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by Mary Frances Mauney


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Mike Jones
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  Mike Jones

The land on which Cherryville now stands was originally known as "White Pine". During the last half of the 18th century, Scotch-Irish and German families from the Colony of Pennsylvania migrated south and settled into the "panhandle" section of Gaston County.

Land grants by the king of England date back to 1768, and as early as 1792 Governor Samuel Ashe of North Carolina made original land grants in and around "White Pine". By this token Cherryville can be considered one of the oldest cities in Gaston County.

The village began to develop at a crossroads on Old Post Road. 'Ibis road served as a main thoroughfare between Salisbury, NC and Spartanburg, SC. In 1853, Henry Summit's Cross Roads Store, first store in the area, was established on this famous road.

Downtown Cherryville
(Turn of the century)

It was in 1862 that the Wilmington-Charlotte-Rutherford Railroad (later known as Carolina Central Railroad) reached White Pine. With the arrival of rail transportation, more homes and small businesses appeared in the village. On November 2, 1865, near the close of the Civil War, the name White Pine was changed to Cherryville.

The following Story has been told time and time again.

One morning in early spring, a Southern lady named Elizabeth Black set out some of her "redhearted" cherry seedlings. She carefully planted them in the comers of the rail fence which bordered the lane leading into the village. In the springtime those who passed along Old Post Road were attracted by the beautiful. cherry blossoms. Gradually these folks began to speak of the settlement along the railroad as Cherry Lane. So it was that the cherry tree rather than the white pine tree became Cherryville's namesake.

In 1881 the town of Cherryville, with a population of 68, was incorporated. In 1891 Cherryville's first cotton all, Cherryville Manufacturing Plant, was incorporated. It was soon followed by the opening of three other mills. Cherryville was growing from a farming settlement to a textile community. By the turn of the century, the rural village had become a bustling industrial community of a thousand people. For the next one hundred years, Cherryville was blessed with community leaders deeply committed to. Their employees and dedicated to the welfare of the community.

Religion was one of the foundation stones upon which the town of Cherryville was built. The first church in Cherryville, St. John's Lutheran Church, was founded in 1881. Other churches were organized soon after: the Methodist Church in 1882, the Baptist and Presbyterian churches in 1893. Existing records show that prior to 1872 groups of Christians were meeting in Henry Summit's granary for religious services.

The Cherryville community has always taken interest in its schools. Long before a special school district existed, schools were being held in the area. In 1881 Cherryville was made a separate school district by an act of Gaston County. In the year 1915 Cherryville School District achieved its legal status through a special charter granted by the North Carolina General Assembly. The Cherryville District lost its status in 1968 when the three school districts in Gaston County were consolidated.

A Replica of the First Carolina
Freight Trucks

In 1932 a major turning point occurred in the life of Cherryville. A trucking company began operating in Cherryville with one truck hauling produce from Florida to Cherryville. A core of talented men and women soon built this company into one of the largest and most respected freight carriers in the nation. The company, known as Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation, expanded into foreign markets and became an international carrier. The huge success of this company contributed much to the prosperity of Cherryville. After an era more than sixty years, the services of Carolina Freight were brought to a halt in October 1995 when Arkansas Best Trucking Company bought out the Carolina Carrier.

Unlike so many small towns today, Cherryville still has a vital main street commercial district The townspeople take pride in the fact that Cherryville was the first community in the state to have an Economic Development Commission. The interaction of schools, churches, and community is strongly felt in Cherryville. The citizens have a genuine interest in their institutions and traditions such as their Historical Museum their Truck Museum, their baseball teams, their Cherryville Area Ministries, their city government their civic clubs, and most importantly, their families.

A hard-surface road has taken the place of the original Cherry Lane and the automobile has replaced the stage coach which once passed along the Old Post Road. Much has been changed by time, but not the cherry trees. They still brighten the landscape each spring with their beautiful blossoms just as they did long ago in the comers of an old rail fence.