Many were Quaker families who moved to the area from Pennsylvania in search of productive farmland. Among the original settlers was James Mendenhall, who established a farmstead near present day Jamestown in Though Mendenhall moved to Georgia in , his son George remained, and by , he founded the village of Jamestown in honor of his father. The Mendenhall family, who owned and operated the area's first grist and lumber mills, also owned much of the town's original land.
Today, High Point City Lake is situated where the original family farmhouse and land was located. In , during the Revolutionary War, British General Cornwallis' army camped near the settlement and commandeered provisions from local farms and mills prior to his engagement with Nathaniel Greene's troops at New Garden.
Around this same time, gold was discovered near Jamestown, and several mines profited until the California gold rush frenzy shut down local efforts. Library In , James Mendenhall's son Richard, a local tanner, built the historic Mendenhall Plantation homestead, a highlight of any tour of Jamestown today.
In addition to farming and related industries, Jamestown was home to a gun factory, which manufactured a sturdy and accurate muzzle-loading gun known as the "Jamestown Rifle," the mainstay of Jamestown's industry through the latter half of the nineteenth century and a highly prized collectible among gun enthusiasts today.
During the Civil War, Jamestown's Quakers, who opposed war and violence, attempted to remain neutral. However, the Confederacy demanded that those who were able to make shoes, uniforms, or weapons continue to do so or pay heavy taxes. Also, records indicate Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his entourage passed through Jamestown during its hasty retreat to the South after the Civil War ended.
Jamestown was also a known "stop" along the Underground Railroad, which helped fugitive slaves reach freedom in the North.
According to local historical records, many Quaker homes in this area had a trap door leading to the basement to help slaves escape.
Further, according to records, the Mendenhall and Beard families were instrumental in assisting in emancipation efforts. Built in , the railroad bisects Jamestown, and still provides a vital link for freight and some passengers between the port cities to the East and interior destinations. Several months after incorporation, Jamestown adopted zoning districts and began construction of a municipal water and sewer system. Ragsdale Senior served as the town's first mayor, and Charles P. Turner was the first town manager.
More than 60 years later, Jamestown is proud to be managed by only its fourth town manager and its fifth mayor, a testament to the community's stability. In the 's, with a population of approximately , the town boasted such improvements as street lighting, water and sewer service, and a fire department. During the 's, Jamestown grew quickly.
Several residential neighborhoods sprang from old farmland. An ABC board was formed and a liquor store was constructed, which proved to be a wise investment, enabling the town to pay off debt incurred for water and sewer lines as well as fund the building of Town Hall in and the Jamestown Park and Golf Course in Pictured left to right: Willard, Judge Washington Education: The Cornerstone of Jamestown Madison Lindsay House In keeping with Quaker values and as the town prospered, education became a cornerstone of Jamestown.
Jamestown was home to several schools, including a Quaker children's school, a seminary for young women, a law school and North Carolina's first medical school, which initially met in the home of Dr. Built in , the "Old School", a noble neoclassic centerpiece of Main Street, is now the Jamestown Public Library surrounded by a newly-added Common, a vibrant city gathering place.
On the eastern side of Jamestown is Guilford Technical Community College, originally used as a tuberculosis sanatorium until the post-WWII populations required new school facilities. Today, Jamestown, which continues to be known for its educational prowess, has two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.
Walking With History Whether you call Jamestown home, are considering relocating or are visiting, Jamestown has many faithfully restored historic landmarks, perfect for a relaxing and enjoyable tour. To view a map of the historic markers, click here. The Madison-Lindsay House, built in , was notable for being home to a series of medical schools. The original home was located at the southwest comer of Scientific and Federal Main streets and is nowon the grounds of the Mendenhall Homeplace.
When touring Mendenhall Homeplace, located on West Main Street, must-see sights include the false-bottom wagon and unique corner staircasel. On the property is the Oakdale School House, a one-room schoolhouse built in or by cotton mill officials.
The church, which still holds services today, was built in with updates added in Shubal Gardner Coffin opened the town's second medical school in In , he built an impressive and unusual Greek Revival house. Featuring board-and-batton siding and located eastward from the old town center near to the new train tracks, he chose his home's location to enjoy the improved access to transportation.
The William Reece House was constructed between and by the local constable of the same name. Harper Johnson, Jamestown's mayor; and the residence of F. Bevan, renowned dog trainer for such famous patrons as J. Morgan, Jay Gould and Pierre Lorillard. Potter House, constructed in , was originally Henry Humphries' saddle and harness shop until Isaac Potter obtained the one-room, v-notched cabin for his own store, which he operated until In use as a residence into the early 21st century, the home served as the local U.
Known for their contributions to the development and beauty of present-day Jamestown, the Ragsdale family has called Magnolia Farm, also on East Main Street, home for generations. No Marker On East Main Street, the railroad overpass is a veritable canvas of graffiti art, a community tradition, created by rival schools Southwest Guilford and Ragsdale High.
No Marker Jamestown Today With over 3, residents living within almost 3 square miles, Jamestown boasts small town charm while being minutes from the bustling Triad region. Jamestown's commitment to well-planned, quality development strikes a balance between maintaining community character and heritage and attracting a diversity of jobs and businesses.
Our community is proud of our commitment to preserve our cherished natural, cultural and historic resources, and to provide our citizens with quality public services and infrastructure.