Sampson: Visit Sampson
Tucked away in the southeastern part of the state, known as the coastal plains, lays beautiful Sampson County. The county was established in April 1784, by Scotch-Irish settlers who first came to the coastal area in the 1740s searching for rich farmland and flowing rivers. Gradually moving up the South and Black Rivers from Wilmington, the settlers found their dream in Sampson County .
As North Carolina’s largest, Sampson County extends nearly 60 miles north to south and 30 miles east to west, covering 963 square miles of rich soil and pristine streams. Sampson County’s close proximity to Interstates 95 and 40 provides an ideal transportation network, allowing easy access to tourist destinations, such as the NC Coast, which is renowned for its fishing, boating and recreational opportunities, or the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountain ranges of the Appalachians , which offer a variety of recreational opportunities, cultural history and picturesque scenery. Sampson County residents are also conveniently located within a one-hour drive of the state capital and the Research Triangle Park. The county and the City of Clinton jointly own and operate the Clinton-Sampson Airport , which provides landing for private, recreational, military and business activity. With a 5,002 foot paved runway, the airport accommodates corporate jet landing as well.
Clinton is the county seat of Sampson County, where a full range of government services and facilities are offered. Sampson County and each of its municipalities combine an ideal business environment with a relaxed lifestyle and the warm, caring familiarity of communities where hospitality is a way of life and residents know and care for their neighbors. "Sampsonians" have much pride in their history and prosperity. Surrounded by friendly people with a strong sense of community, we know you will find Sampson County an enjoyable place to live or visit.
Sampson County Communities
Clinton, the county seat of Sampson County, is the largest of the eight communities and is near the geographical center of the county. The city was first named Clinton Courthouse because North Carolina already had a town named Clinton in Rowan County. When Clinton of Rowan County folded in 1822, Sampson County ’s Clinton Courthouse applied for the name. The town was then named Clinton, 25 years after the death of Captain Richard Clinton, for whom the town is named. Richard Clinton served in the American Revolution and was Sampson County’s first state senator from 1784-1787 and 1789-1795.
Clinton is governed by a Mayor and a five-member City Council. Because it is centrally located, Clinton developed as the major agricultural marketing center of Sampson County. Clinton’s annual BBQ Cook Off is held the 3rd Saturday in September, followed by Clinton’s Annual Craft Fair on the first Saturday in October. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors the annual “Christmas In Clinton” Parade on the second Saturday of December.
In April, 1889, President Gray of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Railroad designated Autrys as a depot. Later in 1891, Autryville was incorporated, and a new town was born. Autryville is home to Micajah Autry, a Sampson County resident who fought in the Battle of the Alamo alongside Davy Crockett
Each year in mid-July the true story, “A Man Called Micajah,” reveals the life of Micajah Autry in Autryville’s outdoor theatre. The town also celebrates Micajah Autry Day in May with a parade, arts and crafts, delicious food, entertainment, music and dance. Located along the east side of Sampson County along the banks ofSouth River , Autryville is governed by a mayor and a five-member town commission.
The Town of Garland was incorporated on February 8, 1907, and is located about 17 miles south of Clinton. Garland is governed by the Mayor, Commissioners, Town Coordinator and Deputy Clerk. The town hosts a Rotary Fair the first weekend of each October. The fair includes a parade, beauty pageant, dance and an arts and crafts sale.
In 1943, Harrells was incorporated as Harrells Store. In 1952, the name was change to Harrells. The town is located at the southern end of the county and is largely agricultural. The southern end of the county is also very well known as an excellent location for hunters, who come many miles to enjoy the sport. Harrells is governed by a Mayor-Council form of government. It is home to Harrells Christian Academy , a large co-ed private school. The first Saturday in November marks the Annual Fireman’s Day Parade. Events include the Antique Car Show, local and out of town entertainment, arts and crafts and locally made barbeque, a North Carolina tradition.
Located at the northern end of the county, Newton Grove was known by four previous names before New Town on the Grove was eventually shortened to Newton Grove. The town was first incorporated in 1879, but soon folded and was not active again until 1935, when it incorporated for the second time.
A Mayor and five Commissioners comprise the government of Newton Grove.
Weeks Park provides recreation for the town and surrounding areas. Bentonville Battleground, a state historic site and location of a Civil War battle, is located approximately five miles outside of Newton Grove. The town’s Annual Sweet Potato Festival, held on the first Saturday in October, consists of flea markets, kiddy tractor pulls, petting zoos, pie eating contests and many other crowd pleasing events. The town’s annual Christmas Parade is held on the first Saturday of December.
Roseboro, located on the west side of the county, was incorporated in 1891. The town was named for John M. Rose, the secretary of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad. Roseboro is governed by a Mayor and Town Commissioners. The Annual Fireman’s Day Parade in mid-September is a three day carnival with various games, parachute jumps and fire drill competitions from surrounding fire departments. These fun-filled events are capped off with a dance on Saturday night at the local National Guard Armory. The town is known for local establishments which have been in operation for multiple generations.
Salemburg, geographically located between Roseboro and Clinton, is the home of the North Carolina Justice Academy. Salemburg derived its name from the Old Salem Baptist Church and was incorporated in 1905. The suffix “burg” was added to “Salem" to help distinguish it from Salem in Forsyth County. Salemburg is governed by a Mayor-Town Commissioner form of government. The town hosts the Annual W. F. Sessoms Sing, which is held in mid July. The town also has an Annual Halloween Parade, sponsored by the Salemburg Elementary School and the local PTO.
Turkey was first named for Turkey Creek, so named due to the large numbers of turkeys inhabiting
the region in colonial days. When the Warsaw-Clinton railway opened in 1886, Turkey became a new
depot. In the 1940s, Turkey had the distinction of being the world’s largest Italian pepper market.
Turkey is located on the east side of the county just before the Sampson/Duplin County lines. The town
is governed by a Mayor-Town Commissioner form of government.