The town of Everetts was incorporated in February 1891, and was a thriving trading center situated along the railroad between Robersonville and Williamston. It began more than 20 years earlier as a small rural cross roads named for its principal landowner, Simon Peter Everett. In 1869, he deeded some of his land to the Williamston and Tarboro Railroad Company for the construction of the railroad.
After October 1882, when the Seaboard and Raleigh Railroad, the successor to the Williamston and Tarboro, finally completed the rail line, the Everetts community began to develop as a market for agricultural products such as cotton, corn, grapes, potatoes and eventually peanuts. It grew into a trading center for much of Cross Roads and Poplar Point townships for farm and household supplies. The railroad, with its mail, passenger, and freight services and telegraph line, was the lifeline of the community.
The second impetus for growth was the incorporation in May 1890 of the Martin County Lumber Company by investors from Philadelphia, PA. In addition to a steam-powered mill, the company erected an office, commissary, two stores, and between 10 and 20 houses on a site north of the railroad at the western edge of the community. Local tradition holds that the mill supplied the lumber for the first boardwalk at Atlantic City, NJ.
In 1898, one of the investors who also served as plant superintendent, George P. McNaughton, bought out the founders, and with Simon F. Everett, John Fraley and Samuel B. Wynn, founded the Everetts Lumber Company. The company operated until 1909 when it was forced to close because the supply of nearby timber had been depleted.
Today, visitors can see the landmark J.T. Barnhill Building along US Business 64/13, which still serves as a general store and has a painted billboard on its outside wall. There is also the former Champion Automobile Building, which anchors Everetts block-long commercial section. The building was erected in 1919, and sold Champion, Star, Essex, Durrsant, Hudson and Pan-American automobiles before going out of business in 1930. And the post office, first established in 1884, maintains operations today.
Information from Martin Architectural Heritage: The Historic Structures of Rural North Carolina County, edited by Thomas R. Butchko