This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Birth of Greensborough, NC

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

I'd like to tell you about the setting of my upcoming novella, New Garden's Hope. The year is 1808. The location holds sentimental value since I was born here, as well as my husband, daughter, and most of my extended family. My mother's ancestors were Quakers here while it was still a colony as early as 1763, and they attended New Gardens Friends Meeting, the first Quaker church in the area.

December 15, 1808 is the year Greensborough was established. It is also an election year, when James Madison was elected as President of the United States. His wife, Dolley Madison, was born in the Greensborough area before it was officially established, and serves as my heroine's cousin in my novella. Her maiden name was Payne, and therefore, my heroine is Ruth Payne. While Dolley only lived in the area for a year as an infant, in my fiction story, she returns to Greensborough with her husband on his campaign tour and visits her relatives.

You can imagine the conflict this brings since Ruth's fiance, Josiah Wall, is a Federalist, campaigning against Madison because he believes the Embargo Act of 1807 will lead America to war against Britain--and it did lead us to The War of 1812. A lot of interesting things are taking place in Greensborough, NC during the year of 1808 and so I thought it would be the perfect setting and time period.

The city was named for Nathanael Greene, the Patriot General of the Continental Army who fought British General Lord Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War. The photo above is of monument of General Greene on horseback. The battle took place in what is now the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. It is now a national military park where re-enactments are held each year.

The first skirmish of the battle took place on the grounds of New Gardens Meeting, and the original site of the meeting house served as a hospital for the wounded soldiers. Since Quakers didn't believe in war, they took care of both British and Patriot soldiers alike and buried them together. The photo to the left is a monument that was later constructed in remembrance.

Greensborough was shortened to Greensboro in 1895. It is believed that the name was shortened because the city's newspaper, The Greensboro Patriot, always spelled it that way for printing purposes to conserve ink and space on paper.