Cumberland County began as a settlement in the Upper Cape Fear Valley
between 1729 and 1736 by European migrants known as Highland Scots. The area became a vital
transportation link to other major settlements. A receiving and distribution center was
established in 1730 on the Cape Fear River. This settlement was known as Campbellton.
The Colonial Legislature passed an Act in 1754 which resulted in the
political division of Bladen County, thus forming Cumberland County. It was named after the
Duke of Cumberland (William Augustus) who commanded the English
Army. Campbellton was named the County seat during 1778. In 1783 Campbellton was renamed
Fayetteville in honor of Marquis De La Fayette,
a French general that served in the American Colonies Revolutionary Army.
Fayetteville's growth was set back by a devastating fire in 1831 and
by the invasion of General Sherman in 1865. One of the principal factors that boosted the
slow recovery of the area was the opening of Camp Bragg as an artillery
and temporary training facility in 1918. The base was closed in 1921 and later reopened as a
permanent army post and renamed Fort Bragg in
honor of Confederate General Braxton Bragg, a North Carolina native.
Presently, Cumberland County has a population close to 319,431 and
encompasses approximately 661 square miles. The area is known as the "Sandhills."
Cumberland County has progressed from its beginnings as a riverfront distribution center
to a highly commercialized area offering a variety of services to its citizens.