North Carolina Railroads - Williamston & Tarboro Railroad


Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Planned Starting Point

Planned Ending Point



Never in Ops

Never in Ops

Williamston, NC

Tarboro, NC
1873 - Purchased by the Seaboard & Raleigh Railroad, which was re-organized as the Albemarle & Raleigh Railroad in 1883

As the rest of eastern North Carolina did following the U.S. Civil War, Williamston town leaders recognized the growing importance of the railroad and quickly sought to connect the town to an existing line. Such sentiments had been expressed in the county before, but nothing became of the Tarborough-Hamilton Railroad that had been chartered by the NC General Assembly in 1831.

Other ventures and dreams were proposed, all coming to naught as well. Even the Williamston & Tarboro Railroad Company, which was backed by some of the leading businessmen in Martin and Edgecombe counties when it was chartered by the state in February of 1861, fell victim to the upheavals of the U.S. Civil War.

Twenty-two (22) years elapsed before a railroad connected the seats of these two neighboring counties. Among the Williamston residents appointed commissioners by the state legislature in 1861 were lawyer and federal judge Asa Biggs; merchants Docton W. Bagley, Cushing Biggs Hassell, John R. Lanier, and John C. Lamb; and physician Levi Smith Yates.

After the Civil War, additional capital enabled a preliminary route to be laid out in 1868 and construction progress was rapid, particularly on the Tarboro end. However, the company soon encountered financial problems, and by May 30, 1872 had gone into bankruptcy, bringing the Williamston & Tarboro Railroad to a complete halt.

Hopes for a Williamston and Tarboro link to the rest of the railroad world were revived in December of 1873 with the incorporation of the Seaboard & Raleigh Railroad. In February of 1878, the company proposed that if investors along the proposed line would buy $50,000 in bonds, the company would find outside capital for the remaining approximately $150,000 required. Construction on the line resumed in late 1879, but proceeded slowly until early 1882, when activity accelerated, leading to a grand opening of the railroad in the fall of 1882.

The town of Everetts was incorporated in February of 1891, and was a thriving trading center situated along the railroad between Robersonville and Williamston. It began more than twenty years earlier as a small rural crossroads named for its principal landowner, Simon Peter Everett. In 1869, he deeded some of his land to the Williamston & Tarboro Railroad Company for the construction of the railroad - which was renamed to the Albemarle & Raleigh Railroad in 1883.

Towns on Route (at time construction halted):




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