Sedalia, North Carolina, straddling Highway 70 in GuilfordCounty between Greensboro and Burlington, is a remarkable community. Its history is significantly intertwined with the history of Charlotte Hawkins Brown and the Palmer Memorial Institute, which is now a North Carolina Historic Site found within Sedalia’s town limits.
If you have not yet had a chance to do a tour of the CharlotteHawkinsBrownMuseum, you should do so. It is a fascinating place which tells the story of a truly gifted leader.
Charlotte Hawkins came to serve as missionary teacher to a small community on the road from Greensboro to Burlington. But as time went on many of the students who boarded at the Palmer Institute either remained in the area, or came back to the area later in life. This has given Sedalia a fascinating culture of its own.
Sedalia is a community made up primarily of African Americans who began to settle in the area even before the civil war, and which grew more rapidly after the war. Apparently several families from CaswellCounty relocated to the area we now call Sedalia, and its population had sufficiently grown by the turn of the century that it requested, and received, a post office of its own.
As was the case with many towns the name given to the post office was later the name adopted by the town.
When the post office first came to the area in 1901, it needed a name, and the postmaster, R. B. Andrews, liked the name “Sedalia,” apparently from the name of Sedalia, Missouri. The name for the community stuck, and when it was later incorporated in 1997 Sedalia was the name chosen for the newly incorporated town.