Raleigh History

History of Raleigh from the time Joel Lane moved here up to the Civil War.

Joel Lane

Joel, Joseph, and Isaac Lane


Joel, Joseph, and Isaac Lane moved to Wake county from Halifax.

Joel Lane built his home "Wakefield"


The first recorded home of Joel Lane was not built until 1760. While it was a simple home, it was the most extravegent in a 100-mile radius. It was at the corner of Petersburg-Fayetteville and the Hillsborough-New Bern Roads, now the site of Capital Square.

Joel Lane deeds the land to the state

April 5, 1792

The ultimate decision was between land offered by Joel Lane and his father-in-law, John Hinton. The two became estranged over the competition. Joel Lane's land was ultimately chosen, and Governor Alexander Martin is credited with suggesting the name Raleigh.
William Christmas, who served under General Washington at Valley Forge, was charged to plan the city of Raleigh after having already planned four other states.

Raleigh Development

The development of Raleigh and Wake County.

First visit to Wake County

February 18, 1701

John Lawson camped at the "Falls of the Neuse, called Wee Quo Whom by the Indians".

Tuscarora left the area


The Tuscarora War desomated the local Tuscarora, but other Iroquois speaking tribes posed threats to individuals. Those who settled here built their homes to be easily protected.

Land is taken to form Wake County

December 1770

Land is taken from Orange, Johnston, and Cumberland Counties to form Wake County.

Wake County is official

March 21, 1771

Wake County becomes official. At this time, Governor Tryon also comes to deal with the "Regulators," a group in the central and western part of the state who felt as though they were not being taken care of, and refused to pay taxes until the government reformed. Governor Tryon came and stayed at Theophilus Hunter's plantation, but once he had taken care of the regulators he stayed at Wakefield.

General Assembly moved around

1786 - 1791

For five years after the end of the Revolutionary War, the General Assembly moved to New Bern, Hillsborough, Halifax, and Smithfield. However, there was a fear of losing important documents and a decision was made to create a permanent state seat.

1788 Convention


Willie Jones was a major leader in the convention to chose the capital. A committee had been previously created to bring the capital to Wake County, and Willie Jones had been acknowledged as the leader of the committee. When he had moved to Raleigh, he built a plantation now occupied by St. Augustine's.

"Raleigh" named the capital


The decision was made to make this unnamed city the capital

Construction begins on the State House


The Massachusetts architect, Rhoddam Atkins was hired to oversee the construction of the State House.

Where to put Raleigh?

March 20, 1792

Men organized to choose a tract of 640-1000 acres of land to build a 400 acre city.

Land auction for state house

June 4, 1792 - June 5, 1792

Residential and commercial land was auctioned to raise money for the building of a new State house.

State House in use

December 1794

The State house was able to be used.

City government created

February 7, 1795

The city government was created to appoint positions and assign punishments.

State house was complete


As late as1796, postal service only had one route in and out of Raleigh


As late as 1796, the postal service could only travel in and our of Raleigh on the route between Fayetteville and Petersburg.

The city grants land for the first church


The city granted land for the church, however refused to pay for it's construction. It was a Methodist Church, and the liberal views frighted some Raleigh citizens.

Representative Richard Dobbs Spaight accused of voting with the Federalist Party


Richard Dobbs Spaight was a Federalist Governor, but a Republican representative in the United States Congress. In 1802, fellow Republican John Stanley accused Spaight of voting with the Federalist Party. Spaight apologized, but Stanley insisted upon a duel. Neither man being an expert marksman, it wasn't until the fourth shot that Spaight was mortally wounded, suffered for 23 hours, and died.

More towns connected to Raleigh for postal service


By now, more towns were connected to Raleigh by dirt roads, however these roads were impassible during inclement weather. The wealthy in the East had utilized the river system, and so were disinclined to invest money in the roads in the western part of the state.

A Presbyterian Church is built


It was decided to build a new home for the Governor.


The original home to the Governor was modest and embarrassing. It was decided to build a Governor's mansion at the end of Fayetteville St.

Money granted to create a water system


The state legislature granted the city money for a water system to help fight fires, a major problem in this time period.

Governor's Mansion completed


The Governor's Mansion was completed and sat at the end of Fayetteville St, where Memorial Auditorium now sits. Unfortunately, it was said to be uncomfortable by residents.

Land sold for aesthetic remodels to State House


The State House was not very aesthetically pleasing, and so more land was auctioned for remodels. In addition, two pieces of art were commissioned to further brighten the buildings, a painting and a statue of George Washington.

Laws passed to control citizens and to improve the city

1820 - 1829

The city created laws against criminals and hygiene, probably because the city was the home to the state's governor who must be kept safe.


Various war's that affected Raleigh

Skirmish at Moore's Creek Bridge

February 27, 1776

Colonel Richard Caswell led a skirmish that lasted three minutes, led in the death of one man and the injury of a second, but the Caswell and his men defeated 1,600 Loyalists, killed 50, capture 800, as well as a large quantity of weapons and supplies. This defeat defeated the hopes of controlling the state.

Peter Casso

Events that surrounded around the inn built and run by Peter Casso.

The first inn built in Raleigh by Peter Casso


Around 1795 Peter Casso built the first inn in Raleigh on the SE corner of Fayetteville and Morgan St. Fayetteville St had already become the social and commercial center of the city, but this particular inn quickly became even more so.

The town bell built in front of the Peter Casso Inn


The town bell was built in front of the Casso Inn

Mary McDonough Johnson gives birth to a son

December 29, 1808

The wife of Jacob Johnson, Mary McDonough Johnson, gave birth to a son. Jacob had migrated from Northumberland, England, to Boston in 1795, and on to Raleigh to work for Casso as a hustler and porter. He later became the town bell Ringer.
When Mary gave birth, she called upon Hannah Casso to name her son. Mary suggested Andrew, and the child became Andrew Johnson.


Events reported by newspapers

The first newspaper published, called the Minerva

May 7, 1799

The Minerva began being published by two Federalists, William Boylan and Abraham Hodge.

The Register reports money for a marketplace in the city

October 2, 1799

Money was being set aside for a market place that would bring people into the city, especially during peak harvesting times.

An anti-Federalist Paper began printing, the Raleigh Register

November 22,1799

The anti-Federalists in the city opposed the Minerva, and found Joseph Gales.

A physical altercation between Boylan of the Minerva and Gales of the Register

November 1804

A rivalry ensued between the two newpapers over who would be the state newspaper. The Minerva won the first year, however the Register won the next 10 years. Bad mouthing, both publicly and privately ensued, and culminated on November 1804 with a physical altercation on the streets of Raleigh.