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History & Facts

To learn more about the history of Selma, living and working here, visiting our attractions and attending festivals, or if you are relocating to our town, check all the following resources provided.

Selma 1910A child of the Reconstruction Era, Selma developed into a community in an area that had long been settled by prosperous farmers--and some not so prosperous. These set­tlers had no "Indian problems," no rocky fields to clear ­only the great forests that served as a valuable source of revenue for the early colonists here.

A brief look at the early history of this section shows that prior to the arrival of the first settlers, Scots and Englishmen, the Tuscarora Indians were the dom­inant Indian tribe. However, as North Carolina became increasingly settled along the Coast, the previously peaceful tribe became hostile. In the Tuscarora War of 1711 - ­1713, which erupted in the New Bern area, the Tuscarora were finally defeated; most of them left the colony, moving to New York to join their relatives, the Iroquois.

As the choice lands in the Albemarle region and around New Bern became scarce, colonists moved inland. Thus the Neuse River became a favorite "road" for set­tlers who wished to come to the area that is now Johnston County.· In 1746, the county of Johnston was created, largely from Craven, and the line which divided Lord Granville's grant from the larger territory owned by King George split Johnston County almost in half. Those living in the royal colony were ruled by royal governors, Including Gabriel Johnston for whom the county was named. Those in the Granville grant had no direct gov­ernor, since the owner had agents selling his land and collecting rents. In 1777 Smithfield was granted a charter by the Assembly sitting in New Bern.

In the Revolution the name of one man stands out, for he has descendants living here today. John Grady was the only Patriot killed at the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge near Wilmington, where on February 27, 1776, Patriots and Loyalists· engaged in a brief but fierce battle. This, the first battle of the American Revolution in North Carolina, resulted in the rout of the Loyalists. The monument at Moore's Creek Park bears John Grady's name and his descendants are the Grants of the Selma area.


Formed in 1746 from Craven County; named in honor of Gabriel Johnston, Royal Governor of North Carolina 1734-1752.

795 square miles, North Carolina's eleventh largest county

County Seat
Smithfield, NC

Famous Johnstonians

  • Ava Gardner - Hollywood movie actress
  • Barry Foote - Major league baseball player for the New York Yankees and Montreal Expos
  • Edward Pou - Congressman in U.S. House of Representatives from 1901 to 1934
  • Lunsford Richardson - inventor of Vicks Vapo-Rub, Selma, NC
  • Neal Lancaster - PGA golfer at the Johnston County Country Club
  • Gregory Helms - professional wrestler, entertainer
  • Chris Archer - professional baseball pitcher in the MLB
  • Jerry Sands - professional baseball outfielder and first baseman in the MLB

Highest Elevation
370 feet, near Clayton

East-central part of North Carolina; bounded by Wilson, Wayne, Sampson, Harnett, Wake and Nash counties.

Archer Lodge, Benson, Clayton, Four Oaks, Kenly, Micro, Pine Level, Princeton, Selma, Smithfield and Wilson's Mills

Oldest Town
Smithfield, formed in 1777

174,938 (2012); fastest growing county in North Carolina in the last ten years; in top 100 fastest growing counties in United States during same period.

Neuse River, Little River

American Legion Post #132
Meets: 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm at Legion Building, 100 Pitchi Street, Smithfield
Contact: Ed Greer, 919-989-4938; Building, 919-989-1067

American Legion Post #132 Auxiliary
Meets: 3rd Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm at Legion Building, 100 Pitchi Street, Smithfield
Contact: Margaret Tyo, 919-936-3199

American Legion Post #141
Meets: 4th Tuesday, except Nov. & Dec. at 6:30 pm at Legion Post in Selma
Contact: Mark Peterson, 919-975-0371

Central Johnston County Rotary Club
PO Box 1843
Smithfield, NC 27577
Meets: Every Thursday at 12:00 noon in Room 1404 at Johnston Medical Mall
Contact: Carlton Pernell, 919-934-0153, carltonpernell(at)aol.com

Friends of the Library (Smithfield)
Meets: 1st Tuesday of each month at 1:00 pm at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield
Contact: Anita Liverman, 919-934-2004

Progressive Men's Club
Meets: 1st Sunday of each month at 5 pm at 1208 Old Goldsboro Road, Smithfield; Phone: 919-934-5512
Contact: James Danley, 910-892-1540

Progressive Women's Club
Phone: 919-965-2026

Selma Lions Club
Meets: 2nd and 4th Monday each month at 6:30 pm at the Robbin's Nest Restaurant
Contact: Hester Properties, 919-965-9744

Selma Women's Club
Meets: 2nd Wednesday of each month at 12:00 noon. Locations vary
Contact: Peggy Earp, 919-965-5165

Smithfield Civitan Club
Meets: 2nd and 4th Tuesday each month at 7:00 pm at Holt Lake Barbecue
Contact: Nolan Hinson, 919-934-0947

Smithfield Kiwanis Club
Meets: Every Tuesday at 6:15 pm at Becky's Lob Cabin Restaurant
Contact: Paul Dorman, 919-390-4619

Smithfield Lions Club
Meets: 1st and 3rd Tuesday each month at 6:15 pm at Becky's Log Cabin Restaurant
Contact: Mr. Shirley Black, 919-934-4386

Smithfield Rotary Club
PO Box 181
Smithfield, NC 27577
Meets: Every Monday at 6:15 pm at Room 1404 in the Johnston Medical Mall
Contact: Elaine Marshall, 919-934-6505, elainefmarshall(at)yahoo.com

