February/March 2021

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I first learned that I had ties to Chatham County as I looked through my great-grandmother’s old Bible. I found an obituary for my great-great-grandfather tucked into it. He was a native of Bear Creek; he later moved to Alamance County, but his brother and his son remained in Chatham – Siler City, to be specific. I moved from Alamance to Chatham, continuing the cycle.

Whether you have deep roots or are newly planted here, I think you will be excited to learn more about Chatham’s past in this issue. In these pages, we kick off the celebration of the county’s 250th anniversary. Discover a condensed version of our lengthy history on page 26. Meet the artist behind the official Chatham 250 logo on page 30. Flip to page 38 for a historic look at the rivers, farms, streams and trading routes that established Pittsboro as the seat of the county.  

After looking back, we look forward to the new developments and changes that are happening in Chatham. Leaders share their hopes for Chatham’s future on page 30, and we meet with several developers on page 46 who have big plans that are adapting quickly from lessons learned in this past year.

You’ll find our annual updated camp guide on page 65 and, in keeping with the theme of Chatham’s 250th anniversary, you can also learn about families who have lived here for generations and how Chatham’s school system has changed over the years beginning on page 56.

My journey back to Chatham brought me full circle, and I’ve made it my home for 21 years. I look forward to sharing this issue with my aunts, uncles and cousins in Alamance so that they, too, can feel more connected to this land and our community. – Chris Elkins, publisher


22 Ways to Celebrate the Semiquincentennial
Honor the 250th anniversary of Chatham County by checking some of these cultural events, historical activities and fun excursions off your 2021 to-do list

26 Moments in Time 
A brief history of Chatham County 

30 Putting Her Stamp on Chatham
Sally Gregoire’s winning logo design for Chatham’s 250th anniversary commemoration captures the spirit of the county

34 Past and Future Tense
Jon Spoon is an artist and also the director of continuing education for Central Carolina Community College. He shares his own local history and hopes for the county.

38 On the Map
The roads, rivers and railways that built our county

42 Lives Lived
Nine tombstones in Fearrington Village near Galloway Ridge tell the story of the Smith and Jones families

46 The Next 250
Local leaders share what they see in Chatham’s future

56 Family Trees
Longtime Chathamites remember their roots

62 Building Blocks of Education
From a one-room schoolhouse to 18 schools and 8,810 students

78 This Old House
The stories behind five historic Chatham homes 


48 Here We Grow Again
Developers share updates on local projects and how the pandemic factors in to those plans

65 Summer Camp Guide
There are dozens of camps in the Triangle to match every kid’s interest

74 The Enchanted Forrest 
Forrest Greenslade built a whimsical sculpture trail behind his home in the woods of Fearrington Village


6 Letter from the Publisher  

8 Five Events You Won’t Want to Miss

16 Noted 
What we’ve heard around our towns … 

91 Dining Guide

95 Weddings 
Langdon & Richardson
Cohen & Herchler


10 PORCH-Briar Chapel Donation Drive and Parade

12 Bishop’s Day at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church

13 Chatham Literacy Drive-Thru Appreciation event

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Chatham Magazine

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