Edgecombe County, North Carolina, has a long and
intriguing history stretching back to the 1730s, when the first permanent European residents began settling the banks of the Tar River, and beyond, when Tuscaroras roamed the woodlands of this fertile region. Edgecombe County was recognized as a county in 1741; just over a century later it led the nation in cotton production and was well known as a forward-thinking and prosperous county of exceptional natural beauty. The tremendous changes ushered in by the Civil War and Reconstruction coincided with the development of photography. Photographers like S.R. Alley in Tarboro, who captured life in Edgecombe County on film in the crucial era covered here, were unknowingly recording history in a way that future
generations will be forever grateful for.