A History of Bloomsbury, North Carolina

Joel Lane House - Bloomsbury

Little known to anyone other than the locals or the avid historian, the first county seat for Wake County, North Carolina was Bloomsbury, established in 1771 and referred to by most simply as Wake Court House. Bloomsbury remained the county seat until the planned community of Raleigh was established in 1792.

Joel Lane was the single most influential person in establishing Wake County as well as Raleigh as the capital of North Carolina. In fact he is known as the Father of Raleigh. Born in 1740 in what is now Halifax County, Lane owned thousands of acres, which made him powerful and led him into politics. In 1769 he settled in what was then Johnston County, soon to become established as Wake County. Lane sold 1,000 acres to be the site of Raleigh, as capital of North Carolina. His house was named Wakefield in a hamlet called Bloomsbury. He owned a tavern/inn at which a lot of decisions affecting Raleigh and Wake County were made. Bloomsbury was the area where Lane lived and where the current Joel Lane Museum House sits, a little south and west of its original site. Governor William Tryon named Lane’s hamlet Bloomsbury because of his fondness for Bloomsbury, an area of London between Gower Street and High Holborn.

Lane was a member of North Carolina colonial House of Burgesses beginning in 1770, a state court judge in North Carolina, a member of the first Wake County Court, a member of North Carolina State Senate from 1782-1794, and a delegate to the North Carolina state Constitutional Convention in 1788 and 1789. He served on first board of trustees of University of North Carolina. Joel Lane was married twice - to daughters of Colonel John Hinton, Martha and Mary. With Martha he had 3 children and after her death he married Mary and had 9 more children. He died in 1795. For more information about Joel Lane, Click Here.

When Raleigh was created on Lane's 1,000 acres, the hamlet of Bloomsbury was totally incorporated into the new county seat and State Capital. Today there is an historical neighborhood within Raleigh city limits known as Bloomsbury.

Tablet and Stone Marker of Bloomsbury, NC
Erected by the Bloomsbury Chapter of the DAR - Unveiled on April 26, 1911

© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved