Located in the southern part of Moore County, Aberdeen, North Carolina is a small town full of historical character. Settled by Scottish emigrants in the 1700’s, the Town was known as Bethesda and Blue’s Crossing before it adopted its current name in the later part of the nineteenth century.
The first foreign settlers migrating into the area now known as Aberdeen were Scottish Highlanders, fleeing their parent country to the shores of North Carolina and eventually up the Cape Fear River and its tributaries inland to the pine forests of Moore County. Good hunting was the enticement for permanent settlement beginning as early as 1745. Plentiful game plus an abundance of virgin land prompted emigrants from Scotland and England to settle in what we now call Aberdeen. The Scottish community of Blue's Crossing was settled in the mid 1750's in the area of land from the "Head of the Rockfish" to the "Devil's Gut", two bodies of water making up the flow to Aberdeen Creek. Although the land area was more than 10 square miles, only approximately 300 people inhabited the densely wooded acreage at the time of settlement.
These proud Scottish people remained loyal to the British throne during the Revolution, and were involved in many skirmishes with other Moore County settlers who supported the war. No battles of the American Revolution were fought in the Bethesda Community or Blue’s Crossing, yet the Scottish were not untouched by the internecine strife waged by the Loyalist (Tories) and Patriots (Whigs) in the surrounding areas. It must have been with a great deal of thankfulness that the settlers in the these communities heard of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 which ended the American Revolution – and which ultimately ended the civil strife that had threatened their daily lives. Success and the promise of future growth seemed destined for the area. The tar, pitch and turpentine (naval stores) industry prospered. Transportation by the wooden, hand-laid Plank Road over the sandy ridges carried the products to market.
However, progress came to a halt as the Civil War began. More than 1500 soldiers served in the Confederate Army, fighting in most of the major battles. Over 500 were killed in action or died of wounds, decimating the labor supply.
Following the war, most businesses and industries were devastated. But the proud Scottish heritage of the families would not be defeated, and those soldiers returning to the area began establishing new businesses.
Soon after the Civil War, the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line (now owned by the CSX Transportation System) was completed through the county and through the struggling community of Blue's Crossing. In the 1870's the production of turpentine, resin and tar from the pine trees, and the cutting of the pine trees for the timber itself, required better transportation facilities and a unity in government. In 1877, a post office was established with Malcolm J. Blue serving as postmaster. In 1881, Allison F. Page established a rail line leading from the Raleigh & Augusta north westerly from Blue's Crossing through the magnificent forestlands that were being cleared by the lumberjacks working for him. In 1888, the name of Blue's Crossing was changed to Aberdeen, and the native Scots living in the outlying areas began to centralize into a closer knit community.
In 1892, John Blue built a rail line from the Raleigh & Augusta in Aberdeen eastward reaching Fayetteville and the Cape Fear River, making Aberdeen a central hub for industry and manufacturing. Allison F. Page bought vast tracts of virgin pine forests from Malcolm McMillian Blue for the timber. The same land was later sold for $1 an acre, having been stripped of its virgin pine trees. Mr. James W. Tufts, a wealthy northern fountain manufacturer, made the purchase in 1895, and began to design and build a resort community that he called Tuftown, now known as Pinehurst. Prior to 1900, the economy was shaped for years to come with agriculture, industry, tourism and retirement. During the twentieth century, the Sandhills experienced prosperity, wars, depression and recessions. Agriculture farming brought forth grain, fruit, cotton and tobacco. The resort and retirement industries grew.
Today there is a healthy balance among these major segments of the Sandhills economy, and planning for the future will continue to balance and enhance the quality of life in our community.