Eden, North Carolina

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Eden is a city in Rockingham County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 15,908 at the 2000 census. The city was incorporated in 1967 through the consolidation of three separate towns: Leaksville, Spray, and Draper.

Due to this and the history of the town, several small historic downtown areas have opened up, such as Leaksville, which has tried to become a tourist attraction.

The city's motto is "The Land of Two Rivers" [1].

Contents

Geography

Eden is located at 36°30′23″N 79°44′42″W / 36.50639°N 79.745°W / 36.50639; -79.745 (36.506434, -79.745092)[3]. The Smith and the Dan river have their confluence on the south side of Eden. The Dan River flows along Eden's southern border while the Smith river flows from the north bisecting the city on its route to meet the Dan River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.2 square miles (39.3 km²), of which, 15.0 square miles (38.9 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (1.12%) is water.

History

Eden was a 70,000-acre (280 km2) estate owned by William Byrd II, a planter of Virginia & North Carolina. The estate was originally called "The Land of Eden"

In the last years of William Byrd II's life he dreamed of bringing large numbers of Swiss Protestants to the Land of Eden, Which eventually included over 100,000 acres (400 km2) in Virginia. He visualized an industrious, self-sufficient colony that would thrive on the abundance of the frontier. Byrd's dream was not to be realized. After years of negotiations, at least one boatload of Swiss did sail from Europe but they were shipwrecked in a December gale off the coast of Virginia and none of the few survivors are believed to have reached Eden. Byrd died August 26, 1744 as the Land of Eden began to be surrounded by the settlement of Scotch-Irish whom Byrd had compared to the "Goths and Vandals."

Eden descended to William Byrd III who shared none of his father's dreams of colonization. Young Byrd married Elizabeth Hill Carter in 1748. He sought to dispose of Eden to gain cash to support his grand lifestyle. He was finally successful on November 8, 1755 when he sold 26,000 acres (110 km2) in North Carolina to two merchant brothers from the island of Antigua, Simon and Francis Farley. By this time settlement was increasing at a considerable pace. The Farley brothers attempted to create plantations on some of the richest acres but more frequently settlers simply moved onto the land and created homesteads. In 1762 James Parke Farley, son of Francis Farley, went to Williamsburg to attend the College of William and Mary and soon after married Elizabeth Hill Byrd, daughter of William Byrd III and Elizabeth Hill Carter.

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