The location where the railroad
crossed the Williamston-to-Tarboro road (now NC 142) proved a logical
place for the development of a trading and marketing center. Named to
honor Elder Sylvester Hassell, a noted Primitive Baptist preacher,
historian, author, and educator, this community did not begin its main
growth until after the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad extended its line
through western Martin County in 1890. In preparation a post office was
established January 1890, but Hassell was incorporated much later by the
General Assembly in February 1903.
Laid out in a grid plan, the town had steady but unspectacular growth
during its early years. The commercial and industrial enterprises
consisted primarily of supplying the needs of area farmers. The
re-establishment of a Christian congregation occurred in 1907.
The 1920 census records a population of 135 people, with graded schools
for both races in or near town. Today, Hassell's importance as a
mercantile center is restricted to providing basic foodstuffs and
supplies to a limited trading area, but it continues to actively
function as a municipality.
Info from Historic Hamilton:
National Register of Historic Places Historic District brochure, by the
Historic Hamilton Commission Inc. And, Martin Architectural Heritage:
The Historic Architecture of a Rural North Carolina County, edited by
Thomas R. Butchko.
Some of this information was excerpted from the "Martin County History,
Volume l", which may be purchased at the Martin County Travel and