars were destroyed in Dudley by the Union Army under
General Foster. According to a tradition, there was a small Confederate
training camp near Dudley called Camp David. This is not mentioned in the
official records.

During the Reconstruction period, a black man by the name of John F. Baker
of Dudley was elected as a member of Congress, but he was mysteriously
killed as he boarded the train at Dudley enroute to Washington to be sworn
in. The black postmaster by the name of Will was later assassinated.

Dudley was incorporated in 1897 & J. W. Hatch was elected the first Mayor.
The first town commissioners were: Charles Winn, R. B. Rhodes & Andrew
Hargrove. The town government was active for many years & finally no town
officials were elected & the incorporation became inactive.

There were several churches in Dudley: First Congregational (founded by
northern missionaries), Dudley Christian, St. Zion A.M.E., St. Matthews,
Emmaus Baptist, Brogden Chapel & May's Chapel.

Brogden School is located in the old town limits & Southern Wayne High
School is just south of the town limits. Dudley had a devastating fire in
the 1920s which just about wiped out the business area.

The Georgia Pacific Corporation located at Dudley in 1973 & it now employs
625 persons. Many residents also have jobs in Goldsboro & Mount Olive.

With urbanizing of the area from Goldsboro to Mount Olive, Dudley could
become a flourishing town again.

Contributed by Guy Potts of Raleigh, NC   August 2000

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