Smithfield-Selma High School Band Backers
Contact: Angela Piper, 919-965-3448

Veterans of Foreign Wars - Selma Chapter
Meets: 1st Monday of each month at 7:00 pm at VFW Hut
Contact: Wade Miller, 919-965-8739

Veterans of Foreign Wars - Stevens Barbour Chapter
111 W. Rose Street
Smithfield, NC 27577

American Business Women's Association
Johnston Charter Chapter
PO Box 651
Smithfield, NC 27577
Meets: 2nd Monday each month at 6:30 pm at Smithfield-Selma Chamber office
Contact: Molly Parker, 919-934-1877

Home Builders Association of Johnston County
PO Box 1746
Smithfield, NC 27577
Meets: 4th Tuesday each month at 6:30 pm at Johnston County Agricultural Center
Contact: Sherry Phillips, 919-934-1938

Johnston County Agribusiness Council
2736 NC Hwy 210
Smithfield, NC 27577
Meets: 1st Thursday of each month at 7:30 am at Parkside Cafe in Pine Level
Contact: Eric Spaulding, 919-989-5380

Johnston County Association of Realtors
Meets: 3rd Tuesday each month (except July & Nov.) at 11:30 am in Room 1404, Johnston Medical Mall
Contact: Dana Wooten, 919-989-9797

Legal Support Staff of Johnston County
PO Box 1567
Smithfield, NC 27577
Meets: 4th Monday of each month at 7:00 pm in various locations
Contact: Jean H. High, 919-934-1575

Ava Gardner Museum
325 E. Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Jessica Meadows, 919-934-5830

Daughters of the Revolution - Smith Bryan Chapter
Contact: Kelly Luther, 919-934-4470

Johnston County Arts Council
312 S. Third St.
Smithfield, NC  27577
Contact:  919-938-0306

Johnston County Genealogical and Historical Society
Meets: 1st Saturday of each month except Feb., May, Aug. & Nov at 7:00 pm at the Johnston County Heritage Center
Contact: Joyce Mitchell, 919-934-2836

Johnston County Heritage Center
241 E. Market Street
PO Box 2709
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Wingate Lassiter, 919-934-2836

Neuse Little Theatre
PO Box 1832
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Ruth Mills, 919-934-1873

United Daughters of the Confederacy
709 S. Vermont Street
Smithfield, NC 27577

Boy Scouts of America, Tuscarora Council
316 E. Walnut Street
Goldsboro, NC, 27530
Phone: 919-734-1714

Boys & Girls Clubs of Johnston County
609 N. Pollock Street
Selma, NC 27576
Contact: Mamie Moore, 919-965-5240

Community & Senior Services of Johnston County
1363 W. Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: 919-934-6066

Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation
200 S. Front Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Sarah Edwards, 919-934-0887

Girl Scouts - North Carolina Coastal Pines
6901 Pinecrest Road
PO Box 52294
Raleigh, NC 27612
Phone: 919-782-3021
Johnston County Contact: Christin Murphy, 919-989-6030

Habitat for Humanity of Johnston County
PO Box 2057
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: JoAnne Steward, 919-934-9331

Harbor, Inc.
Shelter for domestic violence
PO Box 1903
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Keri Christensen, 919-938-3566

Johnston Community College Foundation
PO Box 2350
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Twyla Wells, 919-934-3051 or 919-209-2119

Johnston County Animal Protection League
PO Box 607
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone: 919-989-7601

Johnston County Community Foundation
Northern Piedmont Regional Associate
4601 Six Forks Road, Suite 524
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-256-6906

Johnston County Ducks Unlimited
Meets: As needed
Contact: Ken Mitchell, 919-934-3468 or 919-524-9937

Johnston County Education Foundation
PO Box 1075
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: 919-934-7977

Johnston County Industries
1100 E. Preston Street
Selma, NC 27576
Contact: Vicki Shore, 919-743-8700

Johnston County Mental Health Association
26 Noble Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Kathy Daughtry, 919-934-0311

Johnston County Relay For Life
Meets: As needed
Contact: Pat Penny, 919-553-5390

Johnston County Special Olympics
102 Rynal Drive
Garner, NC 27529
Contact: Carol Stafford, 919-550-4838

Johnston County SPCA
720 Durham Street
Clayton, NC 27520
Phone: 919-553-3749

Johnston County YMCA
488 NC Hwy 42 West
PO Box 1447
Clayton, NC 27520
Contact: Melissa Oliver, 919-359-9622

Johnston Medical Center Foundation
PO Box 1336
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Hector Perez, 919-934-8171

Keep Johnston County Beautiful
2736 NC Hwy. 210
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Susan Woodard, 919-934-7156, ext. 3

Partnership for Children of Johnston County
226 E. Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Dwight Morris, 919-938-2411

Salvation Army Board
Meets: 3rd Wednesday of each month at 12:00 noon at the Salvation Army
Contact: 919-934-9102

Smithfield Rescue Mission
523 Glenn Street
PO Box 681
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Rev. Paul Olsen, 919-989-5160 or 919-934-9257

United Way of Johnston County
201-2 S. Bright Leaf Boulevard
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact: Molly Parker, 919-934-1877


235-A East Market Street
Smithfield, North Carolina 27577

tel 919.989.8687  |  fax 919.989.6295
toll free 1.800.441.7829

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