Confederate veteran John F. North realized the importance of rail in bringing people and industry to an area, something he capitalized on as one of the founders of the small Orangeburg County town named in his honor.
Just as many other small towns in South Carolina were, North was founded as a result of the railroad. John F. North, along with George W. Pou and Sampson A. Livingston, donated 100 acres of land to create a town and a depot on the South Bound Railroad Company’s new rail line in 1891.
North was instrumental in bringing the railroad to the area. As a result, the town, which was officially established in 1892, was named after him.
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New citizens, telegraph lines and the lucrative cotton industry were among the amenities that rail lines brought to the town. Passenger trains ran through North on their way to Columbia, Savannah, Miami and even New York City. Two regular trains came through North every day, bringing in freight and goods and carrying out cotton and other products.
King Cotton was easily grown in the fertile soil around North. Until 1946, North was one of the best cotton markets in the area. Several gins outside of the town baled the cotton, and large mills bid for the product at the town’s cotton platform.
North, who was the oldest of the founders, served as the town’s first mayor. He was elected in 1893.