North Carolina-Johnson County-June 22

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-June 22

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

One of the vibrant and fast growing counties in North Carolina is Johnson County. In 1980 the population was just 70,000. Today it is close to 170,000 residents. Much of its growth can be attributed to its proximity to Raleigh and I-40.

A map of the county outlined in red is shown below.


Johnson County gets its name from a former Governor of the state Gabriel Johnson (1734-1752). The county was formed out of Craven County in 1746 so it has 270 years of history to it.

Johnson County today houses a museum in Smithfield to honor some of that history including Hollywood icon Ava Gardner.


Born near Smithfield, NC Ava’s husbands included Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra.

Frank and Ava shown below.


She starred in movies with several film icons, such as Clark Gable, Grace Kelly and Gregory Peck. Her grave site is located in nearby Sunset Memorial Park, approximately one mile from the museum in Smithfield.




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