History of Roseboro

Roseboro came to being when the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad built a line from Fayetteville to Wilmington, and it joined Stedman, Autryville, Garland, Kerr Station, and several other communities that sprang to life when depots were built and commerce came into being. The railroad was built in 1889-1890 and the town began to grow from a tiny crossroads with one store to the town of some 1,400 people who reside here today.

There are two stories of how Roseboro got its name, but research has proven it to be named after John M. Rose, secretary of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad. This town has grown since 1889. Roseboro was incorporated in 1891 by the North Carolina General Assembly and the first mayor was Almond Butler, an ancestor of Miss Ossie Butler, long-time town clerk for Roseboro. According to a copy of the town charter on file in the town office, E.R. Johnson was the first town marshal. All but one of the first commissioner’s last names is still prominent in the town. We did not do a lot of growing at first. First accounts of the town are of a few houses and several general stores.

As small as Roseboro was, we had gotten our own post office by May 6, 1890. Sue Truelove was our first postmistress. A number of booming and thriving businesses followed. In 1925, a cotton mill came to town, and we also put in our own water and sewer system that same year. In 1966, the town modernized their water and waste water system and in1972 they completely revamped the whole system with borrowed money from Farmers Home Administration.

The townspeople wanted the streets paved many years ago but did not want the town to go into debt, so rather than establish a tax roll, the town had citizens living on each street to pay up at once. That is what they did and over the years each street in town has been paved and is now maintained by our Public Works department.

Roseboro was the center of a thriving lumber business along with farming. We also had the first drug store in Sampson County, Tart & West Druggist, for almost 100 years. It was owned and operated by the West family until 2007. We had the first automobile agency, Underwood Motor Company and notably the first bank of Sampson County, the Bank of Roseboro. It opened in 1909 and was located right here in town. The bank was operated by Mr. C.D. Dubose. At one time during the depth of the depression, this bank was the only bank in the county because the others had failed. It later merged with First Citizens and is still in Roseboro, just at a different location.

Our town's government has not always been as active as it is today, but the town has had an organized government since it was incorporated. This, in of itself, is not a feat many towns of our size can boast about.


A museum filled with Town artifacts can be found in the Town Hall boardroom. 

Brick Cone Silo

Birth of Roseboro

A Glimpse Into Roseboro's Past

Roseboro's Oldest Building

Old Roseboro

Old Flower shop

One of Roseboro's citizens, Lee Coleman, created this Facebook page: Old Roseboro; The Town and its People. Enjoy reminiscing. Thanks, Lee, and all the contributors.

Roseboro in Film

In 2016, Center for Documentary Studies students visited Roseboro and captured stories of the Towns history. 

Check it out: Roseboro in Film