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1905 Lumberton Town Ordinances reveal something old, new

The Robeson County History Museum has many interesting historical publications, and there is

much to be learned from them. We invite the public to look them over, and to donate a book of

local interest.

Deep in the Museum’s basement archives, volunteer staff stumbled on a booklet, titled,

“Ordinances of the Town of Lumberton.” It may sound dry, but the 1905 date begged a closer


What was Lumberton like at the turn of the century? This little gem gives some clues.

Maud Thomas offers some background in her book, “Away Down Home; A History of Robeson

County.” Lumberton’s population was about 1,200 in 1896, a bit larger than Maxton, which

boasted 1,000 residents, she reports.

The sap had dried up for the Turpentine economy by the late 19th century, and downtown

Lumberton was a ramshackle of wooden buildings and dirt streets with no utilities. Fires

routinely ravaged the town.

Town Attorney Woodberry Lennon famously called it a town of “drunkenness and rowdyism.” A