by Dr. Troy Kickler
Senior Fellow and Managing Director, North Carolina History Curriculum Project
October 17, 1862 | Shipbuilders contracted to construct the CSS Neuse. The ironclad, one of twenty-four in the Confederate Navy, was completed in April 1864. A good portion of the hull is on display at the Interpretive Center in Kinston.
October 18, 1853 | The first North Carolina State Fair opened. David Settle Reid of Rockingham County was the governor. In 1928, the festival relocated to its current location off Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh.
October 19, 1781 | Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia. His beleaguered forces had been through a series of exhausting skirmishes, known as “The Race to the Dan,” that included the Battle of Cowan’s Ford. The British won a pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse earlier in September. Much fighting between Loyalists and Patriots had occurred, too, including David Fanning’s capture of Governor Thomas Burke.
October 20, 1898 | John Merrick, with Dr. Aaron Moore and C.C. Spaulding, form North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association. The insurance company was later renamed North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.
October 21, 1853 | The last day of the first North Carolina State Fair was held in Raleigh.