north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     Hinton James, first student at the University of North Carolina, was born in New Hanover County on September 20, 1776, the son of John and Alice James. James entered the university on February 12, 1795, and was the only student for the first two weeks of the school year. An outstanding student, James helped organize the first literary club and debating society on campus. On July 4, 1798, he was awarded a bachelor degree as one of the seven students in the university’s first graduating class.

     Having studied engineering, James became an assistant to Hamilton Fulton, a Scottish engineer hired by the state to make navigation improvements on the eastern rivers. James was put in charge of operations along the Cape Fear River. However, he left in 1807 upon his election to the state legislature. He served three terms, as well as a period as mayor of Wilmington.

     At his death on August 22, 1847, James was the treasurer for Wilmington, and a magistrate of New Hanover County. He was buried at Hopewell Presbyterian Church near Burgaw alongside two of his three wives. A dormitory at the University of North Carolina is named in his honor.

William Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, III, 267—sketch by Gary E. Trawick
Kemp Battle, History of the University of North Carolina (1907-1912)
Andrew J. Howell, The Book of Wilmington (1930)
“Burial Place of Hinton James,” Charlotte Observer, May 23, 1926
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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